Thursday, September 29, 2011

How do you make decisions as an Artist & Designer? By ArtSHINE associate marie-nicole

How do you make decisions?

There are so many opportunities that come our way and so many ideas that enter our thoughts that it can be difficult at times to decide on what can seem like a simple decision to make... be it big or small. So what do you do?

Do you go ahead with it because it seems like a good idea? 
Do you list the pro's and con's? Or 
Do you wait for a sign?

For me, I have found the best way to make seemingly tough decisions is to refer to my core values. This can be for either business or personal decisions. Of course you do need to know what your core values are in the first place. Today I'd like to share with you how I make a decision based on my core values.

I look at like this:

Will it take away from valuable time with my family? 
Time with my family not just in the way of play time, but working on things together, teaching my children the art of living in a productive and enjoyable way, is very high up on my list of core values for me. Anything that could potentially eat into that too much does not make it to my short list.

Is it really what I want to be doing 'right now'? 
Growing organically in both my professional and personal life can mean that jumping three steps ahead and growing too rapidly may cause me to miss out on valuable lessons that can be learnt by taking baby steps. So even though an idea may relate to something that I have in my sights for the future, I have to ask myself is 'now' really the right time for me to take it on?

If money is involved, will the cost of it take more away from my cash flow than my limited budget can handle? 
Again this relates to both business and personal decisions, growing organically and living within my means. Even if taking part in something may be great for promotion and exposure is the time necessary to spend on it going to reward me financially. When working for yourself it can be tricky finding the balance between working in and on your business, so I believe it is important to not do too much of one or the other.

Will it take my focus away from other opportunities that are more in line with the direction that I want to head and the ethos that I live by?
Especially knowing myself and that when I take something on I grab it with both hands and give it one hundred and ten percent. So sifting through what's important and what's not is crucial for me.

This is just a snippet of the thought process that I personally go through. Depending on the decision I am trying to make there may be other questions that come up in the decision making process. My core values do change as my circumstances change but the essence remains the same; "be there for my family, live consciously, take pleasure in the little things and minimise the impact of my lifestyle on our environment.”  

Of course there have been times when I have taken on something that has worked against me and then the tough decision of whether or not to continue with it has to be made.

So the next time you are faced with a decision that you are finding difficult to make try asking yourself a list of key questions that relate to your core values and that decision may not be so hard to make after all.

I believe that as an artist & designer, having control over your own life should mean the decisions you make should give you both a sense of purpose and the feeling of freedom... freedom to decide on what is right for you and those involved in your life!

by marie-nicole
po box 73, yass, nsw 2582
a b n:   83  510 980 759

Shop Handmade, Shop 20, Allara St, City Walk, Canberra ACT

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What is OPIC Service?

Learn the principles of Service. Understand the value of having clients return to purchase with you again and again. Create your own customer advocacy who enjoy raving about your business and the overall service experience in your business. This is the most effective and economical form of marketing you can have in your business. Word of mouth is free and is the cheapest advertising you can have.

The OPIC Service is one of eight business concepts that we use to coach Artists, Designers & creative business owners. It's also part of our business workshop series that we run throughout the year.

ArtSHINE's 8 Business Concepts:

1.    OPIC Planning
2.    OPIC CashFlow
3.    OPIC Quirk
4.    OPIC Sales
5.    OPIC Service
6.    OPIC System
7.    OPIC Team
8.    OPIC Leveraging

As a creative business owner whether you are an artist, designer or a photographer, the most important thing you must do is to focus on your key existing clients.They are the one who keep coming back and do business with you.

Take care of your existing customer and they will take care of your business too. Did you know that it cost 10 times more to get a new client than it is to keep an existing one?

From our experience as a business coach, we see so many businesses pay too much attention on getting new customers and fail to really make a difference to the ones they already have by providing real customer service. At ArtSHine we refer to this as "Customer Happiness".

So how do you create customer advocacy and raving fans the same time?

By doing whatever it takes to get your ideal customer coming back to do business with you.


Because create customer advocacy and Raving fans will do the marketing for you!

This is also your business is worth spreading to others who might want your product or service.

So have fun and embrace the new experience. It's a great time to learn all you need to build a service standard and system that work for your business.

The purpose of OPIC Service is to ensure you learn and appreciate the value of really knowing your ideal clients, and how best to ensure they come back time after time. Create a service standard that set you apart from your competitors. Understand how a Customer's Lifetime value would benefit your art & design business.

Want to learn more about customer happiness for your business? 

It’s as simple as 1... 2... 3... 

2. Send an to  to find out workshop events

3. Contact Vinh for a no cost, no obligation coaching session: 


+61 2410 636 138

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ArtSHINE 's New Identity Revealed

We are so excited about ArtSHINE's new identity. So we thought we'd share the creative process with you too.

The  Artist and Designer who helped us to come up with this new identity is our dear Artist  friend  Chris Chun.

We gave Chris  our brief and here's what Chris came up with...

We absolutely love it.

Thanks Chris.!

Also, Want  to know more about Chris 's artwork & his passions, please visit his website and you can also join his Facbook page and follow Chris on Twitter

Last week Chris has just launched his brand new online boutique. You should check it out too. There are lots of gift ideas for friends and family.

ArtSHINE's New business Card

Close Up interview with Cheryl Lin from Business Chic

Cheryl Lin-Business Chic Styling & Photography Services

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am an IT auditor with a creative outlet by way of my business streetstyle fashion blog BusinessChic ( where I share my photographs of stylish professionals on their way to work to give the rest of us ideas of what we can wear in our respective workplaces.

I also offer a professional profile photo service where individuals who like my photography style can engage me to take photos of them to use to promote themselves online e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, or their own business website. Visit this link if you are in need of professional but personable looking profile photos: !

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
I am interested in fashion and personal style and am keen to show busy professionals how they can update their corporate and personal image with inspiration from each other as well as pieces from the bevvy of Australian fashion and design talent around.

 Joyce Watts, the owner of CycleStyle

I started up the BusinessChic professional photo service as I believe that it’s important to make sure that you are putting your best (and authentic) face forward to promote yourself online, particularly as you never quite know who is looking you up on the internet and where the next opportunity is going to come from!

Where do you get your inspiration from when you photograph?
I always have my camera on me so that I can photograph the men and women around town whose workwear catches my eye.

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Hungry, interested, random, busy and funny.

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My first job during high school was to help an entrepreneur package her self-made novelty products. I got paid $6 an hour and learnt a lot about how important presentation is to make your product stand apart from competitors in the market. That has influenced how I see workers – individuals who must be good at their jobs but also self-brand effectively to make themselves memorable, particularly in the competitive global market.

Describe a typical day in your work?
More often than not, being a street style photographer means paying attention to the every day and filtering through the hundreds of people I see on my way to and from work to draw out those whose work attire catches my eye.

As a creative director, what is your biggest frustration?
Having to be all the things in my business. I enjoy being creative but need to make some time to seek out corporate sponsorship with say an airline, jobseeker website or series of hotels so that I can take BusinessChic to the next level.

Tell us about how you prioritise your work.
At this stage, is a hobby so it’s about sharing my photos of the business style inspiration I’ve captured on the streets.

Cheryl's family

Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
Twitter – I follow interesting people who I see have interesting conversations with other interesting people. I try to join in conversations or attend Twitter meets like Also I share my new work through my Facebook (personal and business) and Twitter pages.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
A combination of “just do it” backed up with a sound plan on how you’re going to still pay off the mortgage…

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
I’m currently working on a range of products that I hope will fill what I see as gaps in the for-the-office-market. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the sample prototypes but my next challenge is to bring the products to market!

Tess Mccabe of the Creative Women's Circle

I’d love to publish a book of my BusinessChic photos that would also include comprehensive guides on the various workplace dresscodes (e.g. Corporate, Creative, Smart Casual, Work events) so that it is a helpful resource for new graduates and folks returning to work. Down the track, I would love if that it also provided a snapshot of what Australians were wearing to work in this time, as a reference point for future generations.

In a perfect world, I’d also love to get hotel and airline sponsorships so that I could photograph business chic in Japan, New York, Paris, Stockholm, Seoul, Rome!

What is your proudest moment so far?
Whenever a random stranger I meet tells me that they visit

Who do you most want to meet and why?
Karl Lagerfeld. I respect his body of work in fashion, film and photography and the diverse career he has built for himself. Plus we both have a thing for fingerless gloves.

Cheryl in colours

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
Pursue your passions to the very edge of your capabilities - Rufus Black.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I’m currently reading French Women for All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano. She is more well-known for her diet book “French Women Don’t Get Fat“ which I have not read myself. She was an senior executive and spokesperson for Veuve Clicquot and I really enjoyed another of her books “Women, Work & the art of Savoir- Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility” where she shares her experience as a professional woman climbing the corporate ladder while remaining true to her sense and sensibility.

Where do we find you and your products? (
Styling and profile photo services:

Do you have a special offer to the ArtSHINE community?
20% off my regular rates for professional profile photos that you can use to promote yourself online, just drop me a line at info [at] to make your booking by September 30, 2011 and mention ArtSHINE!
Usual rates

Images Source courtesy from Business Chic

Monday, September 26, 2011

Inspirational Quote of the week

"I'd rather regret the things I have done than 
the things that I haven't."
-Lucille Ball

Friday, September 23, 2011

Selling Tips at Trade Shows -Market Series Part 6

Having a trade show is a huge investment and it does not come cheap either. Besides spending a lot of money on a booth, travel, marketing and personal costs! You just can’t depend on promotional efforts alone to make sure your investment is worthwhile, You really need to have a sales & process in place at the show. Why?

If you don't have one, the likelihood is that your prospect clients will show their interests and spend their wallet share to your competitors.

So, how can you get the potential customer's attention real-time and turn them into serious prospects and buyers?

There are Six key steps to selling at a trade show:

1.     The Power of merchandising
2.     Observing and Qualify
3.     Determine customers wants & needs
4.     Offer a solution
5.     Close  the sale
6.     Follow Up

The Power Of Merchandising The power of creative visual merchandising plays a very important role in your design business. In a highly competitive market your customers are savvy as ever. That’s why it’s essential to make your booth experience as appealing and engaging as possible.

Eye-catching graphics, products and colours that out shine from the booths  are the first thing that will get  the visitors' attentions. At that point they stop to find out what product or service you provide. Make sure it’s clearly communicated in an easy to read format, your logo & sign are clearly visible. In less than 10 seconds, your visitors will make a decision whether they should pop into your booth to learn more about you or by pass your booth to somewhere else that grabs their attentions. The booth must be inviting and ease of shopping: tables and counters at the side, avoiding a visual barrier; no clutter. Look out for  welcoming body language so that you can connect with them. 

Observing and qualify. Visitors like to be acknowledged. When you see the person, stop, walk over, establish eye contact, read the name badge, and greet them by name with an open-ended question that gives you insight such as:

“Hello Susan, what have you seen so far that interests you?” or 
“What are you hoping to  get out of this show?” 

Based on the conversation, start probing to find out how the person fits into the organisation in terms of budget and decision-making authority.

Determine customers wants & needs. Most visitors come to a show for a specific reason. While they may want to know what’s new on the market, they usually have a specific want and need to solve or a wish list to fulfil. Learn and define the 8 customer's catch and what catch would resonate with them.

Offer a solution. Explain how your products or services can meet their needs  or meet their budget and their wish lists.  From experience most visitors will spend no more than 10 minutes in a booth even if they are really interested in your product or service. The key here is to focus on what they tell you and listen to their needs and match the solution you propose to their needs.

Call for Action by Taking Sales/Orders. If the visitors are really interested in your products and they indicate a buying signal, be bold and close the sales by asking:
  • Let’s take a seat and I'll write up an order for you? Or 
  • How about I place the order now?
Remember, most of the buyers come with a budget  in mind and their objective is to spend money and you want to be the one taking the order at the show and not your competitors .So be bold to ask for the sales or order from them.

Follow Up post show. At some point some visitors are not ready to order right at the show and you know they are a potential client you should do the following:

  • Ask for an appointment to follow up after the show.
  • Don’t give out too much information or brochures so you have an excuse to follow-up later. 
  • Be sure the person is entered into the lead system. As soon as the person leaves your booth, make detailed notes in the lead system as to what you talked about. It’s a good idea to keep a pocket-sized notebook so you can jot down information for later.
  • Classify your leads leads; Hot leads, Warm leads or Cold leads and follow up accordingly.

Here’s to your trade show success

Pure Leverage

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