Monday, August 9, 2010

Spontaneous Serendipity

My name is Kaelin Cordis, and I love everything to do with metal. I feel very strongly that a piece of jewelry should be personally made, reflect a unique design, and preferably an abiding beauty. I really think that every person in the world who wears jewelry should own uniquely elegant pieces of jewelry without breaking their piggy-banks!" Kaelin is Mom of two, Metalsmith, Blogger, and Artist-Owner of Kaelin Design. Her work can be found at http://kaelindesign.etsy.com

When you run a business you will find hundreds of thousands of people telling you what to do to make your business successful. They will tell you all sorts of things like "Make a business plan with a flow chart and three appendices, and your business will have more success than you can measure."

Newcomer that I once was, I thought, "Okay- no problem. Paperwork I can handle." This didn't work for me for two reasons. First, I really don't like flow charts, and I hate appendices. Okay, to be more honest, I don't like paperwork in general, and my own personal paperwork in specific. Second, just because I have a plan doesn't mean it's going to work. The great military strategist, Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke, said "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy." The same holds true for business plans, I've found.

Ivory tower flow charts do not survive contact with real life. Go ahead, you can quote me. I won't mind.

Second piece of advice I came across was, "You just need to be organized! Then you can't help but be productive." Right brain artistic-type that I am, I do have a love for brightly colored or nicely decorative office supplies. So my files are color coded, and I have fifteen different colors of Sharpies in three different tip styles. Lots of fun, yes, prouctivity boosting, no. In fact, my lovely sculptural steel pen display cup in the shape of an Eiffel Tower actually had a layer of dust on it the last time I looked at it...

For some reason I seem to attract a wealth of unsolicited advice. Don't get me wrong- some of it's fabulous.... Most of it is not. I know I don't come across as clueless, and I don't generally go around soliciting advice, and yet, sometimes I have to wonder why I end up with all this well-intentioned flotsam given to me.

Third piece of advice I was given: "Write everything you need to do on a list, and cross it off as you get it done. This way you'll be motivated and get things done efficiently and on schedule." I wrote about my semi-nervous stress breakdown in response to that one...

So after all this well-intentioned advice, I've been seriously reviewing my so-called "action plan" for my business. What's worked for me, what hasn't, and where have I found the best response to my jewelry, and so forth. I am currently in six galleries at the moment, and I achieved that in less than a year. Two galleries came about from a very large fine art festival in which I participated last September. Two galleries came about because I was wearing my jewelry while I was otherwise shopping. Two more came about because they saw me participating in the forums on Etsy.

So looking strictly at the numbers, 67% of my gallery contracts came by Spontaneous Serendipity. In layman's parlance- without any input from me.

To be sure, I was prepared to follow up immediately on this interest. I carry boatloads of business cards with me at all times. I keep a printed wholesale catalog in my car. I always wear a piece of stunning jewelry.

But what about those contacts online? There I was, talking to people in the forums, trading information, and chit chatting about vacations, actually relaxing mind you, then- *poof*! More work than I could shake a stick at...

After the stress and utter failure of pre-planned business expansion, these kinds of results are, to me, a sign to relax. It's time to be spontaneous. To seize the moment. To not worry so much about the percentage of new visitors on my Google Analytics report!

I liken it to when I'm working on a new design. If I relax and keep myself open to spontaneous design changes, then my work flows as well- and I can create a new piece almost effortlessly. If I'm tense, or uninspired, and force the design, then my design comes out awkward and stilted. It's that simple.

I'm a small business owner in a company of one. I am bookkeeper, marketer, blog editor in chief, chief financial officer, materials co-ordinator, office manager, janitor, and... oh yeah- artist. I wear a lot of hats, and the responsibilities that I own are enough to make anyone break out in paperwork and action plans. But I love what I do. I love my work. I'm going to be spontaneous enough to allow the design that I'm producing here flow uninhibited. I have the utmost confidence that by leaving myself open to amazing, stupendous, and totally un-planned possibilities, that I will find the rewards fully beyond imagining.

Try it for yourself- what can you accomplish by letting go and following Spontaneous Serendipity?
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