We think bettering yourself as a business owner through education is a smart move. One of our favorite places for top-notch handmade business education is CreativeLive* (friends of ours like Katie Hunt, Nicole Stevenson, Erin Dollar and Robert Mahar have done excellent ones, as well!). One of the best things about it? You're able to watch the live classes (and the re-runs!) for free. You can also totally be part of their live audience and one of our members Richelle of redscorpio has been several times. She shares what it's like and how to prepare for it.
Q: Please introduce yourself.
A: My name is Richelle and I am a jewelry maker. I weave tiny beads into amazing jewelry.
Q: What is CreativeLive and how did you first hear about it?
A: CreativeLive is an online learning platform for creatives, which offers free programming every day, on five channels. You can watch streaming content for free, or purchase lifetime access to your favorite courses and watch whenever you want. They offer a variety of courses on photography, photo editing, money management, and they have a channel that features courses for maker businesses.
I first heard about CreativeLive from an online contest they were running to win a camera. You had to sign up for their newsletter to enter the contest. During one of the first programs I watched, they ran an ad for an upcoming course taught by Tara Gentile called The Art of Selling What You Make. That was the first class I rsvp'd for and watched from beginning to end and after that, I was hooked. It changed my whole perspective on running maker business.
Q: Why did you decide to attend?
A: I saw that April Bowles-Olin was going to be teaching a course called Build a Successful Creative Blog and for some reason, I just felt like I really wanted to be there. I had watched several CreativeLive classes by this time and was participating in the chat forum during the live broadcasts. I was really enjoying the community so it kind of felt like the next logical step was to attend a class in person. Even though it was way outside my comfort zone, that was one of the best decisions I've made. I have been in several more classes since then and it’s always an amazing experience.
Q: What should a maker expect when attending a CL class in person for the first time? What is the process like?
A: Everyone I've met at CL has been super supportive and helpful. When you first arrive at the studio they take you into the kitchen/meeting area where they have coffee, tea, and breakfast set up for the participants. You meet the other members of the audience, chit chat a little and get to know each other over some coffee. Then the producer will come in and explain what's on the itinerary for the day, encourage you to ask questions, answer any question you may have, and generally do their best to make you feel comfortable.
Q: How can a maker get the most out of the experience?
A: To get the most out of the experience you need to be prepared not only for the day of taping but for the spike in traffic you will likely receive on your website and social media that day, and a few days afterward. The show streams live so before you even get to CL, you should go over your social media, website, and shop to make sure everything is looking really good, all your contact information and bios are up-to-date, your links work, you have a compelling about page, and everything is optimized to convert traffic.
If you don't have a newsletter sign-up on your website prior to appearing on CreativeLive, I would recommend that you do that even if it's just for the day or two you are appearing in the studio to collect information from new traffic to your website. You could go so far as to create a special landing page like "mywebsite.com/creativelive" and offer a special discount or have a special 'about me' blurb on the page to take advantage of the spike in traffic. I noticed that I can get 10 times as many visitors on my site on a day I'm appearing in the studio on CL, even for replays. This doesn't necessarily convert to sales but a lot of times it will convert to sign ups.
As far as preparing for the day of taping I would suggest that you dress comfortably and be prepared to sit for a long time during the day. This is something that I am not used to because I use a stand-up desk in my home studio so I make it a point to stand as much as possible whenever we are not in the studio sitting in the seats. I will stand at lunch and stand and stretch during the breaks because it is a lot of sitting. Make sure to bring the products you make. Since I make jewelry I always wear my jewelry to the taping. If you make soap or baby products this isn't as easy to show off in the studio but at least bring it to the studio and share it with my fellow participants. Make sure you bring business cards.
CL will give you a workbook to work through during the course and you'll probably want to take some notes but I would encourage you to take limited notes and try to be in the moment when you're in the studio audience. You get lifetime access to the course so you can watch as many times and take as many notes as you want once you get home, but you're only going to be in the studio for a day or two so I always try to be involved and ask questions at the time and then go watch the recording later and go over your notebook again and take notes. Share teasers about the upcoming class on social media, and post pictures from the CreativeLive studio and tag CreativeLive and the instructor to get more eyeballs on your Instagram, etc.
Q: Who is the in-person experience good for (and not good for)?
A: I can't really think of anyone that it is not good for unless you are insanely introverted. I think it's a great experience, not just the learning experience but the networking experience and making connections with fellow makers. Most makers are pretty isolated during the day so to get to go and hang out all day with fellow makers talking about how to improve your business is a great way to connect. I've met so many awesome fellow micro-business owners while taping, and connected with even more through social media because they've seen me on the videos. Not to mention unparalleled access and input from world class creatives and thought leaders. I think it would be super fun to attend a course at CreativeLive with a fellow Academy of Handmade member.
Q: Anything else?
A: There is a CL studio in Seattle and one in San Francisco. It is free to attend the courses, you get free lifetime access to the course you participate in, and they serve you breakfast, lunch, and snacks. I definitely would encourage makers to check out the upcoming courses on CL, and consider applying to be in the studio audience.
Check out these other stories about CreativeLive on our site too!
- MEGAN AUMAN'S CREATIVELIVE: WORTH THE INVESTMENT?
- OPTIMIZE YOUR ONLINE STORE: A REVIEW OF ANDREEA AYERS' CREATIVELIVE
- LISA CONGDON'S CREATIVELIVE: WORTH IT FOR MAKERS?
- GET YOUR WHOLESALE IN ORDER WITH KATIE HUNT AND CREATIVELIVE
- AWARDS DECOR TUTORIAL: HIMMELIS INSPIRED BY ROBERT MAHAR
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and eventually purchase something, Academy of Handmade might receive a small percentage which will go toward the continued support of handmade businesses. We never use affiliate links to feature products we don't believe in.