Virginia Shields of Clotho & Frigg, praising Bespoke Hogaboom's Whole Enchilada

As you know, I love working with all my students. Doing these exit interviews has been fantastic because it not only allows me to evaluate my program with fresh eyes – from a student perspective – but it re-reminds me how glad I am to work with the caliber of artpreneur who takes the course!

Read on to hear what Virginia – owner and lead witch of the *fantastic* Clotho & Frigg – got out of the Whole Enchilada: what she didn’t find in business school.

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Kelly
How are you?

Virginia
Good! How are you?

Kelly
I’m good. I’m getting ready for the button fly tutorial. Tomorrow’s the livestream.

Virginia
That’s exciting!

Kelly
Yeah, I’ve got a really good method. And I just made my prototype. And then I was eating some spicy soup – and now I’m here.

Virginia
That’s not bad!

Kelly
So basically, I’m just going to ask you a couple questions about the course and its effects on you on the Record. I’ll record for a minute and then I’ll turn off the recording and we’ll just have a tiny off-the-record chat as well. Just to see how you’re doing. So – does that sound, okay?

Virginia
Yeah, that’s totally fine!

Kelly
Okay, awesome. So I feel like we met sometime last year, or like earlier this year, like we’ve known each other for about a year.

Virginia
I’d say about a year. Probably in November.

Kelly
Okay, coming up on a year.

Virginia
Yeah

Kelly
Awesome.

Virginia
Yeah!

Kelly
Wow. And I remember seeing your work and being really impressed with it. And for some reason, I thought you were like a super established – either a brand or a blogger like that: you were super, super established.

Virginia
[giggles] Aww!

Kelly
So we got together and we did a few one on one sessions. And then you took the course. So when you cast your thoughts back to a year ago, what would you say is the biggest takeaways from my instruction or from working with me in the course?

Virginia
Oh, my gosh, like – even before we met, and I started listening to your Lives at my desk at my day job, you have had such a huge influence on the way that I think about my business: the questions that I ask myself about my business, my confidence in being able to run my business. I’ve learned so, so much from you, I’ve learned so much about how to communicate my marketing and what marketing looks like for an ethical business. And then it’s not the evil bullshit that I learned in Business College – which was just horrible. I’ve learned about pricing, I’ve learned so much about finance – oh my gosh, like all the managerial accounting stuff! And categorizing things, and how to categorize those things, and why that matters. And that – that goddamn spreadsheet, which is just so amazing. I was just updating it yesterday, with some new work. It’s been such an incredible resource. [It’s helped me] look at my time and figure out what’s making money and what isn’t. And it’s just been amazing. And, gosh, I could probably go on and on and on! There’s so much that I’ve learned from you. And I don’t think that I would have – I don’t think I would be here and I don’t think I would have done this. If I hadn’t like stumbled upon your account, to be honest with you. It’s really had a big impact on me.

Kelly
That’s awesome. I mean, that’s, that’s really great for me to hear. So thank you.

Virginia
Yeah, I mean it!

Kelly
So… you mentioned Business College. So sort of shifting away from your business for just a second. I feel like things are missing in business education, especially for ethics and for Creatives, right? Yes. So besides some of the things you talked about, what do you feel like was missing from your earlier business education?

Virginia
Oh, gosh, like any kind of heart and soul was missing from it. It was very cold, it was very calculus-based. I had to take this stupid calculus class where we were doing calculations for running a million dollar company and shit. It’s like – shit I’m never going to need to know. And so much of the way that they approached marketing and how you talk about business to other people was very manipulative, predicting trends and just all the stuff that just really is icky. And it was also missing – because it was 2007 there was nothing about digital marketing. We didn’t have social media on the way that we do now. So none of that shit existed and they were showing me how to make a printed portfolio that I’d take in a binder to places to sell things. So as missing the modern context entirely. It was missing heart, it was missing ethics almost entirely? They maybe covered ethics on a large scale, but not your values? You know, nothing about that kind of shit – ever.

Kelly
It’s still like that.

Virginia
[laughs] Yeah!

Kelly
I mean, I’ve taken two business courses in the last couple of years, and they still are missing social media and email, which I think are really important. I think you can do social media and email in a way that’s also fun and not evil.

Virginia
Right?

Kelly
So that’s still missing. That’s kind of interesting, because I’m like – you know, it’s not about trends. It’s about looking at the tools. And looking at how those tools might work, or not work fro you. Like: okay Tik Tok’s really popular right now. Does that fit with me? Is that the right plaform for me? As opposed to like, “You better get on Tik Tok and do it like this!”

Virginia
Yes. Yeah. Like, how do you manipulate this system for profit?

Kelly
Exactly. If you think you’re gonna be faster and smarter than Instagram, you’re not. They’re going to –

Virginia
[laughs]

Kelly
– the minute you get it down, they will re-adjust the algorithm and have you hustling. I’m not even that smart. But even I figured that out. So you know, this last six months it’s harder to get gains on Instagram – the last six months to a year.

Virginia
Definitely. That’s kind of frustrating.

Kelly
It is. But hopefully, none of my students are working too hard on that.

Virginia
Right?

Kelly
It’s your Instagram, have fun with it. And maybe gently explore other other marketing options. And maybe Instagram will get better again, it could. Sometimes they make decisions that are better for us. They let us hide the Likes feature, which for me helps my mental health. So sometimes they make decisions that are helpful.

Virginia
Every once in a while.

Kelly
Yeah! So you mentioned your day job. And you’re one of those brave souls that left your day job. So how do you feel now versus like three months before you left?

Virginia
Oh, my gosh – l still really can’t believe it. I feel so much more confident. Pretty much up until I had been away from my day job for like a month, I would just get hit with these suckerpunches of self doubt. I would just be going about my day, and all of a sudden, it woudl be like wham, “Who the fuck do you think you are? You’re not gonna survive. You can’t do this!” And now I just – I don’t know, I wake up every day and I just know that I can do it. And I know that I am doing it. And it’s just – it’s amazing. Like the best thing ever.

Kelly
What was the moment you realized you were doing it? Not that you could do it, but you were doing it?

Virginia
I was doing it. Hm. Gosh, it was probably like a couple of months in. I had a couple happy clients. And now you know what – I went to the grocery store after a few months, maybe two, three months. And I was buying my groceries. And I realized: I sewed for this money – sewing got me this money. Whoa! And I thought about like the last couple months: whoa, all of that has been sewing money! There hasn’t been any Enrich money. I think maybe that was it.

Kelly
What was – was that where you worked?

Virginia
Yes, it was called Enrich Products, right. I was just like, Oh! I realized that’s where my money was coming from now. It was all these things related to my craft. I still can’t believe it some days. I’ll go for a walk or I’ll go down to the coffee shop, where I would normally be sitting in my terrible office, and I just want to cry because I’m so happy that I get to do that shit. You know? And it makes it all the work that you have to do worth it. For me it makes it worthwhile. Yeah, it’s just, I don’t know, – it’s the best thing ever. It’s the best thing ever.

Kelly
That’s awesome. You know, in my little trajectory… I was staying home and homeschooling and my partner salary was what we adjusted our life to. And then my children needed me a little less. So I started dabbling, and in 2017, I started actually charging money. And last night on our walk, I said, “We wouldn’t be able to put our kids in college – we wouldn’t be able to do this without my income.” At this point we rely on my income So what started as a side hustle grew, and now it is something that gives my children an opportunity that I didn’t have. That is a weird moment to realize that artpreneurship has changed your life. It’s not just funding your hobby – which is fine –

Virginia
Right?

Kelly
It’s funding your hobby, and it’s giving you an opportunity. Maybe that’s buying a new piece of equipment, or maybe that’s buying nicer fabric. Who knows. But if I would have just tried to fund my hobby on my day job back in the day I would have never had the time or energy to grow. And I wouldn’t have had the money to upgrade my materials and equipment.

Virginia
Yeah, it’s true. Like, you can’t. It’s hard to do it with a full time job. And just like you said, funding your hobby.

Kelly
Yeah. Because there’s – you have less money, but then also you’re just kind of pooped out. I mean, day jobs take your best hours. They take your best hours of life!

Virginia
Yes! Oh god they suck the life out of you!

Kelly
Even a good day job! It’s still eight to ten of your best hours that you don’t get to do your own thing, right?

Virginia
Yes. And you’re just trapped there. It’s just like – oh, I don’t know, I don’t know how I did it for so long.

Kelly
Well, so you mentioned managerial finance. And I always feel I think in the course, I think we talk hard finance about five out of the eleven classes, maybe six. We look at a document – we actually look at a Profit and Loss or something like that. And I always feel nervous that people are gonna feel intimidated and pull back and say, “I don’t want to learn about that.” So I try to tie those documents into reality and to why they’re powerful.

You were saying you liked the managerial finance part of the course. And the spreadsheet? You still use that spreadsheet, right?

Virginia
Yeah. Oh, it’s amazing.

Kelly
I have to credit Ron from the SBDC – I did not build that spreadsheet. But – this is sort of not about the course – but what would you say to someone who’s an artist or craftsperson, and she doesn’t want to look at those numbers? So – she knows she has expenses, she knows she really does need to make some kind of profit, but she doesn’t want to rigorously start making a plan. What would you say to that person?

Virginia
Oh, I mean, I would tell them that I know it’s scary. But it’s really important to do so that you are using your time wisely. And you’re charging enough to fund your life and live on the work that you’re producing. If you don’t do it, you’re going to be kind of lost. And then that work also informs what you should be focusing on. When you look at the numbers, and if something is profitable or not I think it really helps inform what you should focus on.

Kelly
Right on. Yeah, I agree.

Virginia
I’d say I have this amazing spreadsheet where – [laughs]

Kelly
You know, actually, your spreadsheet was so cool Virginia, because the first run you actually put your whole life into it. All of your income, including your partner’s work and your household expenses, which was such great. I remember looking at it thinking that that that to start putting all of it together probably gave you a huge boost. Like: oh, this can happen!

Virginia
Yeah. Yeah, it was a huge relief. Like oh, we’re not gonna die. We’re gonna be okay.

Kelly
Awesome.

Virginia
You know around that time we weren’t really sure it and my husband was like, “I don’t know – are we gonna make it? Are we gonna be okay? and then I put all that shit in there. And I was like: here. Yes, yes. And I was like – okay.

Kelly
That’s awesome.

Virginia
[laughs]

Kelly
Yesterday, Annmarie led that little marketing planning workshop on the server. So a few of us did a year’s worth of marketing calendar. We focused on three months’ worth. She’s, she’s got great organization. She had us pick a revenue target for October, November, and December. So we picked the revenue target. So I went and ran my report and I just increased from last year – I just picked last year’s revenue and I [increased a bit]. So I put those targets in and then while she was talking, I went and ran my report for this month. I was like, Oh, what money has come in? And no money had come in yet!

Virginia
[laughs]

Kelly
And I was just kind of laughing because – it’s like you make this plan. You’re like “I’m gonna make All this money!” and it’s day four, and nothing’s come in. And that’s fine. But I got twenty-eight more days, and tomorrow I’ll have twenty-seven more days. Right? Which is kind of funny.

Virginia
[laughs]

Kelly
And then by the end of the night, my Buy Me A Coffee revenue came in that night. So now there’s a little money. But I will say that being an entrepreneur, you’re now responsible for all your revenue. And I do think that can feel scary – I have years of experience of making money now, but I still am like, “If I don’t hustle, I won’t make money!” It just – I can’t let it go.

Virginia
Yeah, I agree. I agree. I’m taking a day off today. And it’s really hard to not work on something. But I I need to. It’s hard!

Kelly
It feels like the taxi cab meter. It’s like: I can take today off. ButI’m not making money. But I chose this life so that I could have a little flexibility with my time. Right?

Virginia
Right. Yeah, that’s part of it. Part of it is resting. Yes!

Kelly
When, when my partner and I started dating in 1998. Was that before you were born? I don’t know.

Virginia
No, thankfully, I’m an eighties baby.

Kelly
So we started dating in the summer, and he got a job. And instead of earning the five dollars an hour, which was the minimum wage in 1998 in Washington – this job paid him ten dollars an hour. And so then he just worked halftime. [laughs]

Virginia
[laughs]

Kelly
He was like, “This is great!” And every day after my job, he’d pick me up and take me swimming. He just took a easier life instead of doubling his income. And I just – that’s probably one of the things that endeared him to me because I’m like, there’s more to life than constantly doubling your income or constantly thinking only about your income. Right?

Virginia
Right! Yeah, there’s a lot more to it. Yeah, awesome.

Kelly
Well I guess my only my only final question – I have two more questions. What is something that you were surprised to learn – something you weren’t expecting that you got?

Virginia
I wasn’t expecting quite so much math. But I think that was good. Trying to think of something else… Oh! I wasn’t expecting the one on ones with my fellow students, which were really cool. And I liked that we were forced to talk for an hour, you know, and find things to talk about. I wasn’t expecting to get one-on-ones with you throughout the course, which was like – What! Okay, that’s awesome. So those things I weren’t expecting. And they really added to the experience of the class. And it wasn’t like – the homework wasn’t terrible. Also. [laughs] That’s manageable.

Kelly
Good. Well, good for staying on top of it. Because I can always tell when people aren’t doing it. I’m like, You’re not going to have fun the last two weeks –

Virginia
[laughs]

Kelly
– backfilling all of that business plan. Okay, so my last question is, what do you think could be improved or changed? or added? Is there anything you would suggest to change the course?

Kelly
Oh, oh, I was thinking something – maybe a few minutes on what people should be writing in emails. Because I think that was a really valuable thing I got from one of our one-on-ones that I think might help some of the people who are nervous about doing it. Other than that, I think there were times I was just a little I was confused on what parts of my business plan I was supposed to be filling out that week. But that was really it. And some of that could totally have been on me, you know, like, because I’ve kind of been misreading things lately in my brain. So to be fair, that could be me.

Kelly
That’s a great idea. I was kind of thinking about color-codiing the business plan.

Virginia
Oh I love color-coding!

Kelly
So if we’re talking about contingency plans, the color code woudl say Hey, we covered that on the third session. You know what I mean? Because we don’t march through the business plan in a linear fashion, top to bottom, right?

Virginia
Right. Yeah!

Kelly
So you said so what was the first thing you said? Because that was actually really good.

Virginia
Email content.

Kelly
So: email content. Okay. Awesome. [writing notes] What to actually write and how often – stuff like that, right?

Virginia
Yeah.

Kelly
Awesome. Okay, well, thank you so much. I’m gonna stop recording and just – we have I don’t know, eleven more minutes, but I want to thank you for doing this wrap-up. I know, the course is a lot of work and I didn’t want to bother people for another half hour. But it helps me a lot. First of all to get a testimonial like this, but secondly, to say like, “Okay, what would you change?” And I’m ready in my process to start hearing that stuff and start improving the course as much as I can.

Virginia
That’s great! You know – it shows your dedication. And I want to thank you for the opportunity to take the course. You offered me a scholarship, and, you know, I couldn’t have done it without that. And that was just so generous and amazing. And I’m still just like – Wow, I can’t believe that. That happened. I really, really appreciate it.

Kelly
Well, thank you. You were an absolute honor and delight to work with!

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If you like what I have to share, and you’re willing to invest time in your dream – I’d love to work with you formally!

You can read more about my course here (or – get my emails).

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