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The Martha Stewart Guide to Entrepreneurship and Making a Comeback

“As an entrepreneur, you will find great joy and satisfaction in making your customers’ lives easier, more meaningful, and more beautiful.” –Martha Stewart

If you are at all a crafty person, or if you want to be, then there is one name you should know: Martha Stewart. When it comes to all things unique, inspiring, and crafty, hers is the name that rules them all. I grew up watching her show, all the time marveling in the things she would create. She was the one to truly inspire the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement!

Teacup pincushions made from sweaters

One of Martha's many impressive crafts: teacup pincushions made from sweaters!

By now, some of you are probably thinking: “isn’t that stuff for the birds?” Nope. Whether you’re male or female, Martha’s how-tos can be used from baking to home improvement! The enterprise that she’s built has rarely been matched, and few business men have matched the national success she has created. All businesses can learn a thing or two from what this clever gal has to say, because she’s always thinking about the topics that provide value to her fans.

For instance, even though this businesswoman was painted in a negative light for a while, her comeback can really teach you a thing or two about becoming a success.

Her business empire, which shares her name, was involved in publishing, TV, retail merchandising and direct selling. Even when she was imprisoned for sketchy stock trading, people thought she would break down and never recover, but instead she made a name for herself even in prison. She was dubbed by her inmates as “M. Diddy” and was also the informal liaison between the administration and her fellow inmates. How often do you hear about things like that?

The Martha Stewart Show

The Martha Stewart Show may head to web-only.

Despite her still-enormous fan base and comeback, I was very surprised to hear that her show may be switched to a web-only base. To me, Ms. Stewart has never ceased to surprise in business and she always seems to make the most out of where she is (which is amazing, being that her show is just that — she really stands by what she does). She is still a very lucrative figurehead when it comes to name recognition and success. After all, the entire internet is starting to outweigh television and cable these days. Many people now opt for internet subscriptions as opposed to paying for cable.

Personally, I’m excited to see her move because then I would get to actually watch her show (I’m one of those previously-mentioned people who doesn’t do cable). I believe that she will absolutely make a comeback and make even more of a name for herself online. Viewers are already spending more time on sites like Hulu or Netflix, and many television networks are offering streaming content now to keep up with the demand. After all, Martha has such a wide variety of products and services — from weddings to pet furniture — so there’s no reason why she couldn’t excel online if she had enough advertisers on her side. Also, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Hallmark (the channel that canceled her show) became a sponsor of the web series within a year of its launch!

Martha Stewart

Martha's full of advice!

It’s clear that Martha is no slouch when it comes to really knowing what is best for a successful endeavor:

“My advice to you as an entrepreneur? Take off your shoes and step into your customers’ shoes for a while. Take a walk down their street and ask yourself: ‘Is there a use for my idea in her life?’” –Martha Stewart

Key takeaways from Martha Stewart’s successes and failures over the years:

  • Always provide value to your audience. The two quotes I mention in this blog alone demonstrate Martha’s passion for giving customers what they want and need. Most of her products and services excelled because there was a demand for them that wasn’t being filled already. Are you doing everything you can to become a valuable resource for your audience?
  • Roll with the changes. Even though the Hallmark Channel decided to axe her show, that didn’t stop her from finding another potential outlet via a web series. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket (unless it’s a fabulous Martha Stewart creation, of course); instead, have a backup plan in case you’re forced to change it at the last minute.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, so start learning from them. We can all agree that Martha’s stock trading debacle was a huge no-no! Lying is never the answer. However, she served her time, admitted to her mistakes, and then started thinking about her next move. Don’t let a few mistakes get you down — let them steer you away from future issues.

What do you think? Do you think that Martha will survive going to web-only viewings? Do think that this is a decision Hallmark will regret? With a little research, I think you might surprise yourself as far as your opinion about dear Martha.

Image credit to david_shankboneButtontree LaneArt Comments, and Diy Gifts Studio.


Serenity Morris

Serenity is on the support staff for Quality Logo Products. Cynical and straight to the point, this no-nonsense gal is loveable and passionate about her various nerdy interests. When she is not geeking out about music, British television, and politics she is usually doodling her troubles away! Her artistic abilities are often commissioned for internal and external QLP promotional materials. You can also connect with Serenity on Google+.

Comments

  1. Jeff Porretto

    I’m just going to put it out there. Martha Stewart…. badass. With street cred no less! Whatever she does, she just OWNS it. She’s a great role model for a lot of people (minus the going to jail thing of course).

    Thanks for all the awesome info Sam! I’m not exactly “in the loop” on the Martha Stewart 411. Fun stuff to find out!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Yeah, she is awesome — any one who was dubbed M.Diddy and was the informal liaison between all communications in prison, that is awesome!
      I feel people shouldn’t generalize about her, people are often very surprised when they take the time to actually learn a little about her.

    • Candice J.

      I totally agree with Jeff. I saw a picture of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog with a caption that stated “Only one of them is a Convicted Felon”. To think of the amazing things she can do, has done, and still yet to do and to be honest jail time only made her more credible and expanded her audience base. I just think Martha is so Badass. I wish she was my neighbor.

      • Cybernetic SAM

        I know, right! It almost seems made up, the story of Martha in the clink! What I said earlier about what she went to jail for, and the crimes (corporate crimes) committed that go unpunished (wall street, banks etc…), Martha’s committed crime is tiny by comparison and I do not believe reflects who she truly is. If you really read up on what she did, honestly it is not as bad as the media made it out to be. The court systems wanted to make an “example” out of her so the punished her to the full extent, and I think that it was a little excessive.

  2. Joseph Giorgi

    I’m sure that “M. Diddy” will have no trouble making a successful transition from cable TV to the web. Her devotees will no doubt follow her wherever she goes, and I can certainly see why they would. Apart from the whole insider trading debacle, she’s pretty much as good a role model as they come.

    Great post, Sam!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thanks! I think everyone should become a fan of her! She is crazy smart and successful. As far as her controversy, as far as gauge for her as a person I don’t think her personal crime takes away from it at all.

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    Martha Stewart made some mistakes, that’s true, but she is definitely the comeback queen. I’m honestly surprised that the Hallmark Channel wanted to kick her show off their station. What else do they have to show? More made-for-TV movies?

    But that aside, good for her to take her distribution into her own hands. I imagine that plenty of viewers will follow her to the web. If she can bounce back from being in jail, I imagine that she can bounce back from anything.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      That’s right! I have complete faith in her ability to create miracles out of nothing. After all not many people can do the things she does!

  4. Amy Swanson

    I’m one of those people that still considers Martha to be “THE” entertaining goddess. Anytime I have a question or need an idea, she’s the one I would go to, if I actually did any entertaining. My mom has a subscription to her magazine, ‘Martha Stewart Living’ and occasionally she’ll buy Martha’s wedding magazine too (reading it is one of my guilty pleasures- haha). I totally see Martha making a comeback in web-only viewings and Hallmark is stupid for dropping her.

    Great stuff, Sam!

    Ps. I cannot believe she’s 70!! I pray I look as classy and stylish as she does when I’m her age, good Lord!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      I totally agree with all of that — yes, she is my go-to, from tying fancy ribbons to making sensational centerpieces and dishes. She is most definitely the creative queen! I was totally serious about Hallmark regretting the day they lose her show, but I think it will actually be good for her, not to mention if OPRAH endorses and loves you, you’re golden and you cannot possibly fail that easily. As far as her looking as good as she does, I feel like I have already aged worse than she! It’s ridiculous!

  5. Jen

    I love Martha Stewart!!!! She is just so darn crafty. Nice post Sam. =]

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thanks Jen! I love her too! I know I don’t seem like the type, but I adore her creative genius, I tried not to give in but in the end Martha always wins!

  6. Alex Brodsky

    I’ll be 100% honest, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a full episode of Martha Stewart’s show. The most exposure I’ve had to her was Anna Gasteyer portraying her on SNL.

    With that in mind, I may be totally off base with this, but I’m not so sure she will thrive on the interwebs. She has a loyal fan base, true, and a good number will undoubtedly follow her. But this does cut out a big demographic for her.

    Most of us on this blog are products of the Internet Generation, but this generation does not make up the majority of her fans. The move to online might ostracize the older generation of viewers who don’t/can’t bring their MacBooks into the kitchen to cook alongside her.

    I wish her the best, and I’ll admit I was wrong if she powers through.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      I am going to say on the contrary, Alex; she actually has a very large young demographic fan base. The average age of her viewers is in the 40′s, BUT because trendy weddings are a huge part of today’s business world (and because Martha is not one to cut corners when it comes to shining light on hot topics — even veganism) that has blossomed into an even bigger following. There has even been a boost in magazine subscriptions. I can’t say for sure if she will, in fact, thrive, but as the former generation and the current continue to become more technologically savvy, I’d say it is going to be a toss-up. Regardless, her empire will not crumble no matter what — she has waded through higher waters and come out the other side just fine.

    • Rachel

      I think I’m with Alex here — I wonder how much of her audience will NOT follow her to the web since much of her demographic is probably not very web-savvy. I do hope the best for her, though! I’ve never been much of a Martha Stewart fan — not out of dislike, I’ve just never really watched her show or followed her career — but she definitely knows what she’s doing, business-wise and crafting-wise. :) Thanks for the info, Sam!

  7. Jaimie Smith

    Jeff is right, Martha Stewart is a badass! lol If only I could one day be as successful as she is. I have looked through a couple of her magazines from time to time and it is always so interesting and I always feel like I gain something every time I do read from it.
    Great post, Sam!!

    • Cybernetic SAM

      Thanks Jaimie! I know exactly what you mean! Every time I listen or see one of the magazines I am always amazed at how clever and creative she is! Not only is she successful but incredibly inspiring as well!

  8. Eric

    Smartest comment she made was in regard to the necessity of knowing your customers and their way of living. If you can relate to them, understand them, and provide them with something they want and/or need? You’ll instantly be at the start of a successful business.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      I could not agree more! I think she would not be where she is today if she had not listened to her own words of wisdom. You don’t build an empire, have crazy success and decades of name recognition without knowing what you are doing.

  9. Jill Tooley

    I also love Martha — always have, always will. Martha Stewart Weddings was a lifesaver for wedding planning…I got tons of creative ideas from the magazines!

    I was honestly shocked when that whole jail story broke. Never would have thought she’d go to the slammer! But as you said, she was in the wrong but the charge could have happened to anyone. It’s not like she murdered someone! (But if she did, you know she’d find a way to make it look pretty — haha, kidding).

    Great post, I learned a lot about Martha! If I look half as good as her when I’m 70, then I’d say it’s going to be a kick-ass life. ;)

    • Cybernetic SAM

      I am not in any way trying to make excuses for what she did, but really there are worse things that people have done. I just want to see what her cell looked like, I bet it was prettier than my house, she made lemonade with those lemons she was given, she is the real life Macgyver. You give her a q-tip and some newspaper and she will redecorate your world! GO MARTHA!

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