Updated: August 2020
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I’m a proud founding member of the Longarm League, and I can’t wait to tell you why!
No pun intended, but I’ve wanted to be a professional longarm quilter for a lonnnnng time! Since way before this blog existed, or I was on Instagram, or I lived in Minnedosa. I can’t remember exactly when I first saw or learned of longarm machines, but as soon as I saw one (and found out what it could do), I was HOOKED.
It took years of planning, saving, moving, and renovating, but I was finally able to purchase a longarm machine in the fall of 2018. I bought a used machine and had to decide which kind of computer to attach to it. I reached out to lots of the longarm quilters I was following online to ask them about their computers. One quilter in particular caught my attention because she was using a computer system I had never heard of. I loved the quilting she was doing, and I wanted to know more about the computer that was helping her achieve these great results.
I reached out to her over Instagram direct message, and not to be overly dramatic about it, but it changed the course of my business forever.
Who am I talking about? Jess Zeigler of Threaded Quilting Studio, of course! Did you click on the link to check out her amazing work? No? You should. It’s okay; I’ll wait here while you do.
Gorgeous quilting, right?? I was so impressed with her work that I asked her lots of questions about her equipment. She told me that she used an Intelliquilter – a brand of computer I had never even heard of! I researched the heck out of it, and decided to purchase this brand of computer instead of the proprietary software for my longarm machine brand.
Her advice helped me save me over $20,000 on the purchase of my computer. That’s right: the proprietary software for my brand of longarm machine costs $20K more than the Intelliquilter. Can you even be-LIEVE that!? They do the same thing! And the Intelliquilter can actually do MORE!
Let me repeat: by simply reaching out to someone I admired on IG, I was able to learn valuable insight and save over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS at the very start of my business. That’s an extra $20K I DON’T owe to a bank. Do you know how much better I sleep at night knowing that I made this crucial money-saving decision on day one? A LOT.
Needless to say, I was grateful for the advice. She was a stranger who took the time to reply to a wannabe longarm quilter and shared her time and information, and I will forever be thankful for that first interaction.
As time went on, I followed Jess on IG and saw her business explode as she honed her longarm and photography skills. I watched her quilt beautiful, intricate designs for Brittany of Lo and Behold Stitchery, Lindsey from Pen and Paper Patterns, and Meghan from Then Came June. I paid close attention to her actions in the hopes that one day I could be as successful as her.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one wanting to learn from Jess… She had LOTS of beginner longarm quilters reaching out to her asking for advice. I’m not surprised.
Something new and exciting
In May 2019, Jess announced on IG stories that she was going to try something… She was going to start sharing some of her longarming tips with anyone who wanted to sign up for a weekly email. And it was going to be FREE! I couldn’t believe it… it was exactly what I had been hoping for. It was an opportunity to learn from one of my longarming heroes! I signed up immediately and eagerly awaited my first email.
Guys, I was blown away with the information she shared in that very first email. She was so open, honest, and vulnerable while talking about her own longarming journey. It made me respect and admire her even more, and set the tone for the rest of the emails that followed.
She was also upfront about the fact that these emails were a trial, and that if there was enough interest she would be seeking compensation for future training and education. That was fine by me: it gave me an opportunity to try out her content. If I liked it enough, I could decide whether or not to pay to continue to receive it. Spoiler alert: I clearly did opt in for her paid membership!
The summer of free emails
During the summer of 2019, Jess shared a total of 10 emails with free information. The topics ranged from quick tips to detailed step-by-step info (such as how to load a quilt) to more thought-provoking topics like how to choose a pantograph and money mindset. She also had some great recommendations for podcasts and books to check out.
Those emails were the highlight of my week. There was so much information that I was able to use right away and it felt like I was improving my skills with every new email. I wouldn’t have missed opening one of them for the world!
Are you bummed that you missed out on the opportunity to read those initial 10 emails? Fear not! They’ll be available to you if you join the League!
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled story…
I remember one week Ian and I were at the lake fishing (where there is NO cell service) when a weekly email was scheduled to be delivered. We drove the boat way down the lake so we could stop at a campground that has a coffee shop (and free WiFi) just so I could open the email. It was worth it!
By the time the free emails were over, I was HOOKED. I think at one point I even DM’d Jess to say “Can’t you just take my money already!? I want IN” ?
Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. In August of 2019, Jess launched the Longarm League – I signed up on Day 1, and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this talented team of quilters!
So what’s the deal with this Longarm League anyways?
The Longarm League is a membership site for longarm quilters who are trying to build a sustainable business by serving their clients with excellence.
It’s amazing. If you’re a longarm quilter with business aspirations, you should join. End of story.
Let me get back to telling you why I love it so much. Since officially joining the League, I’ve continued to receive weekly content that helps me grow my longarm business. I always look forward to Wednesdays, because I know I’ll have some new information to devour. Sometimes it’s a video tutorial, sometimes it’s tips about mindset, sometimes it’s about business processes. I consume it all with glee. But there are also perks outside of the lessons that I love. Let me share some of my favourites with you.
Once the first Wednesday of every month, Jess will send out a free digital pantograph file that she designed herself. I love Jess’ style and aesthetic, so it’s not surprising that I’ve enjoyed this League bonus. My favourite of the bunch is Wishbone, and I find myself fighting the urge to put it on every single quilt out there. I’ve also used Diamond Loops, Donut Connection, and Hot Cross Buns on this particularly memorable Nova Star quilt. Swoon!
Isn’t it great that all of those pantographs were included as part of my membership? I love seeing which one will be next!
Are you sad that you missed out on all the pantographs that have been offered to League members in the past? Don’t fret! New Longarm League members can purchase the entire bundle of pantos at a DEEP discount!
The Slack channel
Have you ever used Slack? This is a private group where League members communicate with each other. It’s like texting all your longarming besties at once. People use it for all kinds of things: to ask for advice about choosing a pantograph for a particular quilt, for announcing exciting steps in their business (bought a machine! first client quilt!), for troubleshooting problems with a machine, to join an upcoming quilt along partnership, and lots of other things. It’s amazing to have access to the collective knowledge of this group of people, and to get responses IMMEDIATELY.
For me personally, it’s also really rewarding when I’m able to share info or help someone out on Slack. So many warm fuzzies.
Jess has also created “channels” (sub-groups) inside of Slack based on the type of computer people are using, particular interests (hand guided quilting, designing pantos), location, and there’s even a channel set up just for new members!
As part of the League, members can schedule a one-on-one call with Jess, who will give you specific advice based on your needs. You’d better believe I jumped at the chance to take Jess up on this offer!
Before our coaching call, I sent Jess a list of questions that I had about my business. They were all specific to my situation, and I was blown away when Jess and I chatted over a Zoom call in January 2020. She answered all my questions and had so much good advice for me!
Here’s a quick excerpt from our coaching call where Jess is talking about the importance of collaborations at that point in my business.
The call was over 30 minutes in length, and contained lots of tangible steps to follow. And you know what? Jess was right. I did the things she recommended regarding collaborations, and my business has seen some great progress since then.
I have also really enjoyed watching other peoples‘ coaching calls. These are released once per month, and it is SO FUN to be a fly on the wall of these conversations. For instance: in one coaching call, Jess and the League member were discussing pricing strategies (how much should she charge for her services? Should she increase her prices? If so, when? How do you make these decisions?) At the time, it wasn’t particularly relevant to me, but it was still really interesting to observe. And guess what? Now I’m in the position of raising my prices, and I would never have thought to do so without watching that coaching call.
If you want to see the whole video (and lots of other ones), or better yet book your OWN with Jess, you can join the Longarm League!
Community and connections
Jess was also right about going to QuiltCon 2020 in Austin, TX. I had so much fun, and have had several opportunities arise as a result of attending.
One of the opportunities was meeting the ladies of the Quilt Buzz podcast. We met at a social event, and they asked to interview me for their show! If you want to hear the episode, you can listen to it here!
These are my people: other longarm quilters, just like me! We’re all trying to improve our businesses and lean on each other for support. If you’re looking for “your people”, the Longarm League might be for you!
Are you familiar with the concept of affiliate marketing? It’s when someone is compensated for recommending products and services to others (if they make a purchase). When the League first started, there was no affiliate program in place. But as time went on, Jess introduced this new opportunity and I quickly jumped on board. I love the League and won’t stop talking about it, so it was a natural fit for me! Now if I promote the League and someone ends up joining with my link, I get compensated!
Want to know a secret? I don’t pay to be a member of the League anymore. I actually get *paid* to be a member. Whaaa!? My affiliate revenue is higher than my membership fees, which means that I actually earn money to be part of this amazing group of quilters and have access to all this information. Isn’t that mind blowing?
This is not at all what I was expecting when I joined the League, but it has turned out to be a really nice perk! Truth be told, I would still talk up this group even if there was no affiliate program. I think it’s so valuable to longarm business owners!
Being a part of the Longarm League has been the best part of my business journey. The judgment-free support and targeted advice I have received have really pushed my business forward. I love it so much.
If you have any questions about the League, I’d love you to put them in the comment box below. For real, I LOVE talking about this!
How do I join?
Aren’t you dying to be part of this awesome team? I have great news for you! The membership is now open year-round! If you’re an experienced longarmer and would like to join our community, the Longarm League is for you!
If you’re new to business and are looking for some tangible, actionable advice and guidance, you might be interested in the new course Rookie Season.
Not sure which option might be right for you? No worries! You can click the link below and take their questionnaire!
Just click on this link to find out more or sign up today!
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post.
Nice Article Shelly! Oh, I could be a tad biased as I’m already in the Longarm League! ~Lauren Tekstil Crave Quilting
Thanks Lauren! Longarm League forever! ?
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