I love new years.
And I love making new years resolutions.
I know, I know, it is a completely arbitrary date, but really, what is so bad about a trigger to help people remember to reflect on their life and inspire change? Who cares if it is arbitrary, really? Not me!
I'm not saying that you have to have a new years resolution, or that if you don't make a change on Jan 1st, you have to wait another year. But there is something to be said for group efforts. When everyone around you is determined to better their life, it can help inspire you to do the same. It does for me.
So as 2016 wraps up, and along with it my busiest season of business to date, I've been reflecting a lot on what this year has brought me, and where I want to go with my business and my life in 2017.
Looking back at my goals for 2016, I've realized that this year was all about growth for me. I've grown in so many different ways, from expanding my knowledge, to growing my audience, to bringing in more sales than I ever have before. I added another self employed day to my week, and I grew my network of like minded creatives for support. I also grew more confident in myself and my business this year. One big milestone was my interview on the Etsy Conversations Podcast. It took me months to work up the confidence to apply, and even more gumption to actually listen to myself on the podcast (you know it's hard!) but I did, and in the end it was an extremely fulfilling venture outside my comfort zone. Another milestone in comfort was participating in the Yelp's Totally Bazaar. I was extremely intimidated by my fellow vendors (a lot of brick and mortar businesses that are much more established than me) but it ended up being one of the hightlights of my year!
Growing my business in 2016 has meant a growing workload as well, which has really affected the way I've begun thinking of 2017. I've noticed my growing jealousy towards sewers who have a wardrobe full of self made items. Jealousy is not a fun emotion to feel, but for me it's a red flag of what I'm missing in my life. And I've realized that this specific envy is occurring because instead of adding a business into the rest of my life, my business has simply taken over the time I used to take for myself (and then some). My constant focus on growth has lead me to be more and more of a workaholic these last few years. The other day I realized that it had been 3 years since I had sewn a piece of clothing for myself. THREE YEARS. This is not ok. I know that it's a trade joke that "the cobbler's children go unshod" (aka my entire closet needs alterations) but if I keep this up, I'm going to burn out.
So instead of growth, (although I do still hope to grow) my target in 2017 is going to be FOCUS. Or maybe another good word for it would be INTENTIONAL. I want to take a step back, and make sure that the business that I am building is what I WANT, and not just the path I am swept down on my way to the faster growth. This means choosing where I want my business to go in the long run, and working towards that, with more balance in my life, more me-time, and more long term strategic thinking.
My Goals for 2017 (in no particular order)
1. Continue Blogging and Emailing Once a Month. This has been working well for me in 2016!
2. Create at least 4 Clothing Sewing Patterns. Sewing patterns (and kits) is the direction I want to take my company. This means I need to really focus on creating more patterns, even though it means months of work before I can start bringing in profit from it. In the long run, these items are evergreen and can be sold forever.
3. Plan Out Patterns for each of my Sewing Level Categories. I have the categories, so now I need to fill them!
4. Sell my DIY Kits in stores. I love love love my kits! They use up discarded fabrics, and my original patterns. So obviously I need to spread the love.
5. Update all my PDF Instructions to include information about my Facebook Pattern Group. No one will know about the group if I don't go back and add it into the instructions! This is a fast goal, but a tedious one I've been putting off.
6. Work towards #FitTheFlux. This is something that has been running around in my brain for a while, and I'm hoping to get it started this year. Patterns that fit, even when your size fluctuates. If you are going to spend all that time on making your own wardrobe, you want to be able to wear it for a long time, even if your body is in flux.
7. Sell My Products in a Store in Fort Wayne, and on Mass Ave. I love being able to reach more customers and I love working with other local business owners.
8. Grow my Facebook Pattern Group. It's a community for people who use my patterns and kits, and want to get tips and share pics.
9. Super Slow Fashion Project. This is a project that I have always wanted to do, and I feel like it may help me to better appreciate my profession, and the professions surrounding me. I want to create a piece of clothing from scratch. As scratch as I can get. This means not only sewing it, but weaving the fabric. And spinning the yarn to create that fabric. And shearing the sheep to get the wool to make that yarn, and so on. I'm not entirely sure how this project would even work, or who I would need to contact to make it happen. But in a world full of super fast fashion, I want to take a time out to really appreciate what creating clothing used to look like. If anyone has any idea who could help me make this happen, I am all ears!
10. Take a Textiles Class. Textiles are my weakness! Especially because I get a lot of hand me down fabrics. I don't always know what fabric I'm working with, or how to take care of it. If I'm going to get serious about these patterns, I need to be able to recommend fabrics to people who use them, and I'd like to be able to help people take care of their finished garments. (once again, if you are going through all the effort to make it, might as well make it last!)
11. Pay Myself a Percentage of Profits Each Month. I've been struggling with how to start paying myself from the business without crippling my business if I have a slow period. I heard on a podcast that another creative business owner gets around this problem by using percentages. You take 20% (or however much) of the profit each month, and that way your business still gets profits as well. And it is a little extra incentive to make more sales to get paid more... I'm happy to say that I'm starting this method this month! :)
12. Give Myself a Raise. Any of you who have read my past blog posts know that I struggle with pricing my items. I made a big effort in 2016 to get my prices to a (mostly) fair point, while being able to pay myself (theoretically) $11 an hour. But really, as the CEO/CFO/Marketing department/Designer/Seamstress/Customer Service Rep/Blogger/Website Designer/Salesperson/Researcher/Buyer/Social Media Rep of Goheen LLC I think I deserve a raise....
13. Create a Consistant Sizing Chart. If I'm selling clothing patterns, this is a must!
14. Create a Line Sheet. I'm hoping this will streamline my wholesale/consignment pitches.
15. Use Pattern Testers. I can't catch all the mistakes myself. Plus, I've gotta have all the different sizes tested out!
16. Contact 5 Sewing Blogs. Blogs are a great way for people to learn about new patterns, and once I have some new ones, I'm hoping to connect with my fellow online sewers and spread the word.
So, 16 goals is a lot (although 4 fewer than last year. I'm getting better I swear). Some will take me a day, some will take me all year. And I need to make sure that these goals don't crowd out my personal goals for the year (like they did in 2016). It won't be easy, but after reflecting on all this I am refreshed, and I am ready to get started!
creative business owner. designer. hoosier. crafter. runner. sewer. swing dancer. outdoor enthusiast. entrepreneur. wife. material hoarder.
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Madeline Stage firstname.lastname@example.org
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