Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Review - Discovering What Is and Isn't Working for Your Business

This is the time of year for reflecting and dreaming, I'm just as susceptible to the collective reboot we all get to enjoy in January.



So here is what worked and didn't work for me in 2015 - I hope it helps you on your journey.

What Didn't Work for Me: 

- Not taking enough time for myself and managing stress

After suffering several stress induced illnesses over the years, you'd think I'd learn this lesson already. I have to manage stress and take more time for myself. I plan to spend more time at our local pool, exploring creative side projects that aren't biz related like painting, and taking days off. Also getting enough sleep is still a struggle for me, but I know I'm much more creative and happy when I'm well rested.

- Not being careful with my hands

Until you mess up your hands from working them to death - you just don't know how much trouble you can cause. Learn some massage and stretching techniques for your hands and take breaks often. Also if you haven't upgraded to ergonomic tools, put that on your New Year's to-do list. Your hands will thank you. 

- Over-scheduling and not allowing myself enough time between big events

I didn't give myself enough time while running off to events all over the country and caused myself some serious stress and all nighters trying to catch up on my regular day-to-day duties. 

- A messy studio

I know, we all have messy studios. Well, maybe there a few organized angels that have it all marked and put away. I struggle with this and after finishing two books this year and big events all year my studio is a series of piled up boxes and that needs to be tackled. I don't know how to do this, I've tried several methods over the years and it never sticks. Maybe this will be the year I grow up and learn to pick up after myself. 

- Not planning for enough events for the fall/Christmas selling season

Every fall I'm kicking myself for not planning out my fall better with events for selling jewelry. I have a schedule already set of deadlines for 2016 show applications.

- Reactionary scheduling/working

Most of my time this year was trying to catch up after events or rushing to finish work for deadlines. I  didn't have a schedule that felt reasonable or offered time for me to work on proactive projects instead of just whirling around trying to stay afloat. Mini-monthly goals, weekly goals and using my 6 Most Important Things daily task list will help with that for 2016. 


What Did Work

- Traveling and taking chances

As tough as it was during this transition year, traveling and teaching is one of my all time favorite things. Saying yes to new opportunities and stretching to work on new projects helped me grow as a person and helped my business grow. 

- Tackling big projects

I didn't shy away from big projects this year. In fact when a publisher came to me with a 52 project beadmaking book two weeks after I finished my second book, I said bring it on. There is no limit to our creativity. I did more, went bigger and loved the results. But now with a little more wisdom I know to over-estimate how long projects will take and set some boundaries as to how much work I can do in a year. Taking on bigger projects means letting go of smaller projects and setting priorities so that you can stay sane!  

- Connecting more directly with my customers

I created a Facebook group to have a space to chat with my customers, offer them specials and events. It's been the best thing I did this year. I love connecting more, making beady friends, being inspired by their feedback and projects. It feeds my soul. 

- Sending emails on a regular basis 

Can't stress this enough as the best thing I do for my business. I offer my email list free projects, tips and inspiration to make sure they enjoy getting my emails. It's by far the best sales tool I have in my bag of tricks. 

- Following my muse and going off on creative tangents
I didn't spend enough time this year making new beads, mainly for the big shows and during the holidays. But when I did, oh it was a little slice of heaven. I need to make time to have more fun in the studio, experimenting instead of only production work.

- Teaching more
Whether it was in person or online teaching helped increase my income. I love being with people, traveling and sharing my skills. I plan to teach more in 2016.

- Connecting and networking more 
Life stuck in the studio is no fun. Doing shows and events brought new opportunities and helped my business grow over the year. It's all about people, not sales. So the more you meet, connect and offer to the world, the more success you'll see head your way.

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So that was my 2015, the good and the bad. The lessons and the triumphs will help me form my plan for 2016. Take some time this week to go over your year and make a list of what did and didn't work for you - what can you glean and take into 2016?

I wish you a year filled with beads, creativity and community! 

2 comments:

KJ said...

Thanks Heather. I really appreciate that your share your insights.

Katherine Thompson said...

Wow! Your brain must be on fire!!!