Now I Ain't Sayin' She A Goal Digger...
Now call me late to the party, which I usually am simply because I didn’t want to come in the first place, but I do love to share my goals for my business with anyone who will listen. Now please don’t be mistaken for thinking that these are my New Year’s Resolutions because they are not. On principle I don’t really believe in them, much like portion control or the phrase ‘I think you’ve had enough’.
I think that New Year’s Resolutions tend to leave you feeling under pressure to perform and just plain disappointed when you find yourself knee deep in chocolate wrappers on January 2nd. I’ve tried them all- get fitter, lose weight, grow my nails, save more money and so many others in between. Yet I always feel as though I could have done better or that I have failed and I know this is a feeling shared by most of the population.
So about four years ago I made a change. I stopped setting myself unrealistic, life changing resolutions to change myself for the better and instead accepted the mess that I am, that can’t resist reaching for another biscuit out of the tin or who has a stitch after walking up a flight of stairs. I decided that I was going to see the New Year as a way to achieve things I actually wanted to do, rather than what I felt like I should. I made realistic goals such as saving a set amount of money by the end of the year, without feeling as though I couldn’t dip into that money when my car inevitably failed it’s MOT for the third time in a row or the washing machine decided to blow up.
My goals for my business last year were to expand my following on social media, make better use of my Etsy shop, reach a set number of sales online and attend a craft fair. I smashed all of these and felt an immense sense of pride when I exceeded my own expectations. I attended not one but two craft fairs, was invited to teach embroidery to beginners, was contacted by Mollie Makes to feature in their magazine and was published in RocknRoll Bride, to name but a few. Sure there were ups and downs along the way but I did it and to me, that is what counts. I don’t think about the negatives, in fact I don’t honestly remember them. What I remember are all the amazing things that happened last year and the ones that made me feel confident that I could make this little business of mine something to be proud of.
So, what does 2018 hold for me? Well I have certainly set myself some goals but nothing that isn’t out of reach and some which I am sure I can beat.
Reach 5,000 followers on Instagram. Reach 550 likes on Facebook. Reach 250 sales in my Etsy shop. Reach 80 reviews in my Etsy shop. Use my Etsy shop for 90% of my sales this year. Create a website to showcase my work. Collaborate more with other small businesses. Find time for the other hobbies that make me, me!
Now that last one might sound odd but hear me out. I spend all my spare time sewing. When I am not working, sleeping or eating I am probably sewing. Which is great because I love it and if it was just a hobby I’d say that was fine. Slightly obsessive, but fine. However as a small business owner it is not fine. It is not okay to spend every waking moment, sewing. Not only does it mean that I am more committed to making my customers happy than myself but it also means that I feel guilty almost all of the time. If I am sewing I feel guilty that I am not keeping my house tidy, or fussing over my dogs (or partner) more, or baking yummy treats, or keeping my garden looking cheery. If I’m not sewing I feel guilty that, by sitting down for the evening to watch a film or reading a book or god forbid actually leaving the house, I am not using that time wisely to complete an order. Now to the sane mind, that seems completely mad, but to a committed small business owner this probably rings all too true.
I think I fell into this pit of constant anxiety and guilt by total accident. I started sewing purely as a hobby and never a way to make money. I never saw it as a business and as soon as I started getting busier and busier, I let it get on top of me and feel as though I could only commit to enjoying that. I still see it as a hobby and actually I have to remind myself that it is not and that one day I’d like to be my own boss, to work from home on this business of mine and make it something more. I cannot do that if I am going to commit every moment to it. I wouldn’t do that with my day job. I wouldn’t stay there until the early hours of the morning. I wouldn’t wake up at night and scribble down a fantastic idea that I just had to share. I wouldn’t work weekends and answer messages all hours of the day. So why should I feel as though I have to do this at home?
So I have made a commitment that this year I will be a little bit kinder to myself and remind myself that it is okay to take some time out to bake a cake, to spend an afternoon faffing to make the house look nice or even to have a much needed lie in. It’s okay. It’s okay not to answer a customer’s message instantly during dinner. It’s okay not to check your notifications every five minutes, just in case. It’s okay.
I have a feeling that this will be my most challenging goal yet. Bring it on!