It's that time again. Time to start dreaming about new things and making plans. These started as my mid-year goals, but something happened and now it's mid-September and practically fall. How did that happen?
It's no secret that I love lists. I always feel more organized and focused when I spit everything out on a sheet of paper. Lately I've felt a bit like a tornado -- spinning out of control and all over the place. And if I'm going to be honest, a little destructive. To myself. (Skip to the last paragraph to catch my drift.) I think anyone who owns their own business feels this way from time to time, especially if it's a one-man band. It's just little ol' me over here, and it's probably going to be just me for quite a while. And that's fine. I can do it. I mean, it's not work when you're having fun, right?
But back to these mid-year, end of year goals of mine. I have a lot of exciting things happening around here, and I'm ready to get the ball rolling with them. So, without further ado...
First and foremost, I have to finish my website. Natasha, who I met at Blogshop last year, has been such an amazing developer (and friend!) as we build a site for all of my NMP goodies. She's been real patient with me, since I've been moving at a snail's pace with this project. It just takes a lot of work getting to the place where you can say something like this is "finished." I have so many more products I want to add and photos I want to style. Oh, speaking of styling, who wants to come over and teach me a thing or two about styling my products with fun objects and colors and fabrics? Everything I put together looks like a big mess to me. I am so not good at this. I need help.
Maybe there's a workshop for that...
...which brings me to my next goal -- perhaps the most important one: Sign up for more workshops, conferences, business lunches, events, etc. I personally feel like I can't sign up for enough of these. The price tags get a little in the way of signing up for everything, but don't let the money keep you away from all of them. Save your pennies and get yourself out there -- you'll never be sorry about it. Not only will you learn so much from instructors or conference speakers, but the other creatives you'll meet at these events will serve as resources -- and most importantly -- be friends to you moving forward, which is invaluable. I can't tell you how much I've gained over the past year from putting myself out there. I struggle with insecurities and a little bit of social anxiety at these kinds of events (truth), but afterwards I always pat myself on the back for getting over my fears and going because the experience is always worth it in the end. So, if you do one thing in the next year, go to a creative summit of some kind. Bring a friend if you're like me and sweat at the idea of networking a crowded room full of beautiful, creative people by yourself. Either way, just go. I promise you won't regret it.
Update the wholesale catalog. This is a post within itself. Once I've finished my catalog, I want to share my experience about this on the blog. It's a work in progress, but I'm hoping it will be updated and ready to share in the next month or so.
Create more. Lately I've been so busy with work for others that I haven't had time to make much for the shop -- or myself! I've wanted to put my new calligraphy skills to work for awhile, and the holidays are quickly approaching -- I have so many ideas knocking around in this head of mine. Oh, and rubber stamps! I'm in the midst of creating these, so they'll be coming to craft shows/the shop soon. Really excited about these!
Write more about freelance life. I have a lot of post ideas for my new freelance feature on the blog, like how to market yourself, what to charge for your goods, web resources, etc. Like I've said before, I appreciate others' posts about these topics so much -- the Web is all about community and sharing what we know. Is there anything in particular that you guys want to chat about?
Look into StationeryHQ. Have any of you used this site before? This is a paper resource that my friend Mattie of Puddleduck Paper recommended to me at the Not Wedding. I haven't had a chance to look into it just yet, but I think it's going to be major for me moving forward.
Prepare for 2 big holiday craft shows. This year I've signed up to be a vendor in the Watkinsville Fall Festival and the Indie South Fair. Both shows are local and big, and I'm super excited about them. I'm going to make a few things every day leading up to the shows so I'm not scrambling at the last minute. And I've been sketching a new booth design -- it's going to be a little bigger. I'll have two 6-foot tables now, and a check-out desk, too. I can't wait to see everything set up together! Craft shows are fun because you get to sell your goodies, but also really great because you usually meet other creatives -- establishing those relationships that you're not going to get anywhere else. Win-win.
And the last two bullets...Learn to say no a little more. The other night when I was in a frenzy fulfilling client orders, working on custom projects and preparing for the Not Wedding, I gave myself a time-out and told myself to breathe. After taking a step back, I couldn't deny that I'd taken on too much. I struggle with this so often. I strongly believe in coming from a place of "yes," but sometimes, even when it hurts to turn down a little extra money, you just have to say no. Your work -- and your psyche -- will suffer if you overwhelm yourself. So, I've straightened out my priorities: networking > wholesale > custom work. Networking: always. Unless the price tag is out of budget, I'm always going to go to any work-related events, conferences, workshops, etc. Like I said, they're invaluable experiences. Plus, opportunities may not present themselves again, so take advantage while they're available! Wholesale orders: yes. Most of the time, if you set a reasonable turnaround time up front, clients aren't going to get mad 'atcha. Custom work: yes; but not when deadlines aren't manageable. This is where I have to be careful. I tend to take on projects when the turnaround times aren't as long as I need. And the end result isn't always something that I'm happy with. So, even though I've told myself this before (so many times before) -- I have to scale back on the custom projects and learn to say no...just a little more. Do any of you struggle with this, too?
I hope I can stick to all of these, especially that last one. When in doubt, always make a list! I feel so much better after writing everything down -- writing everything on paper always gives the ideas swirling in my head momentum. I have a new, clear focus today...and I'm inspired to start checking items off the list, one by one. What's your method to your madness? How do you balance custom projects + life to make sure nothing spirals out of control? I'd love to hear what you guys have to say...
Have a great Tuesday!