Another double month round up! I am not really clear on how July and August are now over but they are. Starting next week all of my kids will be back in school and I am really looking forward to creating more of the content that I have been planning all year for my blog.
If June was foggy, July was a blur, and August was a quantum leap.
After writing and journaling pretty religiously the first quarter or so of the year, I had a hard time keeping up with the habit once my NSS prep kicked in back in April. I’ve written about that here. I took a few notes in July but didn’t really capture all the things that went down, and August was basically void of all writing.
For me, summers are always a tough time to get work done in general since I have 3 kids and all of our schedules are constantly changing. I find that when my kids are on a routine it is easier for me to maintain one of my own. When things are constantly changing for them I can’t keep things consistent for myself and my work schedule. It’s an all or nothing kind of thing.
Typically my summer business goals are chill. Since diving into the wholesale scene in 2014, I really haven’t focused that much on work through the summer months. Between dealing with pregnancy morning sickness (2014), a new baby (2015), and the kids being out of school everything is usually pretty hectic.
This year, I thought that if I participated in a bunch of in-person events, instead of having things go with the flow, I would be forced to make a ton of progress towards my goals. I did in some ways:
But all of the go go go, also resulted in burnout.
Burnout is no joke. I am going to write a little more in depth about my experience with it this year. But I am going to say that self care is really important. Giving yourself permission to take a break with some things in order to focus on others is OK. It’s one of the reasons that I haven’t been writing for my blog. It takes at least 3 hours for me to put together one blog post. I just haven't had the bandwidth for that without killing myself–so I gave myself permission to take a little break.
When you are starting your business it’s hard to know how to plan for the things to keep you moving towards your goals. I don’t think that changes as your business grows.
Right now it seems to me that there are a million resources out there now promising you loads of success and money if you just follow their formulas. Not only courses about skills and knowledge but tons of courses about how to put out courses. Buying and watching these resources can be tempting, it can feel like you're doing work when in reality you may actually be stalling yourself and procrastiworking. I know I have fallen for them myself and watched countless webinars. But in reality these are usually distractions.
Don’t get me wrong there is a ton of awesome information out there. But every business is different and trying to apply exactly what worked for someone else to your situation is more often than not going to result in disappointment. Here is some unsolicited advice: DO YOUR WORK.
If your business is going to grow and evolve just like you, then the things you do to grow your business are always going to be new and different. When you do things you yourself haven’t done before they always take longer than you think they will.
Some of the processes you make will remain the same but if your business is going to be agile and shift with the ever changing marketplace then relying on what worked for other people in the past is probably not going to be the road map to YOUR success in the future. Especially when you rely on resources that are aimed at a different business model than you have (ahem: service based business resources trying to fit on top of a product based business model 🙋).
This year’s of focus on wholesale has been pretty intense. Maybe one of the reasons for that is that I keep dabbling back into the retail space, taking on custom work, and new to me–holding one on one design and printing workshops. (I wrote about diversification about half way down in my last Check In post here.)
Because of my split focus most of this year, moving forward I have decided to not apply to any winter shows. Part of me think that may be a mistake (revenue wise) but honestly if I am going to keep my focus on growing wholesale for next year I need to really focus on that and not line up events at the end of the year to distract me from my main goal.
I have decided that my business focus needs to be just that–focused. If I am looking to build the wholesale arm of my business then this should be the only thing I focus on right now.
The opportunity to focus on the retail space is never going to disappear. It is something that I can focus on in the future. But for now being scattered all over the place isn’t doing me–or my customers–any favors.
150 Holiday Postcards
55 emails announcing new Holiday Cards and The Seattle Gift Show to national stores
9 event announcement emails targeted for locals for The Seattle Gift Show
55 Sample packets given out at Seattle Gift Show
23 follow up emails to people met at the seattle gift show
1 submission to Paper Source
40 new newsletter subscribers
4 email newsletters to my list
Printed a Custom Designed Baby Shower Invite
Printed a friend's Wedding Design
Recorded a Podcast Episode for Proof to Product
1 Big Craft Fair (Renegade Craft Fair)
1 Wholesale event (The Seattle Gift Show)
12 New Holiday designs Released
2 New Wholesale BFFs
As mentioned above, I have zero events planned for the rest of the year. I am going to be focusing on streamlining a lot of my processes and procedures–mainly my inventory practices–and see how holiday wholesale orders go.
Honestly, I have never had a big holiday season for my company so I don’t really know what to expect. I am trying to stay top of mind with my retailer prospects, but with my kids home from school these last couple weeks of summer, my follow up from the Seattle Gift Show and my main store list has not been ideal.
I am going to continue to carve out time to build my list of stores and start working on my next release which is going to be about 90% birthday specific and 10% Valentine's Day.
I am also going to do a marketing strategy plan for 2018 and set some new goals for myself that I can start laying the groundwork for now. This way I can hit the ground running in January.
Lastly, I am going to get back to this blog and build my buffer back up so that I can publish consistently week over week.
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