I can't believe that the first quarter of the year is already over! Today I am going to take a step back and see how I am getting on with the goals I set in January for 2021. If you'd like to see the YouTube video that goes with this blog post, you can find it on my channel here.
Costs Below 50%
Do you suffer with shiny object syndrome? When you see the newest crafty gadget or equipment, do you dream about owning it and fantasise about how it will take your business offerings to the next level? I definitely do.
Sadly, this has meant that my business costs creep up year on year and it makes a big dent in my yearly profits. Re-investment is definitely a good thing, but only if it is going to improve your business enough to offset the investment. This year I set a goal of keeping my costs below 50% - This is no mean feat when other business costs like professional fees and postage seem to increase several times a year.
My trusty Epson 1500w has been struggling for the last few years, but since I started selling more of my printed cards, it's become an absolute pain to print with. The quality is excellent, but the feed wheel has to be cleaned with alcohol every few runs and the cardstock has to be jammed in to get it to print.
After a lot of research, I decided to opt for a new Canon ip8750 A3 printer. It was £230 and came highly recommended, so this has made a bit of a dent in my goals to keep costs under 50%
A larger part of keeping my costs below 50% is ensuring that I am paid a fair hourly rate. To give you a brief glimpse into my working day, only 40% is spent filling orders, the other 60% is on admin, marketing, new product development and all the other bits that go alongside owning a creative business.
I haven't made minimum wage for the last few years and I've had to top up my business wage by temping. This was partly because I have been trying to compete with other sellers pricing, and not cost everything out and set my prices based on that. This year I have raised my prices to ensure I am paid a minimum wage based on all the hours I work, not just for filling orders.
100 Followers on YouTube
I just want to say a HUGE thank you to each and everyone of you that has subscribed as I am well and truly on my way to making 100 followers on YouTube by the end of the year. It really does mean so much to me to see that number going up each week and I'm starting to see the same wonderful people liking and commenting on my videos.
Meeting Retail Launch Dates
I'm not going to lie, this one has gotten off to a shaky start. I managed to all but miss Valentines, Mother's Day and decided to skip Easter. It's tricky trying to balance everything and come out with good quality designs to meet the key retail dates.
After my initial wobbly start to the year, I've sat back and looked at why I've missed the launch dates and how I can change things up to stop it happening again. I've realised I've not given enough time for each stage and it's meant that things have been too rushed, or just not happened. I've now planned out each step for the rest of the year and I'm confident I'll be able to deliver all other key retail dates.
Next up is Father's Day and I've got some cute designs all ready to go!
Social Media Goals
At the beginning of the year I was confident that I wanted to work on my social media presence, and I began posting to every platform at least twice a day. Fast forward to mid-March and I was beginning to feel burnt out. Worse than this feeling, I realised that my reach was actually going down. This was a big turning point for me as I started to resent posting to social media.
I decided to take a step-back from daily posting and to just post when I genuinely wanted to share something, rather than posting to tick a to-do list. It's been wonderful to not have so much pressure to find content and it's made me want to start up a separate Instagram just for my illustrations.
I started the Illustrated Avocado a few weeks back and I have loved connecting with other artists and sharing my work without the pressure of it being to sell. Eventually I may turn this side into a business, but for now I'm happy just enjoying it.
So, although there have been quite a few changes to my goals, over-all I think I'm definitely on track to meet most of them! I'm excited to see what the rest of 2021 has to offer and watch how my business grows!