Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Megan Eckman, the community coordinator for CreateHype.com, a site that helps female entrepreneurs learn how to market their creative businesses. She’s also the pen-and-ink virtuoso behind Studio MME Illustrations, which is on a mission to rekindle your wonder, ignite your imagination and make you laugh more. Today Megan helps us get motivated and organized for this new year. Thanks, Megan, for such an inspiring post! — Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump . . .
Since our busiest months as creative entrepreneurs and makers come at the end of the year, it’s so easy for us to forget about planning for the new year. This oversight means you could start 2013 weeks behind and feeling completely without focus. Taking an hour or two now to plan out what will hopefully be your best year to date ensures you’ll hit the ground running when you hang your new calendar on the wall.
So what should you look at to do your planning? Well, you’ll want to round up:
- 1–2 years of income and revenue-stream spreadsheets
- 2013 calendar
- your Twitter feed (this sounds silly, but you’ll see why later)
- dates or websites for craft fairs, wholesale shows, trade shows and conferences
Now that you have what you need, let’s get started!
First, we’re going to break down the numbers because it’s always best to get the hard part done right away. Looking over your income spreadsheet, identify your best revenue streams. Do they have anything in common? How could you make them even better? For example, are your best wholesale shops all on the East Coast? Then concentrate on finding more shops in the area, as that’s obviously where your target market resides.
Then identify your three lowest revenue streams. Is it time to drop one or all of them? Are those Fridays at the farmer’s market just not worth the three hours in the sun?
What months were your best months? Did something big happen in those months? A launch, a show, a feature in a magazine? Could you incorporate more of those events into 2013? (Speaking of good months, January is the perfect time to raise your prices because it’s just before wholesale shows. Plus, your shop owners will be restocking after the holidays.)
What months were slow in terms of income and events? Those are the months to schedule product development, personal development (conferences, a spa trip or a painting class) and vacations. Yes, that’s right, plan those vacations now! Investing in yourself is just as important as investing in your business.
Looking at your overall profit will help you make a goal for 2013. Do you want to double your profit? Increase your income? Hire a daycare provider? Travel overseas? Write out those big ambitious goals and post them somewhere you can see them on a daily basis.
Numbers and math help you write half of your yearly goals, but you also need some inspirational things for which to strive. In what magazines would you like to be featured? On what niche blogs would you like to appear? What shops around the country would you love to carry your work? Is Anthropologie on your wish list? Also, with what dream clients would you swoon to work? This is where you can look through your Twitter feed and see what “big guns” you’re following. I personally also make a short list of amazing people that I’d love to sit down and have a coffee with. I do that each year, and you’d be amazed by how many of them I actually cross off that list after 12 months. It’s a great way to create opportunities for collaboration and build community into your business.
Look through the websites of all the shows and conferences you’d like to attend and put their dates, as well as their application dates, on your 2013 calendar. That way you won’t forget to apply! Plus, you will see for which ones you might run into scheduling conflicts months ahead of that panic moment when you’re trying to book airline tickets for two different cities on the same day.
By making these kinds of lists now, you not only start planning how to achieve those goals, but you will also have inspiration all year long.
So sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and spend an hour planning out your next year. I promise you’ll get excited and may even start jumping up and down in your chair. But isn’t that how you want to feel about the new year? I’d rather feel so excited I’m ready to burst than flip the calendar and feel like a deer looking into big, bright headlights.
I’m dying to know what sorts of amazing things you want to do in 2013! Leave a comment below. It will inspire you and everyone else who reads it.