I’ve always been big on planning and goal setting because I like making improvements and assessing my progress. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to set goals or initiatives to shoot for in order to grow. I’ve always been fascinated with studying numbers and charts even though I was never good at math! Since, we’re getting close to 3rd quarter 2020, I began looking at my own business health and identified some areas to focus on. To address them, I decided to set 5 main goals to aim for and I’m really excited to share them with you today.
MASS PRODUCING CARDS
I posted about this on my Facebook page, but in a nutshell… I took a long, hard look at the Shop and one thing which is high on my list is offering my cards, at least most of them, in larger quantities or in different color variations. One drawback in making handmade items is the difficulty of mass producing. There are instances where this can’t be helped which means that sometimes we get supplies that are “one-offs” (there’s only 1 of that item and no more) or the item is no longer available. In those cases, obviously I can’t replicate that card.
But, for most of my cards I can offer different colors or variations and I’ll be spending a lot of time this 3rd quarter mass producing. Also, since these cards are already listed in the Etsy Shop, going in and adding more quantities or variations won’t cost me extra monies.
Another one of my 3rd quarter goal is, determining if I can accept custom orders. I haven’t done this before because I work a full time job so it just wasn’t possible. However, because of the pandemic, my hours on my day job had to be decreased so that will give me more time. I’ll just need to figure out how to do custom orders that won’t be complicated or take more time away from designing for the Shop. Whatever I decide to do, I’ll be sure to post on Facebook so be sure you’re following my Page!
Some of my readers may not always need a card from the Shop but still want to support me and my small business. I realize that through this pandemic, many small businesses are really suffering and I’m right there too. I had to think of other ways that would make it more realistic to ask for support and one of those ways is through affiliate links. If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you’ll notice I mention this a lot.
If you aren’t familiar with affiliate links, essentially what it is, is companies that I shop with offer me the opportunity to promote them (their products) to my readers/customers. They provide me links to their stores, product discounts, sales, etc., that I then put into my blog on pages or posts. If you click any of those links and purchase items, I will receive a commission. This doesn’t cost you any additional monies. It’s a great way to offer support because; (1) you’re shopping for something you want; and (2) your purchase is going to a good cause which is helping my small business to stay open.
On my blog, I created a section, “Recommended Shops” where you can click and see several pages: (Crafty Links, New Arrivals, Crafty Classes and Arts & Crafts Supplies) with these links that you can purchase items from. The brands I listed in this section along with any sales/discounts are personally hand picked. The reason that I recommend them is because since I do business with them and use their products to make my cards, I feel confident recommending them to you.
BUILDING A CUSTOMER BASE
It’s really important in business to have a customer list and keep a database so that I can periodically study what items that were purchased are popular and what’s not. Customers and even other crafters change the trends in the industry. It’s important to me that I’m making cards that are needed, otherwise I’ll have inventory that I can’t move. As much as I love to create, I keep my customers’ needs at the forefront of my mind. So, I’ll be working at increasing my customer base in a few ways:
- Running paid ads. Etsy offers this service and each month I get a few free credits, however that isn’t much so building an advertising budget is on my list. Running a paid ad vs. free ads get more traffic because those paid ads are seen more and get higher priority on Etsy’s search engines as well as on Google and social media.
- Private Sales for Preferred Customers (PCs). This program is essential to helping me build a larger community because my PCs get perks like: seeing new cards first before the public in private sales and enjoying free shipping on all orders. To learn more about this, click here.
- Newsletter. This is another thing I’m thinking about. The challenge I have is how often to do one and what content to share. What I might do is create and send a questionnaire to my PCs to see if there’s any interest since I already post on the blog and social media.
- More postings. This basically means writing and publishing more blog posts and not all about cardmaking but also business and possibly talking more about my life’s journey. My blog will always be 90% about my cardmaking but I think readers would also like to know more about me and/or how I run my business. And, because I really like offering business consulting (primarily home-based businesses), I want to write more articles about this topic.
IMPROVING MY DESIGNS
My last goal which I have already started is mastering some of the techniques I often use when designing cards. In paper crafting, and particularly cardmaking, there are literally hundreds of techniques to try. Also, there’s a bunch of art mediums that translate over easily from painting to crafting. For example, I use watercolor A LOT (paints, brush markers, powders, etc.) Recently, I learned and fell in love with loose watercoloring and I’ve also used it. Also, I’ve used watercolor for a distress resist technique or primarily as a background.
I also LOVE alcohol ink coloring and again there’s different methods of it like coloring with Copics or other alcohol markers like Axiaya or Studio 71. Then there’s the Ranger Alcohol inks and Pearls that come in bottles and they make excellent backgrounds.
Check these card categories, “Friendship“, “Encouragement” and “Thank you” to find them in the Shop!
I just love how creative we can get with our cardmaking and so I really want to be a better artist and I’ll talk more about creating my own Art School in a future post, so look out for that. Essentially, I watch a LOT of YT video tutorials, take notes and then I practice. Some of the time, I can turn my practice cards into actual cards for the Shop and sometimes not. But, I’m always learning and that’s the goal…to learn from mistakes and master the technique so that I can whip up a card in no time and feel really good about the outcome.
So that’s it! I didn’t want to come up with more than 5 goals because I believe in planning things that are reachable, meaning goals that can be achieved. One last goal I just thought about is control my workload better so I don’t burn out! It’s probably more important than the others I mentioned 🙂
Tell me what you think of my 3rd quarter goals! Do you think they’re too lofty? Do you think I can do it? Got any tips to share? Leave me a comment below!
Thanks for reading!