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When the paperwork and tax returns are out of the way my next step is always to take a little time off to daydream about the second half of the year and turn those dreams into a plan.
I used to wing it, working day by day, when I had more time and fewer commitments. Now I know that taking this time to set goals is the secret to a productive and successful second half of the year. I can realise larger goals by working on them long term. I have a plan to fall back on when I feel like no one is buying or engaging. I know where to focus my time and I can review my progress.
Now is the time I devote a weekend to sketching ideas and playing with gemstones. Often I’ll stay up late, once the whole house is asleep, lay out my notebook, diary and coloured pens and scribble out ideas. I’ll journal about the successes and failures over the past six months. I’ll write about the way my business is feeling and the direction I want it to travel. I’ll chat with my business brain trust, scroll back through my Instagram feed. Then I’ll schedule time to sit down and write down my goals from now until Christmas. I’ll break them down, step by step, month by month and create a timeline and marketing calendar. Refreshed, re-inspired and with my direction confirmed, I will dive into the second half of the year.
So, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and join me in this process of reviewing, planning and setting goals. Be honest and ambitious as you put pen to paper!
1. What felt good about the year so far?
Look over your sales receipts, scroll back through your Instagram feed, and pull out your magazine clippings – what have been your favourite parts of the year so far? Write a list as long as you can. For me it might include a certain jewellery collection I’ve created, working with a wonderful client, a goal achieved, a new stockist, my most financially successful month, a thank you note.
2. What didn’t sit well?
We have to take the good with the bad, but we can choose to learn from it and be more prepared in future. Negative client relationships, deadlines not reached, bad investments, broken tools, and unfair feedback – write it all down.
3. What investments did you make that paid off?
It’s all about how you used your time and money. Perhaps you engaged a graphic designer to create a new logo, launched a new product, invested your time in a new course, or bought new tools that expanded your capabilities. Make a list of the ways you used your resources that gave the greatest reward.
4. Where did you most enjoy spending your time in your business?
Where are you in your element? What do you love and want to do more of? Is it the designing aspect, chatting with clients, sourcing materials, posting to IG, getting into the zone when you work with your hands, pushing your creative abilities? Keep coming back to add to this list over a few days. When you feel stuck it will bring comfort and inspiration.
5. What did you enjoy the least?
I am not a not a fan of paperwork. I love knowing where my business is at, how each month compares, whether I am hitting my goals and where I could cut down my expenses. But the actual act of entering everything into my accounting program leaves me cold. There are also times in my business that I knew I should have said no, and as I am doing the work I am not enjoying it. These are certainly the two things that I enjoy the least. What are yours? Problem solve ways to outsource, learn to say no or minimise these unpleasant tasks.
6. If time and money were no obstacle, what's your biggest goal?
Think big! Do you want a hundred stockists? Do you want a six-figure income? Do you want to hire staff? Write it down!
Right now in my life, I am content with the level of work my business is bringing in. I love the flexibility of working from home while homeschooling my three children. In the future, I know it will look very different and I will once again be able to devote more time to my business. I still have big dreams that I am working towards!
7. What do I want?
We all probably want more sales, more money, more email subscribers, which is great! But what else do you want? More time with family? More travel? To exhibit your work? To collaborate with someone you admire? See your work in a magazine?
8. How will I get it?
Choose two or three of the ‘wants’ above and brainstorm ways to achieve them. If you want more money, you want to travel and you want to exhibit, start investigating ways you can work towards all of these goals simultaneously. Perhaps you could get a grant to exhibit your work overseas? If you want more sales, more email subscribers and to collaborate, perhaps you could reach out and start that collaboration process which will result in exposing your work to their audience and creating a buzz around a new product for sale. Write down the steps you will need to take to make it happen.
9. Where could I be by Christmas?
Look back over the answers above and think about what you can reasonably achieve in the next six months. Go further and start a list of projects for the New Year. Imagine yourself posting off your last parcel, or closing your laptop for the last time before Christmas. What would give you a feeling of joy and satisfaction as you looked back over the previous six months?
10. What will each month look like?
Grab your calendar, create a-to do list and make a marketing calendar! I personally love doing this. I am a list maker and ticking things off my list gives me more drive to continue. Even if you aren’t the type that likes to do lists I urge you to start plotting out your goals on your calendar. Write in your time off, your cut off dates for Christmas orders, special occasions. Then, schedule in product launches, VIP nights, sales, free postage events, etc. Batch days for creating marketing images, making stock, working on custom orders. Or pick a theme to focus or each month eg. August – social media, September – New Collection Launch, October – Christmas Photoshoot, November – newsletters, December - sales. Your calendar will quickly fill up and you will have a plan in place for your most successful Christmas yet!
Christina Lowry is a designer and jeweller who creates fine jewellery for creatives. Her work is featured in several Australian galleries, as well as in her online store. Christina fell in love with jewellery making while studying a Bachelor of Fine Art/Visual Art. Each piece is lovingly made by hand in her Brisbane workshop, incorporating precious metals and gemstones and using traditional metalworking techniques. To see more of her work, visit her website, Facebook page, and follow her on Instagram (@christinalowrydesigns).