2013 – A Review

I’m currently undertaking an online bible study on the theme of “New Beginnings” which I will be blogging about each week as I progress. As part of moving forward, I’ve realised that tod refresh my enthusiasm and take my crafting into 2014 I need to think about what went well last year and what didn’t, and look at what I learned:

Work – Life Balance

  • I’ve realised that was way off beam, that I was often slogging away all hours of the day and night but not making progress.
  • I was spending so much time planning ahead I wasn’t prioritising getting things done and was spreading myself too thin. The result was exhaustion and illness towards the end of the year, which I’m only just recovering from now.
  • So I’ve decided this year has to be different! I am going to stop trying to please everyone that I come into contact with and focus myself on offering the majority of courses from one, easily accessible centre. This will mean I can target advertising, have a known base and hopefully be able to offer a better service because I’m spending less time travelling and will find it easier to promote my classes locally.
  • I’m also going to accept that there are times when family life has to come first and if I need to take a few days out to support someone or to look after me, then by improving my time management and writing articles in advance, I can manage this.
  • I will also be setting myself hours of work – making sure I have at least 2 days where I can do what I want, take some down time, go and see an exhibition, visit the seaside and of course play with Kayden – because not having that discipline rapidly turns me into a workaholic who eventually runs herself into a flare up and I want to be a well Nanny who can enjoy time with my daughter and her baby! And learn more about my other passion, Medieval and Tudor history 🙂

Creativity

  • Creativity wise I’m also planning to focus my making and specialise in an area that really appeals to me and I feel very drawn towards, but more about that another day. It doesn’t mean I’ll refuse commissions, but it does mean I’ll be targeting my marketing to a very specific audience and be treating myself more kindly.

Bright Shiny Things

  • Some time ago I read something about being distracted by “bright shiny things”, swayed by the advice of others, even if I knew the idea would be unlikely to work etc – and of course told myself,”you don’t do that, you’re very focused”! Well as you can imagine, the long hard look my flare up caused me to take, has made me realise that I am a bit of a “bright shiny things” girl and that I can be easily lead and distracted into doing things outside the business plan and the dream.
  • To be fair that’s not always a bad thing, sometimes its opened my eyes to other places and markets and its helped me realise where I want to go…….what my vision and almost “calling” is within crafting.

Time Management

  • I also need to learn to use the online tools that will help me schedule things. I need to make work plans for the week / month that include scheduling blog posts and social media. That way marketing  online becomes less of a chore. I need to make Facebook, Twitter and Craft Juice work for me.
  • I also need to set a regular date for newsletters, so that my customers receive them on a regular basis. I can also then work on the content through the month and include information about what else is out there!

Media

  • This is my big challenge for 2014 – to find a way to get my name into the Crafting Media. At the moment I’m not sure exactly how to do this. I know I need a plan and I know I need to work on some ideas I can perhaps submit for publication. I need a list of publications I want to target and I need to understand the crafting trends of the coming year – but I need to be sufficiently disciplined to tailor them to my dream, vision, speciality. As I develop my plan and embark on the journey I’ll be blogging about it, with the aim of encouraging others and providing a space where the crafty community can share their ideas and their stories too.

Selling

1. Online Shop – I want to take my shop in a new direction, so although it will be under the “Bits and Bobs” banner, it will have a different name. I will either create my own website with a shop or move to Etsy. As part of this I need to make a commitment to joining in with the online community in order to get my work out there. I need to also be aware that I need to target my marketing to the products, which will mean lots of hardwork and research to help me find the best places to advertise

2. Local Stores –I want to target a small selection of local specialist shops so that I can make my creations more accessible. Again this is going to mean doing my research and also getting some high quality photography done, so that I can send off images to potential outlets. I can also use these images to create a postcard I can distribute in selected areas to market my wares

3. Craft fairs – I didn’t do many fairs last year and I’ve realised I miss meeting up with other crafters, chatting and sharing ideas. I want to make fairs work for me though so need to carefully consider where I sell and how often. It might be that I need to move from the generic fairs to something more specialised.

Revamping the Blog

  • I will also need to revamp and update this site to reflect the new direction and vision. I will be continuing the “Make it Your Own Series” and using that as a platform to launch online lessons later in the year. This is something I’ve been considering for some time and I’m planning to work on a way to achieve this towards the autumn and winter, as often people like to stay in and be warm and learn to make things for Christmas!
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