Hey y'all! While technically the shop is still closed, I just couldn't help but popping in to say hello and telling you I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I know I have had the absolute best couple of weeks just soaking up my family and taking some time to relax. The life of a small business owner can get pretty stressful so it has been nice to take a step back and focus on the past year as well as what's to come.
I don't know about y'all but I am absolutely blown away by the fact that there are only two days left of 2013. As I'm sure you can relate, it seems each year moves by faster and faster. 2013 was a big year for me and my little labor of love. I launched the official Stephanie Creekmur Shop back in July and hired not one, but two employees to travel this journey with me. Two of our products were featured in the Southern Living Holiday Gift Guide (we're still pinching ourselves over here!) and we launched lots of new SC goodies in the shop. Those highlights, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg when talking about how good this year has been to us but today I want to focus on how I am planning for a bright 2014! I have a really good feeling about this year and I can't wait to dive right in. Below are just a few points that I'm taking a look at and hopefully they will help you jump-start your own 2014 planning!
"CLEAN HOUSE" | This is a two parter. First, clean house. Seriously. Clear the clutter in your living space and get rid of/donate all the things you don't use. I'm not sure why we hang on to things but you'll be surprised how great you feel when you let it all go. Next, clear your online life. Throughout the course of a year, you pick up lots of new "inspirations". Go through your social media and blog feeds and clear out what isn't serving you best. Don't follow people who bring you down or make you second guess your own abilities. This includes even those brands that you admire. If they make you feel less worthy, get rid of 'em. Comparison is the thief of joy, my friends. Follow people who inspire and lift you up. We spend so much time online we should be careful who we let influence our lives.
WHAT WORKED IN 2013? | Make a list of things that worked in 2013. Celebrate your successes and figure out how to do it again. Rinse and repeat. For me, I think I did a great job utilizing social media to my best advantage. I love my little (and growing every day) Instagram community and I'm learning how to better engage with my audience. Secondly, if you have followed for awhile you know one of my goals was to be ready if Martha called. While it's been (and I'm sure will continue to be) a struggle, I have made great progress. When an international publication contacted me, baby I was ready and the payoff has been so worth the preparation! And probably the thing that has worked best for me, is embracing my own style and implementing handwritten elements into my work. I have created one-of-a-kind pieces that can never truly be duplicated because I've used my hand lettering. It's been so rewarding to have customers respond to something so well that really makes my soul sing!
WHAT DIDN'T WORK IN 2013? | Looking at what others are doing or what others have. This is a huge no no and it gets me every time. I have had an amazing year. I went full time at the end of May and have seen my business quadruple in size. I was published in one of my dream magazines and had sales that made last year's sales look like pennies. And yet, there were dark moments when I let the success of others overshadow what I was doing. We are all on very different paths. My business is basically a baby and I can't compare it to another business because I'm on a different journey. I need to define what success means to me and not worry about what every one else is doing. Another thing that isn't working for me is offering custom design. I don't list it as a service but I get lots of emails asking for it and sometimes I say yes. I'm not sure why I say yes because it's a struggle every time and not something I'm passionate about. In 2014 I'm saying no to custom work so I can say yes to other projects that fire me up.
SET GOALS | I'm a big believer in naming your dreams and ambitions and being specific. If there is something you want, put it out there in the universe and make it happen. YOU are in control of your life and you can't wait around for someone else to make your dreams come true. For me, I'm hoping to be more organized with my business files and finances. I'm a creative so all that really important serious stuff that comes with running a business is my downfall. I'm hoping to fix that in 2014 so my business can continue to grow rather than hitting a plateau.
REFINE | Don't be afraid to take a look at your goals and edit or nix them. You are (hopefully) constantly changing and evolving so your game plan should too. This does not mean be a flake and change your mind every 5 minutes but it does mean not being too hard on yourself and letting your goals grow with you. I am taking a look at all of the products we currently offer and hope to offer in our shop. I'm going to be clearing out the items that aren't selling as well and that we as a company aren't as passionate about to make room for new products.
What is one thing you'll be doing in 2014 to improve or start your business?