A new year is a great time to evaluate current practices and adjust for the upcoming year as needed.
Sometimes as creative entrepreneurs, we do a lot but need to get something done. The distractions pile up. New project ideas quickly become overwhelming. We have days when we plan out how to tackle all of these new ideas, and then life hits, and we take a ride on the shame spiral for not getting it done.
A creative business can keep you trapped in the bubble of working IN your business, but rarely is the time taken to work ON your business. Take 1 hour to find three things you will start doing and three things you will stop doing in 2023. I have some recommendations outlined for you below.
THINGS TO START DOING IN 2023:
Find your enough point
When you started your business, you made concessions to gain the trust of prospective customers. This may have looked like free items, discounts, and taking on last-minute orders. Unfortunately, there is a high chance you took on orders that didn't excite you and loathed doing. You worked long hours to craft fun sales, even if they didn't result in much profit, because you were craving your audience's approval.
You set a monthly goal. Then, you met your monthly goal 10 days early and made another goal which kept moving the finish line further away. For example, you may have sacrificed family dinner because you needed to finish birthday tees by tomorrow from a request you got while at work.
You have passed up going out on the boat while vacationing because you needed to stay on WiFi to ensure you could engage with your audience during a Tee Party. In addition, you wanted to try to sell more tees at this party than you ever had before, and you can't miss this.
Everyone has been in the startup mode of business. Sacrifices needed to be made to get legitimacy, but at what point are you no longer a startup? Hustle should come in sprints, not marathons.
Why are you in business? Is it to pay your household bills? Have you figured up what that amount is? Can you take the rest of the month off once you have enough points instead of pushing yourself beyond exhaustion each month?
#1 Start by defining your enough point before stepping into your office daily.
Know your numbers
If you want to make strategic decisions and tweaks throughout the year, it starts with having situational awareness of your business net worth, cash in and out. Then, instead of waiting until tax time to run your numbers, by reviewing your business standing weekly, you will be able to make more informed decisions to throttle up or take some time off because you have met your enough point for the month.
Creative entrepreneurs are perfect students for tracking their sales total for the month, but we know better than that. Our sales total is not our take-home pay. So what is the point of working hard to convert those sales if you are stocking up on screen prints, poly mailers, or digital tools?
If you keep up with your expense log like you do your profit log, you will be more mindful of not spending all your profits right away. #askmehowIknow This single mindset shift changed everything for me. What if I didn't need to make more money... I just needed to be a better steward of the profit I did have.
#2 Start recording all weekly expenses and sales once a week to figure up your monthly profit margin, average order value, and conversion rate to make SMART goals related to what to work on in your business.
Boundaries & Moral Compass
This may sound like something you read in a Seventeen magazine in your earlier years, but you owe it to yourself and those around you to set boundaries within your business. What you allow is what will continue. So the New Year is a perfect time to publish those policy changes you have yet to announce finally. Then, finally, there is freedom within your boundary walls!
As you get some time under your business belt, you will start to find things you stand for and other things you have zero tolerance for. As you make these discoveries, your moral compass is calibrating. What I love about finding your moral compass is you no longer have to fret over certain tough decisions. If you are clear on what you will and will not allow, it makes it less muddy to make a decision or address situations that aren't kosher. You don't have to sweat favoritism because the rules are the rules. Once you make concessions in one situation, don't be surprised when more expect the same treatment.
#3 Start writing out business boundaries and zero-tolerance items for your business, such as not answering messages after 8 pm, not accepting late orders without a rush fee, or not allowing bullying or discrimination on your social media channels.
THINGS TO STOP DOING IN 2023:
Obsessing over vanity metrics
I said it once, and I'll repeat it, "vanity metrics don't pay my bills." For example, if your post includes a call to action (which I recommend all of your posts include one), they could have clicked your link to visit your site without engaging with the post.
One vanity metric I was guilty of watching when I was a graphic tee retailer was my group member count. Back in the day, we all encouraged group members to mass invite friends to our group, thinking that would help us grow our business. Instead, we were frustrated soon after trying to figure out why our engagement could have been higher. It took only a short time before we did group cleanouts with people who did not fit our ideal customer or had never ordered or engaged. They were most likely a casualty of being mass-added. To prevent this from happening, I recommend only growing your group with those you know are your ideal customer.
And hey, if someone leaves your group, that's okay! They are making room for those who want to be there to increase the likelihood of seeing your posts.
#1 Stop checking your group numbers daily to see if you lost anyone else. Evaluate month end only.
Stop waiting until the next "if only"
Stop saying, "If only I can just (insert benchmark), then I will start (insert action)." There isn't a perfect time to post; there isn't a perfect caption; there isn't a perfect mock-up or a perfect Reel. So go with it and start TODAY! This one is personal to me at this time.
In 2022, I struggled with internal mental health hurdles. Finally, in December 2022, I got a name for my struggle in the OCD family. It led me to not be comfortable in my skin or want to continue doing reels. As a result, my photo log for all of 2022 is nearly absent of any pictures of myself. Instead, I rewatched all of my reels on my IG, which made me really happy to watch. I realized then that it was fun and enjoyed doing them. Unfortunately, I robbed myself of that feeling for at least six months because I got inside my head.
#2 Stop waiting for that next weight or that new ring light; start today. I made my first reel in months to get back out there <3
Algorithm slot machine
The Algorithm is the equivalent of a casino slot machine. It is powered by computers that collect hoards of data and analyzes it to create an intelligent output. There is no way to game the system. Facebook has yet to release what its Algorithm uses to calculate what is shown and what isn't. So spinning your wheels trying to analyze the best time to post over just getting your content posted is splitting hairs.
Instead, focus on listening to your members and watching how they respond. What are they struggling with? Where can you celebrate with them? Then, create an action plan based on your customers first, not the Algorithm.
Take care of your customers, and your customers will take care of the Algorithm.
#3 Stop trying to defeat the Algorithm. Instead, accept it for what it is and focus on things inside your control.