I tend to get this feeling of change every January, almost like viewing a new slate in front of me... do I continue down the same path, or do I use this time of reflection to try and draw a new path? So thinking about compass words, is in essence something I feel quiet a connection with just now.
1. Sara's Texture Crafts beginner spindle kit, 2. Handdyed BFL in colour DayDream, 3. Merino twice blend - STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, 4. HANDSPUN_Autumn_Lace
2011, has been a year I've not been looking forward to in business... VAT went up, as did many overseas product prices and of course the economy is not really close enough to the start of a recovery. Some would say we are still to hit the peak of this recession and so I came to write about my pricing crisis and 2011 plan earlier this month. I was surprised at the positive response my blog post received (I guess I shouldn't have been totally surprised, but my second compass word will give you a clue to my way of thinking here) and this settled my nerves a bit, allowing me to grow into my new 'Refocused' plan... this is my first compass word.
I guess what comes with refocus is finding 'Confidence'... something I can lack from time to time. I really should consider what I miss by a lack of confidence. I should chase that publicity lead, or have the faith to carry out my vision of a new path. So often I've carried on selling lines that don't really work, because when I come to discontinue them I get a sudden flurry of orders... then a three month lull! That feeling of 'but what if' holds me back and takes away from the time I could be taking on a new line... it's the confidence that I've fully thought it through to a conclusion that might work, that seems to fail me. I'm also never fully confident in customer opinion... I guess faceless on-line selling vs. overrated importance of compulsory feedback and ratings from selling forums such as eBay, have always left me sitting here praying that every customer likes this or that about my products (and by extension me). It's not that feedback isn't important, it's just that you are so busy looking out for anyone that might not be 100% happy that I think you too easily forget that actually, there are people out there who come back time and again. It's these customers who give me confidence and I guess sometimes I miss that by accident... which brings me to my third compass word.
2009 and 2010 saw business grow dramatically for me... for which I am truly thankful and so when I wrote growing pains in the January of 2010, where I was caught in a point of limbo, I found I was in need of 'Balance'. I think that in 2011, I need balance in a slightly less urgent manner... now that we have found a spot to stay in, somewhere where stock stays out of sight after hours, I'm not troubled by the same sense of panic I was beginning to feel last year. I am however, not quiet at that 'zen' point... do we ever find it? (Or are we never truly sated?!) I'd like more balance between working hard and playing hard... I'm not averse to the work don't get me wrong and I enjoy it, but maybe there's a point to which all work and no play makes Sara an unbalanced girl? Maybe if I spend more time walking on the chosen path more over the pretty, little detours I so easily find myself on I will find this elusive balance? I'm hoping 'Focus' and 'Confidence' will help me here! I'm also hoping that they will help me pay attention when a customer pats me on the back and when I get such a wonderful response to my concerned, rambling blog posts... there's always work to be done, but maybe I can have a balanced working life, where occasionally I allow myself to 'bask in the sun of praise'?
So to recap, my three compass words for 2011 are;
- REFOCUS - I need to re-evaluate, re-source and revamp existing products... play to my strengths and recognise new pathways, as well as being brave enough to walk away from what doesn't work. I've already started with my Sale and New supplier hunt.
- CONFIDENCE - To push myself and be strong in my conviction. Also to have faith that sales could continue to go ok (Not to be confused with complaicance), because I have a following of dedicated and wonderful customers... they already do so much to help and so I'm hoping refocus will help me put these lovely people first!
- BALANCE - work vs. personal life... tricky! However, it could be achievable if I stick to the organised goal list and have the confidence in what I have achieved so far. I don't think working for yourself is ever a 9-5 job, but it could feel more for filled (not that I want to sound ungrateful here, you understand!)... maybe more productive is the balance I'm looking for??
What will your compass words for 2011 be?
This post was part of a blog Merry go Around, where I have got together with some friends to talk about a similar subject on the same day... a nice way to meet people!
Laura at Blue Terracotta - http://blueterracotta.com/
Monika at Red2White - http://red2white.wordpress.com/
Ruth at Birdland Creations - http://insidetheartisan.blogspot.com/
Kim at Vilt a la Kim - http://viltalakim.com/blog/
Sara at Crafts of Texture - http://sarastexturecrafts.blogspot.com/
Fabienne at Easterya Jewellery Creations - http://easterya.blogspot.com/
Mariana at Florcita - http://florcita.eu/wordpress/
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent - http://lebarduvent.blogspot.com/
Lily at Lily Pang Art and Design - http://lilypangart.blogspot.com/
Mitsy at ArtMind - http://artmind-etcetera.blogspot.com/