The month after the Christmas holidays is often a slow one for many businesses, and I’ve definitely found that to be the case in this one… many people in the fiber field have said the same, though some of us seem to have the magic touch to keep the sales flowing in. [go you! I hope to emulate you!]
I remembered how crappy last year was for me, and though I wasn’t sure if it was something that was a one-time thing for the studio or something more. And last year I was a little more financially balanced than I am this year [blistering honesty!] so I was definitely a little worried that I was going to fail… but I did something that’s hard for me sometimes, as Anxiety Girl…
I tried not to panic.
I tried to think of things that I could add to my Etsy shop that I have been carrying in the Studio but not online. I talked to people to try and come up with teaching opportunities. I sold off some of my personal stash and studio stash. I came up with new ideas for kits and other things to sell. I worked to get my name out there further in a variety of ways: more Facebook posts, additional inexpensive advertising, blogging more, posting more on Twitter.
I managed to exceed last year’s totals for January on Etsy by 7 orders and more than $200. It wasn’t a HUGE upswing, but it’s been enough to squeak by on this month. *hallelujah*
I’d hoped to have savings for the business by this time, but the Summer was very, very hard for me, and it didn’t allow for me to amass the cushion that I’d hoped for. A note on this: running a business without a cushion is VERY hard. Not recommended. At all. Obviously life has unexpected twists and turns, but if you can avoid it, try not to go full time without something [or someone] to support you.
When I decided to go full time with this, it wasn’t something I had a lot of time to plan for beforehand. I already had the business as a part time sort of thing, but the idea that I was going to do this as a real, full time business that all my fortunes rode on was something that got forced into happening sooner than I would have liked. Divorce will do this sort of thing! I had a pretty good idea of what my business goals and plan were, and that helped. I sat down and did a Right Brain Business Plan visual map, and that helped me keep focused. And the great thing is that everything on my visual map came true! I achieved all those goals. [though I should have put stacks of cash on it, I see in retrospect]
So, I found that walk-ins to the actual Studio were quite slow in January, but that’s fine and not surprising, as street traffic is slower in general in Hampden after the holidays. As long as I can keep money coming in online, it doesn’t matter if the shop itself is slow for a month or so. Next January, I’ll hopefully have a better cushion to count on, thanks to my learning through time and experience how to plan better and to keep growing. And I’ll remember this so that I can continue to NOT panic, because being full of panic doesn’t help. Keeping my head and coming up with new ideas is what does help.