Crunching Numbers, Data, and Desires
January is a funny time for me in my fibery biz. The first part is all about reviewing the year that just passed, and looking over what worked and didn’t – and what I can learn from those facts. I have a routine where I write out ALL the numbers available to me and compare them to the year before. This helps give me a snapshot of the previous year and helps me get ready for taxes, too.
Some of the places I glean numbers from include:
- sales, in person and from online. I break that out into subcategories of venues/payment sources
- hits to my website, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube
- expenses, broken into categories
- teaching gigs/payments
- email list subscribers
I have a list template I follow every year and I compare each list to the years before to see trends. I make notes about things like best sellers – for example, at last year’s Homespun Yarn Party I sold out completely of my Mix ‘n’ Match Battlets. That’s a good indicator that I should do that at future events! I also track sales from events and amount of students yearly for each topic I teach. In 2019, I taught these classes: Intro to Spindle Spinning, Intro to Wheel Spinning, Rigid Heddle Weaving, Small Tapestry Weaving. I had plans to teach how to weave larger tapestries, but I got sick and that killed my classes off for the last quarter of the year. So I also noted that I only taught for Jan – August, which puts my numbers in perspective. In fact, I sold almost nothing in the last quarter because of my continued illness, so that info was important to have to understand my numbers fully.
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Crunching numbers like this shows me more than profits, losses, and top sellers. It also helps me steer the ship, as it were, making plans for the future that are more likely to succeed because they’re based in facts and statistics. Why sign up again for certain shows if I know the sales will be low? If I see that a certain class or product isn’t making money, I can retire it for a while. But I can also use those stats to help me chart new paths.
One example from last year is that I’d observed that classes make me more money for time spent, and I enjoy teaching a lot – so it made sense to widen my availability and offerings as a teacher. And over 2019, I did bring in more money as a teacher, and I really had fun doing it. I branched out my class offerings a little, and that also helped. This year, I’m adding teaching small business classes for makers, and that’s another stream of income that promises to be fulfilling.
Write Out Your Goals
I am a creature of habit and repetition, because that brings results. And one habit I do every single year is to write out a big list of goals for the year. In some cases, the goals are crazy big, because if you’re going to dream, do it BIG. In other cases, the goals are reasonably easy to achieve, so I get a sense of completion and success. Want to see some of mine?
- Bring in $60,000 through sales, teaching, speaking, and paid writing for publications/blogs
- Go to NYC and Iceland with Christoper
- Get a new car
- Teach a workshop on aligning vision and values
- Speak at a coaching conference
- Get 20 regular supporters in my Patreon
- Teach advanced artistic spinning techniques at Rhinebeck
- Record a video every week
- Sell 100 of Your Magickal Life Planner [this is the planner I use personally, too]
- Heal my gut, finally
As you can see, there’s a mix of business, pleasure, and health in there. That’s because they’re all intertwined for me – my health affects my work, my work pays for leisure time and important needs. It’s all connected. Sharing these goals helps solidify them in my mind; it’s a visualization technique that works really well for me, because talking about them not only makes them more real, it gives them a chance to get out there into the world where they might be seen by folks who might need to connect up with me to make these things happen.
So what’s your goals for 2020? Think BIG! Write ’em all down in a journal or your business notebook and don’t be afraid to tell them to people. You can even share them here if you want!
What about the fibery part, Xiane?
But of course, mes amies. Bien sûr!
I have been working hard on spinning yarn and carding fiber for upcoming shows in March and May. I know May seems so far away, but really, it sneaks up on me so fast! So I work planning for the show coming in two months, with plans to extend that into the coming months after. I use a monthly calendar in my planner to map out my weekly production goals, and that way I have all week to make those goals. It works pretty well for me.
This week I have been working on a pretty green/teal/black yarn that will be a two-ply, and after that I’ll spin some silk up. The yarn below is another yarn I was working on recently.
Down in the Fiber Dungeon, I’ve been carding up battlets for the aforementioned Mix ‘n’ Match Battlets. They all go into a big basket and customers can pick out their favorite combos to take home and spin. I price these by the ounce and weigh them out at the show, which sounds fussy but works really well. They all have the same basic fiber content so they’ll mix perfectly in a yarn together.
I’ve also been braiding up some bleached flax sliver and I’ll be packing up bags with a lot of other interesting fibers for spinning and other fiber arts. I have SO MUCH STUFF in my studio that needs to get out of my hands and into yours.
So my next question for you: what else would you like to see me carry? I’ll have things both at shows and online, so let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll see what I can do!
Thanks for reading and please do share your plans for 2020 in the comments below!