Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Goals

(image: Modish Biz Tips)

My goals this month are going to be simpler and less ambitious than my April goals were. I am finally going to heed all the signs that I can't always rush feet first into everything, no matter how badly I may want to do so. Also, I have more personal obligations this month, so I'll have less than time than usual to focus on business things. So, without further ado, my May goals are:

  1. Build a light tent/portable studio. If I do only one thing this month, it needs to be this. I absolutely can not continue relying on nice weather to get great product photos. Especially in Minnesota!

  2. Sit down with an accountant/tax advisor and talk about best practices. Solicit advice about accounting software.

  3. Make 6 pieces of inventory; 3 for the Etsy shop, and 3 to start a stockpile of readily available inventory. Once I feel comfortable with my on-hand inventory, I can begin approaching shops and galleries (per my April goal) about carrying my stuff.

That's it. Three simple goals for May. Plus one ghost goal: I'm still trying to get my hands on my episode of HGTV's  That's Clever! So please, dear readers, if any of you happen to have a copy of the April 20 episode (#502), let me know! :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

April Goal Status

Ennui plant

Happy May, everyone! Can you believe April is already over? I sure can't! So, last month was the inaugural Monthly Goal Meetup hosted by Jena from Modish and Modish Biz Tips. But before I reveal my May goals, let's see how I did with April, shall we? My goals for April were:

  1. Research galleries and shops that may want to carry my plushies and reach out to at least 3 of them. Status: partially complete.
    I did the research and made a list of galleries and shops I want to contact. But I have not made contact yet. I am low on inventory and figured the only thing worse than a shop telling me "no" was a shop saying "yes" and wanting more than I can deliver right away.
    So I am going to build up my stock first, and then approach the shops on my list.

  2. Research online ad venues. Status: complete.
    I'm not sure yet if I'll take the plunge, but at least I now know which venues I'll contact and how much they cost. A question for those of you who do advertising: has it increased your sales and/or traffic? I read so many mixed messages on this issue and I have such little cash to spare, that I'm still very unsure.

  3. Purchase accounting software and begin to use (I'm actually embarrassed that I haven't done this yet). Status: modified.
    I had my cursor poised on "purchase" QuickBooks Pro so many times I lost track. But something kept holding me back. $200 for accounting software feels too spendy right now, especially considering that the reviews for the Mac version aren't that positive. Also, it's a lot of software. Do I need that much? Is there a simpler, cheaper program I could use? Since I couldn't arrive on a satisfactory answer through my own research, I decided I would consult with an accountant before putting any cash down.

  4. Purchase color printer/scanner. Status: complete.
    I bought a Brother MFC-6490cw. I chose this model for a number of reasons, the most important being its 11 x 17 scanning bed and its ability to print 11 x 17 as well. I haven't printed much yet, but so far I'm very pleased with my purchase.

  5. Make at least two pieces to submit for consideration to the Mortal Plush exhibit. Status: complete.
    I managed three pieces: two sea monsters (excited and fury) and a bigfoot (ennui). Now I wait to see if I was accepted. Fingers crossed!

  6. Make at least two pieces to submit for consideration to the Lock, Coif, & Barrel show. Status: discarded.
    I decided halfway through the month that with everything else I had going on, it wasn't realistic to submit pieces to two different shows with the same deadline. Plus, I was having a hard time coming up with anything I liked that fit the theme. And by not keeping this show on my list, I was able to submit an extra piece to Mortal Plush.

    Total accomplished: 3.5 / 6.

I feel pretty okay with this. Could I have done better? Of course. But should I have? I feel confident in the decisions I made to modify or discard goals that didn't feel quite right. And when you're trying to make a small business successful, isn't being nimble just as important as setting and accomplishing goals? Or am I just letting myself off the hook here?

How about you? How well did you meet your monthly goals?

Stay tuned tomorrow for my list of May goals!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Waiting Game

I did it. I just submitted three pieces for consideration to the Mortal Plush show in DC this summer. The theme of the show is plush that convey emotion. You saw bigfoot yesterday, exhibiting ennui. I also submitted two sea monsters.

This one with the jaunty little top hat is excited:


While this meanie is displaying fury:


I cut it very close to the deadline (today) like my typical
procrastinating self. This time, it wasn't because I was sewing up
until the final possible moment, it was the weather. Seriously! Because I
haven't yet built myself a little light tent, I have to rely on the sun
for nice photos, or haul my creatures into my day job to use the photo
studio there. Can you guess what's going to be at the top of the list for my May goals (which I'll be blogging about later this weekend)?

Anyway, I really hope I get accepted to the show. Keep your fingers crossed for me!