Before we get started with Katie, a quick Welcome to the first day of the Exploration Party! Join in by sharing your own story of exploring, and linking to it in the comments of this post. You can read all the stories that have been shared (so far!) right here!
Today I’m delighted to have Katie, a yarn-dyer, designer and explorer, share her smartness with us. You can find her latest fiber antics, right here on her blog. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook for a sneak peek at what she’s dyeing.
Let's start with the amazing email you sent me! I appreciate your kind words, but it is totally YOU that rocked the lessons you learned in Market Yourself to surpass your income goal! What in particular did you put into practice that caused such a monumental shift?
The first thing I did was stop avoiding my financials. I’ve never been naturally adept with numbers and I often used that as an excuse not to bother with the financial aspect of Yarn Love – especially when things weren't going in the direction I wanted.
Not surprisingly, ignoring problems doesn’t work.
As a part of my turn-around plan I committed to weekly financial tracking. And I stuck to it. No excuses. I already had Outright.com up and running for Yarn Love, and now I do a weekly financial check-in. I write the following numbers down on my quarterly map:
(I itemize major income sources like this)
- Etsy Sales: $
- Wholesale Orders: $
(I itemize major expenses like this)
- Etsy Fees: $
- PayPal Fees: $
- Supplies: $
I am highly motivated by goals – but I need to see that I’m making progress or I get discouraged. Keeping track of my weekly financials lets me see how I’m doing. I can correct over-expenditures or pat myself on the back for a job well done.
The second thing I did was make a map. Tara has a great map-making mini-course. I worked through her steps and crafted an effective turn-around plan. It worked so well that I had Yarn Love back on track and humming along in 6 weeks. I had given myself 6 months to dig out of the financial-avoidance quagmire…and with a plan it took me a month and a half.
Now I always know where I am, and where I’m going.
Finally, I took action with my business profit.I withdrew a sane amount of profit and used it to fund my Roth IRA, personal savings, and I have a bit set aside for fun. Taking action with a portion of the new profit helps me feel a sense of accomplishment.
I have actually only completed 4 out of 10 milestones on my current map, but that’s ok. I know what I’ve accomplished and I know exactly where I’m going. If completing only 40% of my goals resulted in such a dramatic turn-around I can only imagine how awesome business will be when I reach 100%.
How is this different than what you were doing before?
I’m no longer scared to take a good look at how Yarn Love is doing. It’s allowing me to identify new goals and areas of improvement. On the days when I feel a bit out-of-sorts I grab my map and get to work. That prevents me wasting a lot of time trying to decide what I should be doing.
Most major business changes are first predicated by a change in thinking. How is your thinking about your business different now?
This is so true! I stopped thinking the “businessy” side of business wasn’t for me and instead I made it work for me. I didn’t suddenly decide to become an accountant but I did stop allowing my excuses. I am happier. My family is happier. Yarn Love is better than ever.
I also started looking for opportunities. It’s hard to look for new opportunities when you’re stressed out over finances and spending a lot of time ignoring problems. It’s paying off. I feel that all my business efforts are in harmony with my goals.
I’ve added a steady diet of business & marketing education to my daily business tasks. I take time at the beginning of every day to read one article or blog post on some aspect of small business and living a creative life. I simply pick one item from my Feedly Business category and read it through. It’s fun, and often it jumpstarts business brainstorming.
What new thing are you exploring now?
Oooh, this is a hard question for me, because I tend to keep in-progress ideas and projects to myself. (Not for any good reason, I’m just weirdly mysterious that way.) So here’s a sneak peek:
- Expanding my dye kitchen and studio space to improve operating efficiency by 20% (or more!)
- Expanding my yarn line to include 2 new custom-milled yarns.
- Outsourcing repetitive tasks that are necessary, but are also a drain on my time.
- A website redesign to show off my yarns!
What’s your definition of success for your business?
I live a non-traditional life. I was homeschooled. My husband was homeschooled. Our children are homeschooled…and I love it. My definition of success includes a vibrant and adventurous family life where every member of my family – including myself and my husband – have the freedom to live a fulfilling life together.
That means my business needs to serve our needs and desires and leave room for us to live our life. It also means that Yarn Love must live in harmony with me, with my husband, and with the needs of our children.
Living in harmony is my definition of success.
(Wow. That turned out to be pretty deep. It’s funny how success in business isn’t always reaching a “business goal”.)
What’s the next destination you’re working towards?
In the short-term, I’m working on expanding the Yarn Love line and facilities. I will be setting aside funds to take a castles tour of Great Britian – something that we’ve wanted to do for ages.
My long-term goal is to continue growing Yarn Love to be the main source of income for our family. That’s a very big, very scary goal….but one that I think with planning and care can become a reality.
Thanks so much for sharing your amazing story with us, Katie!
I absolutely love this definition of success! (My own definition is similar: to live in integrity!)
Have you read the book or made a map?
I'd love to hear from you! Drop me a line and tell me how it's working out!
And no matter what you're exploring right now, you can share your story in this week's Exploration Party!
Katie's an explorer in the new class, Explore You. Join her to explore your business and build the confidence you need to make your own good business decisions. (Starts next Monday, but there's a whole week of Welcome materials available as soon as you join!)