Running a business can feel exactly like that -- always speeding ahead and never getting a chance to stop and reflect. In this new year, it feels especially important to me to acknowledge the big accomplishments and highlights from 2017. 2018 will be completely different, and I want to remember and appreciate the special things that I worked hard to achieve over the past twelve months!
Yesterday I set aside a few hours in the afternoon to focus on doodling all the noteworthy highlights I could think of from 2017. It was so much fun to watch my hand-drawn infographic unfold. I highly recommend trying it out for yourself (no art skills required, just go with the flow)! It's a creative and joyful way to visually represent a whole year. Let's see what significant events made it into my drawing!
Starting from the top:
- This was my second year as the Finance Director on the Board of the non-profit NY Handmade Collective (formerly known at the Etsy NY Team), a vibrant group of 250+ NYC-based artisans that focus on providing market opportunities and small business education for its members. My position included 10-15+ hours of work a week, and I still can't believe I found the energy to volunteer that much of my time for a second year. But we made some great progress as a Board and produced eight events, so it was definitely donated time to be proud of!
- Etsy flew me to Toronto to present my bookkeeping workshop at the annual Etsy Canada Captains' Summit! This was such a great experience on so many levels -- the acknowledgment by Etsy of the worth and quality of my expertise, the chance to attend the conference and connect with so many foreign Etsy team leaders and bond over our shared experiences, and my very first trip to Canada!
- The Etsy shop reached that pivotal milestone that all sellers yearn for -- 1,000 sales!
- With online sales being harder to attain for multiple reasons (new search algorithms, market saturation, etc.) I decided to focus a good amount of my time towards in-person markets. What better way to reach customers than by actually meeting them! I vended at 10 craft fairs and markets in 2017 totaling 103 days (that's almost a third of the year!), four of which were holiday markets that covered 19 of the 30 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Last year was the four-year anniversary of Rock That Gem! Woohoo!
- When I wasn't running my shop, vending at markets, and volunteering on the NYHC Board, I somehow found time to open a second creative business called With Love From Molly! There I design and create downloadable crochet patterns for clothing and accessories, and have shops on both Etsy and Ravelry. I adore crochet, and this has been a wonderful outlet to flex that muscle and share my knowledge!
- Back to the topic of workshops, the G.I.A. D.C. Alumni Chapter (my alma mater, the Gemological Institute of America) invited me for an overnight trip to D.C. to present my Instagram Marketing workshop! This was another great honor -- I had already presented this workshop for the G.I.A. NY Metro chapter in 2016, and getting to meet fellow alumni in a new city and share my knowledge was a welcomed privilege!
- Did I mention busting my butt and working hard in 2017? All that effort paid off with a 30% increase in revenue over 2016!
- And now for the cherry on the cake: at the end of the year Etsy stopped by to film a studio tour! They featured the video in their Insta Stories, and I got to draw a piece of advice to share on their Etsy Success IG account. A studio tour is a huge landmark for an Etsy shop owner, and they made it so fun and easy!
- Best of all, for half of 2017 I was also pregnant and growing a sweet little baby boy! (If you attended any of those holiday markets I did you got to meet the growing bump!) I couldn't have made it through all those December events without the help of my friend Chloe, whose energy and vibrant personality made all the difference when I needed her to work the booths when I couldn't be there!
On that note, 2018 will be very different from 2017, in so many amazing ways! With just about 6 weeks until baby arrives, my energy has been slowing down to prepare for all these remarkable changes. I plan to put the shop on extended vacation in a week or so, and likely won't reopen until July when I've gotten into the groove of parenthood. I am welcoming this change with open arms (for lots of cuddles!). Imagine how streamlined my business decision-making skills will be when there's a little one to think about? And what sharp focus I will have with time management and projects? I made this infographic as much for my son as for me, to show how much I accomplished before he arrived, and how happy I am to change my focus and bring him into this world. I can't wait to see who I am on the other side of this!
I would love to hear your experiences with big changes in your business, whether it was parenthood, shifting direction, or taking a huge leap. Feel free to share below!