It's been a whirlwind first week as an Entrepreneur!
Let me tell you all about it... But first, how did I do on my practical goals for this week? (See my previous post HERE to understand what I'm talking about)
1. I need to re-vamp my Business Plan.
Check! I discovered a wonderful little thing called the Business Model Canvas. It made creating a plan so much easier for my visual style of learning. And it really helped me to understand the working parts of a business. I'll release a post next week on how to make your own plan and I'll include a bunch of helpful resources to get you started.
2. Create a simple budget infrastructure that I can input into weekly.
Of the services available I chose Wave. It is a free accounting website (very similar to quickbooks) aimed at small businesses. I was able to connect my business bank account, my business credit card and my business Paypal account to it and save myself a lot of inputting time. I'm still figuring out how it works, but the hardest parts have been done for me automatically, so I'm feeling pretty confident that I can make it do what I need.
It is completely free for all the services except a nominal charge for payroll which I won't be needing any time soon. They can provide this free service by using targeted advertising, and I'm fine with that. Every other website does that too...and this service is more than worth a few ads.
3. I need a studio.
And I got a studio!
People who follow me on Instagram (@snapdragonbrand) have borne witness to the granny square madness that is currently happening in my new space. I am completely covering all wall surfaces in thrifted afghans. My arms feel like noodles from all the over head stapling (more than 2000 staples so far...may start a kickstarter to fund the loss of my security deposit, lol). I am making the space completely my own, investing in myself and enjoying the process.
Aesthetics aside, my space is climate controlled, so I can actually work with my hands even when the outside temp goes into the negatives (like it is this week, le sigh). My rent includes wifi, electric, water, and plowing and the complex is less than 10 minutes from my house, so I'm very pleased with it.
Rochesterians: I'm at The Refinery, right outside of Cornhill. There are multiple spaces available at all budgets, so if you're in the market for a studio, give Luke a call!
4. I need to regulate my schedule.
This has been difficult as I continue to do some English Tutoring 3 days a week. I don't know what a "typical" workday looks like yet, because every day has been different. Additionally, I'm only preparing my space presently, and not yet in production mode. I'm starting to believe this will be an evolutionary process as my business continues to naturally develop. So in the interim, I'm just trying to get to my studio as much as possible, between appointments. I'm going to find my rhythm along the way.
5. I need to get serious about what I'm going to sell. I need to decide what stays from my old shop and what new products should be introduced.
I have probably 20 products I've been brainstorming this past week. Inspiration has not been lacking, but it's going to take lots of time and energy to develop my patterns and workflows for the products. I want to produce unique garments out of recycled/found materials. While the materials may change, I want my sewing to be consistent and my products to be reflective of my own style. My goal is to have prototypes of my Spring/Summer collection by mid-March so I can begin production and release some early pieces by April. April worked really well for me when I initially launched Snapdragon Brand.
Takeaways from this week:
I'm proud of myself for setting tangible goals and following through with them. I've felt very positive this past week; sometimes it's hard to sleep--I'm so excited about getting to work in my studio in the morning. I know that there are difficult tasks ahead, and so much to learn as I make my business viable. But I'm ready.
Working for other people wasn't easy, but I did it anyway, because income is survival. If I put the same effort into working for myself, doing something I love, I know I can make it work. Because I WANT to make it work and I NEED to make it work and I have the work ethic to MAKE IT WORK. I've got the foundations set in me to make my business work and the things I don't know, I can google.
So, to keep me in this positive frame of mind, here are my practical goals for the week:
1. Finish setting up my studio. I'm giving myself one more day to fiddle with the aesthetics, then it's time to really create my workspace. I won't know how ergonomic my layout is until I actually try to make something, so I've got to start experimenting with furniture placement as I attempt to begin production. I know it will all evolve as I better understand the space and my practical needs, but I've got to start somewhere.
2. Decide what local events I want to participate in and start applying. Do I want to be a craft fair regular? Do I want to buy a tent for outdoor festivals? I'm thinking very seriously about applying to vend at the Rochester Lilac Festival "Art in the Park" show. The application deadline is February 22. It would be a good incentive to get my products fully developed by the May event.
I'm also thinking of entering a crochet coat in the Finger Lakes Exhibition open call at the Memorial Art Gallery here in Rochester. I have a design in mind. It would be a lot of work, but I think I could complete it in time for the March 1 deadline.
I should also start researching other summer festivals and put the application deadlines onto my calendar. I don't want to miss any opportunities for my business to grow.
3. This goal piggybacks off #2 in that it's about budgeting time and scheduling. I am leading an Inspiration Retreat at Sewgreen Rochester (the most awesome recycled fiber arts store in THE WORLD) from February 18-22, 1:00-4:00pm. It's an amazing opportunity and I'm so excited! But I also know that the week will be mostly devoted to the retreat, so I'll really need to plan well and get a lot done while I still have time. Additionally, I'll be doing a little guest blogging and there are deadlines that must be met.
Planning, planning, planning... Finishing my studio setup, fitting in product development, huge decisions about the direction of my company, guest blog posts, planning and leading the inspiration retreat, completing my crochet coat for the exhibition, applying for future shows... Looking at it in print, it's a little overwhelming.
In conclusion, this next week will require lots of level-headed planning and decision making. I need a plan of action for the coming month, and I can't plan until I have decided what gets a place in the line-up. I'll let you know how it goes :)
Here are my Social Media Stats as of 1/31:
Instagram Followers: 3,426 (up 161 Followers from 3,265 on 1/20)
Facebook Page likes: 499 (up 4 Followers from 496 on 1/20)