I worry about my colleagues and fellow creative business owners in months like March. This season can be rough because business can slow down and the next batch of holiday sales are so far away. I know that I’m prone to business ruts and professional low-points around this time of year.
I had an especially hard time with slow sales periods at the start of my business. After the first six months of opening shop on Etsy, I thought I could ride the success I’d seen, and that was the first real mistake I made. It was an error to think that I could passively watch the Energy Shop grow. It’s a project that needs constant attention, feeding, and nourishment—and that requires active participation. When I dropped the ball on the Energy Shop, it started to deflate. The business and I both fizzled.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned to breathe new life into your creative business:
Whether you’ve stalled out or never fully started up, the first question to ask is: Do You LOVE It? I’m starting a video blog for my shop, and in an unscripted, trial shoot of my debut blog, my passion and excitement about my product amazed me! I truly love what I do, and though my dedication has wavered at time (in all fairness, I’ve also moved in and out of country), I am full-blown in love with the Energy Shop and what it represents. We’re here to stay.
The second question is, Will it evolve and grow with you? You’re born to grow. Even when your body physically stops growing, your soul wants to continually expand. People who don’t realize that truth leave this life unhappy and unfulfilled—don’t be one of them. Your business should be designed to grow and evolve as you will. When your skills improve, your prices should rise. When your product line expands, your shop should be better for it. Make sure you are always reaching higher for bigger and better dreams.
And finally: Does your business give you a sense of accomplishment? Does it FEEL GOOD or are you doing it for the money? And by the way, I don’t care if you’re doing it for the money, especially if the money is going to fuel what FEELS GOOD to you! A sense of accomplishment and measurable goals will keep your interest alive and your flame burning.
What do you need to get out of this rut?
What would make you feel good and excited about your shop again? I asked myself this question in January, and the answer was, “A new product line!” I set my intention, and I’ve since launched a line of crystal necklaces that I adore (and my customers seem pretty keen on them too ;) ).
Short-term goals are fantastic stall-busters, but they should also be applied to longer term goals. A stalled business leaves you plenty of time to ask yourself:
Where do I want to be in three months?
Create specific answers, such as this one: “I want to make 200 sales and increase my hourly wage by $5.00 by June 12, 2014.”
Where do I want this business to be in three years?
This one is even more important, because what I really want to know is: How do you plan for all of your hard work to pay you back? That’s the question I had to ask myself, because all work with little reward is the recipe for fizzle. Sometimes, you have to pull yourself out of the daily grind, and envision the bigger, brighter future to gain perspective.
Here’s to your rut-busting, sky-rocketing success!
Lisa Jacobs is creative biz wiz who teaches online sellers how to get more sales and professional recognition. She owns the Energy Shop on Etsy and writes the blog, Marketing Creativity.