18 Before 2018 – Goal Setting Challenge

 Most of us love a good CAL but what if I share a different kind of challenge? It’s called 18 Before 2018 and it’s a goal setting challenge. Today I’m listing 18 goals I want to complete before 2018, and I’m challenging you to make a list also. You have until the end of 2017 to complete all 18 goals on your list.

This is my 3rd year participating in Lisa Jacobs’ year end goal setting challenge. It’s a great way to get thoughts and priorities in order as the year winds down.

18 before 2018 - Goal Setting Challenge - 18 tasks to complete before 2018 gets here!

 

My list is a little different this year than normal. I usually focus on all the “things” I need to finish. Tangible things that have a reward. While the majority of my list has those things, it also has less tangible but more rewarding things, like relationships.

When I sat down to think about my 18 before 2018 list I really wanted to incorporate my overall yearly goal. This year my word of the year was Transform. My goal was to transform parts of my life and my business – to see change in everything around me. I wanted to see my business mold and shape into something new and beautiful and to see visible, substantial change – both in my life and my business. I decided after 2016 word of the year – Confidence that it’s time for me to spread my wings and fly.

Goal setting challenge to finish the year strong includes my word of the year 2017 - Transform

 

And I have certainly made HUGE progress this year. But the year isn’t over and I’m still not where I had hoped I would be. I do however have 18 weeks left! When thinking about what to put on 18 before 2018 list I chose the things that will have the most impact at the end of the year and I split my list almost evenly between personal and business tasks.

Here’s my 18 Before 2018 list

 

1) Recommit to my blog and subscribers – A couple years ago I recommited to my business, but the one thing that I have struggled with is finding the time to blog. I love teaching and helping others advance their crochet skills, and truly believe a blog format is a great way to do that. I want to transform my blog into a place that crocheters can turn to for help.

2) Create and use an editorial calendar – I will begin to use an editorial calendar for my blogging. I’m getting better about using it to plan out my designs but I’d like to add blogging to it and connect all the pieces. This will help me get a better focus on daily and weekly tasks also. I know it will transform my entire crochet business into one solid unit.

3) Bookkeeping – I always wait until after the first of the year to get all my tax info together. Not this year! I am going to be prepared. I’m committing to getting all my books in order before the end of the year. On next year’s list will be to start from the beginning and stay caught up all year!

4) Plan my 12 Days of Christmas promotion – Last year I did a 12 Days of Christmas sale. I almost cancelled it at the last minute because I didn’t feel prepared. It ended up being the best thing I did for my business all year last year and it wasn’t even about the number of sales! At the end of that promotion I had such a drive to move my business forward and transform it into something amazing!

I realized to overcome hurdles you have to take a step forward even if you can’t see where the path is leading. That promotion lit a fire under me to just keep trying and to have faith in myself and my abilities, as well as faith in my business.

5) Publish all my outstanding patterns – I used to have a bad habit of designing something and even writing out the pattern, but then not following through with the pattern testing and publishing part. I made a list of outstanding patterns. By the end of the year I will either have them published or have them ready to incorporate into a collection that is in the planning stages. This will not only will this relieve my to-do list, but it will transform my entire business for 2018.

6) Submit at least 3 patterns to magazines/publishers – I love being an indie designers, but I’m ready to put myself out there again. Most of us don’t like rejection, which is why I haven’t done this in a while. It’s time to spread my wings and transform myself with confidence.

7) Release 1 new pattern collection – I’m trying something new. Instead of just releasing patterns on a whim – like I have done for years – I’m going to try collections. I have some ideas that correlate and mesh well. This is a huge change because now I have to hold off all new releases until the first collection is ready, but in the long row I believe it will transform the way my crochet patterns look, feel, and fit together.

8) Triple my traffic & double my income – My goal for 2017 was to triple my traffic and double my income. I haven’t done my bookkeeping (see #3) but I might get there. As far as tripling my traffic – I’m not even going to come close. If I’m lucky I’ll double it, but even that isn’t guaranteed.

What I do know is this – even if I’m not close I’m moving forward and making progress, and I wouldn’t have that drive and motivation if it weren’t for Marketing Creativity. Lisa has put me back on track and kept me motivated. My business has been transformed and I am happy with my progress – even if I don’t get there.

9) Revamp my hours and availability (and stick to them!) – I’m all about helping people. I love the feeling of being able to see them succeed in their crochet, or their pattern writing. But for the last couple months I have been feeling more and more like a few people/accounts seem to take advantage of me – expecting me to answer and respond within minutes, pass their panic on me, and expect hours worth of chat sessions to be free.

Heres’t the thing. I really, really like being available to crocheters and designers alike. BUT, I need (for my own sanity) to find a way to draw a line somewhere. That was never more apparent to me than when I was on a field trip with my girls recently. I was stressed out because someone wanted me to help them and as the day wore on I was getting more and more frustrated (mostly because this had been going on for well over a week with this person). My teenage daughter turned to me and said, “Why don’t you just put the phone away while you’re with us? You’re having fun until you answer the messages. Then it takes you a few minutes to get back to having fun with us. Just don’t answer her until we get home.”

WOW! Ok, I got it. That was the rude awakening I needed. At that very moment I realized I need to set hours and boundaries – both for my sanity and my business. When I get to a point of feeling like I’m being taken advantage of, something needs to change. In both of these instances recently I was helping with things that were beyond what my services offer (tax questions, video help, basic crochet questions). If they genuinely needed help I should have been charging for my time OR it could have waited. I went back through and in both these situations these people got dozens and dozens of hours free from me (which is my own fault). It’s time to transform my business with some hours and guidelines so it doesn’t continue to happen.

10) The “Hope for Mike” Project – This one is quite personal. I’m calling it the “Hope for Mike” project until we can come up with a better name. The goal is to help my daughter make hats & scarves for the homeless.

This summer my daughter and our church’s youth group went on a mission trip. For a week they ministered to the homeless in NYC. They handed out blankets and food, and just showed them love. She came back forever changed! (Someday I hope to get her to share her story on my blog.)

She’s now on a mission to make hats and scarves for the homeless. Around Christmastime she wants to be able to hand them out so that they will have something for Christmas – something that is handmade with love. I will be posting more on a separate blog post in a few days which will have all the info – but if you’d like to help and donate, please send me an email or a pm on my FB page.

Not only has this experience transformed my family , but it will transform many other lives before she is done.

11) Lose 15 lbs + 15 inches – This boils down to getting back in a fitness routine. I have been a yo-yo excerciser for the past couple years – mostly out of fear, but some of it is that I just haven’t been able to make it habit again.

In 2012 I was in tears because I had heard more than once “when are you due?” The problem was that I wasn’t pregnant. So, I set out on a weight loss journey. It took me 3 years to lose 30 lbs. – but I did it! Then in 2015 I tore my ACL and had ACL reconstruciton surgery, – which involved removing part of my hamstring and using that as my new ACL. After 7 months of physical therapy I had gained almost 20 lbs back. It was heartbreaking! But I started working out again trying to overcome my fears (for the record I did NOT tear my ACL working out. It was just a freak accident).

Not even 6 months into my new yo-yo journey I was out running and ended up with a stress fracture in my ankle. After more than 3 months in an ankle brace I was ok’d to start working out again. Here I am 1 year later and I just haven’t been able to make working out a routine again. I’m now up to 25 lbs I’d like to lose, but I’m starting with a realistic goal. I’m ready to transform my body so that I will feel good again!

12) Drink 75 – 100 oz water every day – Everyone knows your body needs water, but I was very aware that water was one of the key ingredients in my weight loss. It helped me snack less, feel healthier, and lose weight faster.

13) Get my routine set  I know that having a set schedule is the key to being able to get everything done. I’m good about my girls routine, but not so good about mixing the life of a homeschooling mom of 6, with the life of a WAHM, with the life of a dance mom. I feel like I’m scattered and winging it all. the. time.

Most days I can get some crocheting and housework done, or school and crochet, or tech editing and a workout, but I always feel like I never know which way I’m going, or what to do next. I want to get my workout in, blog weekly, and keep my business moving forward with things like business training, etc – all while still homeschooling, keeping my house clean, and running my girls to the dance studio every night. Having a plan is key! I believe I can do it all, I just have to make a schedule and make it part of my daily routine.

14) Declutter my house once and for all – 

  • Finish my schoolroom/workshop – Two weeks after we moved into this house I had my knee surgery. So many unimportant things went by the wayside (like unpacking non-essentials). Many of those boxes have been left in a corner of my schoolroom. It’s time to finish unpacking, cleaning off the school shelves and my desk, sell the books we don’t need, and unpack my yarn into the one extra bookcase we have in there. I want to transform it into a fun place where we school, laugh, work, and have fun. Right now it just causes us stress because it’s an overcrowded mess.
  • De-clutter my daughters’ bedroom – My 3 youngest girls share a bedroom….and it’s an overcrowded mess. Time to get rid of clothes they don’t wear and toys they don’t play with. I did the Kon Mari method in their room a few years ago. I think it’s time for that method again!
  • Master bedroom – organize and finish unpacking.

15) Make something amazing for my girls for Christmas – My girls always get something from me for Christmas, but this year I would love to knock their socks off with something extra special.

16) Have game day – I want to have game day 1 or 2 times a month with the kids. Hubby and I make it a point to have pizza and movie night with the kids once a week. We don’t watch TV any other time (other than the race on Sunday), so this is the one or two times a week we turn the TV on. It has become not only a treat, but our family time. I love our family time, but I’m ready to add in some interaction!

17) Truly let go – I have hung onto some things/people for far too long. I’ve tried to let go but haven’t truly been able to because I was really hoping to patch things up and continue the relationships. It’s time I find a way to let go once and for all. You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with and I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to be like these women, plain and simple. I’ve also realized I’m setting an example for my children with the kinds of relationships I have pursued and it has made me look at it from a different perspective. I’m ready to find a way to let go so that it doesn’t bother me anymore.

18) Have a plan going into 2018 – I want to have all of 2018 planned out by the end of 2017. Not that it needs to go as planned – I just need to start with the plan. For many years now I have hesitated doing something until I think it can be executed perfectly. But what ends up happening is 90% of the time I don’t follow through because the perfectionist in me always says, “It’s not perfect yet” or “That’s not good enough yet.” I just need movement. It’s time to set the wheels in motion and then I can change direction later if I need to.

I used to be a major planner. Then I had 5 girls in 8 years and planning kind of went out the window. But do you know what I have learned? Much of what we want to accomplish needs to start with a plan that can later be adjusted, but not until but not until after that plan is set in motion. It’s time to put myself out there and not care about what others are thinking.

I am so charged to work on my list! At the end of the year I will be ready for 2018 and excited about all I have accomplished.

 

Are You Ready?

If you’re looking for some ideas, you can check out Lisa’s blog post 18 Before 2018 where she has some prompts and things to help you succeed with your list.

Believe it or not the end of the year is right around the corner! So many times, the year comes to a close and I wish I had finished or done way more than I have. Don’t let this year end that way!

 

Here’s to Ending 2017 Strong!

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Your Best Year 2017 Book Review

This week I’m stepping out from my normal crochet book review and doing a different kind of book review. Your Best Year 2017 is a workbook & creative planner, but it is also SO much more. If you struggle with being productive, staying on track, not getting discouraged, etc. this book is exactly what you need.

 

Your Best Year 2017 is a productivity workbook & creative business planner. Stay on track, boost your sales, be more productive, and so much more with this workbook. Best investment I make with my business (and personal life) every year.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliate links.

 

I found Marketing Creativity about 3 years ago when I was very close to giving up on my business. I was burnt out and wasn’t sure I had any more to give. The very first post I read from Lisa made me feel like she was an old friend. And the more I read her blog, the more it was obvious that she speaks to you in a down to earth tone, gives practical advice, and doesn’t make promises of getting you millions of sales or customers that just won’t happen.

With that being said, her workbook has put my business back on track. The first year I used it (Your Best Year 2015) I honestly didn’t use it to its fullest potential and I’m kicking myself now! This year (Your Best Year 2016) was my 2nd year using it and I’m already seeing a great return from the work I did put in. One of my main goals was to double my community of crochet readers and go from 10k readers (over all social media accounts) to 20k in one year. As of right now I’m on target to actually hit that goal! My tech editing income will come close to doubling what it was in 2015 also.

What seemed impossible back in January will now be a reality come December. Lisa’s workbook guides you through your biggest goals and dreams in order to make them a reality. My only regret….I should have made bigger goals, and reached for bigger stars – but they just seemed too big, audacious, and unrealistic at the time.

 

Your Best Year 2017

 

Planning for a successful year with the Your Best Year 2017 creative planner and workbook.

 

The new and updated yby2017 is full of new prompts to help you review 2016, get you thinking about your goals for 2017, and activities to make sure you accomplish those goals and stay on task. Lisa’s also added a time management worksheet (I need this one most!), a “getting your goals” section, as well as sections to work through about being vulnerable, building trust, and breaking through limitations – to name just a few. There are also action steps you can take, progress logs to show you how far you’ve come, and my favorite – the abundance tracker. I started using the abundance tracker when Lisa first mentioned it a few months ago. It’s truly amazing to see where my income comes from daily and for me I’ve learned to set smaller daily income goals as well as a yearly overall income goal.

 

Creatives aren’t all Business

 

But honestly, I think the best part of this business planner is that it isn’t all business. As a creative entrepreneur our home life and our business end up blending together. Without us even realizing it the lines can get fuzzy and the two become one entity sometimes. So, instead of fighting it, Lisa’s workbook has us consider both together. Genius! This book is 138 pages of strategies and actionable steps to help you meet every business and personal goal you have.

 

To be fully honest in my review…

 

I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I first opened the planner and realized the monthly overview calendars are gone this year. I had started using my yby2016 as my monthly blog planner in addition to everything else it had to offer. But the more I dug into this new version, the more I realized it is fully worth going back to a separate monthly calendar. This year’s version is pure business building strategies that have left me feeling like anything is possible. 

 

Do What Scares You…..

 

Never again will I sell myself short by not believing in myself. I worked through the exercise of writing down how much I wanted to make, how to get there, etc. When I saw the numbers I doubted myself. It seemed too out of reach. I saw the goals I did stick with come true, so I won’t make the same mistake twice.

This year I’m reaching for the moon! Even if I don’t hit it, I’ll land among the stars. 

I guarantee if you purchase this planner, and use it to it’s fullest potential, you will not be disappointed. It will be the best $20 you spend, as you will reap long term investments.

 

Happy Planning!

  
*Disclaimer* – This book was provided to me for a review, but all opinions are strictly my own.
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17 Before 2017 – Plan Ahead, Finish Strong!

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about how fast this year flew by and realizing how many things we didn’t finish. After creating a 16 Before 2016 last year, I decided this is a great practice to get into for the 4th quarter of the year. So, I’ve spent the past week thinking and contemplating on what is important enough to be added to my 17 Before 2017 list, and what can just be deleted or forgotten about.

 

17 Before 2017 - Plan Ahead, Finish Strong -List 17 Things to accomplish before 2017 *This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliates.

17 Before 2017

 

As the end of each year approaches, most people make an decision to finish strong. You start running around like crazy to get things done, you reflect on your resolutions that you never followed through with, and you vow that 2017 will be different. Am I close? I know, because I used to be one of those people.

Then I decided to start planning and be more intentional with my time and my hours. People ask me all the time how I do it, and my response is usually, “I don’t think about it.” But the reality of it is actually the opposite, I think about it all the time. That’s why I always having a running to do list, and I never seem to be able to get caught up. And if I leave home without my planner I freak out!

17 Before 2017 - Plan Ahead, Finish Strong -List 17 Things to accomplish before 2017

 

Making a Plan

My days are crazy, even with a routine. I homeschool 5 of our children, we are at the dance studio 5 days a week, and I own my own business. Because all the aspects of my life fit together I made a list with both personal and business goals for the end of the year. I’m sure you can relate. We all have crazy schedules. It’s time to make a plan and finish strong! That’s where the 17 before 2017 list comes into play.

 

Personal

 

1. Lose 15 lbs  This might sound like a lot, but it should be doable. Last summer I had just gotten down to the weight I was after my 4th child (I have 6). It took me 3 years to get to that point, but I felt so good. Then I had knee surgery and gained 18 lbs in 7 months. That was 13 months ago. Long story but I’m back in a leg brace (broken ankle) so I’m going back to my no-impact workout that helped me lose the first 20 lbs I had lost. I’m determined not to stay stuck at this weight. I want to feel good again! I was going to aim for 4 lbs a month, but decided to work for 5 lbs each month, for the rest of the year.

2. Exude Confidence (in a totally healthy, good way)…. It’s my word of the year for 2016, so I thought now we be the perfect time to go back and reflect on the post I wrote in January. While I feel like I’ve made progress, I know I still have a long way to go.

3. Read 3 books – I try to do some personal development reading every day. For the remainder of the year I want these books to focus on confidence (see #2).

4. Finances – Track income and expenses daily. I’ve always had a feeling/fear of not having enough. I’m hoping by tracking income and expenses daily it will help me see the abundance that I do have.

5. Finish schoolroom – When we moved in here all our unpacked boxes went in our schoolroom. It was out of the way while I was recovering from my knee surgery. Well, the boxes are still sitting there. It’s time to finish once and for all.

6. Clean/Destash girl’s room – I’m embarrassed to admit that my younger girl’s room is a mess. When I couldn’t really do stairs for 3 months after my surgery it was one of those “out of sight, out of mind” things. Now it’s in a condition I can’t stand. It’s time to get rid of the extra clothes, etc. and make it a happy, resting place again.

7. Block schedule my time. This is for both work and personal, but I feel like I’ll get more done if I can implement some kind of schedule.

 

 

Business

 

8. Finish all unpublished patterns – Seriously! I have about 6 patterns I made, and even started to write, but never finished when we moved last year. It’s time to get them published!

9. Yarn Destash – Sell approx. 50% of my yarn stash. This is a twofold goal: it will make my stash reasonable so my kids will stop telling people I own a small yarn store, and it help pay for some of my girls’ dance competition fees.

10. Double My Crochet Community: One of my goals for 2016 was to grow my followers over all of my social media platforms to 20K. At some point I just decided to reach for the stars and add that extra couple thousand and double it. Rather than focus on the monthly increase I am hoping for, I’m just going to focus on the year-end numbers.  Some of my accounts won’t even come close to doubling and others are picking up that slack. This has been an interesting process for me to watch and see which platforms work better for me. The total is listed at the bottom because this is not all of my social media accounts, just the bigger ones.

Growth Goals:
Blog Newsletter – 1,110 to 2,220 – 1,269 
Facebook – 6,433 – 12,866 – 6,929
Pinterest – 1,352 to 2,704 – 6,717 
Twitter – 486 – 972 – 651
Instagram – 0 – 500 – 301
Total – 10,941 – 21,882 – 17,675 

Mathematically that’s a little over 60% growth so far which means I still have quite a ways to go.

11. Organize bookkeeping for taxes – I want to be prepared ahead of time – before tax season gets here. Getting this done before the end of the year will be a huge relief off my shoulders.

12. Work through YBY2017 – Absolutely the best planner for goal setting. If I had to attribute only one thing to keeping me on track this year it would be Lisa’s workbook. (Be on the lookout next week for my review of her 2017 workbook!)

13. Batch my work tasks – I’ve heard of this before and as I’ve been tweaking my schedule to try to accomplish more I’m thinking this might be a huge help. Now it’s a matter of sitting down and working tasks into my schedule where they’ll fit best.

14. Create an editorial calendar – I did this for my Design Your Own Pattern Series. Plan everything in advance. It makes a HUGE difference in your stress level – and it feels good!

15. Treat my business like a real job – I love my job. Designing and tech editing give me passion. But I don’t have hours and I just wing it. It’s time I started treating my business like a real job instead of a hobby that I only do when I feel like it. I will create and implement work hours, and stick to them!

16. Create a marketing plan – I’m terrible about emails, social media, etc. and I go through phases. I will go weeks and be diligent, then fizzle. A simple marketing plan will be key to keeping me on track.

17. 24 response rate – I used to have a 24 hour response rate, most of the time it was just a few hours. As I had more kids and got busier my response rate started to slip, as well as my inbox. My goal: start with inbox 0 and return to the excellent customer service I was always told I had.

 

SEPTEMBER

To keep in line with my promise to track my goals for the entire year, here is my Sept. review.

DAILY GOALS:

  1. Personal/Business Development
  2. Review my monthly goal list daily
  3. Track my business income daily
  4. Track my personal expenses daily
  5. Workout (limited while my ankle is still in a brace)

MONTHLY GOALS:

  1. Track income and expenses daily.
    I tracked my income but wasn’t as diligent about tracking my expenses.
  2. Finish creating editorial calendar for 2016.
    Started this.
  3. Make my holiday t0-make list.
  4. Create holiday budget checklist.
  5. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
    Baby Heartbeat Reversible Afghan set
    Climbing Ivy Super Scarf
  6. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
    Moved to 17 before 2017.
  7. Publish 8 blog posts.
  8. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,258 to 1,300 – 1,269
    Facebook – 6,929 – 7k – 6,929
    Pinterest – 6,474 to 7k – 6,717
    Twitter – 651 – 700 – 651
    Instagram – 272 – 300 – 301
  9. Stay on track with the goals that I made in YBY planner.
  10. Create block schedule for work/family/homeschool.

 

17 Before 2017

To sum it up in one phrase; we’re all just a work in progress. Take one baby step, then another – this will give you momentum towards getting your list done. Be productive and you’ll start to see progress which will push you forward into 2017.

If you’ve made a 17 Before 2017 list I would love to read it. You can either link in the comments or tag me on social media.

 

Happy Crocheting!

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The 3 P’s of a Professional Crochet Designer

I’m going to go out on a limb here when I say that there is a difference between a crochet designer and a professional crochet designer. One word can make a huge difference and that word is professional. The word professional when used as an adjective (as I did in my title) means “following an occupation as a means of livelihood.” Someone who is designing patterns as part of their livelihood or using it for income is a professional. But if you’re going to be a professional there are certain things that you should be doing to make sure you’re also acting the part.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - The 3 P's of a Professional Crochet Designer

 

Welcome to Part 8 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series will guide you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you are just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

 

The 3 P’s of a Professional
Crochet Designer

 

 

Process – Make a process that works for you. Don’t try to follow someone else’s lead. Be your own original.

Product – Don’t skip any steps. Have someone test your pattern and even have a tech editor look at it before you publish it. You want your patterns to be as close to perfect as they can be when your customers purchase them.

People – In addition to your patterns, please don’t forget about your customers. People are the most important thing, no matter what! In fact, I believe that customer service is a key element. I can’t tell you how many emails I get asking for pattern help because the designer they purchased a pattern from doesn’t return their requests for help. Respond to emails and be polite in your replies even if your customers seem rude or belligerent.

 

Be a Professional Crochet Designer

 

Almost anyone can design a crochet pattern but you should want your work and your patterns to stand out above the rest. Acting like a professional is a good way to put your customers first so you will have happy, returning customers.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Happy Designing!

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Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

Should you charge for patterns or offer them for free? That is the question many designers struggle with. It’s even been a popular topic in some crochet groups, and it can become a heated discussion at times. Before you make any decisions there are a few things to consider.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Should You Charge for Your Patterns - The free vs paid dilemma

 

Welcome to Part 7 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series guides you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you’re just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

Should You Charge for Patterns?
The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Should you charge for your patterns? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question, it’s more of a preference. But there are some things you should at least think about and consider. The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you’re just sharing your patterns as a hobby or do you want this to be a business? If it’s going to be a business venture then you need to decide how you’re going to make money (Ex: Are you going to have a website set up, or if you’re going to use a site like Ravelry for your patterns, or even both). There are various reasons each designer chooses the path they take. If this is your hobby, you can pretty much choose either without recourse. For today’s purposes, I’m only going to list one very obvious difference that comes from a business perspective.

Free Patterns

When a designer offers their patterns for free, the majority of the time they have ads on their website and that’s where their income comes from. I personally decided from the very beginning that I did not want ads on my website. (I do have a few affiliates which is slightly different.)

 

Paid Patterns

When a designer charges for their patterns it is because they are charging for their work, and not relying on outside sources of income. I charge for my patterns – this is my business and I need to make money – but I do from time to time offer a free pattern on my website, or even coupon codes for a discount or free pattern.

 

Another thing to consider is this – most paid patterns will be tested and possibly even tech edited. That cost is somehow left to the designer if they don’t charge when they sell them.

There are always exceptions, but the majority of designers I know would fall into one of those 2 reasons. Whichever way you decide to offer your patterns just make sure you believe in your decision because you will always have those who will not agree with you or question it. Stand firm and know you’re doing what’s right for you and your business.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters

 

Happy Designing!

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Basic Copyright for Crocheters

Most designers have seen a pattern and thought that they could take it and put their own spin on it. Or they’ve come up with a great idea by seeing something else. There is a fine line between an original design and copy someone else’s work. Some things border on that fine line, while others are just plain and simple wrong. Let’s take a basic look at some copyright issues.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Basic Copyright for Crocheters

 

Welcome to Part 6 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series guides you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you’re just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

Basic Copyright for Crocheters

 

The term “copyright” gets thrown around a lot in the crochet world, but what exactly is copyright? Copyright, by webster’s definition, is “the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 70 years after his or her death.” 

What does all that mean in layman’s terms? It means don’t copy someone else’s work, plain and simple. There are a bunch of legal aspects that I am choosing not to cover because I’m not a lawyer and don’t want to misspeak, but here are 5 things that are a given.

 

Do Not . . . . 

 

Copy Other designs

Some people claim they look at an item and can figure out how to crochet it so they don’t need to buy the pattern. That’s great, but that doesn’t mean you can then write the pattern and sell it as your own. Plenty of designers get ideas from crochet pieces they see. But they come up with their own ideas or spin on what they’ve seen. I’ve heard figures of everything from 10% – 20% needs to be changed, but an article from Vogue Knitting states that there is not legal percentage. It has more to do with whether or not your interpretation relies too heavily on their idea. Even if you take their design and write your own pattern for it, it’s still violating copyright.

Rewrite or Share Patterns

Do not take a purchased (or free) copy of a pattern and rewrite it into your own words/terms. Just as you cannot copy a pattern and “reword” it to make it your own, you also cannot share a pattern you have purchased with a friend. Even if the design is free, send them to the designer.

Use Someone Else’s Photos

Do not share photos from a designer to sell your finished product of that item, or for any other purpose. I once purchased a crochet book and to my surprise found one of my tutorial photos used in the book! That’s copyright infringement!

Make or Sell any Logo Items

NFL, NASCAR, Star Wars, Disney, Pokemon, etc. – they are all copyrighted, and without permission you are violating a copyright law. And believe me, they will take you down if they choose to. Companies like these have been know to police Etsy on a regular basis, not to mention they have had shop’s that violate their trademarks closed. That’s being nice. They have the right to sue you for thousands if they choose to.

Make or Sell Characters

If you create a pattern, or a physical item (hat, blanket, etc) to visually look like a character from a movie you are still infringing on their trademark. Most companies (like Disney) register the look of the character as well. (Ex: Storm trooper helmets have a trademark attached to them and you cannot make any helmet/hat to look like it.)

Use Character Names

Come up with your own original pattern name. Honestly, there are some names you could easily argue and get away with (Ex: Pocahontas headband). But there are others that are too obvious to be your original idea (Ex: Minions). Many companies also trademark their character names. (See the Star Wars link above. Disney is suing a company that makes holograms because they are calling themselves LEIA – and Pokemon is suing a company for using the word Pokemon in their name).

 

Be Original

 

Things like the granny square do not have a copyright, but if you were to copy either the design for my Vintage 60’s prayer shawl, or the written pattern itself, that would be copyright infringement.

You want your pattern to be original because it will represent you and your brand. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon because everyone else is doing it, but it’s not worth it. Be original. Be yourself.

If you need help coming up with design ideas, see my post: Finding the Perfect Design Ideas.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Happy Designing!

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Creating Your Crochet Brand

When I began designing 9 years ago I didn’t think about things like branding. I didn’t ever think that almost 10 years later there would be hundreds of designers and I would need to distinguish myself from everyone else out there. Yet, here I am trying to be seen in a sea of creatives that are doing the same thing as me and I’ve been wondering – would my customers be able to pick my patterns out of a lineup with other designers? I’m not sure the answer is yes. So I’ve been working on creating a brand for my crochet designs that will help my customers know my work from other designers’ and make it easier for them to find me.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Creating Your Brand

 

Welcome to Part 4 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series will guide you through some of the basics of crochet pattern design. If you’re just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

 

Creating Your Brand

 

The definition of brand is “a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic.” Tons of brand name companies have made themselves distinctive in some way. Nike has the all familiar check mark logo. In the crochet world you would be able to pick out the Red Heart logo, or Tulip Crochet Hooks with their signature gray cushion on the handle. I don’t even need to show you the photos! These brands have distinguished themselves among the competition because of their branding.

Branding is the action (verb) form of the word brand. It’s creating a brand for your crochet designs that will make you stand out. What will you do to set your brand apart from everyone else? How will you make your items/patterns recognizable?

 

Branding Ideas

 

Earlier in this series we talked about finding your designing niche. While your niche is more about narrowing down what you want to specialize in, branding is more about how you’re going to market your items to your customers. Your brand doesn’t always have to be a logo. Sometimes it’s just a “look” you have adapted into your business such as color, photography, and designing elements. Here are some designers and businesses that have done a superb job at their branding!

 

Color

 

Color is a great way to brand your designs. Below I have 2 very different examples of how these 2 ladies have perfectly branded their designs using color. Heidi from Snappy Tots uses bright and happy colors, mixed with fun and sometimes whimsical designs. Heidi May from The Velvet Acorn uses neutral colors and has an outdoor, woodsy feel to her designs. But both of these ladies patterns are fully recognizable by the way they have branded their designs.

 

   Snappy_mediumSnappy Tots

 

The Velvet Acorn

 

 

Photography

 

Photography is another great way to brand yourself. DROPS Designs has done an amazing job making their patterns recognizable by their photography. All of their photos use either the water or the mountains in the background and I can pick out one of their patterns very easily.

 

Free PatternDrops Designs/GarnStudio

Design Elements

 

I’m spotlighting Shelby Allaho’s designs here because she has done a fantastic job with branding her designs. She creates items that stand out as her own and I can tell one of her designs as soon as I see it. She uses things you would see in every day life and then finds a way to incorporates them into her designs. The reason I’m including this here, instead of in my Finding Your Niche post, is because it’s about her using this as her brand. Anyone can use neckwear as their niche, but you won’t be able to spot a specific designer unless they brand themselves.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series: Creating Your Brand - Shelby AllahoShelby Allaho

 

Please note: Do not copy these ladies! Come up with your own strategy. These are just examples of what can be done with branding.

 

You want your customers to be able to spot your patterns before they know that it’s you and branding will be such an important way for you to get recognized and noticed. Narrowing down your niche and then creating your brand will help you create patterns your customers will love.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Happy Designing!

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How to Create a Crochet Plan

Do you have so many projects you want to make that don’t know where to begin? Or so many patterns you can’t find the one you’re looking for? Or so much yarn that you own a small yarn store right in your basement? (yes, this is me!) It’s time to create a plan, a crochet plan, so you can accomplish those crochet dreams. It’s time to get organized so you can stay on track!

 

How to Create a Crochet Plan - Get organized, make a plan, and stay focused.

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliates.

 

One of the things I’ve been focusing on most this year is planning. Whether it’s my business, life with 5 of my children still living at home, or just my daily to-do list…. I just can’t seem to remember everything I need to do! Most days I felt scattered. One week I would focus on one thing and tune out everything else I should be working on. Then a week or two later I’d switch it up and focus on what I had neglected, ignoring the things I had made progress on. I wanted to make all the pieces of my life fit together like a puzzle, but in order to do that I had to come up with a plan. It’s definitely not an overnight change – although it would be nice to wake up tomorrow and all of a sudden be totally organized!

 

Create a Crochet Plan

 

If you’re ready to get organized, creating a plan can help! I’m going to call this a “crochet plan.” It’s kind of like a life plan, or a business plan, because it’ll be directly related to your crochet business/hobby. A good crochet plan will be organized, have priorities, and will give you a clear direction on what needs to be done. So, what do you need to do to make this crochet plan?

Get Organized – First decide what you want to accomplish. If you want to make sure you make certain patterns, then you need to organize your patterns. If you want to stop being a yarn hoarder, you’ll need to organize your yarn stash. Most importantly, no matter what part of your crochet life you’re working on, get a notebook or planner and organize your thoughts. I personally am using the Erin Condren Life Planner along with Your Best Year planner.

Prioritize – Determine what your priorities are… make sure you add family. While it’s not a “crochet” item, it is more important than any other work you will ever do. Decide how much time you need to devote to family, work, and then crochet (unless crochet is your work). Block off scheduled amounts of time for each.

Charting Your Course – You need a plan because “winging it” just doesn’t work when you’re talking about goals. Write long term (3 years) and short term (3 months) goals. Then write a weekly to-do list and keep it updated daily. Don’t put more than 5 things on your list at a time because you don’t want to discourage yourself with a list that feels like it will never end. That may actually set you up for failure. On my to-do list, I stick with 3 personal and 3 business.

Revisit Your Goals – Planning is great, but follow through is what gives us the progress we need. Make sure you revisit your goals monthly (weekly is better). The more you can remind yourself of what you have set out to do, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. Remember: A plan is only as good as those who see it through. 

Don’t Give Up – Evaluate your progress monthly. It sounds like a lot, but commit for one year. You will have some valuable knowledge and insight to look back on at the end of that year. Be committed to reaching those goals and no matter what, don’t give up! If you’re struggling to stay on track, revisit your goals more often, even daily if that’s what it takes. And if you feel like you’ve gotten off track, hit refresh but don’t reset and start over.

 

Goal Setting

 

These are my June results and my new goals for August. (Our family vacation was in July so I skipped it)

I thought about not doing this anymore – I’m not sure anyone cares about my goals but me – but I committed to this for the entire 2016 year, so I’m going to follow through. At the end of the year I want to be able to sit down and truly evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and what I still need to work on.

 

JUNE GOALS: 

  1. Track income and expenses.
    Only tracked my business income (not business expenses, or personal income & expenses).
  2. Finish creating editorial calendar for 2016.
    Planned out for the next 6-8 weeks.
  3. Create new file/doc for customers (It’s still a secret).
    Moved to August.
  4. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
    Vintage 60’s Shawl is the only new pattern I’ve published since May.
  5. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
    Fail…
  6. Publish 10 blog posts.
    Nope. I was on vacation for the first 2 weeks in July and I didn’t have enough posts planned ahead of time.
  7. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,215 to 1,300 – 1,245
    Facebook – 6,831 – 7K – 6,918
    Pinterest – 5,339 to 7k – 6,094
    Twitter – 620 – 700 – 638
    Instagram – 195 – 300 – 245
    While I didn’t hit the numbers I wanted, I stuck to the 10-15 minutes a day/3x a day on social media. I didn’t spend hours like I have in the past. So, I feel like this was an accomplishment.
  8. Get back on track with my goals that I made using my Your Best Year 2016 planner.
    Making progress but I’m not crossing this off because I want to do even better.
  9. Create new chore chart for my kids.
    Moved to August.
  10. Finish unpacking.
    Moved to August.

My #1 priority for June was tracking expenses and income – both personal and business and I didn’t do it. The only tracking I did was my daily business income. I will revisit this goal for August and hopefully have it crossed off!

What worked – My attitude. I am also learning to give myself some grace so I won’t get so discouraged. Then I just keep trying.

What didn’t work – Not taking my list seriously enough and putting things off until later or another time. I need to make a better daily plan for my time and I need to keep my long term goals front and center so I have that daily reminder.

 

AUGUST

DAILY GOALS:

  1. Personal/Business Development
  2. Review my monthly goal list daily
  3. Track my business income daily
  4. Track my personal expenses daily
  5. Workout

 

MONTHLY GOALS:

  1. Track income and expenses daily.
  2. Finish creating editorial calendar for 2016.
  3. Create new file/doc for customers (It’s still a secret).
  4. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
  5. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
  6. Publish 10 blog posts.
  7. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,245 to 1,300
    Facebook – 6,918 – 7K
    Pinterest – 6,094 to 7k
    Twitter – 638 – 700
    Instagram – 245 – 300
  8. Stay on track with the goals that I made in YBY planner.
  9. Create new chore chart for my kids.
  10. Finish unpacking.

My #1 priority for August is tracking expenses and income daily – both personal and business.

 

Do you have a crochet plan? Now is a great time to put one in place before the Christmas rush is upon us!

Remember: Don’t give up! Every day is a chance to try again.

 

Happy Crocheting!

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Changing Your Perspective – Year in Review

Do you ever feel like you haven’t made any progress with your crochet business (or even your crochet skills)? This past year has been a true eye opener for me, in more ways than one. We’ve all heard the saying, “don’t look back you’re not going that way.” But I’m going to flip that and say, sometimes it takes looking back at where you started to see just how far you’ve come. Most companies do their year in review in December, or even the end of June, but for me today marks something more significant for my business, as well as me personally.

 

Looking Back - How to take life's struggles and turn them into lessons that you can learn and grow from.

 

Year in Review

 

Exactly one year ago today I had knee surgery to replace my ACL. This was after a very long couple months of personal struggle and I felt deflated. My husband and I had been through a rough time (thankfully we made it to the other side), and I lost a friendship through those struggles with my husband because I leaned too heavily on someone for an ear to listen. Then I tore my ACL while we were moving.

I was ordered to stay off my feet for 3 weeks. I’m always on my feet and never sit for very long, so this left me feeling down and isolated, not to mention pouting and mad. Then, my awesome friend Shilo (from Shilo’s Gifts and Notions) said to me, “Why don’t you get caught up on all those patterns you never have time to publish?” Well, duh…. Why didn’t I think of that?! I proceeded to put all my energy and frustration into my business. That’s when I learned this:

 

There’s a big difference between being still
and doing nothing. 

 

Yes, I had to be still, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do anything. I set out to look on the bright side and see all the positive things I could gain from this lesson I was walking sitting through.

Now, if you ask my husband what I learned he would probably say, “You’re not 20 anymore!”

If you ask my kids they would say, “Don’t jump off the monkey bars!” (It’s a long story, but yes, that’s how I tore my ACL.)

If you ask me, here’s what I’ve learned….

There’s a big difference between “be still” and “do nothing” and I became more determined than ever to keep my mind busy, even if my body had to be still. I ended up staying focused for that first month and published 4 patterns that had been on my to-do list for years!

Jordan Baby Sweater Set & Kisses & Crowns were on my list for months.

Play Ball Sports Fan Set was on my to-do list for 2 years!

Candy Cloud Burst Baby Afghan was on my to-do list for about 3 years!

 

Change Your Perspective to
Change Your Life

 

 

Getting things accomplished feels so good! Become determined to find the sunshine through the rain! Get a journal and write your life lessons down and then learn from them. Do whatever it takes to see how far you’ve come. Here are a few things that worked for me.

Try something new. Pick up your hook and try a new stitch. Try designing your own pattern. Invest in a crochet class to master a new technique. Teach someone else to crochet. Here are 2 blog posts that may help.

One (baby) step at a time. Just because you can’t see how far you’ve come doesn’t mean you’re not moving in the right direction. Make a list and work on just one thing at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture.

Progress looks different for everyone. If you’re struggling with your crochet business, or learning a new stitch, or anything in general, don’t compare yourself to others. Only compare yourself to how you were doing yesterday. Most of all….believe in yourself!

Patience can be one of the hardest things to learn if it doesn’t come naturally. Take a deep breath, count to 10 (or 100), close your eyes and actually imagine yourself calm. Do whatever it takes to practice and learn patience. It’s a skill worth having. I’m still not the most patient person, but I’m working on it. Practice makes perfect!

Stay focused on your goal. Write down your long term goals. What do you want to do in the next year (or two). Take those one or two big goals and break them down into pieces/steps. What can you do in the next 3 months to work towards achieving that goal? Then break that 3 month goal down and decide what you can accomplish in the next 3 weeks. You will have a higher success rate if you review your goal(s) often to keep them fresh in your mind.

If you need more tips, read 5 Challenges to Make You a Better Crocheter.

 

Happy Crocheting!

 

 

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Progress Not Perfection – May 2016

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliates.

 

Progress, Not Perfection - Tips for moving forward in life and business

 

Progress not perfection. We usually hear that phrase about fitness and healthy living. But it’s so much more. It’s about life! Most of us have an endless list of things we want to change about ourselves. I struggle with organization (most creatives do). I’ve been working on it for a couple years….and still working. But because we live in this “fast food” society we expect everything instantaneously….and then get frustrated that we can’t just be someone else tomorrow!

Can you relate? Are there things about yourself you want to change but can’t seem to break out of your old routines? Do you have goals that you’re aiming for but somehow can’t seem to reach? Some changes seem easy, while others seem to be too difficult to change or overcome. There’s something that most of us seem to forget at times.

It’s about progress, not perfection.

 

 

Progress not perfection. We usually hear that phrase about fitness and healthy living. But it's so much more. It's about life! Most of us have an endless list of things we want to change about ourselves. I struggle with organization (most creatives do). I've been working on it for a couple years....and still working. But we live in this "fast food" society where we expect everything instantaneously....and then get frustrated that we can't just be someone else tomorrow! Can you relate? Are there things about yourself you want to change but can't seem to break out of your old routines? Do you have goals that you're aiming for but somehow can't seem to reach? Some changes seem easy, while others seem to be too difficult to change or overcome. There's something that most of us seem to forget at times. It's about progress, not perfection.

 

What does it take to see changes? How long before you feel like you’re making progress? The answers will vary for everyone, but there are certain things we can do to get us closer to that point of being happy with our lives, even when everything isn’t perfect or going as planned. Here are 4 things you can do daily that will help you reach your goals.

Personal Development – Take time every day to read non-fiction. Personal development / self-help, books are a key factor in changing your life. Why? Because it is a constant, in your face reminder, of who you want to be and what you’re striving for.

Not long ago I had a conversation with my mother. She said something to the effect of, “You put positive quotes and messages up on FB all the time but sometimes you still get an attitude.” Yes, I do. I’m not perfect, but those daily reminders remind me of what I am aiming for and who I want to be.

Workout – I know some of you cringe at that word, but hear me out! Crocheters as a whole sit still….A LOT! And it’s not healthy. I’m not saying you need to get a gym membership, or even do a 60 minute workout every day. But if you don’t get up and get moving regularly you’re going to create a whole new set of health problems. Just getting out and going for a 30 minute walk will have a huge impact on your body and your mind.

If you don’t know, I have a fitness page called The Fit Crocheter. I’ve gone from overweight and unhealthy (people asking me when I was due – even though I wasn’t pregnant) to regularly working out, being active with my kids, and still having time to crochet and work, etc. I still have a ways to go, but remember….. it’s progress, not perfection.

To-Do List – I’m a firm believer in making a goals list. But once it’s made, how do you make sure you reach those goals? Write a daily to do list. Most guru’s will recommend not more than 5 things on your list, otherwise it can become discouraging because of time constraints, etc. and you’ll actually be setting yourself up for failure. Most days I try to stick with 3 personal and 3 business. (The mathematical side of my brain needs things to be even, so for me 6 works better than 5.) Sometimes I will put 5 personal things and 5 business things on my list, but that’s a big list and it’s rare I’ll accomplish everything.

Also make some long term goals (3 years). Then decide what you want to accomplish in the next 3 weeks. Finally make your to-do list for the next 3 weeks. I got this method from the Your Best Year planner by Lisa Jacobs and it’s packed with so much useful info!

Laugh – I’m a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes all we can see is the struggle in front of us and we forget that there is always, always something to be thankful for. I went through a rough couple months last year and once I was in that negative thought cycle it was so hard to break free from it! I decided I needed to go back to being grateful and enjoying my life instead of focusing on the bad. While this has nothing to do with keeping your business goals on track, it has everything to do with how you view life. And the more positive your thoughts, the more likely you are to succeed.

Commit to evaluating your progress each month for an entire year. Accountability and commitment are great motivators. Find someone who will check in with you to make sure you’re staying on track with your goals. Be committed to finding what is working and what isn’t. You can’t change if you don’t evaluate what you can do differently. It’s ok to not be exactly where you want right away. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction. If you stumble and fall, or get off track, just hop back on and keep moving forward.

 

Goal Setting

Here are my results for May and new goals for June. Just look at how many things I “failed” at. Just going to pick myself up and try again. Progress, not perfection!

 

MAY GOALS:

  1. Finish creating editorial calendar for 2016.
    This seems to be a WIP for me and I struggle to get more than a month ahead.
  2. Create new file/doc for customers (It’s still a secret).
  3. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
    YES!!!  Tea Time Baby Sweater Set & Jacob’s Prayer Blanket
  4. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
    Working on them, but haven’t finished.
  5. Publish 10 blog posts.
    Nope. Only 5 posts…..fail.
  6. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,214 to 1,300 – 1,215
    Facebook – 6,637 – 6,800 – 6,831
    Pinterest – 4,499 to 6k – 5,339
    Twitter – 597 – 700 – 620
    Instagram – 151 – 200 – 195The only one of these I hit was FB, but I’m ok with that. My focus wasn’t totally on growth but it was on consistency and I did ok with posting regularly.
  7. Get back on track with my goals that I made using my Your Best Year 2016 planner.
  8. Track income and expenses.

What worked & what didn’t work – I’m not sure if anything “worked” for me in May. I feel like the month flew by and I had no real focus to keep me on track with my goals. I’m going to be changing things up a bit for June to see if that will help me stick to my goals better. I need to keep my long term goals front and center.

 

JUNE

When I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod I had this revelation that maybe I’ve been doing my mornings wrong. I still haven’t tweaked them enough to make them perfect but since I’ve implemented his strategy I get much more accomplished during the day. Now I just need to clear the path I’m on to make sure I stay on it. ‘

I decided that, for me, it made more sense to have daily goals on top of my monthly goals. There are things I want to do daily and if I don’t have them on a list they get forgotten about, pushed to “later” (which usually never comes) etc. I’m a mother of 6, I homeschool my 5 daughters, spend 5 days a week at the dance studio, and run my own business. And then I wonder why I can’t remember my goals half the time. HA!

 

DAILY GOALS:

  1. Personal/Business Development – I’m a huge believer in self-improvement. I try to read 10-15 min of a “self-help” book every day. For the second half of the year my focus will be on my word of the year – confidence – as well as business growth and finances.
  2. Review my monthly goal list daily – Review my monthly goal list every single day to make sure I’m staying on track. Hopefully the constant reminder will help me stay focused and prevent the last week of the month scramble to get stuff done and crossed off.
  3. Track my business income daily – This was an idea from my business mentor, Lisa Jacobs from Marketing Creativity. I didn’t see what good it would do, but since I started last week my income seems to have doubled. I’m going to continue to use my Your Best Year planner to write this down every day for June and see how it goes.
  4. Track my personal expenses daily – I hate finances, which is ironic considering I was an accounting major in college. Some of my “fear” comes from the “not enough” mentality both growing up and as a single mom in my early 20’s. I’m ready to face this head on hoping that by tracking things daily it will help me overcome and get our long-term goals on track.
  5. Workout – It’s good for you mentally, as well as physically. (“Daily” has some grace built into it – 4-5 days a week is ideal for me.) One of my goals this year is to get crocheters to see the importance of getting/staying healthy – especially because we sit all day! I have been using beachbody workouts for the past year and love the variety they offer.

 

MONTHLY GOALS:

  1. Track income and expenses.
  2. Finish creating editorial calendar for 2016.
  3. Create new file/doc for customers (It’s still a secret).
  4. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
  5. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
  6. Publish 10 blog posts.
  7. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,215 to 1,300
    Facebook – 6,831 – 7K
    Pinterest – 5,339 to 7k
    Twitter – 620 – 700
    Instagram – 195 – 300
  8. Get back on track with my goals that I made using my Your Best Year 2016 planner.
  9. Create new chore chart for my kids.
  10. Finish unpacking.

My #1 priority for June is tracking expenses and income – both personal and business.

Are you making progress with your goals this year? June is the perfect time to reinvigorate those this you wanted to focus on this year. It’s never too late, so don’t give up! Every morning is a great day to start new.

 

Happy Crocheting!

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Refresh Your Business – April 2016

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all your goals? While goals are a great thing to have, making them a reality can sometimes discourage you quite easily. You struggle to keep moving through the mud pit and hopefully get to the other side with some momentum and motivation to spare. Without some strategic planning you may even burn out (I know from experience). Knowing when to refresh vs when to hit the reset button will help you make it through the daily grind.

Knowing When it's Time to Refresh - Knowing the difference between doing a reset and hitting the refresh button.

 

I started off this year with 200% motivation. I had a plan for the year (thanks to Lisa over at Marketing Creativity!) and everything seemed to be going better than normal. I had goals set up for my business for the year and was working through them. While I wasn’t 100% where I wanted to be, I was happy with the progress I was making because I knew I was moving in the right direction. Then March hit and I feel like I was derailed off my track. I knew it was a crazy, not normal, month but ever since my business has just been in the “day to day” mode of just getting by with what “needs” to be done. I’m not necessarily moving forward with my goals.

I took a step back to do some self-evaluation and that’s when I was reminded of my 5 Things I will NOT Do in 2016 list that I made at the beginning of the year. The very last thing I put on that list was “I will not give up on my goals for 1 full year.” I needed that reminder! I told myself to push the reset button and just start over, but I had a nagging feeling that wasn’t really what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was more like a refresh. I looked up both words and knew it was a refresh that I needed.

Reset – to move (something) back to an original place or position (in mathematical terms it means beginning over at zero)

Refresh – give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.

Both are verbs. As I read the definition of reset, something hit me. I don’t want to go back to the beginning and start over! This was just a detour. I want to get myself back on track and keep going with what I had already started. I decided it’s time for me to reinvigorate my goals and give them a new strength and energy. It’s time to refresh my goals, not reset them!

 

Refresh Your Business

 

 

Refresh Your Business - Simple Steps to refresh when you really just want to start over.


What does it take to refresh your business? I think there are some small things you can do daily that help the most. Here are 4 things you can commit to doing that will help you stay refreshed and keep your business on track.

    1. Reminders – Take time every day to remind yourself of you goals. Visual reminders work best for most people. Some ideas: Make a dream board or write down your goals and make a list of things you want to accomplish with your business.
    2. Written To-Do Lists – I have my yearly goals, then I have them broken down into smaller increments – what I want to accomplish in the next 3 months, then broken down into the next 3 weeks worth of goals. When I stick with this, I do well. I’m not an app person, so I use a planner (actually a couple of them). My friends tried to convert me to calendar apps, and note/list apps, but I just wasn’t using them to my full potential, no matter how hard I tried. So, I went back to my paper planner. Use what works for you!
    3. Self-Evaluation – Commit to evaluating your progress each month for the entire year. Some of it is accountability, but some of it is commitment. I made the commitment to doing these month goal setting posts because I knew I would have to come face to face with what I wasn’t getting done! That was my way of committing to evaluating myself monthly. Be committed to finding what is working and what isn’t. You can’t learn from your mistakes if you can’t admit you’re making any.
    4. Think Positive & Laugh Often – I’m a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine. While this has nothing to do with keeping your business goals on track, it has everything to do with how you view life. And the more positive your thoughts, the more likely you are to succeed.

 

Through this evaluation I realized it’s ok that I’m not exactly where I had hoped to be. I’m still moving forward and hopefully this will put me back on the track I was following. I am committing to doing the above 4 things daily and I will have more progress for May.

 

Goal Setting

Here are my results for April and new goals for May. Why am I doing this monthly?….accountability works!

 

APRIL GOALS:

  1. Create editorial calendar for 2016 – allowing for some wiggle room.
    I started this and am happy with my progress so far. I will continue to work on this in May.
  2. Create 2 new patterns to publish
    Tea Time Baby Sweater Set
  3. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
  4. Publish 10 blog posts –
    I only did 6. I will definitely be making this a priority again in May!
  5. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth
    While I didn’t follow a consistent schedule, I do feel like I made progress.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,195 to 1,250 – 1,214
    Facebook – 6,620 – 6,700 – 6,637
    Pinterest – 3,528 to 5k – 4,499
    Twitter – 563 – 600 – 597
    Instagram – 120 – 150 – 151
  6. Continue to work through Your Best Year 2016 planner + Luminaries Club course.
  7. Track income and expenses.
  8. Outline course details.
    I’m moving this to late spring.

What worked – I feel like the biggest positive for this month was beginning to set up my editorial calendar. This will help me stay on track with blog posting and projects I have in the coming months.

What didn’t work – I was all over the place. I didn’t have a written plan and I don’t feel like much was accomplished toward my long term goals, but I’m prepared to make May better.

 

MAY GOALS:

  1. Finish creating editorial calendar for 2016.
  2. Create new file/doc for customers (It’s still a secret).
  3. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
  4. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
  5. Publish 10 blog posts.
  6. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,214 to 1,300
    Facebook – 6,637 – 6,800
    Pinterest – 4,499 to 6k
    Twitter – 597 – 700
    Instagram – 151 – 200
  7. Get back on track with my goals that I made using my Your Best Year 2016 planner.
  8. Track income and expenses.

My #1 priority for May is to make an editorial calendar for the rest of the year – one that works for me and has some flexibility. Despite the crazy March, and not being very productive in April, I feel like this refresh will give me some momentum going forward.

Do you have any suggestions for getting back on track with your goals? It’s never too late, so don’t give up! Just keep moving forward.

 

Happy Crocheting!

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Grace in Goal Setting – March 2016

Have you ever looked at your calendar for the upcoming month and thought… “Yikes. It’s going to be a busy month!” That’s what I thought as I looked at my March calendar last month and saw publisher deadlines, designer deadlines/commitments, and interviews I had made for National Crochet Month, not to mention extra personal commitments like 2 dance competitions and out-of-state family here for Easter. As I wrote out my to-do list I wondered how I was going to get it all done.

How to adjust your creative business when things don't go according to plan

When looking at my list, at first glance, there was nothing that could get put off until April. I work well under pressure, but I felt this was more extreme than my normal crazy, so it still stressed me out! Here was my reality….

  • I had 2 tech editing deadlines with publishers.
  • I had 2 designs due.
  • Crochet orders due.
  • 3 written interviews for National Crochet Month. (Two have been published so far and you can read them here. Crochetville NatCroMo blog tour & CGOA Member Spotlight)
  • I agreed to help admin round 9 of Battle of the Stitches.
  • My girls had 2 weekends of dance competition.
  • I had my brother and sister coming in from out of state.

And this was all on top of my already crazy schedule! (which involves homeschooling, dance studio 5 days a week, and my regular workload). The first decision I made was to take the week my brothers and sister were here off from school. We hadn’t all been together in 12+ years, so that was my priority. I wanted to spend as much time with family as possible. We are way ahead of schedule in school (we started in July after my ACL surgery last summer) so even with a week off we’re on track to be done end of May. One less commitment that week….phew! Unfortunately that was about the only thing I felt could get taken off my list.

As the month progressed, there were days where I felt like I was drowning in work. At some point, more than half-way into the month, I realized something. I wasn’t going to get it all done. Not only was I not going to get through my “extra” workload list, but I hadn’t made my March goal setting list a priority either. I could get upset and feel like a failure, or I could learn to allow myself some grace.

 

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

 

So, I decided to let go of what I couldn’t do, deadlines I couldn’t meet, and just enjoy my family time and be happy I didn’t crash all together from the crazy schedule. When I was doing my monthly goal planning and review I had to keep in mind how far I’ve come in just a couple months, because I wanted to get discouraged by what I haven’t done yet.

 

Grace in Goal Setting

 

 

How to adjust when things don't go according to plan


* This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love!

I made myself a promise when I wrote the post 5 Things I Will NOT Do in 2016. The very last thing on that list was “I will not give up on my goals for 1 full year”. To clarify that comment and take it a step further, I’ve never had any intention of “giving up” on my goals altogether. I just seem to go through fazes where, if I get overwhelmed, I burn out and take a month (or more) off from everything. That’s the part I won’t do this year!

One of the key things I have done this year to keep myself motivated is to stay plugged in to learning. Personal development is key! Here are 3 things I am doing this year to stay motivated.

    1. Personal Development – Every day I try to read 10-15 minutes from a book that is considered a self-help book. Some are based no personal growth and some are business based. One book this year has stood out to me the most. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) gave me some eye opening insight into how to get more done in my day. It laid out a daily game plan for my morning and if I stick to it I get tons accomplished each day.
    2. Stay Connected – Support is so important when you have a creative business! I found the perfect community (for me and my business needs) when I found Marketing Creativity. Lisa’s blog posts just resonate with me like I’m sitting in a room with her and she’s speaking directly to me. So I joined The Luminaries Club (which is her private membership club with coaching, support, and classes). I believe so strongly in the support I get from there that I made a decision to cancel all other coaching emails and subscriptions I have! When you find what works for you, stop looking.
    3. Make a Plan – I use a daily/weekly planner (like the Erin Condren Life Planner) to keep track of all my personal, business, and blog commitments and deadlines. I also use the Your Best Year 2016 planner by Marketing Creativity. It is the only life/creative business planner I will use. I use it to evaluate and plan my year, as well as keeping me on track with my dreams and goals.

 

Through allowing myself some grace for March I realized a few things. Because March is National Crochet Month, I need to make a note of that for next year so that I can plan better and not over commit.

 

Goal Setting

I was committed to making monthly goals and then tracking my progress here….accountability works! Here are my results for March and my new goals for April.

MARCH GOALS:

  1. Create my opt-in freebie
    This is done! It felt so good to cross this off considering it’s been on my to-do list for months!
  2. Create 2 new patterns to publish
    Only 1 – Oakley Fringe Cowl
  3. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns
    Only 1 – Rainforest Poncho
  4. Publish 10 new blog posts in March
    Only published 8.
  5. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth
    – While I didn’t see the growth in my numbers the way I had hoped, I did spend consistent time on social media. The 3x a day for a few minutes each seemed to work better for me and my schedule/lifestyle.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,168 to 1,285 (10% goal) – 1195
    Facebook – 6,595 – 6,727 (2% goal) – 6620
    Pinterest – 2,128 to 4,256 (100% goal – going for broke!) – 3528
    Twitter – 550 – 605 (10% goal) – 563
    Instagram – 88 – 176 (100% goal) – 120
  6. Continue to work through Your Best Year 2016 planner + Luminaries Club
    I’m not crossing this off because I did very little this month. It just got bumped down on my priority list because of everything else going on. It won’t happen again!
  7. Finish unpacking my school/work room.
  8. Track income and expenses.

 

APRIL GOALS:

  1. Create editorial calendar for 2016 – allowing for some wiggle room.
  2. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
  3. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
  4. Publish 10 blog posts.
  5. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,195 to 1,250
    Facebook – 6,620 – 6,700
    Pinterest – 3,528 to 5k
    Twitter – 563 – 600
    Instagram – 120 – 150
  6. Continue to work through Your Best Year 2016 planner + Luminaries Club course.
  7. Track income and expenses.
  8. Outline course details.

What worked – I was all set to postpone #1 off to April. On March 30th I decided I had been putting it off for about 6 months and I decided I wasn’t going to allow myself to do it again. So I sat down for a couple hours and designed a pdf. It’s primary function is for taking notes while writing a new pattern, but would equally as well for jotting down notes from a pattern you’re reading. You can now receive my “Pattern Notes” pdf when you sign up for my newsletter.
Pattern Notes

 

What didn’t work – I will definitely make a note for next year to make sure I don’t over commit to March.  National Crochet Month is something that can be managed with a bit better planning.

My #1 priority for April is to make an editorial calendar for the rest of the year – one that works for me and has some flexibility. Despite the crazy March I’m feeling like I’m seeing growth and progress overall. Are you still making progress with your goals for the year? It’s not too late to jump back on track and keep moving forward.

Happy Crocheting!

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