by Alison Stapleton
Your End of Year Review
As the year comes to an end it is a great time to see where you are in your crochet micro-business and do a review.
Looking back over the highlights of your year can help you plan for the next twelve months.
In December there are often many things going on both in your private life and in your business life.
If you have a small crochet business make time to look back at the year your have just lived and see how you have improved since January.
Take a break
For us Christmas is a time for family so I like to rest and spend my time with my husband and family.
I like to take a break from my crochet business in the week between Christmas and the New Year.
This week is also a slow time for business and many customers have switched off and are doing the same.
But in December before The big day hits us there is time to look back at the year that just passed
Running a micro business does mean you have to do some paperwork. In your notebook on January 1st list the numbers of:
- Your business bank balance
- Completed items not sold yet (as a dollar value)
- Your social media presence; Facebook page fans, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers and Instagram followers etc.
- Your mailing list subscribers
These are all numbers that should grow every year.
Not all social media works for everyone. You may find you got into Facebook early on and you simply love it and maybe you have not yet explored Pinterest or Instagram. If one of your social media channels is doing better than another I suggest you drop the weaker one.
It is better to do one or two things well than do many things poorly.
I have concentrated on Instagram in the past year. I expect the time I spend on social media is much the same but I have developed a better understanding of how Instagram works.
In the next year I may try to understand another social media channel as we don’t know what will be the next big thing.
You only have one or two hours a week for administration of your business. That means:
- Website maintenance (clearing spam and general updating)
- Buying stationery (bags for your items, tags and labels)
- Invoicing and emails with customers
- Maintaining your Etsy or other online store
- Going to the post office to post your sales
Limit the time you spend on maintenance and put more time towards creating.
100% of your time
You don’t spend all your time doing crochet. You may have one or even two other jobs, but of all the time you have available to put towards you micro craft business it represents 100% of. your time.
Your hours available could be 5, 10 or 40 hours a week. For some of you it will be 50 plus hours a week.
How much time do you spend on your micro business was each week?
A percentage of your available time can be put towards your micro business. Whatever that time is, it represents the full amount of the time.
If you have a day job you will have less time each week for your micro business.
If you are a stay-at-home Mom your will likely have time in the day, but it may be in small chunks as your day unfolds and the kids nap and play.
There could be half an hour in the early morning as you have that first cup of coffee before your wake you family and the day begins.
There could be 15 minutes as you sit in the car and wait for the kids to come out of school.
There is likely to be time after dinner when you catch up with your family on their day or in front of the TV at night.
Weekends can be very different as your family has other needs and demands on your time.
I like to crochet in the park on a Saturday afternoon. I may take my notebook and sketch as well but it is a time for ideas and shapes to form. I can also jot some pattern ideas and diagrams in the fresh air. I have a notebook for creative ideas and buy a new one each year. I like the Moleskine A5 size with plain (no lines) pages.
On Sundays I take it easier and will try new stitches and yarns that I have not used before. I call it my free crochet time. I’m still with a hook in my hand, but I leave my weekly projects and try something new. It keeps my mind fresh and open to new things.
Have a good look at your day and find the time in hours, half-hours and fifteen minutes slots. Then add it all up.
Once you know your available time each day in hours you can calculate how much time you should spend on each activity.
How to use the time available
Of the 100% available time you can break it up as follows:
- 15% business promotion on social media
- 20% writing your blog, books and articles
- 60% crafting and creating your goods
If you let your creative time slip to less than half of your time available, you can lose the magic. Always keep your creative crochet time to more than half of your available time.
Weekdays are different to weekends.
If you make your crochet in the evening when you are watching TV do the social media and promotion at the weekends.
This method makes sense if you have a day job as you may be weary after your day at work. And if you have kids to look after there can be quiet times in the evening after the kids have gone to bed.
Preserve your creative time
Preserve and reserve your creative time. As it is what you love and the creative work soothes. Keep doing to creative work this is important.
Don’t let the running of your micro-business rob you of your love of crochet as this is what got you started in the first place.
A Little Exercise for You
Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to help you fine tune your motives for doing the crochet in the first place and the reasons that you will continue to do so next year (or not).
You have to be honest with yourself and the answers will help you discover your inner drives and show a reason to continue.
Running a micro-business is not for everyone. To have a crochet micro-business may be something that you have done for a couple of years.
You may find that the need has passed and you can go back to just crocheting the odd item as it takes your fancy, without the pressure to craft at a high standard suitable for resale.
How do you feel about having to make goods on demand instead of whatever takes your fancy as before?
How many sales (by item) did you have this year?
Did you make any money? Did you lose money? Do you even know?
Did you like doing it?
Will you continue next year or will you choose to let your dream of having a crochet micro-business go?
Did the crocheting make you happy?
Do you complain all the time about weak sales or lack of sales?
Do you resent having to constantly be thinking about this business?
Who are you doing it for, yourself, your partner, your mother-in-law?
What are you doing it all for, money, status, independence or respect?
Are you looking forward to a prosperous New Year?
We will have a look at your next year’s crochet micro-business goals in another post.