There are a whole LOT of things you CAN do at the beginning of the month, but if you’re a solopreneur running a craft business, Etsy shop, or selling at craft shows, you likely have more tasks than you do time.
So let’s keep things simple, and focus on 3 important tasks that will set you up for a successful month ahead.
I cover these 3 things, and more, in The Success Planner.
If you’d like more depth, worksheets to help you get organized, and a 5-step plan to organize your year, months, and weeks to hit your big goal, check it out The Success Planner for your Handmade Business
1) Set your financial goal
I’m not about setting a bunch of goals each month. I believe a business owner needs one goal for the year: how much money they want to earn.
Then that goal should be broken down for each month of the year (based on a business’s busy and slow times).
Some people set goals for each month such as: sell at X number of craft shows, launch a new product, get into a new retailer, etc.
I define those as “projects” that help you reach your financial goal.
It’s easier to look at one goal (e.g. earn $1000 in revenue next month) and then determine what type of projects will get you there.
With a financial goal, you know if you had a successful month; did you make $1000 in revenue or not?
On the other hand, if you set a “goal” to sell at 2 craft shows but you only sell at one, did you succeed or fail that month? You may have been more profitable selling at that one craft show than if you would have if you sold at two.
When you start with one goal (e.g. earn $1000), then you can sort through projects that will help you reach that goal.
It also makes you laser focused on your goal.
Meaning, earn $1000 in revenue is easy to remember, to focus on, and to break down (e.g. earn approximately $33/day or “I need to sell $500 of product at this month’s craft show”).
On the other hand, when you set goals such as: sell at X number of craft show, launch a new product, get into a new retail store, list 10 items on Etsy, etc. it’s much easier to feel overwhelmed, lose sight of some of your goals, and be confused about what you should work on and when.
I have personally found, when I put a number in my head and know exactly what I need to earn each day to reach it, I’m so much more likely to hit that goal than when I simply float through a month, hoping for the best.
Set a financial goal for the month.
Make it realistic (you don’t want to doubt you can hit it), but a little exciting (stretch that goal a little higher than what’s comfortable).
2) Choose one big project
As mentioned in the last step, a project is something that will help you reach your goal.
If you want to earn $1000 this month and you don’t typically earn around $30/day, you’ll need to implement methods that will give your sales a little push. Such as:
- running a sale
- launching a new product
- creating a new marketing plan
- selling at a craft show
- listing more products on Etsy
- getting a big wholesale order
As a solopreneur, you won’t be able to fit all these projects in in a month.
So choose one project to focus on. It should be the project that has the best chance of producing the most revenue.
You may work on other projects in a month, but only one should be the focus at a time.
For example, if you want to run a sale to clear out stock so you have money to buy more materials to launch a new product, focus on getting set up for that sale first.
Once you have all your ducks in a row with that first project, even if it hasn’t reached completion, you can focus on a new project.
For example, running a sale may be a project that’s going to give my sales the biggest boost next month. At the start of the month I may define which items to mark down, create images to advertise and market the sale, and draft newsletters to announce the sale to subscribers. But if I’m running the sale the second week of the month, I’m not quite ready to complete the project. Now that everything is prepped, I have a clear plan, and know the tasks required to complete the project, I can start focusing on my next project.
For each project, define the steps required to complete it.
Then break each step down into small and easy to complete tasks.
A task should be something you can complete within a workday. That ensures it’s small enough you won’t procrastinate on it, you’ll complete something each day, and you’ll be left with a sense of accomplishment.
List projects that will help you reach your monetary goal next month and choose one to focus on first.
Reflect on last month to determine what went well and what didn’t.
Use business metrics to define successful and unsuccessful projects.
I wrote an article on the important metrics you should be calculating each month, which you can read here:
Some of the most important metrics you need to look at:
- Return on investment
- Conversion rates
- Units per transaction
- Return customer rate
If you constantly work on improving those 5 metrics, you’ll see significant growth.
Based on your calculations, you can determine which tasks and investments you should repeat, improve, or reduce next month.
For example, if you calculate the ROI of a Facebook ad and realize that you spent $100 but that ad only lead to two $20 sales, you lost money on that ad investment.
You may decide to stop spending time and money on Facebook ads, or you may choose to improve your tactics, for which, you’ll need to look at your conversion rates.
- Is it the ad that’s a problem? Is it not attracting enough attention? Your ad design, call to action, the people it’s targeting, etc. may need improvement.
- Or is the ad getting hundreds of people to click, but once they get to your online shop, they’re not buying? In this case, your website design, product photos, product description, price, etc. may need improvement.
- And if lots of people are visiting your online shop, putting an item in their carts, but the majority aren’t completing their purchase, something during the checkout process needs improvement; shipping fees, the process/info they must enter, or perhaps there’s a glitch with your checkout.
If you don’t take the time to analyze last month’s numbers, you can’t properly plan next month to build on successes and ensure you’re not repeating mistakes.
Go through your business’s metrics and determine which projects and tasks should be repeated as is, improved upon, or should get less or your attention this upcoming month.
With these 3 steps, you can create a solid plan for your small business that will set you up for success.
Here are a few more best practices to keep in mind throughout the month: 6 Small Business Best Practices that are Commonly Ignored
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!