Discipline/September In Review

I'd been waiting for the right time to use that quote!

I'd been waiting for the right time to use that quote!

This month flew by so fast! And at the same time, so much has happened since I wrote the August review that... it feels like it's been going on for longer than a month. And let's just say I'm about to give up on planning goals, because not only do they not happen, something even bigger takes its place. Nah, I'm kidding. I'll still write goals... but it's so interesting to see what I think I'll do and what actually happens. August's unplanned big change was starting a youtube channel. September's is making teaching local classes (and online ones) a reality. I think the most interesting part is that in August's review, I was talking about patience and how a slow build can be a good thing, and yet September was anything but.

I'm not going to get into the massive charts this month and counting likes, especially since this month I sat down to think about my why (and it's not about how many people like me), but I still want to go over everything and general growth patterns. And while it's not about that, do not equate that with a lack of appreciation for my followers (geez, I sound like a cult leader). THANK YOU!!! You all are special to me!

MARKETING/ANALYTICS

All of the social media accounts saw significant growth. In fact, I wasn't sure how I'd get the same kind of growth on Facebook as I did the previous month, but I was gladly mistaken. In fact, it was almost exactly the same. I started out September with 103 likes on the page, having gained 31 in the month of August. And now, at the beginning of October (as of the writing of this post) it's at 131 likes. Twitter also got a huge jump with, surprisingly, most of the new followers being other entrepreneurs, and I was added to lists for spreading joy and inspiration and motivation - which means that my inspirational posts are actually making an impact on somebody out there, not just my friends. I am really happy about that! 

I added two videos to my Youtube channel: how to needle felt on shoes (which was actually set up more like a tutorial), and a progress video of making a life-size needle felted hand

Overall, what improved is how often I post, and definitely engagement. I remember when I first started posting on my Facebook page, I would get maybe one or two likes. This month I feel like I loosened up a bit, posting on my art page as if it were a personal page, posting often, changing things up, putting out things I've learned, and it's so exciting to see people starting to interact on there! Moral of the story: if you want more engagement, treat your page like it's personal, and treat your followers like your friends. People are far more likely to interact on things that don't feel so... serious.

PRODUCT

I MADE SO MUCH STUFF!

Like all this.

Pendants galore, and the tree display to go with it!

Pendants galore, and the tree display to go with it!

And this.

Gnome in his gnome-home

Gnome in his gnome-home

And these. (the photo is available as a desktop wallpaper)

Lovely felt acorns

Lovely felt acorns

And who can forget about this?

My new favorite sweater!

My new favorite sweater!

Also not pictured is a wet felted rock pillow, because I didn't get a chance to photo it before it made its way upstairs to bed where I sleep with it every night. I wonder if I made a bunch, I could say I sleep on a bed of rocks?

The kaleidoscope pendants are now all officially listed on Etsy. Nobody bought them at Oktoberfest, BUT, it wasn't exactly a craft fair, I didn't exactly make it appear as though I was selling anything, and they did serve the purpose of getting people to come over to the table to check everything out WHERE I got most of them to take a stab at needle felting and grow interest in my upcoming classes. That was my primary goal there, selling stuff was just a bonus. I'll go over the Oktoberfest more in my October review. I will be adding the acorns, acorn pendant/ornaments and possibly the gnome home to my shop sometime this week. That is, if I don't give in and give it to my children out of gratitude for not giving me a hard time about getting ready for the festival. I can always make another one.

As far as sales go, I did sell the little prince ball at the beginning of the month. For those of you new to my work, it's this one.

It is now enjoying it's new home somewhere on the Isle of Man! The recipient also left a wonderful five star review in my shop, which desperately needed it since there haven't been any reviews (despite a few sales) since I sold jewelry - beaded, not needle felted - 8 years ago.

SEPTEMBER GOALS IN REVIEW

OK, this is going to be fun. Let's see how many of these did not happen.

  • Make more stuff! That actually did happen, and I made quite a bit more than I was expecting to make. 
  • Add two more products to TPT. Two shouldn't be difficult to attain. Nope. And Ha, little did I know... TPT, I promise you'll get some love from me at some point. At least the free stuff in there is keeping people happy!
  • Find my balance. With this, I think I overcompensated in the opposite direction, to the point that my husband was showing concern over how much time I was spending on my business and pretty much nothing else (other than of course a doing a handful of things with the kids and keeping the humans alive) - housekeeping of any sort definitely fell on the back burner. This is still very much a goal for next month, and probably the month after that as well. Actually, it's probably something that needs fine tuning all the time as I go along and more things are added to my plate.
  • Since a good portion of my new followers are other needle felters, I'd like to get some posts on the blog with helpful tips on needle felting. Maybe an infographic or few that can be printed out for easy reference. This kindof happened. I definitely posted a lot more about needle felting, including a whole series of the history of it, on my Facebook page. I am definitely going to do more on my blog. That is definitely where I want to take this blog. Happy inspirational/motivational posts and felt. And of course some kids art lessons - I still get asked about that (including at Oktoberfest).
  • Be on the lookout for calls for artists. That did not happen. I DO have one contest I am planning on entering, and it's due November 1st, so that is on my goal for this month to get it done.

GOALS FOR OCTOBER

I'm going to make it easy on myself and include a few things I know are happening this month!

  • Tweak my work-life balance.
  • Make tutorials and put together supply kits to sell with them. 
  • Start teaching local needle felting workshops.
  • Learn to dye wool.
  • Blog about needle felting.
  • Start sending emails. (If you'd like in on this, if you go to the main blog page, there is a sign up for my "Star Magnolias Heartfelt Letters" - I promise, they will be worth it.)
  • Complete the entry for a cover contest and send it in.

So my overall feelings about September? I think I have better discipline and a sense of direction than I did at the start of the month. It was sort of like treading water near the shallow end of the pool. I was in, but staying close enough to safety. Then, about halfway in (when I posted about fearing success) I really think I started to learn how to swim, and it's not so scary now. When things really started moving, I buckled down and got to work, some nights not getting bed until 2am. And even with that, instead of sleeping in, I was asking my husband to wake me up when he got up in the morning so I could get back to work. I made it official with new business cards, I'm okay with telling people where this is going, and it's all good!