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Your Best Year 2015 Planner is Here!

Your Best Year 2015 Planner by Lisa Jacobs

Hello and happy holiday season to you! It’s Lisa here, and I’m excited to announce the second annual release of Your Best Year: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner. I shared this tool last year on Handmade Success, and I’m so grateful to be back with the 2015 edition.

Your Best Year 2014 sold thousands of copies and I received a lot of feedback on the first version. I heard you! You wanted less calendar, more exercises and prompts. Check! You wanted a more affordable printed version. Check! In addition to all of your glorious reviews, there were a few things I wanted to improve to make the planner more functional and motivational. 

I know you’re going to love Your Best Year 2015! Want a sneak peak? Click here for a video walk-through featuring all the new and lovely details.

As part of the final draft, I do a proofread and practice through all of the exercises to make sure they flow the way I want them to. In a few short pages, this text had me seeing life more clearly and breathing in huge sighs of relief. It’s been awhile since I’ve had this deep a reflection, and I went from stressed and overwhelmed to incredibly grateful for all that blesses my Life.

By page 30 I was so lost in the exercises, I forgot that I was proof-reading! It’s a planning and review machine. Seriously.

Before You Begin

I just love to start a new year with a clean slate, don’t you? I’d like to leave you with an excerpt from Your Best Year 2015 by prompting you to create a 15 before 2015 list! 

  • Consider what you need to clear out of the way before you can really get to work on next year’s big goals.
  • What unfinished business needs to be attended to so you can end this year with a clean slate?
  • Which projects need more research, or simply let go of, so you can make room for more of what you want to enter your life?
  • What or whom do you need to say “no” to right now?
  • Which people, activities and events do you want to be present for with the rest of 2014?
  • What would have to happen in this last quarter to make 2014 feel like an absolute success?

Use your answers to those questions to help create 15 goals you’d like to complete before 2015 (here are mine). Then, get your copy of Your Best Year 2015: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner to make the most of the year ahead. Here’s to your success! 


Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity

Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be … you.

Stress-Free Holiday Selling: The Mega-Ultimate Planning & Marketing Strategy Guide

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and we know you have enough on your plate as a handmade seller, even before the holiday madness starts. The little elves over at MadeFreshly want to make your holiday selling season jollier and smoother so they made this free, downloadable–even printable “Holiday Sales Guide”.


This holiday planning guide will leave you knowing how to:
  • Create promotional material that converts
  • Promote your sale across all platforms (before and during sale)
  • Time your offers (with day-by-day example sale templates)
  • Be customer service ready
This guide also includes:
    • Holiday Planning Checklist for marketing strategy
    • Promotional Content Calendar

Download your Free Holiday Planning Checklist and Promotional Content Calendar Now! 

Let our tried and true tips make this holiday time less stressful and more organized…all you have to do is read and apply what you’ve learned. Afterward, you’ll even save yourself enough time to leave Santa and his reindeer some cookies and carrots…or crafts. Here are the key strategies laid out simply in MadeFreshly’s Mega-Ultimate Holiday Planning and Marketing Strategy Guide. The full article contains all of our useful advice but if you’re busy crafting and short on time, below is the condensed version of our sales guide. Read ahead to get ahead because your holiday selling season can’t afford to miss any tip here.

Before The Sale Be proactive, not reactive when it comes to preparing for the holiday sales season. Choose the deal you’re going to offer

  1. Define your profit margin
  2. Decide how much you can afford to discount

    *Bonus tip: This is a great time to get rid of excess inventory! 02_discounts1 Marketing Channels to Promote Your Sale Your promotional material or creative has two main goals:

  1. Lay out all sales information clearly
  2. Create a sense of urgency and desire

Focus on your strengths and make sure your promotional material is consistent and creative.

Channels to promote your deals:

Homepages/landing banners: Include promotional material on your own website so customers know there is consistency between internal and external marketing.

Social media platforms: Promote on any and all social media sites to get the most eyes possible checkin’ out your one-of-a-kind deals.

Send out an email newsletter: Copyblogger lays out 37 tips for writing emails that actually get opened and read. Check out MailChimp too and have your newsletter emails automatically distributed.

Promotional blog posts: Spark customers’ interests with a blog post showing the usefulness of your products and then mention you’re having an awesome sale coming up. Remember, customers want to know your product can solve a problem and make their life easier!

How to Create the Right Copy and Images for Your Promotion

When writing your copy:
  • Include a discount code
  • Be clear and specific
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Include a link with a Call-to-Action

    Here’s a great example of a promotional image with copy included: 07_SimpleBoldEnticing1 Make sure: -The image is clear and eye-catching -You include text, but not too much -Has a Call-to-Action: “Shop Now” -The image is the right size for each platform Here’s a cheat sheet for social media image sizes: social-media-image-size-cheat-sheet Part of the excitement of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is because of the limited time deals. Make sure you stress that element of “limited time” in your creative.

If your deal is for a limited time, shoppers won’t want to miss so make sure you stress the urgency of buying NOW.


“Black Friday Sale!”

75% OFF FROM 10:00AM – 12:00PM

65% OFF FROM 12:00PM – 3:00PM

50% OFF FROM 3:00PM – 10:00PM

The Most Important Part of Your Promotional Creative That You Probably Don’t Know About

If you don’t get anything else out of this section, make sure you remember to carry your creative consistently throughout the entire promotional process.

How’s that for alliteration? Consistently Carry Creative

Customers go through a 5-step process when deciding to take the final purchase plunge. Your consistent copy needs to meet them at every step and encourage them they are making the right choice. decision-making How to Time Your Holiday Deals-From Beginning to End

Not sure what deals to give on which days, or how to market them to get the most out of your sales? Not to worry, here are example sale templates you can use to guide your sales. Remember, your deals could be slightly different depending on your profit margin!

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale 09_BlackFriCyberMon1 Right upfront, your best holiday deals should be especially focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday because that’s when you’re going to generate the most money. But whatever you do, don’t offer the same deal every day…you want to lead customers with a sense of…wait for it…URGENCY!

Black Friday

Marketing: Again, urgency with your ads and deals are key. “60% OFF or BUY 1 GET 1 FREE” are always great to use.

Your second best deals, after Cyber Monday, should be marketed today so make ‘em worth the virtual trip to your store!

marketing01_blackfriday1 Saturday

Marketing: You know what I’m going to say…urgency. Let your customers know today’s deal won’t be as good as tomorrow’s so they need take advantage of today.

“25% OFF” is a solid deal…it’s less off than Black Friday but more discounted than Sunday. marketing02_sat1 Sunday

Marketing: Get your customers excited for Cyber Monday with some well-thought out promotional creative. No one likes a tease…but a little something to look forward to never hurt!

FREE SHIPPING ALL DAY goes a long way. marketing03_sun1 Cyber Monday

Marketing: Today is the day to finally let it all go. Let loose and offer your best deal of the season. Be clear and direct…you want customers to understand exactly what and how great your deal is.

“70% OFF TODAY ONLY” is an example. marketing04_mon1 Tuesday

Marketing: Include one last deal that rounds up all of the customers who weren’t able to catch your Friday through Monday deals–20% OFF gives them a chance to still save but not get the same bargain as the weekend shoppers. marketing05_tue1Christmas Sale

A FREE SHIPPING deal is perfect for your ecommerce shoppers who missed the Black Friday/Cyber Monday craze.

      • Decide your cut-off date on offering free shipping so your customers can receive their gifts in time for Christmas.

10_Free-shipping1 New Year’s Sale

People celebrate the new year like it’s a holiday, so why not ring ‘em in with a deal? 10%-20% OFF should be enough to get them to your store. marketing06_ny1Be Ready For Questions

People always have questions so be ready to happily answer. That little extra customer service turns first time customers, into loyal, repeat ones! Common questions:

  • How long will my product take to ship?
  • Will it ship internationally?
  • What’s your return policy?

Get Planning Now for a Stress-Free Holiday Season!

I know after reading these tips you’re eager to know more…and there is more! Download our Promotional Content Calendar here that will help you lay out your marketing plan for November and December. All you have to do is cut and paste your copy and images. Start planning now and you’ll be totally prepared for the holiday craziness that is about to ensue! Get even more detailed marketing strategy in the full article here: The Mega-Ultimate Holiday Planning and Marketing Strategy Guide (With Snowflakes On Top).


This is a guest post from Rachel at MadeFreshly: Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!

A Creative Business Planning + Yoga Workshop


Imagine an archer placing their arrow in their bow then slowly drawing the arrow back. Focused on their target, the arrow is released forward towards the target. That arrow cannot fly forward without first slowing down and moving backwards. This workshop is going to enable you to slow down, focus and then aim for your dreams.

Slow down.  

In this afternoon event, Jena CorayBettie Newell and Kerry Burki will be giving you tools to to discover your strengths and weaknesses and help you use them to grow your business.
Often we find ourselves racing towards our goals and not always taking the time to see how far we have already come. Our frantic path prevents us from learning from our mistakes, being happy with where we are right now, and getting clear on where we want to go.
This workshop will teach you:
  • simple yoga moves + stretches that you can incorporate into your daily routine
  • about how slowing down + stretching can help you and your business
  • how to release tension + stress

Enjoy the present.

By slowing down, writing down your experiences and also sharing with others you will be able to create a one page business plan that can guide your business.
We will use interactive worksheets, discussion and gentle yoga poses to assist you in:
  • discovering what has worked for your business in the past + what could be changed
  • getting clarity on what your business is + finding happiness in the present stage your business is in
  • envisioning the future of your business + using your past + present experiences to get you there
Each attendee will also receive a pdf of version of the yoga routines, worksheets and business plan so that they can be used over and over again.
In this workshop we will also provide support, a caring environment, opportunity for networking, light snacks and refreshments.
Bettie, Jena and Kerry have been helping creatives independently for years and have all been a part of contributing to Handmade Success for the past 3 years. They are very excited to be coming together to offer this unique business event for you in the heart of Portland.

Move forward.

Our hope is that each participant will leave this workshop with
  • tips and ideas for creating a simple + dynamic business plan to guide them into the future
  • a sense of relaxation + stress relief from performing simple poses + hearing stories from like-minded individuals
  • connections and support from fellow participants + presenters
  • tools to continue to keep their business fresh + goal-oriented
  • knowledge of some gentle yoga poses that can relax + invigorate at any time of the day
Help us spread the word! Click to tweet any of the following:
I’m slowing down to move forward at this creative business planning + yoga workshop in Portland, June 7th!
Excited to slow down & move forward at this yoga + business workshop from @handmadesuccess & @MakersNation- see you there?
Slow Down to Move Forward with @bettienewell @kerryburki & @jenacoray, a business planning + yoga workshop this summer in PDX

Ready to sign up? This 4 hour workshop is only $65!



Learn more about us:


Jena Coray is a writer, teacher, marketing maven and serial entrepreneur who sums it all up by calling herself a “mojo maker”. Through her blog and newsletter, e-books and one-on-one consults, she helps creative entrepreneurs gain confidence and know-how in self-promotion and overcome the self-doubt & fear that often stands in the their way. When she’s not behind the computer, she’s probably singing at the piano, or digging in the garden, playing with tarot cards or checking the moon phases, watching bad tv with a cat in her lap or eating chimichangas with her awesome, creative mister.

bettie head small

Bettie Newell is a business lawyer and lifestyle photographer living in Portland, Oregon. An avid thrift shopper since she was 15 years old, Bettie loves all things vintage, red and polka dotted. She has two beautiful, sassy daughters, two tiny, ridiculous dogs, a small flock of urban chickens and one incredibly patient and supportive husband. With one half of her professional life, Bettie counsels businesses ranging from solo creative ventures to large corporations on all issues from start-up to dissolution. She spends the balance of her work time shooting portrait sessions (and the occasional wedding) with an emphasis on real moments and unique stories. You can visit her at


Kerry Burki is a handmade advocate and yoga teacher. She has spent the past 3 1/2 years supporting the handmade community as the editor of Handmade Success. Before that she worked with creatives through Waste Not Paper and Green Paper Company. All along she has worked with helping people relax, reduce stress and feel good about themselves through yoga. She recently started working one-on-one with small business owners using her knowledge of blogging, social media and websites along with yoga and self-care to help them grow their business. Learn more at



Maker’s Nation arms creative entrepreneurs with key business skills and helps them build a strong community they need to thrive in the creative economy.

As makers and doers, we tend to isolate ourselves in our studios and workspaces and hide behind our computers. And when we try to handle every aspect of our business on our own, we tend to do more harm than good.

Our answer to this common problem? A robust community support network of like-minded individuals along with a platform on which to learn and develop business skills that will allow you to further your professional goals. There’s power in spending time with peers face to face in real life, and we believe you’ll be a better business owner for it.


Handmade Success is a place where creatives are supported and celebrated! This whole site has been created for creative entrepreneurs and all of those who love handmade! You will find tons of advice, inspiration, practical how to’s for your business and/or your creative endeavors. You will also find amazing handmade shops and resources!




Museum of Contemporary Craft is a vibrant center for investigation and dialogue that helps expand the definition and exploration of craft. Through dynamic exhibitions and provocative public programming, supported by the Museum’s collection and archives, the Museum advances the conversation on the role of craft and design in contemporary culture while at the same time honoring the history of the studio craft movement.


Feel free to email Kerry at with any questions! There is also more information on our event page.

Indie Retail – New Class + Giveaway!

hi-res-giveawaySelling your work to shops can be a pretty intimidating prospect for creative people.

Give us some crafty tools and materials and we know exactly what to do.

Tell us we have to pitch our stuff to a retailer?


But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The fact is that indie boutiques and galleries need lovely things like yours to put on their shelves. Shopkeepers are always searching for ways to stand out from the competition, and stocking unique, artist-made items is a major way to do that.

But simply knowing this doesn’t make approaching stores about your work any easier.

That’s why award-winning indie shopkeeper Clare Yuille created What Retailers Want – the popular training program in selling your work to shops.

Clare is our monthly retail contributor here on Handmade Success, and as the founder of Indie Retail Academy, she knows what makes retailers say YES.

And you know what?

The home study version of What Retailers Want goes live today!

After three wildly successful live intakes, the class is now available as a digital product.

No waiting for weekly lessons or clearing your schedule for live calls. Download the complete program with a click and work through it at your own pace.

To celebrate the launch there’s a pretty sweet bonus offer happening right now too – click here to see the full details.

But that’s not even the best part.

Clare’s offering one Handmade Success reader her entire catalogue of digital programs, plus a 1-to-1 coaching package – for FREE.

That includes:

·         What Retailers Want ($97)

·         Retailer Catnip ($54)

·         About Page Repair Kit ($54)

·         Product Description Repair Kit ($54)

·         Buyers’ Pack Rescue ($299)

You’d spend over $550 if you were to buy all of these materials separately. We’re giving away one complete set for free. Nifty, huh?

Here’s how to win: 

1. Head over to Indie Retail Academy and take a look around.

2. Leave a comment below telling us which is your favourite blog post and why.

One winner will be chosen on Friday, April 4th and announced on this post. No purchase is necessary. If the winner has already purchased the home study version of What Retailers Want, the purchase price for that class only will be refunded. No other previous purchases will be considered. Deadline to enter is Thursday, April 3rd at 8pm MST.

So, are you ready to get your retail on – minus the fear and confusion? Of course you are!

Good luck!



Congratulations, Megan! You won the Indie Retail Giveaway! I will be in touch shortly with the details! Thank you to all who entered and thank you Clare for sharing with us!

clarewashi copy

Clare Yuille is a shopkeeper, writer and retail coach for creative people.

If you want to learn how to sell your work to shops, download her free Indie Retail Starter Kit.

Creative Self Care For Wrists and Hands: Free Printable


Good morning, creatives! I have been trying to slow down lately and focus on adding more bits of self care to my routine. I thought that many of you would benefit too so I created this short exercise above. Not only does it offer you a moment to pause during your busy day or at the end but it is also geared towards towards those of you that work with your hands, including on the computer (so really it is for everyone – lol!).

Click on the image above or here to print. The size of the image is 5″ x 7″. You can print it, cut it out and hang it above your workspace or bookmark the page to do the exercise at your computer. You can make this as short or as long as you like.

Please let me know if you have any questions and also feel free to share your self care tips in the comments. Enjoy!