Bear Hug Print from Old English Company
Do you sometimes feel like you’re trying hard but getting nowhere?
I so want to hug you right now.
I’m not going to, though, because I respect your personal space. Hugging might not be not your thing.
Perhaps a toddler once hugged you while covered in jam, resulting in you being chased down the street by a swarm of hungry bees.
Or as a child, perhaps you were routinely forced to hug your Aunt Annie who smelled distressingly of chewing tobacco and WD-40.
I don’t know what traumatic experiences you’ve had to overcome.
But just know this: if you want a hug I’m right here.
Or we can make it a really sincere handshake if you prefer.
Tell you what, I’ll give you a little signal like this * when I’m feeling an overwhelming urge to hug you. If you want to take me up on it, great. If not I’ll know you’re still not over the bee thing.
So let’s talk about this.
Sometimes it feels like you put a whole lotta work into your creative business but nothing comes back. Or if it does, it’s so little that it’s hardly worth noticing.*
Maybe you made a couple more sales this month compared to the month before. Or you got a small wholesale order from a new stockist. So what, right? You can’t exactly retire to the Seychelles.
And why are you putting all this thought and effort into your business anyway? Yeah, you love it, but is it loving you back? What do you have to do to make something good happen!
And is it always going to be this hard?*
When you’re done being furious and are in the calm waters of acceptance / on your second margarita, try this:
1. Get a really good handle on where you are right now
How much did you make last month? How much did you spend? How many sales? How many sign-ups to your mailing list? How much traffic?
This can be scary stuff* to dig out but don’t get into that right now. For the next half hour you’re a steely-eyed statistics-gathering machine.
2. Work out what your business looks like when it’s done
Got the stats? Good. Now let’s think about what the heck you’re trying to achieve here.
What does your business look like when it’s done?
Many entrepreneurs stumble along with vague, fuzzy ideas of what they want to achieve. Being able to go on holiday. Not having to worry about money. Doing what you love all day.
But what does that stuff actually mean?
Where do you want to go on holiday? How much money do you want to make?
When your business is complete and fully-realised, what kind of bedroom will you wake up in every day? How will you get to work? What sounds can you hear through the door of your office?
Get a bit of paper and tell me the story of your completed business. Give me the guided tour.
What we’re doing here is drawing a map.
No sane person setting out a hike waves their arm vaguely at a mountain range and says “Thirty miles in that direction. Yeah. That’ll probably get me somewhere near the top.”
That’s a great way to fall down a crevasse, get eaten by a mountain lion or blunder about in the woods for twenty years.
But when you’re clear on exactly where you’re going, right down to which kind of Jo Malone candle you’ll have on your desk, working out how to reach your goal becomes a whole lot easier.
And those figures you gathered? Well, now you can use them to see how far along the path you are. Maybe you only made six sales this month, but if you know that’s 25% better than last month you can see the difference.
Progress is being made.
And you know what?
Every day you feel like this but don’t give up and throw it all in the bin – that’s progress too.
Drawing yourself a map will help you see that.
You’re doing great.
And by the way, *****.
Clare Yuille – Indie Retail Academy
Clare Yuille is a shopkeeper, writer and retail coach for creative people.
If you want to sell your work to shops, download her free Indie Retail Starter Kit.