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How to Make it Happen ALREADY in 2015

Make it Happen in 2015 by Lisa Jacobs

Are you ready to make the most of the New Year? I love a fresh start, and I know so many of you feel the same. Today I’m going to share a few tips and prompts to review 2014 that will help you kick off 2015 with better perspective and clear goals. This exercise is an excerpt from Your Best Year 2015: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner.

How to Perform a Business Review
  1. First, you need to set goals! You can’t check your progress without something to compare it to. I know that there are people who are against goal- and resolution-setting, but I can’t imagine life without them! They’re my blueprint to success. If you’re new to this type of work, you will absolutely love my annual planner, Your Best Year 2015. You can also check out my 7-day series, A New Year for a New You – on my blog.
  2. Create a system to track your progress. This is my main source of motivation, and I have many tools to help me track my progress. Creative business are personal, and as their owners, our perspective is always too close. Even when the business is succeeding, it often feels as though you’re constantly giving without return. I track my progress with monthly income reports, in addition to the progress log myself and other members keep inside The Luminaries Club.
  3. Adjust your goals accordingly. What you set out to do in the new year may change within a few months. Jack Canfield said, “You don’t want to get to the top of the ladder only to find out you had it leaning against the wrong wall.” As soon as you realize you’re headed for something you don’t actually want, it’s okay to redirect.
  4. Cross off finished goals. It’s such a rewarding feeling to go back on your goals and cross off what’s complete, even if it’s eleven months later, as seen here.
  5. Scrap or determine an end-time for unfinished projects. This is one of the most beneficial parts of the review: it empowers you to let go of unfinished business that no longer serves your plan. Your business will naturally evolve as it grows, and as the months pass your focus will shift. That’s natural and healthy! Hold your vision loosely and allow it to lead the way.
Be the CEO

Next, you have to put on your CEO hat to get a clear perspective. As creative business owners, our product or service is personal. As a result, our perspective is always too close. YOU need to be your own non-objective CEO when determining what is and isn’t working in your business. Ask yourself:

  • What was clicking this year? In what ways was my business running smoothly?
  • What areas of my business are feeling out of sync?
  • What results would I like to achieve in 2015?
  • What activities, products, actions or ideas worked this  year?
  • What was your best creative payday this year?
  • How can you create more results like that next year?
  • What didn’t work for you this year? What do you need to stop doing?
  • How can you eliminate those activities next year?

I’m wishing you the brightest future + much success! If you’re ready to make it happen already in 2015, join me in review and reflection by working through Your Best Year 2015: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner. Share your review with me on social media using #YBY2015. Until next time and all the best, Lisa Jacobs


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.

Would you like an accountability partner?

accountabilityHappy New Year! I know we are all looking forward to an amazing 2015! First of all, I would like to say that you are exactly where you need to be right now. There were lessons and triumphs that you experienced in 2014 that helped shape you and your business. Those experiences also helped you create goals and visions for this coming year.

I learned some lessons myself. I sat down to work on 2 different planners/workbooks over the holidays and realized that I had already had similar worksheets on my computer that I had created. About 2 years ago, I had an idea for a workbook and started creating the pdfs and saved them on my computer. I have spent a lot of time here and there fine tuning them. I told about two or three friends about it and showed some of it to one of them. I didn’t give myself any sort of date to get it finished by. I have had some self-doubt about sharing it with the world.

I will admit that I had a moment of feeling disappointed in myself when I realized that other people are helping others using similar content and mine was just sitting on my computer. So like I said above, I do believe I am right where I am supposed to be but I think I might need help getting me where I want to go. I need an accountability partner. Someone who I can share my goals with and know they are going to check in to see if I have gotten them done.

I am assuming you have tons of ideas and goals especially since it is the new year. Are there ideas you had last year that you didn’t bring into fruition for your business? Would you like an accountability partner?

If yes, you must be willing to share some goals with your partner and agree to check up on their goals at least once a month. I will be sending out an short questionnaire tomorrow to email subscribers to help pair you up with a partner. This could be something that lasts the month of January or 3 months or the rest of the year. I will try to match you up based on business size, social media that you prefer using and the possibility for cross-promotion.

I have a gazillion things I want to do on this blog this year and I am realizing that if I am the only one holding myself accountable then they will not all get done. I am excited about the prospect of having to tell someone how far along I am or what steps I have taken to reach a certain goal. Let me help find someone to help you reach your goals too! If you are not on our list, sign up below!


Want an accountability partner?

Sign up for our email list here!



Keeping Up the Momentum of the New Year


Last time I visited Handmade Success, I wanted to know: What’s the reason behind all that you do? In other words, what are the desires that drive your passions in life? And how can you incorporate those desires into your everyday activities for a more fulfilling career?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve kicked off 2014 with (1.) a list of goals you would like to accomplish, and (2.) an energetic inner-restlessness so powerful, it’s practically palpable to the people around you.

There’s danger in such an energetic kick-start; it can sometimes lead to a crash and burn by the time February rolls around. Maybe you haven’t seen the recognition you want or you’re not feeling the accomplishment you crave. Perhaps you’re wondering when you’re going to finally reap the reward from all your hard work.

It’s during slow periods, these months just following high-selling holidays and excited goal-setting, that you have to actively build your next big wins. Here’s where to start …

Do more of what works.

This is a huge issue for creatives everywhere, and I’m one of them. I often talk about how your creative business lives in your mind: when you’re doing well, that’s in your mind. When you’re not doing well, that’s in your mind, too! A lot of times we tell ourselves what’s going to happen with the project we’re working on. “This product’s going to fly off my virtual shelves! I better make 50.” Or, “This book is going to launch my creative career.”

When reality strikes, and that product you have 50 of doesn’t move or that book you wrote only sells a handful of copies … well, then what?

Over the summer, I created a new wrap bracelet that seemed so trendy and fresh. I made the design for my husband, children, and some friends to rave reviews. For all of us who had one, we never wanted to take it off.

In anticipation of this new design selling like hotcakes, I spent several hours making a large stock before listing it in the Energy Shop. They never sold. Not even one. New designs are always worth a shot, but I shouldn’t have invested all of the material and labor until I had proof that my customers would love the design as much as I did.

A well-planned business is one that prioritizes what has already been proven to work. It’s fabulous to experiment with new designs and keep things fresh and exciting for both you and your customers. However, be sure you’re doing a lot more of what you know already works and brings in income.

If you’re not bringing in income, that means you simply haven’t found what works yet. Therefore, don’t invest all your time doing what you’ve been doing! It’s time to try new things and change up what you have to offer.

Plan multiple projects in advance

In other words, have a list of what projects you’ll start next. For example, on my professional to-do list, I’m writing a second e-program, a book, and stocking the Energy Shop.

When you finish a big project, you will feel an impulse to watch it to see what happens for days (or weeks). It’s natural to do so, but you’ll have to fight that tendency and knowing what to work on next will be your best battle plan against it.

It’s good to know which projects you’ll do next because …

There will be burn-out

Flashback to December. I was hosting a sale at the Energy Shop, and there were about twenty new orders to ship; several of them contained custom sizes that needed to be made that morning. I took the task on first thing to make sure it went out in that day’s mail, and by the time I finished, it was 11:45 AM. I needed to eat lunch, do hair and makeup, and prep my office for a live video webinar with Tim Adam at 2 PM.

The webinar ended well, but by 3:30 PM, I was spent … and my family was ready for dinner. I had a budget-friendly, made-from-scratch meal planned. However, every cell in my body said “NO” to more work in the kitchen, and I declared dinner (and a watermelon margarita) out.

The moral of the story is that each of us has a limited, but renewable reserve of will-power. Your self-discipline reservoir can be depleted, and once it’s spent, it needs time to refill. You’ll notice it after an uber-productive day.

Don’t you love it when you wake up and, all day long, you just can’t BELIEVE how much you’re getting done? You go to bed feeling like a boss, and if it’s Monday, you start daydreaming about all the work you’ll get done that week. When you wake up the next day, you feel like a slug nestled underneath a rock. Nothing gets done.

As human beings, that is our nature. I have a will-power-hack in that I can quit writing and go “play with beads.” After two weeks of pushing through the editing and organizing of a big writing project, making bracelets feels like a vacation! I’m still getting work done, but I’m able to ride the waves of my willpower reservoir a little longer.

How might you mix in your favorite parts of the job when your willpower reservoir runs low?

Heading into spring, bring awareness to your natural energy cycles. Simultaneously honor and challenge them. Each time you push past that point of resistance and procrastination, your willpower reservoir grows larger. Here’s wishing you the stamina and focus to make your dreams come true!


 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.

8-Week Review: Are you on track to meet your annual goals?

goals2Dreams Visions Goals Notebook from In A Nutshell

Hello, dear friends! Last time I visited Handmade Success, I asked: What will you create for 2013? The first quarter of the year is coming to a close, so I thought it would be a great time to review and renew your goals.

Soft Goal-Setting

If you’re anything like me, you’re starting the year with (1.) a list of intentions, (2.) a list of goals you’d like to accomplish, and (3.) an energetic inner-restlessness so powerful, it’s practically palpable to the people around you. (I did not put all those P’s there on purpose  .)

I ask you to begin your 8-week review of the year by softening your goals. Your vision should always make you feel good (rather than anxiety-ridden).  In the book, Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life, Maxwell Maltz offers this advice:

“You should use the same technique in all your affairs that Jackie Burke recommends in putting. That is, not to feel that you have to pinpoint the ball right to the cup itself on a long putt, but to aim at an area the size of a washtub. This takes off the strain, relaxes you, enables you to perform better. If it’s good enough for the professionals, it should be good enough for you.”

Furthermore, in the book, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Jack Canfield told about the year he wanted to earn $100,000 (up from his current salary of $18,000). He did what positive thinkers do: he made signs affirming his new and abundant salary, he worked all year-through consciously and subconsciously creating more income for himself, and by the end of the year he had earned more than $90,000. Others told him that he hadn’t actually achieved his goal, but he says, “I wasn’t disappointed!”

The point is not to cross every single goal off the list. What matters is that you’re setting the bar higher, and stretching yourself daily. That’s the only way to grow and work toward your dreams.

What are your intentions for the rest of the year?

After interviewing Leonie Dawson, I had a gorgeous A-HA moment. I asked her for tips about resolving unfinished business, and she gave advice that I so desperately needed to hear. She explained the “energy cycles of projects,” and how a brand new idea is easy, but the middle (the 40-80% mark) takes effort. It’s natural to feel sluggish as everything becomes a bit harder.

I’m in love with that realization because it makes total sense.

I’m also quite frustrated by the same revelation because it reminds me of my creative business, and unlike a project, I have no idea how close I am to birthing a full-fledged career. It feels very similar to giving birth to my children, and I’m metaphorically at the point of exhaustion where I push with every ounce of my energy, and then relax, rest my head, and doze off before the next contraction. When I feel the urge, I wake up and push, push, push again.

The only difference is, I don’t have a doctor to come in the room and say, “You’re almost there. Just a few more pushes to go, and you’ll be discovered, retained, contracted, and rewarded.” I have no way to tell if I’m 60% away from a the creative career of my dreams or if it’s within my reach. There are many things that are out of my control.

Uncertainty is a huge challenge to any creative business owner. That makes it very difficult to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize! So instead, I want to ask that you keep your goals within your control. Avoid resolutions that rely on unknown factors, such as: “I will make 1,000 sales this year.”

Instead, stick with goals that you can control and measure:

  • I will create 15 new designs
  • I will run 8 marketing promotions this year
  • I will spend $250 on finding new customers through Facebook advertising

Ask: What am I going to stop doing this year?

For example: By the end of this year, I will stop the frenzied hustling. I’m going to convert that frantic energy into a more productive shuffling.

My gorgeous children shuffle all over the house, it’s a dance they all do to the song, “Party Rock Anthem” and it looks just like the old-school “running man” move. They shuffle to the dinner table, they shuffle to their chores, and they shuffle their way out the door to school.

To me, shuffling sounds like a great alternative to hustling. It’s still energetic, but it’s more joyful in nature. My hustling has gotten way too serious and anxious, and if I leave it go unchecked, it could suffocate the creativity out of my creative business.

What will you stop doing this year, and how can you convert the extra time or energy into something more productive?

Keep up the good work, and I’ll meet you back here again soon! Until then and all the best~



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.

How To Have Your Best Year Ever. (There’s Slacking Involved.)

I will achieve my goals – clipboard from Decoylab 

I’m sure you’re tired of resolution talk by now. For a few weeks at the beginning of each year, we beat ourselves to death with talk of change — and by February, we’re tired of working so damn hard on improving ourselves.

What if we just had a single goal?

I don’t mean a single goal like, “This year I’m going to lose twenty pounds, double my business income, travel at least three weeks of the year, go vegan, and be a better wife to my husband.”

Just because it fits into a single sentence doesn’t mean it’s a single goal!

I mean, what if you just had a single goal for the entire year? Just one.

And then, you can measure each day by whether you got further or closer to your goal. If your goal is to lose twenty pounds and you worked out, you’ve had a successful day. Regardless of whether the toilet is clean or the dinner is cooked or the kids have started enjoying their etiquette lessons at the dinner table.

My single goal for this year is to run a half marathon.

Currently, I can run a pretty solid 5k. (Okay, you caught me — I have run a single 5k in my life.) But I want to focus on this one goal, so any day that I’ve worked out is a success. Period.

I’ve got a training schedule, I’ve got friends to run with me, and I’m on my way to running 13.1 miles in Pittsburgh this May. (And if I don’t make it, there are plenty of Fall options that look appealing.)

This single goal makes my year so much simpler, and I’m so much happier as a result! Instead of measuring myself against five measuring sticks — weight loss, business, travel, vegan, wife — there’s just one. Fitness.

If this strikes you as a decent way of living in 2013, go ahead and join me.

Tell me your one — single, uno — goal for this year, and let’s get to meeting it.

Kristen Kalp — Brand Camp

Kristen Kalp is a (ghost)writer who believes people should have fun being in business.  She blogs at Brand Camp for like-minded folks.