Sign up for our newsletter + get your Using Positive Affirmations in your Business mini-kit!!!


Reflections and Resolutions: One Small Business Owner’s To-Do List for 2015


With the end of the year looming and the official one-year anniversary of Crusoe Jewelry just around the corner, it is naturally a time for reflection. There have been many highs this year, including opening new accounts, receiving great press and hearing wonderful compliments on the designs, but there have also been quite a few lows and a few many more tears. But the most important thing I have learned is to continue to stay positive and that this is a journey, a learning experience and a challenge. With that in mind, I have put together the following resolutions for 2015. Resolutions that I intend to keep in mind for the next year and the many years to follow. Resolutions that I think apply to all small business owners that are turning their passions into careers.

Say Yes, to Everything:

  • Whether it’s a night out with friends or the next networking event, you should take every opportunity to get out there and shout from the rafters about your business. You never know who you are going to meet, that person might help you get to the next level.

Criticism Really is Constructive:

  • Hearing criticism is never fun, especially when it is about something that you have put your heart and soul in. As hard as it may be, do not take it personally. It is not a personal attack on your creativity. Use the critique to learn from it, what can you do better? How can you improve?

Take a Moment, and Be Grateful:

  • You are lucky to have so many amazing people in your life, whether it is your friends, your family or your partner that have been so supportive. People that you haven’t thought of in years have come out to commend you on what you are doing. Be thankful for those people and find a way to return the favor any way that you can.

Be Proud of Yourself:

  • You did it! You have done something that most only just dream about. You have taken the giant leap to shape your life and career to be exactly what you want it to be. Applaud yourself for all of the accomplishments that you have done, big or small.

Give Yourself a Break:

  • Creating your own schedule to run a small business has many perks, including taking a mid-day break to hit the gym or go for a run, but it can also lead to the pressure to work round the clock. Treat yourself like your best employee and give yourself a break. Take the time you need to relax, put the phone away, turn the computer off. It’s ok to not be working all the time, you will still have a successful business if you aren’t working at ever opportunity.


Maya Ahluwalia – Crusoe Jewelry

Maya Ahluwalia is the designer behind Crusoe Jewelry, a fashion jewelry line inspired by nautical motifs, but interpreted into stylish designs. Crusoe Jewelry is created for the fashion-forward consumer with an appreciation for quality with an artisanal approach. Each design is hand-crafted in her Brooklyn-based studio.

In addition to creating Crusoe Jewelry, Maya is a marketing consultant with expertise in jewelry, fashion and luxury. Clients include Michael Aram Jewelry, Shawn Ames Fine Jewelry, Wells House Bed & Breakfast, and the LOU Lookbook App.

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.

Did You Make a Business Resolution for 2013?

2013 New Years Resolutions Notepad from Quotes & Notes

Hello lovelies! Instead of resolutions, I chose a word of intention for 2013 and it is Health. My plan is to focus on it in all aspects of my life including my work. As the editor here, I will consider the Handmade Success blog to be “healthy” by having regular posts being shared from our amazing contributors, listening to and sharing questions from our readers, continuing to learn how to grow the blog and working openly with Jordan about how she wants Handmade Success to shine. Also, since I just moved to Arizona, I am trying to establish myself as a yoga teacher here and will be focusing on the health of that business too. 

Now that I have put that in writing I feel I have unofficially made you my accountability partners! I feel strongly that by sharing your goals you will be more likely to reach them. I plan on updating you with my progress and letting you know if I feel like I need to make any changes to what I originally planned.

So, I am wondering, did you make any resolutions for your business this year? Because I would like to be your accountability partner! Please share your resolutions, goals and/or intentions you made or are making for your business in 2013 in the comments. Then when I update my progress here in a month or two I will ask you to check in too. Feel free to share the links to your shop and blog. If you like, I encourage you to take a moment and check out someone else’s site so you can be their accountability partner too!

Wishing all of us the best of luck!

  • Kerry

Happy New Year 2012!

Illustration by Emily McDowell
Illustration by Emily McDowell "Happy New Year Card: Set of 5"


Hi there, and Happy New Year to you, dear reader.  I am so grateful that  you chose to spend time with Kerry, me and all of our contributors in 2011, and I’m even happier to share the surprises that we have in store for you in 2012.

By now, you have probably read a zillion new years resolutions posts, so I would like to offer you a short snippet of advice that relates to last year.  It is wonderful to look forward and plan for the year ahead, however I find that the most effective way to do that is to really evaluate where you just came from.  I would love you to take some time and reflect on your business over the past few months.  How did you handle the busy holiday season?  What stress could you have avoided with better planning?  What extra expenses could you have spared if you had budgeted more accurately?  Did you get your business enough exposure on blogs, magazines, locally?  Use your calendar, sales reports, your emails, and your memory t0 make notes to yourself for the next holiday season.  Add new deadlines to your calendar, set reminders and alerts for yourself for next year.  The time you take while the season is still fresh in your mind will be effort well-spent, I promise.

Stay tuned for more details about the new changes that are coming to Handmade Success.  They are so much fun, I can’t wait to share!