How to Make 2018 Your Most Successful Year Yet

Nov 21, 2017 | Handmade Business Tips, Mindset & Productivity, Uncategorized

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We’re getting into this time of year when all everyone is talking about is planning for the new year. That’s why today I want to share with you some ideas to help you strategize and plan to make 2018 your most successful year yet for your handmade shop. Ready?

You can watch the video, or read the post below.

The 3x4 framework

Step 1 is to forget about yearly goals and go quarterly instead. Yearly goals simply don’t work, so if you’re thinking of planning for 2018 I don’t want you to think much further than the end of March. The gold standard for getting stuff done in business is quarterly goals – and there’s a good reason for that. It’s impossible to know where you are going to be in a year – personally and in your business as well.

Most projects can be planned and implemented in a timeframe of 3 months and you’re more likely to actually take action and make progress that way. That’s why we’re forgetting about writing yearly goals and using the 3x4 framework, which means every 3 months (4 times a year) we set new goals and reassess our businesses. The best way to actually do that is to set a reminder on your phone or put it on your agenda right now. Set a time every 3 months to do this business assessment and look at the important elements of a successful handmade business. What are they? I will give you a few guidelines for that.

Review your business

The first thing we’re going to look at is what I call business basics. These are:

  • Your revenue, expenses and profit over the last 90 days.
  • Product collections. Do you need a new collection? Do you have a bestseller or this one product that is not working at all? Do you need to create new products?
  • Pricing strategy. Is it still working for you or do you need to reassess that one as well?
  • Your online store/website.


Next, we’re going to look at the sales system. These are the elements like:

  • Traffic and traffic sources. Are you getting enough traffic? Where is that traffic coming from?
  • Lead capture – are you able to turn your customers into subscribers with a lead capture system?
  • Conversion rates. What are your conversion rates? Do you see improvement there or do you need to work on that?
  • Email marketing – are you getting sales from your emails?
  • Repeat customers – do you have a system in place to get your client to buy again? It’s a really important part of a successful shop because it’s easier to sell to someone that has already bought something from you.
  • Promotion/launches – do you have any launches coming soon or in the next 3 months that you need to focus on?


The next thing is what I call a marketing mix. These are the things like: PR, SEO, paid ads, live events, influencers outreach and social media.

Take some time to ask yourself which marketing channel is working for you and which one you should maybe let go. How is your PR, SEO strategy, paid ads, live events (if you attend those), your influencer outreach and social media? Are you doing too much or not enough? I always say to focus on one or two marketing channels at a time and add more once you master the previous ones. If you’re trying to do it all and not seeing results from it, it might be because you’re doing too much and it’s time to scale back and really just focus on a couple of those instead. That’s up to you, but these are the questions you have to ask yourself every three months to see where you’ve made progress and what you need to focus on in the next quarter.


Next step of the assessment is your back end – all that helps you run your business. Things like:

  • Production process – is there anything you can improve to help you make your products in a more efficient manner?
  • Business systems – are there any things that you are doing every week and think you can improve them? It could be your customer service, accounting, bookkeeping etc.
  • Suppliers – are you getting the best, wholesale deal? Are you happy with your suppliers? Are they reliable?
  • Team – how is your team? Do you need to change anything? Maybe you’re a team of one and it’s time to hire an assistant?

I know I went pretty quickly over those points, but it’s just to give you a framework to work with. Now you should have a few pages of notes with things to consider and focus on in the next 3 months. It should give you an idea of what to compare each quarter, check your progress and see what to work on.

Do less, get more

My last piece of advice is: do less to get more. What I mean by that is don’t try to do all the thing at the same time. I always say: if you’re using more than two marketing channels all the time and two or more social media at the time you’re doing too much. The only time you can do it successfully is when you’ve been in business long enough that it’s doable for you and if you’ve already mastered a couple of social media platforms. Let’s say you’ve mastered Instagram and you’re getting sells from it – now you have time and energy to focus on how to grow Pinterest or Facebook or whatever else.

I really want to emphasize that you really don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS and doing less is usually what gets you the best results. That way you can focus and implement in-depth strategies rather than spread yourself thin and be exhausted while getting little results because you’re working on too many things at the same time.

To sum up:

  • forget about yearly goals and try to focus on 3-month chunks instead;
  • reassess your business 4 times a year – you can use the framework I gave you to do so;
  • finally: less is more – you don’t have to do it all at once. 

I hope that helps! If you want a done for you system I actually have a planner called The Maker’s Roadmap. It has all of the components I’ve explained to you plus more to really help you focus on what’s important right now and fight the overwhelm and information overload. It can help you get clarity on what you should be working on and what to let go to get those results that you so deserve. You can go here or click the button below to learn more. It’s not just a beautiful planner, it’s also a full member area with coaching videos to help you do those activities and get results.

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