At the beginning of each year, I like to reflect on the year before and create goals and a guiding word for Yardia for the year to come. Here are Yardia's goals and intentions for 2020.
Word of the Year:
For Yardia, my word of the year is Voice. This is the word that kept calling to me starting around September, and I knew it was the right thing to choose because it terrified me. This is always a good sign for me that it's something I can work on and learn from. Here are a few of the ways I can see myself getting intentional around voice:
- Using my voice
- Refining my creative voice
- Listening to my inner voice
- Refining Yardia's message, mission and values
- Shifting from a solopreneur to an entrepreneur
- Finding my voice as a leader
I also have a secondary word of the year for my personal goals, which is Connect. I think these two words will pair nicely together, and I'm curious about what I'll learn from them.
Marketing Goals for 2020:
Overall, I'd like to work on my writing and further develop my brand voice through newsletters, Instagram captions and blogs like these. I'd like to be able to authentically capture Yardia's values not only through illustration, but through my words as well.
Email: After years of using an outdated email address, I finally purchased new email addresses for wholesale and retail. This year, I'd like to use my email addresses to maintain boundaries by setting up auto-responders when I'm not in office on vacation or on days off and market days. I'm considering having a constant autoresponder that might answer some frequently asked questions as well, but I'll need to play around with that idea a bit more.
Newsletter: Because of a good deal of bots being added to my subscriber list on Mailchimp and the fact that it no longer integrated well with Shopify, I decided to switch my email marketing provider to Klaviyo, which had been recommended by other stationery designers. My goal for 2020 is to take advantage of the features of Klaviyo as much as possible and set up useful automated email flows. Because it costs $30 per month to use this platform, I'd like it to bring in at least $60 per month from email marketing.
I'd also like to refine my voice in my weekly newsletters and give into my teacher nature by making sure that the newsletters contain useful information that better convey the Yardia lifestyle and company values. I received so much positive feedback about my Slow Holiday newsletter series last November and December, so I think I can try using similar formats during other months of the year as well.
I have less of a goal and more of an intention for Instagram in 2020. This year, I'd like to focus on intentional connection when using Instagram. Last year I ran a brief experiment that I was only allowed to use the app if I was prepared to comment on somebody else's post with something that was kind and true, in that I would have to write as a comment what I thought in my head when liking a photo, instead of keeping it to myself. I really liked how this changed the platform for me into another place to strengthen online relationships instead of as a platform for mindless scrolling or only commenting on my own posts. I'd like to refocus on that experiment again to reset my mindset about the platform once more.
- Work with a total of at least 150 retailers by the end of 2020 (a net increase of 56 clients).
- Participate in two trade shows and register to exhibit at the National Stationery Show.
- Send out a useful monthly email to wholesale subscribers and retailers.
- Create and send a special holiday card to my retailers. Create the illustration and design of this card no later than August.
- Double the number of market days from January through May (for a total of 20 days, or 2 per month), and keep about the same or less from June through December.
- Overall, average around 4 market days per month across the entire year.
- Increase revenue gained from email marketing by 30%.
- Increase overall online revenue by 50%.
Financial and Operational Goals for 2020:
Hire and Outsource Work:
Towards the end of 2019 I realized that I was at capacity for what I could do myself and really needed to start outsourcing some of the tasks in my business that either I could easily hand off to another person, or that someone else could do much faster and more thoroughly than I could. To start, I have two positions that I'll be seeking to outsource.
Bookkeeper/Accountant: I'm looking to hire on a bookkeeper to track my accounts and help me stay on track with my quarterly sales taxes and reconciling my accounts. I'll also hire an accountant for my taxes at the end of the year. This may or may not be the same person. I currently have about four options I'm looking into, so I need to make a decision and hand over this job.
Packaging contractors: I hired a friend at the end of last year to fold and package some of my greeting cards, paid per card, and could use some more help. This is a job that's great for someone either as a side-gig or even for a stay-at-home parent to earn a little extra cash, either at home or on a part-time basis in my studio. If this is a job that you might be interested in learning more about, please get in touch.
Revenue and Expenses:
Increase gross revenue by 60%. I pay myself a salary that equals approximately 25% of gross revenue, and this level of growth will allow me to reach a stable monthly income. Last year my gross revenue saw an increase of 83% and I have some new opportunities coming up in 2020, so I'm certain I can make this happen.
Keep expenses at about the same percentage of revenue or lower. I know I'll have more expenses in 2020 with outsourcing some of my hires and with some potential trade show expenses that I'm saving up for, so I'll continue to implement the Profit First system to keep my finances sustainably on track.
Time Tracking and Time Off:
I'd like to begin tracking my time at work a bit more intentionally, with a goal of working no more than 40-50 hours per week, if I'm being realistic. I'm honestly not sure how much I'm working right now, but I've gotten so used to working constantly after 11 years of doing both a day job and my business that relaxation and hobbies feel like challenges sometimes. I've burnt out at the end of December during a couple of recent years with impacts on my mental health, so this feels like the right thing to do for the sake of my future self. In 2020, I'd primarily like to focus on figuring out how to track my time effectively and then determine what changes I need to make after I have a better sense of how many hours I'm currently working. Here are my time-based goals for 2020:
- Track working hours for at least one week to get a better idea of how I'm using my time throughout the day.
- Take at least one day off per week, scheduled as Thursday (or rescheduled if needed due to a market or other conflict).
- Take at least one month of vacation, spread out across the year:
- Take 10 days off in April for a birthday vacation.
- Take off the last two weeks of the year for the holidays and recovery.
- Take a 4-day mini vacation at some other point in the year.
I have several collection deadlines to work on this year, particularly for the trade shows I'll be doing in January and May. I'm behind schedule with my plans for my January collection, so some items might have to be pushed forward if I don't complete them within the next week. During the rest of the year, I'll need to work on illustrations at least a couple months in advance to have everything finished on schedule. Ideally, I'd like to be finished illustrating all of my greeting card collections for the year by the end of May.
- January: spring wholesale release
- May: holiday and gift wholesale release
- June: Licensing Partner Collection to be announced closer to the date
- October: valentines day wholesale release
- Throughout year: continue Parks and Trails collection with more cities and neighborhoods
This year, in a bit of a crossover between my professional and personal goals, I'd like to set some educational goals. I have a few areas of study to focus on as well as a list of books I'd like to read. I'd love to take a class as well, but if I don't find something that feels like the right fit, I'm okay with learning from books and podcasts instead.
Areas of Study:
- Developing a CEO mindset
- Sustainability and company values
- Business long-term growth and scaling
- Hiring employees and human resources
- Refining creative voice
- Mental health and wellness
In 2020, I'd like to read more books on paper instead of digitally, as a bit of a healthier way to unwind and decrease my screen time. I enjoy reading nonfiction, especially business and self development books, so I created a list based on recommendations from thought leaders I admire and books from business leaders I respect. To help me with this goal, I put each of these books on hold at my local library and spaced out the times I'll receive them throughout the year. I'll also mention that I have no qualms about quitting a book if it doesn't resonate, so I'm okay if I don't finish all of these. I only want to start them, and I'm sure that other new releases will come into my vision and be added to the list as the year goes on.
- How to Be Yourself, Ellen Hendriksen Ph. D. (finished and recommend if you experience social anxiety or want to learn more about it)
- Find Your Artistic Voice, Lisa Congdon (currently reading)
- Let My People Go Surfing, Yvon Chouinard (currently reading)
- Rest, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
- Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo
- Deep Work, Cal Newport
- Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport
- When Less Becomes More, Emily Ley
- Big Dreams Daily Joys, Elise Blaha Cripe
- Lost Connections, Johann Hari
- Decisive, Chip & Dan Heath
- The 80/20 Principle, Richard Koch
- The 12-Week Year, Brian Moran
- Fix This Next, Mike Michalowicz
- Indistractable, Nir Eyal