As 2022 commences, I'm slowly beginning to untangle the invisible knot of what the accepted path for business is, and figure out whether each step that I'm told I should do is something I actually have to do, or if I can find another way that works better for me.
Word of the Year: Inward
I never intentionally choose my guiding word for each year, instead I wait for it to come to me. The word inward arrived in my head in early December and it just felt right. It felt like a direct step forward from 2021's ease, and I like the direction it gives me for decision making--to go with my gut, to know the answers are already within me if I pay enough attention.
In 2021, I learned a lot more about myself and came to a level of self-acceptance even stronger than before. In arriving to that place, I began to understand that often the times when I felt like I should work harder, do better, or strive for perfection were really because I found myself in an environment or system that wasn't actually built for me. So instead of approaching 2022 from a "new year new me" perspective, this year I want to focus on not changing anything about myself (because we're all already good as we are), but finding ways to create systems and accommodations around me that will help me to fulfill my needs and live the life that is right for me, specifically.
I want to go inward as a form of self-inquiry, but more importantly as a way to look more critically at the habits, standards and norms of business that I've been socialized into seeing as the right way to do things. To always do a gut check, to ask more questions.
Even if I want my business to grow, what can that look like? What can I do differently? What would a thriving business look like without urgency? What might my thriving business look like if I fully cater to intersectional identities and speak to women of color? How can I begin to unravel everything that I've been taught is the norm and question whether it actually makes sense for me and my needs? How can I create exactly the kind of work I want to be doing? And what is enough?
Unraveling these questions means looking within myself, figuring out what I really need, and determining the paths to take that are best suited to the life I want to live. Because I've already learned that most of what we're taught about work isn't the only way to be successful, and that living a life that makes me happy has sometimes meant straying from the prescribed path and stepping over to the path that I'm called to follow. I can seek out the deer trail with the most gentle impact. It's already been there for years, but it might not be the one that explorers charted in the name of discovery and conquest.
Goals and Intentions
One of the ways I've learned that works best for me is seeing my goals as checklists (because I do love a list), so that's what will follow. My general themes for business goals are to get the house in order, rethink everything, and continue to work on accessibility and inclusion. And I threw in a few general to-do's for 2022 as well.
Get the house in order
- Systems: Create SOP's for quarterly tasks so I can save time and effort spent remembering how to do them.
- Wholesale Outreach: update leads list, create a system and structure for reaching out to wholesale leads, rewrite templates for outreach emails, return to sending outreach emails regularly.
- Bookkeeping: add apps to Quickbooks to automate more processes.
- Trademark: look into steps and cost to apply for trademark registration, as recommended by my IP lawyer cousin.
- Inventory: organize original artworks by SKU's in file drawers, so that I no longer have to search through every drawer each time I sell an original painting.
- Reclaim my house as my home and sanctuary, instead of feeling like I live at my office, in whatever way that means.
Work on accessibility and inclusion:
- Watch and implement Labs workshop: "Creating a Diverse, Inclusive and Accessible Website with Myrna Daramy".
- Continue to work on the back end of my website and social media content for improved accessibility, finish adding alt text to all photos, use camel case for hashtags, image descriptions and closed captioning where needed.
- Consider what accommodations I can create for myself and implement them in work environments such as trade shows and craft shows.
- Rethink my products: what products are in my line, how they're fulfilled, where are the bottlenecks in the systems and processes?
- Consider how my products can concurrently reflect my ethics and work within the current supply chain systems, while also maintaining sustainable profit margins. Use this as a guide when determining manufacturers and creating new products.
- Create 2-3 new product lines, 2-3 new PNW nature identification charts, and release 3 wholesale collections.
- Rethink my work week: how can it best serve my needs, how I can create ease and rest in my daily activities, what does being the leader of my business look like for me?
- Outsourcing and Automation: consider what other areas of my business I'd like to outsource, and whether hiring an expert or automating the process makes more sense. Outsource or automate within the boundaries of my allocated outsourcing budget.
General Goals and To-Do's
- Revenue Goal: Increase revenue by 10.5%
- Participate in 2 trade shows: NY Now Winter Market and Noted (assuming they don't get cancelled, I'm registered and actively preparing for these events).
- Apply to 4-6 higher-end, competitive craft shows to help reach revenue goal. Since these sorts of craft shows in Seattle tend to be extremely competitive to be accepted into, I won't count on being able to participate in them, but I'll plan to apply and see what happens.