Tag Archives: goals

A Year in Reflection

Etsy

Etsy (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

I was inspired by this post to reflect on the year 2012 and what I’ve accomplished. I agree that it’s all too easy to think back on the year and focus on all the things left undone, all those goals I didn’t reach or things I didn’t achieve. Sure, we can always do better, but that’s what planning for 2013 is for right? Let’s take some time to focus on all the things we did achieve this year.

2012 was a year of slow but steady growth for me:

  • Reached and surpassed 100 fans on facebook
  • Surpassed my goal of having more than 100 Etsy sales in 2012, I actually had 240+ sales this year (and it ain’t over yet!)
  • Became a part of a local store in Houston, Roundtable Goods, and networked with lots of amazing local artists
  • Revamped my new website and began writing a little bit more regularly
  • Participated in several shows, including my first wedding show
  • Finally put up a few of my “backburner” or “dream” products up for sale in the shop, like a yarn wreath and mixed media necklaces
  • Quit my day job and switched to a new part-time teaching job to have more time to spend on my own business!

It’s important to boost yourself up with positive thinking every now and then (or all the time really, haha). Take some time to reflect on the year and all the great things you accomplished. Feel free to use the printable worksheet below.

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Inspiration Station: Your Ideal Work Day

Remember that post about planning out our goals for 2013? Well, we need to get some specific, measurable goals laid out. Just like with the creative business plan, I like to start thinking about things from a big picture point of view, then slowly zoom in to the nitty gritty details.

Before I come up with my specific 2013 goals, I’m going to brainstorm what my ideal work day looks like. Then I can work backwards to see what exactly I need to accomplish with my business to be able to have that “ideal work day” every work day! Make sense?

So here we ago, my ideal work day for Lazy Owl:

  • 8:30 – 9:30 – Wake up, have morning coffee and (healthy) breakfast whilst reading daily blogroll, taking notes on any business ideas or inspiration that interests me. Commenting on my favorite blogs and doing some social networking!
  • 9:30 –  11:00 – Fill and package outstanding Etsy orders. Respond to customer emails and questions. Work on updating inventory and sales records. Evaluate supply and inventory levels. Re-order supplies if necessary. Do other Etsy admin tasks as needed.
  • 11:00 – 1:30 – Run to post office, run other errands. Take the dogs for a walk. Have lunch. Take a break or go to the gym (hey, I said ideal day right).
  • 1:30 – 4:00 – Work on website & blog. Draft and post new article(s). Brainstorm new topics and series ideas. Social media marketing and networking.
  • 4:00 – 5:30 – Photograph new Etsy listings, list online.
  • 5:30 – 9:00 – Break time! Do household chores, eat dinner, spend time with husband, etc.
  • 9:00 – 10:30 – Crafting time! Work on new jewelry items or whatever else I’m crafting up.
  • Bedtime at midnight.

Ok, so it was actually quite weird for me to write all that out on an hour-by-hour basis. It made me feel like there’s so much time in a day, but in reality I am always scrambling to fit all these things in. I don’t know if that schedule is actually livable for me, but my goal is that during my ideal day I would love to be able to squeeze in:

  • Time to research what’s going on in the blogosphere, on Etsy, and with other Etsy businesses (this is my biggest problem, I find content I want to delve into, open it in a new Firefox tab, but then end up with 60 open tabs that I never seem to have time to go back and truly read)
  • Write for the blog
  • Generate meaningful content for my website, market and connect with other businesses and potential customers, promote Lazy Owl to my target audience
  • Create new products, photograph and list them
  • Take time for myself and for my family – be outside, exercise, be healthy, have some fun!
  • Run errands and do household chores without falling behind
  • Support local businesses and connect with my local community

Realistically, I can probably not do all of these things in one day. But now I know what I would like to do with my time, and what is most important to me. That is half the battle. I can make goals to get closer to be able to have this ideal day now!

What does your ideal work day look like? Download the above worksheet for helping you plan out your ideal work day.

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2013: Let’s Grow!

Everybody in the blogosphere lately has been talking about prepping your business for 2013, listing goals, making plans, filling out timelines, etc… It’s hard for me to think about beginning a new year with my Christmas goggles on, but there’s no use denying the inevitable (unless of course, the Mayans were right, then I’ve got nothing to worry about).

So, I agree. In the next couple weeks, I’ll be sitting down with pen in hand to think about my plans for next year, and more importantly, specific, attainable, and measurable goals for Lazy Owl. For me, 2011 was all about just starting. 2012 was about figuring things out, what worked and what didn’t work. My overall theme for 2013 will be to grow.

Are you ready for your creative venture to grow? Then come join me! Via our Crafting a Business series, we’ll explore both meaty detailed business concepts and motivational thoughts, giving you the research, tools, and inspiration you need to grow your business in 2013.

My goal is to grow Lazy Owl a little bit every month, every week, even every day. You can do it too with your Etsy shop or whatever your creative business may be. Small steps leading to big changes. Let’s talk about pricing methods, let’s really research SEO and tagging, let’s improve our photography skills and our customer service offerings, let’s explore our target market, let’s have more fun! You’ve already taken the plunge to going into business for yourself…now let’s really make it work! A creative entrepreneur should be willing to be constantly growing, learning, and improving.

I made myself the above print to hang in my crafting studio to remind me to do just a little something to help my business (and myself) grow a little bit each and every day! It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right?

Stay tuned for more articles, tidbits, worksheets, and printables for the rest of this year and throughout 2013. I welcome you to join us by subscribing to the Lazy Owl newsletter to get updates directly to your inbox! Just enter your email address in the little box to the right.

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go your own way

Well then!  First of all, welcome to my updated website.  I’ve transferred the blog over to wordpress and finally gotten my own domain, lazyowlboutique.com.  I’ve worked a while getting everything over here prepped and I’m ready to release the site to the world!  It’s pretty bare bones right now, but updates will be steady over the next few weeks.  Check out my About page to learn more about my big plans!

Things on my end have been crazy for the past few weeks.  Long story short, I’m taking a dive off the diving board of stability (and sanity) into the deep end of riskiness…on a whim, I applied for a part-time accounting instructor job at a local technical college.  I had planned on staying at my current full-time accounting job for the foreseeable future, but for some reason teaching at the college-level has always called out to me.  I originally looked for a teaching position when I quit public accounting, but it seemed impossible to find something that didn’t require previous teaching experience.

inspirational quote for entrepreneur

The decision to take a part-time job was both exhilarating and excruciating.  I don’t have kids…I have no seemingly “legitimate” reason to not work full-time.   Sure, I’ve always said if I had more time I’d pursue this, I’d put this idea to work, I’d spend more time making Lazy Owl a more successful brand and business.  But you don’t quit a stable good job to sell things on the internet.  CPAs don’t go to school for 5+ years to make jewelry and sell at craft shows and write blogs…that’s just crazy.  That just doesn’t make sense.  It’s honestly been one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life.  And I’m still not sure if it’s the right one…but I’ll never know if I don’t try, right?

So here I am.  Last full week at work before I begin working 2 days a week teaching and 5 days a week trying to make Lazy Owl a success.  I know a lot of people think I’m crazy or irresponsible.  And I can’t really blame them. I can’t help but feel guilty that I am doing this.  It feels selfish.  Luckily I have an amazing, supportive husband who fully believes in me chasing my dreams.

I do feel a little unanchored…I won’t have an office to report to 5 days a week, I won’t have monthly responsibilities at the office and I won’t have someone managing over me.  I’m just floating out in space.  The only person responsible for my schedule and for getting things done and accomplishing goals is ME.  I will have time to work towards the goals I’ve set aside for months.  If I fail, there are no more excuses.  I can’t say “there’s not enough time” anymore.  It’s an incredibly freeing yet scary feeling.  But I’m ready!  I’m ready to come out fighting.  I’m ready to make this work, to prove to myself and to everyone else that I can do this.  Bring it on!

To celebrate, I’ve been dabbling in the land of creating printables.  My goal is to begin offering printable worksheets and other items related to small business planning and operations.  So stay tuned!  For now, I just made a more “artsy” printable (I am an accountant, so please bear with me here) with a quote that has really inspired me lately.  It’s actually a Jason Mraz lyric, “Leap and the net will appear”.  I think that’s exactly what I’m doing (or hoping for!) right now in my life.  So please, feel free to click the download link below and have your very own free inspirational printable!  Please note that the downloadable file below is slightly different than the one pictured on my bulletin board shown above.  Frame it and hang it in an area where you need a little kick in the pants! Let me know how you like it!

free quote printable artclick here to download this printable in PDF form

Fonts are Elephants in Cherry Trees and Susie’s hand, courtesy of Kevin & Amanda, please see my credits page.

I hope you join me on this adventure.  Wish me luck!

March Madness

Please pardon my prolonged absence!  March has been flying by for me.  My husband, an engineer, has been working turnaround at his plant.  For those of you who haven’t grown up around engineers, turnaround is basically a time where the plant shuts down and the engineers have to work 24/7.  He is home and awake for about an hour or two every day.

This has left all the cooking, cleaning, and household duties to yours truly.  And…if you know me, you know I don’t cook.  I don’t really know how to cook honestly, so this month has been interesting for me because as a good wife I need to put food on the table for him to eat every night after a long day at work!  Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve been able to find some recipes that even someone as kitchen-challenged as me can handle.

So, to sum up what I’ve been neglecting to blog about in March, here we go in photo form.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

This was the first dinner I attempted.  Probably not the best idea.  It was a good recipe and I allllllmost pulled it off, but I have no experience baking chicken.  I left it in there for the amount of time the recipe called for, but I apparently over-cooked the chicken.  The crust was still totally yummy, but the chicken itself was really tough.

Broccoli cheese soup

This recipe was great.  I’ve never made soup before (did I mention I’ve never made like…anything before?)  So getting the flour base down and all that was a challenge.  But the soup turned out great.  I even heated a couple frozen pretzel rolls to go with it.  Success!

I am also taking a beginner’s sewing class this month.  It’s been very interesting, and not nearly as intuitive as I  thought it would be.  This is the pattern I’ve started out with.  I had no idea it had so many pleats…and pockets…I’m still working on it.  I have all sorts of dreams of making purses, dresses, etc. etc…
Blueberry Snack Cake

I made this delicious blueberry snack cake.  It was pretty easy, even for me.  Definitely yummy.

Essie nail polish in Tart Deco

I’ve also been really obsessed with coral lately.  I got coral shorts, two coral tops, a pair of coral shoes, and finally this light coral polish from Essie.  It’s going to be all the rage this spring/summer I swear (I hope).  See my coral treasury:

‘A touch of coral’ by LazyOwlBoutique


Coral Bracelet Coral Je…

$98.00

Salmon Pink Jersey Infi…

$18.00

Vintage Coral Corning C…

$20.50

Red, coral and peach sa…

$12.00

Mini Ruche Bag in Sea C…

$212.00

Coral Lattice Print Pil…

$78.00

SALE Salmon Wrap Bracel…

$24.00

Coral Ocean Beach Sea P…

$48.00

Womens Clothing Top Cot…

$32.00

Coral Rose Ring – Adjus…

$5.99

Wristlet Clutch, Coral …

$27.00

Little Coral Chandelier…

$25.00

Dogwood Mother’s Da…

$4.00

Salmon Coral Necklace -…

$44.00

Scandinavian door photo…

$30.00

1950s Skirt – Quilted F…

$45.00

Moving on….

Chicken lasagna

This was big-time for me.  Chicken lasagna! The recipe was actually not too difficult, just very time-consuming.  I used a grocery store rotisserie chicken for it.  I also did not use any of the low-fat versions of the 270 cheeses that went into this recipe, I went with the real deal.  But the husband loved it!  I will admit, I was pretty impressed with myself for pulling it off haha.

Turquoise and yellow chevron earrings

Over at Lazy Owl, I posted a new collection of handpainted metal feather earrings.  They were really fun to make.  I’m definitely into bright, happy spring colors right now.

Pasta salad

For some reason I’ve always been in love with the idea of pasta salad.  Plus, a couple days after I made chicken lasagna, I thought a pasta salad would be nice and easy to make.  I didn’t realize it’d take me an hour just to chop up all the dang veggies.  Also, I seem to have no concept of how much food a recipe makes in the end, so we ended up with about 2 pounds of pasta salad.  Luckily, it turned out to be pretty good.

Oreo and peanut butter pie

Omg, the weekend after my husband’s birthday, I made him this oreo peanut butter pie.  It was seriously SO GOOD. And easy enough for me to handle.  This was the first time I’ve ever made a homemade oreo crust, which was basically just melted butter and crumbled up oreos.  I’m pretty sure I’d like a pie that’s just all oreo crust.  That was the best part…

Hunger Games Mockingjay inspired wire wrapped ring

I also bought my tickets to the Hunger Games yesterday; we are going on Saturday.  Super pumped!  I will admit to buying a few of the Capital Couture nail polishes as well…I’m hoping they come in before the movie.

Last night I attempted chicken, mushroom, and spinach quesadillas.  Everything went fine until I put the finished creation into the skillet and attempted to flip it with a spatula.  Disaster!!  I cannot flip quesadillas.  Most of the filling ended up on top of the tortilla.  But it still tasted good!

Today I’m tackling sloppy joes!  So as you can see, I’ve been keeping busy, and it’s been all good.  I’ve really enjoyed the feelings of creating and providing.  It feels good to take care of someone (and myself).  What have you been up to this month?

Party like it’s 2012

Hello!  Welcome to 2012!  Obviously I did not intend on taking a nearly two-month long vacation from the blogosphere, but December and the holidays turned out to be busier than I thought.  I hope that all of you had a peaceful (and successful, if you are a fellow Etsian like myself) holiday season!

With the beginning of every new year, I like to follow the trend of setting some goals and coming up with a resolution or two.  This year I read an article about the 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge.  1001 days is three years, so coming up with 101 goals in 3 years gives you the time and opportunity to do some serious long-term thinking and planning.

2012 Weekly Planner PDF by milas on Etsy

I then stumbled upon the awesome website, Day Zero, and decided to set up my very own 101 things list.  You can see my list here.  I still haven’t thought of all 101 things, I could only get about 80, so I have some room to grow.  I tried to come up with a mix of fun things I’ve always wanted to do and serious goals I need to do, along with a few things that I’d love to happen but don’t know if they are possible (like weigh 140 pounds…ha…ha….).

I welcome you to create a Day Zero list with me to motivate yourself to meet your goals for the next three years.

Here are a few of the items on my list, many of them pertaining to Lazy Owl Boutique.  They say you should make your goals quanitifiable and specific, so you can see I chose a specific number for many of them.

– Learn how to sew
– Cook a meal in the crock pot (I’ve told you I like never…cook)
– Paint every room in the house (ouch)
– Go to the beach (yay!)
– Learn Italian
– Go to Italy (TBD in a later post!)
– Cook 10 recipes from Pinterest
– Make 150 sales on Etsy (hopefully over the next 3 years, this will be possible, so far I’m at 10 out of 150)
– Write 50 blog entries!  Here we go!
– Sell at 5 craft shows (hopefully more)
– Make 30 things from Pinterest
– Read 75 books
– Eat at every Pappa’s restaurant (it’s a Houston thing)
– Make an ottoman/bench out of our old coffee table
– Eat on our wedding china at least twice (since we’ve never eaten on it at all)
– Bake 10 different types of cupcakes, yay!
– Be on the frontpage of Etsy 5 times (I’ve managed to get on it once this year already!)

So, now you can follow along with me as I try to complete this goals over the next 1001 days.  Let me know if you decide to make your own list, and we can share.  I need more ideas for goals!

I survived!

Sigh of relief!  Sorry I have been MIA for the entire month of October.  Things have been busy, busy, busy since I returned from my Disney trip.  One thing at a time!

I survived my very first half marathon!  It feels like it happened so long ago, it feels like it maybe didn’t even happen.  That boost of adrenaline I was expecting to get whilst running through the Disney parks definitely did NOT happen.  And I really could’ve used it haha.

It was a long, tiresome journey.  We tried to take a nap that day since the race started at 10pm, but I was too anxious to fall asleep.  When the race finally started, I was just amazed at how many PEOPLE there were everywhere.  I’ve never run around that many people before, and it was tough navigating and winding and dodging everyone, especially since I was run-walking.  I don’t think things cleared up for me until mile 5 or so.  I plodded along at my slow and steady pace til about mile 11…at this point I felt like I wanted to die.  Miles 11 to 13 seemed to take a lifetime and a half.  By the time I reached the finish line (at exactly 3 hours flat) I had tears in my eyes!  They weren’t really happy tears haha, I just seemed to be overwhelmed with emotion at finally finishing.  And being slightly annoyed that I had made myself do something so painful.

As soon as I finished and stopped moving I suddenly could no longer move.  I was meeting the rest of my party in Canada (the race finished outside Epcot), and I think it took me 45 minutes to hobble over there!  Needless to say, we all passed out after that!

Since returning to Houston, I’ve been consumed by getting my shop ready for my very first craft fair.  I feel like a little Christmas elf.  I think I have just about TRIPLED my inventory in the past 2 weeks…not to mention creating all sorts of various displays and jewelry holders for all my items (with the help of my gracious husband of course).

I hope to have a full post about my preparation for the craft show soon, that should be exciting to share.

Just inputing all the new items in my inventory spreadsheet system has been overwhelming, so I am way behind on taking photos and listing new items…but I will show you a few new necklaces I’ve been able to add to my bunting necklaces line recently:

Cool tones bunting necklace
Maroon bunting necklace
Orange bunting necklace

Holiday Bootcamp Kick Off

Waaaaaahhhhhhh!  I’m sort of trying to swallow down a nervous breakdown right now.  A week from yesterday, I leave for my happy place, Walt Disney World resort in Florida.  A week from tomorrow, I am going to attempt the impossible — running (jogging? walking? limping? crawling?) 13.1 miles as part of Disney’s Food & Wine Half-Marathon.

I know I had made some promises a while back to keep you all posted on my training progress, and maybe you are wondering where all those promised updates are…well, I have barely been training! Ahhhhhhhh.  The longest I’ve gone in preparation for this is 9 miles.  And I’ve done that twice.  And the last time was like 3 weeks ago.  I have only run once this week (4 measly miles).  I’m promising myself that I will do 9 miles again this weekend since it’s my last chance to squeeze in another long run…but….we’ll see.

Anyway, running-related freakage aside, I’ve been slowly building up some anxiety related to my Etsy shop and this holiday season.  Two issues — I want my shop to be in tip-top shape for the upcoming holiday rush (assuming there is a rush for me), and I’ve signed up for two craft shows in Houston where I will attempt to sell my wares in person for the first time EVAR.

There are many, MANY things I need to do to prep for a for-reals craft fair.  Hopefully preparing for the craft shows will help get my Etsy shop into gear as well.  Yesterday, I received week 1’s issue of Etsy Success’ Holiday Bootcamp, and I really need to follow some of the advice the blog article suggests.  So, in an attempt to get my butt in gear, I’m going to start listing some goals for myself.  Maybe you can follow along too!

Etsy’s Holiday Bootcamp

Lazy Owl Boutique Holiday Goal Outline(very official name)

  • Increase inventory, with a goal to at least double inventory by October 29 (date of first craft show)
    • Begin by focusing on inventory that will sell well at craft shows:
      • Make more wire-wrapped rings in variety of sizes
      • Make more bunting necklaces, particularly ones with school colors (focus on Texas schools and SEC schools for now)
      • Make more vintage glass jewel earrings
  • Order supplies as needed
    • Inventory supplies — earwires, craft wire, crystals
    • Craft show supplies? — another table, table coverings, risers, receipts, vendor apron, earring cards, merchandise bags, stickers, etc. etc..
  • Prepare/create displays for craft shows– ring boxes, earring frames, doorknob necklace holders, earring/necklace trees, price signs, shop name banner, etc. etc.
  • Update inventory catalog and pricing — I’ve gotten really lazy about entering my supplies and costs into my inventory spreadsheet, how will I know where to price my items if my supply costs are not accurate?
  • Photograph and list, list, list on Etsy all these new items I’m making!!

*Sigh*…I basically just need to set aside more time…more time to create items, but also to update my inventory/pricing spreadsheets, take photos, and list items.  I feel like all that admin stuff takes more time than actually creating, but I guess that’s the way it is!

Do you have a plan to get ready for the upcoming holiday season?  Feel free to share!  Or give me advice, I love advice…

A new beginning….

Hello all! Welcome to my very first blog post for Lazy Owl Boutique.

I envision this blog to be about many things.  Of course, I’ll be using it as a marketing tool for my new etsy shop, Lazy Owl Boutique, but I’d like to make it a little more personal than that.  I’ll also talk about my newly rediscovered love of crafting and the challenges I face in that regard.

I’m going through many changes at the moment.  I’m an accountant, so part of me is very, very left-brained.  I’m a fan of order and routine…but I also feel like I’ve always had a creative spark that I enjoy pursuing.  Unfortunately, after years of school and now two years of the real adult world, my creative spark has died down to a mere flicker.

In December, my husband and I bought our very first house.  I began devouring decorating books for ideas and inspiration (this is what left-brained people do, we always read books first before taking action).  Having a whole house as my new big creative outlet really got the ball rolling for me.  I realized how much I missed using my right-brain, being creative, thinking outside the box, working with colors and objects and my hands, and taking chances!

I knew I needed a change, I just didn’t know how to make it.  I worked in a very demanding and time-consuming position in public accounting.  By the time I came home (usually late) and on the weekends (if I wasn’t working), I didn’t have the energy to devote to any new creative passions.  So, after a lot of thinking, I decided I needed to 1) quit my job, and 2) come up with some new hobbies (other than sleeping or complaining).

One thing led to another, and viola!  The creation of Lazy Owl Boutique.  I have really enjoyed (after lots of book reading, of course) crafting handmade jewelry and launching my shop online.  I have always loved Etsy, and now experiencing it from the other side has been an adventure.

My second hobby I came up with is slightly less enjoyable.  In an effort to get in shape, I decided to sign up for Disney’s Food & Wine half-marathon on October 1.  So, I guess you could say training for that has been my second new hobby.

I also quit my job, yay!  I now work as an accountant (still left-braining it!) for one of Houston’s top hospitals.  I just finished my first week on the job.

So…you can see I have a lot of new things going on right now.  I hope to use this blog to journal all these new experiences and keep you all updated!  I hope you enjoy being a part of my new journey!