Y'all, being a small business owner is hard.
If you're here, then you already know that I'm an artist, that I make stickers and scrapbook supplies, and I also make vinyl decals.
Did you know I also work two days a week as an administrative assistant for a family owned HVAC company, cover the full time office manager position when the current manager is sick or needs to take personal leave, freelance as a graphic designer, make cakes, cupcakes and cookies, occasionally baby sit for close friends, and manage a household, two dogs and a wonderful husband?
Now sprinkle in a constant smattering of doctor's appointments that are all mostly an hour or so away, and you've got a basket full of chaos!
Let me give you the run down of the sticker side alone:
I have to plan time to draw, upload and edit artwork, format the artwork into products, create the listing images to sell said products on the website, upload the products and all of their details for sale, advertise, market, print and cut, and organize and pack orders. It's a whirlwind.
Then the administrative side involves expense reports, inventory reports, bookkeeping, paying sales tax, researching and ordering supplies, trips to the post office, etc.
Then you say, but Jessie, how do you do it all and not lose all of your marbles?
Well my friends, those marbles are already rolling around all over Northern Virginia, but that's beside the point.
Want to know the secret?
It's all about realistic expectations and time management. (And the fact that I always have my iPad Pro and MacBook with me, because I can't just leave work in the office.....but again, beside the point.)
Case in point here. Always working, even on the go.
At any rate, back to the post:
S.M.A.R.T. goals are the real key ingredient here.
What's a S.M.A.R.T. goal, you ask? Well a S.M.A.R.T. goal is:
Specific: Broad generalized goals are great, but turning the achievement of your goal into something more applicable and realistic means breaking it down into small bite sized pieces. Snack size. Who doesn't love snacks?!
Want to buy a new car? GREAT! Start small. Maybe your goal is to research the most fuel efficient models first.
Measurable: You need to be able to track your progress. How can you measure this mini goal you've set? Make checkpoints, milestones, boxes to check off on your way.
You decide that you want to research ten different makes and models. You can measure your progress as you research each model.
Attainable: Your goal needs to be something you know you can actually achieve. It's great to shoot for the stars, but taking on too much can mean setting yourself up for failure.
Researching ten makes and models is reasonable. Deciding that you want to pull the specs on EVERY single make and model available and create an in depth spread sheet? Maybe not so much.
Realistic: See above. Think practical, think real life. Measure your goal against everything else you already have on your plate and set realistic expectations.
Research takes time. Ten makes and models to compare and contrast will take time. Do you like to read every single piece of literature you can find? Are you a skimmer? If you're looking at one point of interest (fuel efficiency) per vehicle, you can obviously accomplish that quicker than sitting down to pull full specs to analyze. Be realistic with how long it will take. Two-three hours to sit down and pull info is realistic. "I'll do it on my fifteen minute break" is not.
Time Specific: You need a deadline my friend. Vague goal setting means things get pushed off and stuck on simmer. Setting checkpoints and milestones and giving yourself a realistic timeframe and deadline to complete them is one of the most important parts to being productive and successful.
Here's what your new fuel efficiency research goal for your journey to buying a new car should look like: "I want to research ten makes and models of vehicles in my budget, to see which one has the best fuel efficiency. I want to have the first five researched within the next week, and the last five researched by the end of two weeks. I will set aside an hour to an hour and a half for each research session on a Saturday or Sunday evening when I have extra free time."
Here's an example of a goal I am still working on: "I want to draw once a week. I will set aside time on each Tuesday to draw for at least two hours. I want to establish this as a consistent habit by the end of six weeks. I will track my progress in my planner. If I miss a Tuesday because of health issues, doctors appointments, or covering at the office, I will reschedule for Sunday morning or the next applicable and reasonable day to do this." *
*And I will not beat myself up for faltering, as long as I continue to work towards my goal.
You can do this, friends! Break those big dreams into S.M.A.R.T. goals and bring 'em to life!