My performance reviews are pretty painless. My last goals were created four months ago when I stopped doing contract work:
• get an auto-advance mechanism
• acquire enough material for several batches of weaving
• design one or two hoodless garment styles
• put in an average of four hours a day creating new inventory
• learn the skills and create the workflow to run a web store
My next goals are even more easily achievable:
• keep putting in the hours to create new inventory
• maintain a fresh web store
• hire a copywriter/editor for the web store
• get my work into one brick-and-mortar store
• find summer shows in the area
• build a portable booth
And then there's the long term. I created this chart as a way to visually represent the phases I expect my business to go through in the next few years.
I am just beginning this phase right now. I'm producing cloth, but it all needed to be cut and sewn as it was woven in order to update my web store. Between beams, there will be little plateaus in finished merchandise production while I prepare the next beam. Sales are fairly minimal, which is to be expected. Until I have enough cash from in-person and web sales to fund the next marketing push, I'll just keep creating the merchanise. At the end of this phase, I will have been able to create a presentation that's good enough to get me into a store or two and see me through some small shows.
Once I've got enough inventory to start moving up in show quality, I'll also be moving up in income regularity. I'm able to save some sewing and listing to keep my store fresh between beams, so the inventory line smooths out. More stores and other regular outlets will smooth out the sales line, too.
In this phase, I'm able to hire some of the work to be done. An assistant or two to weave and sew while I design and wind the next beam will eliminate downtime between beams altogether. A sales team to go and do more, bigger shows will bring up the sales rate to match the higher production rate.
This is my goal: a cottage industry that can comfortably support four or five people living together in a small spiritual community. I have no reason to think that my goals are unreasonable. I've made it this far! All it takes is perseverance and discipline. I've got to get up every day and put in the hours, even if I have little hope of real sales for months of time and many hundreds of dollars in material costs. It will eventually all be worth it.