I hope you had a great Thanksgiving (to all my American friends!) and an exciting start to the holiday season. I love this time of year – the craziness, the rare quiet moments, the shopping, the festive decorations, music, and parties… and we’re just getting started!
November was a big month for LaurenIbachLettering and I’m excited to share some big wins with you and one big learning experience.
Winter Wonderland Event
To kick off November, I had my second art fair experience as a vendor! This was a two day show and quite a bit slower than the show I did in October, but I was still so pleased with how it went! I met so many great folks from my social media community, church community (the church Luke and I work at/attend was very close by as well), and some of the sweetest vendors! I love doing art fairs because I love connecting with people face-to-face, which honestly surprises me, being the introverted homebody that I am. 😉 Thanks to all who came out!
Thanksgiving Weekend / 1,000 Etsy Sales
Thanksgiving was great! Luke and I spent the day with his side of the family and it was just the immediate family, so it was a very intimate, relaxing gathering. So so good. ❤ After Thanksgiving, came my biggest sale of the year! I decided to offer free shipping Black Friday through Cyber Monday and it was so fun to see the orders come in and find out what you all are most excited about! The top selling items were: custom address stamps, Be Kind pins, and ornaments (which were a very last minute addition to the shop)! There were also a fair amount of you who ordered my new book Ephesians: A Hand Lettered Devotional, limited edition 2019 wall calendars, prints, and even a few mugs!
To add to all the weekend excitement, my Etsy shop hit 1,000 sales on Small Business Saturday! I set a good, great, and amazing goal for how many sales I hoped to get this year and 1,000 was that amazing, seemingly unattainable goal. And, I hit it more than a month before the end of the year! Reaching this goal was like having a dream come true and I honestly still can’t believe people from all over the country (and world!) choose to shop at LaurenIbachLettering daily. Words can’t fully express my gratitude. I praise God for His faithfulness – answering my many prayers and keeping me motivated when things got challenging – and of course thank you SO MUCH to all who purchased something from my shop, shared about a product, left a positive review, and/or offered their own creative gifts and services to help me grow my business this year!
I have one big learn from the month and it has to do with goal planning and expectations.
For the past several months, I had a number in mind of how much I wanted to make this month. It seemed like a lofty goal, but not totally out of the question. Before I go any further into money talk, I want to make sure I clarify I am not in this for the money. I doubt anybody who starts an Etsy shop is in it to become rich and famous for their creations (although that would be pretty cool!), but with my husband in school full-time and unable to work a full-time job along with that due to a chronic illness, we really rely on the income from my shop to get the bills paid and it is TIGHT.
So, I had a number in mind. It was gonna be tough to hit, I didn’t know how or if I would, but maybe if I worked hard enough, prayed hard enough, and had a killer marketing plan in place, I’d be able to reach it. Well… I didn’t. And disappointment struck on Black Friday when I started realizing the weekend wasn’t going the way I hoped or planned. I am just going to be real honest here, I was pretty down. Lots of sales were still coming in, but I was pretty wrapped up in my huge expectations not being met.
Saturday night (Small Business Saturday), when Luke got home from work, we headed out to dinner and he asked, “How were sales today?” I responded with something like, “Good, but I’m just disappointed. It’s not going the way I had hoped. I just wanna feel like I’ve ‘made it.'” His next words were exactly what I needed to hear to snap out of it. They were something like this: “What would make you feel like you’ve ‘made it’? Because the way I see it is it’s rare that you go a day without at least one sale, you’re not selling anything that people really need in order to survive… people are spending their hard earned money on what you make daily simply because they like it or feel some kind of connection to what you do. That’s pretty cool and that seems like ‘making it’ to me.”
Was that not the greatest pep-talk in the world or what?? Luke doesn’t always get it. Sometimes I get so frustrated when I try to explain to him what I’ve been up to during the day and he’s totally lost, but this showed me he gets the big picture. And he gets it way more than I do. His words turned my stress into peace and my disappointment into gratitude. He put it all into perspective.
The lesson I learned? Goals are good, expectations can be dangerous. Next year, I’m going to be better about making those good, great, and amazing goals like I did with my Etsy sales this year. I’m not going to stop dreaming big, but I am going to start working on keeping those expectations in check. Like with the art fair – I had no expectations, but I did have an educated guess of how the weekend would turn out. I had a goal, but not an expectation. Does that make sense? It served as a motivator, but I wasn’t going to feel like a failure if I didn’t make it.
What I also learned? When expectations aren’t met, disappointment sets in and it’s hard to be grateful. Thanksgiving weekend was a great success for my shop, but if Luke hadn’t put things back into perspective for me, I would have missed it simply because of an unmet expectation.
I still have a lot of processing to do, so I hope that wasn’t too confusing or rambly. It’s my hope that these Wins and Learns posts wouldn’t just serve as a way for me to reflect, but that you would be able to celebrate and learn with me and reflect on your own wins and learns regularly.
I’d love to hear about something you’re celebrating or learning yourself, or maybe even something that stood out to you in this post! So, leave a comment and let’s chat! If you would like to be notified about future blog posts and shop updates in the future, please join my mailing list! I’d love to keep in touch with you that way. 🙂