At the start of the year I wrote about setting big goals for myself for this year. Goals are only useful if you periodically check in and compare performance to objectives. It has been almost three months since I set these goals for myself and it is a good time to evaluate my progress.
I set two goals for myself.
- To build my woodworking business – Thomas Woodcrafts
- To build my blog
1. Build Thomas Woodcrafts
I started this business as a result of an idea put forward by another blogger and a re-awakened passion for woodworking that I had set aside over the years. In early December I launched the business with a website (www.thomaswoodcrafts.com) and an Etsy site as platforms to sell my stuff.
p style=”text-align: center;”>These growth charts were the first products. Followed by the elephant clothes hook above.
I built this Giraffe Clothes Tree based on the design that my grandfather used to make me one as a kid. This one is pre-ears. I had some modifications for stability and shipping purposes.
Next came letters cut from a two by four and the idea to shift to using scrap and recycled wood.
Then I made some more clothes hooks. Most of what I am making is flat since that makes things easier and cheaper for shipping. This will evolve as I develop more products.
I decided to branch out from just pine and found a store that has a huge variety of wood available, mostly hardwoods and many with richly-coloured wood grain. I discovered a section where you can buy damaged wood by the pound which allows me to buy some great wood that has little use to other people. It also forces me to be creative since I have to work around the cracks and damage to see what I can find in the wood. I was also able to find a food-grade finish that I can use on toys that are likely to go in kids mouths.
Then I made a couple more clothes hooks – larger this time, based on a friend’s suggestion to make a narwhal. I just finished these a couple of days ago in preparation for my first craft show yesterday.
The first order I received on Etsy was for some hugs and kisses to participate in a wedding in California!
So in three months I have put together a pretty decent product line, with more to come, made a web sale, sold some products at my first craft show and another offline. Next up is to revamp my website and put more focus on marketing, including outreach to toy stores and more craft shows.
While this is a side business for me, I realized the other day that I feel I can legitimately call myself a small business owner. I am making products and selling them and I am having a great time doing it!
2. Build DadGoesRound blog
The other thing I have added to my identity is that of writer. I have increased the frequency and the regularity of my writing (other than the past week while I’ve been sanding and painting). I wasn’t sure that I would be able to come up with enough content on a weekly basis to write at least two posts. So far I have been able to do it even though some weeks have been a struggle.
I’ve been invited to join some facebook blogging groups and my blog has been added to the Yummy Mummy Club Community – a collection of great Canadian blogs. I created my first Buzzfeed post and have been invited to post on a few other sites. I’ll share links to those on this blog when they are published. The number of people reading my blog every month is growing steadily – this month especially.
I have made a concerted effort to engage with people on Twitter and as a result have hundreds of new followers and met all kinds of great people. I have gained close to 100 new followers on my Facebook page – feel free to follow along! I set up Pinterest and Instagram accounts so that I can experiment with those media and ways to integrate those with my blog and writing. I am using Instagram much more than Pintrest and really it is more focused on the products I am making for Thomas Woodcrafts than anything else. I even put in an application to speak at a blogging conference and while I wasn’t successful this year I am glad I made the effort.
Next up I have plans for a YouTube channel and at least one series of videos with the kids.
All-in-all it has been a successful first three months of the year and I am excited to see where this all goes in the next three months as I build my small business into a slightly larger one and continue my growth as a writer. Thanks to all of you for following along!