The Lucky Break Calendar – January 2017

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Ahhhh, January. You can practically feel the resolutions filling the air for this to be the best year yet.  If you’ve taken my advice, you’ve spent some time these last few weeks digesting all that was 2016 and are now preparing for all that will be in 2017 (need help with that? I know just the thing).

The Lucky Break team is deep in preparation mode, too, as we prepare to launch my GMP, BHB, and LBU classes this month.  We’re working hard on some new things coming down the LB pipeline this year, too, and I can’t wait to share those details with you soon.

I hope you’ll download my January calendar to keep up to date with what’s happening in my neck of the woods, and that you’ll use it to keep track of your neck of the woods, too. Whatever you have planned for 2017, let’s get to it! And know that I’m always cheering you on.

 

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Ready to know your monthly numbers? Here’s how I know mine.

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As a maker, I’m keenly aware that the love of making can often outshine the love of business-ing. But, if you want to succeed in this ultra-competitive handmade industry, then you have to make time to give the business side of your business attention, too. Knowing your monthly numbers is key to understanding the health of your business and for making strategic plans for how to grow it.

 

Not sure what to measure? Here’s is what my team tracks, every month. It lets me put my finger on the pulse of my business while still maintaining a high level view of what’s happening.

  1. Financial Overview. This includes both dollars sold and numbers and products sold. For Lucky Break, this information is available in our cart back-end software.
  2. Social Media Overview. This includes followers by platform, posts by platform, and top engagement by platform
  3. Website Analytics. This includes monthly statistics, top 10 pages visited, and top 10 referrers. The Lucky Break team uses Google Analytics for this piece of information.
  4. Newsletter Data. This includes new subscribers, average open rate, average click rate, and our unsubscribe rate.

 

Ready to dive into your own numbers? I pinky promise that it will serve you well. Download my  editable three page template below and get to work!

Monthly Numbers Template

Setting Yourself Up For Success in the New Year (and a free checklist!)

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Setting Yourself Up For Success in the New Year

 

The turning of the calendar to a new year holds the promise of a fresh start on your entrepreneurial adventure.  There’s a rare break in the action- a precious few moments of calm on an otherwise frenetic journey. I hope that this season delivers not just a blank slate but renewed energy, too, as I have little doubt that your soul is due for some R+R after the holiday rush.

 

Entrepreneurship is a wild ride, and we’re in the midst of an especially exciting time.  Barriers to entry are dropping and people the world over are showing increasing interest in beautifully designed products that created with soul and intention.  As business owners working in the midst of the maker revival, it’s fantastically easy to be swept away by a wave of passion, making decisions on the fly, and moving from one urgent task to the next.

 

Throughout the year, I find myself accumulating clutter (both mental and physical). I’m often too busy to spend significant amounts of time on my own website or notice that my costs are slowly and insidiously creeping north. I’m pulled in a zillion directions and constantly “dinged” at by a myriad of devices. I hardly ever carve out the time to look at key customer touchpoints and ensure that they’re up-to-date and reflective of my current brand. Sound familiar?

 

I like to begin each year with a very intentional series of steps designed to help me critically analyze the year that was, boost my focus, clear my space of mental (and physical) clutter, and see my company through the customer’s eyes. The results are always worth the effort. I know these exercises will help you get into fighting shape, too, so I made a downloadable checklist and I invite you to play along! Click the image below to grab it…

 

 

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May the coming year bring both focus and fulfillment. The Lucky Break team will be cheering you on as you tackle new trials, expand beyond your comfort zone, and press ever-closer to the empire of your dreams!

 

REVIEW YOUR SALES DATA.
Pull it directly from your e-commerce platform or accounting software and lay your eyes on total revenue and revenue-by-product. Don’t rely on your memory or your perceptions of what sold over the past year. Pull the numbers and get down-n-dirty with them. They don’t lie!

 

REVIEW YOUR PRODUCT COSTS.
Go through your product costs with a fine-tooth-comb. Raw material prices have a tendency to slowly creep up unnoticed throughout the year. Double-check your raw material costs, labor expenses, and overhead to see if a price adjustment is needed. If you have my Price-O-Matic software, then updates are blissfully easy! Pull the most recent invoice for each raw material and update the costs in the “Inventory” tab of the POM software. The system will automatically search for that raw material in every product you make and instantly retabulate the costs of each product made with that raw material. Technology is beautiful, eh? If you don’t yet have my Price-O-Matic software, then you’re wasting time and leaving money on the table! Why not grab a copy?

 

GET YOUR INBOX TO ZERO.
This is what I lovingly call “The New Year Purge.” All of those stray emails that have collected for months need to TLC ASAP. Set aside a few hours and quickly go through your entire inbox. Answer whatever is outstanding and discard the rest. You have no idea how good a “zero inbox” feels until you’ve experienced it! A clear space allows you to start the new year off right.

 

CLEAN OUT YOUR OFFICE.
Continuing on that theme: Tidy up your workspace. Remove clutter, file or discard papers, and reorganize if needed. Whipping your office into shape changes the way you feel when you sit down at your desk and is well worth the investment of an hour or two.

 

TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS.
You know all those things that buzz, ding, and whirl? They need to die a swift death! The perpetual inundation of alerts and notifications contributes to mental overwhelm and they break focus every single time they make noise. You needn’t be notified when someone places an order, sends an email, favorites a picture, likes your page, or shouts you out on Twitter. Remove all audible notifications and ensure that your email isn’t auto-checking throughout the day. Do whatever you need to do to set up these systems so that you’re in control of when you review information, not the other way around!

 

UNSUBSCRIBE + THEN RESUBSCRIBE TO YOUR OWN NEWSLETTER.
Whaaaat? No, I haven’t been drinking! By unsubscribing and then resubscribing, you’ll have an opportunity to see copies of all the emails you programmed a loooong time ago into MailChimp, etc. The information you share in those autoresponder emails is especially important because it’s some of the first information you present to new customers, but we often “set it and forget it.” Give it a good once-over and update as necessary. Is it up-to-date? Is it relevant? Is it in your brand voice? Make adjustments as necessary.

 

MOVE THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE AS A CUSTOMER.
Click through and read every last page of your own website. Keep an eye out for outdated or inaccurate information. Place any single in your cart and complete the entire checkout process. Double-check the order confirmation email you receive to ensure that it’s formatted well and up-to-date.

 

CHECK FOR BROKEN LINKS.
Use this uber-cool (and free!) broken link checker to identify misdirecting links on your own website. Simply pop your website address into the box in the upper-right corner and it will magically find every stray link that isn’t functioning as it should. Which this tool can find broken links, it can’t fix your broken links. Make certain that you get into the backend of your website and reprogram them to direct peeps to the right spot in the coming year.

 

LET GO OF FRUSTRATIONS, BETRAYALS, AND PERCEIVED FAILURES.
I’m not in the business of quoting Disney Princesses in my day-to-day life, but I have to hand it to Elsa: that chick really knows how to let go. Make like Elsa and let go of any angst that you’re harboring. This may sound a bit “woo-woo” but stay with me for a moment…it’s incredibly cathartic.  I like to  take a handful of index cards and write a single grievance on each one. Be it frustration with myself, displeasure with a teammate, jealousy of a competitor, or the disappointment in an unrealized expectation- inscribe those cards with whatever plagues you.  Then start a good fire and release them one-by-one!  I read them aloud individually, toss them into the flames, and allow myself to feel the release as each one crackles. I envision myself feeling lighter as my cares melt into ash. Whatever happened exists exclusively in the past, unless we allow ourselves to be burdened by the energy. Make a conscious decision not to carry that energy into the new year.

 

SET ONE “BIG PICTURE” GOAL PER MONTH.
As entrepreneurs, we have a lot of plates spinning in the air every day! It’s incredibly easy to stay busy all year long without actually moving your business forward. I like to choose one “big picture” goal each month to ensure that I’m constantly stepping up my game. It could be new product photos, rewriting product descriptions, doing some media outreach, developing new product offerings, doing a cost analysis, exploring collaborations, etc. I recommend plotting a single Big Picture Goal each month and then directing all spare time + energy towards stepping up your game in that one facet of business.

The Lucky Break Calendar – September 2015

Lucky Break September 2015 Calendar

It’s been a busy summer for the Lucky Break team. Over the past few months we’ve ushered in a new class of motivated LBU students, ran our second semester of Brick House Branding, and said hello our tiniest teammate as my Operations Manager Melissa welcomed her son, Ryan.

We’re gearing up for an amazing 2016, but 2015 isn’t over yet! Check out our Lucky Break calendar to see what’s on tap for September, October + November of this year. Print yourself a copy and use it to track your social media statistics, to stay on track with your monthly business goals + for some great motivation on how to move your business forward.

 

Lucky Break September 2015 Calendar

 

 

Pssst! Our next Luck Break Book Club call is happening in October! Grab your copy of Start with Why by Simon Sinek and dive in. I hope you’ll join me!

A sneak peek inside my press kit

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LuckyBreakPressKit

 

We recently finished up a fun little project here at Lucky Break + I wanted to share it with you, too.  It’s so important that we, as entrepreneurs, put ourselves “out there.” That effort can take many incarnations: engaging on social media, appearing at retail shows + wholesale trade shows, reaching out to PR professionals + wholesale buyers, entering contests, and/or collaborating with others.  As a coach for product-based brands, I’m perpetually encouraging my clients to stretch themselves by putting their brand on the radar of others.

Well, it was time for a taste of my own medicine, I suppose.

 

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Over the last few months, the Lucky Break creative team has been busy writing copy, designing layouts, approving print proofs, commissioning fun brand swag, researching potential collaborators + hand-assembling a press kit mailing of which I’m particularly proud. It was a tremendous group effort, but we put the final polish on them this week. After a sprinkling of good juju + they’re winding their way into mailboxes all around the world.

 

Our goal was to create a fun package that expresses the Lucky Break personality, establishes my credibility + suggests ways in which we can collaborate with different trade organizations, live event organizers, podcasts hosts + the like. Keep in mind: as a consultant, I’m a service provider who’s selling myself as the product, so there’s a more intense focus on me as a person than most product-based brands would warrant. Nevertheless, I’m hoping that this serves as inspiration for a mailing designed around your tangible product.

 

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Tucked inside a 9×12″ white mailing envelope:

  • A square stationery card with a hand-inscribed, personalized message. The cards are decidedly luxe: thick paper stock, gold gilded edges, letterpress gold foil. That’s tucked into a gold-lined envelope + the recipient’s name is handwritten on the exterior. I wanted to make a striking first impression!

 

  • A black linen presentation folder imprinted with my logo in gold foil.

 

  • Tucked into that folder: my press kit, my course catalog, my business card, a doorhanger + a vellum envelope stuffed with entrepreneurial goodness.

 

  • Inside that vellum envelope: two handlettered, custom metallic gold tattoos + a custom-stamped pencil + a pouch of champagne-infused gummy bears. Because… why not?

 

  • I invite you to leaf through a digital copy of the course catalog + you’re most welcome to browse through a digital copy of the press kit, too.

 

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Finally, the exterior of that 9×12″ envelope has a custom address label + a cheeky sticker to tempt the recipient about what’s inside.

 

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Interested in building a press kit of your own? While it’s not absolutely necessary that creative brands have one, they are a lovely introduction to your company + your work. And they provide a deliciously succinct way for PR professionals to understand why you are, what you do + why it matters.  I designed a handy checklist to help as you build a press kit.

 

 

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If you have a press kit you’re willing to share, then please drop a comment below. I’d love to see it! xo