Day 22 – Working still

Lots of sewing going on here so I can finish some class samples for next year’s new classes.

It takes a lot of time to plan out new classes. You have to figure out so many small details. From supplies to pacing and technique you plan to impart, it’s much more involved than you may think.

If you are interested in booking me, use the contact link above! I would love to come teach at your guild or group!

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Day 20 – Another Peek Inside the Business – 2018 Income and Expenses

So this is a weird and timely post, as people are learning that their Craftsy stores are being shut down or being reduced.  I personally had one single pattern on Craftsy, and made a total of $33 from it, so it had no impact on my bottom line, but I understand that many businesses used it as their sole online ecommerce solution.  Sadly, as my one friend puts it, “Free is not a business model”, so when Craftsy offers free listings and takes no cut of the sales it made, you had to know that was not a long term solution.  So, I was planning this post anyway, but I also want to say to any of you who are devastated by Craftsy’s news and thinking about doing this as a bigger, more full time business…. You can do it.

I realized we are here at the end of a first full year of solopreneurship.  I have run my business alongside my full time job until March 2017. Even last year I worked for the first three months so it was not a full year of going solo.  To be honest, these numbers surprised me, but then they really didn’t…  here goes.

OverallIncvsExp

 

My income was up 84% this year.  Yep.  You read that right.  Up 84%.  If you looked at my travel miles for the year you know that I put in a ton of mileage on the ground and air to make this a reality.  What does that Income really look like?  It’s $5K shy of my full time salary when I worked.

However, that is not my “take home” pay like it was when I worked.  It’s the gross income, out of which my business expenses must be deducted.  My expenses were also up. Significantly up.  180% up.  Most of that is travel expenses, and launching new products this year that I didn’t have before.

That margin, between the blue and orange, is what I must live off of.  And it’s NOT my old salary. Far from it.

2018Income

Here are the various ways I make money.  Reimbursed expenses, meaning the expenses I have when traveling or teaching on behalf of someone else, helps offset some of the expenses, which are significant with that much travel.  But I continue to make the bulk of my income teaching and the ancillary sales that come from teaching.

2018Expenses

This chart of my expenses is monstrous, but really, it’s the travel expenses that ate up most of my budget.  There were travel things I did this year that were not reimbursed, and so those made the expenses groan quite a bit.  However, this is fairly in line with last year’s expenses, and in line with a previous chart I showed you in 2016.

I taught a class in Houston this year about making your side hustle your full time job, and teaching my students all of the planning I did before I made this jump.  This included going to two separate financial planners with my business plan and asking if I could “make it” on my own, or should I be looking for other full time employment. The answer from both was that I could make it…IF I stuck to the plan.  Last year, It took me some time to get my feet under me PLUS I started a new business (Sew Much Cosplay).  This year, I had a much better handle on the new business, which is now incorporated into my larger corporation, so you see it included in these charts.  BUT… I did not implement all of the aspects of the business plan yet. So I see this as these numbers staying the same or increasing slightly next year, if I can get a handle on the crazy expenses.

I’m not going to lie to you and say this year was easy.  It had some very dark moments when I thought I wasn’t going to make it.  There were a few close calls when the bank account and the incoming checks I expected didn’t meet up the way they should have and I was feeling pretty “broke”. BUT… I traveled over 29,000 miles.  I launched new products. I taught in new venues.  I increased every aspect of the business.  In other words, I HUSTLED.  HARD.  And I increased my income 82%.

I used to work hard on someone else’s behalf, and I love doing this and love working hard for myself.  Do I see areas for improvement?  You bet.  It’s totally surmountable.  Hustle on, business friends!

PS. be sure to visit the other bloggers who are part of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge this year! They are so amazing!

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Day 19 – MORE UPDATES on the Facebook Scam Ads!

For Previous Info on these SCAMS read HERE and HERE.

Good news, everyone!  The Better Business Bureau has released the attached video to alert you about the Facebook Ad scams we have been talking about for weeks now! Here it is:

So this is great that the BBB is out on the hunt and alerting everyone about how this scam company works, with a nice nod to the fact that our quilts should not be so low priced!! YAY!

In additions, the Oregon Statesman Journal has an article you can READ HERE, that notifies people that the FAKE quilt business Amelia Cotton Quilt Company that is supposedly in Salem, Oregon is not a real business, and has a link to fill out a report with the BBB to report the website that scammed you.

BBBThe BBB has released this additional info on the Amelia Cotton Quilt Co. and given it an F rating!  I know I have been contacted by a few sad people who wanted to know what they could do to recover their money or their purchase because they had been taken in by this scam.  It was clear that they purchased the quilt as a gift for in honor of someone they loved, and they wanted to know what to do.  I will continue to tell you to report the Facebook Pages that perpetuate these scams.  Please report your scam loss to the Better Business Bureau.  Report it to your credit card company that you have been scammed.  I wish this had not happened to you!

For the rest of us, share this page so more people understand that the scam exists, and that not all products on Facebook are Real.

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Day 18 – A little rouleau… and a history lesson.

People who take my heirloom sewing/fabric manipulation classes get a bit of a history lesson while we sew the projects.

I’m working on rouleau trim in quilt blocks. Rouleau means a a roll of a strip, which is how this trim is made. Mine is hand done so that I can get the proper thinness, but there are turners for this kind of tube if you want to make it by machine.

Rouleau has been made as dress and coat trims for hundreds of years! If it looks familiar, it may be because you have seen rouleau used as button holes, such as the fancy kind down the backs of wedding dresses in those little loops. Would you like to see more heirloom sewing ideas? Leave a comment on Facebook to let me know!

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Day 17- My annual reminder about REJECTIONS

Each year, I post a link to my previous blog, from 2016, about rejection.  It’s that time of year when QuiltCon rejection and acceptance notices are going out.  CLICK HERE to read that article.

I deal with rejection as a badge of honor.  It means you put yourself out there.  And it’s ok if this venue did not accept your beautiful work.  Let us see your amazing art anyway.

I have dozens of book rejections.

I have dozens of teaching venue rejections.

I have LOTS of quilt show rejections.

I could wallpaper a small bathroom with the number of rejections I have.

It doesn’t mean I should stop making or trying.   Go out there and make that work and be so good that one day they will ask YOU to be part of their show.  (That’s what happened to me.) File Dec 16, 6 55 33 PM

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