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H E L L O ! My name is Naomi Shiek (pronounced CHIC).
I've been very fortunate to have my own small independent atelier called Woodland Papercuts. This is my private blog exploring my favorite things in beauty & design.

L E T S__B E__F R I E N D S !
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Monday, 2 October 2017

BUSINESS UPDATE | Where To From Here?

A few weeks ago Emily Hendreson, an interior designer & stylist I've been following for years, announced amidst much activity on her blog and social media that hey! she was changing her business from a home designer for hire to a an editorial designer (that's my description for it; for her own much more accurate description read announcement here). That threw me for a loop. I was still swaying - I admit I don't much like changes, even ones that have no effect on me - from Orlando's news of personal and professional upheaval (yes, I am on a first name basis with a complete stranger!), and I had recently got back to watching Flipping Out and following Jeff's business transformation - so I have metamorphosis on my mind. Namely, mine. With all these organic, take charge decisions other creatives are making - shouldn't I start looking at my own business?

This might be an ill-conceived overshare, but between 2014 and 2015 I had awesome business growth (nearly %62) but between 2015 and 2016 I earned less (an %8 drop). This is worrying for a business starting out. What happened? What did I do wrong? Is it because new vendors offering similar services have cropped up? Am I not different / special enough? Are my products not good enough to stand the test of time?! - So many questions big and small, and all falling on my shoulders. What Can I do to Change This? The projected earnings for this year seem to indicate a rise so 2016 will be just a dip - but I don't like that dip and I don't know what I did wrong to cause/facilitate it. Earning the same as years past is respectable - but a young business should rise in sales, not stagnant.
I have to admit I am struggling in my decision making, when I take the time to think about how much WOODLAND PAPERCUTS has grown and where I'd like to take it. The studio grew organically without much business input from me. I just put my head down and cut. But now it's been a few years and I realize this is a real business, my only source of income, and I should treat it as such - protect and cultivate it. That's when I get stumped. I mean, I'm much more a follower than a leader, and I don't know how and where and again how I should start. What should change? How should it change?

I read other #girlbosses talking about changing their businesses, taking them in bigger, better, other directions than they initially thought they would be years ago. Myself, I never conceptualized, set a goal, or prophesied anyting for the studio when I started - except to be financially secure. Had no business plan except Draw > Cut > Ship. Had no business philosophy except Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Informative. They stood me well so far, but I realize I need to consider all the foundations now, before my sales go backwards.
A branding & consulting studio I've been following for years now is AEOLIDIA. Besides the difficult name, the founder is a genius (in italics, that's how much). Like Emily and Orlando, Aeolidia's founder and director Arianne comes across as very open, honest, friendly, relatable, and smart. Everything I wish I could be in my own online persona. I've been reading her newsletter and periodically browsing her portfolio for insights - and there are plenty! If you're in a creative business rut of any kind I urge you to take a look, read the blog, join the facebook group, the lot.

What I seem to lack in general is motivation. I much prefer to pay someone else to dedicate the time -and mainly, brain power- needed to think of and implement all these changes that surely need to happen. I know I need to make changes, I just don't want to be the one doing them. There are so many resources and advice on Aeolidia that it's almost overwhelming to me, but I'm going to try. The ideas and steps Arianne lays out in her blog and workbooks are so simple, it feels easy instead of a monumental effort to begin.

Aeolidia is out of my price range for now, so I'm going to take in all the wisdom she shares freely and not only spend days posing questions and answers to myself - but actually get off my butt and implement my ideas! WHO'S WITH ME?

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