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1023 Springdale Road, Building 6B
Austin, TX, 78721
United States

Austin's favorite stationery shop and workshop studio.

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The Paper + Craft Pantry blog is home to our latest DIY projects, current inspiration sources, and small business advice. 

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Small Business School: A Year In Review 2017

Pei Sim


Paper Craft Pantry Small Business Blog 2017 Year In Review

Happy 2018!

Even as we are making our way through the third week of the year, I feel that it's really important to always take time to reflect back on the previous year. I wrote a 2016 review last year and from all the positive feedback, I am so excited to share how 2017 looked for us.

Since our post last year, we've gained a lot of new readers, customers, followers and friends :)  So I'll just share a short intro! 

I'm Pei — the owner + founder of The Paper + Craft Pantry. As a stationery fiend and D.I.Y.er, The Paper Craft Pantry has allowed me to share two things I love the most and create a thriving small business right here in Austin. 

If I'm being completely transparent, I've had this post drafted for weeks now but had been finding it hard to hit publish because I'm not certain what I've shared below is what people want to hear. But in the spirit of honesty, I think we should all be vulnerable and open up about what struggles we run into and how we grow from all of it. So here goes nothing! 

Here are the top 5 things I've learned this year as a small business owner:

1. Time management + being intentional with how I choose to spend my time as it relates to business has been crucial. 

One of the things that hasn't changed from year to year, is the amount of emails I get asking me why I got started, how I got started, how I managed to take on a small business financially, how I acquire clients and customers, how to turn those customers into loyal fans, how I grew my community etc. 

Although I do my very best to respond to everyone, and at the very least direct them to one of the posts on our blog that may help guide them, it truly is impossible to carve out precious time of the work day. I know that may seem a little harsh, but every 3-5 minutes dedicated to responding to every email adds up and that takes time away from me actually focusing on growing my business. Don't get me wrong, I'm always supportive of the community and am happy to lend knowledge to fellow business owners. But I will prioritize folks I have built a relationship with, a relationship that gives and takes — not just takes if you know what I mean. 

It's so much more meaningful and powerful for me to invest time into quality business relationships and support them thoroughly vs. randomly answering business questions for dozens of business owners. I learned how to politely decline or direct someone to someone else who may be better able to support them - and to offer monthly business mentoring, one small business at a time. 

2. Predicting the future is impossible. 

From workshops to stationery we stock on our shelves, there's no shortage of amazing class content or paper goods we can offer to our community. But boy is it hard trying to guess what people will want or be interested in. 

Choosing our workshop instructors happens fairly organically and that's the best part! I pay attention to what our community is asking for and saying to know what kind of class content they are interested in, and I'll sift through instructor submissions to see if someone is the right fit or if there is a current instructor who would be wonderful to host a workshop with! It helps that one of our parameters is that our instructors have to own their own business so it makes the selection process a lot easier! 

With product, it's easy to get sucked into seasons and trends but trying to stay true to high quality and timeless designs has turned our shop into the destination for unique stationery. If you're curious on how we decide what stationers to work with, you can read more here. 

There's no telling what we just can't keep in stock because they keep flying off the shelves, or what workshops will sell out in mere hours. So instead of trying to predict, I've been working on listening to my gut about workshop + stationery decisions because they always turn out to be what's best for the business. 

3. Slow and steady wins the race. 

It just takes time y'all. There's no secret sauce or recipe (at least no one told me about it) to success. When The Paper + Craft Pantry first opened, we had a huge opening weekend with a media night, grand opening party in addition to several workshops over that weekend. Our first official day open, was a miserably cold and wet November day - and not a single person came into the shop. My first thought (besides that it was freezing cold) was "oh s$%t, what have I gotten myself into...". 

Even though I felt like I had done the work in the many months leading up to opening, the work wasn't done. It takes time for folks to learn about what we were, where we were and who we were. And I'm proud to say that we're putting down really solid roots here in Austin as we've grown! 

As for our events and workshops, we started out by hosting 1 workshop or event a week. And slowly built our community and generated buzz about each event. As we grew our community, we listened to what they asked for and were able to slowly add in more workshops and events we knew folks were interested in. 

I've  played around with timing of workshops, certain dates and days, pricing, class content, ads, giveaway collaborations, you name it, I've done it. Because at the end of the day, this studio is here to serve each of you and that will always be top of mind when deciding what workshops or events to put on our calendar. 

4. Running a business has many facets and taking time to look inward to see how I can grow the business has allowed me to evaluate what my business needs. And how to truly grow my audience.

Social media is definitely a hot topic between small business owners. It's so easy to get sucked into the numbers game, battling algorithms, feeling the need to have an Ad Spend budget for all forms of social media, and walking the line on sending out the right amount of newsletters, just to name a few — comes up in conversations between small business owners all the time. 

Yes, there's Instagram and their ever evolving algorithm. For me personally, I had to take a step back and realize that followers didn't translate to $. And each like didn't necessarily translate to $ either. I've chosen to use Instagram to connect with our community of followers, inform them of what's happening, and hopefully, to inspire in some small way. 

The thing I've been working really hard on is to grow our newsletter list and to create simple yet powerful emails that go out to our subscribers weekly. I love that they chose to give us a way to connect back with them so it's special to be able to offer our subscribers insider tips + deals! 

5. Doing it all doesn't exist. 

I get asked all the time, even praised, on how I'm able to do it all. Have a personal life, a family, regular work outs, vacation time etc. all while running a business. 

Fact: I don't do it all. 

There are some days I feel like I'm nailing this whole small business things and there are other days I feel completely overwhelmed! There are days I feel like I'm a better friend and business owner while letting my workouts fall to the side. And there are days I'm focused on other aspects more than others - and that's okay. To me, balance ebbs and flows. 

6. Sometimes, things don't work out the way you think or would like. And it stinks. But it's okay.

There have definitely been some hard days (even weeks), and I think just giving myself some time to feel down, feel a little defeated is an important part of this whole process. Learning to dust myself off, and audibly telling myself "You can do this" helps me refocus and get back to work, as silly as it may sounds.

Having a great support system and community is also another huge factor, there's nothing more reassuring when you share with a fellow small business owner some of your struggles and them exclaiming that they're feeling the same way or are going through the same thing!

Okay, real reality, I've also learned to be a little more cautious about business related relationships. There have been several instances I felt "burned" by things that had transpired from a place of community over competition. They are few and far between, but they do happen and when they do, it really stinks! But everything is a lesson to be learned, and trust me when I say I've learned from these situations! 

The Paper + Craft Pantry: Austin's Best Stationery Shop and Workshop Classes

I truly hope this incredibly honest post resonates with you. Even if it helps you realize you're not alone! 

If you have any additional questions feel free to leave them in the comments, below. I'd love to hear from you! 

Cheers to another amazing year,

Pei

Small Business School: How To Plan for Your Next Year in Business

Pei Sim


Paper Craft Pantry Small Business School Blog: Planning for 2018.

Happy New Year, everyone! This is always an exciting time of year when the holidays are behind us, maybe we have a little bit more time to rest before the holidays are officially over, and we’re feeling hopeful about what will be different this year. While change is healthy, it can be detrimental in business if we either: 1) make too many changes all at once, or 2) make changes in the wrong areas.

To help us consider where we can have the most impact on our business it’s important to take a look back at the previous year to see what was already working well.

Making small improvements to those services that have performed well from the previous year, can yield some really great returns in the new year. Also, as you go through this exercise, it’s helpful to remember these two things:

 

  1. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In business speak, this translates to a general rule of thumb that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your services/clients/marketing efforts.

  2. It is 5x more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.

With the Pareto Principle, it yet again reminds us that it’s better for us to focus on what we do best; we cannot be everything to everyone. So with that, it’s helpful to take a look at which one of our services is bringing in the most revenue, and that’s what we want to focus more of our energy on this next year.

Similarly, where are we finding most of our clients? We have to consider what marketing activity is most beneficial in that it is directly corresponding to bringing in clients. Whatever that activity is, we want to focus on more of that in 2018. Before we dive into 2018 planning, I find it crucial to spend time evaluating what worked in 2017. On that note, I’ve created a tool to help you do this 2017 Retrospective.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty details of doing this 2017 Retrospective, let’s first get into the right headspace to tackle this work. What you’ll need:

  • Set aside 2-3 hours on your calendar so that you can get through all of this in one sitting without distraction.

  • Pull a report from your online invoicing software so that you can see all of the transactions from this past year.

  • Create an inspiring atmosphere, whether that be to light a candle or turn on your diffuser––this work can be tedious, so set yourself up to have some fun while you’re at it.

  • Put on your favorite playlist.

  • Answer these questions first, and then let’s get to it.

Take a few minutes to reflect back on 2017, and answer these questions.

  • What are your top 5 business highlights from the past year?

  • Who were your top 5 favorite clients?

  • What marketing activities bring you the most joy?

  • What was the biggest surprise for you this year?

  • What do you want to be known for?

From there, it’s time to open up this Google Sheet and input all of the information for your business. Yes, this can be a monotonous task, but I promise you that the insights gleaned from this exercise are powerful! (NOTE: Check the tabs at the bottom for both exercises!)

Once you’ve had a chance to work through the 2017  Retrospective Tool and review what has been working well, hopefully, the path forward for 2018 becomes a little bit more clear.

At this stage it’s important to remember that you don’t yet have to know exactly how you’ll get there, as long as you’re clear on where you want to be going, the path will reveal itself along the way, as long as you’re committed to doing the work and staying open to the possibilities.

My Top 5 Tips for Planning for the Year Ahead

  1. Make note of any major plans, deadlines, or projects. Are you thinking about taking a summer vacation? Write that down so that you create the space to take that time off! Do you want to launch a new service or product? Think about how long it’s going to take you to create everything, add at least two weeks for ample cushion, and then work backwards to think about when you need to get started.

  2. Break up your year into quarters, and within each quarter, choose no more than three projects to work on. Right now when you’re staring at the great expanse of 2018, it can feel paralyzing. Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit states, “Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.” One way we can engineer small wins into our working style is to break up our year into quarters, allowing for us to stay on track with smaller, shorter-term goals that ultimately help us get to where we want to go.

  3. Take time once a month to dig in even deeper. Things change quickly, so it’s helpful to build in time each month to review not only what you have achieved the previous month, but also how that might have affected your timeline and/or projects for the upcoming month. If you sold out of that one offering faster than you thought, what else would you like to share with your audience this month? If you had a new opportunity arise, how will you fit that in?

  4. Schedule in REST! This is one I’m working on practicing more in 2018! It’s vital that we take time for our minds and bodies to rest so that we don’t succumb to burnout, but it can be hard to slow down when we’re in the middle of a grind. Take a look at your year overall, and find a way to build in a natural ebb and flow to your workload. If you’re so inclined, take a look at the lunar cycles and sync up major projects, launch dates, and rest periods with the phases of the moon.

  5. Take the time to write down your wins as they happen. Remember how we started this process by celebrating our highlights from 2017 and trying to think back to how we first found our clients? It can be super helpful to keep track of those events as they happen, so that we don’t have to store all of that information in our memories and hope we recall it when we need it. Give yourself the freedom to release that info so that you can make space for everything else that demands your attention.

If you’re feeling like you need a little bit more support to get started on your business plan for this year, check out my 2018 Year Ahead Planning Bundle! It’s an affordable option to get you reflecting on 2017 before making intentional plans for the year ahead. And if you’d still like a little more help once you get started, you can always sign up for a 30-minute slot during my Virtual Office Hours––they’re always free!


Maggie Miller, with MaggieGentry Thought Partner, Austin TexasAbout the author:
Maggie owns MaggieGentry, where she provides thought partnership & marketing strategy for creative entrepreneurs. She hosts Own Your Why workshops, and is the Creative Marketing Strategist for The Paper + Craft Pantry. You may find her ‘gramming over at @maggiegentry_. Still want more? Check out Maggie's Strategy Sessions.

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How-To: Shop Small + Local Year Round

Pei Sim


The Paper + Craft Pantry Small Business School Blog: Shopping Small + Local

Can you believe 2017 is coming to a close?

We hosted our last Small Business School #IRL panel in the studio at the end of November, focusing on the small business lifestyle and what it means to support small businesses. We had an amazing line-up of panelists who all owned their own businesses right here in Austin- April Onebane with Pieceology Vintage, Ashely Chinni with Ash Grove Studio and Celeste King with Catapult Creative Logistics, moderated by Chelsea Francis with Chelsea Laine Francis. It was the perfect mix of product based + service based businesses. 

Although the holiday season is important for most businesses, we wanted to really dive into the conversation of how to truly shop small and local year round. How many times have you heard of someone saying that their favorite local coffee shop, or mom & pop bakery closed? It's more important now than ever to really put your money where it can have the biggest impact right here in your community.

With the ease and immediate turn around of free, even same day deliveries, it's difficult for a small local business to compete. Mass production allows big box shops to offer much lower priced items than artisans who hand make all their wares. Shopping small doesn't need to just be for the holidays or for special occasions either. Small businesses depend on folks who intentionally shop local and loyal customers all year long! Check out what our panelists had to say below.

I love a good Amazon Prime deal, but I make a conscious effort to shop small knowing how much small businesses depend on the holiday season!
— Celeste King, Catapult Creative Logistics
I shop small as often as possible, even with day to day life stuff. Shopping at local pet shops in Austin, so not just things or material objects. There’s a lot of pressure out there to buy and own certain things that look good online/on Instagram, but I try to stay true to thoughtful items that mean more to me.
— Ashley Chinni, Ash Grove Studio

When you shop small, your dollar goes much farther. It goes into supporting the business owner's livelihood, it goes towards them growing their business, reinvesting in their business, adding value into this community. It trickles down from the actual product or service you purchased and makes such a huge impact!

Buying something from someone in person, makes you think about that person overtime you use it. There’s an investment into not only the product but the person.
— Celeste King, Catapult Creative Logistics

Shopping small and local definitely costs more, and perhaps you're not able to gift presents in large quantities but it can be more meaningful and personal.

Investing more into things that are sustainable is really important to me. I have a lot of friends who own businesses, so I support them as much as possible.
— April Onebane, Pieceology Vintage
You have to be okay with not getting “as much” because you can probably find something cheaper online. But it is a trickle effect on our economy when you purchase from a small business, and when you gift something that’s form a local business- the person who receives it is then exposed to this small business.
— Celeste King, Catapult Creative Logistics
It pushes me to be more thoughtful on what I choose to buy- there are people in your life you want to really get meaningful goods for. Being able to connect with the person behind the business means a lot to me.
— Ashley Chinni, Ash Grove Studio

Will you be shopping small and local this holiday season? What about throughout the year? Have any great local businesses you think we should know about! Let us know in the comments below! 

 

Small Business School: SEO 101

Pei Sim


Small Business School Guide on the Basics of SEO to Help Boost Your Brand Presence

If you own a business or run a website, you're probably already familiar with the term 'SEO'—or Search Engine Optimization. It's almost everyone's dream to end up on the first page of Google's search results. But chances are, even after thorough research and trial and error, you still have a long list of questions about how this heavily debated and complex topic actually works. Welcome to a quick crash course on all the SEO you need to know (including an interactive checklist to help keep you on top of the game)! 

In a general sense, SEO is all about establishing a strategy for your online content that will rank higher in search engine results, relative to your competitors. Search engines (such as Google, Bing & Yahoo) all have algorithms in place that “crawl” every published website on the internet 24/7 to help filter results based on what it thinks is most relevant to a user's search.

There are a number of factors that search engines look at to determine the validity of any given website, so while it may not seem like you have control over your ranking there are actually things you can do to remind the internet bots that you, your business, and your website are in fact a real, viable, and thriving business!

Here are the five main ways to help improve the SEO on your site:

1. Content

Content is still king when it comes to developing an SEO strategy! Google wants to see that your site is actively updated, and a great way to do this (particularly if you have a business where you aren't uploading new items to an online store frequently) is to consider writing a blog. If you are just starting out and committing yourself to a consistent blog schedule sounds daunting, then at least aim to update a portion of your site once a month: add a paragraph to your about page, add to your testimonials, or re-write your services description. 

Fun Fact: Web pages that are 1200+ words rank higher than pages with less content.

2. Backlinking

Another element that proves your validity to Google is when other, active, third-party sites link back to yours—and visa versa. Maybe that means you look into becoming a guest contributor for a larger organization’s blog (which is exactly why I enjoy writing these guest posts for The Paper + Craft Pantry, because it’s good for my SEO).

If that doesn’t make sense for you, then at the very least you should consider viewing your social media strategy from the it’s-building-my-SEO lens. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all validated, “high authority” sites according to search engines. When a post on one of those platforms links back to your site, that’s great for your SEO! So it’s important to not only share your information on your social media channels, but also make it easy for visitors on your website to also share your content by adding social media sharing buttons to your site. You can think of back-linking like online karma; by actively sharing the work of others, you are generating the possibility that a wider audience will start to see your stuff and want to give back for your generosity.

Other Actionable Steps: Consider creating a Resource Page on your website where you list your favorite brands, companies, or other resources that complement your business, or share a “Links I Love” blog post every now and then.

3. Mobile Responsiveness

With as much time that we all spend on our smartphones these days, it is no longer acceptable for your site not to be mobile-friendly. And search engines will really punish you (in terms of ranking) if your site isn’t mobile responsive. If you’re unsure if your site is mobile-responsive, pull out your phone and check! You shouldn’t have to scroll left and right to read the content on the webpage, nor should you have to zoom-in to read the text. A mobile-responsive site automatically increases the text size so that you can read it easily, and so the page fits perfectly to the screen. 

4. Site Load Time

Large image and video files can slow down how quickly your site loads, and the slower your site loads, the more likely you are that people will leave. In order to limit that possibility of people leaving before they even have a chance to see your amazing content, ensure that your image files are all less than 2 MB. Ideally, your site will load in less than 5 seconds. You can test your site here to see how it ranks in your industry.

5. Meta Data

While a lot of what I've mentioned so far pertains to written content on the front-end of your site, one area that most people overlook in terms of increasing their SEO falls on the back-end—meta data. You can strengthen your meta data by adding keywords to as many places as possible on your site—including, but not limited to the way you name your image files! By renaming your images to a keyword-rich phrase, you have the possibility of ranking higher in the Google Images results. Instead of uploading “IMG_2147.jpg”, you want to rename that image file to something that describes the content of the post that it corresponds to.

For example,  the banner image on this post was renamed to “paper-craft-pantry-blog-small-business-school-guide-to-seo-printable-checklist.jpg”. When someone searches for “seo checklist” or "guide to seo" in a search engine, the hope is that this post will show up on one of the first few pages. Now, since 'SEO for beginners' is a pretty popular topic, it’s not likely that this post will end up in the Top 10 results—but each time you publish quality content with a strong keyword-rich title, associated with images that have the same and similar keywords in the file names or captions, you continue to boost your result rankings.

But be warned... there is such a thing as too many keywords (also known as Keyword Stuffing). To ensure that you aren't targeted for this, you'll want to make sure that your keyword phrases are naturally a part of the content you share. For example, if you are writing a blog post about DIY macrame planters, then an example of keyword stuffing would be if you added something like this to the very end of the post: 

"DIY macrame planters, Do It Yourself macrame, How to make a macrame planter, macrame 101, macrame for beginners, macrame basics"

Pro-Tip: Consider using those various phrases you found and rename your image files with those keyword phrases. As far as content, pick one phrase, and use it 2-3 times within the entire blog post.


While these 5 steps will definitely set you on the right path to help boost your online presence, SEO is constantly evolving, and it requires that you be patient and diligent in order to see results. Your SEO efforts are cumulative, so the more you add content to your site, the more you contribute to other blogs and the more you keep up with the SEO best practices, the better your rankings will become. If you have the capacity to earmark a budget for Google AdWords, that will also help!

Here are a few resources that have helped me with my SEO over the last two years:

Moz has so many great resources for keeping up-to-date on the latest SEO trends! If you’re wanting to learn more, I would start with their Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Moz also has a Keyword Explorer that is really helpful to utilize as you’re thinking about what to title a blog post, or new ideas for keyword phrases for the multiple images you have for your upcoming post.

Another resource that I use often is Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It’s meant to help you determine which keywords to use during an AdWords campaign, but I use it to help me think of new keywords phrases when I’m getting ready to publish a blog post. It shows you on average how many monthly searches a particular phrase received, so you can adjust your blog titles and the keyword phrases you use when naming images to a mix of those that have a high and medium range of monthly searches.

In order to use this feature, you will have to create a Google AdWords account, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend any money on an AdWords Campaign. To navigate to the Keyword Planner, follow these steps:

  1. Head over to this link.

  2. Scroll down and click on “START USING KEYWORD PLANNER”.

  3. Click the first option “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.

  4. In the first box, type the phrase you would like to search.

  5. Then scroll down and click “Get Ideas”.

  6. From there you’ll see all the possibilities of other keyword phrases that you may use.

To help keep you on track, The Paper + Craft Pantry and I put together this helpful (and interactive) checklist to guide you through the most important SEO requirements you should be focusing on right now...and over the next year!  Fill out the form below to have it sent to your inbox. 


Looking for a little more guidance? 

DOWNLOAD THIS INTERACTIVE CHECKLIST

Improve your online presence with this interactive SEO 101 Checklist 
Small Business Beginners Guide to SEO with an interactive and printable checklist download

Maggie Miller, with MaggieGentry Thought Partner, Austin TexasAbout the author:
Maggie owns MaggieGentry, where she provides thought partnership & marketing strategy for creative entrepreneurs. She hosts Own Your Why workshops, and is the Creative Marketing Strategist for The Paper + Craft Pantry. You may find her ‘gramming over at @maggiegentry_. If you need more SEO guidance for your business, feel free to check out her one-on-one Strategy Sessions.


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Small Business School: Retail Realities

Pei Sim


Paper Craft Pantry Blog: 3 Myths to Running a Creative Small Business 

There are a ton of statistics out there about a small businesses. According to a 2015 study, 310 out of 100,000 adults start a new business each month. That means that over 500,000 new business owners per month! Women make up 36% of all businesses according to the 2012 U.S. Census, and that number is continuing to grow! 

It may be a harsh reality, but according to research, about two-thirds of businesses will make it through 2 years of business, half of all businesses will never celebrate their 5th anniversary, and only one third will make it to 10 years. 

As a woman owned small business, those numbers are both incredible (yay to having more women going for their dreams and starting their business) and also terrifying (what do you mean that The Paper + Craft Pantry may not be around in a few years?) Even though we've been in the small business world for going on two years, we're still learning and growing every single day.

On the outside and through the lens of social media, owning a small business seems like the best thing in the world. And it, sometimes, is but most of the time it's a lot of hard work and things no one would photograph and add a cute caption to. Owning a small business can appear to be effortless and fun but what most people don't see is the number or hours, sacrifices, financial and emotional investment that goes into having your business support you (and maybe even employees) 

So, we're busting a few small business myths that we wish we had known when we first started, in the hopes it inspires you from getting caught up with the veil of entrepreneurship. 

1. You need a physical space, shop, brick & mortar to run your business.

Owning a physical space and having a studio to work from is the end goal for a lot of entrepreneurs. It means your business is growing so much you've outgrown your home office, it could mean your online sales are so robust you want to sell in person! 

But some things to consider: when you have a physical space, shop, brick & mortar or studio, you now have an obligation to paying rent. This will, likely, be a pretty hefty check you have to write monthly. This will not include insurance, misc repairs, internet bills, and electricity bills. If you're operating a retail space, are you prepared to work at the shop daily? If you're just starting out, it's unlikely you have it in your operating expenses to hire someone. 

The truth is, this path is different for everyone. And a lot of people quickly realize that having a physical space turns into a burden that's thrown on top of the responsibilities of running a creative business. And there are also others who thrive when they open up a store front. 

Take the time to evaluate your why behind wanting a physical space—are you in the position to be able to sacrifice the cash flow that could potentially be profit for your business? 

2. If you're a small business owner, you should be paying yourself a salary in 6 months and making "X" dollars per year! 

How many of you out there feel pressured to be making tens and thousands of dollars, because it only seems fair if you're the owner, founder, CEO etc. of your own company! 

Many small businesses don't turn a profit for the first two to three years. Whoever started this "6 months" timeline may have been the exception, but the reality is that most small businesses reinvest every single penny they earn back into their business. 

So take the pressure off a little! More than likely, you're doing just fine and only you can decide how much your salary should be (based on what you actually want and need, not what society or someone else tells you!) 

3. You have to do it all—you have to work with everyone, take every opportunity, and grow, grow grow! 

It may seem like a no-brainer, money = revenue. So, you need to figure out a way to generate cash flow quickly! It's SO tempting to take every opportunity that comes your way, expand your product line so there's something for everyone, or offer your services at a discounted rate because you just want to get a client—any client. 

Take a step back. Are you diluting your audience? You can't possibly be the business for everyone, just like in life, you're probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Same with offering discounted rates or taking on clients and projects that don't align with your business, is this going to take you away from the true clients you want to work with? 

Good things take time. This saying couldn't be more true when it comes to a small business. Overnight sensations aren't usually overnight, a lot of folks have worked for years to get to where they are today. 

It's good to grow, but it's even better to grow intentionally. And if you were looking for someone to tell you it's okay to not work with everyone, we're happy to oblige. You DO NOT have to work with everyone. You do not have to take on every project. And you don't have to sign every client!

What are some small business myths you've discovered along your small business journey? Let us know below!

Paper Craft Pantry Small Business In Real Life Community Panel

Still want more?

________________________________

Tune in on Instagram Live on Tuesday, August 29th at 6PM CT for our Small Business School #IRL panel about Brick + Mortar Myths! 

What are some small business myths you've discovered along your small business journey? Let us know in the comments below! 👇🏼


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Small Business School: Goal Re-Set

Pei Sim


Paper Craft Pantry Reset New Years Goals

Hey, y'all! It's Chelsea here. Can I just take a moment to ask: how is it already March?!

According to most studies on New Year’s Resolutions — or, as I like to call them, intentions — you have already failed at something you intended to accomplish this year. Or, if you’re like me, you’re kind of behind...

One of the five intentions I set was to read 52 books by the end of the year. I blazed through January and read 5 books, feeling on top of my game. But it's now the first week of March and I’ve only read 6 books total this year. *sigh*

I know that I’m not alone! If you’re reading this post, it is highly likely that your plans for 2017 are also a bit different than you’d hoped they’d be. Setting goals is wonderful! Deciding to change an aspect of your life, or challenge yourself to improve at something is incredibly admirable. In reality though, life sometimes gets in the way and it's hard not to buy-into the adage: "old habits die hard."

However, I'm here to reassure you that it's not time to throw in the towel! Here are my top five tips for getting back on the proverbial goal-setting horse:

1. Realize you don’t need a new year to set a goal

Today, March 3rd, can be your new January 1! There are still 303 days left in this year—that’s plenty of time to do something great!

2. Study up on building new habits

The most important of which is to assess where things start to break down. Eliminate the moments when you're about to give up by finding ways to make the tasks easier to say 'yes' to.

3. Consider the past few weeks as your practice

It’s easy to get discouraged when things don't work out as planned. But it's also important to realize that these "practice rounds" give purpose to your journey. Practice makes perfect!

4. Visualize what it looks like to succeed

Defining success will help you assess what you really want to get out of the individual goals you set for yourself. What do your goals look like 3, 5 or 10 years from now? For a great exercise, check out this useful (and FREE) goal setting worksheet.

5. Don’t do it alone

Join a book club (we host one at The Paper + Craft Pantry every month), join a running group, talk to your therapist about your goals, tell your family what you’re 2017 is going to look like from now on, or go on walks with your bestie. Whatever you do, surround yourself with a strong + supportive community that will encourage you to succeed and help hold you accountable when you fall down.

I believe in you! 2017 can still be your year! What goals are you recommitting yourself to today? Let us know in the comments, below.