Gant's Guide: A Year in Review: Goodbye, 2019.
Well, it’s 2020 dog lovers. Can you believe it? I sure can’t. But, whether or not you’re ready, it’s here.
For me, it’s time for a “fresh start”. A whole year awaits, to try new things, learn from my mistakes, and celebrate the successes (and failures) that will propel me to do even better in 2020.
So, I thought I’d reflect on all of these things, and talk about the highs and lows that not only shaped my business, but who I have become over these past twelve months.
Let’s start with August 2019, because that’s when it all really came together for me.
August 2019: A new venture awaited
After nearly a year of applying to hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of jobs, only to find they either a) never responded, b) responded but I never made the first round, or c) was one of two candidates they considered but went with the other one, I couldn’t take it anymore. As any applicant knows, searching and searching endlessly on job sites is a mind sucking task.
Around early August, I booked a trip to California to visit family for some fresh perspective. A couple of weeks before I was leaving, my husband said to me “I went to this conference for work about entrepreneurship, and it got me thinking: why don’t you give Sacco Studios a real try? Actually make it a business?”
It had never occurred to me to consider this possibility. We just moved to Florida the year before and bought a house, so naturally, I figured it was time to get a “9-5 career”, because the bills were going to be a lot higher.
As we discussed it further, I seemed like an ideal time as any, and I was ready to talk about it with my step-dad while in California.
Well, the universe aligned that night, because the moment he picked me up from the airport, he said, “I’ve been thinking, and I believe you should pursue Sacco Studios full-time”.
So, over the course of the trip, we laid out a business plan, figured out the investments needed, and a Sacco Studios was born.
September 2019: Losses hit hard
In a loss that was completely unexpected, a beloved Aunt passed away. She always made time to call me on my birthday. I was also fortunate she lived down the street from my step-dad for several years, so I could see her whenever I visited California.
When a huge loss happened in 2011, my family really came together, making sure to really support each other and schedule frequent visits. I wanted a career not only I was passionate about, but allowed me to work wherever I wanted, so I could spend quality time with the people I love. Because of her and family, I am able to do this.
October 2019: Stores became interested
One of my main goals in 2019 was to get my “feet wet” with the wholesale side, and get my products into a few local, boutique stores that sold unique, personable, and fun gifts. This way I could hone in on my pricing, what products worked, and support local businesses.
These store owners took a chance on me. I didn’t care that some ordered just 10 cards to start with, it was SOMETHING. My stuff was going to be seen.
As of December 2019, I am in SIX STORES! You can find my products in four stores in the Bay Area California, and two stores in Winter Garden, FL! My goal was 3 – 10 stores in 2019, so it’s a pretty good start.
November 2019: Tax Problems
Before I moved to Florida, I lived in Connecticut for 8 years, and had no problem figuring out the business and tax laws required to run Sacco Studios.
Florida has very confusing sites, so I ended up getting overwhelmed, including filing my business sales and use tax too early and ended up with a letter saying I owe $2,500. Where they got that number, I have no idea, but I was able to have that amount waived. And I immediately called an attorney.
Also in November – Realizing Festivals are NOT good for business
In 2018, I was contacted by a great local organization to see if I wanted to have a booth at their yearly arts and crafts festival. It wasn’t expensive, indoors (essential with the humidity in Florida), and supported a great cause.
This resulted in little sales, with all the headaches of setting up. I did it again this year, and there was ONE sale. ONE. I also signed up for another festival, this time bigger, but you have to supply EVERYTHING (the tent, tables, chairs, etc). Doing heavy lifting for a 2 hour event?
No thanks. So I cancelled.
After doing now several festivals in the past few years, I have learned they are a) way too expensive b) annoying to set up and c) never get the sales I expect. I have mad respect for artists who do these fairs on a consistent basis.
Also in November – Shocking Loss, again.
The last member of my grandparents, my grandmother, passed away. She was another big supporter, always responding to my emails with “You keep getting better and better!”
She taught me that you just keep going, no matter what comes your way. Her toughness, optimism, and big heart will always inspire me.
December 2019: The Holiday Season is here
The orders rolled in, resulting in LOTS of trips to the post office, late nights, slacking on my social media posts, and having to remove listings on my shop because they sold out.
Thankfully, because of all of this, my sales have increased by 25%! While there is so much to learn, I am quite proud of this achievement. And to all the entrepreneurs out there, I celebrate you too.
Even if you didn’t make your goals last year, you are still here, working super hard for your dream.
I hope 2020 brings you all success, good health, and finding your passion!