Goal Planning for 2017 (First Quarter)

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

Hey welcome back to another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  This is the last video for 2016.  I feel like there should be streamers or something is anyone else excited for 2016 to be over? This has been a weird year and I am ready for a fresh start.

So in my video last week I told you that today I would be sharing my goals for 2017 and that is exactly what I am going to do.  Who says there’s no truth in advertising anymore.

I also mentioned that even though I do have some big goals for 2017, I have broken then down per quarter.  So today I’m really just going to be talking about what I want to get done in the first three months of 2017.  These goals relate to both The Bootstrap Boutique and growing this channel and then also my Amazon private label business.

The first goal is to have five thousand followers on my Twitter account by March 31 of 2017.

Kind of a subgoal of that is that I want to be more engaged on Twitter so I’ve given myself the number of hitting one thousand tweets in that first quarter also. Now why do I want to do that?  Well, let’s be honest I want more reach and growth here at The Bootstrap Boutique and Twitter has been my number one referrer for new followers.  So how do I plan to do that? Really, it’s just by being very engaged and active on Twitter and sharing good content. I share a lot of other people’s content and I share a lot of these videos that I post and I think that you get back what you put out.  So the more people that I’m finding to follow, the more I’m sharing interesting stuff, that’s going to attract followers back to me also.

The second goal for Q1 is to read and review here at The Bootstrap Boutique three business books.

Ok, that’s kind of easy, that’s one book a month. Why do you want to do that Megan? Well, because readers are leaders, have you ever heard that saying before? And there are so many good business books out there that I just haven’t been reading lately, that’s not something that I’ve been focused on.  In the past I’ve read so many books and lately I’ve just been playing on Reddit and that’s the wrong answer for growing a business. So by holding myself accountable and saying that I’m going to review them here on the channel and also share them with you guys, I think that’s going to be great motivation for me to actually hit that goal and get it done.

Here’s an Amazon goal.  I have ordered 500 units of my first product as kind of a sample test run and I want to in the first quarter sell out of all those units.

Now on a number of units sold per day basis that doesn’t sound like a lot, if you divide it out by 90 or however many days are in the first quarter.  But remember, I don’t even know when I’m going to get a product live at Amazon. I can’t ship anything until December 19th, I’m still waiting on my shipment of those products to get here to the States and then I’ve got to do photos and listings and get it shipped in and all that good stuff.  So it’s going to be I think kind of a hustle to sell out in first quarter.  What’s the why for wanting to totally sell out of that inventory in three months? I need to make some money. And it’s not just like I want to make some money because its going to make me rich or whatever this first quarter but I have put a lot of effort and a lot of cold hard cash into sourcing this product into getting set up on Amazon and I’ve put some money into this Bootstrap Boutique YouTube channel also.  So I need to start getting a return on my investment. And I want to order more stuff, I want to place a bigger order and get those volume discounts.  I can’t do that until I get that cash back out of sales so I want to sell out of this stuff.  I also would like to have some confirmation that this was actually a good product sell on Amazon and the way to do that is to see sales.

The next goal is two hundred followers here on the YouTube channel.

I’ve seen pretty good growth on my YouTube channel so far in 2016, I’m not mad about it at all. And I’m glad all of you guys are here watching every week and I super appreciate that, you know that. But I do want to continue to grow the channel and to reach more people. Ok Megan, why do you want to do that? Because you’re going to get rich off AdSense?  No.  I think that there’s a message here at The Bootstrap Boutique that I will admit, I have not done a good job fully articulating yet but once I get my hands kind of around that better its going to be a message that can help people create what they want out of life.  So that’s on my, I got to do a better job about that, once I get there, more people will follow.

That ties in really nicely to my next goal which is to create twenty videos in Q1 to post on YouTube.

And you’re going, how is that possible? Because you only post once a week and theres twelve weeks in a quarter. Ohh but I’ve got something exciting to announce.  I’ll tell you right now. I am going to change my editorial calendar next year to post consistently on Mondays and Wednesdays and then probably every other Friday. So here’s what that’s going to look like. On Mondays I’m going to post videos that are all about Mindset and Motivation, so that’s for people starting a small business, have already started a small business, want to start a small business, and we all have these mental hangups, right? So I want to talk about things that are both motivational, inspirational, and that help you get in the right mindset to both start and run a successful business. On Wednesdays I’m going to post videos that are much more Amazon specific and Amazon private label FBA focused. As long as I’m hot on the private label train it will be Amazon stuff.  I do have some other ideas, I’ve mentioned an email course so if I start that email course I’ve been talking about, maybe in 2018, I might use that Wednesday spot to talk about how to do email courses or courses or email marketing or anything like that. Whatever I’m doing in business right then and learning about is what I’m going to share with you guys on Wednesdays. But I always want that to be a really actionable, tactical, specific and focused thing that you can take and if you’re doing the same thing that I’m doing, you can use it to help grow your business. Also what I’m planning right now is about every other Friday to check in on these goals and to monitor them so I can make sure I’m hitting them.  I find that accountability is really big when you come in and you say “hey I did this” or “I didn’t do it.” And that’s something that I love to see and with other bloggers that I’ve seen over the years and other YouTubers, like I mentioned Stefan James in the last video.  He does a monthly update, but because I’m doing quarterly goals, I want to do it more frequently than once a month so I think that every other Friday check in is going to work out well.

Another product focused goal is is to launch a second product into FBA.

I’ll be honest, this is a big stretch one for me, I’m not sure if I’m going to have the capital that I want to invest to put into there because we’ve got some stuff going on in real life that we’ve got to fund next year, but I definitely want to be well on the path during Q1 and if I can reach my other goal of selling out of the first product, then I’m going to be well set up to actually launch a second product.

Alright, last goal of the year, one I’m really excited about is to do more outreach of The Bootstrap Boutique out to other communities.  So I’ve brought people on to this page and interviewed them and I think that’s been a lot of fun to do, is to help expose you guys to other people. But I want to go out and leverage other communities also to bring the message of The Bootstrap Boutique.

So my goal in Q1 is to be interviewed by three different podcasters or appear on somebody else’s YouTube page as a collaboration.

Why do I want do to that? Again because I want to spread the message of The Bootstrap Boutique and the very basic nitty grittys of how to start a new business if you are a beginner.  That’s a lot to do in a quarter and I’m excited to get started.  So what I want you to do is in the comments below please tell me about what your goals are for next year and if there’s a way that I can help you achieve them, tell me that too because I would love nothing more.

That’s a wrap on 2016 guys it is time to go drink some champagne, sing some Auld Lang Syne and just enjoy the beginning of the New Year. I will see you in 2017 and surprise! I will be in a new house, so excited. We can stop looking at this stuff. Don’t tell me you’re not excited about that. Whew! Bye guys, take care!

How to Set SMART Goals and Connect Them To Your Why

It’s year end of course we’re talking about goal setting!

Hey welcome back for another week of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.

This week, we’re going to talk about setting goals for 2017. And I get it, you’re like, “Megan there are like five million videos on YouTube about how to set goals,” but you haven’t watched mine yet, so just keep listening.

I have been doing some brain storming for what I want to get accomplished in 2017 and to do that I am using the very common method of setting SMART goals.  What are SMART goals? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’m sure you didn’t ask.

The word SMART is a way of making sure that you are setting goals that you can actually attain and that actually matter. So let’s break it down.

S is for Specific.

So your goal should not be next year I want to increase sales.  It should be next year I want to increase sales by five thousand dollars or by ten percent or whatever makes sense for you.

M is for Measurable.

Can you objectively measure that goal. So if you want to increase sales by five thousand dollars, thats a yes or no, that binary, you’re going to know if you hit it or not. You are also going to know how close you are to hitting it because five thousand is a hard number so when you’re at twenty five hundred dollars in excess sales, you know you’re halfway there.

A is for Actionable.

Your goal should be something that requires you to take action, not something that is passive.  If you’re increasing your sales next year by a specific dollar amount, you need to know, what kind of steps are you taking that is going to help you to actually hit that goal.

R is for realistic.

So if for my made up goal I want to increase sales by five thousand dollars, if I am in my current position where I have zero sales dollars for 2016 and next year I want to increase it by five thousand dollars, that’s a really big percentage change but its still realistic because its only five thousand dollars. If I said I want to go from zero to five hundred thousand dollars, is it doable? Yeah, maybe. But its not super realistic.

And T is for time based.

So in what time frame do I want to increase sales by five thousand dollars?  Do I want to do it in a month, in a quarter, in a year? That needs to be part of your goal.

Ok, now that we’ve got that all out of the way and hopefully are on the same page about what kind of goals we need to set for next year, I want to talk about something that I think is the most important that has nothing to do with the SMART acronym.

And that is your why.  All of the goals you set need to be tied into your big why.

Why do you do the things that you do?

Because if you’re goals are just to make a million dollars, but the reason why you are doing it is to spend more time with your family, but you’re not spending time with your family because you’re working all the time trying to make a million dollars, then you’re going to burn out on that and the million dollars is not going to make you happy because that is not what is motivating you, which is the spending time with your family.

So if your goals don’t make sense for your why its going to be extremely difficult to achieve them because working towards them is not whats filling you up internally and giving you motivation to keep working so hard day after day. And ultimately if those goals aren’t important to you, if they aren’t important to your big why, then you’re probably not going to achieve them.

So make sure as you’re reflecting over the next couple of weeks and you’re thinking about what you want to accomplish for next year, make sure its really tied into your why for why you do what you do.

I have decided to set quarterly goals instead of big annual goals, and for me that’s because I do have some big things that I want to accomplish next year but I wanted to break them down into smaller chunks so they feel more achievable. Also I think since this is my first year really working on those goals that having something smaller to aim at in a shorter time period will give me a sense of urgency because the time period is shorter but also a better sense of accomplishment because I should be able to get to Q1 and March 31 and say, “Yeah, I did those things.  Lets move on to the next.”

Oh and don’t worry, I’ll share all that in next weeks video.

The last thing that I wanted to say about goals is that I think the language that you use to make those goals is really important. And I really like what Stefan James of Project Life Mastery does.  He does a monthly update on all his goals and the language that he uses is so positive I think that it really helps him in fulfilling the things that he gets done every year.  If you go to Stefans blog which is projectlifemastery.com, and you read his monthly goal update reports, then you’ll notice that he uses language like, “I will easily…” So he might say I will easily grow my YouTube subscriber base by X or I will easily increase twitter followers by Y.

And at first I was like, why is he doing that? That sounds so cocky. But then I realized that there’s some interesting psychology going on there.

Because we do not do things that we think are going to be hard most of the time.  So if you are using your language to frame in your mind that something is going to be easy, then you’re going to do it and you’re probably going to exceed that goal. When you’re writing out your goals its important to say things like I have or  I will.  You don’t want to say I want to or I’m going to try to or things like that.  Because not to go Yoda on you but there is no try. You do it or you don’t do it.

So there’s my two cents on goal setting and I’d love to know your thoughts about SMART goals and you know, do you use them are you tired of hearing about them? Just tell me what your thoughts are down in the comments below.  Be sure to come back next week I will be sharing my goals for 2017 with you and I can’t wait for you to tell me about what you’re going to be working on in 2017 also. Don’t forget to subscribe to this channel if you haven’t already, we post new videos every Wednesday. And I will see you for the last time in 2016 OMG. Take care guys!

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

3 Business Lessons I Learned in 2016

I couldn’t figure out how to start this video.  Let’s just jump into it.

Hey welcome back to another week of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.

This week I wanted to share with you three things that I’ve learned in 2016, which I guess you could call my first year in business, if you don’t care about businesses making money.

The first thing that I have learned this year is that opportunity is everywhere if you’re willing to look for it.  So you know, I first got interested in ecommerce and selling online when I started reading the My Wife Quit Her Job blog.  And that opened my eyes to ecommerce in general because when I think about buying stuff online I think about the big guys, you know, Amazon and Amazon and Amazon and you get the point.  But reading about Bumblebee Linens and that story reminded me, there are so many online shops that I have bought from over the years that were just little mom and pops or least not Amazon size big or not Wayfair size big or something like that.

So you know, its definitely something that I have experience with as a consumer and why not look into something like that as a business.  And again, you know that from My Wife Quit Her Job I found the Amazing Seller and selling on Amazon and all that stuff.  So those are two great opportunities that I never would have found had I not been kind of looking again for a way to go into business for myself.

Now that I’ve got those two things as my primary focus I’ve found all these other ways that you can either go into business for yourself or just make some fun money on the side. For instance, you could earn money on YouTube. Now, I don’t have any illusions of ever making some kind of full time income from YouTube videos but its a really fun thing for me to do, I love to share it. And if it throws off a hundred dollars every six or eight months or whatever than thats cool but its certainly not life changing money. But there are absolutely people that make a living doing YouTube videos to create communities around that.

You could make money with blogging, or podcasting, or being an influencer on social media like Instagram, or Snapchat.  You could do conferences in person and online, you could do retail stuff, you could be a coach, you could sell a digital product.  I’m telling you, there are so many opportunities out there right now that when you start thinking you are going to do one thing it pretty soon becomes really hard to just focus on that one thing and not let your mind go off in a hundred different directions.  But I never would have known about all that stuff if I hadn’t been looking for it.  So when you start to look for opportunities, they are everywhere.  So start looking.

The second thing that I have learned is that the business game is always going to change and you’ve got to be ready to change with it.  Yeah, just since I even started researching the Amazon “thing” so many changes have taken place with selling on that platform.

Just little things like you can’t pay for reviews anymore, or if you’re a new seller you can’t even ship in the fourth quarter until they lift that restriction, or UPC codes have to come from GS1.  Uhhhh, yeah those are not small changes.

The future belongs to optimistic thinkers who are going to take those changes and find a way to integrate it into their business and make their business even better.  I think we should update Benjamin Franklin’s statement.  The only things that are guaranteed in life are death, taxes and change.

The third thing I’ve learned so far this year is that when you put yourself out there, things start to happen. Since I’ve started making these YouTube videos, since I have started to participate in online groups and discussions I have met so many awesome people and have actually been surprised to see the opportunities that have come my way.  And I’m like, “Whaaaat?”  I’m such a small fish in this pond but people want to reach out and make connections and help each other along, which is a beautiful thing and I’m just really excited to actually start doing some of that stuff.

And I know that this is only going to snowball going forward. I was listening to a recent Scott Voelker, The Amazing Seller, podcast and he was talking about all the different stuff he had going on and because he has made all these connections over the past few years that these opportunities have come to him that he never would have imagined. And that can happen for you too.

A couple of things you’ve got to do, you’ve got to be out there, people need to know who you are, and you’ve got to be willing to extend your hand first. Right? So you help other people and other people will help you.

Alright so we’ve got two weeks left in 2016 that is hard to believe, but let’s make sure that you are setting yourself up for success next year.  So, take some time today and reflect on what you have learned this year that’s going to help you in business next year.  Leave them down in the comments below.  Be sure to subscribe to this channel if you haven’t already.  We post new videos every Wendesday.

I will see you next week, take care!

How To Deal With Criticism.

Critics.  Yeah.

Hey welcome back for another week of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  I had a big old empty spot on my editorial calendar for this week and I really didn’t know what I wanted to talk about.

But then yesterday afternoon I was reading an article about a guy named Mark Bellissimo who is very big in the part of the world where I live.  Because I live in horse country and Mark Bellissimo is, lets call him an equine entrepreneur.

One of the many things he does is work to build equestrian sporting events into a much more popular and mainstream offering, whereas currently they’re really not at all.  So what that means is that the World Equestrian Games, which is a two week plus equestrian sporting event is going to be here in Western North Carolina.  This is only the second time that these games have ever even been in North America so to say its a big deal is an understatement.  So equestrian sporting events are generally considered kind of an elitist activity.  We’re not talking about horses on the farm that are used to work or ranching horses or anything like that, but show horses, that takes a lot of capital to get started in.  And because Mark wants to take this very kind of elitist activity and bring it out and make it more accessible to the masses, he has faced a lot of criticism for wanting to do that.

And yesterday I was reading this article about the World Equestrian games and about Mark and he gave this quote about criticism and that’s what I wanted to share with you today.

And criticism is something that I really struggle with and am kind of shielding myself from to a degree that I probably shouldn’t, but I will tell you that nobody in my personal life except for my husband even knows about this youtube channel at this point, nobody except for my husband and maybe two other people know about the Amazon private label business that I’m starting.  I just, its just not something that I have felt comfortable sharing with people that know and love me yet.  But you guys, yeah, I’ll talk to you all day about it.

So here we go. Mark was asked about a life lesson that he has to share and here is what he said about criticism.

Change is extremely hard for most people because they are invested in what they can know, feel and touch.  Add a level of uncertainty in the outcome of that change, and it creates fear.

That fear then evolves into resistance and criticism of the unknown and criticism of the individuals who are trying to effect that change.

This is true for most exploration and innovation in history.

The fact is that visions do not come with majority support, and the execution of that vision is filled with setbacks in the form of mistakes, failures and shortcomings that provide fodder for the critic.  In response to these setbacks, you can either quit, adapt, or get stronger, smarter and overcome.

If the critics prevail, if the status quo prevails, the changes and opportunities die.  You will never know what could have been.

Your willingness to persevere directly correlates with your belief in the outcome.

Because the ultimate fact is critics do not write great novels, produce great movies, build great buildings, invent cures, build companies or lead society.

They criticize.

Criticism is important to a process, but it should not be the lasting legacy.

Ok full disclosure that is not a direct word-for-word quote because I am not good at memorizing lines.  But how great is that? This is a guy that faced a lot of criticism from very powerful people for trying to do what he’s trying to do.  But he believes so much in his vision that he doesn’t care.  He’s willing to take the criticism because he knows its going to serve a greater purpose.

Which makes me feel a little silly when I’m sitting here thinking oh my gosh, what are my friends going to say when they discover this youtube channel one day? Well, I’m still nervous about that.

So I’m going to put a link down to that article below so you can go check it out for yourself and read the actual direct quote.  But I want you to keep this in mind when you hear somebody in your head or somebody in your real life saying, “uh huh I told you that you were just wasting your time with that” or however that form of criticism works in your life, because its something we all deal with.

Alright, down in the comments below today guys please tell me about how you face criticism and deal with it in your own life. And what kind of tools and tricks you use to overcome it. Thanks so much for joining me again this week don’t forget to subscribe to this channel if you haven’t already.  Thumbs up on the video, I’d appreciate that also and I will catch you next week.  Take care!

Horse Canada article here.