2013 in Review: 5 Successes, My Biggest Failure, and Hope for 2014's Fresh Start

Nothing beats the New Year and the proverbial fresh slate it represents. The date on the calendar is arbitrary, but the mental switch helps you let go and release past failures, making space to focus on what's to come. 2013 was not the landmark year of innovation I wanted it to be. First I berated myself, but given time to reflect there were some major accomplishments.


1) Record-Breaking Sales: Adding Etsy (and later eBay) to my small business service and local/blog selling revenue dramatically increased sales. I made 365 Etsy sales in one year putting me on the level of shops I've admired for years!

2) Lost Another 10 lbs: I'd forgotten my up-and-downs with weight at the start of 2013. I analyzed my diet and kept the 10 lbs that kept creeping up off once and for all with minor changes. More importantly, I feel healthier, too.

4)  Minimalist Household: I donated and sold hundreds of pieces of personal and stagnant business belongings. My home is clear of ALL extraneous furniture, clothing, and clutter and it feels SO good. (Tips soon!)

5) Photo Improvement: I'm often asked why I choose Etsy over eBay when eBay is more profitable. I choose Etsy because the stiff competition from visual artists forces me to innovate. I took thousands of photos this year and you can really see the improvement in my product photos from 2013 to 2014.

6) Streamlined Processes: I inventoried the most agonizingly drawn-out processes (editing hundreds of photos at once, aah! I was losing much sleep) and upgraded technology and skill-sets to save time. I have free time to make art and live a little again!

Biggest Failure: I was a shut-in this year. Past failures collaborating on big projects left me overly sensitive and unwilling to go out and network as I had in the past;  directly creating a lack of innovation and motivation. If you encountered me and I seemed cagey/quiet, I'm so sorry! I didn't get human interaction practice this year, working from home and getting sucked into projects in your bat cave will do that. I was very awkward in 2013.

Conclusion: I want 2014 to be a year of collaboration, I'm ready to push my limits and connect with others again. I feel like 2012 and 2013 were cloudy meandering times where I was still getting a feel of my new life as an indie business owner and what I wanted my business and mission to be. The clouds have cleared, my confidence is back, and I'm ready! If I could accomplish the above on an off, not-trying-hard year I'm excited to see what hard effort can do!

For anyone else mentally agonizing for not being where you want to be, stop. Learn from your failures, dust yourself off, and really get busy into 2014. You have a fresh new year to get moving.

What were your biggest accomplishments in 2013? Wanna confess any failures? I can't be alone! Any goals to discuss for 2014?
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32 comments:

  1. Im not the best at making or keeping goals. I just kind of take things as they come, change things I don't like or that don't work, and I float around, changing rules as I go.... Story of my life..... Things that didn't work last year, Im not doing this year. Things that worked really well last year, Im expanding on. I will get my facebook page up this year (sooner than later) and I hope to double my sales at both of my shops. I have also gotten rid of stuff: Stuff that didn't sell, stuff that was unfixable, stuff that I changed my mind on, stuff that was bothering me for no good reason. Out with it! Feels liberating to get rid of "stuff". I don't know why, but my disorganization works for me.

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    1. It's a right-brain thought process to work "randomly". I do the same thing, instead of concentrated focus on one thing I juggle several things at once switching back and forth throughout the day...and making a big mess while I'm at it. I use your organic approach but write down the goals while I'm at it. Good luck with your goals this year, sounds like you're on the right track to me!

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  2. I wish ebay encouraged more artsy photos. I like that about etsy too but I sell on ebay. I'm always afraid to add any other element to my photos on ebay and have someone give me a negative because they thought they bought the photo prop too! I'm even afraid to list a jacket (for sale) over a shirt (not for sale). I've heard stories of buyers who thought they bought everything...didn't really read the listing.

    Good job on your successes and good luck this year on your goals.

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    1. eBay buyers are definitely pickier that way, my comic book photos have been very utilitarian. Thanks for the tip, I will definitely be sure not to layer things! The Etsy audience expects the artsy staging and they always ask if they're getting all that's pictured before they buy if it's ambiguous.

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  3. I love this post. Just the straight talk I like to hear (and need to hear). I'm in the "just beginning stages" and fear holds me back but I'm determined to get serious and just do something this year. Keep 'em coming. You're a motivator & inspiring.

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    1. Motivating others is my favorite part of the business, glad the words inspired you! Once you let go of the fear, you're invisible. I have posts on letting go of fear, learning from failure, and more motivational posts planned for 2014. Hope you'll come back and read 'em.

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  4. I pretty much stagnated in 2013. Other than growing a person I didn't really have any sucesses OR any real failures. It was just kind of a "there" year.

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    1. Same here Nona! If I had to choose one word for 2013 it would be just that: Stagnant! My growth froze. I'm already seeing that change in 2014, done things I haven't done in years: Exercise consistently, finish a painting, beat writer's block...

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  5. Van congrats on 2013 from someone sitting on the sidelines watching you, you've done well. I alway admire your determination, if you can keep the momentum from 2013 going this year further greatness is surely to ensue.

    When I look at my 2013 I'm pretty impressed at the things I do and achieved despite being pregnant with our child. I was finally and properly able to launch my business legitimately after years of dabbling. I am angled. To do markets whilst pregnant and since the birth of our baby, I've got a real life shop location that sells some my stock, I launched my Etsy Store. If I can keep my momentum going this year I'd be happy if I can achieve more than last year I'll be estatic. But all hoped, goals and plans will have to work around looking after my kids. So if I can do that successfully this year I will be pleased.

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    1. I'm always in awe of all you accomplish with a family, while you were pregnant and now with a newborn. I can only imagine myself wanting to do nothing but sleep in my spare time with all the pressure. Keep inspiring new moms with that gun-ho attitude!

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  6. Woo-hoo for goal setting and getting shizz done in 2014. Im in awe of your etsy skills. Originally I chose ebay for the exact reason you did...because I could do it lazily and easily to get my feet wet. People's expectations are so damned low for a visually pleasing picture on ebay that you can literally just clear the debris around an item and put it in natural lighting and suddenly it is breathtaking to the buyer. I'm looking to get my confidence up for etsy soon. I have a shop waiting for me...I just need to take the plunge.

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    1. I went to eBay to finally get max profit on my nerd-gear collection I'm trying to clear out. I was laaaazy with those photos/descriptions! For shame! I'm going to keep with it to maximize profit, even though its painful for me to navigate as a newbie.

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  7. never think of things as failures just as part of the learning curve .

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    1. Perfectly articulated, gonna write about that concept in detail soon.

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  8. It was a limbo year for me as well. My Etsy sales were down, but then, I didn't have as much stuff listed as usual.
    I had the most ideas I have ever had before---but I didn't act on hardly any of them. Need to bridge that gap between creative thinking and action. Also, I plan to do an outdoor antiques fair in the spring, something I've never done before. Two times in the past I have geared up to do one of those and then backed out because of fear of the logistics, time involved, etc. Gonna do it this year!!!

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    1. I'll have tips/examples on breaking thoughts and ideas into action steps coming up on Sunday. Get after it this year! I'm already hard at work on long put-off projects, loving it.

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  9. It was a good year. We accomplished a major move. I am slowly and surely finding my way in Portland. But right now I want to expand. Honestly I'm a little bored with eBay and I think its because it is so freakin, take crap picture......sell. I don't know. My best friend lives here in Portland. We are thinking about selling at the many many flea markets here. I'm thinking about etsy but for artistic endeavors. I want to start sculpting again (I did start sculpting again! *shock*) but this time on MY terms. Last time I sculpted for the masses and the masses I received. I want to do more artistic figures. Rough hewn...weird...I don't know. Failures? I make my goals in April but thus far I've took a big leap in my goals which was mainly contentment. But it was such a vague goal......so it feels like a failure and I honestly don't know why. I'm actually relatively happy and semi-content. Maybe its just time to really grow. Maybe I'm kind of stagnant playing it safe. Maybe for me it was a bull shit goal. AND like you I need to cultivate friends but besides my two kindred spirits (husband, one friend) what the hell do I want out of a friend?

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    1. I know how it feels when it gets too easy. I was at that stage before I introduced more projects, I love that you're back to making art. I already finished two pieces this year and definitely want to make this a year of art and friends again. As for looking for friends, you'll find them organically as you put yourself out there with your art again. I'm sure Portland's an ideal, wonderful area for it! I can't wait to visit the hippie shangri-la that is Portland someday soon.

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  10. Congrats on your records breaking ETSY and EBAY sales! So happy for you. May 2014 bring you many more cha ching!

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    1. Thank you! Right on track with high numbers I set for myself this year and I'm creating merch to sell like crazy, too. :) Same to you!

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  11. I had both ups and downs. I burned out in my Etsy shop this year and pretty much let it go. I still sporadically list on ebay but I haven't found the time to get things listed. I now have a storage unit filled with stuff that needs to be sorted, cleaned, priced...etc. The antique mall booth has been a better story. Sales have been pretty consistent, I'm getting better at figuring out what sells and what doesn't. Otherwise, that was my 2013 and I'm hoping to increase my booth sales in 2014. I'm done with Etsy for now, but will continue to list on Ebay.

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    1. I've had the opposite affect, antique mall booth sales improved but they're definitely pretty low. I keep it as a way to connect with locals and unload/hold a little stuff but it's been on the back burner. I want to try and analyze it to improve sales. Good luck with your selling this year!

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  12. 365 sales in one year!! That's amazing! Congratulations not only on that, but on all of your awesome accomplishments! If you did all this in a year that you don't think was your best, I can't wait to see what you do this year!

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    1. Thanks Cathey! I've already produced more art that I have all last year this year, it's going to be a kick-ass year I say ;D !

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  13. It's really good to evaluate what has happened in a year, both the successes and failures. I like that idea. Good luck for 2014, you sound raring to go!

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    1. Thanks! Not enough people really acknowledge their faults so they can improve. I'm definitely raring to go! :)

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  14. Such a crazy year full of ups and downs for you. I hope you can get your confidence and reach for those dreams. I know you can do it. I can't wait to see what you get up to in2014.

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    1. I'll be exhaustively reporting from the sidelines! Already producing and interacting more and loving it. Thanks so much for the kind words ;)

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  15. You are so right about not beating yourself over what you didn't accomplish. I was reading a fellow blogger's post on creating new year's resolutions, and her suggestion was to focus on what you've accomplished in the past year to start the new year on a positive note because if you focus on where you came up short, you make your resolutions from a place of failure and not success, so I am so happy that you sat down and focused on your successes. And hey, you had way more successes than failures :0)

    As for me, I saw marked improvement in my eBay business. My profits were higher each month over the previous year. I continued making better, more profitable buying decisions, something I had started to do in 2012, so it was very gratifying to continue on the upward trend. Another big goal accomplished was starting my creativity blog.

    Where I fell short was getting my Etsy business up. I had planned on working out the kinks to an ornament idea I had in mind, hoping to stock up my Etsy store with my handmade stuff, but alas, I was not able to devote as much time to it as I had planned.

    My goal is to continue evaluating and increasing the profitability of my eBay business by playing around with the types of items I will stock in my store. Another goal is to get my Amazon book business up and running again. And my final goal is to work on handmade art ideas for my Etsy store.

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    1. 'Tis true, success with anything can be as simple as changing your mindset from negative to positive. I felt much better and less discouraged when I saw I wasn't a failure in 2013 after all. It's also paralyzing and a zero-sum game to berate yourself for failures, gets your nowhere and even further from your goals than you would have been if you'd just focus on accomplishing the failures instead.

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