HOW TO… be a go-getter!

After sharing my best year planner for 2017 on Instagram last week and getting a wonderful response I suddenly realised perhaps I have a lot more tips and advice to give then I thought. I’ve learnt an awful lot since starting up Sky Siouki and, although I’m most definitely still learning all the time, I guess it might be helpful to some of you out there to hear what I’ve learnt in case you can learn from it too. I’ve definitely learnt a lot of things the hard way so if I can prevent anyone from having to learn it the hard way too then that in itself would be achieving something! So I’m going to be trying to do a few ‘How To…’ posts like this now and then this year and we’ll see how it goes down. Please go ahead and comment if you have any questions or a suggestion for my next topic even!

So in this post I just wanted to highlight some of the best practices and tips that I’ve learnt through workbook and business planner ‘Your Best Year’ by Lisa Jacobs which I bought half way through 2016 and am now starting a whole year afresh with for 2017. It’s a really brilliant book that I can’t recommend enough.Your Best Year 2017 BookTime Your Tasks!

Running your own business is challenging and one the biggest challenges is being your own boss and motivating yourself. Everyone has jobs they like doing and jobs they don’t. When you’re your own boss it’s all too easy to just avoid the ones you dislike or to let yourself get ever-so sidetracked when before you know it the whole day is gone and the only one suffering from your lack of productivity is yourself. So something Lisa suggests in order to stay on task and get things done is to time each task. Estimate how long something ought to take, set a timer and then do nothing but that task during that time – no emails, no Instagram, no snacking, just a solid 20 minutes filing loose paperwork or scheduling social media posts for example. I’ve taken this a stage further by making a to do list at the start of each day, allocating a time limit per task, putting them in order and then setting to it! This way I know if my day’s tasks realistically fill the amount of time I have available and feel the need to complete each task within the limit so that the later tasks don’t have to get dropped.

Timed Tasks

Measure Your Goals

I must have set myself so many vague intangible goals in the past such as ‘By June next year I need to be doing substantially better in my business if I want to continue on this path.’ That’s just crazy. For one thing, WRITE IT DOWN! But secondly, how the hell was I going to compare if I was doing ‘better’ if I didn’t even know exactly where I was at the time of setting the goal… whenever that even was, I couldn’t tell you! I actually feel like a full-blown moron even admitting to the nonsense of a goal I just wrote above, but that’s the truth, I honestly said that to myself. Now with Lisa Jacob’s planner I have a place to write my goals and track them. I can look back at how many Instagram followers I had last month for example and see that I’ve gained 100 since. In the new book she has included a monthly ‘abundance tracker’ where you set yourself a monthly income target and ideas to attain it which is so great because it is so undeniably measurable!

Create New Habits

Something from the 2016 planner which doesn’t seem to be in the 2017 book but I plan to add in to mine. Each month give yourself a new habit to adopt. Maybe the first month you won’t manage to keep it up very well, in which case when you come to review the month work out why you didn’t and revise your method for adopting it instead of starting a new one. Then once you’ve got it down you can move on to a new habit. Making something habitual is super useful for me. I’ve used this to become consistent with my Instagram posts and it’s really worked. I seldom miss a day now. The key is that when you decide on the habit to also decide on a strategy to implement it into your routine. So for my Instagram posts I decided I would always post at lunchtime, but sometimes I forgot so I changed it to mornings first things when I have my tea and that worked! I then got an app to make adding my hashtags quicker, and started keeping up a good stock of photos available so I’d rarely be short of material to post.

Instagram Posts

Plan Week by Week

I’m all about lists and I know I’m not alone in that as a small business owner. This is something Lisa’s book is really great for. Each month there are sections to fill in with what the key goals for the month are and then sections to break down tasks for each week in order to reach those main goals. Sometimes I have so much I know I need to do that it’s really overwhelming so by putting it into a timescale I feel so much better for having worked out what needs doing now and what can wait. I then refer to this page most days when creating my daily task list so I can tick off the week’s tasks as I go and see if there’s any little jobs I’d forgotten about which can often happen.

Treat Yourself!

This is obviously the best one! Lisa’s idea, not mine I promise! As part of the monthly abundance tracker page she suggests that when you set yourself your monetary target that you also set yourself a treat that you can have IF you reach the target. So simple but I just love this because having written down my treat and seeing it there whenever I turn back to this page really does make me want to get the target all the more. It makes achieving it feel more real and without it I think it’d seem less significant. So if I reach my goal this month I’m going to apply for Top Drawer September AND get a big fruity flapjack from my favourite bakery… because my tummy needs treat just as much as my business does.

I think I’ve blabbed on enough for now. I really hope some of these tips are handy to some of you! A lot of things I’ve touched on are expanded on much more in the book. I’m not an affiliate or anything just to be clear, I genuinely just think it’s a brilliant planner. Comment below if you’d like to ask anything!

Crafty Fox Peckham, Dec 2016

Last Sunday was my final Christmas market of the year in London at the Crafty Fox Market Peckham. I have to admit it feels pretty relieving to have finished up my markets for the year as I am well and truly knackered now but it’s been a lot of fun and a lot of success which is wonderful!

Crafty Fox Stall

As it turned out Crafty Fox was actually my least successful market this year which I was quite surprised by since it was very busy all day. I perhaps a little naively expected London customers to have a little more spending money in their pockets. The event was really well run with upbeat music playing and a real buzz throughout the venue from start to finish. I was only just about set up before customers were already coming through the doors when it opened. It was lovely to meet new fans as always and learn from other traders at the event so there was certainly still a lot to take away from the day. The crowd seemed significantly younger on average than I would usually see at the Made In Bristol Gift Fair which I think was down to the area of London and I feel may have had some effect on my sales. I also couldn’t help wonder if the wildlife based theme of my work may appeal more to people who choose to live in an area with such a large amount of surrounding countryside like Bristol has.

Crafty Fox Peckham

I had always wondered if I’d been holding myself back by fearing driving in London and missing out on events like Crafty Fox so the purpose of going had always been intended as a bit of a test. It’s very interesting to now know, and a little comforting even, that I don’t need to feel I’m missing out on too much through living outside of the capital and it also reminded me of just what an amazing thriving creative community there is in Bristol. For now I’m undecided if I may revisit Crafty Fox as a trader but I’m certainly feeling more ready to conquer a London trade show now I’ve managed driving around in the city a little.

Crafty Fox

Like a lot of the traders at the market, I only had a small square table to work with so this was another challenge I conquered through doing the market. I’ve felt like my stall displays perhaps could have done with an upgrade since launching a lot more products this year so this gave me a good reason to invest in some new display props. I was pretty pleased that I managed to put everything on display using height to my advantage. This is another aspect that’s got me excited about exhibiting at a trade show as good presentation will be everything and I’m excited to start planning how I could lay out my stand.

That’s nearly it for me this Christmas but you can of course still order from Sky Siouki online! My final order date to get gifts in time for Christmas is Dec 19th. Shop here!

Made In Bristol Gift Fair 2016

Last Saturday was my second Christmas fair of the year where I’ve become a bit of a regular. The Made In Bristol Gift Fair at Colston Hall! There will in fact be three more gift fairs held by Made In Bristol at the same venue but this year I only managed to book the one. Here’s me looking awkwardly jolly behind my stand!

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Having produced so many new products this year it was a little challenging fitting it all in this year but I just about managed to make my stand presentable! My table will be even smaller at Crafty Fox Peckham in a couple of weeks time so I think I’m going to be hunting for a nifty shelving unit in the meantime.

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The fair lived up to it’s usual standard with lots of people about and a lovely variety of handmade gifts available. It’s always enjoyable being able to look across at all the different platforms throughout the venue seeing people coming up and down the stairs. I have to admit the fair wasn’t the busiest I’ve seen it and given a second chance I would have chosen to book a December date instead as I think perhaps not everyone is ready to Christmas shop just yet in November. The clash with Black Friday weekend may have also stolen away some trade, who knows?!

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It was really nice to see some repeat customers who had found me last year and wanted to come back to buy from me again! That alone makes doing the Made In Bristol fair each year seem worthwhile. One thing I regrettably have to admit is that the melancholy music just really let down the festive atmosphere. Hopefully it might be better next time!

Next up I’m selling at the Crafty Fox Market in Peckham‘s CLF Art Cafe in the Bussey Building on Sunday Dec 11th! I’m so excited to meet some new customers in London for the first time. If it goes well I may well be selling again in London next year! It will also be my last Christmas event for the year but don’t forget you can always shop online of course!

CHRISTMAS EVENTS 2016

Christmas is fast approaching already and I’m getting myself prepped with lots of new products on the horizon for Sky Siouki. Hopefully all will be available just in time for the gift buying season as well as for my Christmas events this year. I’ll be posting lots of reminders closer to the time but here’s my first official announcement of the events I’ll be selling at this Christmas!

TOTTERDOWN FRONT ROOMS ARTS TRAIL

NOV 19th & 20th, 12-6pm  – 57 Windsor Terrace, Bristol BS3 4UGTotterdown Arts Trail

I’ll be collaborating with Abi Coombs for the 2016 arts trail with an Into The Woods inspired venue showcasing Abi’s gorgeous woodland based etchings and screenprints and a selection of my bird based prints and products from the Flight collection. Local artist, Nathanael Draws, will be live painting a mural in the back garden on the Sunday and there’ll be some delicious homemade nibbles and mulled beverages on offer too to really kick off the Christmas spirit!

MADE IN BRISTOL GIFT FAIR 

NOV 26th, 10am – 4pm – Colston Hall, Bristol BS1 5AR

Made In Bristol

I always love selling at the Made In Bristol Gift Fairs at Colston Hall and getting to meet all the lovely Bristol dwellers who admire my work. I’ll be there once again this year, sadly just for one date though so make sure you come to this one on Nov 26th so as not to miss me!

 

CRAFTY FOX CHRISTMAS MARKET PECKHAM

DEC 11th, 11am – 5pm – CLF Art Cafe, The Bussey Building, Peckham, London SE15 4ST

Crafty Fox

Very excited about this one! My first market in London in fact and it looks set to be a great one. In the fantastic Bussey Building the venue has lots of space and light and the Crafty Fox markets are always incredibly well curated so I feel very lucky to have been picked to take part! There’ll be different designers on the Saturday and the Sunday so come on Sunday if you want to see Sky Siouki!

PRESS! Featured in Period Living

My Kitten Tales large velvet cushion has been featured in Period Living magazine this month! It’s the March 2016 issue on page 15 amongst a lovely selection of other designer cushions all featuring portraits in a feature called ‘Face to face’. Special thanks to Pippa for choosing to include my design!

Period Living Feature

Period Living Magazine