What does it look like to spend a year working towards an idea, a dream, a goal? What happens when you’re given the opportunity to spend all of your energy learning about only the things that excite you - that you really want to do?
Fourth Quarter Goal Review
This year - as I pursued some big-time dreams and audacious goals - I decided to break those big goals down into smaller, quarterly goals, and hold myself accountable by publishing quarterly reviews.
It’s the end of the fourth quarter, and my 2021 Q4 goals were solely related to my cocktail book, Homemade Happy Hour:
- Have the book printed locally and copies in hand by October 15, 2021.
- Offer my book for sale through my website and fulfill orders myself.
- Get my book for sale in local retail stores.
On October 18, Homemade Happy Hour - my dream cocktail book - arrived at my house, direct from a printer 11 miles away.
I filled Kickstarter pledges, started taking online orders through a website I set up, and determined what retail stores would be a good fit for selling my book. I reached out to shop owners, followed up, and even had help from an amazing, well-connected friend. We got Homemade Happy Hour into 7 West Michigan retailers - all local, small businesses. Two months later, I’ve sold 60% of the first printing.
In November I had multiple book signings and in-person events where I talked about how to make cocktail syrups, sampled mocktail recipes from Homemade Happy Hour, and signed my name in copies that were going home with people. (I don’t think that will ever get old.)
With my focus on promoting book sales in stores and online for Holiday 2021, I’m now having to remind myself that this is an evergreen book. It makes a great holiday gift, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for sale at the holidays or that retail stores only want to sell it October through December. Next up for Homemade Happy Hour is continued sales and exploring new options for connecting with retailers in other cities.
A Look Back - 2021 Year End Review
I’ve officially spent 1 year working on my business. One year focused on learning, growing, and creating. One year figuring out how to balance being a solopreneur with being the primary parent so we don’t have to worry about childcare expenses.
Thanks to those quarterly review posts, I don’t have to try and remember everything that went into 2021 because I wrote it down. 🙂 Here are the highlights, culled from each quarter to reveal the results of a year’s worth of hard work.
Accomplished in 2021:
- Filed paperwork with the State of Michigan, got an EIN number from the IRS, and opened a business account for Mitten Girl LLC.
- Took a 7 week food photography and styling course.
- Took a 90 day food blogger business course.
- Took a 6 week content optimization course.
- Had the mittengirl.com website moved to new servers and a new website theme installed that’s specific to food and drinks.
- Implemented printable recipe cards on all of my recipes.
- Implemented nutrition information on all of my recipes.
- Optimized the website for speed, added additional plugins to the website to help it run its best, and upgraded to faster servers (again).
- Began shooting videos for my cocktail recipes.
- Bought new camera equipment.
- Secured my first major recipe development project.
- Created and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of my dream cocktail book, Homemade Happy Hour.
- Wrote, edited, and photographed 150 pages of content for Homemade Happy Hour.
- Had an SEO (search engine optimization) audit performed on the site and implemented those findings.
- Printed my book, Homemade Happy Hour, locally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Set up an online store to sell and fulfill book orders myself.
- Published my first sponsored blog post.
- Created work for my first food photography clients.
- Worked my first on-site food styling job.
- Partnered with 7 local, small businesses to sell Homemade Happy Hour in their stores.
A look at the numbers:
- Saw a 1,887% increase in website pageviews.
- Increased visitors to mittengirl.com by 1,272%.
- Sold 60% of the first printing of Homemade Happy Hour.
- Wrote, photographed, and published 65 blog posts.
- Had a 159% increase in newsletter subscribers from 2020.
- Sent out 40 Mitten Girl newsletters.
Every year I choose a quote to guide my thinking throughout the year. In 2021, it was "Nothing will work unless you do" from Maya Angelou.
For 2022, I've chosen a quote around my favorite word - consistency.
This will get posted where I can see it daily and help keep me focused throughout the year.
Onward into 2022.
xo - Katy