Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

How to Reach Your Goals in 2016

Dream big this year. Entrepreneurship coach Kari Chapin shares her strategies for setting achievable goals and reaching them.

By Kari Chapin 05 Jan, 2016
Starting an Etsy shop setting goals New Year's Resolution
Photo by teconlene

Guess what? It’s January. We’ve just left 'the most wonderful time of the year' and have now entered what I like to call 'the most ambitious time of the year'. It’s goal season, and we often prepare for it by making lists, buying calendars and pushing ourselves to be the best versions of us that we can imagine. Most of us are lucky if we make it a few weeks under all of this pressure. Some of us can last a bit longer and put our best foot forward for a month or two. And some of us will have forgotten all about our lofty ideas by the time the Christmas decorations get put away.

I am a goal season champion. In fact, I like goals so much I’ve made them my business. I have built a whole career out of helping people reach their dreams, with a special emphasis on the planning part of making a dream come true, which leads us to my favourite topic: intentions and goals.

Here are some techniques that will help keep you on track while you’re busy making things happen.

Elevate Your Goals

What are goals anyway? They are declarative statements that have an end result. Try setting an intention instead of a goal. Say you want to start your Etsy shop this year or increase your sales. That would become your intention, instead of your goal. Goals would be the things you need to get done in order to realise your intention. If you were working this out in list form, it might look something like this:

  • Intention: Increase my sales by 25 percent by the end of the year.

  • Goal: Study past sales records to identify trends, such as when sales are high and when there are lulls.
  • Goal: Hire someone to help with shipping and customer service, thus freeing up my time to create more products.
  • Goal: Experiment with new forms of marketing.

See how the goals support the intention? And now, you can use the goals to decide what action steps you need to take to reach the goal, which is how you'll realise the intention.

So your to-do list might look like:

  • Action: Set aside a half day for the next four weeks, so I can really dig into the numbers. Create a new spreadsheet to help with this task.
  • Action: Write a job description for a future employee. Check with friends and ask them how they found their awesome employees last year.
  • Action: Take an online class on how to use Snapchat, and begin to develop a strategy for using it to market my products.

This is a really easy way to break your goals down into manageable steps that will help you get to where you want to be even faster. Adding some structure to the big things we want to achieve can speed things up. You get to see progress being made each time you complete an action step, and focusing on tiny steps, rather than the big picture, makes things more manageable.

Think of the intention as the finish line and the goals as the water stations while you’re running the race toward what you want to accomplish.

Writing down your goals makes more room in your head for creative ideas. Photo by Felicette Shop

Manage Your Goals

It’s not enough to decide what you want to do and then just trust that it will happen. Setting goals and actually reaching them works best with a strategy for success in mind. Finding a system that works for you and what you want to accomplish is key and it can take some experimentation to figure out what works best. Here are a few places to start:

Write your goals down. Get them out of your head and onto paper. This not only frees up valuable brain space, making more room for creativity, but also something magical happens when a message travels from your brain to your hand and then onto paper. You can see the goal more clearly, and it’s easier to see what you need to do next.

Give yourself a deadline. Put a time limit on it. If you really want to move forward with your big ideas, figure out a timeline and stick to it. This will help you notice if you’re being unrealistic about how long it actually takes to get things done, and it will help you prioritise what is most important.

Review your goals. Things change. Lessons are learned. People, projects, opportunities and plans change. I recommend reviewing your goals and the progress you’ve made once per month. I personally do my reviews at the end of the month, when I’m planning what the next 30 days will look like for my business. I take the time to look at what worked well and what was a struggle. I reassess my deadlines and adjust them as needed.

Seek Support

If you’re striving to make big, impactful changes, either in your business or your personal life, the road ahead will be a lot more fun if you have some support. Sharing your intentions and goals with a trusted person can make an enormous difference when you find yourself struggling or stuck. You don’t have to do this alone.

Accountability. This is one of my favourite topics, and it has played a huge role in my success in getting things done and realising my biggest intentions. It can be hard to be your own boss. Holding yourself accountable can be really challenging. This is where a like-minded pal or two can come in handy. Ask them to check in with you and update them on your progress. Knowing that someone out there is wondering how you’re doing and cheering you on can be a powerful motivator.

Trust your gut. This means all kinds of good things, like letting yourself off the hook when you really need to. If something isn’t working, figure out how to pivot and change direction. Get honest with yourself when it comes to your goals. Are you working towards what you really want? Are you enjoying what you’re doing? Is it allowing you to build the kind of life you want?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Some intentions just aren’t meant to be realised, and some goals are just unreachable. If you find yourself in a position like this, remember that you are in charge of yourself and your dreams. You can change your mind whenever you want. After all, you’re the boss!

Track your progress. This is one of my favourite tricks to boost my own morale when I’m focused on doing big things. (I like this step so much I created a downloadable Progress Tracker, which I sell in my Etsy shop, to help people do just that.) Let the little stuff you do on your path to success matter. If you’re researching new packaging, that counts towards bettering your business. If you're checking out the competition, that counts towards understanding your target customer. When you clean up your studio that counts towards creating a better work environment. All of these small acts that seem like not much in the big picture are the little details that help you reach your goals.

What are your tips and tricks for setting and reaching goals? Share what works for you in the comments.


Kari Chapin from Chixon

Kari Chapin is the best-selling author of The Handmade Marketplace, a podcast host, and the designer of a line of products for creative business owners. Her mission is to help you keep your mind and business organized. Connect with her @peptalkpress or


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