This past weekend on the radio show I co-host, we talked about creative business planning with Jennifer Lee of Artizen Coaching (author of the fab new book The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success) and Andrea Schroeder of ABC Creativity. They were both fantastic. In fact, our discussions made me question why I haven’t been more diligent in creating a business plan for myself despite doing it for years in corporate America. 
When I decided to leave the daily grind in 2007, I was buried in spreadsheets and burned out. I’d been running a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company and had to create very precise annual business plans – vision, budget, marketing plans, staffing decisions, blah blah blah. That yearly presentation to our board of directors was always a pressure cooker. I seriously feel queasy just thinking about it! 
And I have a feeling that’s why I’ve been so resistant to creating a formal business plan for myself. I didn’t want the work I do and love so much to be clouded by the dread I felt back then. So, though I’ve created vision boards, set intentions and brought ideas to life along the way, I’ve primarily flown by the seat of my pants for over three years. Interviewing Jennifer and Andrea helped me realize that all business plans are not created equal. That I can make my plan playful and colorful, spirited and soulful, with room to grow and trust my intuition and dream big. When I think about it that way, it’s pretty dang empowering. 
Although my formal {and fun} plan is a work in progress, I knew my first act of business right away: to whip my Etsy shop into shape. I’ve been super-blessed with great success since launching it six months ago. But as I’ve added new items and products, it started to look cluttered to me. And everything I read about successful Etsy shops says consistency and good photos are critical. So, I’ve been busy working on making the main page more cohesive and inviting for visitors. For instance, I’m posing the faces of my necklaces in the same direction while using a natural wood background for each piece. They’re not all done, but I’m close. Sometimes subtle changes make the biggest difference!
And that leads me to Step 2 in the business plan: spur sales by rewarding my fabulous readers with occasional discounts {like that one!?} So, this week I’m giving YOU 20% off everything in my shop! You can use the discount code goodplan through Friday (3/11) at midnight central. Check out the new look and new items, including several new necklace designs. 
I have lots of great things coming up this year {including a summer e-course on how to build a blog you love!!!}. Crafting a creative business plan is just what I needed to keep me accountable and inspired. 

Radio Show: To hear last weekend’s episode of Get Real, click here and go to the archived podcast list on the right. Jennifer is interviewed in Hour 1 and Andrea is interviewed in Hour 2.

Are You Right Brained? This free test gives you insights into the way you think and plan and process.

Etsy Success Stories:  I love this collection of tips from some of Etsy’s top sellers, compiled by Jessica Van Den. Click here to view more details.

Etsy Seller Resources: Handmade Spark just posted a great list of tips and resources around the web for Etsy sellers.

Creative Biz Marathon: Follow these five creative entrepreneurs online as they put their 2011 plans into action. Fun to watch their progress!

Where Women Create Blog: I love Jo Packham’s blog – an extension of Where Women Create magazine – full of inspiration and peeks inside the studios and lives of creative entrepreneurs.

Go Digital: Need a better blog? Wish you knew how to navigate your way through the online world? Check out the e-book You Don’t Need a Job, You Need Guts: Combining Passion + Self + Business Through Digital Entrepreneurship  by sassy, spunky Ash Ambridge of The Middle Finger Project.