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Three Things I Learnt in 2021

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

The time between Christmas and the New Year is my favourite time of year. I love sitting in the dark in the morning with a cup of coffee, the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree the only illumination, looking back at what’s happened before I start planning for the future.

For me, reflecting on the past is in many ways more important than rushing headlong into whatever I’m doing next. I’m utterly mortified at the thought of not learning from experience. So here’s what I learnt from the year just gone.

The honeymoon is over

They say that the second year of business is far trickier than the first, because the novelty has worn off; and of course that’s true. Never again will I feel the unadulterated pleasure of getting my first ever order or the excitement of launching my website.

But that doesn’t mean that I’ve enjoyed the second year any less, or have learnt any less. It simply means that now it’s more a matter of iteratively carrying on with what works, changing what doesn’t, and trying some new things. In short I’ve reached the legs of the ladybird that I talk about in my blog post Of Lines, Ladybirds and Circles.

The great news is that I’m still every bit as much in love with the business of running a business as I ever was. The only difference is that the excitement has been replaced by something calmer, and perhaps something even better - dare I call it fulfillment?

If you met every target, you should have aimed higher

In 2021, while setting my targets for the year, I took the advice of a lovely lady called Jess, the owner of Jewellers Academy – it’s where I did my first ever jewellery making course over ten years ago.

She said that we should decide on a target – and then DOUBLE IT! Her view was that we may not achieve the higher target, but we would definitely exceed the original target we had in mind.

She couldn’t have been more right! By following her advice, I well exceeded my original target, even though I didn’t reach the higher one. Had I stuck to my original target, chances are that I would have met it, rested on my laurels and patted myself on the back.

So now I know that my goal should always be that little bit higher than what I can reach. Instead of fearing failure to meet my targets, my takeaway is that I should actually be fearing constant success.

Jewellery needs to be COVID-proof too!

This, of course, is one of the lighter lessons I learned from COVID. It didn’t involve ill health, losing a loved one or anything even close. But it did involve losing an earring.

I’m an avid mask-wearer. Particularly in winter, I’d be happy to wear a mask, COVID or no COVID, simply because it keeps my face warm. But all this business of taking masks off and putting them on again means that my earrings are constantly in danger of being pulled off and disappearing to some mysterious place. In fact I lost the other one of the enamel one shown in the photo. Doesn't the lone earring look quite forlorn?

And hence my third lesson, that jewellery needs to be COVID-proof too. So now, I include a pair of silicone backs with every pair of earrings, even those that don’t usually need backs on them. Hopefully the customers will see the point of them, and in the long run, my loss is the customer’s gain.

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