2019 ended a few weeks ago at this point and I finally made the time to review the past year. My business definitely grew a lot over 2019 and certain things surprised me. I wanted to share a 2019 review and go over the highs & lows in order to move forward and plan out 2020. I have been inconsistent at these year end reviews on the blog and want to work on that here. My very first partial year in business was 2017 and I did a review on the blog here. Unfortunately I did not do one last year, but am going to avoid missing another year by sharing 2019’s review.
These are the categories I will be using to review 2019: Email, Website/Blog, Social Media, Etsy, Money, and Overall Thoughts.
I was extremely consistent with sending my monthly newsletter in 2019. However the additional emails were not as consistent, some months I would send just the newsletter, and other months I sent a bunch of additional emails for sals & special events. My email list also grew from 67 subscribers to 356 which was big for me. Especially since I started my email in 2017 and had only gone up to 67 people in 1.5 years.
Website & Blogging
My traffic consistently increased over the year until October and then stalled out, I had almost 10,000 visitors for the year. With my blogging, I was consistent with weekly posts for the first half of the year. I love to blog, but got burnt out with every post taking a lot of time to put together the copy, graphics, seo, etc. Most of my blog and website traffic is coming from Pinterest so I need to capitalize more on that. I also believe the increased traffic is what helped my email list grow over the list.
2019 Review of top 5 blog posts based on traffic:
- How to Be Successful at Your First Craft Fair
- How to Pick Fonts for Headline Graphics
- Craft Fair Lessons Learned
- How to Rock Your Etsy Listings
- How to Organize Etsy with Trello
- Pinterest: A bulk of my social media strategy focused on Pinterest. I consistently pinned using Tailwind the whole year. And it showed up in my stats with my monthly viewers growing to consistently over 2 million each month.
- Instagram: I started the year with a consistent posting plan of daily posts. However this did not last. Plus, I have yet to optimize my Instagram to directly impact my business which means I did not put as much time into it. Through the year I moved from scheduling all my posts to only posting when I felt like it and used it more for fun. I ended the year averaging a post every other day.
Etsy is the bulk of my business and most of my time was spent here in 2019. Here’s a few highs and lows from Etsy:
- Monthly visitors grew from 590 to 1,608
- Listings went from 132 to 316 items
- December was my best month with 51 orders
- Overall conversion rate for 2019 was 1.6%
Etsy Shop Traffic
- Etsy App & Pages: 30%
- Direct (mostly from Proof & Parchment): 22%
- Advertising: 18%
- Etsy Search: 14%
- Social Media (mostly Pinterest): 10%
- Search Engines (mostly Google): 6%
Reviewing the money is always the hardest for me because it’s pretty black & white in terms of how the business did. Overall I still have pretty high expenses compared to income which meant a lower profit.
For the expenses it was split almost 50/50 between the cost of goods sold and the operating expenses. The cost of goods sold is harder to change since it’s based on my suppliers and shipping. However the operating expenses is what I like to review closer. Here is where the money is going:
- Professional Groups: 34%
- Hosting, tools, software (paid for hosting until mid 2021): 32%
- Fees & bank charges: 21%
- Advertising and promotional items: 9%
- Art supplies: 4%
Income is a little more fun to review and see where my income streams are coming from. I know it’s been said a million times, but usually people in the space need to have multiple streams of income to make profits and be successful. I was pretty lopsided with one stream in 2019, which is something I will be looking at in the future.
- Etsy: 75%
- Client Work (design, lettering, products): 18%
- Additional product sales off Etsy: 3%
- In person sales (mostly holiday bazaar): 2%
- Workshops: 1%
- Patreon: 1%
Overall: 2019 Review at Proof & Parchment
It feels good to be done with my 2019 review at Proof & Parchment, but now what? I like to reflect a little bit first after all the stats sink in. Here’s a few of my overall takeaways:
- The growth of my email list, web traffic, and Pinterest feels good. However I wished I had a strategy to better take advantage of this growth.
- Blogging is a lot of fun for me, but I did slow up from being burnt out with it. And I was disappointed that I basically stopped blogging by the end of the year.
- The increasing views in my Etsy shop shows that my strategies are working, but still feels slow overall.
- Etsy was my main form of income and had growth but I would like the streams to be more diversified.
- Overall I feel good about the direction near the end of the year, but think I can push harder and make my business work better in the new year!
Last thing, here’s a list of my top 3 moments in the business in 2019:
- Reaching over 300 sales on December 31st while on vacation
- Having my first bestseller item in my Etsy shop
- Getting my first Patron on my Patreon page
Now that the 2019 review is done, it’s time to move on to 2020. I will be sharing my plans, goals, and more in another blog post. Comment below if there’s anything else you want to know from 2019.