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thePatientPotter is a blog that is designed to encourage and inspire fellow Potters and Entrepreneurs as it takes them through the challenges and triumphs of a 'potter on a mission'.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Evaluating 2007: part 1

I usually spend the month of January evaluating the previous year. How close did I stick to my business plan, where did I grow, where did I slide, what did I accomplish, what do I have yet to accomplish, etc. etc. etc… By February I usually have a new, slightly revised business plan and know exactly which direction I want to take in the new year.

This year was no different although it is taking me longer. I should be done with this by now. But this year is different. I’m tired of not making money so something has to change, but what? I spent all of January thinking about this pottery business and what I need it to do for me and what I need to change in order for it to do what I needed it to do. The bottom line is, I need the business to make money now. Up to this point, I needed a business that could be flexible for my family; I wanted family first, business second. Now that my youngest is 16, and managing life on her own pretty much, flexibility is not a priority, but money is. I need this business to step up and give me an income.

Now, how do I take the business that I have, which only brings in petty cash here and there, to the next level where it actually pays me an income? I read in a book once, that in order to be successful in business, you need to become an expert in what you do. At the moment, in pottery, I do a little bit of everything. I dig my own clay, I purchase clay, I make functional ware, art pieces, sculpture, I do wheel work, slab roller, I do special commission work, I do production work, etc… There are so many things you can do with pottery and of course I want to do it all. Obviously I can’t become an expert in all things pottery so I need to choose one area and focus on becoming really good at it.

My one area of expertise could be my Rt 66 Oklahoma Red Clay. It is hand dug from my property and not too many potters actually hand dig their own clay. It makes me unique. It has also proven to be the area of interest to the local media and other potters. This would be the most obvious choice, but will I get bored. Will I still be able to do everything I’m doing now? Stay tuned as I analyze this.


  1. I think that is a good approach, if you want to be successful, you have to focus your energy in the same direction. Success, as defined by you is, making money. Be an expert, write articles, teach, be the go to person.

    You know what you gotta do, if being on TV wasn't a big enough arrow, then I don't know what else to tell you.


  2. Love your input!

    I do know what I gotta do, yes it is obvious, but there are reasons I keep purchased stoneware in my studio. It's an enticing devil. It is a quick fix, a quick way to throw something and sell it. If I need 100lbs of a certain type of clay, I buy 100lbs. In 2 weeks I have a product that I can sell. It's quick and easy. Digging my own clay and using it as the only source of clay in my studio is a slower process that requires lots of testing to accomplish different task.

    I have made up my mind that my red clay will be the way to go. What I want to do now is analyze all of the reasons I use purchased stoneware and then put into place what I need to accomplish the same things with my red clay.

    You will see why this is such a big deal once I start analyzing the different reasons.