goal setting: a big enough why
Goal setting: a big enough why. I took this picture while we were on our 20th anniversary get away at Monterey

I have a quick and simple question for you today…

Here’s the context: I have the joy of knowing a lot of successful online marketers and sellers. Hearing their stories is always a blast! This week we’re on vacation in Northern California and Cinnamon and I went to dinner with a husband and wife team that is very successful at selling on Amazon. We also brought someone who wants to learn that business and eventually make a career change. So toward the end of the dinner the successful online seller says,

“To succeed at this you need to think hard about why you are doing it. If you have a big enough ‘why’ then you’ll have the drive to stick with it and become successful. If you don’t have a big enough why, then you’ll try it and stop when it gets hard.”

Wow. That’s some powerful advice.

So my question for you is: Do you have a big enough why?

Your 2015 business goals will be achievable if you have a big enough why.

When we started our online business in 2008 we wanted to make extra money. That was an okay “why” at first. But after a few years of Cinnamon running the business while I was at work everyday, we realized our little business could eventually allow me to retire from my 9-5 job. So for the last several years that was our “why”. We dreamed, planned, and worked with that goal in mind. As I write this I’ve been officially “unemployable” for 11 months and 28 days. I retired from my 9-5 career on January 1, 2014 and our little business made that possible. This year has been amazing, fun, and like a year-long vacation. We traveled to Africa in support of our charity project, and took the kids on fun smaller vacations to places like Santa Cruz.

Now it’s time for us to think about our ‘why’ again and dream a bigger dream. We have several very big “whys” that we are starting to focus upon – and as they become seated more deeply in our hearts and minds, our motivation to press forward will take another big leap forward.

I’d love to hear about your “why” – feel free to leave a comment below and share about what motivates you to build and grow your online business.

71 Comments on A Big Enough Why

  1. I want to grow my online business so my girls can create and sell things they sew and so I can earn extra money to help support or family. My ultimate goal would be to earn enough money so my husband could quit his 9-5 job to focus on an invention he’d LOVE to pursue.

    • Hi Nicole,

      Those are two great whys! Sounds like your husband is an entrepreneurial guy – I think couples that can work together toward their startup goals have a huge advantage, (as long as they can work well together).

      Good luck,


  2. I have yet to set up a web site. For years I did a few craft shows a year. I am now disabled and will have the time to sew for 18 ” girl dolls. I am fighting with my why! Why does it seem that all the travel time finding fabric, buttons and supplies trying to grow my business ever equal out to time spent sewing . I guess I mean I don’t ever seem to make up for that cost. Do I buy 5 yards or 1yard. Do I make 1 and then run out for more? I’m afraid to invest too much in case it doesn’t sell. I live in a small NH town and my 35 minute trip to the nearest JoAnns seams to cost me more because I always see and buy other things for a stash. I guess I need help with pricing I can no longer spend and not get an instant return. My other why is if I sell on a website how do you know include shipping materials and costs to ship. Thank you, your company has re ignited the spark, it just has to get a return on labor, supplies and shipping. Love your blogs and seeing all the beautiful items others have sewn. Hope this isn’t too many WHY’S!!!

    • Hi Linda,

      I think a lot of people struggle with these questions. It might be time to consider alternative product ideas that can help boost your income beyond just sewing and selling. Good luck in 2015!


    • I can relate to the problem you are having. First up, shipping costs. The customer pays the shipping fee. For pricing ideas, take one complete outfit to the post office. See which one of the “if it fits, it ships” boxes will work for the item. That will give you good idea of where to start in charging the customer, but it still depends on where they live. Shop around. UPS can be a killer if they live out of the normal “zones”. As for paying shipping costs on things you order online, look at how much the cost will be vs an hourly pay. Even if you budget minimum wage its still may be cheaper to buy online. I bought a folding cardboard cutting matt at Joann’s years ago. I marked it in widths for 45″ and 58″ wide fabric, folded. Now I can lay out my pattern pieces (human size for now) and know exactly how much fabric I need to buy for the project. Take inventory of all your notions, don’t order anything you don’t need. Look at the fabrics you already have in your stash too. You can bet most, or all of it, can be turned into something for a doll. I safety pin a tag onto each piece of fabric that comes into my house with fibre content, washing instructions, where I bought it, how much I paid per yard, the regular price if I bought it on sale, and how much I paid in shipping. Add the shipping to the yardage. Then you’ll know exactly how much you paid per yard. Good luck.

      • You just made my day Elizabeth! Everyone in my family is tall, with long arms. I have always added yardage to the amount required on the pattern envelope. In most cases – I could have gotten by with the yardage on the pattern – I just didn’t trust it. I have the mat – I am marking it up today!

  3. My “why” is my family and my two special needs children. They are great, but there are times when something would help their development and the funds aren’t there. You are definitely motivating me to make this happen!thanks!

    • Wow, that’s a great reason. I truly hope you reach that goal and can provide them with the extra help them need.


  4. I am starting my business of children’s clothing to realize a long term dream. I have planned it for the last 20 years and it is finally happening. My goal for this business is to supplement our retirement income.

  5. I started making doll clothes as a hobby/way to fun our AG addiction. Over the past year I’ve come to see that I have more talent and drive then I knew. My “why” for expanding this year is to help take the financial burden off my husband who works 60+ hours a week.

  6. Very good question. Why? My husband works for a non-profit and works very hard. I am so proud of him. It can still be hard to make ends meet and i’d love to help with that and put all that crazy creativity inside me to good use! Both my girls are also really interested in “their own business” so the whole family is motivated to learn and work hard!

  7. Why do this? I want to be completely financially independent. Which will allow me to live my life on my own terms and work because I want to not because I have to. I believe when one makes a living doing what they love it never feels like “work”.

    • Hi Liza,

      Great “why”!! The ability to gain financial Freedom is a huge motivator (and opportunity) for lots of us!


  8. Do I have a big enough why? For the last several years chronic incurable illness and disability have taken over our lives. My Why is to create a new vision through building our new business, Miss Paige. Everything will change, as we shift the focus of our lives to fun, growth, accomplishment, and building something special together. My daughter and I found our common interest at Pixie Faire – the spark ignited for both of us! Who would have thought that a web site could provide such a gift? We believe in paying it forward, and hope that what we accomplish, and who we become, on this journey will bring happiness to others. We have a great deal to learn, but step by step doing something, or many things, each day, we will get there.

    • Wow, Darlene, this is a fantastic ‘why’. And thank you for the comments about Pixie Faire. We are truly honored to be part of your journey!


  9. I want to grow my business bigger this coming year because my oldest will be going to college next year and we will need the extra money but still allow me to be a stay-at-home-mom.

    • Hi Bee,

      That’s a great ‘why’… college is expensive these days! I hope you have a terrific 2015!


  10. Oh, how we loved our few years we lived in Monterey! I love the photo!

    I feel like my “why” is not clear and that is why I’m on this site. I don’t know exactly what I want to do, how much, or what direction to take yet… or I want to do some of it all (sew amazing outfits, sell them online, start a blog, create and sell patterns) and I can’t quite mentally pull that together under one umbrella, although I’ve just started reading Jim’s book so that may help it crystallize soon. I’m soaking in everything I read. I’d love to be able to replace my income, pay college tuition, replace hubby’s job and bad commute, but I’m not sure that is quite my goal yet. Still working on that…

    • Hi Kathleen,

      Sounds like you’re in a great spot to get it all sorted out. Jim’s book will help…and hopefully this blog and the MSG Fb group will help too. Your goals really are achievable – just keep learning and experimenting!

      I hope 2015 is the year it all starts to come together!


  11. My ‘why’ is to become financially independent as Liza said so well and also to fund two trips to Queensland to attend my brother’s wedding and my nephew’s wedding. It is something we can build as a family.

  12. My WHY is that we have been looking for a solution for some time. Something that my husband could do and also love. We both work full time jobs but have begun to supplement or income through refinishing furniture, restoring ugly ducklings and building rustic craft projects. This has ignited a fire and a passion like never before! We’d love advice on how to take this to the next level.

    • Hi Monica,

      Fantastic ‘why’! If you’re passionate about learning to sell online – you’re going to do very well. It’ll carry you through the dark times. I hope your business really takes off in 2015!!


    • Hi Monica, you won our little comment contest. I’ll message you via Facebook as well. Please contact us via [email protected] and let me know which of the 3 books you’d like to receive!

      Keep us posted on your business venture!


  13. My “why” is to have an extra income since my husband and I are now retired. My husband owned his own business for 42 years. I held down the home front while being supportive of him and now he is realizing that my talents can be profitable to pick up the gap for both of us. I have been told that God gave me a talent so for that reason I am pushing ahead, expanding my horizon and hoping to use my talents to the fullest. I LOVED the Design Academy and am so excited to take the Pattern Academy this March. My biggest goal in 2015 is to finally set up my own website. I have done really well with Etsy but, following your advice Jason, I clearly see the need for my own “store front”.

  14. My husband and I are real estate brokers. He loves it, I don’t. When I lost my job in 2006, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I just want to spend my days creating. In real estate for us it’s either feast or famine. I hate the famine and I know that I can use my creative talents to fill in those gaps. That is my “why”. To have enough steady income to never feel the lean times.

    • Hi Denise,

      I love that ‘why’ … having two very different types of household income is a very wise idea. I hope you do really really well in 2015 – and that the housing market picks up again for ya too!


  15. why…

    As a legally blind completely color blind person unable to drive, finding a job I can do has proven to be very hard. Sometimes I get very depressed. I stay at home with my 3 kids. My husband says thats enough but I feel useless sometimes and more like a burden to him than help. But I love sewing and i love my dolls and I really enjoy making clothes for them, it makes me happy. Also when people like my stuff makes me happy. So my why would be putting everything I got into actually making a biz out of this I love doing it and if i could grow just big enough to help pay bills it would make me feel like i can really contribute to my family in a meaningful way. And perhaps help me not feel so depressed if I have something to do…

    • Hi Magz,

      I think that sounds like a fantastic ‘why’. Please keep us posted – I hope your business booms in 2015 so you don’t have any time to be depressed 🙂


  16. My why is time and funds to be able to work with 8 Days of Hope. This organization meets the needs of communities where there has been a disaster such as tornado or hurricane. The group spends 8 days doing clean up and repair as well as rebuilding homes and churches. I want to be able to travel to area of need and help people return to their homes and churches.
    I would also like to be able to volunteer with Sew Powerful in Zambia. Having the funds to travel and teach sewing would be a dream come true.

    • Hi Fran,

      That sounds like a truly amazing, ‘why’. And…we’ll be publishing info about the 2015 Zambia trip soon. We’d love to have you join us.


  17. Why??? I was looking for something to supplement my retirement income but still allow me the flexibility to set my own schedule. I’ve been sewing for others off-and-on for a number of years so felt this would be a good choice. Besides … I get to play with lots of fun girly things.

    • Hi Linda,

      Sounds like a terrific ‘why’ … I hope you have a blast in 2015!!


  18. My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a children’s consignment store that does not have an online presence. It is my dream to build a website for our store to also include 18″ and 15″ doll clothes to supplement our income and allow my husband to retire from his full-time employment eventually.

    • Hi Heather,

      Wow, that’s exciting. Sounds like you have a fantastic opportunity to sell both locally and online, which is a really powerful combination. I hope 2015 is a terrific year for ya!


  19. I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, and then grandma. We have incurred a HUGE debt helping our daughter to fight a custody battle. Now I HAVE to work. I currently have 2 part time jobs, but the pay just doesn’t help ENOUGH. Since I have always loved to create, and people have loved my creations; I have also started my own etsy store to try to earn some more income. Retirement time is not all that far away, so we need to get that debt paid off in order to retire. I guess that means that my primary “why” is to make more money, but my love of creating lovely things keeps me inspired. I just need to figure out how to step up my sales, and learn all those things that go along with having a profitable business.

  20. I desire to assist (actually equal my husband’s income) with our family income as I stay home raising our daughters.

    • Hi Crystal,

      Sounds like an awesome plan. I hope in 2015 it starts to come together for ya!


  21. I love to sew American Girl size clothes and I also love technology. So I am always trying to sell enough so I can keep up with fun geeky gadgets plus feed my fabric and pattern addiction. I don’t make a fortune but I feel like “why do I do this” is well-answered for now at least. My little biz bought me an iPad for Christmas. Yes, I’m paying it off on time but it gives me an incentive for one thing to know that I can pay this thing off in a year and not owe any interest.

    • Hi Tari,

      That’s a great ‘why’ … when your business can buy you things – it’s such a blast! I hope you have a great 2015!


  22. my first ‘why’ is to support my ‘quilting habit’ as my husband says. the underlying why is to earn enough money in retirement (i retired on disability after numerous illnesses)to make our life a bit easier…we live in the northwoods and right now are battling against the cold and wind. our little wood stove has kept the cabin above 60 all day, but that’s a bit chilly. so we need a better heating system. the next why is candy: i want to do more traveling. right now, we simply cannot afford extras.

    • Sherry, these sound like fantastic ‘whys’ … I hope you stay warm…and that 2015 is an amazing year for your small business!


  23. Oh, boy do I ever have a big enough “why”. I have several. All in the other room at the moment 😉

    • Ahh, that’s funny. Yeah, working hard for our family is a huge motivator!

      I hope 2015 is a fantastic year for ya!


  24. My why is to help supplement our income. I lost my job of 22 1/2 yrs. in 2011. I was 58 at the time & could not find another job. I felt like no one wanted an older mature adult, so I was forced into early retirement. Now, my husband is getting ready to retire in March. So, we’re hoping to make a go at supplementing our income with our talents. I love sewing & he would like to try some garden sculptures. Wish us luck!

    • Hi Joyce,

      Good luck! And, keep learning. You can make good income online if you learn the techniques and “trade skill” of online selling. I hope 2015 is a fantastic year for you both!


  25. I used to make all kinds of clothing before I moved to GA but, when we moved, it seemed even the JoAnn stores didn’t have much in fabric and eventually I put my sewing machine away. Well, I think they finally woke up and now I can purchase fabric with no problem. Last year my granddaughters wanted the AG doll so I got started again with two loves… dolls and sewing. My friend at work said I should open an online store but that thing called “fear” (of what I don’t know) has stopped me. I want to stay home and yet make enough money to make up for the part time job I am working. I truly would like 2015 to be it. I’m 65…..well for a few months anyway….and am ready.

  26. As a single 52-year-old woman with somewhat substantial health issues/limitations it has been quite a challenge trying to pursue my dreams. That being said, the “why” of what I do and want to do is that I LOVE creating fun, useful, and beautiful things of all kinds. I have been that way all of my life and my “happy place” is when I am being creative. I also would love to be able to support myself instead of having to be a burden on my children. My absolute dream is to be able to provide just the basic needs for myself and then be able to work/give charitably to sick and needy children.

    • I hope 2015 provides lots of time for you to be in your creative happy place!! (That’s when I’m happiest too).


  27. Why am I doing this? Because I absolutely love dolls and making clothes for them. I’m a senior citizen for sure and I enjoy creating cute clothes that little girls can enjoy. But, I am also a driven person and want to see improvement each year. So I am here to see where my “love” can take me, how I can use the internet more effectively, and what other choices are out there. I have a lot to learn. I must admit, Pixiefaire.com has been one of my greatest finds. Thanks.

    • Thanks for saying that Linda – we are working hard to make it the #1 site on the Internet for doll clothes patterns! I hope you have a great time in 2015 working on your business.


  28. I have been searching over the last year where my niche could be to built up my Business.
    one day a customer asked me if I could make a doll for her daughter. “For sure” I heard myself answering…. 🙂

    That was so much fun and I got into dollmaking. But the dolls Need to kept warm and nice looking, so I started to sew clothes as well.
    The quality of design, fabric and the ideas they are made is often poor without any ideas but rather expensive (here in Germany).

    Then I have found Pixiefaire on the Internet and it made “Yes, that is exactly what I was looking for” and am enrolled in the classes “Dessign” and “Patternmaking” in February and March.

    I am looking Forward to starting with the classes 🙂

    • Sounds exciting Susanne! I hope you find a lot of success in 2015! Germany needs good doll clothes!!


  29. Is my “why” big enough? Sometimes it’s too big, other times it shrinks and is hard to locate. After co-owning/operating a successful airbrush business it’s time to try again. He was the airbrusher – I simply cannot do it. So I am now ready to venture out and do my own business and I firmly feel doll clothing is it. I LOVE the patterns at Pixie Faire. They are easy to understand and the end result is AWESOME! And the product is just as important as believing in yourself. I’m ready and my “why” just better keep up!!

    • Sounds like 2015 is going to be really exciting Kathy – make that ‘why’ keep up!!


  30. My husband and I have owned and worked for 49+ years in a Salon and Day Spa. We recently sold to two employees. We still work,but are semi-retired. I have always loved to sew and love dolls,so it makes sense to help our income and have fun being creative as well. I have really enjoyed Pixie Faire and am looking forward to the two classes I’ve signed up for.I think that God gives us talents and plants desires to achieve dreams in each of us. I hope to honor Him by doing the best that I can in all that I do.

    • Hi Karen,

      That’s exciting! I’m sure lots of your business skills will transfer into your online selling efforts…I hope 2015 is amazing!


  31. I think my why would have to be out of need as I was laid off from my sewing job for a decorating store as people were trending towards mini blinds and shades rather than curtains and fancy window treatments. I was searching for something I could do from home still. I have lots of skills but sewing is my passion. I started asking for sewing jobs but liked making the doll clothes the best so it has been taking on a life of its own from there. I am an older person with some health issues so it has been a challenge. I love getting up and starting work every day. My goals are to continue growing my business but with no formal training I am making lots of mistakes. All I can do is learn from them. Use what I know to forge ahead. My mission is to provide a quality product with a flair for style, I love designing and can draw most any pattern I want by using a basic pattern as a starting point. I also love figuring out combinations of different fabrics and patterns and making something that’s unique.

    • Hi Sheryl,

      Keep learning – that’s how all of us grow and improve. I hope your business does really well in 2015!


  32. To answer the question, “Do I have a big enough why?”, sometimes I think I have too many whys. I had my own cottage sewing business for about 30 years, starting at eight years old. It was small potatoes in comparison to what can be accomplished nowadays online; because it was all direct sales and custom designs, rewarding, but time consuming. Then I had a daughter, and for a long time, I was too busy to focus on an outside business. So I closed the business, but still found myself doing all kinds of volunteer sewing work, including making costumes for our town’s high school theater. Now I”m asking myself why am I giving away all my time and services when I could be making money doing what I do best. Why not restart my business, why not design 18″ doll patterns and sell them online following the wonderful examples by Jason and Cinnamon Miles. You make it look easy; but at the moment, the computer side, and the social network connection side are all new to me. I’ve decided to just jump into a few sites and learn from the rookie mistakes I’m sure I’ll make. I’ve also signed up to participate in this month’s Craft Business Academy where I’m sure to learn a lot more. I’m not 100% confident in my ability to understand and harness the power of the Internet for my future business; but I’m sure motivated to try. Sewing is absolutely great fun; but I believe designing could be a lot more lucrative. Since I’m passionate about both, I’ll find my niche somewhere in this field again. Of this, I am certain.

  33. My why is that I need to increase our income. we are 3 people and only 2 steady low incomes. the other person is a handy man so not steady work.
    Ive been sewing for my dolls for years and selling stuff. some as soon as its out from under the machines its sold. lol.
    I’m also disabled, so crafts and sewing is my sanity.

  34. My hubby was able to retire from his 9-5 high tec job, and is now self employed as a home inspector and loving it. I was laid off a few years ago, and have had a few low paying jobs, on and off, but have found that at my age….getting hired just ain’t gonna happen….I have been a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator for 20 years, and have vamped that up, but I am burned out there….the prep time is just too much and the internet has really affect that business. I love my sewing, and started my doll business a little over a year ago, and am happy with the strides I have made with it…it doesn’t happen over night. My main goal would be to make enough to pay for our health care…My hubby and I both have health issues that cause our insurance to be sky high…..and if I could cover those costs…life would be rosey!!!!

  35. My why is that I want to be able to completely change my career to be able to flex to my children and husband’s schedule. Another why is the dream of being debt free.I love creating things with my hands, sewing, woodworking and networking with people. So if I can turn something I love into a career and completely be financially free my passion will have found a purpose!

  36. My, WHY..Be cause my husband is extremely talented at what does. If he had to take a “Desk” job, he won’t be true to himself. I’m hoping with our additional company, it will secure him to continue the talent God gave him and at the same time allow my family to get to a place that will allow this success to happen.

  37. My why is to make enough money to do what I really love – creating things (doll clothes, craft items, clothing, etc.,) that make people happy… and getting away from the corporate 9-5. Thank you Jason and Cinnamon for sharing your informative, inspiring and creative business!!

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