Oh and my favourite Krispy Kreme has to be Maple flavour…
The first part of this series is: How I organize myself in my Craft Business: Part 1 – Paper work.
I think one of the trickier things about running your own business is finding a working balance for your time because there’s never enough of the stuff!! Because a lot of you work from home you are saving loads of time (and money) not having to commute to work, but working from home and being your own boss can have the effect of making you far more lax with ourselves than say a grouchy boss or floor manager would be. So it’s up to us to enforce a bit of discipline and management upon ourselves. Doing this will increase business efficiency, give us focus, and free up time for ourselves and our families – blimey! it sounds really quite good doesn’t it?
Various Craft Business Tasks
- Marketing – Social media on the web, contributing to forums, blogging, creating promo stationary, newsletters, and submitting to sites/magazines/blogs.
- Inventory – designing inventory, building up stock levels, obtaining supplies to build inventory, processing inventory for your shop (photography, uploading to site etc. etc)
- Customer Care – answering enquiries, emails, phone calls, letters, etc.
- Admin – paperwork and accounting
- Selling/processing Inventory – packing orders, selling through craft fairs/parties/shops
In an ideal word we would all have paid help to assist us with these different tasks, but as a majority of us are one man bands we have find ways to effectively divide up our day/week/month to get these jobs done. This is how I try (my darndest) to manage my days/weeks/months:
A typical U-Handbag Day:
- AM (8-9.30) – BIG mug of coffee, computer on, check emails and flag the most urgent ones (my inbox has fangs and I can only cope with so many a day, but I do try my very best). I answer the most urgent emails and make To Do lists from those emails as appropriate.
- AM (9.30 – 11) – Process any new stock or put new deliveries into my shop. Taking photos, photo editing, pricing up items and creating product descriptions for new items. Unpacking deliveries for the shop and adding them to stock inventory. Have a bit of a fight crushing all the boxes in the yard…
- AM (11- 12.30) – print out invoices from shop orders and pack orders.
- PM (12.30 – 1.30) blogging and social media. I try to blog most days (I know I haven’t been doing so on this blog so here are my wrists…). I blog because I love it, it’s a great marketing tool, and to be honest I do feel a bit lonely for crafty company at times. Once you start blogging and social media it is something that should be maintained on a regular basis for it to be effective.
- PM (1.45 -2.15) – Lunch – usually a bowl of soup and a crappy afternoon soap
- PM (2.30 – 3) – Check inventory stock levels and create supplies orders if necessary. Order supplies if necessary
- PM (3 – 4) – Another hour of answering emails.
- PM – (4 -5) – Print out invoices from shop orders and pack orders (if there are anymore) and take orders to post office to catch last post
- PM (5.30 – 6) – Tea and cake and admin (what joy!)
- PM (6 – 6.15) – another tea and housekeeping; tidy up office and store room, check that we are OK for stationary and packing materials.
A typical U-Handbag week; in a week I would have hoped to have achieved:
- 6 blog posts between my 2 blogs (yes, I know, I know, I promise I will be here more often)
- To have selected around 8 items in the shop to be on special offer for the week
- Posted and packed all customer orders on the same business day. We pride ourselves on doing this 🙂
- Research and development for at least 5 future project ideas: for items to sell in the shop, for future blog posts, for future bag designs for magazine submission, for future bag designs to model new product in shop. It doesn’t matter if most of these ideas don’t see the light of day; I just try to think of new ideas to focus myself and to try to better understand my market, and I like doing it!
- At least 3/4 of my inbox dealt with (in varying amounts). It never is 100% empty (waaah!) I have given up stressing out over that.
A typical U-Handbag month; in a month I would have hoped to have achieved:
- Stocked 4 -8 new and different product lines in the shop
- Submitted a bag design and tutorial to the magazine I write for
- All month-end supplier invoices paid
- Items which are not selling so well, or end of line items, or 2nd quality items moved to the Clearance section of my shop
- More work on my Research and Development
My Time Management Top Tips:
- Try to drink the best quality tea and coffee you can afford and then drink less – all that time spent making and drinking tea and then you end up eating more Krispy Kreme donuts…baaad!
- Try to attend to one task at a time until the task is finished. You’ll be more thorough, focused, and make less mistakes. Didn’t a wise beardy old man once say “the man that chases two rabbits won’t catch one”?
- Try to group similar tasks and then try to attend to them in a day or parts of a day. For example you could have a admin (urgh!) and a housekeeping day, or a stock take and supplies ordering day, or a marketing, blogging, and social media day etc. etc. etc.
- Try to set up an ACHIEVABLE to do lists or a daily/weekly schedule and tick off the tasks as they get done. If you are a nice boss you can treat yourself to a tasty Maple Krispy Kreme when you complete your tasks. Do this even if you think there is very little to do otherwise there is a good chance that even your few jobs won’t get done because you have ended mooching about on the internet (yes, am guilty!)
- Try to set yourself reasonable time limits for your tasks and stick to them. This will help you stay focused on your task until completion (and hopefully prevent you from mooching on the internet….).
- Try to impose working hours on yourself. I find this one very tricky because I LOVE my job. When your working day (or working time slot) is over, then it’s over. Try hard not to sneak back to your computer, or make a little something, or do some R & D for your business. Working out of hours may seem largely harmless, but it’s not very good for you in the long-run. You need to treat yourself, have time with your family and friends, and get some rest. Doing this will make you and all around you happier and you will find it easier to stay fresh and focused when you are working 🙂
We should all be at it! Saving time is soooo important. Great Scott! Even Doc is doing his bit!
Juicy Craft Reads
- CraftBoom’s! Most Popular Posts of All Time
- Easy Crafts To Make And Start Selling Right Away
- Four Ways To Make Money Selling Your Crafts
- Indie Crafters: Are You Crafting Irresistible Product Names and Descriptions
- Before Turning Your Hobby Into a Business