Running a handmade business is a LOT of work.
If you didn’t know what you were getting into when you started your handmade craft business, you learned pretty quickly there’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that doesn’t involve in making craft products. Not only do you have to be the photographer, the copywriter, the shipper and the re-stocker, you have to be the marketer, the bookkeeper and the customer service rep!
With so many things to keep track of in your handmade business, having structure and being organized can make a world of difference in not only your physical and mental health, but also the health of your business.
I remember when I had my Etsy business, I was totally disorganized and I had zero structure as to when I’d work on my business. I always worked on my business when I felt like it (probably one of the reasons my business wasn’t successful!) and I always did things last minute. It wasn’t until I shifted to running my product photography coaching business did I learn how to better structure my days, plan ahead and manage my time better.
While I’m far from perfect (I’m human after all!), hopefully these tips will help you be productive (and less stressed) in your handmade business during the holidays and the rest of the year.
1. Get organized
If your physical (or digital) space for your business is looking and feeling disorganized, now is the time to get everything in order.
How much time do you spend trying to locate things for your business? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say quite a bit of time, unless you’re a naturally organized person to which I say please leave a comment below how you do it! But for the rest of us who are not naturally organized people, trying to find something in a space that is disorganized and cluttered is not only time consuming, but stressful.
Get your space decluttered and organized (digitally and physically) so you can easily locate items. Doing so will save you time and energy when you need to find things, but also make you feel a lot better when you see your space organized.
And don’t forget label things!! Whether it’s bins, drawers, file folders or baskets, this will help you find what you need and also know where things go when you put things away.
At the end of the day, spend 10-15 minutes to tidy up and put things away so your workspace is clean and ready for you the next day.
2. Start planning
If you haven’t already started planning out the holiday season for your handmade business, it’s time to start ASAP!! This is especially important if you find yourself doing things last minute and feeling stressed out in the process.
Plan out when you want to drop packages off at the post office, add new or update current listings or photograph your products. This can help you manage your time better so you know ahead of time when you’ll be focusing on different areas of your business instead of doing things last minute or when you remember.
If you’re going to utilize social media for getting the word out about your handmade business and you’re inconsistent with postings, make a commitment to post 3-4x a week. Or daily. Do what makes the most sense for you and doesn’t feel overwhelming.
If you need some inspiration about what type of content to post, here are some do’s and don’ts for social media for handmade businesses and non-sales social media post ideas for craft sellers.
3. Batch your tasks
Do you find yourself trying to do too many different tasks in a day and by the end of the day, you realize you barely got anything done?
When we’re multi-tasking and switching our focus a lot throughout the day, it takes time for us to refocus when we start a new task. Multi-tasking constantly throughout the day can mean not making much progress on your to-do list.
Instead, dedicate a day of the week or even a certain time of the month to batching your tasks together so you get more done. This way your mind is focused on doing a certain activity or project for a longer period of time which will allow you to be more productive.
Curious how you can use cycle-syncing to better organize tasks for your handmade craft business? Check out this blog post!
4. Creating a daily schedule
One of the things that can help you stay focused and on track in your business is by following a daily schedule. Some people don’t need their day planned out to get things done, but others may benefit from the added structure to help them accomplish that day’s priorities.
By following a schedule, you’ll know how long to stay focused on a task and when it’s time shift gears and work on something else. Plus, it will also show you if you’re over committing to doing too much in a day or if you need to shift certain activities to a different time of day when it’s easier to focus. Don’t forget to schedule in time to take care of yourself so you don’t burn yourself out.
5. What time of day is best for the task
Have you ever found yourself trying to make progress on a task that requires a lot of mental focus at the end of the work day and realized you’re wasting your time because your brain has already checked out for the day? If you find it easier to work on tasks that require more focus in the mornings, why not plan out your schedule up so tasks that require more of your attention happen in the morning and leave the afternoon for other tasks that are not as taxing?
Remember that some people find it easier to focus in the morning while others focus better in the afternoon or at night. Find what works for you and move specific tasks or projects to the time of day that makes the most sense for you. There’s no sense in packaging up orders in the morning when you feel like playing and being creative instead.
Don’t forget utilize the Pomodoro Timer too if you need a tool to manage your time and stay focused.
6. Limit or block social media or other time wasters
It can be easy to assume that you don’t spend that much time on social media. But in reality, you probably spend a lot more time than you think. Every minute adds up every time you check your Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok or Twitter. Next thing you know it’s been 30 or 60 minutes and you haven't got anything done!
I recently decided to do an experiment to see if staying off social media until 3pm during the work week would help me be more productive and focused during the day. Well, what do you know I got a lot more done! Staying off social until the afternoon has not only allowed me to focus better and make more progress in my workday, but I honestly feel a lot less stressed!
If social media isn’t a time waster for you, but something else is like checking the news or email, reserve a specific time during the day like your lunch break or after work when you’ll respond to your emails or check the day’s headlines.
You can also put your phone in airplane mode, shut off your wifi or even download the Freedom app to block certain websites to help reduce tech distractions.
We all have the same 24-hours in a day so do try your best to minimize distractions.
A few other tips ...
Things like procrastination, saying yes too much, lack of structure (or too much structure) and comparing yourself to others can create roadblocks to getting things done. It may be helpful to dig a little deeper and think about what's really going on internally. The more you're able to get to the root of the problem, the more likely you're able to better understand what's motivating certain habits or behaviors that's impacting your ability to manage your time or focus on your business.
Lastly, don't be afraid to change things up! You and your business will change over time so if a method used to work and now it's not, try something new!
How do you stay organized and on top of things during the holidays when running your handmade business? Leave a comment below!