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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
I don’t know about you, but this season was a blur for me! I have been so, so busy. Yes, that’s a good thing, I think (busier because of more sales), but it’s also overwhelming. This is why I like to focus on self-care for handmade sellers at this time of year. We are all in need of some TLC!
I was so, so happy to have in-person markets to go to this year! But if you’ve done a market or craft show, you know how much work goes into preparing for it, working at the show, and then recouping after it’s over.
Add online sales on top of that (and for me, helping all of you beautiful crafters with your businesses), and whew! I definitely need a self-care refresher. Yes, self-care isn’t just a “nice to have”, it’s important to your overall well-being and success!
Here is my best advice on taking care of yourself as a handmade seller, especially during the busiest times of the year.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you try to find “balance” during this time (or any busy time), you are going to be sorely disappointed. It’s impossible to find balance! There will always be something that needs your immediate attention, whether it is a customer, your kids, the dog or your Etsy shop.
To help combat this, try time blocking, where you put your work into buckets of time through the day.
For example, you may use the morning hours after you’ve had breakfast to pack your orders from the day before. After lunch, you can run to the grocery store and then pick up the kids from school. In the evening you may need to make a few pieces, or review your inventory and make adjustments in your shops. And you can check emails and answer messages 3 times a day at set times.
The trick is to stick to each bucket, and not dip into other ones during the day. So after you answer questions and emails, don’t go back and do it again until the next allotted time. If you’re with the kids, resist the urge to check your messages. Unless it’s an emergency, everything will get done in the block of time you’ve given it.
The biggest disservice you can do to yourself is to not ask for help when you need it. No one is giving out trophies to makers who go it alone!
If you have friends or family that are able to help, please ask them. It makes a WORLD of difference when you can get some assistance.
And you’d be amazed at what they can do! You can teach a friend how to pack your orders in a ½ hour. You can ask your sister or brother to assemble pieces for you.
Or ask your neighbor to run to the grocery store and pick up dinner so you don’t need to do that yourself.
If you don’t have anyone you can ask, consider hiring some seasonal help. High school students can come after school for a couple of hours to pack your orders or even play with your kids.
Take advantage of food delivery services. Some grocery stores have online shopping and delivery services as well, so you can get groceries without leaving home.
Self-care for handmade sellers can simply be delegating tasks to others so you can free up your time.
Make sure friends and family know just how busy you are. It’s okay to say “no” to anything that you cannot do. Remind them that you’re running a business and now is your busy time.
You just can’t say yes to as many things as you can during the rest of the year.
This also applies to your customers. Do not answer emails at 10pm at night or on Sunday, if that time is important to you. I know that quick responses are important to Etsy and Amazon’s algorithms, but you need to set expectations that you are not always available.
Make sure your shipping turnaround times are clearly explained on your website, product pages, terms and policies pages.
It’s truly okay to say no!
One of the “buckets” in your schedule should be for you. Just a little bit of time to do something that’s just for you. 15 minutes to read a book or take a walk. A half-hour at night to watch your favorite show. Listen to your favorite podcast.
Ideally, you should have 2 or 3 of these buckets built into your day. Time to enjoy your coffee in the morning (or whatever you like to enjoy in the AM). A bit of time in the middle of the day to unwind, and then a bit of time in the evening.
This is the time that you’ll ditch the first thing when things get busy, but it’s probably the most important time! If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, this is where it applies. You cannot be your best business owner / partner / mother / etc if you are not getting time for yourself.
Yes we’re running online businesses, but we still need to step away from the screens! It’s so easy to get caught up – scrolling through Instagram, watching our Etsy shop, working on web pages, answering emails. You could easily spend ALL day staring at a screen.
Make sure you plan for hours where you are not engaging with tech! Every day, set a certain time block where your attention is spent off-line.
Whether you’re creating (which I hope you are!), being with the family, getting outside in nature, reading or even cleaning your home – these offline activities will give you the break from technology that you need to thrive.
When our businesses are busy, we think we need to be busy as well. And you will naturally have more things to do, which means you can easily forget about YOU.
You are NOT your business, and during these times you might need to make a conscious effort to build self-care into your day.
You may think that doing this might hurt your sales, but it will have the opposite effect. Because when you take care of yourself, you show up as a better version of yourself. And your customers will see that, and will respond in kind.
No business is worth your well-being! I hope you have a wonderful holiday! Set boundaries, take moments for yourself, and recognize the amazing achievements you have made this year.
Part of self-care is having support you can count on. Come join my Facebook group that’s exclusively for handmade and craft business owners like you! It’s free and the community in the group is there for support and guidance.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!