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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 know the thought of finding more time seems like a cruel joke. I get it! This is the eternal struggle of a handmade business owner:
Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Here’s the thing, though…there’s this little thing called “life” that tends to get in the way SOMEWHERE along that process.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out:
This is the PERFECT time to take a step back and get organized.
Now you might be like, Lucy, NOOOOO…I have SO MUCH TO DO! I can’t stop making just to clean up!
Stay with me, because I’m going to show you WHY taking this step now will help you in finding more time to do the things you need to do.
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.
There are few things worse than getting into a making groove only to find you are missing an essential component. Taking a look at what you have on hand right now gives you several advantages. It will allow you to decide what you want to create, how much you want to create, and what you need to purchase in order to get all of those things made. (Here’s a full post on organizing your crafty workspace!)
Supply chains have been severely hampered lately. This means that supplies normally available to ship out to you the next day may not be available for weeks. Don’t rely on being able to order something “last minute”…that ship has kind of sailed for now.
You might be a one woman/one man show. In which case, you might think “well it’s just me, so I don’t need to do that.”
Well…I’m going to challenge that.
Over the last 10 years of growing my own handmade business, I had unintentionally developed systems. They were for everything from product creation to photography to shipping to show setup. I had “my way” of doing things, and I knew them like the back of my hand.
The thing is, though, sometimes I got busy and…some things were missed.
I’d forget to get change at the bank before a show.
An order would ship without a packing slip.
I would forget how I had photographed my last batch of bracelets. I would have to dig around to find the photos so that my next batch of photos would match.
Finally, I took the time to open up a Google doc and write these things all down. And as simple (and possibly meaningless) as that may seem, it changed my whole business.
Now, I am able to open up that doc and take a quick look. When I’m getting ready to take on that task, I do a quick review.
Now that I wrote these systems down, I am in a position to start accepting help. This might *seem* like a far-off dream. But believe me, when the time comes and you are prepared, BOY will you be proud of yourself.
This is the third and possibly most difficult organizational task. As a busy mom, wife, and business owner, I KNOW how hard it can be to carve out time.
The truth of it is, though: we all get the same 24 hours in a day (which is as annoying to say as it is to hear), so it’s up to you to decide how you are going to spend it.
Creating a schedule is the first step in finding more time and really being strategic with how you spend it.
⭐️ I like to start by writing down the “non-negotiables”. Those things that have to happen every single day, and schedule those into their respective time slots. I first write down the things that involve more than myself (i.e., taking my daughter to school). Then I write down the things that are just me (i.e., business tasks, making, etc).
I can’t stress enough the importance of being HONEST with yourself here: don’t schedule half an hour to get the kids ready in the morning if you know it takes an hour. Finding more time only works when you have a clear vision of what you’re working with.
⭐️ Then, take a look at those tasks/times and see what you can combine. For example: if you are making breakfast, lunch, and dinner, see if you can do one slightly longer “meal prep” time. Use this time to get ALL of those things ready at once.
⭐️ Next, I add in what I call the “weeklies”. These are the things that I do once or twice a week. These include things like grocery shopping, laundry, miscellaneous appointments, etc. Be honest with the time chunks here and add those on to the schedule.
⭐️ Now that you blocked in all of your tasks, take stock of them. See if there’s anywhere you can condense or be more productive. There may or may not be: it’s just worth taking the time to look and evaluate.
What I like to do is work from my systems of business “to dos” (i.e., answering emails, scheduling social media, photography, making, etc). I use my time chunks to work off of that list and get tasks completed. This allows me to be effective with my time. I can still maintain the flexibility of not being stuck in a super rigid schedule.
Business time chunks:
Mondays: 9:30am-10:30am (1 hour) & 2pm-4pm (2 hours)
Tuesdays: 7:30am-9:30am (2 hours) & 4:30pm-6:00pm (1.5 hours)
Wednesdays: 9:00am-12:00pm (3 hours) & 3:00pm-4:30pm (1.5 hours)
Thursdays: 9:00am-12:00pm (3 hours) & 3:00pm-4:30pm (1.5 hours)
Fridays: no business time chunks
– Social media graphic creation: 1 hour
– Social media scheduling: 1 hour
– Content creation (blog, email) 1-2 hours
– Jewelry making: 2-4 hours
– Photography: 1 hour
– Photography editing/uploading to Dropbox: 1 hour
– Website tweaking/new product listing: 1.5 hours
– Shipping: 15-20 minutes/day
– Emails: 30-45 minutes/day
The task list times may change slightly from week to week. But, this is a good overall look at what I can reliably say needs to be done each week.
I now have a list to work from and dedicated time to do that work in. All I have to do is decide which task I want to tackle on a particular day and go from there.
Some people may prefer to be more rigid with this. I say more power to ya! Just be sure that you have SOME kind of plan in place. This is so your time isn’t just vanishing into thin air.
Just remember: progress over perfection.
Imperfect action is movement in the right direction!
Getting organized takes time and continual work. Test these things out and see what works best for you, your business, and your life.
Once you find that sweet spot, you’ll be amazed at how things just seem to…bloom!
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!