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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, it’s June – you’re preparing for barbecues, pool days and family vacations. Online sales are probably slowing down. Maybe you’re attending a few shows, but for all intents and purposes, your craft business is a bit quiet.
This is the PERFECT time to start getting ready for the busy season. Because you and I both know – it sneaks up on you. The summer flies by, school starts back up and BAM! – it’s Thanksgiving.
We can use the slow season to map out plans for the holidays. Because you know the holidays are crazy busy. The more you do NOW, the less stress you’ll feel later.
Let’s review the first half of the year to see what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. How are your social media posts going? Do you need to come up with some fresh content? Will you need help when things get busier?
Here’s a checklist of items to review now, plus tasks to keep your business moving forward even during the slower months.
Work on this now, and your future self will be thanking you later!
Here we go!
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.
Now is the time to go over your business’ performance during the first half of this year. Take a look at your sales. Make note of items that sold well, and those that seem to be hanging out a while.
Did you get some feedback from customers? What did they say? Can you find any common themes among the reviews?
Positive comments show you what’s working and what you should keep doing. However, if you received any negative feedback, try to look at it objectively.
Sometimes customers complain about things that are out of your control. Other times, they may have highlighted a part of your process that can be improved. Try not to take it too personally, and instead learn from what your customers tell you.
If not, try to reinforce your messaging. Make sure you’re talking to your Perfect Customer, and brainstorm some new topics and posts that you can try.
Also take a look at your email marketing efforts. If you haven’t started sending emails about your craft business, now is the perfect time to start! Plan out a series of emails that you can send over the next six months. Remember, holiday messaging will be important.
You don’t have to write the emails now, just plan when you’re going to send them, and what the message will be. (Then add some time in your calendar to write them out. More on this below.)
If you have started sending emails (yay!), look at the results over the past six months. Which email subject lines had the best open rates? Which links had the most clicks? Use this information when planning your 3rd and 4th quarter messages.
Once you have information from the last six months, you can start planning for the next six.
If you’ve been in business for a while, use your sales from last year to set some sales targets for this holiday season. It’s nice to have a goal to work towards. (Remember to make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal.)
What if you’re entering into your first holiday season? Pick a goal that you feel is attainable. Use your recent sales to predict your holiday numbers.
Once you have your sales target, take some time to think about your marketing goals for the holidays.
Will you be paying for ads? If so, what will be your budget?
If paid ads are not in your budget this year, you will need to budget your TIME – time to create and post content to help bring in the sales. Start to schedule times where you can batch your work. This way you can create content in chunks and have it ready ahead of your busy production time.
Speaking of production, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to make for the holiday season! Think about gift sets and seasonal items that would work.
Then, start to block out time for production. The earlier you can make inventory for the holidays, the less last minute “panic making” there will be.
If you’re predicting a large volume of orders for the end of this year, you may want to look into hiring help.
You can use the slower days now to think about what kind of help you’d like to have. Write up job descriptions and plan out when you’ll start looking for help.
Now is the perfect time to start blocking out your time for the next few months.
If you’ve never used time-blocking before, let me introduce you!
Decide specific tasks that you will need to complete over the next few months. For example:
Set times for each block. Production might need 2 hours, but social media engagement can be just 15 minutes.
Get your favorite planner or use your digital calendar, and start adding these blocks to your days. I like to use a different color for each “bucket”.
In the end, your calendar may look like this:
By setting these blocks of time in advance, you have a greater chance of actually getting it all done. Plus, you can focus on just one task, rather than jumping around, leaving some tasks unfinished.
Remember, the holiday season can be the most profitable time of the year for your handmade business. By following these tasks and strategies, you can ensure that you’re well-prepared to meet the increased demand and make the most out of this festive season. Happy selling!
If you’re ready to get serious about your craft business, I invite you to join the waiting list for my signature course, The Marketing School for Makers. This list is a VIP-only opportunity to get an invitation to my online open house event! The course will open again in January 2024 so add your name to the VIP list by clicking here!
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!