You walk in to your studio at the beginning of your day and want to start working on your orders. You love what you make and your business is moving forward. You know you wanted to be your own boss and make beautiful things. That's why you started your business and avoid a full time job like the plague.
Then you remember you need to answer some emails, approve the postcard designs for the trade show, fair or gallery show opening in a month. You realize you need to order new business cards, call back your best wholesale account and order more supplies. Oh, and don't forget updating your Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest boards which you know will swallow up another hour or two if you are not careful. You could do this when you get home but then you know you'll be up until well past midnight.
Meanwhile all your friends think that you can come out for lunch, coffee, dinner... whenever you want because well, you are your own boss after all.
By the time you start making - the best part of the day - it's lunch time. Then you wonder how are you going to fit in the time to develop new work for the next year, season, collection? Arghhh
That's when you start daydreaming about hiding away with all your tools and supplies and just making the piles of ideas you have in your head, sketchbook and inspiration album.
Does this sound familiar?
If only there was a way to add more time to your week without sacrificing your Me time!
Here are three easy ways to reclaim your time so you can once again find your flow. You know that sweet spot when you are deep into making and only making?
1. Avoid doing things just because you can
This is a well known trap. You do your own photography, you set up your website, upload all the product images and descriptions yourself because well, you can do it and it's "cheaper".
You need to stop seeing these tasks as expenses and see them as investment in the growth of your business.
Yes, you can keep photographing your work and updating your site and dealing with the printer and the graphic designer yourself and this feels like saving money. What it is doing is taking away precious time you can use to make more work to sell.
Think of hiring photographers, graphic designers and other specialists as buying back time to make more items to sell AND exponentially improving the presentation of your business.
You are best when you are creating your awesome handmade pieces.
2. Streamline your tasks
Set aside specific times of the day or week to deal with recurring tasks. The sky won't fall if you respond to an email a few hours later. The people that you work with will get to know what your availability is. If you answer every email or text within 5 minutes, that's what they will expect.
Answer at the beginning or end of the day and that's what they will expect.
It takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.*
Keep interruptions to a minimum. The more continuous time you have to focus on what you are doing, the more efficient you become.
Set a time to check and respond to email, schedule your social media posts so you don't have to stop your flow and set a time to respond to social media comments and likes.
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3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
We know that when you are starting out, you have many titles: maker, photographer, marketing director, copy writer, inventory manager, studio manager, coffee getter...
We know you have a vision of what your business can be. You know the stores you want to be in and how your work would look in them. You can close your eyes and see your beautiful work in its gorgeous packaging winking at you on the shelf in the store or from a great website.
So, how do you get there?
Focus on what you do best and delegate the rest.
Here is a list of the work you should delegate:
- The things you dread doing: accounting, copy writing and talking to clients if your are an introvert to name a few.
- The things you are good enough at but are front and center in your brand: photography, video, web design and packaging design for example.
- The things that don't require your direct input: answering FAQs from customers can be done well by a virtual assistant and will free up your studio time.
Low skilled assistants can do easy tasks such as cleaning, sorting supplies, running errands.
Skilled in house assistants can do tasks that need to be done on site such as cleaning castings (jewelers), loading or unlading the kiln (ceramist), preparing orders to print, you get the idea.
Specialists are the people that live and breathe design, photography, accounting, writing and will elevate your presentation to the level your work deserves.
Better yet, contact us about woking with you on a great looking identity and online presence that best supports the work that you do.
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