Lucky Sew and Sew

Lingerie and Accessories for Badass Babes. Magic Maker. Leather Painter.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Keeping Focused when Running your own Handmade Business

Running a handmade business is h-a-r-d, with a capital Hard. But it is also incredibly satisfying and rewarding.

There are many reasons why you may be considering starting your own handmade business, or maybe you have already taken the plunge, but without focus it is nigh on impossible to do.

When you have a normal job, you have a set schedule, a routine. You know that you need to get up at this time, leave the house at this time, get to work for this time. You know that when you are at work you have a prescribed set of tasks to do, or your boss will tell you what to do. It can be stressful, but you know that when you leave work at the same time you do every day, you can forget about work for the rest of the day, until you have to wake up tomorrow and do the same routine over again.

Now, to a lot of people, this is exactly what they want from a job. Simple, easy to follow the monotonous routine, you don't even really have to think about it, you just do it, and at the end of the day you can switch off, and not think about it until tomorrow.

If you are like me, this would be hell. An absolute nightmare. I've always been a restless creative type. My brain just doesn't switch off. I don't think it can. I find it incredibly hard to stick to a monotonous routine, a routine that doesn't change much or challenge me from day to day. Don't get me wrong, i'm not saying 9-5's are bad. They're a lot of peoples bread and butter, my husband's included. And I've done them before, and it killed me mentally. I was depressed and fed up and restless and in a rut.

I've never felt more alive and more satisfied than I am now. When I was doing those jobs that I hated, it wasn't the actual job that I disliked, it was the unchallenging, brain-numbing act of doing the same thing everyday and not using any creativity at all.

I am happy when I am making something, or creating something. Whether it's designing patterns, sewing pieces, writing this blog, taking pictures of our lingerie or any other part of the process, that's what stimulates my creative juices and keeps me sane.

I think all creative types have the same restless, never-ending cycle of thoughts in their brain as me. And you 100% need this to make a handmade business successful. There is always something to do, something to think about. You have to be on the ball. However brilliant this non-stop brain can be, it can also be a hindrance. I find my thoughts flitting from one thing to the next too quickly and before I know it, I've forgotten what my original thought was. I have a few things that I do to try and keep myself focused and they seem to really help.

Write that shit down.
Seriously. Write it down. Now. Before your brain moves on to the next thing and you forget this one. I always have pens and paper and notepads everywhere. And I mean, everywhere. In my bedroom, in the kitchen, in the front room, in my bag...not in the bathroom yet, but I think it might have to come to that one day. If I don't write my thoughts/ideas/things I need to do down as and when they pop into my head, you can put your money on me forgetting what the hell it was in 2 seconds.

Make Daily To-Do Lists.
This stems from my love on writing things down I suppose. If I see if written down, I remember it better. If you have a daily to-do list and cross things off as and when you do them, you not only waste a lot less time wondering what you are supposed to be doing, but you also feel hella satisfied when you get to cross that bad-boy off your list. Sometimes I even add on things such as 'Eat Lunch', 'Wash up dinner plates' and 'Shower', just so I can cross more things off of my list. So Satisfying.

Have Goals.
Don't be afraid of setting yourself goals. It gives you a bigger picture to work towards, and gives you a kick up the bum to get doing things when you'd rather be having a cuppa and a biscuit. Set small goals, and set big goals. Set goals like 'Make one new item this week', or 'make 20 sales this month.' Make yourself proud by achieving them. Set goals that you think are so far out of your reach that you can never achieve them, and then surprise yourself by going for it. There is nothing wrong with challenging yourself, and there is also nothing wrong with failing. We all make mistakes, we are human. Don't punish yourself too hard if you don't achieve something. Take it in your stride and learn from it.

Be Organised.
If you have a working space, keep it tidy and keep on top of things. If you are half way through something and then decide to work on something else, you will never get anything finished. Complete one thing before you move onto the next. If you have a lot of ideas, write them down and work through them one by one until you have completed them. It can be really hard when you are buzzing with ideas to just work on one thing at a time, but trust me, as hard as it can sometimes be, it is pretty essential to finishing anything at all.

Take loads of pictures.
Take pictures of your work, of the things you have created. Take pictures of the things that inspire you and things that make you happy. Take pictures of things that interest you and things that you look up to and aspire to be like. Get snap happy baby. I find it really helps on those days when you are lacking motivation and feeling a bit deflated to look back on your work and see how far you've come. To look at something that made you happy one day and give yourself a little smile. Look at things that are amazing, and think about how you can make things that are even more amazing.

Be Inspired.
Creativeness flows best when we are inspired. So take the time to be inspired. Go to a showcase of an artist or illustrator if that's what you are into. Go rummage through a vintage shop and find some awesome clothes if you like to sew vintage pieces and see how they have been made. Go take a college course on photography or join a group if you like to take pictures. Try to keep your imagination fresh and flowing.

Don't be afraid to reevaluate
Businesses are ever-changing just like every other aspect of life. What might have seemed like a great idea a few months ago, now might not be so great. Take the time to step back and look at things objectively. If something is not working, try a different approach or try something else instead.

Ask people their opinions.
If you have an idea that you are not sure about, speak to somebody else about it and see what they think. At the end of the day, for a handmade business to work, people need to buy your items. Speak to a friend, or even let them try out a new product, and get their feedback. Learn to take constructive criticism on the chin and take that and turn it into fuel for your fire.

Believe in Yourself.
If you don't believe in yourself, who else will?


1 comment

  1. I want to start my own handmade business, the thing that holds me back most are all the bureaucratic things around it.


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