When you are busy running a craft business, just saving a few spare hours a week to focus on your shops can be vital to becoming successful. Even just a spending a few additional hours on marketing a week can dramatically improve productivity and results. We’d love to hear your time saving tips, leave us a comment at the end of the post or tweet us @folksy if it’s less time consuming!
One of the big problems for people who are short on time is actually finding the time to take stock and get organised.
Before you start wasting more time
playing with researching the latest time saving apps, apply the following basic time-management principles. These ideas are common sense, but if you are feeling overwhelmed by your workload, it’s time to take stock of where you are wasting time and what you need to cut out of your day.
Focus on the big picture first
If you haven’t started a project because you’re obsessing about the details and feel overwhelmed, train yourself to be the master of the draft plan. Just sketch out the big headline stages of the project. A simple bullet-point list on a word document is all you need to break through and get started. You can then work on the project in bite-sized chunks.
Use your diary
It needs to be by your side at all times! Being the master of your diary is the key to being highly organised. You don’t need to be naturally organised, you just need to learn to actually use your diary properly. We would recommend using a digital calendar where you can plumb in your events, deadlines and importantly set reminders in advance as and when they crop up. Put everything in it, even just ideas that you want to save for thinking about later… you think you will remember, you wont!
Don’t take on too much
This leads on from the above point. Saying no is actually pretty difficult when you love your job, but late nights completing projects will see you burn out. When you have an organised calendar, it’s a great deal easier as you can say, “Sorry, I don’t have time to do that until 16th May”. If you give people realistic times for projects, guest blog posts, magazine articles and meetings, you’ll send fewer emails apologising for ‘life being a little hectic’, which after a while looks unprofessional.
Keep People Updated
Burying your head in the sand doesn’t help if you’re busy. Face up to the workload and contact people to explain you can’t meet a commitment. Psychologically this really helps and gives you the breathing space to get organised and prioritise the important tasks that cannot be put off!
Get Up Early
“But I’m a nightowl?” We don’t want to come over all maternal here but are you really a nightowl? Or are you up late as a result of not getting things done during the day when your mind was fresh and alert. Doing things when your mind is winding down ready for bed will take a lot longer. It’s a vicious circle. Being up late means you’re tired in the day and unproductive as your brain is effectively half asleep.
Getting up an hour before the rest of the household rises could mean 30 minutes of uninterrupted time, checking through your to-do list and prioritising tasks. Have the strong coffee in the morning instead, do a few star jumps to get your body and mind alert and you’ll be amazed at how productive just 30 minutes can be. You also go to bed feeling calm as you know you’ll be sorting things first thing.
Create time for yourself, friends and family
This is easier said than done. Many of you will be running a business you’re passionate about alongside family commitments, study or a full-time job. ou need to allow yourself time to relax and charge your batteries. If possible, give your craft business set working hours. This is also useful for two reasons:
- Family and friends will respect these set times of day that you are working and not available, rather than resenting the fact you always have your nose in the laptop or are at the sewing machine.
- You’ll be able to keep better track of your return on investment of time and see how profitable and sustainable your craft business actually is.
Rely on a Few Useful Apps
Useful smart phone and web apps which can help you with your Craft Business are great, but there are so many to choose from and you only want one for each task ideally or you’ll end up getting lost. here are a few of our favourites – it’s by no means an exhaustive list but we hope you find it useful – let us know if we’ve missed off your favourite app!
Hootsuite helps you to manage your social media channels in one place, it has a free basic account – no need to upgrade and if you do need to upgrade, shop around first, as there are a number of good social media management clients out there – it’s just that many of them do not have free versions for smaller users.
Buffer is like a virtual queue – it helps you share content over a period of time rather than all at once – the free version is great if you just have a few social media accounts. You add a little browser button and merrily add content to your buffer as and when you find it.
Picmonket is an image editing web based app. There is a free version which has a great selection of fonts for adding text over images, plus all kinds of options for editing and designing. It’s very basic compared to the likes of photoshop but it is very user friendly.
Canva like Picmonkey is brilliant for creating free designs with text, collages of images and you can also search their inexpensive range of stock images and designs that start from just a $1 – Useful when you really need a picture for a specific blog post or social media post.
We’ve talked a great deal about how Pinterest is a great marketing tool for selling craft, however you can also use private Pinterest boards for researching new blog posts or creating a mood board for your latest designs. The board is just for you and whoever you want to collaborate with and remains private.
With this app you create recipes for sharing bewteen many social media platforms and apps. As the name suggest you create a Trigger (such as a tweet with an image) and it creates a response (such as sharing it on your Tumblr blog) . If you use it right it can really help to save time. It’s also a great place to discover useful apps you didn’t know you needed.
We use it and we love it – really easy website to help you create professional looking newsletter emails and help you manage your database of customers/newsletter subscribers.
Meet Carrot (not free)
To-do lists are important, but they can be fun too…
Meet Carrot is an app for your phone that makes your to-do list come to life, it tells you off or rewards you for completing tasks (eg carrot or stick!) It also has a great alarm clock which may help night-owls to get into the habit of getting up earlier as it makes you complete tasks in order to use the snooze button… probably a bit silly really but if a pen and paper list just doesn’t work for you this could be the app you need.
We’d love to hear from you!
Do you find it hard to manage your time? How do you split up the time you have between admin, marketing and making? We’d love to know how much time you spend on your craft business each week, is it full time or do you have to fit in the hours around other commitments?
Plus what is your favourite time saving app or website?