Tips for reducing stress when you run your own craft business
How many of you started making full-time as a way of escaping the stressful 9-5, only to find that running your own business is pretty stressful in itself? When you’re making for profit, it can be difficult to hold on to the sense of wellbeing that your craft gives you. In this article we share our top six tips to help you find your balance as a creative business owner.
Featured image: ‘Self Care Isn’t Shellfish’ card by Innabox
1. Ditch the comparisons
According to Theodore Roosevelt “comparison is the thief of joy”. It can be easy to look at other makers and compare your work to theirs, and that can dent your confidence and make you feel insecure. However, life is not a race – we’re all on our own paths, going at our own speeds.
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.Jon Acuff
Stick to your own plan, limit your time on social media (which can add to these feelings of insecurity), and remember that you’re more than what you make.
2. Community over competition
Rather than seeing your fellow crafters as competitors, see them as supportive friends. Find your ‘tribe’, your like-minded community of makers who will lift you up.
We rise by lifting others.Robert Ingersoll
You might want to join a local craft group (our next post in this series will be on the benefits of communal crafting) or get involved with an online group such as Indie Roller or the Creative Business Network.
3. Ignore imposter syndrome
At some point, everyone gets imposter syndrome. EVERYONE! Am I good enough? Is my work up to scratch? Am I original enough?
I have written 11 books but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.Maya Angelou
The trick is, to quote Dr Susan Jeffers, who coined the phrase in 1987, feel the fear and do it anyway. There will never be a perfect time to put yourself out there – you just have to jump in with both feet and believe in yourself and your work. Don’t be held back by the fear of failure, the fear of expectation, or the fear of letting yourself or others down. You do you.
4. Keep the love of craft alive
When you’re making the same items everyday, it can become a chore rather than a joy. Our advice is to separate work projects from personal projects. Always have a project on the go that is just for you, which you can pick up on the evenings and the weekends. This will allow you to explore new patterns and techniques, and help you to keep the love for your craft alive.
What you create doesn’t have to be perfect.Dieter F. Uchtdorf
And remember that not everything you do has to result in a product. Not everything you make has to be important, significant or even good. Simply playing and experimenting with your craft materials has huge benefits for your mental wellbeing.
5. You are allowed to rest!
Your productivity does not determine your value and it’s ok to do nothing sometimes. Work time into your planner every day for you – it might be half an hour reading a book, having a bath or going for a walk around the block. You could set yourself working hours, for example around school hours or no work after 6pm, so that you allow yourself to rest.
Rest is not a luxury you earn when you are finished with creative work. It’s a discipline you cultivate to make you more creative.John Spencer
Don’t be afraid to go on holiday and take a break from your online shop and social media either. We all need to rest and it’s when we’re resting that we’re at our most creative.
6. Set your boundaries
The best thing you can do to look after yourself is to set some boundaries. In many ways, when you own your own business you are your business, but this doesn’t mean you have to share everything. You can keep secrets for yourself, whether it’s not posting some of your projects on social media or not sharing your techniques.
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.Brené Brown
You are also allowed to say ‘no’, without explanation, guilt or apology.
We hope this article has helped you feel more confident in how to restore the balance if you’re feeling overwhelmed and also more able to take steps to restore the balance between your amazing creative business and your life. Please do share it if you feel it would benefit others too, and let us know if you have any other techniques, mantras or routines that have helped you.