Do you feel like you struggle with time management in your handmade business?
There's only 24 hours in a day and no matter what we do we can’t add more time to the clock!
We can only do 2 things: Find ways of working that are faster and more efficient. OR Seek outside help to multiply productivity.
You may not have the budget to hire outside help yet. In this case, you need to invest (time, energy, money) in work systems that are efficient and effective.
Here are 5 things you can do to set up better work systems and manage your time better:
Is there better equipment you could be using?
Sometimes, things take longer than they should because we’re not using the best tools. Look at the equipment you’re using right now and identify which ones could be better.
- Can you invest in a machine to help you cut out materials faster?
- A better sewing machine so you can sew faster and with better results?
- Can you buy sharper scissors for a better cut?
- If you have an old, slow computer, could a newer computer or hardware upgrade help you work faster?
Can you improve how you present information?
One area makers spend a lot of time in is answering customer messages. This is a HUGE time suck.
When you talk about your work, be as clear as possible. Make information easy to find everywhere your business exists online. If you have a website, create an FAQ page with the answers to questions people ask. Refer people back to it as needed. All you have to do is include a link or copy and paste the info into your message. Make things as obvious as possible.
Selling via Etsy? There’s a function where you can save copies of messages and then paste them when someone sends you a message. So if someone asks a question you’ve already answered, all you have to do is copy the information to the new post.
On Facebook? If you’re good with tech or work with a reliable tech person, I recommend adding a chat bot to Facebook Messenger. The bot can chat, answer questions and forward messages that need your personal attention.
Can you learn new methods?
Sometimes, we’re doing things ineffectively and don’t even know it! If you learned a method a few years ago, it's time to revise it.
Of the work that you do on a daily basis, is there a better method out there? Is there a course you could take to learn a new method? Look into it!
Are you trying to do too much?
Especially in marketing, we think we need to do the most across all platforms as much as possible. Not true!
Your work will give better results in less time if you focus on doing the essentials to the best of your ability.
Don't try to be on every social media platform at the same time. Instead, focus all your energy on doing one as best as you can and see what happens.
Don't offer hundreds of different products in different shapes, sizes, scents, flavors. Simplify your product line and focus on the products that sell the best and you enjoy making.
Are you the best person for this job?
Successful people know how and when to delegate. They accept when they’re the best person for the job and when they’re not. Be honest with yourself, are you the best person for all the tasks you do?
Do you have the special knowledge/experience required of every single task? If not, it might be time to work on the list and seek outside help.
Vanessa Jiménez is a virtual assistant that helps creative women across the U.S build and run handmade businesses on solid foundations. She lives and works in Puerto Rico.
To learn how more about how Vanessa can help your business, click here.