…Feeling the pressure of keeping all of your customers and clients happy? In a creative rut, where you feel bored of making the same things over and over again? Maybe you have a million ideas about things you’d love to create – so you are now paralyzed by all these great designs spinning around in your head? Yep. I know them feels! Actually it happens quite a lot, and some days – it’s evening time and you look back and realise you haven’t achieved much at all! Grand plans were foiled by the laundry pile, a dog who wants to play, even a fantastic session of procrasti-baking.
I’d like to share with you 10 of my favourite things to get you back in the game and back to kicking a$$ with your creative business! I hope maybe some of them will work for you too.
Such a fantastic series – full of successful sellers doing what they love! Interview format articles, brimming with inspiring real-life stories of struggle, quick-thinking & success! A wide range of designer/makers to read about, and of course my favourites are going to be anything sewing related! After reading these you will think anything is possible!
Take a day off.
No, really. Do it. And don’t feel guilty about it either. Schedule in a WHOLE day, just for you. If you need to do some tidying or laundry – get it done within the first hour. Then… relax! Do some gardening, baking, personal creative projects, dye your hair, paint your nails… cook a good meal with a friend and a glass of wine! Make a really pretty cake, and then invite 1 or 2 good pals over to dive into it with a fancy coffee. Honestly, recharging your batteries is one of the greatest and smartest things you can do for yourself, to get a boost in your business. You are the CEO – you NEED to take care of you!!!
I have SO many Etsy shops that I admire and adore. Like, at least 300 of them, I haven’t even had enough time to save them all in my favourites yet. They range from supplies, to handmade, vintage… some of them are the same style/vibe as mine, some because they are so unique and clever, and some because they are killing it – and smashing sales left, right and center! Now, I’m not saying you need to go out and copy all of your competitors items and ideas. I’m saying you need to find brands and makers that speak to you, that speak your creative language – and get inspired by them! For all you know, they could be looking at your online shop in exactly the same way! I often like to think about what makes them successful, or what makes me enjoy their work? Is it their brand vibe? Their colour palettes and the way they put materials together that work? The fun way they describe their back story or items? Apply this thinking to your own store and see what you can come up with. Keep it unique, find your own vibe and build on it!
Scope out some new stockists for your brand
I find this so inspiring – as it’s a whole new opportunity to branch out for your business! Plus it’s another chance at cross -promotion between both of your social media platforms. More views = more sales. Hey look, “here and here” are now stocking my stuff, go check the shop out! Or – Hey look, we just started stocking this great brand “so and so” check them out, come and buy it – save on shipping! Take a walk through your city and pop into some local boutiques. Take a look at who/what they are stocking now, and make some notes about what they may like to add from your brand. Are they chock-full of jewellery and clothing, yet hair accessories are nowhere to be found? Do they have lots of homewares, but maybe they haven’t thought about stocking a regular supply of fresh floristry to compliment the designs and season? New stockists are always a “hands in the air like you just don’t care” moment. Shoot them an email with your details and you never know what can happen!
Re-arrange your work space
One of the biggest reasons that I feel “stuck” can simply be a messy studio! Take a trip to Ikea, grab some cheap wooden shelving units, a new lamp, maybe some fairy lights, a scented candle and if you really want to go batshit crazy – buy a new desk! They are really affordable, stylish, and not to mention they sell veggie balls in their deli food section. Yummmm. A new-look, photo-worthy, tidy workspace can give you the big kick in the pants you needed to get back into making your business rock! I find a massive Spring clean once a year really helps, but the smaller ones in the middle really are important too. Get some fresh flowers and open the window, grab a coffee and get cleaning!!
Take a short (or long!) holiday.
Depending on your savings account and budget, a getaway locally, nationally – or internationally, can really boost your: mood, happiness, life goals and relationships! It will actually make you miss work and your work studio! You will probably come back ITCHING to get in there and get some amazing new designs out into the world! Plus after all that money you spent, you will have to get your butt back to work anyway! Nothing like having to make money to get you inspired!!! When I came back from my international holiday last year – not only was I raring to get back into work, but I was stoked that my business had allowed me to afford to go out and have a break! I was so proud of myself that I wanted to see what I could push myself to do next!
Go supply shopping (or window shopping if your budget says so)
Fabric, jewellery charm, and knick-knack shopping always gets me in the mood to create! If you can time this to be when a sale is on or a coupon is out – all the better! You will get a bargain and be super happy with yourself 😉 If you can’t afford to do this, jump on Etsy and favourite all the things you want to purchase in the near future! Or take a trip to the fabric store and snap a pic of the fabrics you plan to get when that 40% off sale begins! This ALWAYS gets me excited to make new things and get them online! I am literally hanging on to my seat waiting for the first sale!
Write down your goals – long term & short term
This is something I do often. I always start by writing everything I am thinking about creating and the financial goal attached to it. For instance – Winter: make 5 sweater designs (eg. $65 each), 3 new hair accessories ($10 each) & 1 new dress ($110 each). I then price them up and make a goal of how much I will sell of each in 3 months and get a rough income figure. The goal is more of an idea and something to focus on – I am not really expecting to make my goal amount. Rather, it helps me think about how many designs and items I will want to make for the coming season, to at least reach part of the way to my monetary goal, and see what styles are selling. Eventually I will expect to make my goal amount, but that would actually mean I would need to follow through with all of my ideas (hehe!).
Pick up some inspiration from fellow sellers, get some advice and inspiration, have a chat and a coffee break while you list some new items! 🙂 Etsy forums are a fun place to peruse in your spare time. I have picked up many a hot SEO tip from there… and every once in a while – the Etsy admin chime in with new threads and Q&A’s which can be sooo helpful! Keep up to date and get inspired by what others are achieving! I love checking out shops belonging to people who comment as well, I have found loads of great ones that way!
Remember your “why”
You have probably heard this saying before. It really hits home for me! WHY?? Why did you want to start your own business? Why did you want to create things? Why do you want to make money? Each person’s answer will of course be different, but mine is pretty straight forward. I was sick of working for other people, sick of getting up at 6am to catch 3 buses to go somewhere I wasn’t being paid well enough to want to be there. I did NOT like being told what to do, or when I could have my lunch, worry about how long I would take in the bathroom, or feel like I was giving 3/4 of MY life away to these other businesses. I have always been creative and love to design fashion and have fun with style. I needed to start my own business to enjoy my life!
I needed flexibility to get up when I want, eat when I want, run errands when I need to, play with my parrot and dog when I want, go and meet friends for coffee when I want… the list is endless. Basically, for freedom, for enjoyment, for fun and for fulfillment. I want to make money through my business – so that I can live comfortably in a nice home with a big vegie garden, so that my partner and animals can live comfortably, so we can take holidays, take days off to have a nice walk, give when I can, and of course… get tattoos! What is your “why”? Let this be your mantra and motivation! 🙂