Selling Handmade : Balancing It All

Thanks for sharing!

Welcome back to the final day of our  “Selling Handmade” mini series.  {If you want to start at the beginning, click here.}

Most of us are multi-taskers on a day-to-day basis.  Although I love having variety in life, I also see the need to constantly try to keep my priorities in order! I have found great wisdom in asking other women how they deal with the dilemmas of managing time on a daily basis.  Today our 4 guest bloggers give us some great tips.

Day 7:  “Balancing it All”  {Multitasking in Life}

selling handmade bright final

Question:

Now that I’ve added Etsy to the list of things I love to do, I’m finding it a challenge to balance life in general…my family,home, cooking, blogging, creating, Etsy, and the camp we live/ work at.  There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day!  How do you tackle the dilemma of“finding balance”?  {A loaded question, I realize!:)}

 

 

 

 

Gina's Banner{Gina, from The Shabby Creek Cottage}

It took me a LONG time to find balance. I used to do everything from wood working to sewing to painting & so much more, but when I pulled back into focus what I truly love to do, I figured out that sewing was my “thing.” Between finding focus and hiring two assistants (one for the blog and one for the shop), I’ve learned to work a lot less hours and still get the same amount of work done. It does help that I have an amazingly supportive family – two teenage girls that help keep the house tidy and Mr. SCC does the bulk of the major remodels. Without them I’d be a wreck!

yellow grograin

jami's banner{Jami,from freckled laundry}

I will sort of echo my last answer. You will need to create a list of priorities depending on your personal, family, and Etsy goals. If you’re looking to replace your day job income with Etsy shop sales within six months, get ready to work hard and endure a lack of balance for a little while! Success doesn’t come easily, especially overnight. You’ll need to run things like a well-oiled machine or you just might be up until midnight sewing in order to have dinner on the table at 6 pm every night. Ask me how I know.

Right now, my day job is a stay-at-home mom and my creative outlet is my blog and Etsy shop. I prioritize my time accordingly. However, my twins will be entering a pre-school program in the Fall and my day ‘title’ will shift to textile designer and shop owner. There will be some re-prioritizing of the daily schedule to achieve those goals.

Regardless of your Etsy goals, here are some tips that I have found helpful to achieve balance…

1. You have {love} what you make or sell! Passion for creating handmade wares or hunting down vintage finds to sell will keep you feeling balanced.

2. Work with a schedule. Run your shop just like any job. Schedule a block of time each day to check email, socialize, create, package, and ship and try to stick with it as best as you can. Personally, I fall apart at the seams without a some type of schedule to keep me focused.

3. Etsy allows you the flexibility to set your own pace vs. selling in a brick and mortar shop where you must always keep shelves stocked and the doors unlocked. Create and sell things in limited quantities and editions if that’s what you need to do to maintain balance. If you sell something that you and your customers love, they will most likely be happy to wait for your work! Keep in mind that some won’t. Set a pace that works with your own goals. Personally, I use every inch of my free time taking small, purposeful steps towards my dreams.

4. As mentioned earlier, if you’re finding it difficult to keep up with sales, consider bringing on a volunteer or intern to help you.

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Lisa's banner{Lisa from The Pennington Point}

It’s really, really hard.  I have to make myself work at balance every day.  For me, I set the goal to only fill orders on Saturdays and if it’s too busy I can also work on Sunday afternoons.  But that’s just filling orders.  There are plenty of things to be done during the week.  I answer customer emails, create new listings, shop for supplies, edit photos and make my schedule for Saturday in order to be really efficient.  That schedule that I work on all week really helps on Saturday.  I keep a running list for my Saturday jobs so that I can get the most out of that time.

Also, I carve out ways for the kids to be with me while I work.  I have the older boys help me with some of the woodworking and we can talk while we work.  The girls might clip out threads or work on packing finished orders for shipping.  It is a nice way to spend time together.  One of my daughters manages all of my photo jobs so she will get out everything I need then help me take the pictures.  I am hoping her interest in photography will turn into her eventually taking all of my product photos for me.  Another girl is my “shop manager” and she cleans up every Sunday afternoon and gets things back in order for the next week.  All of the kids do at least a small job for the shop.  Some people call it sweat shop, I call it family togetherness.

 

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aimee's banner{Aimee from My Pink Life}

Finding balance is very difficult. Because I do all my work at home and it’s always in front of me, it’s a challenge to keep my priorities in proper order sometimes.  I need to constantly remind myself of what is most important: my husband and kids. I constantly pray that God will show me what I should be doing. I NEED His help to be a good mother and wife, as well as a business owner. And He is always faithful to give me grace and strength when I need it most. My husband is also such an encouragement to me. He is a great help with the kids as well as the business. I could not have the business without his help!

yellow grograin

As I wrap up this final instalment of this blogger interview series, I sort of feel like I do when I know it’s time for me to say good-bye to my sisters… It’s so bittersweet!  I have so loved having the chance to “chat” with these very talented ladies, and I can’t help but hope that if we were neighbours, we’d be friends…

whole kitchen after

So, today, I thank all of you for coming to this ocean-side kitchen chat:  the 4 of you who graciously answered my questions, and all of you who stopped by to read them.  As you put your coffee cup in the sink, and grab your coat from the hallway closet…

Don’t go yet!

I have a hug for you…

There.

Blessings to you today, and happy creating!Smile

Thanks for sharing!

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5 Comments

  1. Beautiful post and the hug at the end was like a “cherry on top”! Was just talking to my daughter on the phone to tell her about your series and actually said “I was reading something my friends posted…” Funny, I’ve never met a one of you personally though I feel as if we really have sat around drinking coffee and had a wonderful conversation. Can’t wait to put all this good advice into action! Thank you again Ritajoy for bringing the valuable advice of these creative women together in one place.

  2. Hugs to you too!! Thanks so much for including me in this series! I hope that it was helpful to people who are thinking about starting a handmade business. It is hard work but so worth it!! 🙂

  3. Ladies,
    This series has been so fantastic!! Last year I started holding a “Barn sale without a barn” once a year in a suburb of Washington DC with several of my friends who are very talented and working on a professional level, but too busy to be full time artists . It was crazy successful and I am trying to find my way in the artist/stay at home mom world. All of your advice has been just what I needed, to give me some fresh ideas, confirm what my gut has been telling me, and help me to feel like I’m not the only one trying to do this. Thanks for the support and the excellent examples of what to do. I really feel like I have “found my people” in the blogosphere.

  4. I’m an avid Etsy buyer, so I’ve really appreciated this inside look into the “other side!” Unfortunately, I don’t have a crafty bone in my body, although I sometimes like to pretend I do and I know my kids all wish I did, so I have such admiration for all of you that can craft so amazingly. I love to support you when buying household items and gifts!

    As far as balance goes, I wanted to mention a service that I thought might help you with balancing some of that paperwork. Have you heard of Outright? I do some contract work for a company who is associated with Outright and also use it to manage all things accounting in my own small business. http://outright.com It’s made my life easier and I thought it could make yours a little easier too.

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