This post is mainly going to be for my fellow makers out there. I have actually been super hesitant to write this because to be honest I still feel like a complete amateur when it comes to this business. I don't like to give out too many details of what I am making and when not in fear that someone will copy me but because I am super anxious I am doing EVERYTHING wrong. This sounds crazy and I know that. I've recently came to the conclusion that it is likely I am doing at least some things right. Also who is to say what is right and what is wrong when it comes to running your own business.
A few weeks ago it hit me that fall and winter are coming and they are coming fast. This is where I was afraid to share because I am just starting on fall/winter. I like to think I have all this time to prepare myself for my shows, Etsy and shops that I am going need to fill. Truth is I don't have that much time, I need to get my stuff together. I started dreaming and planning what items I am going to make for each thing. Once you figure out what you want to make you hop on Pinterest or Instagram and see 100 other things that you could probably add to your list. Then you choose colors and that is a whole thing in itself. Once you think you have colors nailed down you go browse Joann's and see all sorts of pretty colors that weren't on your original plan but aren't too far away. You see how this gets out of control? Well that's sort of where I was finding myself.
In the past I gave into all these ideas and I truly was left feeling too overwhelmed. Last year I kept telling myself that 2018 was going to be different. I was going to be more organized and more planned out. I will say that I have been better but in order to reach my goals I need to stay focused. I have a very specific idea in mind when it comes to my markets this year and the way my Etsy is going to look and be stocked with. With all that being said I have created a list. I've gathered all my knowledge from the last three years of doing markets, my trial and errors, successes and made a list of 5 things to do if you want to be more organized and stay on track! Make this year the year!!
1. Create a Mood Board- Anyone else remember creating motivation boards growing up? You would clip pictures out of magazines and glue them to a piece of paper. They never really made much sense but you still loved doing it. Well they were cool then and they are cool now. They don't have to be anything fancy. I made mine out of things I had laying around the house and outside. I focused on what inspires me and what I want to inspire my fall and winter collection. It has color schemes, materials I would like to use in my booth and packaging, and it has my business name in the middle of it all. I hung mine in my craft room where I see it daily and when I lose sight of where I am going I can look at it to bring me back in.
2. Make Lists- I will never ever stop talking about the power of making lists. If you have a brain anything like mine then it is constantly turning. At work I am thinking of all the things I could be making. At home I am thinking of the hat I am going to make later on. The thinking never stops and ideas hit me at the worst moments. It becomes too much and I end up not doing half the things that come to my mind because I either forgot about them or didn't make the time for them. My advice is to carry around a notebook, jot down those ideas and add them to lists when necessary. I get so much more done when I have a hand written list that I can look at and check things off. When it comes to markets, shops, Etsy, etc. make lists of the things you want to make and stick with it. Try not to add too much to them without getting things done first. Try it and see if it works for you.
3. Atmosphere is key- I struggle working a season ahead. It's very hard for me to focus on fall and winter when its 90 + degrees outside. This advice is going to sound super dumb but it works for me and maybe it will work for you. On my days off from my full time job where I have all day to make I set the atmosphere. I turn down the AC, nothing is worse than sweating while working with yarn, am I right? I put on some leggings, turn on music that makes me think of fall (Friday Night Lights soundtrack on repeat), gather all my candles and light the one that makes me think of the most wonderful time of the year. For me it's Eleventh Candle Company's Winter Scent.
4. Create More, Consume Less - Start making, It's that simple. When you are feeling motivated and crazy creative take advantage of those moments. Make and make and draw your ideas from your lists and mood boards. On the days when you are feeling stuck you no longer have to look to social media and Pinterest for ideas. You can look directly to the tools you already have and made for yourself. Go to your mood board and work on something different like your labels, packaging or something else. Remember the things that got you motivated and keep creating more than what you are taking in.
5. Have Your Best Year Yet- I feel successful when I have a tighter grasp on what I am doing. When I am scatter brained I feel overwhelmed and stressed. It's hard to run a business from that mind set. Every year I get more and more organized and likewise my business does better year after year. You can keep better track of what you are making and what sells. You can find out what kind of people are attracted to your style and who your ideal client is. You can let your creativity flow. A lot of these things I wish I would of started a long time ago but I am glad I had to live and learn through my mistakes.
This year I am excited about the fall and winter seasons quickly approaching. I am excited to have a direction and be running after it. I hope these 5 things help you just like they are helping me! Feel free to share what gets you motivated and focused.