Every handmade business owner hopes for more time to create, but gets caught up doing the not-so-fun tasks. But by following a few simple steps, you can minimize paperwork, hours spent online, and repetitive actions and free up time to make more of the items you love!
Create in Multiples
While one-of-a-kind items are a wonderful addition to your inventory, they do require lots of time and effort to assemble and photograph. Once you start making multiples of your products, it becomes easier to prepare large or wholesale orders, relist sold items online, and give price quotes to new customers. The amount of time saved on photo-taking alone can be significant.
Then, you’ll finally be able to brainstorm and create new, fresh items for your business! Set aside a scheduled time each week to design and construct your products, ignoring all other business distractions for that period.
Simplify and save time by creating templates, or pre-made documents you can use again and again for your business. Prepare a standard address label (for packages that aren’t paid for online; more on that in a minute), invoices, emails, and any other items you might need regularly.
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I strongly suggest composing an email signature for outgoing messages. That way, you don't have to type out your name and business information with every message. Check your email account's settings for the process of setting up an email signature.
Also, if you create custom listings on your website or a marketplace such as Etsy, be sure to make a standard “Reserved Custom Listing” image (shown at left) that you can use repeatedly. This is much faster than producing a new one with each special order, and can also help you brand your business.
Order Supplies in Bulk
The less time you spend ordering supplies and waiting for them to arrive, the better. Figure out what materials you purchase the most often, and then buy in bulk while sticking to your budget and storage space limits. It’s a good idea to make a big list of the supplies you use, the item numbers, and the company that sells them. It's also wise to stock up before the busy holiday season — that way, you can get more orders prepared quickly for customers.
Print Postage At Home
If you sell online in the US, streamline shipping by printing labels on your printer through Stamps.com, Paypal Shipping, or Etsy Shipping Labels if the sale took place on Etsy. Then, simply attach the shipping document to your package and bring it to the nearest post office. When dropping off your packages you can bypass the line and really save a ton of time! Items shipping via priority mail can even be picked up by your mail carrier if you arrange it online. Click here for more tips on making your shipping process more efficient!
If you do have to pay for postage at the post office, minimize your wait time by filling out any necessary tracking or customs forms before you go.
It's as simple as that! Spending fewer hours managing your creative business can help take it to the next level of success. These time-saving tactics will give you opportunities for product development and creation while minimizing frustration.
Want more tips on beating procrastination and better time management? Check out our resource article, Stop Wasting Time! Four Steps to Better Time Management for Creatives.
Rebecca George is a certified Etsy educator and owner of women's fashion and accessory company Purple and Lime.