25 Things To Do In Your Lunch Break
To Further Your Handmade Business
By Rossi Ignatova – SilverSense
As the proud owner of a handcraft business you have to wear many hats. You not only need to design and physically create your product, but also market it, sell it, wrap it, post it and… oh, even socially network it. No wonder there are never enough hours in the day, especially if you combine your craft endeavor with a full-time, paying-the-bills job.
Caught in the blizzard of things to be done, you may even catch yourself thinking: “I wish I had a spare hour today!”, and then you may even look wistfully through the window wishing you were somewhere else instead.
Stop! You already have one such hour every working day and wouldn’t it be great if you used it creatively instead of simply filling it with a sandwich from the canteen, a coffee from the machine, and some gossip with work colleagues and/or friends?!
Let me share with you 25 simple ideas for tasks and things you could easily squeeze in your lunch break to help you move your handcraft business at a steady pace ahead. A word of caution though – don’t use your employer’s equipment for personal needs. Instead make use of your smartphone, laptop or simply a notebook and a pen.
- Look at photos on Flickr for inspiration and networking. Post comments on images you love and join Flickr groups. Also upload your own photos and share them with the community. You never know what contacts you may make.
- Spruce up your product descriptions – it’s one of those super important tasks that always get overlooked. So sit down, open a print out of your template description and edit it again and again. Jot down ideas how to improve it. Tell in writing little stories as to how you create your designs. Then proof your much improved description and start using it online.
- Make lists of terms you can use as keywords in your product descriptions and online advertising. Try to come up with words and short phrases which are relevant to your product and help set it apart.
- Research new suppliers – of beads, yarn, packaging materials, business cards… Make a list with the companies you have found to refer to when you need to top up your stash.
- Jot down ideas for blog posts. Spend some quality brainstorming time and write everything and anything that comes to mind. You can develop these rudimentary ideas later, now it is important to simply follow the thread of your thoughts.
- Catch up with your reading – have a look at the latest posts in leading blogs of interest to you and browse through magazines in your field of craft expertise. Don’t forget to post comments in reply to posts that have caught your eye.
- If the environment allows it – do a bit of crafting. Spend 15 minutes making something straightforward and simple – for example, wirewrap beads or shape a batch of earwires. You never know – it may even attract some sales.
- Update your status on Facebook and Twitter – chances are half of the world is socially networking in their lunch hour, so your update may be seen by more people eager to chat to each other and check out what’s new.
- Work on your marketing calendar – log in ideas for Facebook and Twitter updates, develop future promotions, mark upcoming holidays and plan how your business will be getting ready for them.
- Work on your media plan – get researching and collecting contact details of media outlets, bloggers and journalists needing stories in your field of craft expertise. Think about how to approach them and how to grab their attention with your motivational story or design.
- Check media sites for product requests. You never know – your handmade creation may be featured in a large circulation publication, just because you reacted on time.
- Do a post office run. Sold something the night before? Then post it in your lunch break. Customers appreciate receiving their orders on time.
- Catch up with emails and inquiries – prospective clients like to get a response quick and it will present your business in a professional way.
- Have a look at the craft forums you follow – read some new messages and post your replies. Connecting with fellow crafters is an excellent way to get feedback and support.
- Think about your branding – is it time to get a new banner, new colour scheme, new packaging boxes perhaps? What about your artist statement or the ‘About Me’ page on your site? Analise how your branding helps set you apart and how it can be improved.
- Clarify your pricing strategy – when working on your creations it is all too easy to either under- or overprice them. Think numbers in the cold light of the day when you are removed from the creative process.
- Ask your manager if you can hold a trunk sale at your place of work. Do your research first on company policies and health and safety regulations, so that you are well prepared to block any objections your manager may raise.
- Work on your craft party plan – calculate costs, clarify logistics, create a flyer or ask some of your colleagues if they would like to hold one for you.
- Get to grips with technology – research new apps and platforms for newsletter scheduling, listing automation, photo processing. The better you know how to use them, the bigger the opportunities in front of your handcraft business.
- Write articles about your field of craft expertise – describe your processes, develop tutorials, compile tip sheets. Then submit them to online blogs and publications offline.
- Total up your craft expenses for the month. Keeping an eye on your outgoings will help ensure your business’s financial health.
- Dream – visualize your creation worn or used by your ideal customer. No matter if this is a world-known celebrity or a person representing the niche market you want to sell to, close your eyes and imagine them wearing your products, using your creations and the satisfaction you will feel when this eventually happens in real life.
- Create an affirmation document – write down all the strong, positive sides of your business both in terms of creative process and customer service and refer to this text in times when sales slow down a bit and you need a bit of assurance that you are doing things right.
- Strategies – think where you want to take your creative business next and how to get there. Clarify the steps in your head and write to do lists.
- Just relax for a little bit – your life is hectic as it is, so having some quiet minutes will help recharge your creative batteries.
Time is of essence and learning to manage each minute more effectively and resourcefully will help you grow your handcraft business, whilst keeping your sanity and working hard on your nine-to-five job.
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