I've been working hard for the last few weeks. Since the start of the year I've been thinking a lot about how to maximise the time I have to spend on my business. I've dropped down to working just 15 hours a week, but if I can I really want to continue doing as many orders as I did before. So I'm trying to work out how to streamline everything and make sure I focus on making up orders and spending as little time as possible on everything else.
And it's really been tested this week as it's nearly as busy as Christmas! My new system for packing up orders is working well - I've had to stop making my own fancy receipt and accept that a paypal packing slip is adequate, and I've given in and bought some more expensive envelopes that mean I don't have to add any extra packaging. I'm also putting all my orders onto a spreadsheet as soon as they come in so I can see at a glance where I've got to with each one and when I need to post it by.
The majority of my time has been cut from networking, social media and general 'marketing' activities. I'm now thinking about every little thing I do and trying to assess whether it will help me to get and fulfill orders (i.e. make money, which is really the point of business if you put it bluntly!). I've cut some things completely, like linking up to lots of craft sites and entering competitions, because google analytics told me that these weren't bringing in many views. I've also had to have a stern word with myself about the amount of time I spent on Facebook and Twitter! I now try and schedule a few posts and only pop on every couple of days. My blog refers quite a lot of traffic to my shop so I decided it was definitely worthwhile keeping it, but I think it will achieve similar results with slightly less posts. I'm working harder at writing posts that I think my customers will enjoy though - such as my top handmade picks and my new 'made by' series interviewing other makers.
I think it is working and I've been able to get a lot of orders made this week. However, I am a bit behind sending out my monthly newsletter and really need to crack on with making some new designs for the shop (I do have a couple to show you next week though!). I'm pleased on the whole with how much I've been able to achieve in 15 hours a week. And it does show that it's worth thinking about how to work smarter rather than putting in more hours.