Most of us in the art and craft business are not afraid to put in extra long hours. After all, you’re your own boss, so who is going to call you out for being a taskmaster? Aside from creative burnout, overworking can leave you feeling like you’re a little indentured to your craft.
If your plan to grow your business only involves making more and more of everything then you are on a path to exhaustion. Making everything by hand means there are physical limitations...for example, I crochet; I work yarn through knots with a hook. I want to grow my business, but how much time per day can I spend with hook in hand? What are the alternatives? How can you work smarter?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Keep a Targeted Inventory
Be aware of the seasons, shows, and on-line demand. I don’t want to waste my time making inventory that will sit for 9 months when I know there are other things I could do that contribute to the business right now, like building a website, writing a blog, and networking.
2. Delegate Other Activities
If you’re not ready to hire help, what about asking your sister to watch the kids while you finish a big project or your friend to help with mailing labels? By shifting time and tasks you can focus on the creative work and maybe even speed up your own process. Notice I’m not saying to outsource your work. Why give up the fun part?
Diversify your creative line to include a wide price range and different types of objects so you don’t feel like a machine. As an artist you don’t have to make widgets. Don’t turn your creative dreams into widgets!
And, go beyond just 'making' by adding multiple streams of income. Teach, write, make patterns, kits, and more; find other ways to use your expertise.
Running your own business means you are highly motivated to succeed, but don’t forget to cut yourself some slack. What other ways can you keep yourself from feeling indentured to your craft?
Anne Lawrence is an educator, curator, maker, and advocate for the arts and artists, of all kinds. She runs Modest Ambition, specializing in creative crochet.
Main image courtesy of banspy