A Simple Way to Make Progress in Your Jewelry Business (Video)

Jewelry and Coffee with Rena

by Rena Klingenberg.

Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere with your jewelry business? Here’s a solution that may help you:

Transcript of This Video

How can you make progress in your jewelry business when there are so many things you want to create and do?

This is a real challenge for creative people.

We tend to have more cool ideas than we can ever possibly follow through on.

And new ideas always sound so much more inspiring and enticing than what we’re working on now!

So how do we get things finished?

First of all, I recommend capturing all of your great ideas for your jewelry and your business in an idea journal.

That way you can prioritize, develop, and use these ideas when you’re ready.

Now here’s the important (but challenging!) part.

You can’t take action on all of these exciting ideas at the same time.

So choose one of your ideas or projects to focus on for now, and do it well.

Because the only way to make progress is to finish things.

And the best way to finish things is to have just one project going on at a time.

Otherwise you have dozens of projects going at the same time, in various stages of getting started or being worked on, and nothing ever gets finished.

And I know that because I have often been the queen of that, having too many projects going on, and working on too many ideas.

That doesn’t do justice to your great ideas – and it’s frustrating because you don’t make any progress.

So the best thing to do is to get those ideas recorded in a jewelry journal, pick one of the ideas, and then work on that project from start to finish.

And when you finish it, you can pick the next idea to work on.

You will be amazed at the progress you make by focusing on just one project – one idea – at a time, and taking it all the way from start to finish!

I would love to hear your experiences with either having way too many projects going on at once, or actually focusing on things and taking them all the way from start to finish.

Thank you so much for joining me today to talk about this, and I’ll see you next time!

The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:

Faux seaglass earrings and Circles necklace by Rena Klingenberg

Earrings: Faux seaglass.

Earwires: From my Easy Fancy Earwires Tutorial.

Necklace: From my Dramatic Necklace from Jewelry Links and Chain Scraps Tutorial.

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  • zoraida says:

    You’re so right, Rena. It is vital to finish the projects we start but sometimes I’m not happy with the way something is turning out and I have to put it aside. Eventually, I find it again and suddenly see the solution. Sometimes the image I see in my head is beyond my skill level and taking a break to learn something new enables me to go back, reexamine and complete those unfinished pieces. Perhaps it’s just the enthusiasm for exploring and learning that fuels my desire to perfect and complete a project?

  • Mary Wong says:

    I’m like Zoraida. Sometimes what I want to achieve is just beyond my current skill level. So, I have a “Revisit” box where I keep my unfinished or not quite satisfied work…which is getting full. There are occasional projects that I keep at day after day. I would wake up and think, “Well, what if I try…?” It is pretty neat when it finally works! (One thing I’ve learned from Rena is to use less expensive wire to prototype. I use Artistic wire until I get the measurement and the design right; then I move into Argentium wire.)

  • Bev Carlson says:

    I agree with Zoraida, I really can’t focus on just one thing for many of the reasons she gave. That said, I really should try to be more focused and able to finish projects more.
    I have a list of projects and when I sit down with the “what next?” idea in my head, I have something to jog my memory of things to do.

  • My problem is time management, meaning I don’t do too well at it. Since I am addicted to beaded Kumihimo, I am constantly starting and almost finishing the piece (meaning I just have to put the end caps and clasp on the piece). What has worked for me in the past and I am guilty of not following is creating an assembly line and just finishing off these pieces and checking them off my mental list. Another problem I have is having several projects going on at the same time, like a paracord bracelet or keyfob, a rubber band lanyard, a Kumihimo piece and a so-called regular necklace. Maybe I can talk one of my cats to help me 🙂

  • Helen says:

    Thanks Rena for this timely post. I agree with Anita – time management is a major issue for me too. This is mainly because as a one woman show I have to do such mundane things like admin, marketing and promoting my jewellery oh and selling it (not to forget networking and writing my own blog) – when all I want to do is create. I have a gazillion ideas in my head and I would rather just crack on with them. I do write ideas down or print tutorials for techniques out I want to try. With polymer clay there are things I don’t like doing -and that’s finishing off designs – sanding and polishing takes ages and is my least favourite job. It’s very tempting to start yet another project instead of just get on with it and finish what I have started. Maybe I should just see the start of the next project as a reward for finishing off current projects? At the moment I have several trays of polymer clay pendants which need sanding and polishing and several Kumihimo chains which need end caps. So maybe I should really just get on with it. However there are occasions where having several things on the go is actually a good thing esp. with polymer clay you can easily have designs in various stages. For example you create a cane which needs to rest before using it, items ready for the oven, and items ready for attaching bails and signature canes too. I know that the end result is often worth the effort. So I have now divided my trays so the process of sanding is not too overwhelming and I can do it in stages. I sooo look forward to my next project though:)

  • I try to keep my “working on” projects limited to two: my current and next project. I’ve found myself to be so excited about the “next” project that i failed to design matching earrings to about 15 necklaces! It took toooo long to design and construct all those necklaces that i established a self-rule:move on to a new piece only AFTER the earrings are done! When i come across beads/elements that make me “chomp at the bit”, i take a pic of it and file it into my “ideas” photo folder on my tablet.

  • Rose Barden says:

    Your are sooooo right, that is me. But I am grateful that you’ve taken the time to put this video out, I felt like it was just me, being unorganized; but now I know it not. thanks again for this tip with the journal.

  • Sandy Kane says:

    Thanks again Rena, for the kind words of encouragement and wisdom. I have a trick to finishing my beaded jewelry: I tell myself the piece is for me and I NEED to wear it right away! I sometimes make multiples of one design so I actually do get to keep a collection of goodies (one for me, one for you)… Plus it’s good to have a prototype in hand, in case I get a request to make it again. Cheers!

  • Linda Tenney says:

    Having too many design projects in flight has been an ongoing issue for me; some days, it’s like I have ADD, where I plan to work on some project or another, and then get distracted by “something shiny over there”!

    I also experience “analysis paralysis” where I research, look for inspiration, buy books & tutorials, etc. for a new design or technique, and never get around to actually DOING it! Because, like some of you have commented, I don’t feel the reality of what I create could live up to my high expectations, or exceed my current abilities!

    A while back, I began to experience stifling design project backlog. Like planes on the runway waiting for clearance to take off, they were all out on my dining room table on several bead boards and bead mats. I’d also have numerous plastic storage trays of beads and components set out on a folding table. Eventually, I’d say to myself, “You can’t do them all at the same time, so put some away,” and I’d do this over and over again when the projects built up too much.

    So then, I had the great idea like many of you have had, where I gathered all the components together into plastic bags and kept them all stored in one place. But because there were always new projects that still got my attention first, these supply bags sat hidden away for weeks or months. When I’d look through them, I’d realize there were wonderful components in there that I could have used in other projects but forgot I had them! So, most of the grouped supplies had to be returned to the wild as well, so they’d be back in circulation.

    But now Andrea’s mention of taking a photo of it is just the solution for me! Thank you! I’ve taken a few photos of design prototypes, with the pieces laid out, but I’d never thought of taking pics of just the raw materials I might want to use before I even have more fleshed-out design concepts in mind.

    Now I can preserve my material combination ideas, and yet still have all those components in play if something better or more immediate comes up!

  • Kathleen Langone says:

    I do have at least 5 pieces in progress as one time. But I do eventually finish them. Here’s the “why” I have so being created in parallel. I like to string my designs and let them “sit” for days or weeks, and see if the design still looks good after some time has gone by. I would say about 1/3 of my pieces I do reconstruction on, and in a few cases take them apart and put the beads back into my “beading universe” for another future project. The has seemed to work for me. And sometimes… I get a piece done, but find I really need a different clasp to make it look right. And frankly, that’s a chronic issue I’ve find – finding distinctive clasps. The typically online bead supply websites just don’t have a good selection. And I don’t have any local shops that have good clasps either. Any suggestions welcome here. One one “last” reason – is that I really need to be in the right mood to attach my clasps and do the crimping just right. Often I have hurried things, and have had to re-string! Thanks to all that post at Rena’s site… it both interesting and supporting to read these posts. Happy Beading to all!

  • Marlene Torres says:

    Hi Rena and everyone. I am fairly new to beading and jewelry crafting, but I have been an avid crafter since I was around 5 years old (that’s about 50 years experience at crafts). Creativity is in my heart and soul. I found some jewelry parts and started tinkering with them. Then started repairing old jewelry…then it led to buying parts and string and well… a few months later and I have a huge collection of parts and pieces. I’ve made some unique items, but they just don’t seem good enough yet. I gave them away as gifts instead of selling them so that I can see who wears what and if it doesn’t break or anything.
    Now that I’ve found Rena’s blog, you have given me a new outlook on how to approach my jewelry making. One piece at a time instead of a dozen or more unfinished ones. I have made some nice pieces that I did just that with so you’d think I would’ve taken that clue lol. Anyway, thanks for posting and helping us jewelry noobs get crackin.

  • Judi says:

    It’s like you’re reading my mind with this video. I work in my basement & only seem to have snippets of time to work on anything. I’ll often get to my table and my mind jumps from one thing to the next before I even get started. I try to have a goal in mind but need to work on my discipline. I try to at least end up with ‘Some’ finished piece. When I do, I feel better when I have to come back to the real world upstairs

  • Judi says:

    And thanks a bunch for your helpful and encouraging videos.

  • McNierneyLou says:

    I think of things (new ideas) in the middle of the night when I cant go to sleep. So–I get up and do them (or at least start) so I don’t forget. I know that doesn’t sound like a very healthy way to do it but it works for me because once I have something started I cant wait to finish it to see what it looks like, I also have to test drive each piece. ( try it out by wearing it for a while). No wonder im the crazy woman

  • I’m a start to finish kind of gal. I might take out my storage box of black beads, make little piles of components, then turn one of those piles into a finished piece. Organization is key for me. Once I have all those finished, they get a photo session, entered on my website, then tagged and priced. As I do shows and a black piece sells, I have another one ready to go.
    I have a paper folder and ideas kept on the computer, but I hardly pay attention to them. I just let the creative juices run through my fingers.

  • Liz at Lizards Leap Jewelry says:

    Rena, you’re so right, and it’s so hard to finish one thing all the way through! I find my biggest issue is running out of materials before I’ve finished, then having to put the piece aside until I’ve got more. That just happened to me yesterday, in fact. The other problem is cleaning up and putting away once I’ve finished a project. Right now, my work table is covered with the odds and ends of pieces I’ve already finished, and I never want to take the time to put them all away. Love the journal idea, it’s something I’ve been doing myself for awhile now.

  • I so understand, Liz! When fresh inspiration strikes, it’s so hard to take the time to put away the mess of the previous project! Unfortunately, cleanup is just not as interesting & fun as creating. 🙂

  • Thelma Long says:

    I have two approaches that seem to help me (although I do have large basket of re-do projects). I focus on an idea or type of item each week. Last week I made a barefoot sandal and matching anklet for the beginning of summer. All of my energies were focused on creating different styles. This week I am working on enhancing or embellishing wide leather bracelets. I set a focus for that week. Sometimes it is wire crochet, wire-wrapping, etc. and I spend my week with that. Sometimes I force myself to do the boring and not very creative work of sorting and reorganizing my bead area. My other approach when I am doing a project ….example a simple stranded necklace……is to use all or most of left-overs at that time. This cuts down the massive bead stashes. Also, you have to be creative to come up with ways to use up the supplies without duplicating what you just did. I have found these strategies helpful to me.

  • Thelma, great idea to have a focus each week – definitely a way to make progress instead of having a week of spinning your wheels (which happens to me sometimes!).

  • This is hilarious. We are all so creative that we MUST rush to this design while the other is not crimped yet and I can’t find anything. I am on too many social media accounts and find Twitter NOT to my taste but have found some little secrets lately on turning a “I’m sorry I can’t afford it” into a double sale paid immediately. I get burnt out because I do so many things at the same time.

    What has helped me during burnout (I sell only online) is “socializing” and being in groups I like on Facebook to meet new people. I focus on having a lot of fun online and always find that when I don’t care anymore, another order makes it’s way through the funnel.

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