Oh the Details!

by Deb Dickens.
(Toledo, Ohio USA)

agate-pendant-beadsAfter having just read the page on how to manage the less exciting aspects of trying to run a jewelry business, I have to say that its those details that get in the way of creativity.

I am gearing up for an in-home show, trying to create a few new pieces so my repeat customers don’t get bored, I find my mind wandering back to the things I should be doing to drum up more business. But I feel without new work, and a forward vision, what is the point?

And on the flip side of that, if I’m not doing what I need to do to interest more customers (marketing, website, pounding the bricks) then I feel what is the point of having new work if no one is going to see it! I tend to feel like the snake eating its own tail.

I have no reasonable way to resolve this duality, was more just using this forum as a way to vent. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!

Deb Dickens


The Point of it All
by: Patricia C Vener

Alyson B Stanfield recently wrote a blog discussing a very similar question of her artist readers. In summary the question is if selling is a necessary criteria for creating. For the most part, we artists create and most probably would continue or find other ways to do so even if we aren’t selling as much as we’d like.

The best way to approach the business aspect of being an artist or artisan is to look at the business side as a challenge to a different sort of creativity. It’s not easy. I can’t say I am entirely successful but it is how I try to approach the business aspect of being an artist.

Allocating Time
by: Millie GotRocks

Sounds like you need to slow down just a bit. I know it all gets overwhelming when you try to do it all at once. The trouble with multi-tasking is burn out; before we complete one task we get involved with another and nothing gets done or should I say completed.

This is just a suggestion of course but the solution for many of my business associates as well as me is to organize time. Organizing time is nothing new but sometimes we get so caught up in all we have to do we need a little organization.

If I make a “short” list and allocate a reasonable amount of time over the coming week usually I can complete what I need to do. Sometimes one task bleeds over to the next but I can adjust the next day. My short list is comprised of things that need to be done now. The longer version of the list is everything that needs to be done within the next month.

I admit I am a list maker, if I don’t make that list I forget things until the last minute and then I get stressed and I do not like being stressed and hurried.

Good luck, take a deep breath and smile a lot. (no one will know how much you didn’t get done)


Make It Work For You
by: Anonymous

Hi Deb,

I soo understand how you feel. With so much information overload about marketing it can become pretty overwelming! I find that slowing down,coming up with simple creative ways to market that fit my lifestyle works for me. I don’t have time to stay on the computer all day with facebook, or twitter, (I’m not against them, it’s just not the best way for me.) I enjoy meeting potential customers face to face, so I utilize some of my time by contacting them when in the grocery store, hair salon, school etc. Simple casual conversation, passing out cards or small flyers can bring in possible sales. Enjoy creating your jewelry parties and utilize repeat customers to help get the word out for you. Much success Deb!

Infusing your business with creativity
by: Rena

Patricia, I agree with you that “look at the business side as a challenge to a different sort of creativity” is an excellent strategy.

Deb, like many creative folks, I find that if something can’t be done with a dose of creativity, it’s excruciatingly dull for me. So I try to find ways to put my own creative touch on the less-interesting business tasks, and it really helps.

And some business tasks actually CAN be really interesting if you approach them from the perspective of “since this is my business, I get to create every detail of every aspect of my business”.

Also, I’ve found it tremendously helpful to eliminate the un-fun / difficult things whenever possible, and build my business more on the things and activities I enjoy and am good at.

I procrastinate terribly on things I dislike doing – and that usually makes everything come screeching to a halt! So designing the “ick” out of my business as much as possible has been a key success strategy for me.

I hope this helps!

business details
by: Here Today Beadworks

If you have no stuff, there is no business. I only started doing the business part when I started making too many pieces. I had a table at a Farmers Market and only sold there. I had no business card, did not keep track of sales, had no etsy shop, no facebook page, and I didn’t need any of them. Once I made more pieces, I started getting people asking for custom work at the Market, so I needed a business card. As I sold more, I had to keep track of supply costs so that I could price accurately, so now I was doing simple accounting. Then someone asked if I had considered selling online, and when I explained I was not computer literate enough to do my own web page they said “oh no, I shop at etsy, check it out”, and now I have an online shop (slow sales, great info and lots of fun). Once I had that, my facebook friends wanted to see to and so now I also have a fb page. I spend only a few minutes a day on the computer, unless I have more time, and the rest of my creative time is spent creating. No point having an empty table/shop or nothing to shop people on my fb page 🙂

The Business End is Like Housework
by: Tamara

As I read the above entries, it occurs to me that I find the same dilemma in a different way. I’m starting to get better at allowing myself the time to really invest in my business, but I have struggled with the dilemma that when I am doing the things that need to be done in my household, like housework, cooking, errands, etc., I’m yearning to create. When I’m creating, I’m thinking of what needs to be done around me. And, yes, that can basically neutralize me. It has taken the possibility of a life change to kick things into gear for me so that I give myself permission to focus on my business. I guess I was sort of looking on it as a luxury before. But now I see it as what I’m supposed to be doing in the world. And as I allow myself to focus on that, and focus on that first ofen, then when I am satisfied that my creative needs have been somewhat met, I’ll hurry and get what needs to be done completed. I think the same applies to the business end of the business. When you give yourself permission to create, there comes a natural point where you need a break from it and can turn your attention to doing another detail of the business. That way the whole endevour can flow naturally. When being out in the marketplace or focusing on business details causes you to start feeling out of touch with yourself, as it can, you can retreat back into your creative space.

by: April Schwaegerle

Hi Deb,

It’s true there are a lot of aspects to running a creative business. I have found myself in challenging situations such as yours. When I allow myself to ponder too deeply about all of the aspects of running a business, I find that I become mentally paralyzed and even less productive.

What works best for me when that happens is to take a pause and breathe. Then I break my big mountain into smaller pieces of rock one rock at a time. Some days I tackle the creative rocks and other days the administrative rocks, planning rocks…you see what I mean.

I also try to go with “the flow”. There are days I am bursting with creativity and on those days I create. On other less inspired days, I accomplish the other business tasks. I find that when I focus on only one aspect at a time I am more productive.

And when I am most overwhelmed, I stop and breathe. I mean actually sitting down and clearing my mind and just concentrating on my breathing. Meditating. Sometimes I go for a walk and just connect with nature and the fact that I’m alive to enjoy it. It helps me to focus better when I get back to work.

Wishing you all the best,
April Schwaegerle

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