Monday, May 19, 2008

How a Lampwork & Jewellery Artist Structures her Business

A question that is often asked of me is how I manage to find the time to maintain my business at the pace that I do. I could answer that question very simply by saying it is because I love what I do, but there is a lot more to it than that.

1. You need to have strict working hours. Many people find when working from home they are easily distracted, if this is the case you need to strictly set your working hours. I generally start my day at 8 a.m., work through till 12, take an hour's lunch break, then continue through.

2. Have a daily 'to do' list. I have an online 'to do' list which I place on my desktop at the start of my day. It's a great feeling to cross each item off during the course of the day.

3. Be prepared to work long hours. Working from home does have it's advantages but if you really want your business to have a high profile you have to be prepared to put many hours into it. I structure my day so as my studio work is done in daylight hours and my computer work is left until the evenings.

4. Prioritize your work. Pleasing your customers is the most important fact to have a successful business. When an order is received, drop everything and work on it immediately. Let your customer know it will be ready within a week and try to have it out sooner, your customer will be happy with the service and hopefully recommend you to others.

5. Updating your website. I personally think it is imperative for a business to have an online presence. So many potential customers prefer to shop from the comfort of their own home and at a time that suits them. You constantly need new content on your website to keep people continually coming back. In my experience potential customers visit your website a considerable amount of times before they make a purchase, and if over a course of a few months they find there has been no activity on your site, they may question if it is still in operation and shop elsewhere.

6. Being a housewife, mother and business owner. I must admit it can be a struggle wearing all three hats. I recently decided my house had suffered long enough, so while my business was going through a quiet time I took advantage and spent a few weeks thoroughly cleaning what had become a very messy house. I have now added to my daily 'to do' list one room each day to do a quick clean through in the evenings to try and keep on top of the situation. Of course if you can train your children and husband to help, even better, it seems I've failed miserably in that area.

7. Social Networking. I have just added this subject to my list, hence the start of my blog. I have now allocated a day to my blog so in that time I can research topics and write up a few blogs in my textEdit with hopeful intentions of having a weeks worth of blogs ready in advance. Another day is reserved for working on my website and making a presence in StumbleUpon.

I've been self employed for over 20 years, began when my children were toddlers. Organizing my business definitely did not happen overnight, it has taken many years of experience to find the best way of structuring the business and having a routine that works well. I'm sure the methods I use may not suit all of you, but hopefully you may have found a tip that you can utilize. I have always worked in a way to keep my overheads very low. I taught myself how to use 'Dreamweaver' to enable me to make and maintain my own websites. You may prefer to hire a webmaster and relieve yourself of some of the work burden, I find I enjoy this side of my work nearly as much as creating lampwork beads and jewellery!

Be inspired by Winston Churchill when he wrote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up."

Perseverance is the magic word. If you truly desire to own a business, don't let the little things get you down, keep working at it. Has relating my own experience of running a business helped you?


Barb Macy said...

Great blog & article, Lorraine! You've got a lot of useful & practical information!!! Thanks!

Glass and Splinters said...

Thank you Barb! There will certainly be more to come.