Things to remember when working for yourself.
I've just made a business... and it has made me realise a few things. I keep having to remind myself that I am working hard, and even if it's just small now if I keep working hard it will only grow and flourish. I thought I would write down a few of the things I need to keep reminding myself about running my business... mostly so that when I feel like I am in the mud I can look back on this and feel better, but I hope that maybe it can help some of you too!
First and Foremost...This is a job, and you should set an hourly rate. My time is precious, and it is important that my prices reflect the time I spend on a product or service. From the start of a project to the end, the final price should cover you for all the time you spent on it. Designing, prototyping, corresponding and making. It all takes time and time costs money.
It's okay to say no... or to ask for a compromise. Sometimes a client will ask for something you simply cannot do, This could be due to budget, skillset, equipment, or maybe the thing they ask is actually impossible (although this is a funny rarity). It is completely okay to tell them that explain the problem and try to work for a compromise. Most people are really willing to do so!
TAKE A BREAK. I quite often feel that if I am not working then I am wasting my time. This mentality is really unhealthy, it is okay to take a break, to relax for a minute and prevent burnout. I never want to hate what I am doing, and well-timed breaks have saved me on rough days.
Separate work time and downtime. Okay, I get that this is similar to the last one but its still important. Having a separate space for work a for rest is really important. In my tiny flat, it is hard to escape, we have three rooms in total. So my fix is just to change the set up of my space, making it feel different. It really helps me to switch off from 'work mode' and enjoy my downtime.
Keep a clear record of everything... EVERYTHING. This one is where the 'business' side comes in. You need to keep clear, up to date records of everything. Spreadsheets are so handy for this, and honestly, once you get the hang of excell after a few google searches, it can be quite satisfying. record your sales, record shipping dates, purchases for the business, costs, compare different services you need...etc.
Social media is extremely important. This one is one I need to work on way more. I always feel like I am terrible at social media and networking. I'm not sure how to improve, but I'm doing my research... and I'm making TikToks (@cuddlepuddle__). I'm still figuring out how to present myself online, especially on Instagram, where engagement is so important.
Your work is worth the price tag. This is a big boy. I've never actually been taught how to price my work from anyone officially. It's not really on the curriculum, but it is probably one of the most important things you could learn. I price my items based on a number of different factors: material costs, time to make, level of skills involved, general market competition, and how much I think I would pay for the item.
You are THE boss. This is your company, you are in control of everything. If you don't like what you are doing you can absolutely stop. Don't like a supply you use anymore? get a different one. Want to rebrand? DO IT. This is your work and you can do anything you want with it. but also remember that it is your responsibility, no one else is accountable, and no one else is in charge.
You are a BOSS. You built a business! That is ridiculously impressive. Especially right now, in the current climate. You did this and you should be proud of yourself!
I realise this post has a whole lot of text, so here are a few photographs to tide you over for a bit XD.
A Pair of trousers I thrift flipped and altered into shorts that fit me better.
An illustration I was considering selling as a print but I thought it was too generic
a hand-dyed panel of a camping poncho I am testing out.
a tiny Clanger!!