Your Handmade Shop: How to Finish 2020 Strong & Plan for 2021
As the calendar slowly scratches the dates left in 2020, one thing can be sure - 2020 was the year everything changed. From big to small shops, the fabric of business has and continues to massively change.
Our livelihoods and plans changed. Our pace and normal routine were altered in unforeseen ways, and some of us are still juggling life with new challenges of school at home & work at home.
If you’ve come through this storm with your business intact, we applaud you and your tenacity. If you decided to put your handmade shop aside for a time to care for the emotional needs of your children, we applaud you and your tenacity. If life has finally seemed to settle and you’re gearing up for better times, we applaud you and your tenacity. If your business has struggled and faltered, causing sleepless nights and worry, we applaud you and your tenacity.
This year has required tenacity.
And as the year begins to close, there is never a better time to look at your strategy for your handmade business going forward.
It’s never too late to pick up where you left off.
It's never too late to plan moving forward.
This can sound like obvious advice - everyone is looking for opportunity! Especially now. But what we’ve learned through this challenging year is to look for the opportunities in the times and places where it feels there is none. Did you catch that? Look for the opportunities in the times and places where it feels there is none.
We know you’ve been up against A LOT, and it takes a lot of willpower to not get down or overwhelmed.
Take that amazingly talented, creative brain you’ve been blessed with - and work it. Find the opportunities - even in the tough situations - to try and see where you can solve a problem - make something better - turn a narrative around.
When the ‘realness’ of this year hit us, we took a second to take a deep breath. And when we were done breathing, we started looking at our business. We took advantage of the business pause to think about processes and strategies we wanted to implement. We had been running at such a fast pace, and it was refreshing to take a moment and refocus.
Is there anything YOU can do to make your business better in this season of change? Can you take care of any BIG items on your to-do list like moving your shop from Etsy to Shopify (blog post here for how to do that!), or redesigning your packaging (blog post here for ideas)? Can you develop any new products with the time you have?
Where are the opportunities for your shop?
Routines, normality, and a sense of regularity are so important. If you struggled with those first few weeks at home, you’ll know all about that! Just as your personal life needs to keep moving, so does your business.
Keep producing content, despite your sales numbers. Keep checking in online. Keep doing the work to sustain your brand and business through this challenging time. Keep showing up! If you can continue to water your business and maintain brand visibility, you’ll have a much easier time growing your business and moving forward when things pick up again - and they will.
Handmade businesses are almost always made up of a similar type of person. They’re creative thinkers. They look at things slightly differently than the average person.
The part of you that makes you so good at making beautiful and unique handmade items is the SAME part of you that can brainstorm creative solutions to help your business grow despite the year’s setbacks.
Much like ‘looking for the opportunities’, your creative brain has the ability to make unique solutions to problems most people can’t solve. When most people think in straight lines, you think in colors and shapes. Does it happen magically just because you happen to be a creative person? Nope. It requires brainstorming and a million ‘bad’ ideas before you hit your breakthrough. But some of the best ideas and solutions happen after a season of drought or personal setback.
Creativity is often described as a muscle - you have to use it, exercise it, stress it.
So use it! Exercise it! STRESS IT!
Solve your business problems in creative ways - your creative handmade business deserves that much!
It’s never too late or too early to be planning for the future. Is what you’re doing today getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? Do you know what you want to be doing this time next year? Do you have real goals or a vision of where you want to be in 2 months? 6 months? 3 years?
Part of keeping your business on track is to keep your goals and plans forward focused. If you’ve read our blog post on Setting & Achieving Goals Business Goals for Your Handmade Shop, you’ll have a step by step guide on how to take your dreams and aspirations and make them tangible goals and achievements.
Reflect on your past year.
NEVER STOP DREAMING.