Productivity Tips: A Craft Business Owner Puts Ideas Into Action

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By Lisa Anderson Shaffer, courtesy of IndieMade.

Last in a 3-part series on productivity tips for artists and crafters.

With such great productivity tips from Joshua Zerkel and Willo O’Brien, I was finally ready to tackle that oh-so-overwhelming pile of papers for my craft business. I wanted to follow Joshua’s suggestion to start small and not take on too much organization at once.  After all I did want to stick with it!

I decided that the best method for me to start was to simply decide which organizational applications I wanted to try for the year.  Once I took a good hard look at the pile of paperwork that tends to accumulate on my desk, I was able to break down exactly where it all comes from.  It turns out that all the little pieces of paper that become a neverending to-do list pertain to three areas of my craft business:

1.     Money

2.     Contacts

3.     Ideas

These three categories are seemingly huge and significant ones in terms of the success of my craft business. My organizational methods to date have been working, but they could use some streamlining and I could most certainly use any boost in productivity that results. To get things started, I decided on a group of applications that will help me to better manage inventory, income and expenses, ideas and notes, and contacts and receipts.

• Stitch Labs: Online inventory management system to help small business owners keep track of sales through multiple channels.

• Outright: Online accounting and small business bookkeeping software.

• Evernote: Online notetaking system to save, organize, and share voice memos, photographs, web pages and more.

• Shoeboxed: Online receipt and business card scanning and organization service.

My most important criterion: all four applications had to be accessible from my mobile phone.  I’m on the go a lot and I need to be able to tackle small tasks when they arise.  For an organizational system to work for me, I need to be able to get to it while in line at the grocery store. It sounds silly, but as craft business owners know, sometimes you need to make every minute count! Waiting until later is where I get into trouble and how the dreaded pile of papers accumulates.

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