Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taking off & making time

I'm constantly on the look out for any advice I can get on the process of starting a small business. I just so happened to come across THREE great articles this morning - looks like it's my lucky day! They are all related to Etsy, the popular handmade item marketplace, but all are relevant to any business just taking off. This one and this one come from Design*Sponge guest blogger abbey goes design hunting about two great Etsy businesses. This one comes straight from the regular Etsy blog feature, Quit Your Day Job, and is a great look into taking the leap into a small business venture during these scary economic times. All great inspiring reads to start the day off!

As for me, my biggest challenge so far has been setting enough time aside to get things done for Lady Fleur while maintaining a full time job and various freelance projects at the same time. I think time management is a challenge for any business owner (and non-business owners for that matter!), and there really is not one solution that is right for everyone. It seems the key is finding what works for you. As for me, I know my solution has to be something that keeps me organized and motivated at the same time. Clutter is my enemy, and I get too overwhelmed to accomplish anything when I'm not organized. Enemy #2 is laziness. I'm a huge procrastinator and I will find every excuse imaginable to put off doing what needs to be done, so sometimes I need an extra push to keep me motivated. I've found what works for me is checklists. I feel organized by having everything I need to do written out, and checking off completed tasks gives me a sense of accomplishment that keeps me motivated. So there we go - organized AND motivated! Perfect, right? Not quite. I found that just writing down what I need to do TODAY doesn't quite take care of the motivation for my long-term goals as much as I'd like it to. What I've turned to for this is my handy Gmail calendar. My calendar is my lifeline. I have it emailed to me every morning in case I forget to look at it (because I do that sometimes - remember to write down appointments but forget to look at my calendar...) so I know for sure what I have set out for the day ahead. My newest trick is sitting down at the beginning of the week and scheduling specific steps towards my long-term goals. This is a variation of an idea I got from a HOW Design magazine article in January about using your calendar to schedule steps to achieving your marketing and self-promotion goals. They even have a great calendar you can download with their "Marketing To-Do List"a already laid out for you! It's really helped me get a grip on what I can actively do right now to work towards my long term goals, and that really gives me a deeper sense of accomplishment that keeps me focused on the big picture as well. So now, I have three ingredients in my personal recipe for time management success - organization, motivation, and focus! What's yours?

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