{Handmade Business in 31 days — Day 1, Knowing when to say ‘no’}

It’s that time of year — time for The Nester’s “31 days” annual October series, and I’m super excited to announce this years topic ~ HANDMADE BUSINESS in 31 DAYS. We have a whole list of topics, ideas, photos + inspiration to include in each daily post, as well as additional post content pulled from our editorial calendar throughout the month. For 31 days straight we’ll be discussing handmade business topics from packaging to hiring help to managing email, and many things in between. I hope you’ll join us in the comments section for additional discussion.

Day 1//  Knowing when to say ‘no’

There are two things I’ve learned when it comes to taking opportunities: know how busy — or not busy, your schedule is {including the upcoming months} and know the purpose statement of your business. Let’s digress on the latter first. Take some time to outline the purpose statement of your biz, noting things like… What you want others to take away? What are your goals? What kind of content will you create to achieve these goals? What is the #1 takeaway from your post/design/proposal/etc.? Having a solid purpose statement will give you a reference point for potential opportunities, allowing you to “know when to say ‘no’”.  Lastly, when you know what your schedule looks like it’s easier to decide on the spot whether you have the time to say yes or no. Knowing when to say ‘no’ also allows you to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that are a better fit your business or brand. Looking at this from another angle: when you know what your purpose statement is you are able to more freely decide on opportunities that fly your way. On the spot. Because you could also reference your schedule.

2013 calender by Gingiber

See? Super simple :)

The tricky part is enforcing what your schedule looks like + your business’ purpose statement.

HOMEWORK// Write a purpose statement for your business {about 3 sentences} + set a schedule for the next 2-3 months {think editorial calendar, travel, product designs, etc.}. Know you have the freedom to edit your purpose statement as your business evolves, and remember that your schedule can always change ~ although putting a few things “in pen” isn’t a bad idea.

 

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Oooohhh! I am so excited about this! I am filing all of my recipes, orders and other paperwork I have let get away the past month and it feels good to start preparing for the upcoming busy months. Thank you for all the tips you guys will be sharing.

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Michelle Sharkey, YES! because these next few weeks will fly by and it’ll be super helpful to have something to reference once the craze of the holidays hits :)

    [Reply]

  2. 2

    says

    Hi Maggie! I’m so psyched about your 31 days series! I’ve been contemplating starting a shop to sell prints of my paintings for some time. I’m even considering doing 31 days of paintings… but I’m on the fence. (Nothing like the last minute, eh?) I loved your podcast with Tsh & am looking forward to gleaning from your experience.

    [Reply]

  3. 3

    says

    Super excited about this topic. I’m *finally* getting ready to launch my handmade business (again) after an extended time off and I never really “did it right” the first time around. The timing couldn’t have been better. Looking forward to the next 30 days!

    Thanks for passing your wisdom on to the rest of us, and best of luck getting settled into your new home, too.

    [Reply]

  4. 5

    says

    Yat! I’m so glad you’re doing this series. When you said you were doing the 31 day challenge I was hoping it was business related. I started my handmade business in August and I have so much to learn. I just finished filling in my October shop/blog calendar. I hope having clear goals for the month will keep me focused and productive.

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Angee @ October Morning, If you set clear goals they’ll be the best assistant to you! promise :)

    [Reply]

  5. 7

    says

    Seriously, *such* perfect timing. I was 100% looking forward to meeting you at Influence and soaking in some hand-made business wisdom. But since that can’t happen this year (so so sad, but very much understood), I am thrilled to be able to learn oodles over the next 31 days. ;)

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Kirsten, Yep, sometimes we need to be reminded it’s OK to say “no”. I’ll be speaking at another conference called Allume later this month, any chance you have a ticket to that as well??? xoxo

    [Reply]

  6. 10

    says

    This is going to be such a fun series to follow! Funny, I’ve been selling my handmade goods online for over 2 years and hadn’t considered whether the “purpose statement” I wrote for myself back shortly after I began really still applies until reading this. The answer: it doesn’t. Time to sit down and re-realize where I’m at and what I’m all about!

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  7. 11

    says

    What a great topic. Thanks for choosing this. I have been contemplating opening a shop but I am also a homeschooling mom to 4. So, I really wonder if this is the right time for me. I am also not sure what all I would be getting myself into.

    On another note, I love your posts on your new advanture. My husband and I have lived in 6 states, all over the country since we have been married, so I really appreciate what you ar doing.

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Eleanor, I know, sometimes it all seems so crazy intense, huh?! I think you should set some time to outline what pursuing a shop would be like for your family. What if you hired help to assist you? If your prices, goals + schedule are written well this is totally do-able! Be courageous! Take time to feed your creative soul :)

    [Reply]

  8. 13

    says

    This is great Maggie! I’m excited about this series. I’ve recently been pushing myself to do more & its been hard knowing what to turn down & what to pursue for my business like whether to do as many craft shows this fall/winter as I had planned or focus more on the online aspect of my business, etc. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to the challenge this will bring me. :-)

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Nadir@StitchSense, I know. I had a moment where I felt like this post topic would sound too negative. But I think us women these days take on too much, we are afraid to say no. Really, saying no means saying yes to other things that REALLY are important, like our health, families, faith, hobbies, etc. Just as much as we need to work to keep the electricity on we need to take time to nurture our health through relaxation/rest + creativity. Even if your creative “thing” may seem like work to someone else. And I also think it’s OK to be honest with the opportunities that come your way. Perhaps you say “no” now but in a couple of months you can say “yes” :)

    [Reply]

  9. 14

    says

    Yes, yes, YES! So true. It’s so hard for me to say “no” (who doesn’t want to help out a fellow blogger/biz owner?), but you’re spot on…if the opportunity doesn’t fit your brand/goals, it’s not right for you. Well said.

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @linda (burlap+blue), I want to cringe sometimes because it feels so terrible. Taking on too much doesn’t help said fellow blogger in the end, though. I know you know this though :) Thanks so much for your comment + enthusiasm! Happy to see your name here! xo

    [Reply]

  10. 15

    says

    wow – I ALSO picked handmade business as my 31 day topic – but focusing on ETSY sellers – you know, how to sell on Etsy, etc…

    I cant wait to read up everything you write! handmade biz is one thing i could read about for hours! :)

    [Reply]

  11. 18

    says

    Yeah, I am so excited for this series. I recently started a business with a product I designed and sewed for one of my children. Still in the infant stages so looking forward to your thoughts on inspiration on the subject!

    [Reply]

  12. 21

    says

    I don’t have a handmade business, but what you’ve shared today applies to my wonderfully full life anyway. Looking forward to reading more of your insights and tips and ideas this month!

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @hsmominmo, YES!!!! so glad you are able to transition the topic to fit your life! yes! :)

    [Reply]

  13. 22

    says

    Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us for your 31 days posts! This is so touching to my heart and so relevant to what is going on in my life right now! I am making products to get my shop to re-open with a facelift. The first time around I didn’t do it quite right. I’m excited to learn from you and see where the Lord takes my biz in this next month!

    [Reply]

  14. 28

    says

    Hi there, just found your site and i’m so happy i did!! for last couple of months i’ve been thinking of starting my own handmade buss. since i will be out of work as of jan 2013 and don’t want to go back to an office job! but i had no idea on how or where to start…. but along came Gussy Sews Yeeeeee!! thank you so much for posting you 31 Days!! I will start reading it today!!! Happy Holiday’s Ruth (sewing in Suriname)

    [Reply]

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