{Handmade Business in 31 Days — Day 24, How to move forward when you have a lot going on.}

Day 24// A couple of months ago we were gearing up for our big move to Los Angeles. There was so much planning to do — organize a garage sale, sell leftover materials from the Gussy studio, pray for a job for Zack, save save SAVE money!, find a new OB doc, and of course lots + lots of details pertaining to Gussy Sews. I scaled back in a big way with a few things because I knew I would forget about important details if I was too overwhelmed. I didn’t want to have incomplete projects when we pulled out of our driveway. And, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to make the right choices for the blog + shop. Now that we’re here it’s time to regain our momentum, and I have with a lot of things, but there are still a lot of things that remain unfinished: there’s hiring to do, blog posts to write, emails to reply to, a home to maintain, and more. All of which are very important tasks. Even though I scaled back a bit I still find myself feeling really overwhelmed at times, unable to move forward. I’m learning stressful situations don’t motivate me, instead they set me back — and I recognize these feelings as unnecessary.

So, I’m in search of a great, long-term solution :) Know of any? Leave ’em in the comments!

Here’s how I move forward when I have a lot going on: first, I take a few minutes to be quiet and slow my thoughts down. Then I make a list of everything on my mind. E V E R Y T H I N G! Lists are good for me because they help me to regain my focus, and like Zack reminds me, once my list has been made I almost always realize it’s way bigger in my head than on paper. Which is totally reassuring.

Homework// Take some time to think about your biggest obstacle, separating you from handmade success. Now back up a few steps, what happens that brings you to being in front of that obstacle? What can you eliminate or re-work so you are able to move forward?

Perhaps you too have trouble moving forward with something relating to your handmade business? The decisions you have to make, the things you’ll have to say no to — the things you know you must say yes to!, and the brand you are working so hard to represent… What kind of challenges are you facing right now?

join us? it’s not too late.

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  1. 1

    Bre Dale says

    Loved this post! I am struggling with some things all around and mostly b/c I just hit the 7 month pregnancy mark and things are getting tougher. I too write it down and then try to address it. I do feel completely blessed so most of the time I let it go

  2. 2


    I just said No this weekend. I was venturing into a business deal aside from lil’ alice. It was something new I would have to learn, something that would take many hours, something that was weighing heavy over me. As much as I wanted to invest myself in this, I knew I was giving one more piece of myself away to something else & that would mean taking away more time from my family. I couldn’t do it. I had to say no.

    I learned to say no when my kids were younger & I was finding that I was away from the house all the time. I liked to stay busy & I wasn’t use to being home & just being. I started saying no to play dates, I started saying no to commitments beyond myself & my family. My kids are in 1 sport each at a time. I have learned the art of saying no & not over committing myself. It’s fairly easy to say no, not necessarily right away, but saying let me think it over, let me look at my agenda & I will get back to you with an answer.

    I enjoy being home & just being. I think about that time I learned to just be home & enjoy it, I learned to sew. Because again, I can’t just sit & do nothing.

    Having learned to say no, it’s easy to carry that over into business. Someone wants me to make 1 item of something & I have no clue how to do it, but with several hours of making a pattern & figuring it out I could eventually do it. But is it worth it…… no! And therefore, I say no & I don’t feel guilty at all.

  3. 3


    I just want you to know I am loving this series. I tweeted that to you too, but I check in every day. Thank you so much for sharing tips/tricks, real life stuff…you are an inspiration!

    Sometimes my biggest obstacle in self-doubt. When times get slow, I start to think, they will never pick up again so I hesitate to do some serious restocking to prepare for busy times. Then when things get busy, I am not as prepared so it’s harder to enjoy the busy times.

    I am also a stay-at-home-mom. Being a mom is what has allowed me to stay home and spend more time on my business, but it doesn’t allow for a lot of time to work on it especially as my son has gotten older. I am sure that will go through stages too.

    xo Katie

  4. 4


    I am RIGHT there with you! I have so much going on, so many unfinished tasks, so many goals, so many things I can’t do because I don’t have time, and then there is the struggle between biz and home. Which is HARD when your biz is in your home, with 3 kids!! I have not found any long term solutions yet, but I am praying about it! I know I have to turn it all over to God. I can’t do this without Him. I think for me, that is the first step, to really surrender it to Him. He cares and He will help! I need to realized I can’t do it all alone, because I am SO overwhelmed ~

    Thank you for this great series!

  5. 5

    Donna says

    I can’t begin to tell you how much you are helping me. No wonder I was not successful in earlier attemts at handmade businesses. I have been stalled for a week now because I am getting ready for 2 craft fairs, but I want an Etsy store and blog going so I can add these to a business card to hand out. I am a list maker too. I even have lists of lists. lol But I didn’t think to make a list of everything I am thinking about. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  6. 6

    Donna says

    This is off topic but I have been dying to share this with you. I also make baby blankets and quilts. I love sewing and the thing that attracttd me right away to your blog is the pic of all the spools in the red basket. I read a tutorial about using a spool for a childs ornament. You glue a strip of paper to the spool after you write the childs Christmas list on the paper. I made these for my grand kids one year. With the date on them they are keep sake ornaments.

  7. 9

    paula says

    My silly way to get motivated is to set a timer for 20 minutes and work on one task. When the timer goes off I set it for a 10 minute break. That helps me get started and it is amazing what I can get done in 20 minute intervals. Usually I get involved enough that I don’t even need the timer anymore!

  8. 10


    My challenge is I have so many ideas and thins I want to do that I have a hard time thinking straight. I know that I need to stop, breathe and focus on one or two things but my enthusiasm gets the better of me.

  9. 11


    I made a huge mistake when we moved and took on WAAAY too much. The Lord had been pressing on me to give up a certain aspect of my business but because of the money it brought in, I just wasn’t listening. Nothing is worse than being in a new place with tons of orders to fill and no help with the children quite yet and still looking for schools, the craft store for that matter and everything else that goes with it. It is a little scary not having my little safety net that I created, but a happier me who can be a better mom is so worth it. I am still struggling to find balance, but I am getting back into good habits with my housework (GO Flylady!) and re-prioritizing my business. Now I can actually move forward with new ideas which I wasn’t able to before. Great stuff!

  10. 12


    You are awesome! I’ve been looking forward to each post every single day! You are such an inspiration, I just knew I had to have a blog after coming across yours on Instagram. Keep up the amazing work!

  11. 13


    Great topic, you have done such a great job with all the issues of home cottage business, you should be very proud!! This would make a great small paperback book for small home business! haha more work for you:) On a serious note I find I need to focus on one day at a time, gratitude for right where I am now, quiet time out in nature, being with our horse and remembering God is NOT focused on my to do list but how I live each day:) Melissa

  12. 15


    Thanks to you without knowing it you have given me a big kick up the backside! Since Monday i have completely redesigned my blog and brought a domain name (that i need to map) and changed the name to incorporate a shop and mold to two for my handmade business, i am really excited now as i was in a slump before. I have done all the designing myself, it is amazing what you can get done with a positive attitude and a kick up the bum :o)

    I still have things to do but i have given myself until Sunday to finish the bulk of it. I have made some notes from your posts that i can take on board.

    Thank you!

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