Running a home arts/craft business can be an enormous challenge with great pay-off if you make sure to pace yourself wisely. Don't take on more than you can handle, but don't limit yourself either. Make sure you challenge yourself without over-doing it. This is different for every person, but it is vital to the growth of your business and yourself as an artist to know what you are capable of and what you are not.
One of the most important things you can do for your fledgling business is to set some long term goals and write them down. Putting things in writing is so important; it's like signing a contract with yourself. Here you have documented evidence that on April 17th of 2011 you decided that you would double your monthly sales-intake over the next 6 months.
Full-time hit me like a runaway freight train. One minute I was happily packaging my 100th hand painted jewelry sale after 5 months of work and the next I was handling almost 10 orders a day. In less than a month I had not only met my goal, but surpassed it by quadrupling my monthly sales after making a large number of tweaks, changing how I managed my time and doubling my inventory. Where was the problem in this you ask? Each of my pieces is hand painted, so each week consisted of an enormous amount of painting. Not only did it add to my workload as far as painting went, but it increased the amount of time I had to spend packaging and changed how I had to handle my finances. Making this sustainable has been more work than getting to this point was.
This didn't feel like the ease and work-in-your-pajamas-awesome that a home-based arts business was supposed to be. It was beginning to feel all consuming. After some close examination, I sat down to rework how I could better use my time. Where was the fat I could cut? What could I do differently in order to streamline production without cutting quality?
Setting a budget for time is like setting one for finances: you have to examine everything, decide what's most important and make cuts where you need to and can afford to. To keep your budding business as stress-free as possible (which it will never be 100% of the time) budget your time as wisely as you can. Every so often, go back and re-examine your time-budget the same way you would finances.
Time is the ultimate cost for any business. Everyone is allotted the same amount and no one can over-draw. How you divide it up and make use of it needs to be based on your individual business plan (how many hours does it take a day to make your business work), the goals you've set for yourself (how many more hours will you need to get to where you want to be), and the time table of you life (how much time do you need to devote to family, social obligations, taking hot bubble baths).
Author: Sarah-Lambert Cook of TuckooandMooCow