You could be wasting hundreds of hours on your handmade business without even knowing it.
In this post, I'm going to share with you some of the most common time wasters I see creatives make, so you can do less of that and do more of what will help you move your business forward instead.
Hi, my name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists and designers make a consistent income selling their handmade products online.
These are in no particular order, so I'm just going to jump straight into it.
Posting on Social Media Without a Plan for Outreach
This is a mistake I see a lot of us make. You create content and post photos of your product or behind the scenes on social media. You do this every day, sometimes even multiple times a day. You even spend a bit of time writing captions and figuring out what hashtags to use in your posts.
This in itself isn't a mistake, exactly, but social media needs two steps to be succesful.
The first is content creation. This is the piece that you're probably already doing well. The second, which most people don't do, is outreach.
There's so much competition on social media these days. Just posting your content isn't going to get very many people to see it.
So for example, on Instagram, you have to focus on growing your audience. As a result, more people will see your posts.
You can also choose your hashtags strategically to get you in front of the right people, but again, most people get this wrong.
Another example for Instagram is actually going to hashtags that you know your ideal customer uses and interacting with your ideal customers. Like their photos, leave comments, maybe even follow them if you want to.
This act of outreach is what will help you grow your following and get people coming over to your profile.
Most people miss out on this second step of outreach.
So don't just post photos all the time. If that's all you do, the time you've spent creating your posts will go to waste because no one's seeing them.
Spend as much, if not more, time on outreach and growing your social media accounts.
Striving for Perfection, Too Much Research
I know you've felt this at some point, but “wanting to get all your ducks in a row” is really just you wanting things to be perfect before you put your work out there.
You could also be wasting time doing too much research.
I get it. If you don't know how to do something, definitely take the time to figure out how to.
Once you have that information, however, you need to take action.
I know some people get caught up with doing too much research and falling into this rabbit hole. Before you know it, it's time to go to bed and you haven't done anything for your business today.
Don't wait for things to be perfect before you do anything.
In our minds, things will never be perfect. There's always something to fix or edit or change. You have to practice putting yourself out there just when you've reached “good enough”.
In business, it's more important for you to be constantly moving forward than to be stagnant.
I know it's scary to put imperfect work out there, but remember that nothing you do is set in stone.
If you launch your website today, you can always change it next week if something isn't working. Keep in mind that what's not perfect to you, can be perfect to someone else.
In other words, stop being so critical of yourself or your work and get in the habit of taking forward steps in your business.
Don't wait for things to be perfect because they never will.
Let me know in the comments if any of this sounds like you.
I used to be a perfectionist and it took me years to let go.
The more you let go, the more you find that the whole world doesn't come crashing down when you do. In fact, nothing bad really happens.
You're Not Operating from the 80/20.
If you're not familiar with what 80/20 is here's a quick rundown. Basically it's that 80% of the result of something can be attributed to only 20% of the causes.
In the business sense, that means that 80% of your sales are coming from only 20% of the things you do in your business. The remaining 80% of things you spend your time on, don't really move the needle much.
I've seen so many makers who are frustrated they aren't making many sales. As a result, they spend so much of their time fixing up their websites, their photos, their SEO, but then they never spend enough time doing actual outreach or promotion.
It's like if you're having a party and you spend all this time making your house look nice, but you never actually send out any invitations so no one shows up.
All that time you spent making your house look pretty, it's just for you. No one else is there to see it.
I'm not saying don't make your house look pretty for the party, you definitely want to do that or people who come to the party won't have a good time, but you definitely DO also want to spend time with outreach and telling people that you're having a party and that they should come over.
Another example I see a lot is people getting stuck in this hamster wheel of doing busy work.
You feel like you're being productive but really what's happening is you're taking time away from you being able to do things that really matter and that can really impact your business.
Spending Your Time Working on Product or Packaging Details That Your Customer Doesn't Care About
Again, just like my party analogy. Some things we do, we do for us. Other things we do, we do for other people.
As artists, we might feel compelled to add lots of bells and whistles to our products. We want to keep adding to it. More beads, more layers, more color, more materials, more of everything.
It kind of goes back to wanting to be perfect, again.
For example, I sell a chocolate chip cookie necklace at my jewelry shop. There are chocolate chips on top of the cookie. I used to also put chocolate chips at the bottom of the cookie, but that took more materials and more time to do.
At one point, I stopped putting chocolate chips at the bottom, and no one has ever said a word about it. No one sees the bottom of the cookie anyway and if you're looking at it, it's not the right side up.
Sales haven't changed, but I've saved myself time from all that extra work.
Another example is I used to include these postcards with every order I shipped out. The postcards were like little certificates of authenticity and I would hand sign and date each certificate.
I thought it was a cute idea.
I wanted people to know that my jewelry was handmade with a lot of care and the certificate basically said all of that.
What's interesting is, this was obviously an added cost and time spent signing every postcard. But no one cared about it. No one ever mentioned it, or said they thought it was cute.
I'm pretty sure they mostly ended up in the trash.
So then I just stopped getting those postcards printed. They didn't help with anything and was just a waste of time. Ultimately, I was doing it for me because I thought it was a cute idea and not for the benefit of my customer.
What's one thing in your business that you're spending a lot of time on but after this post you're thinking maybe it's a waste of time? Let me know in the comments!