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Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!

NEWSLETTER

Handmade, Creative Business - Organising my finances

One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a creative business owner is the fact it is so easy to spread myself far too thinly. I have done it countless times and still fall into the trap on occasion. Thankfully I am faster to recognize it these days than I used to be.

How is it do I spread myself too thin? In a way that many other makers I know also do. It's because when you are a highly distractable, enthusiastic creative individual it is so easy to become caught up on a wave of exciting possibility with what you can do, you forget that there is only one you and while all your ideas are indeed possible, the fact that you can do them all successfully is impossible.

If you are a hobbyist, it's fine to indulge every creative whim if you choose. If it is your business, your livelihood and your job there simply not enough hours in the day for you to achieve every creative idea that floats into that brilliant mind.


When you make things, it is really easy to slip into the trap of thinking you can add it to your product line or business. Totally easy! What you forget though, is that with each new thing, you will need to also market it and often, buy new supplies for the new thing. And that takes quite a lot of money and way more time. Time to make the product, time to research the new supplies, perhaps photograph or display it differently and the time it takes away from what your business is actually about.

Please don't get me wrong. You can add new products or ideas to your creative business! But make sure you are truly passionate about every aspect of it, it fits well into your plan and most importantly, you are happy to take some time away from your original thing to make the new thing feel at home and bring in the bacon.

I have in the past wasted quite a bit of money and time getting excited, adding a new product line to the things I already do and then forgetting about it because it was quite a spontaneous idea. The supplies left over and the dent in my bank account are the evidence of what wasn't.

These days, I am a little more savvy, and in 2018 my overall goal is organization. Part of getting more organized is looking at my spending and my plans for the direction I want my business to take. I am highly distractable. I need a little bit of a self-imposed guideline to make sure I stay on track. If my business was a physical journey from A to B, I would have turned down half the crossroads, gone up the mountains and quite often taken the scenic route on my way to the destination.


Which is fine, because from mistakes good things do happen. Some of my biggest successes have come from these mistakes. I feel this was okay while my creative business was still a bud, but now the flower is beginning to bloom, I think it's time to employ a bit of wisdom and discipline.

I will still make mistakes, but I want to make different ones. I am learning to become more focused and spend time on the areas of my business that I really love. I suffer from "should do" syndrome rather than what I would REALLY love to do. Listening to the should do guilt, either because I am afraid to jump off that bridge or from comparing myself to others, has often led to unnecessary detours, exhaustion and spending money that would have been better employed elsewhere in my business.

This will sound funny from someone who sells craft supplies in her business, but for the creative business owner, particularly handmade businesses, buying craft supplies faster than you can make the products and turn the craft supplies into cash is not a great idea to make your business work well. The struggle is real, with so many amazing fabrics being pushed, on a monthly basis, onto the market. What you can do when it is a hobby is a bit different to what you should do for your business.

I finally and recently purchased a copy of How to Bake a Business by Julia Bickerstaff. I love Julia's website and have done quite a few of her courses, so as a paper-loving girl I really wanted to have the book on hand. It's been a light, entertaining read and at the same time, an eye-opener for areas in my business that need a little TLC. I highly recommend it to other creatives who struggle with the business side - no not marketing, not making, not branding - finances and bookkeeping - you know the actual heartbeat of a business.

This is an area that is frankly, nearly a turn off for most creatives who just wanted to make pretty things. I had faint whisperings in my own heart of "eeeeeek...I just want to make stuff. I don't think I want a business!" But it is silly to let that become a hurdle. I once had such a hurdle with photography until I learned that I needed to change my attitude and embrace the learning process.



I am learning to do that now with my bookwork. Learning to love, learning to even enjoy that very important side of running a business. Learning to find the excitement in it and being able to see the growth in the business. Because that is where I will see it. It's not in my facebook likes or Instagram followers. It's in the stats, the numbers and the spreadsheets behind the scenes.

Part of my quest for better organization is creating a running expenses spreadsheet as a loose record of what I am spending, and what bills are coming in. I refer to it quickly when I am thinking of adding a new line to my store. I can see quickly what I have spent recently and what I also have yet to pay. It's been an excellent little thing for making sure I make sensible spending decisions for my business and helps me to resist spending money on unnecessary stuff.

I am also looking into accounting software such as Xero. Initially, I balked at the monthly fee and then I realized a) if it took the pain and error out of my bookwork b) saved time for me and c) it actually cost way less than if I employed someone to take the horrid task away from me - that it is worth it!

So those are just some of the things I am doing to tighten the screws on my little creative business and claim some time and sanity back! I will also be looking at restructuring my working week but that's a post for another day!

Megan xx






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