I can't quite believe it. I went part time on my day job as a Librarian 6 months ago to focus more time on Adventures & Tea Parties. 6 months ago? 6 MONTHS AGO!!! Bleedin' 'eck!! Just writing that has brought me out in a cold sweat. What have I done in that time?!? Have I achieved anything? What are my goals looking like? Have I actually ticked anything off the list? I think I need to lie down in a dark room....
....but instead I'll have a cup of tea, calm down, breath and actually look at the last 6 months with my sensible hat on. If I had a sensible hat, it would look something like a bowler hat but rather than procrastinate using hats as a diversion, I'll make a list...a list of things I've achieved and not achieved and of the things I've learnt.
The distraction of home
It's easy to get distracted when you're working at home and for the first few weeks the house had never looked so clean, woops! I have learnt now that by setting myself daily, weekly and monthly goals, I am able to focus my attention and learn that "you wouldn't be doing the washing up until you got home from the day job normally, so it can wait until then!".
Time flies when you're doing something you love and there's never enough of it
Despite now having more time I now can't imagine how I coped before! I absolutely LOVE running my business, making shop orders and being a part of the blogging world. And yet still, I find I'm lacking in time. With that I try and set realistic daily/weekly/monthly goals and don't admonish myself if I've not achieved everything because I AM achieving stuff by running my business single handedly. I also always make sure I have some down time every evening and get a good night's sleep. You set your own deadlines (mostly!), so things can wait until tomorrow.
Sometimes products just don't work, so move on
I've brought out a few new products, some have worked and some have failed dismally for whatever reason. When this happens, it's best to dust yourself down and carry on...I have too many ideas than I know what to do with, so I should just pick one of these up and give it a go. And on that note, it's always a good idea to test a new idea out first before going ahead and filling the spare room up with supplies.
Filing and boring jobs aren't so bad when you do them regularly
Keeping on top of admin is essential and is less of a cumbersome job when it's done regularly. By inputting those purchases into the finance spreadsheet and filing the receipt away in an organised folder straight away, it's a less daunting job and doesn't actually take long. To do that, spending a bit of time initially on sorting out a spreadsheet or two for finances and a file (with tabs!) for receipts, orders etc really does help in the long run.
Treat those days at home as normal work days and the weekends as weekends
In other words, get up and be ready to start work like you would in any other job, have a lunch break and have a clocking off time. The latter is especially true, otherwise you'll never stop (*ahem, says me, writing this at 8.30pm at night, oops, still got to learn that one!). Weekends (whichever days you class as your weekends) should be free for relaxing, seeing family and friends, adventures etc etc etc. I find this really tricky, especially living on my own as it's easy to say, "well, I'll just whizz this up on the machine before I go out later" or "oh, one more hour can't hurt"....For me, there has to be some structure, otherwise I'd happily work through the night because I just love what I do! Still got to be strict about this one though.
Remember to look at what you have achieved, not what you haven't
This can be hard to do I find because I'm too modest but in an effort to be proud of what I've achieved, my sales have increased since I went part time on the day job and are continuing to do so. I've also created new products, which have sold well and I'm working on new ideas to be released soon!
Network, network, network
It's important to get involved on twitter etc and get to know your fellow small business owners, customers and followers. I have made absolutely wonderful friends through the social media world. Friends who are supportive, funny, inspiring, totally there for you and just darn right awesome! Two people I can't not mention are Claire of Claireabellemakes and Sophie of Onetenzeroseven. You two ladies are incredible and I cannot thank you both enough for all the support you've given me on a business and personal level. You're both amazing!
So, in reflection, it's been a pretty good 6 months and I'm now super eager for another 6 months of working hard, learning and achieving some of my new list of 6 monthly goals.