Friday, November 13, 2009

things i wish i knew before i opened shop


I just got this wonderful recycled wood sign custom made for me by William Dohman on Etsy. I've had my eye on his signs for a while now, but only just found cause to get one. It's to remind me of my goals, to help me stop being hard on myself, and to remember to keep being aware of and working on my 'stuff' (issues I have that stop me living how I'd like).

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I work and what I've learnt. I've been making more of an effort to notice and improve what doesn't work for me, thanks to Havi. But I've learnt lots all along the way since I started last year (it feels like so much longer than that).

Here are the things I wish I knew before I got myself into this whole Heidi & Seek shebang.
  • Be nice to myself.

  • Don't run away from difficulties. Question them, write down thoughts and feelings (non-judgmentally) and figure it out.

  • Free press is way more useful than paid advertising. And keep in touch with publications.

  • Make things. Make new things. Constantly. Give visitors new things to look at as often as possible, and keep it consistent.

  • Listening to audio books while sewing keeps me focused (currently working my way through Harry Potter, I'm at Order of the Phoenix).

  • But listening to myself about when I need breaks is better than burning out and getting frustrated.

  • Don't do things that make me feel stressed and uneasy, but do do things that are a bit outside my comfort zone if I think it'll be good in the long run.

  • Don't make important business decisions quickly. Considers the risks involved first and talk it through with someone. Let it sit for a week or two before deciding.

  • File emails like I would files on my computer. Don't be afraid to delete mass emails. File emails as soon as I've read and dealt with them. Keep my inbox tiny or close to empty, with only the 'to-do' emails in it.

  • Don't check blogs in my Google Reader every time I get a chance. Do it when I'm taking a break if I feel like it, and don't worry about not keeping up.

  • There is a remote control for my camera (I found one online recently after thinking they didn't exist) and it makes photo shoots so much quicker!

  • Instead of editing each picture in Photoshop individually, set up an Action with Levels, a little Curves, Rotate and Resize, Save and Close. Then automate the entire shoot's folder to save to a 'fixed' folder within it. Then it's just a few clicks, and a wait for Photoshop to create the finished photos.

  • Blogging for the sake of blogging doesn't work. Blogging with a purpose and my unique voice works much better.

  • It's best to have a light, non-busy background for photos. When I started, I took pictures in front of a brick wall that was quite distracting.

  • In terms of social networking and 'getting your name out there', it's best to do a few things well than do many things without much dedication. It's also better to concentrate on the enjoyable ones.

  • Get out of the house regularly. Find ways to work elsewhere for a little bit, like a cafe, or at least just take a walk.

  • Don't spend so much time looking up handmade business tutorials. I kept doing this long after I felt I wasn't learning anything new. The time is better spent sitting down with a pen and paper and working out what will work best for my business.

  • Choose a label name that means something to me and what I hope to achieve. I came up with Heidi & Seek long before I had a real business idea, but just stuck with it because I had the domain name. I'm not going to change it but I wish I'd chosen something more expressive of my ethics.

  • Don't start watching a horrible, addictive TV show halfway through a work day, despite the break I'm on. I'm looking at you, One Tree Hill (which has since been boycotted on the grounds of excessive clicheness).
I could probably think of more with some extra time. I still have so much to learn, but I'm grateful that I've come this far.

If you have a business, perhaps you'd like to make a blog post with the same title as this one? Be sure to post the link in the comments section, I'd love to read them!

13 comments:

ingermaaike said...

My list would look much the same as yours with one addition "not selling is not the end of the world"

I hate myself fo getting all worked up about infrequent sales..

Vanessa said...

Google reader really can be addictive, can't it?

Melissa A. said...

Oh, I really like your list and your advise. I clicked on you from decor 8. I had started a business in interior design last year, but had too many family obligations so I kind of closed it, but I am working on starting it again in the new year and have been working on taking things slow and thinking of a business name that really fits me as well. Also thinking of expanding beyond interior design into parties, because that is what I like and that is what most people ask me to do. It's kind of scarry, because when I have too many responsiblities, I tend to pull back and have fear, as well I think I spend way too much time on-line in google reader too, but still am not quite content with the content of my blog. Anyway your little list has me thinking and you opened the floodgates for me.

Clare said...

This sounds like a really sensible list. I've been meaning to say for ages that I like your new heidi and seek direction. It looks really fresh and professional.

Isis said...

excellent advice, thanks :)

baahar said...

Useful list indeed !! I also listen to things while crafting, such as language lessons. That way I feel like achieving a lot :)

Thanks a lot for sharing :)

haptree said...

Thanks for this, sounds like you have come through lots, will send you a link when I do a post like this in the future! I think it's a bit like how you see yourself grow up when you look back at photos.

cypress sun said...

excellent goals, beautiful designs...are you sure you are only 23? :)

thanks for sharing...i'm totally intrigued by the remote control for my camera...or future camera!

Lynn said...

Very good advice, thanks for sharing with us
Lynn

Octopus Parlour said...

Perhaps because it's early in the morning, I can't think of anything to add, but thanks so much for posting this! These are all things that I need to take to heart a little more, especially not being so hard on myself because I'm not accomplishing everything I want (if it was up to me the day would have about 40 hours in it!). Thanks again!

JulieG said...

Don't do things that make me feel stressed and uneasy, but do do things that are a bit outside my comfort zone if I think it'll be good in the long run.

My rule of thumb for this is the Way of Awesome, which I got from here: http://gracefully.wordpress.com/

Good list. I might write one up for blogging, rather than business.

Dagmar Rousset said...

Great post, Hayley. Here's my list:

http://rudehealthshoppe.blogspot.com/2009/11/information-that-would-have-been-useful.html

Julia

monsoonsandmangoes said...

What a treat to discover your blog!! Weirdly you are a referrer on my google analytics... no matter, I'm glad I found you!

This post was great - it fits into a theme of reflection and...forward thrust for me.

So inspired, I wrote my own list :)
http://monsoonsandmangoes.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-opened-shop/