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).
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!