#Benchtip Tuesday- Surviving the Holiday Rush

1. Get Organized!

The first thing I do when I start to feel overwhelmed (and excited!) about all the incoming holiday orders is get organized.  First, I clean my bench- even if it’s relatively clean- and I organize my studio. Put some fun music on and take inventory.  Having an organized workspace can make life a lot easier.  Keep your tools where you need them, your supplies ready and waiting, and remember to put everything back in its place-easier said than done!  But once it’s habit it’s a beautiful thing.

2. Stock Up!

I know it is a bit late in the season for some of you experiencing your first holiday rush, but if possible, use your free time to make more.  Remember those slow days in the studio can be filled with small tasks like making jump rings. Or use the downtime to restock your shop, or shoot photos of new products.  Having plenty of stock this season can be a lifesaver. Ideally start holiday planning in August!

Get those shipping labels and boxes before the busy season hits. Create an inventory sheet of office and craft materials and be sure to review it before heading out. Remember your printer ink and packing tape too! Who wants to run to the office supply shop in the middle of a crazy day?

3. Always Stay One Step Ahead of your Orders

Learn how to create maximum output with the lowest amount of stress. The holidays are a great season to focus on items that you can duplicate easily rather than developing new, one-of-a-kind products. This is a time saver, times two: it allows you to re-list a sold item without adding new photos or descriptions and working on multiple items at once can speed up the production process.

If at all possible, have the items in stock before you list them. Try not to sell items you haven’t made yet. If you choose to do custom work, put your time frame in your shop announcement.  Communicating clearly with customers will keep them happy and help you keep track of their needs as well.

4. Hire Help

Don’t be afraid to enlist someone to help you get caught up. It can be a huge relief to have a support staff.  If your product is something only you can make, find someone to help with shipping or emails. Allow a helper to take over the office work so you can focus your energy on producing a great product!

5. Take Care of Yourself!

Get your sleep, stretch those muscles, take a walk!

While the holiday sales season may seem like a lot of work and chaos, it can be well worth it — both financially and for fostering the long-term success of your business. But don’t get lost in it and miss out on everything else that’s happening.

Try to pre-make a few healthy meals whenever you are in the kitchen so you can have something good to eat on the fly. Plan a fun night off at least once a week. Don’t be afraid to say no to custom requests if you feel maxed out. As long as you offer a good product and good service, you are doing a great job.

We can do our best when we take care of ourselves and balance work with fun. If you don’t burn off the stress hormone, it will burn you out. If you have to, schedule break time into your work week and leave your electronics at home. And if that doesn’t work to calm your nerves, there’s always chocolate.

Check out these pro tips from the lovely people at Etsy::

Pro tip: Make the most of your down time and Prep for the Holidays During the Seasonal Slowdown.

Pro tip: Learn about the payoffs of adding to your inventory by reading Add More Items to Make More Sales.

Pro tip: Cover the basics of domestic shipping and beyond by reading 4 Steps to Shipping Success.

Pro tip: Hiring help comes in all shapes and sizes. Read Getting Help From Your Community When You Need It to know your options.

Pro tip: Polish up your shop with Surefire Techniques to Make Your Listings Sizzle.

Pro tip: Think things over with 5 Ways to Define and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms.

Pro tip: Print out Etsy’s Inventory Planning Guide to create your own strategy  this holiday season.

Pro tip: Read 10 Tips for Making Time to Make for organizational inspiration.

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