I’m not entirely sure of the last time I made anything new for my Etsy shop. I have been dabbling with a few designs but nothing has been completed to shoot standard. There are two reasons for this.
Creative block is the first reason thanks to winter but I’m now climbing out of that pit. Last week’s sun was energising although we seem to be back to autumnal conditions again in Manchester this week. The second reason is that I want to clear some stock before I make new things. I have limited space and simply filling it up with more and more designs isn’t good business sense at the moment. I don’t make collections that follow a set style, my designs are all one offs and I try to include a range of colours and patterns depending on fabric availability. Having said that, I have just bought my third clothes rail but not because I can’t be bothered clearing the previous ones. I want more space to lay things out properly. Being neat and organised really helps me focus. There’s nothing more envigorating than a good spring clean!
I have to focus more on the money side of things rather than just the creative fun. This is hard. But I also have to make money and if I’m focusing at the design table, I’m not keeping up with my marketing, social media and reading up on industry changes that could affect my business and subject material for this blog. Of course, all this is non-earning time so getting the balance right is important.
I have made a concerted effort to focus on social media traffic, my Etsy shop, and to write more for this blog because these drive traffic and will ultimately become what earns the money. Spending more time on marketing has made a difference to my traffic, but you have to keep up the momentum. Putting in effort for one week and then forgetting about it for the next two isn’t going to improve anything unless you are scheduling your posts consistently across your sites.
I have also been quite distracted from creating because I am finally moving house and into my own place. Aside to the excitement of this and filling a space that is entirely mine, it has come with the shock of how much money has gone out. Because of my self-employed status I’ve had to pay 6 months rent in advance, so it feels like I have spent a lot more money in the first month of the new tax year. My outgoings are now going up because I have moved from a houseshare to my own flat, so there is an added stress related to that financially. I have to think seriously about how I am going to fill that gap between profit and loss. I will have improved the quality of my home life to match my work life, but I have to find an additonal £4000 a year to cover the difference based on cash projections with last year. In part I can cut down on a few outgoings, but essentially I need new income.
By concentrating on my marketing I could broach this gap but it’s going to require a lot of work and that’s why working on the marketing is now so important. Hopefully this will give me the impetus to put a lot more effort in because I genuinely need the cash now, and there’s no getting away from this very hard fact.