Organizing Your Crafty Business

Hey Everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying summer! I have been doing tons of craft shows and having a lot of fun.

We have been checking out lots of cool little interesting places, too.

I am having a strange sort of week in that I haven't been really working on any new pieces to share, but I have been trying to get super-organized business-wise.

I am really trying harder than ever to get my business to a place where it is my full-time job. Maybe I will need to get a part-time job to supplement, but I really want to do this designing jewelry gig full-time. I have been doing every craft show I can find and really trying to get my name out that way. I have tried some new products and have a lot of ideas in my head.

Then before I knew it, I realized that I haven't kept track of anything all year. The year is 1/2 over! I have not a clue of how much I have really made. Luckily, I am dilligent enough that I keep every single receipt of expenses, copies of every receipt for everything I have sold, etc. So, it's not that I don't have the information, but I just don't have the information in a useable format at the moment.

I had bought some spreadsheets that someone had put together and they seemed so organized and cool....until I tried to use them. Don't get me wrong, they are great....just not for me. I think it is really important that you put together your own record-keeping system and create it in a way that is really useful to you.

I have been an official business for 2 1/2 years now, so I have filed 2 years of returns with my business, so I know what I have to keep track of and how to do so in order to file taxes. However, until last night I didn't particularly have a useful system for myself to really be able to judge - weekly - or really even monthly, how my business is doing.

So, last night I created several forms on Excel. I didn't buy any software and truth be told, I only have a limited working knowledge of Excel and I was able to create some forms. (Now I just need to fill up the forms with information....but that's for a different day!)

These are the forms I created:

  • A different montly spreadsheet for each venue I sell at. I want to really see if each one is worth the fees, etc. One for Etsy, one for eBay, one for each consignment shop;
  • A spreadsheet for each individual show. This also includes sales tax that I charged so when I have to do my sales tax return (very soon...ahhh!) I can easily pull up the information. (the other forms include that as well) Plus, I want to see which shows are most worth my time;
  • Expense sheet for each month;
  • Yearly sheet to put all my monthly totals so I can compare month-to-month. Plus, at the end of the year I will use this sheet to do my taxes more easily;
  • Inventory sheets. This is something I have always only done at the end of the year. It is a major ordeal for me each year. I think it will be good to see where each piece sold, etc, how much each piece brought in, etc. Plus, I am not always really great about keeping an accurate account of what each item cost to make. I usually make a good guess. It's not a good idea to guess when you are trying to run a business; and
  • Finally, I really looked at my product lines and came up with (FINALLY) a little calculation that works for me when figuring out wholesale and retail prices. Everyone will give you ideas and tips. They either seem unreasonable or something did not work out right for me. I have my own formula now and can easily stick with it. Plus, now I am ready and able to offer many of my items at wholesale. I did a wholesale line sheet, too, so I am all ready if and when the opportunity arises!

Additionally, I have gotten the business section of my filing cabinet organized. I realized that I had 2 of some files - labeled differently as to make things more complicated.

I was reading something recently (see, this is where some organized bookmarks would really help!) about a system with 43 files: 1 for each month, and then daily for the current month. I am not so busy that I need one for each day, so I adapted this system to work for me. I have a file folder for each month and anything going on for that month goes into that folder. I have it all set up, but again, I don't really have much in place as far as that goes so far.

The other thing that I started was really....I mean really.....getting my office/workshop organized. My shipping area is super organized now. There was just so much stuff there because I get a lot of recycled materials from people - I had packaging peanuts out my ears! I still do have everything, but everything is now organized and easily accessible and random items that do not belong in there aren't there. I also had to get my baskets under control. I should really sell them. I have tons of baskets from when I did bath and body and they are also in the big closet I use for my shipping area.

Shipping is obviously a big part of my online business. It is important to ship in a timely fashion and make sure that your product is save and beautiful. I have all the right tools, but each time I would have to ship something it seemed like such a big ordeal because I would have to wade through everything to get to what I needed. Now, I am excited to ship because everything is nice and neat and I actually even have a wide open space to actually do the shipping. (No more: find a bubble mailer, find the tissue paper, find the thank you cards...where are my business cards? clear off my workspace for a place to pack, print the label...etc, etc.... Now I can just go to the shipping table and everything is there and there is even room to pack! YAY!)

I "just" have to conquer my storage area (now an even bigger mess because of organizing the shipping area), jewelry workspace and storage, sewing area and desktop. Honestly, the jewelry workspace isn't that bad, I just organized it, it just needs some new things to find their homes.

Online I am planning on actually going through and organizing my bookmarks. I don't even know what's in there anymore. Probably some cool stuff I completely forgot about.

I am alreay starting to feel a little lighter and fresher and ideas are popping in my head left and right. Sometimes you need to take some time to get organized. I have felt so rushed lately with shows and such (and I do have a full time job, too.) I just don't want to miss any opportunities, but my organizational skills have suffered for it. I am happy to be on the road to super-organization once again.

Anyone care to chime in on organizing your paperwork?

And, sorry there are no photos! Like I said, I have been in organization mode, so I didn't stop to take a photo. Perhaps a photo of the finished project?

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