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What to do when your creative business is quiet

Hi my little happy bunch,

So, my Etsy shop has been super quiet just recently, and I’ve been pulling my hair out! If you’ve read my previous post How I quit my day job to pursue my dreams… And why you should too. you’ll know that my Etsy shop is currently my only form of income (apart from a very understanding partner).

Obviously I turned to some other bloggers for advice and found an absolute treasure trove of essential lists for this, and number 1 tips for that. But after the first post I read the rest were mere copies and I couldn’t learn anything new.

Not to mention the fact that I have already implemented most strategies on my shop and still haven’t seen much of an improvement. But I digress…

It got me to thinking of things us small creative business owners can do when times are really quiet. Things that I haven’t heard before, and hopefully you won’t have either.

when your creative business is quiet

1. Spend time on your self care.

Yep, that’s right, spend some time on you. Some months will be quieter than others, embrace that fact! When it’s quiet spend some time on whatever self care you enjoy the most. I really like walking my dog so I’ve been spending extra time on our morning walks.

But whatever it is, just do it. When you’re massively busy again you’ll appreciate having taken a little bit of time out for you.

Also, I find my best ideas pop up once I’ve taken a break. Let your brain relax, and the rest of you will follow. And before you know if you’ll come up with that top idea which shoots your shop sales up into the stratosphere!

2. Try a different craft.

Your business may be based around crochet, or prints like me. Use this time to try a different craft. I’ve been attempting paper cutting, which I have to admit I enjoy but am not very good at (Yet. I’ll keep trying).

This could be a game changer for your business as you just never know what you might stumble upon that you enjoy and can implement into your business. Who knows, it could even turn into a new business venture for you, that’ll really keep you on your toes.

3. Join a networking group.

Social media has some serious power when it comes to pulling customers into your shop. This slow time is the perfect time to work on your social media skills. And an awesome way of doing that is joining a networking group.

Just make sure it’s a good one. I don’t mean all this like for like nonsense: you need a group that genuinely understands networking and wants to help build relationships between small businesses.

I’m in an amazing small business networking group on Facebook, and we all work hard to raise each business up. It is a treasure trove of invaluable knowledge (I’ve recently had a Facebook post go viral which has brought quite a lot of traffic to my page). It is well worth investing your time in a decent networking group.

4. Get outside.

I’m a massive hippy at heart (which you’ll know if you read my blog posts fairly regularly). I truly think getting outside and into nature is one of the best things.

Get outside, find a nice spot to sit for a while, and just enjoy being outside. The wind on your cheeks, the sun on your skin, the ground beneath your feet. Focus on nothing and soon ideas will be rolling through your mind.

I have a notebook app on my phone for times like this so all of my grand ideas can be jotted down and I can come back to them at a later date.

5. Speak to friends and family.

Or just anyone you’re close to really. Ask them about your business, see what they think you could be doing. Some of my best most profitable ideas have come about after speaking to the people I care about.

Recently I was speaking to my Mum about how quiet my shop was, and she had the brilliant idea of creating prints based around Star Signs. My shop is dedicated to nature and the outdoors, so I incorporated the constellations, and I’ve sold a few already.

Not to mention they’re now some of my favourite prints!

It can be so worthwhile asking for help so don’t be afraid to ask.

6. DO NOT GIVE UP.

Things may be quiet, especially when your business first starts. You won’t know which months will be quiet and which ones will go mad.

Whatever you do: DO NOT GIVE UP. A short rough period can easily be turned around into an amazing ascent for your business, you just need to take some time to breath and refocus. The quiet times are the only times you will get to do this.


I hope you’ve found something a bit different in this blog post. I always try to think outside of the box when it comes to my business. It can be all too easy to be caught up into making money constantly that you forget that making money isn’t all what a business is about.

If you don’t lay the foundations for your business to be sustainable it will collapse.

Good luck with it my happy little bunch.

Much love,

Sophie

One Little Happy Thing

Just click the image to be taken to my Etsy shop where you will find tonnes of gorgeous and unique wall decor for people who want to bring the outdoors in.

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The #1 downfall of running a creative business from home

Hello my happy little bunch,

I’ve been absolutely atrocious at updating my blog just recently. I’ve been so busy designing and uploading products into my Etsy shop I haven’t had a moment to think about content for a new blog post.

But this one has been brewing in my mind for a few weeks now.

When I initially left my full time office job I was under no illusions that running a creative business from home wasn’t going to be easy. The first year of any business is difficult and believe me, only a few months in and I’ve been tested.

It would be so easy to give up, but that’s just not my style. Plus, the thought of working in an office again makes me want to run and hide in a cave. Bleh.

I’ve struggled with not having a regular income to rely on. Luckily for me my partner is supporting us financially, but that makes me feel a bit like a failure for not bringing more to the plate. All the more motivation to make it work though.

I’ve struggled with mind block. I had to take a few days away from the business during the month because I felt totally lost. My shop is new, and I feel like defining my brand has gotten the better of me and I’ve lost my way. Luckily after a few days break it was like the clouds parted and I could see what I needed to do again! Phew.

I’ve also struggled with the work load. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to create more. But that’s not what I need to be doing right now. What I’ve created I am happy with, but I do feel like some of it doesn’t fit with my brand. And that is just because of the pressure I put on myself.

The number 1 downfall of running a creative business from home

But what’s the main downfall? Well..

My #1 downfall of running a creative business from home

Loneliness.

Pure and crushing loneliness (some days).

I have my partner, and my dog, but some days I just crave human attention. And do you know what? That’s because I’ve been so focused on my small business I’ve sort of pushed my other relationships to the wayside (sorry friends).

It’s not every day either. I’m quite an introvert and so I’m fairly comfortable with my own company. Some days even seeing other dog walkers on my morning walk is a bit much, then others I can’t help but stop and chat with them. Just to be speaking to someone.

And there is absolutely no shame in admitting that you’re lonely. In fact until you admit you’re lonely, you can’t deal with it. I finally sat with my partner and opened up about this, and as always he made me see sense again.

Loneliness can be easily overcome.

Arrange a date with some friends.

Get on the phone and reach out to your friends. Text them, ring them, message them on Facebook, it doesn’t matter: reach to them. And if those friends are worth it I can guarantee they’ll love to hear from you.

But don’t just agree to hang out, arrange a date with them. Go for dinner. Visit the cinema. Make it a bit more an event. Get dressed up and make it special.

Making it a bit more special stops it from feeling just like an every day occurrence. It is a social EVENT. Make it grand. You’ll feel so much better for it.

Find an online tribe.

There is so much talk across various blogs I follow about finding your tribe, but I didn’t really understand what it meant until quite recently.

Offline I already have a tribe. But online I don’t really know anyone, let alone any small creative business owners who are maybe going through the same struggles as me.

That is until I stumbled across a Facebook networking group. Now I know what you’re thinking, like4like networking is terrible. But this group is different. We network in such a way that we build bonds together, we work on reaching new audiences together. It’s not just a case of throwing a link on a comment and giving it a like.

Those guys are my online tribe. I know they are experiencing the same struggles as me, and we can support each other through those struggles.

I can’t advise you more about finding an online tribe. Etsy also has lots of teams, there may be something on there if you don’t use Facebook.

Find someone to work with.

Yep, that’s right, reach out to any other people you know who work from home and see if they want to hang out and work together for a day or so a week. Not all of the time as that would just be distracting for both of you.

Even if you’re both busy working having someone to hand to idly chat with, or to ask their opinion on something will be absolutely invaluable. You can even both take a lunch break together.

Having human contact even just for a day or so a week will be helpful.

I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me. 

Much love,

Sophie – One Little Happy Thing


One Little Happy Thing

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Self Care for Creatives – The Ultimate Guide

Phew! I haven’t written in quite some time! I’ve been just so busy adding to my online shop I haven’t stopped for a moment to do some writing. But that’s going to change. I find writing too therapeutic to give up!

And, whilst working through setting up my Etsy shop it’s got me thinking: I love the practise of self care, but when you’re working for yourself it can be tricky to prioritize.

And so this post was born!

I have to admit, the last couple of months I have been all work and no play, and that has resulted in a total burn out this week.

Yep, a complete burn out.

The week started off really positively, I had a massive order (5 prints to one customer, love them) but then nothing. Tumbleweeds have been blowing through my shop. I know this time of year is quiet, but seriously, this quiet?!

And that resulted in tears, threats of just giving up, job hunting (seriously, I went online and started compiling a list of jobs to apply for!) & eventually sitting in my comfy clothes watching films for an entire day and eating a whole packet of biscuits.

The kind of behaviour which is unhealthy for so many reasons. 

And after talking to some other small business owners, it doesn’t seem I’m alone in this behaviour. The first year of owning a business is the hardest. You have to work hard for those sales, to build a tribe and to make a success.

So, how do we look after ourselves small business owners? Read on!

Self care for creatives

Take regular breaks.

Stop letting yourself work through lunch. Stop waking up early and going to bed late. Just stop for a bit.

What I want you to do is set a timer, and every hour go off and do something else. I like sitting in the garden. Just for 15 minutes break away from the laptop, or whatever WIP you have going on.

And make sure you take time to eat. I worked through my allocated lunch breaks for pretty much a month solid. And look what happened to me. I give myself 30 mins to an hour for my lunch break, which gives me plenty of time to eat and to watch some telly or something.

These breaks give your brain time to replenish and get over the mental onslaught that is the working day!

Have a weekend.

I know, it’s tricky when you’re working for yourself. But give yourself a weekend! This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything during the weekend.

My partner works Sunday-Thursday, so Friday and Saturday is our weekend. We go on adventures, we visit new places, and by Sunday morning I’m full of new ideas and motivation to make my little business work.

This doesn’t mean I completely forget about the business, I just don’t design any new prints. I’m still on social media (Hello cheeky Facebook link, come say hi!) and responding to messages though.

This time is vital for me. This is when some of my best ideas pop into my head. It’s also when my partner gives me some of his best ideas too 😉

Drink plenty of water.

This seems like a really simple and really obvious one, but seriously, drink more water. It’s too easy to work solidly, go off out to the garden, come back and work again, and before you know it it has been 3 hours and you haven’t drunk more than a few sips of water.

Get yourself a lush water bottle and keep it topped up with super cold water. My partner keeps his in the fridge so we always have super cold water to hand.

Letting yourself get a bit dehydrated is so detrimental to your focus and brain power. Water is like the brains lubricant and just keeps everything running smoothly.

Do the things, drink the water.

Find your happy.

You know when you’re feeling quite down in the dumps, and you just need that one thing that without fail cheers you up? Yeah, find that. For me it’s turning off my phone and watching a film, but for you it could be cute cat videos, or playing video games.

Try out a few different things, see what works for you, and when you feel your mood getting a bit low do the happy thing!

I’m also quite partial to funny dog videos, but luckily my big dog Tank is always on hand for a cuddle. That helps.

Get pumped!

When my shop is a bit quiet, I find myself getting really sad and annoyed that my hard work isn’t being noticed, do you get that too?

You know what I find helps: standing in front of the mirror and telling myself that if what I already have isn’t selling that I need to find the next thing. I imagine all the possibilities of being a successful business owner: money, security, freedom. All the things I want.

And these thoughts go into a big cloud in my head which I keep looking at, reminding me of why I’m doing this in the first place.

It is so important to keep looking ahead in business. Yeah, you need to keep a track of how your business has done in the months and years before, but when it comes to innovation and progress forward is the only way!

Find other small business owners to talk to

One of the biggest hurdles I’ve found tricky to overcome since starting working from home is being lonely. I’ve gone from working in an office of around 200 people to just sitting on the sofa with the dog.

It does get lonely.

But, I’ve found a brilliant group of gals on a Facebook networking group. I know if I go to them saying “I feel like sh*t, someone cheer me up” that someone will pop up with some helpful words and a virtual hug.

Find a group like this. I would post a link but I think entries to the group are being severely limited at the moment (because honestly, it’s that good an environment and the admins work hard to keep it that way).


If you have more idea’s on how to look after yourself as a creative business owner then please add them into the comments! Sharing is caring afterall 🙂

Stay strong my small business owners!

Much love,

Sophie – One Little Happy Thing

One Little Happy Thing