Running a Small Handmade Business from Home Full-Time Posted April 27, 2012
When running a small handmade business from home full-time, I start my day at 4:30am and pretty much work until I go to bed bed seven days a week. It’s the truth! I work my ass off on a daily basis! A lot of people also think I paint 10 hours a day; this is not true. Believe it or not, I really dont spend a lot of my time painting, I would say I only spend 30% of my time painting and the rest is all business paperwork, accounting, social networking, marketing, educating myself and looking into or prepping for shows, etc.
When I do the math I can paint (depending on the design) any where from 400 to 600 glasses per week. Now, this is if I paint all day non stop and do nothing else. I have an assembly line process I use and that works for me as opposed to the “made to order” method. The way I explain it to people is that when I paint my wine glasses their are several different layers of the design. If I paint one layer and paint 24 glasses of that design, by the time Im done the last glass usually the first layer of the first glass is done and then I move to the next layer of paint. In between cooking the glasses or waiting for paint to dry I check and reply to emails, attend educational webinars, do some accounting, filing, packaging orders, and a million other things.
|Working on a wedding reception order of 144 glasses.|
Just how much inventory do I keep on hand? This is or was my dining room above and below, each case holds 12 glasses. I label each case with the design and color of the glass. As I pull orders from these cases I note when the case is getting low and add that to my painting list. What you are looking at are the huge 20oz wine glasses only; I have another area that is all pre painted kitchen pitchers, mugs, flutes, etc.
|Was my dining room.|
Why do I keep so many pre-painted wine glasses on hand?
- Its easier for me to pull orders and personalize them if needed giving me time to focus on other business related things instead of painting every day.
- I wholesale them to retailers and customers who want a large order for an event such as a shower or wedding reception.
- During the summer I work some craft and trade shows and like to have cash and carry items ready eliminating some of the prep work needed.
I do have a home office, but I quickly out grew it. My office is now strictly for administrative paper work, where I take my product shots and keep my other pre-painted glassware.
|Rare thing to have a clean office.|
|Typical office with 15 different things going on.|
I do have people that help me because it is a lot of work when you have to make the item your selling. My two teenage daughters help me with making the care tags, gluing my name tag under each glass, working shows, packaging and even a little painting. I also have someone who helps with marketing by blogging for me and taking over my e-mail campaigns.
|Keeping the mail man busy – Wholesale orders.|
|Keeping the mail man busy – Wedding orders.|
I do have a family and I will admit that sometimes its hard for me to stop and be a mom or a wife, this is one of the reasons why I start my day at 4:30am. I can get 3.5 hours of uninterrupted work in before I have to wake up the youngest and get her off to school. I wake her up at 8am and she is at school by 8:45, I then eat something small and get back to work. I try to stop for lunch like a normal job would and get of out the house and run errands on my “lunch break”. Come 3:30 pm everyone is home from work or school and I stop and see how their days were, help with homework, etc. You would think I would call it a day by now… NOPE! If I have work to do Im doing it all throughout the rest of the evening in between kids, errands and what ever family life stuff is happening.
How do I keep on track when doing a thousand other things? I have to make a to-do list every night before I go to bed as to what is priority and things that have to get accomplished that day. I also have a system where I separate all my in bins by project type. When Im on the computer, I print out tons of things to do, research, learn, etc… all this stuff gets filed and at some point put on my to do list.
|All my “In bins”|I will say I do get burned out and it takes me a day or so to get back into things and when Im interacting on my Facebook fan page or on Pinterest, that is my biggest distraction.
How do I unwind? With my all time favorite glass of “Fusion” or “Blues” from Allegro Winery.
|Who doesn’t love wine and brownie batter????|
Its pretty crazy, stressful and I work long, hard hours, but I enjoy it because its what I want to do. Im doing what I love.