How to Balance the Workload when Running your Own Creative Business

The idea of running your own creative business and spending your days creating what you love – for money – sounds magical, right? For those of us who have done it, it can be magical. It can also be exhausting and overwhelming. The biggest question that comes up is how to balance the workload when running your own creative business.

How much time should you spend creating? How much time should you spend promoting? You have suddenly become a one person show – wearing all of the hats of an administrator, a CEO, a marketer, an accountant, a creator, a social media manager, and the list goes on.

Always make time to create freely.

As you scale your business, the most important thing is that you do not lose sight of your creative inspiration. Use time-blocking to schedule time for production, time for growing your business, and most importantly, time to create NEW things. Block 1 hour of time per day or 3 hours once per week to freely create. Use this time to be inspired and create new things. No working on current orders or stock for current listings. The point of this time is to re-charge your creativity.

Growing your business is just as important as producing for your business.

You should spend equal time on production tasks (i.e. making and fulfilling orders) and growth tasks (i.e. marketing and sales).

If your current order volume requires more production time than your schedule allows, consider adding help. While you could do it all by yourself, working 80 hours per week. That choice is not sustainable for a healthy, long-term business. You will burn out sooner, rather than later.

Continuing education is important to keep your business moving forward.

Continuing education for creative entrepreneurs does not have to be anything fancy or expensive. Listen to a podcast in the car or set aside 30 minutes per week for a tutorial. As long as you are actively learning new skills that will benefit your business, you are continuing your education.

Confine activities that tend to be easy time wasters to set times of day.

Email is one of those things that is necessary for communication, but also a task that most tend to put too much time into. Choose to spend 30 minutes at the beginning of your day answering only the most important emails. Another 30 minutes mid-day to respond to general inquiries. And a final 30 minutes at the end of your day to follow up on action items.

Consider using an auto-responder software or template emails to handle general inquiries. You might think that it only takes a few minutes to type out a personal email. But if you are even receiving 10 general inquiries per day, you are likely spending at least 1-2 hours on personalized emails.

Instead, draft personal-sounding email templates that can be used to quickly respond to your common inquiries and cut that time down to fit within your 30 minute time block of responding to emails.30 minutes: Email, Hot Items Only

An Example of my Typical Day as a Solopreneur

30 Minutes for Email: Respond to Hot items first. Then general inquiries as time allows. Set a timer. Do not exceed 30 minutes.

15 Minutes for Scheduling: Make or review a To Do List and goals for the day/week/month.

15 Minutes to Schedule Production: Download new orders and schedule production accordingly.

60 Minutes for Marketing Activities: Work on action items from your marketing activities list such as creating ads on social media, writing product listings, etc.

4 Hours for Production Activities: Work on producing for current orders and building stock for shop listings, vendor events, etc.

30 Minutes for Mid-day Email: Time is primarily spent responding to general inquiries using pre-formatted email templates that require minimal editing.

30 Minutes for Accounting & Admin: Easily my least favorite task, but I set aside specific time to make sure it gets done because it is really, really important.

1 Hour Shipping on MWF: Time spent packaging orders, printing shipping labels and transferring to shipping carrier.

1 Hour Free Creative Time on T, TH: Time spent re-energizing my creativity by making something for fun instead of for business.

30 Minutes Social Media and Networking on MWF: Time spent scheduling pins in Tailwind, interacting in Facebook groups and commenting on blogs.

30 Minutes Personal Development on Tuesdays: Time spent learning new things through tutorials or online courses.

30 Minutes Business Development on Thursdays: Time spent researching new ideas or ways to grow business.

30 Minutes End of Day: Tidy up emails and clean up your to do list. Review your progress for the day in preparation for setting new goals tomorrow.

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