Thursday, 22 January 2015
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
One of my aims this year is to use this blog to offer up some of the business advice that I have learnt over the last couple of years. Although I am by no means an expert on all thing business I always think it is interesting to hear about other people's experiences and I hope you can all take a little something away from my posts!
January is always a month that I look forward to, the studio gets a well needed tidy up and I can start to plan the year ahead with a fresh outlook after much needed time off over Christmas.
January is full of reflection, lists, spider diagrams, stock takes and the most exciting part: I have time to design the next collection!
Once all the planning is done I start to feel a little overwhelmed with just how much needs to be done! With all this in mind I thought I would share some of the advice I have gathered over the last few years on how to get the most out of your working day, how to stay motivated and how to get that to do list ticked off!
Here are 10 things that work for me:
1. Start the day with 3 aims
I used to write absolutely everything I needed to do on one big list, I would then start the day by looking at said list and feel totally overwhelmed to the point where I wouldn't even know where to start and procrastinate for half the morning. Plus I would finish the day feeling disappointed that I hadn't achieved a lot!
I now write down just 3 things in the Morning that I need to achieve that day, simple but important tasks such as completing orders. I usually write these on my whiteboard which sits on my studio wall so I can refer back to them all day!
Ticking these 3 things off at the end of the day is so satisfying!!
2. The Pomodoro timer technique
If you are easily distracted this is a great technique.
- Decide on the task to be done
- Set a timer to 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the timer rings
- Take a short break for 5 minutes (go ahead and check your Facebook or make a cuppa!)
- After four lots of timers take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes
You can download an app on your phone with the simple timer, just search for Pomodoro timer in your app store!
3. Write everything down in one place
Lists, ideas, memos, drawings all in one notebook which you carry with you everywhere. This can become your bible!
4. If it will take less than 3 minutes, just do it, don't write it on your list!
5. Switch off social media
Social media can be such a time drain, make it easy and switch off those notifications while you are trying to compete tasks. (That dancing dog video can wait) Set yourself specific times that you are allowed on social media or use software such as hoot suite to schedule your tweets and posts for the week in one go. Easier said than done I know!
6. Reconigse when you work best
Are you an early bird or a night owl? If you can figure out when you feel and work best during the day then you can use that time to do all the things that use up the most brain power.
If you are like me and are pretty useless in the late afternoon use the afternoon to do tasks such as social media, emails and small tasks that are easy when your not functioning to well! Plus you can team these tasks with a nice cup of tea!
I work best in the morning so I make sure the first tasks of the day are the most important tasks!
Sometimes it just isn't happening. If you are having creative block don't force it. If you are like me you will end up getting yourself more and more frustrated to the point where you will do sloppy work! Get outside, walk round the block, ring your friend or have a snack. Switch off calm down and come back to the task with a clear head!
8. Have working hours and then switch off
One of the biggest perks about being self employed is being able to set your own working hours however this can also be the hardest thing. I know it isn't always possible to switch work life off when you get home but do give it a try!
This year I began working on Lucy Alice as my full time occupation and I have found that setting myself strict studio hours has really helped. I feel more motivated in the studio and more relaxed when at home. Moreover having an end of day ritual can really help you switch off. Have a tidy up, close all the tabs and write your to do list for the next day so that you can really switch off!
9. Plan something nice and create rewards!
To help motivate your working hours, make sure you plan something nice for your day off. It doesn't have to be big, it might be a coffee with a friend, a family walk in the woods or trying your hand at making bread. You can think to yourself 'If I complete these accounts I can buy myself that magazine' Having something to look forward to always makes me work through the boring parts!
10. Enjoy yourself and don't burn out!
A lesson I am still learning, you don't need to go at full speed all the time you just need to keep going and not give up! It isn't the end of the world if that email doesn't get replied to straight away or if you have to say 'no' to an opportunity if you simply haven't got the time!
What do you do to keep motivated? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Wishing you all a positive January full of exciting plans!
Lucy Alice :)
Saturday, 3 January 2015
A Year in Pictures.
2014 was a funny year for Lucy Alice Designs as January began with Phoebe still only being 10 weeks old! I said to myself that 2014 would be the year that I make the break into full time self employment and learn as much as I could about business and that silly thing called work life balance. I am happy to say that I think I have achieved the first two, the latter is an urban myth...
Reflecting on this year has been very therapeutic, not only being able to look back and see my little girl grow but I am amazed at how much I managed to grow the business whilst multi tasking with a small person! If you can dream it you can do it!!! (even when your cardigan is covered in baby snot and you don't know what day it is)
Business highlights included:
- Being Interviewed by Making Magazine
- A successful 2nd time appearance at The British Craft Trade Fair
- Becoming a partner on Not On The High Street
- Graduating from the School For Creative Starts Ups Course
- Lots of lovely new stockists & opportunities
- Quitting my Day Job!!!!
- Organising the 'Flock' Pop Up Shop with a group of wonderful ladies
- My Mum & Dad retiring and 'joining' the Lucy Alice team!
- A November & December trading at a number of fabulous markets & meeting lots of lovely fellow makers.
I was going to sum up the year with words however if I am honest it went by in one big blur. Little sleep, lots of learning curves and plenty of change! There have been ups and downs and lots of wobbles but I am thankful to all of you for reading this and helping me make 2014 as successful as It could be!
So here is Lucy Alice Design's year 2014 in pictures...
Maternity Leave and These two.
1. Photoshoot with Holly Booth Photography 2. Phoebe turned 4 months. 3. Daddy's birthday and her first swim. 4. Received lots of beautiful product photos from Holly.
1.Gru my cat, inspiration for my best selling necklace. 2.First Mother's Day lunch 3.We said Hello to Phoebe's new cousin Fred. 4. I stepped back into business at Appleducks in Tunbridge Wells.
1. BCTF Trade show in Harrogate 2. My trade show assistant at 6 months. 3.The Last S4CS seminar. 4. Massive order of brooches for a gala dinner.
1. Wedding season begins, custom stationery orders 2. Lots of time in the garden 2.MakeGood Festival in London. 4. The aftermath of BCTF, So thankful for all the trade orders.
1. Studio Sample Sale 2. Thankful to be back with Phoebe after a manic May! 3. Summer brights arrived. 4. S4CS graduation, my lovely classmates.
1. Made it into Making magazine! 2.Lots of picnics 3.Ran my first Facebook sale! 4. Updated the website.
August = time out!
1. Family holiday to Dorset. 2. Me & Harry celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. 3. Paris with the Uni girls 4. A surprisingly tidy studio.
1. My first lot of Not On The High Street orders 2. Mum & Dad retire and come and help! 3. Christmas comes early! 4. Bristol Uni reunion.
1. Flock Pop Up Shop interior. 2. Flock Pop Up Exterior 3.New ideas & limited editions. 4. Phoebe turns 1!
1. lots of stock making and new designs. 2.Phoebe learns to walk. 3.The studio is in overdrive! 3. Experimenting with Screen Printing.
1. Emporia Pop Up Shop 2. Flock at the Posh Christmas Market Folkestone. 2. The Fairytale Fair at Brighton's Open Market 3. The Harley Gallery Christmas Market
1. The Fairytale fair at Brighton Racecourse. 2. Phoebe helping with the orders. 3, Thankful for all the Black Friday online sales! 4. Farnham Maltings Christmas Market.
2015 will be the first year that I will be concentrating on Lucy Alice Designs as a full time venture and heading to the studio 4 days a week at 9am! It is scary when I think of it as a make or break year but I am so excited to push my business to its full potential.
In 2015 I hope to bring this blog back to life and bring you all advice, inspiration, interviews and news!
Happy New Year you lovely lot!