Perhaps the most important part of running a small business is being organized.
Whether you’ve been planning for months or are spontaneously jumping into the deep end, nothing will work if you’re not organized.
Looking back, one of the things I wish I had done sooner is budgeting. It’s incredibly important to figure out your budget before starting your business. You need to figure out how much you spend on product supplies. You also should calculate the time it takes you to make the supplies and determine how much that time is worth. You can do this by using your local minimum wage, calculate an actual living wage, or another amount that you consider worthwhile.
The point is: you want to make sure that you are turning profit, and that the amount of money you are making is reasonable.
Especially if you’re doing any form of marketing (I suggest not doing right this off the bat; it’s important to see how people interact with your page purely based on you and your social media accounts). You would need to calculate how much you spend on marketing and make sure that the amount you are making is reasonable for the amount you are spending on it. You also want to know just how much time and money you are putting into your products to make sure the price you are selling them for is reasonable.
Secondly, you should create a system that works for you.
Everyone is different, so everyone should have a system that works for them, but having a system is going to make things run much more smoothly. It may seem irrelevant when you first start out, especially if you are not getting a lot of sales at first, but if you do happen to start getting an insane number of sales, having a system already in place will make life so much easier. Plus, then you will not need to scramble something together every time you get an order. Overall, it saves both time and energy, which is crucial when running a small business.
Now, when I say “have a system”, I do not mean just have an order of steps that you are going to follow. I mean plan out how long will it take you to make and pack and order. How long will it take you to get it sent out? Do different orders need different timelines? Where are you keeping all your supplies? Do you have to take it all out and get set up again every time you get an order? All these questions may seem anxiety-inducing at first, but trust me when I say there is nothing more stressful than finally getting an order and not actually knowing what to do.
To help you understand what I mean by this, I am going to break down my system for you.
The first thing I do when I get an order (after squealing, of course) is to check what the order is for. Is it a pair of earrings I have already made? Is it a wax melt that will take me an hour to make a batch of or a mystery box I have to take the time to put together? Next, I plan when I will make the product – for me this is usually the same or the very next day. Then, I have to pack the product and buy and print the shipping label for it. This means I need to know the exact size and weight of my package, for which I have a scale. Finally, I have to schedule the package pickup, determine how long it should take for the package to get delivered, and then relay that to my customer.
One of the most important things when running a business is to know your brand. Who are you to the world? What do you want to represent? For myself, this was hard to figure out. My business is a huge part of who I am, and I decided to merge my social media accounts because I am my business. I am proud to be a neurodivergent, biromantic, depressed, and anxious teen running their own business on Etsy. My shop name is Authentically Grace, and I try to present myself as authentically as possible in every aspect of the world. I try to be true to myself and be honest with how things are going.
So, it may take some time, but figuring out who you are should help you figure out what you want your business to be. Of course, self-awareness does not mean you will know how to represent your business. It can always help to consult friends or family with ideas of what to do and how best to represent your business.
Now, be confident in yourself and your business. It doesn’t matter if you have not gotten any sales yet, be proud of what you’ve done to get where you are. If you lack confidence in what you do, it will be harder for people to be confident in you and your products. So be proud of what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come because no one else has taken your path before. You’re the first, and you are doing amazing.
Be confident in who you are, and others will be confident in you as well.