Full Throttle

If you had to describe your life right now, what descriptor is most accurate? My guess is that you would say it is flying by and approaching full throttle.

What can you do to make it manageable?

You might think you don’t have time, but you owe it to yourself to sit down and make a plan. I know it is tempting to just plow ahead, but you will thank yourself if you stop and plot out the remaining weeks until the holidays end.

If you sell product, write out when you are selling and where. Estimate how much product you need to fulfill estimated sales and create a production calendar. Warning: The key to success here is to plan realistically. Consider your personal calendar as well as business activities. If you have an outside job, be realistic about the time you have for production.

Let’s say that you created a plan and it hits you that it is impossible to keep up without working 20 hours a day. Now what?

Here are some options:

Cut back.

Cut back on sales or activities. Some sellers pull out of smaller, less profitable sales. It could be profitable in the long run to forego a show that doesn’t gross much to concentrate on a better one. Protect your integrity, however,  by cancelling with as much notice as possible.

Did you schedule too much? Socializing, activities and projects are good for the mind and body so don’t cut out everything; but if you see a pattern of unrealistic expectations, cut something out.

Save time on production

Streamline operations. Make bigger batches less often, offer fewer varieties and masterbatch.

Make more quick products. If you can whip up a lot of product to sell that takes a fraction of the time that another product takes, do it.

Buy product from another maker

I know, I know. You love making product and every item is a source of pride and joy. But give yourself a little time to think it over and decide if it makes sense. If you know someone whose bath fizzies or soap or candles you like, buy from them and relabel. It is, of course, a business arrangement with laws and regulations, but will save hours and hours so you can work on your business instead of using it all on production.

Hire help

Again, you do not have to do every little task.  This too, allows time to work on your business so it can grow.

You don’t have to be in the selling business to be busy!

Even if you are a hobbyist, you are probably beginning to feel the pinch. The kids are back in school and involved in numerous activities. You plan to make soap, bath and body treats, candles, or melts for gifts, but when? You too, would do well to make a production plan that works around your life.

How can you cut back, save time or enlist help?

I cannot promise a stress-free holiday season, but planning and realistic expectations go a long way towards making it enjoyable and manageable.

What do you do to survive the holiday season?

May your days be filled with bubbles and wax,

Beth Byrne, for Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles Magazine

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