How To Create A Schedule For Your Business
Running a small business can be very overwhelming. There is a lot to do and only so much time in a day. When I first started my business I wasn't doing half of what I'm doing now. I was basically sewing and crocheting as much as I could in the spare hours I had and then selling those items at a local farmer's market on the weekends. I didn't have a schedule that I followed, I just flew by the seat of my pants. It worked for me for a few years, but once I started this blog and started designing my own patterns it got a lot harder to just wing it.
Today I want to share with you a schedule that I put in place for my business that has helped me to accomplish so much more and feel like I have all my based covered. I'll also share with you how you can create your own business schedule to fit your needs.
Why you need a schedule for your business.
If I can give you one piece of advice this would be it. You need a schedule for your business to keep you on track and organized. If you can start your week knowing what to do each day it will take the guess work out of running your business. Having a schedule will allow you more time to do the things you love. There are a lot of aspects of running a small business and without a proper schedule things can get forgotten. I know for me, having a schedule keeps me accountable and gives me structure to my day.
My weekly business schedule.
Sundays are my day to plan ahead for the week. I take an hour or so at the end of the day to look at my calendar and plan out what I'm going to do each day. I use the medium Happy Planner which comes with a month at a glance page plus weekly pages where I get to fill in my to-do lists for all areas of life. This is also my chance to take a look at the month and plug in the big things that need to get done like which blog posts I want to have and which patterns I want to release. By putting those big items in I can then fill in the rest of the month or week with all the smaller things that will need to get done to make those big things happen.
Sunday is also when I start to write down ideas for social media posts. If I know which projects I'm going to be working on that week it's pretty easy to come up with picture ideas or even topics that I may want to talk about in my captions.
Social Media Monday
Monday is all about social media. This is the day where I try to take as many photos as possible so I can schedule my posts for Instagram and Facebook. Once I have pictures taken, I edit them and then put them into my scheduling app Tailwind. There I can see if the pictures go with the flow of my feed. I can also start adding captions and get as much scheduled out as possible so the rest of the week I can focus on other things. By planning my social media posts in advance it frees up my mind to think about other things and I'm not scrambling every day to figure out what to post. It took me a few months to get into the habit of doing it and now that I have this schedule to follow it makes coming up with content that much easier.
This is also a good time for me to re-evaluate how my feed looks, my profiles look and make any changes or updates that I haven't had a chance to do. It is also a good time for me to search for other maker's content/patterns that I might want to share on my Facebook page and then schedule those posts as well.
Tuesday is usually a pretty busy day for me and I spend most of my time on the computer. I take the day to do all the necessary things on the computer such as:
- updating my website
- updating and adding relevant links to my old blog posts
- writing blog posts or finishing ones I have previously started
- typing up patterns
- creating new listings in my shop or taking down old ones
- researching information on how to improve my website or brand
- looking for and applying for craft shows or markets
- transfer pictures from my phone to my computer
- scheduling my Pinterest pins for the week (some of which is done on Mondays) or re-pinning old pins to drive more traffic to my website.
This is becoming my favorite day of the week. It's a day I set aside to just create and be with my craft. Creating a business out of something you love can some times cause you to have burn out. As much as I love creating and making, if I'm doing it all the time it eventually feels like a chore. By having one day out of the week be just for making I end up enjoying the process so much more. Wednesdays are my day to finish up projects, start new ones or just make something for myself. It depends on what I need that week to not feel like I'm going crazy. It also allows me to have a break from the worry and stress of running a business. I try not to spend as much time on social media on Wednesdays either so I can fully focus on my craft. It's a day to just get stuff done and enjoy my work. I highly recommend scheduling a day like this for yourself so you can just enjoy the making that you do.
Think it Thursday
Thursday is the day where I allow myself to explore new designs. Since I've started designing my own patterns I find that inspiration can strike anywhere. Instead of pushing ideas aside because I don't necessarily have time to work on them in that moment, I schedule a day during the week where I can try out my new ideas so they don't get lost in the shuffle. When an idea hits, I'll jot down a few notes and draw a quick sketch in my notebook and then keep going with my day because I know that on Thursday I'll be able to spend some time researching and experimenting with that idea.
This is also a time when I can revisit older ideas that haven't been fully worked out or let my mind wander to come up with some brand new ones. I may head to the yarn store to see what kinds of yarn I want to use for a new design or spend the day making swatches to see what will work. It's also a great day to start calculating different sizes if I'm designing a garment. Basically I try to give myself a few hours on Thursdays to fully focus on designing. Sometimes this means I end up with a lot of WIPS, but it helps keep me from stifling my creativity.
Fridays have become a day for getting all my finances in order when it comes to my business. I collect all the receipts/expenses for the week and plug them into my excel spreadsheet. Then I enter every sale into another spreadsheet. Making sure to keep track of my spending and sales each week saves me tons of time at the end of the year when it's time to do my taxes. It also helps me to always know where my business is at financially so I know if I need to scale back the spending and spend a bit more time on marketing my business.
On top of just entering my expenses and sales for the week I also make sure the I've calculated my mileage for the week too. If I have receipts from the fabric store then I better also have the number of miles I drove to get there and back written down too. Basically it's a quick check up to see how my business is doing.
Catch Up Saturday
Let's be real, as nice as it would be to say that this schedule always happens exactly as planned, I'm realistic and know that things come up and schedules don't always get followed. That's why I made sure to include one day a week for catching up. Maybe I didn't finish a blog post or didn't have time to enter all my sales for the week, Saturday is the day to get those loose ends tied up. It's good to give yourself a little wiggle room for the unexpected.
Saturday is also a great day to take a look back on the week to see how I did. Did I get everything done that I wanted to? If not, did I take on too much that week? Should I change up the schedule to better suit my needs? Was this week a breeze? Maybe I can take on a few more projects next week. It's a time to reflect and evaluate on how I did business wise that week.
So there you have it, my business schedule. I want to clarify too that those are not the only things I work on during those days. They are my main focus for the day, but I usually squeeze in other tasks that need to get done as well. Being a work from home mom my time is limited, but I know that I can get at least 1-2 hours of quiet work time in so having a focus for the day really helps me to stay on track.
How to Create Your Own Schedule
Now that you have seen my schedule you might be wondering how you can create your own. Maybe you don't design patterns so you don't need a Think it Thursday. Or maybe you have other things going on during the days on Mondays and wouldn't be able to commit to working on social media that day. That is totally okay! Your schedule should suit your specific needs. Here is how you can create a schedule that works for you in 5 easy steps.
- Make a list of all the responsibilities you have pertaining to your business. I mean everything! Even if it seems small, write it down. (examples: creating products, shopping for supplies, making labels, creating content, taking pictures, etc.)
- Group these responsibilities into categories. Do you have a lot of responsibilities that include working on a computer? Group those together and see if they can all be done on the same day.
- Decide which day of the week you will focus on a particular category. Do you have one day a week that is usually really busy with non-business related things? Maybe choose a category that doesn't take up a ton of time and schedule it for that day. Make your schedule unique to your situation. You know how much you can get done each day so you'll be able to know what tasks can be done when.
- Write it down! Make a little calendar that you keep next to your work space to remind you what your focus for the day should be. If you use a planner write in your schedule so you know how to plan out your weeks and months. Sometimes just writing something down can help motivate us to follow through.
- DO IT! Now that you have an amazing schedule you have to stick to it! Don't let yourself slack off. Find an accountability partner or another maker who can help you stick to your schedule. Don't be afraid to make adjustments as well. Maybe you decided to do all your computer work on Saturdays, but it takes up too much time and you would rather be out having fun with your family. Change it! A schedule will only work if it is realistic and it fits into your life.
Having a proper business schedule has been such a huge time saver for me. Since starting this schedule I have found that I am more productive and have a better handle on my business. I highly recommend making one for yourself or following mine if you'd like. I hope you found this information helpful. If you have other ideas when it comes to creating a business schedule I'd love to hear them! Comment below.