I hope you all have had a lovely start to your 2014. Like many people, I have been using the first few weeks of the new year to focus on organizing myself and my life. At the beginning of the new year, I like to take a mental inventory of all the areas of my life which could use some organizational help. I think about what is working for me, and what isn't. Once I know that, I can make a plan to organize the areas of my life which are running as smoothly as they could. Doing this sets me up for a more productive and organized year.
One of the things at the top of my list this year was my Etsy shop. I opened my Etsy shop last November, and have been trying to find the best way to organize my little business since then. I knew I wanted one place where I could store everything Etsy related. Somewhere I could record, plan and track everything I needed to in one simple spot.
I happened to have an A5 Martha Stewart Home Office binder laying around, that I had picked up on a trip to Staples. I didn't have a specific use for it at the time, but it was just to cute to go home without. And I'm so glad I didn't!
Using this adorable mini binder, I decided to create my very own Etsy organization planner. The A5 size was perfect for me. I didn't like the idea of pulling out a bulky full-sized binder every time I wanted to get some work done on my shop. And since my shop is still pretty new and tiny, I knew I wouldn't need any more space than this compact binder could offer.
To make the label on the spine of the binder, I used Martha Stewart Home Office bookplates, and added some washi tape and alpha stickers to decorate the label insert. I love that it personalizes the binder a little, and makes it easy for me to quickly see what's located in the binder (since I plan on putting together many more of these mini binders for other uses - stay tuned!).
Inside the binder, I split up some sections using, you guessed it, Martha Stewart Home Office dividers. I just can't seem to get enough of this line at Staples!
I decided to start with some simple sections, including a calendar, to do list, ideas, money and statistics. I still have a few blank dividers, which I'm leaving as is until I find a need for them.
When putting together an organizational binder or planner, I almost always find a calendar useful. So far I haven't done too much planning using this calendar, but once I have more time to focus on expanding my shop, I know I'll be happy to have this section ready to be put to work!
There are many things you could track for a small business in this calendar. I will most likely use it to sketch out a brief timeline for developing and releasing new products, broken down into smaller tasks. This way I can stay on track, and focus solely on the next thing that needs to be done.
The to-do section is pretty self explanatory. I plan to basically have a running to-do list of things that need to be done for the shop.
Using this section, I can easily jot down any task that comes to mind. Then, when I have time to sit down and get stuff done for the shop, I can easily pick out a task that needs to be done. Without a to-do list in front of me, I find it hard to find a place to start, and get easily overwhelmed with all the things I need to do swirling around in my head. Having a basic to-do list makes it super simple to sit down and get done what needs to be done. And once you do, there is that always satisfying ability to check it off the list!
My next section is labeled 'ideas'. As it implies, this is the section where I can write down all my ideas for the shop. I will mainly use this section to write out which printables I want to make. This way, if I think of an awesome idea for a future printable, I won't forget about it once I get the chance to sit down and start designing.
I also have some basic notes pages for brainstorming and getting more thoughts out of my head. This is my best organizational key. Once things are out of my head and onto a piece of paper, they make so much more sense, and I am able to simplify and make a plan for what comes next.
The last thing in this section is some blank paper in this section, so I can quickly sketch the layout for a new printable. Getting the idea onto a piece of paper really helps to visualize what I want. This way I can make plans and tweaks before even starting on a project!
Next is the section where I keep track of the financial side of the business. Since, like I've said, my shop is still pretty small, this section is still pretty simple. I have a basic printable where I can write down my monthly income and expenses, and then calculate my profit for the entire year.
Once I add more into my shop, and get things really up and running, I plan to update this section to include more information. For now, this basic page is really all I need to track the finances for my shop.
The last section of my binder is for the statistics of my shop. I left this section empty for now, so I can figure out exactly which statistics I want to record and track. This section will help me to see how much traffic and attention my shop is bringing in, and will also help highlight areas where I may need to improve.
So there's a peek into how I organize my Etsy shop! I hope you picked up some useful tips for organizing your own small business. I plan to put the pages included in my binder in my Etsy shop, and I'm always adding new stuff, so be sure to stop by periodically and see what else is new!
How do you organize your Etsy shop or small business? Is there anything else you'd include in a planner for your shop? Let me know in the comments!
This post is not associated or sponsored by Martha Stewart, Avery or Staples. I am just a huge fan of anything Martha Stewart, so add in organization and office supplies, and I'm completely hooked!