Many craft sellers will be hoping that the upcoming holiday season will bring in lots of sales.  For some it can be quite a stressful prospect with long hours and rushing around.  Whether you sell online or have Christmas stalls, for a short period of time it is a big increase in your workload.

Here are some actions you can take now to help make your Christmas shopping period a bit easier this year:

1 – Shipping Materials

Make sure you have your basic shipping supplies ready in plenty of time.  As well as things like boxes and mailers, don’t forget sticky tape, Sharpy pens and the other bits and bobs you need to safely package your products.

You may also be able to save money by buying shipping supplies in bulk.  If you have a friend who also needs the product, share the cost of buying a larger quantity and you also share the savings.

2 – Materials

Whilst it is very hard to predict how much one will sell, running out of a hard to get material could scupper your Christmas production.  In particular, make sure you have ordered any materials that come from overseas and might take longer to get to you.  It might be worth making a list of alternative sources for important materials, in case you find yourself needing last minute supplies.

3 – Prepare Bases

Are there some products that you could partially prepare in advance?  For example, if you sell painted peg dolls then you could undercoat a big batch now so as to save this step during the holiday rush.  Whilst this is not practical for all shops, for some, it can be a lifesaver.

If you are making products to order, but know that some products sell regularly, have some “in stock” now.

4 – Rope the Family In

Explain to your family that you may need their help in the upcoming seasonal rush.  Allocate any tasks they can help you with.  Consider asking friends if they will be able to help if necessary.

Decide now who will be taking the children to school, who will cook dinners and so on.

5 – Start your Personal Preparations

Avoid panic over your personal holiday preparations by doing what you can now.  Plan the big dinner, buy and wrap presents, create or buy cards and so on.  Then you can concentrate on your business when you need to and still enjoy your own celebrations.

6 – Prep Your Life

Consider how you can make your busy period less busy.  Prepare and freeze meals away so you ensure you are eating properly during the rush.  Get in the healthy snacks (I have to say that, but hey, you can have chocolate if you want, I won’t judge).    Reorganise your workspace so everything is as efficient as possible.   Make sure your supplies are clearly labelled so you can grab what you need quickly.  Invest in any extra storage or tools now so you are raring to go.

7 – Hang on to Invoices

Get a box, wallet or similar to store the invoices from business purchases over the busy period.  Then you can deal with them after the rush without things getting lost in the meantime.

For example, pin a cardboard box up.  Whenever you post something, put the postal receipt into the box.  They are then all safe until you have a chance to add them to your accounts software, accounts book or however you handle accounts.

8 – Work out and Prepare your Marking Strategy

Create blog posts, social networking posts and other marketing materials now.  Use scheduling software and plugins so you can release the marketing automatically if you can.

9 – Make a Date

Make sure you know when the last posting dates are for the various places you ship to.  You could prepare a message now to send to anyone who orders after that date (saying it is after the post office’s recommend date so delivery for Christmas may not happen).  Prepare any other “cut and paste” messages you might need: for example asking for more information for personalized items, checking on details or warning of any expected delays due to weather etc.

10 – Schedule in some Me Time

A busy holiday season can be exhausting.  Stock up on relaxing bath soaks to unwind in, and music or audiobooks to listen to whilst creating.  Try to ensure you take breaks as often as necessary and get a good night’s sleep wherever possible.  You will be more efficient when rested and get more done in less time.  If you are overtired and stressed you are far more likely to make costly errors!

Have Fun!

I hope you have a fun and profitable holiday season!

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