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Topic: Does it take a superbeing to moonlight?  (Read 1959 times)
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« on: February 09, 2004 03:55:03 PM »

Hi everyone!

I am new and finally registered! first time (oops, second) poster.  Can write a whole page expressing how much I like the people in this group. Smiley

I have a full time job.  Love designing/creating and plan on doing it "on the side".  After 2 months, I am feeling a bit overwhelm.  This "on the side" biz demands a lot of attention - admin, webpage, legal, accounting, and the actual creations!

I'd love to hear if any of you feel the same....

Are you really organized, or do you just sleep 3 hours?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2004 04:19:27 PM »

(not that you would know it to look at my stufio but....) YES! orginization is key. make sure you are realistic about how long something takes and allocate enough time to get to it. on the hand - if it takes longer than you thought it would remember that it will still be there if you need to walk away and do something else. don't neglect other things just to stay on schedule. keep everything handy and easy to find - or at the very least know where it is. work assembly line style as much as possible - ex: if you're making bags, cut all of them one night, decorate the next, stitch the next, etc. not having to go back and forth and start and stop really speeds things up - it also helps with keeping a limited space more user friendly. prioritize!! do what HAS to be done first, even if it isn't the fun stuff. deligate as much as possible. enlist the kids, the spouse, the S.O., the friend, the neighbor. when people say i'll help you say COOL! (women have a tendency to think we need to do it all ourselves - we don't!) don't forget to take time for yourself - you aren't good to anybody if you aren't there. and finally, as warren zavon said, remember, you'll sleep when you're dead. lol Grin

second hand smoke: Recycle-Remix-Refresh
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2004 04:24:58 PM »

ps - sorry - should've spell checked a little better. Tongue

second hand smoke: Recycle-Remix-Refresh
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2004 05:48:32 PM »

Those are great tips secondhandsmoke!  I think you'll also find that much of the process will go more quickly when you're more used to it -- like handling your accounting and sales.  When it comes to accounting, I quickly jot each transaction in a notebook, then enter it all into my accounting software once a week.

If your site is your main source of sales, and it's where you find you're spending too much valuable time, consider moving to a database-driven system where you don't have to make a new page for every item, but rather just enter the info in an admin tool and the pages are dynamically generated for you.  I just did this recently and it's made a huge difference in the time I spend working on my site.

Also, if you have a job where you could conceivably work from home, ask your boss if you can do this, even just a day or two a week or once in awhile.  Even though you may devote the same 8 hours to your "real" job, you won't have to deal with commute time and you can be a little more flexible -- for example, if a sale comes in you can handle it right away and get back to work.

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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2004 08:12:14 AM »

plainmabel, I think the telcommuting thing is a great idea - commuting is such a waste of time! Or, if that's not possible, does your company have any sort of flex time plan - can you work 4 days a week for 10 1/2 hours a day, thus giving yourself one extra day at home? It's a lot of juggling, I agree! I do some sewing/repairs on the side, and it's difficult because I have a bunch of kids, and I sew at the dining room table - and it's the only place in the house to eat, do homework, etc. So yes, we all juggle!

Make your workspace as efficient as possible - very key. Double the portions of the dinners you cook, so that you have a full meal already made at least one night of the week. Have your spouse/significant other be responsible for dinner another night - and don't be critical of what you get - for one night a week, the meal doesn't have to be a culinary delite or nutritional wonder! Try to keep your bookkeeping/administrative details to one night a week, if possible - less disruptive to the creative juices. If that's not possible, do the accounting stuff first, then your craft - you're more likely to keep up with the paperwork that way. Consider enlisting help in that area if possible - even a teenager who has some basic computer knowledge can relieve you of 3-4 hours of paperwork a week or web design work a week - and it will be $$ well spent, as you will be using that time to create instead of adminstrate.

Finally, I echo everyone else - 2 most important things - don't be afraid to delegate, and if at all possible, make sure you have 1 day/night to just veg - watch a movie, read a book, go out w/friends - sleep! Burnout is a tough thing to overcome once you're there. Good luck!

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  - Thomas Edison
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2004 11:05:51 AM »

Thank you SO much for all your advice, I really appreciate them.
My workspace can definitely use some work to stay organized;  plus I do have the tendency to "do-it-all" myself.... thanx for reminding me!
Telecommuting is a great idea, I have to think about how to go about asking for it.  Job situation is very bad at work, I donot want any excuse to be let go.

One problem I have is not because I work TOO hard.  I sometimes get overwhelmed with so many ideas and things to do/learn, that I basically froze and ended up not doing anything !  am I the only one?

plainmabel - I am interested in the database-driven system that you mentioned.  I think it will help a lot.  If you don't mind, can you give me a bit more details?

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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2004 11:35:54 AM »

consider moving to a database-driven system where you don't have to make a new page for every item, but rather just enter the info in an admin tool and the pages are dynamically generated for you.  

PlainMabel- this sounds amazing!! I just spent half the night last night updating a page with new pictures...I love your site, so obviously it works- can you tell us more about this? Do I need to switch servers?

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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2004 12:16:01 PM »

If you go to http://www.cartkeeper.com there is a demo of a shop using the system and of the admin tool (the area where you put in descriptions, items, etc).  You can try out the admin tool by inputting your own product info, then going to the shop demo to see it "live."  

There are full server specs on their site, but the main thing is that your server needs to have a MySQL database (most do, I think) and you have to be using Mals-e for your shopping cart (the free version is fine).  The Cart Keeper/CK Shop people will install the system for you and give you tons of documentation so you can customize the look-and-feel and enter all of your items yourself.  (Btw, it helps to have a good understanding of CSS for the customization, but even if you don't you'll figure it out.)

Essentially how it works is there's a single PHP-based page with your site design on it, and when a user clicks a category or item, the information they requested is pulled from the database and inserted into the design shell.  For example, there's no HTML page anywhere on my site for a toaster purse, but when someone clicks on a link for a toaster purse, the toaster purse description and imagery is pulled from the database and dropped into the design shell.

I hope this helps explain it, let me know if you have other questions!  (Btw, I went with the CK Shop package but there are packages from other companies that do this too -- if you're a Mals-e user, go to the mals-e.com site where there are links to some similar packages I think!)

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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2004 02:18:15 PM »

One problem I have is not because I work TOO hard.  I sometimes get overwhelmed with so many ideas and things to do/learn, that I basically froze and ended up not doing anything !  am I the only one?

Hey, i thought i was the only one with this problem.  I too 'freeze' when thinking about ALL the stuff i want to do and learn how to do.  what helps me is to organize my stuff, then I don't have things distracting me.  also, make lists of what  you want to accomplish in the day/week, that way you can schedule time to 'play', like learn something new, and also time to work on the products you've already developed.


« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2004 02:57:49 PM »

Ohhh, the big freeze.... I have it all the time. I have to say, tho, it's something I've kinda learnt to deal with. I think there comes a point where you feel confident and secure with what you're designing/making and you manage to look at it as more of a job (a fun one!) than a hobby. Having said that, I think you have to try everything you want to try first, and then decide what you want to concentrate on doing.
Nowadays when I have 'craft-attacks' and want to stray from what I'm supposed to do, I generally take a moment, focus (lists are a great way of staying on track), and get on with the work. If I really can't help it, I disregard my original plan and just go for it, as long as it doesn't interfer with promises/deliveries....
I think it's all about finding your 'thing', stick to it when it's working, perhaps develop it (Craftster has given me invaluable inspiration for new twists on my designs! Smiley), BUT.... give yourself room/time to play and have fun with crafts!! After all, that's why we all do it!
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