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Blogs for creatives who are looking to turn their handmade hobby into a productive and successful handmade business.

How To Reduce Small Business Overwhelm By Simply Writing Things Down

Kerri Tutton

Handmade Biz Planner Blog How to Reduce Small Business Overwhelm by simply writing things down

About 10 years ago I took a leap of faith and restarted my life moving from the Beautiful Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales Australia, up the coast to the stunning Beaches of Noosa in the Sunshine Coast.  I found in a fantastic little spot overlooking the river at Gympie Terrace and during this time of renew, I made a decision to write ever single day.

I'd make myself a cup of coffee each morning and I'd open up my A4 Black and Red hardback book and after pitching the date in the top right hand corner of my page I would release.  Now for a 30 year old who had just moved to a new town, you wouldn't think I would have too much to write about however I was brimming.

I would list all the things I was grateful for in my life as well as write about what I wanted to create in my life be it things, experiences and people. I would create how I wanted my life to be on paper and I would consistently give thanks for all that I had.

I had recently discovered how to write positive affirmations so I would create them to help me feel better if I was feeling low and many times I would attempt to manifest the Australian Visa I had applied for at this time.  I would write what could be considered spells, to release me from my failed marriage and I would also write hilarious and encouraging letters to friends.  

When I look back now I realise I was writing to heal and to create, I was releasing all the elements in my life that either needed to be gone or I was developing new experiences onto paper. It was massively healing and freeing and I felt like I was carrying less and less on my shoulders the more words I wrote.

I love writing and I am not just talking about creating content, but the actual physical act of writing.  I like a clean, curl and crease free page of paper usually on the right hand side of a preferably new book ready for ink. I absolutely love a smooth pen that glides across the paper, you know the type, the one you borrow and it writes so perfectly that you actually consider keeping it! It doesn't have to be a fancy pen with a fancy price tag either, in fact I have fallen for those old ones with an attractive click everytime the ball point lifts off the page.

Writing works for me, so I write my to do lists, I write my plans, I write when I am stressed and I need to heal and I write when I am creative and I want to share.  It's pretty apt that I have ended up creating tools for us creatives that encourages you to step away from the computer and smartphone to slow down and write it down.

Writing is good for relaxing as it is quite meditative, your brain will focus more on the words so you can easily transfer all you are holding on to in that moment with the power of the pen.  Most importantly, it reduces stress and overwhelm by simply slowing down.  You simply do not need to remember everything.  Write it down, if it is a to do list item, a process, or how you feel - release it to a page and watch your shoulders relax, your head will calm and you will be breathing easier.

Here's a few other examples of how you can bring writing into your business world and reduce the overwhelm.

1. Write about your 'Why'

Write a story about why you started doing what you do and why you are motivated to run your business.  This is a fantastic opportunity to describe how you feel about your craft, to share what drives you to do what you do.  You could use this as a point of reference on a tough day, you could share this with your customers so they can get to know and trust you more.

2. Write a Morning Process

Write down 3-5 tasks that you must do each and every morning to become your morning process.  These are non negotiable items that must be completed that will help your working day. Set the foundation of each day with these tasks to set you up for success, then have that yummy satisfaction of crossing them off your list as you complete them. 

3. The art of gratitude

Writing about what you are grateful for will really change your emotional set point.  Make time in your day to write down all the things in your business that you are really happy to have.  At first it may be a little difficult and feel a little odd being thankful for some of the most obvious things, but keep at it, soon you will start flowing with thanks for a multitude of elements and it will bring with it a naturally good feeling. (This activity works wonders when changing the subject matter from 'Your Business' to 'Your Life').

4. Creative nonsense

Bend your brain a little.  Feel stuck in a rut, doing the same processes over and over again? Well get creative with some writing and make a new pathway in your brain to something amazing.  Think about the nonsence in the story line of Alice in Wonderland, a talking Cheshire Cat? A Mad Hatter? Fantastic nonsense, give it a crack and see where it goes.

5. Write a task list

Starting, developing and running a small creative business has it's moments. There will be days when you just don't know where to start because there are so many things to do,  they may need to be done in the right order,  you can't do this because you haven't got that and before you know it you have lost 5 hours in social media ahhhh.

Start developing and writing down a task list with a process on what to do within that task.  The best way to do this is to imagine you are handing your business over to someone else to run, so they will need to understand what to do and when.  Eventually once you have your tasks and processes created, you can then create your weekly business routine...

6. Weekly business routine

Take some or all of your business tasks and place them in a weekly roster to prompt you to accomplish what you need to do and when.  Need to order more findings? Check your stock on Friday before driving to the wholesalers on Saturday.  Do you prefer to create all your social media in one hit and upload it into a scheduler? Write down the best day for this to happen so come next week you social media feed updates are flying out the door.

If you have any area's of your business where you specifically choose to write over type, share them here.  Or if you attempt any of the above for the first time, let me know how you go.


5 things I learnt when the computer said no!

Kerri Tutton

5 Things I learnt when the computer said no

So I needed a break.

My original plan was to visit a women's retreat in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.  It was a place I had fond memories of after completing the course 8 years ago and I was especially keen to return, as I had previously experienced quite a life changing epiphany there.  I think there was a small weird part of me that thought I could create that again.

After 3 failed attempts to book the dang thing online a little question came to me asking if I should really be going back? Why chase something you have already done. Why not create something new?

So I flicked the webpage and chose a spot on Air.BnB, packed up my computer, my work and decided to have a working holiday. Me, Myself and the Handmade Biz Planner.

So instead of going down the Byron Bay (which is my old stomping ground when I first moved to Australia), I went to a little tiny town called Billinudgel just north of the shire.  Now when I mean tiny, I am referring to a newsagent, a corner store and a pub. That's pretty much it and I have to say it was perfect. The less wine bars and distracting places the better for my focus.

The place I stayed was called 'Sanctuary Farm Stay' it was run by Heidi, a super friendly and bubbly host who was always free for a chat and super keen to help with anything.  There were 2 horses to feed apples, several saved dogs, my special fav was Trinidad a gorgeous pooch that would pop by to say hello and talk to me. (yes she talks).

All was well with the world when I arrived and set up until I went to set up my Mac Desktop. Yes for some stupid reason I put it in the boot of the car and brought it with me. 

So the wireless keyboard chose not to pair with the computer which was really odd.  I'd had small issues with this in the past but nothing like this.  I changed the batteries, attempting to get the computer to read it, but nothing.  So I resigned myself to (several) Friday night drinks with my girlfriend on top of a hill watching the sun set and the moon rise.

The following morning I still could not get the computer to sync.  It refused so I restarted it, nothing. Restarted it again, nope, Rebooted it - SHIT! The reboot meant I shut the whole computer down which brought it to a starter screen requesting a password to enter - but my keyboard wasn't synced yet? AHHHHH

This was the moment when you slapped your head, this was the Homer Simpson 'DOH, this was the kick something in frustration with yourself moment!

Needless to say, the time was not lost, I had my old knackered windows laptop in my bag that sounded like a lawnmower after the fan would kick in after 5 seconds.  She did the job for the next 4 days.

So after nearly getting flooded onto the property after a massive belt of rain dropped on us for 2 days (great working weather), I happily made my way home.  I achieved lots and whilst I wished I could have achieved more I realised that when it comes to running a small business that there will always be work to do, and often you won't complete as much as you originally intended to and that is okay.

Of course I was worried about the computer, I had a lot of data on it and I needed to make sure I could use it.  So I hooked out an old keyboard with a usb cable on it and logged myself in.  Then I attempted to sync the keyboard and BOOM - it synced first time. AHHHHHHH

So I sit with myself in silence asking myself what was the lesson here - because this opportunity to learn something is obvious as a slap in the face with a wet fish. So I came up with the following:

  • A Desktop computer is just that, leave it at home it doesn't like to be moved
  • When original plans become really difficult to create, maybe they just aren't meant to happen
  • Sometimes when things don't work - it is a sign that you shouldn't work either
  • You really don't need fancy gadgets to create great work
  • Don't allow an over ambitious to do list make you feel unaccomplished, quality work takes time

Ultimately a great time was had, I got to spend some quality time with my good friend.  Plus I got to have some time for me and my business.  It was a gentle, productive and wonderful experience.  

I'm looking forward to the day I take my work full time, and perhaps then I'll invest in upgrading the dusty old laptop. Until then - she got me out of a tight spot!

Kez x

Sanctuary Farm Stay - Billinudgel, New South Wales, Australia