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The Juggling Act

doubledubsReclaimed Barn Wood & Mason Jar Wall Art Hand-Painted Wood Sign from The Double Dubs

When I first opened my shop on Etsy, I was working a full time job and taking care of my 6 month old daughter. I was looking for a hobby and in the beginning had no expectations of creating a real business. Flash forward just over a year, and I’m still working a full time job, chasing around my energetic little girl who’s turning 2, and running a successful online store; The Double Dubs.

My shop has grown far beyond my expectations, but with the increase in sales comes the increase of stress and decrease of time. There have been moments when trying to manage everything has been overwhelming, but as time goes on I have been able to develop ways to stay organized and balance the many areas of my crazy, wonderful life.

When I told my husband that I was writing an article about balancing a business with your day job and home life, his response was “Let me know when you figure that out.” I’m certainly not an expert, but I have made great strides and hopefully I can help others find ways to do the same!

Get Crazy Organized

I still remember the day I brought home my label maker….such fond memories. I quickly began labeling everything in my studio from the garbage/recycling bins to the space reserved for my hot glue gun. While labeling every little thing in my studio may not have been necessary, it made me think more about how I was utilizing my space.

I’m very lucky to have a designated area in my house for the business, I realize that a lot of people starting out aren’t as fortunate. But it’s important to organize your work space whether it’s a spot at the kitchen table or an entire building. Keeping my studio organized helps me to find things quickly, get to work quickly, and clean up quickly. And let’s be honest, when juggling multiple roles time is of the essence.

That’s not to say my space is always spotless. I mean there are days when I can’t avoid letting my daughter pull out all the recycling or unravel the bubble wrap while I package orders. But by putting in the effort the first time to organize (and label like a crazy person) my studio, makes it easy to get it back to its meticulously organized state fast.

Method to the Madness

There are countless ways people have found to stay organized and juggle busy lives. None of these methods are necessarily the wrong way or the right way to do it. The key is finding the method or style that works best for you. So experiment and adapt until you find the right mix. To give you a starting point, here’s some of what has worked for me:

  • My best friend the label maker– Giving everything a place has increased my efficiency
  • Writing lists– I have created a template that I use for writing my to-do list every day (and laminated it….I know I’m a nerd!). The front goes through everything I’ll need to accomplish for the shop, to what’s for dinner that night. The back has an overview of big projects for the whole week.
  • Calendars – Keeping track of important dates and deadlines is essential! I make sure to have separate calendars for the business, our personal life, and finances (when those obnoxious bills are due).

Don’t be Afraid to Ask (or Scream) for Help

You need to know your limit, and more importantly, to ask for help before you reach it. Whether that’s help from your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, or online community. Without a great support system, my business, day job, and home life all would suffer. When the shop is really busy and I’ve had to put in a full day at work, my husband steps in to make dinner and do laundry. If there’s a project at work that I’m just too stressed about, I solicit other perspectives. You should never feel guilty about asking for help!

Don’t Strive for Super Hero Status

It’s easy to set ridiculously high standards for yourself and feel defeated when you fall short. There are going to be days when you accomplish more than what you had expected, and days where you feel like you’ve only added to your list rather than complete it. It’s okay to have those days. It certainly doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human! So set goals, work your butt off, and keep trying.

 

 

Stephanie Wotachek – The Double Dubs

We have reclaimed barn wood that would have otherwise been destroyed and given it new purpose.  Through our artwork, we are able to share a piece of our family’s history with others.

Jessica Swift’s Favorite Supplies

I use a lot of different types of supplies in my work, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you today! I often wonder what type of paint, pens, etc artists use– sometimes I ask my artist friends what their favorite supplies are if I want to shake things up and try something new! It makes visits to the art supply store extra fun (and dangerous! I can spend hours and hours and lots of money in an art supply store!)

So, here are some of the things I go back to time and time again:

Golden Fluid acrylics and Amsterdam acrylics. Best paint ever, in my opinion.

Black pens. And colorful sharpies! My favorite pens are the simple Pilot Precise V5, Tombow dual tip pens, the Pentel Pocket Brush, and Faber-Castell Pitt pens. And all varieties of sharpies!

American Easel cradled wood panels. I LOVE painting on these babies! I also love canvases from Binders Art in Atlanta (they have great sales!).

This is my trusty Wacom tablet. It’s about 5 years old, and it’s definitely not fancy, but I love it, and it does exactly what I need it to do. My cat loves to chew on the pen, so if you look closely you can see a Trident gum wrapper wrapped around it– I did this one day to cover up the bite marks because it was the only bit of paper that was close by on my desk, and it’s been that way ever since! One of those funny quirks about my working tools. 🙂

What are your favorite art supplies and tools? Let’s share them in the comments!

Jessica Swift — Jessica Swift

Jessica Swift is a full-time artist and surface pattern designer (a one-woman show!) who believes that our childhood dreams and obsessions are the key to knowing the work we’re meant to do as adults.  She remembers creating posters as a kid, filling large bubble letters with vibrant, hand-drawn patterns and decorating every surface she could get her hands on.

Twenty some years later, Jessica’s childhood fascination with color and pattern continues. From licensed products to objects made in her own studio, Jessica’s eponymous brand of surface designs and vibrant gift/home products is centered around her daring use of color and quirky & fun pattern sense. Her aim? To elicit happiness, play, and light-heartedness in the world through her work.

Jessica grew up in Boulder, Colorado, earned a BFA from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and 2 cats. Her work can be seen on her website, in her Etsy shop, and on her blog.

Exciting New Project + We Need Your Help!

We are working on an exciting new free ebook for the holidays and are looking for awesome craft tutorials and craft suppliers! Contact us if you are a craft supplier interested in advertising or want to recommend your favorite suppliers. Also, if you have tutorials from your website or blog that you would like to be considered for the project or want to see your favorite tutorials included please get in touch too!

Please email me at kerry@handmadesuccess.com or use our contact page.

 

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Reader Poll

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Jordan and I are excited to be working on a couple of projects and we would really appreciate your input! We have a couple of questions for you and would love it if you shared your answers in the comments.

Are you a craft supplier?

Who is your favorite craft supplier?

Which supplies do you buy most often?

Are you an illustrator?

Thank you so much and stay tuned for more info!

 

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Building your creative business?  Sign up for the Handmade Success mailing list and get even more juicy business advice delivered weekly.