First of all happy International Women’s day! I pray every lady out there is feeling extra special today and is having a joyful day!
Welcome to the second issue of our Reverie Rendez-vous series! Yes, it’s already the second week of March and our guest today is non other but the impressive ladypreneur Ashley Shelley from www.ashleyshelly.com. Ashley has built and runs an incredible product based business with her planners and budget notebooks, which in the past year have seen mind blowing success. Let me step to the side and have her share with you her best tips on how to manage a product based business from your own home.
“Hello! I’m Ashley Shelly and I’m a product designer who helps busy women create their best days by planning on paper. I want to share my best tips with you today that help me run my product business from my home studio. Having physical products around requires a lot more planning and organization that I originally thought, but it is so much fun!
1. Create a schedule for yourself and try to stick to it. Things to consider when making your schedule are: days to ship orders, design new products, collaborate with other companies, create social media posts, edit photos, etc. Whatever the details may be that are required in your business, set up a schedule so you won’t be lost in the morning thinking about where to start. For me, I usually ship products every other day around 3PM, so I know I will be packing orders about an hour before that, and jumping in the car to head to the post office before their last pickup. I enjoy my little routine and it helps me stay on task throughout the week!
2. Organization is key with physical products. They take up a lot of space, but if they are organized properly, they are beautiful scenery to work around. I have a great set of cubby shelves from The Martha Stewart Collection at Home Depot that house all of my products for sale. Each product gets its own cubby and is neatly stacked so I can see how many I have. I check my inventory often to make sure it lines up with my website numbers. I use the closet in my home studio specifically for shipping supplies and any eye-sore type items like bubble wrap and cardboard boxes. Although the shipping items aren’t pretty, I still have them all organized neatly and easily accessible to grab when needed.
3. Write down your process. When I first started my business, I just did what I needed to do on a daily basis until I figured out a good process, and I started to see repeating patterns in what I was doing. For me, the patterns repeated every 3 months when I launched new products. So, I started writing down exactly what I was doing for every launch as a to-do list for my next launch. That way, I had a blueprint to go by 3 months later and I didn’t have to worry about forgetting something. For my brand, this list includes things like designing new products, sending them to the printer, proofing the printed items, finalizing the orders, photographing the items when they arrive, editing photos, creating social and website graphics for the launch, ordering shipping supplies and fun packaging details, and organizing it all in the studio to be sent out to customers.
4. Find the staples that you can count on! By staples, I mean the things that work well for your business. Kind of like choosing items from your wardrobe that you love or makeup that you are drawn to every day, you’ll need packaging for your products that people begin to know you for. I love to find a super high quality shipping envelope and add a few details to the outside and inside of the package that speak to the customer about my brand. Doing the research in the beginning and finding your brand staples makes it so much easier when it is time to order those things again. You’ll know right where to go and what quality to expect!
5. As a creative, the feel of your office/workspace is everything. If you can create an environment that you love, your days will be so much better and efficient. Everything should function like a well-oiled machine. I recently read the book Spark Joy by Marie Kondo (definitely give it a read if you’re into organizing!) and it was super helpful in showing me how to make decisions about the stuff around me. If there are items in your office that don’t serve a purpose or make you happy, get rid of them. Clutter just creates busy thoughts in our minds and what we need is clarity. If your office is clean and tidy, you’ll make decisions faster for your brand and come up with more creative ideas.
6. Find the planning tools that work best for you. My must-haves are a weekly paper planner, an 8.5×11 size desk pad for notes and brainstorming, and a smaller notepad for my to-do list. I check-in with my planner every night before I go to bed so I know what to start on in the morning. I also LOVE sticky notes! I use them daily. My one recommendation with sticky notes, however, is to use them then throw them away. At the end of each day, I look over all of my sticky notes on my desk and throw away the ones I don’t need. Otherwise, it can become a messy, crazy-town of them on your workspace!
I hope my tips were helpful to you! Thank you so much for reading.”
Wasn’t this fantastic?! If you want to know more about Ashley and her products, here are all the places you can find her – she has a new collection of notebooks out an the designs are simple stunning!
REVERIE MINGLES: Which one of the tips above do you struggle with the most?