Anyone who knows me well would laugh out loud reading the title of this week’s Craft Venture. Who me? Stress? Truth be told, I’m a major stresser. Which means I have tried and true tips to help you with this coming holiday season!
If you’ve read Craft Venture’s entire series about preparing for the holidays – and even followed a few tips – you may have already reduced some of your potential stress!
Thanksgiving, a major holiday in U.S. (for our non-American readers) is this week! Thursday! Black Friday is the next morning, starting as early as 4:00 a.m. for hardcore shoppers looking for great deals. When does an online sale start? Whenever you want it to. I guarantee you that I will not be up at 4:00 a.m. to start up a sale; instead, my own shop specials will start the night before. When will you start your specials?
I’m all about making my life easier. For instance, shipping is a challenge for me, because I don’t have space dedicated to shipping … yet! I’m setting up a shipping area early this week, with tissue already prefolded, mailers organized, printer loaded with labels, etc. This will serve me well through the holidays and beyond. Do you have a shipping station?
Last year, I continually ran out of mailers, tissue paper, ribbons, packaging tape, you name it. This year, I am over-stocked! Are you fully stocked with everything you need, including extra toner for your printer?
Do you have family and friends to make sure you eat well? If you’re anticipating a very busy Black Friday and weekend, stock up your freezer with some healthy frozen meals (freeze your own!). Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. What are some of your favorite quick, easy and healthy meals to make? I love to throw together a big bowl of leafie greens and veggies. I’ll be eating salads all week!
A common area of stressis how to handle returns and exchanges. If you don’t have a clearly stated policy on your site(s), can you add that today or tomorrow? Do you require your customers to pay the return postage? Do you charge a restocking fee? Do you have a set time limit for returns and exchanges? Make sure you include those details in your policy.
I think my number one holiday stress is worrying about gifts arriving on time. Do you have realistic order deadlines clearly posted for your customers? Remembering that posting in one spot is likely not sufficient, you might put the dates in your item descriptions, policies, announcement, order confirmation, etc. If you normally ship first class, will you offer expedited shipping at some point? If so, include those dates with your deadlines!
This may seem obvious, but … do you actually have in stock the item(s) you have listed for sale? If your items are made on order, is this clear in your descriptions? Do you have the supplies necessary to make those items?
Also, how will you keep your orders straight? Some sellers use hardcopy checklists, others spreadsheets – what do you use? Is it working for you? You don’t want to send the wrong items to customers! I download my sales data into a spreadsheet and work from that. What is your system and how does it work for you?
Even if you work a fulltime day job in addition to your online business, organizing and preparing yourself early this week will help you live a less stressed holiday season. Even if you’re not anticipating a very busy holiday season, being a little more organized will give you more time to be creative and even start planning for after the holidays.
Share with us some of your own organization, anticipation and stress reduction tips and tricks!