Working on a schedule for your creative business can be really difficult. The industry is unpredictable and timing is never perfect.
When you find yourself trying to find some balance 2 questions need to be answered.
1. How many team members do you have to help?
2. How many hours “realistically” do you have to get things done?
*Consider family, kids, if you work another job and other commitments.
Once you become open with yourself about this it will allow you to really see how much time you have to work. Many people ask about my schedule but being a consultant and publicist it’s hard to compare my work schedule to an actually designer. Today I will share how I handle my weekly schedule and hopefully the insight will help you with figuring out how to navigate yours.
Balance is key to navigating your small creative business
Over the last couple of months I have been determined to find a balance in my work schedule, as well give myself time to work on other freelance projects. Before I set a schedule I wanted to understand what I wanted to do with my time. Being a consultant and publicist who office is at home, human interactions is far and in-between and sometimes it’s hard to stay focused when you feel you don’t have the work atmosphere + I really wanted to connect more with the wonderful clients and readers coming to my website.
Humanizing the business was vital to seeing results
I decided to make a goal to focus on “Humanizing 1608 Creatives” and that ended up taking a life of its own. I knew one thing: I didn’t want to be another generic, unreachable consultant and brand space. I wanted to sell more than a workbook; I wanted to sell an experience.” With that I started opening my time up for more emails, phone calls, Skype sessions and more for the people using 1608 Creatives and I used this to set my schedule.
Monday: Content Days- Blogging, Workbooks, Templates, Content Idea’s, Research client work.
Tuesday: Press Day: I pitch all week but Tuesday’s I use to look up new opportunities + check out what’s going on in the news + calendar planning.
Wednesday: Client Work Days + Live Hours (Office)-I use live hours to allow clients or individuals who use the blogs and templates to call, come in or Skype to really talk about results within their business.
Thursday: Consulting + One-on-One consulting + Client work days.
Friday: Administration day + meetings, I handle bills, invoices, type up documents/contracts, organizing.
Saturday: Prep Day, I prep for the upcoming week, schedule a few hours to catch up.
Sunday: Research, I use Sunday to research if needed most Sunday’s I use to rest up for the week.
The reason I make a schedule like this because my days can be all over the place, it helps me to avoid the cramming that was happening a lot. I realized I needed some direction and this has worked well for me over the last few months.
Take Monday’s, clients now expect me to follow up with them on Monday’s regarding any content work, also if I am working with a client and we need content for marketing plans, website, social, etc. instead of stretching this out for days, I will use Monday to gather all we need for content so other days can be very productive.
HOW TO FIND A BALANCED SCHEDULE
Hours: Understand the needs of your business, your skills and how many hours you will have to work. With many emerging designers you are the only employee or you may have a team of 1 to 5. It’s very common and you must realize with that you will be the one to handle everything orders, shipping, social media, website, invoices, designing, sketching, sourcing, meetings and so much more.
You can break these tasks down. For example, Friday’s you can decide to get out of your design studio and handle sourcing. You set your meetings to a certain time in the mornings or afternoons, or on a particular day. Use Saturday’s to schedule and shoot for social media, use Wednesdays to handle website upkeep.
One thing to note is that I do other work on those days but particularly follow those terms first, On Tuesday mornings I may do the press work for till lunch time and then the rest of the afternoon and evening working on client work.
Organize: Having a schedule and being consistent only works when you are organized. For clients I use Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook Calendar and Squarespace private pages but when for the company I use Asana.com and Trello.com to keep client work organized. If I have a request come in for a client in PR, I use automatically update Trello to get all the information they need in one spot. You can use tools; my three favorites are Trello, Asana and 17hats.
Systems: If you are looking for ways to cut back on time, spending a weekend or two creating systems can really benefit you and allow you to really be consistent. Creating your invoice templates, media/press kits, wholesale forms, contracts, surveys and anything you find yourself sending over and over to clients. If you do custom design and you have a form your clients fill out regarding sizing, colors, etc. go ahead and create that form, that way when you receive a request you can automatically shoot that information off.
Many times we fail to be consistent because we get overwhelmed because we don’t want to prepare in advance.
1. Do you use a set schedule to encourage consistency in your brand?
2. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to staying on task and getting things done?