“It’s not even Christmas yet…why should I stop working on developing Christmas items?” That is the question that you may be asking yourself…the answer is easy…Christmas should have been done before Thanksgiving.
Wouldn’t you love to be ahead of the game when it comes to Holiday prep for your business? Of course, Christmas is the probably the biggest shopping holiday and ideally, you would be thinking about it year round planning little by little. Realistically…I just added new Christmas items to my Etsy shop this morning.
How do you break the cycle of always being behind and what should you be working on right now?
Have you wondered how some people seem to be on top of everything when it comes to having new and exciting things just in time for every holiday? Well, it’s not luck I will tell you that. They PLAN! And they PLAN AHEAD OF TIME! That’s a concept that is new for me as I am a spur of the moment look at the calendar and oh my goodness Christmas is in 2 weeks type of girl. But…I am breaking that habit and here’s how.
1) Know what to sell and when:
Did you realize that in 3 weeks you should be prepared to start offering your Valentines Day items? Yep…in January which is right around the corner. So that being said Christmas and New Years should be on the back burner as far as planning and product development is concerned. Of course, you will still be filling orders and following through with your current Christmas / New Years item fulfillment but as far as new stuff that should be finished.
I found this awesome printable from one of my favorite websites Cutting For Business. If you look at this handy dandy chart you will see that January is when you need to start offering Valentines Day products and then St Patrick’s Day towards the middle of the month.
This chart is on the wall right in eye’s view when I am working on my computer. A constant reminder to try to stay one step ahead. Let me tell you having this info right in front of me really helps me keep on track when I come up with an awesome new idea for a new Christmas item. The reality check is that my last order date for Christmas delivery is December 10th so it’s time to move on and save it for next year.
2) Have a Plan..really you need a plan!
Like I mentioned before I like to be a free spirit and do things when the inspiration strikes. That is a wonderful creative quality and I embrace it as part of my plan. But I have a plan.
I only plan a week at a time in detail but have a broad plan for the next 6 months set up. In that plan, I have start dates and end dates on product development for each “holiday”. Also when and how to list those items, keyword research, and trends. Does that mean you can only come up with ideas during that specific timeframe? Nope, I just focus on DEVELOPING ideas that are within my plan for the specific period. My other hairbrained ideas go into a file for the holiday or category that it pertains to and I have my play times where I pull that stuff out and just play with it!
Use whatever method works best for you but sit down with a blank monthly calendar and print out the chart above. Make some tentative plans on the monthly calendar as to when you want to start working on what and when you ideally would like to move on to the next thing. It’s going to be fluid and every changing but having a plan will help you keep on track
3) What should you be working on right now?
It’s definitely not Christmas items though if you get really really busy this time of year it might be a good thing to work Christmas in small increments throughout the year. Does this mean drop everything Christmas / New Years and never look back? Nope, what I mean is that you should not be working on new things for Christmas. You will probably still be working on fulfilling orders and maintaining listings on existing items until January.
So right now this is what I am working on:
- My 2017 plan for product development including when to start on the different Holidays and Events and when to be done with them.
- Updated graphics for my Etsy and Facebook page for the new year
- Valentines Day product development and I even used “Valentines Day” as a tag on Etsy today GASP! I won’t be working on St Patrick’s Day as it’s not something I have product for but am looking forward to Spring.
- Looking back at the year and what went well and what I might need to work on.
So with a good plan, you can break the cycle of always feeling behind and rushed when it comes to your business and all the holidays /events you need to be prepared for. Print out the calendar above and let me know what you are going to start working on!