Ep. 61 How to Manage Seasons in Life and Business
I often talk to Master Shopkeepers members and 1:1 clients about giving themselves grace when a “season” in life hits. A season could be a grand opening, moving your business, an unexpected situation, or an illness or death of a loved one.
In short, a season is a time in your life or business where a situation consumes your schedule. Other parts of your life or business may get neglected or pushed down on the priority list.
What to Remember in a Season: Progress Over Perfection
I am currently experiencing a season, which is why this has been on my mind. One item on my to-do list that was somewhat neglected was this podcast.
Luckily my season isn’t a bad or sad situation. Our retail store is doing very well and growing! But that meant something had to give for a while, and it was my podcast that got pushed down my list of tasks.
Like I tell others, having a season isn’t something we should apologize for or feel guilty about. Even so, I’m coaching myself on this so I don’t harp on this in my brain or worry about perfection. I simply move forward.
For example, this podcast episode hasn’t been published the way I normally prefer—edited by my expert editor, with good show notes written by my fabulous copywriter—but hey, that’s okay.
Progress over perfection is the name of the game these days.
The Season I’m Going Through Right Now
I do share some stories and examples about my own business on my website and on my podcast. In general, though, I don’t talk very much about what’s going on in the retail store I co-own with my sister.
This time, I’m eager to share what’s been consuming my time recently because I know that so many shopkeepers can relate.
So, why the imperfect podcast episodes?
The short story is, we’re growing.
Our business, like many other retail businesses, has been a marathon rather than a sprint. But on occasion, we hit a growth spurt like the one we’re experiencing now.
1. We had to hire.
Because of COVID, we decided to hire within our bubble and brought in my nephew. We’ve cut our personal hours in the store as he’s stepped in to work on merchandising, our store window displays, and more.
2. We traveled to Atlanta for AmericasMart.
If you’ve ever gone to a market like this, you know that there’s a lot of post-market work to do once you’re home! I organized all of our orders, made follow-up calls to vendors, and put all of our orders, billing, and delivery dates on an at-a-glance calendar for the year.
3. We had a custom cash wrap built.
Shoutout to my brother-in-law for creating this! It has all the nooks and crannies we need for tissue paper, tools, charging stations, bags—everything we need! Once it was delivered, we painted and stained it in-house.
4. We changed 90% of our store’s footprint.
With 450 square feet of space, we’re not a big store. But we only had four hours to switch the entire footprint! I had a hair appointment that I was NOT going to miss, so we hustled in the four hours to move furniture pieces around, put the new cash wrap in place, and remerchandise everything we’d moved.
I’ll talk more about time management in the future, but here’s the tip I can give you that helped us accomplish this task: when you create the habit in your mind that something has to get done within a certain number of hours or a certain number of minutes, you start to train your brain
to get that task or goal accomplished in that time.
5. We refreshed our website.
Our website was in need of some major updates. I updated old pages that had incorrect information, prioritized our menu differently, updated the inventory in our online shop, and finally figured out a shipping issue that had been a thorn in my side for a while.
We use WooCommerce on WordPress for our shipping, and for the life of me, I hadn’t been able to figure out flat rate shipping for locals versus variable shipping for out-of-state purchases. Now, we can charge a flat rate for buyers in Ohio based on the size and weight of the item.
6. We hired a bookkeeper.
Previously, I did all of the bookkeeping for our store and really enjoyed it. But with this new growth spurt, it was time to hand this off to a pro. It took time to find the right person, interview them, and onboard them.
7. We prepped for our taxes and met with our accountant.
This also took time to prep for. I went through our Profit & Loss statements to make sure that they were squared away, plus organized all of our other tax documents. Because of the pandemic, our accountant is only doing phone appointments, so I had to schedule that to get all of my questions answered.
Taxes aren’t my favorite thing, to be honest. But because I’ve been diligent about asking my accountant tons of questions, I’m finally starting to understand it.
8. We had a TON of new inventory come in.
We had triple the inventory come in over the past six weeks than in previous years. Luckily, my nephew was able to unpack everything and tackle some of the work that goes with new items. I’m still entering some of the data in our inventory system, but I’m excited to hand that off soon.
9. We found out that we’re a top 10 paint distributor for the paint we sell.
This wasn’t a task, really, just fantastic news! But it was also a reminder that we really have to focus on that one category in our business because it performs so well.
Then, we came up with ideas on how to share more information with our customers and optimize that on our website. We want to educate people so they feel confident coming in to buy the paint or purchasing online.
10. We planned for our next three big projects.
All of these projects are substantial, just like our store refresh. These include decluttering our store and changing the footprint of our studio where we create custom furniture orders.
We also need to reconcile our inventory so that all of our numbers in-store match our online site.
And lastly, we want to tackle our basement. We’re lucky to have a nice-sized basement all to ourselves, but it’s pretty full and disorganized. We want to make sure that it’s not just wasted space.
Even if You’re in a Season, Make Sure You Take Care of Yourself
While we’ve been working on all of these projects, we’ve also been managing our regular work. That includes managing a waitlist of clients for our custom furniture restoration services AND having awesome months of beating our revenue goals.
To summarize, my current situation seemed to be the opportune time to talk about seasons in life and biz. When you’re going through a period in life where you just can’t do it all, give yourself some grace. Don’t allow your brain to take over and think about all the shoulda, coulda, wouldas.
Move forward, do the best you can, and continue to take care of yourself.
- Shopkeeper Shoutout: Dani of Cotton Shed Vintage Market & High Cotton Decor
- [03:07] What it means to have a “season”
- [04:03] What to remember in a season: progress over perfection
- [05:41] The season I’m going through right now
- [17:48] Even if you’re in a season, make sure you take care of yourself