The Stop Doing List : The Maker's Business Toolkit

The Stop Doing List

Trust me when I say that your small artist or craft business needs a stop doing list. It’s as important as your business plan or your bookkeeping.

Keeping your energy and enthusiasm levels high is really crucial for the success of your business when your business depends entirely on you.

You are your business’s most valuable asset and preserving your sanity and your energy is absolutely vital.

So what’s a Stop Doing List?

It’s a list of everything you’re not doing any more. Because, believe it or not, this is your business, your life, and you get to make the rules.

You get to decide what you want to do. Not your partner. Not your mother. Not even your customers.

(I’ll put a little caveat it here – clearly you can’t have a business if you’re making something no one wants. So you can’t ignore your customer as a collective. You need a product that at least a certain number of people want to buy. But what you don’t need to do is to produce every product that any given person wants from you, especially if you don’t want to make that product. If you don’t want to do commissions, you don’t have to. If you don’t want to make prints you don’t have to. You don’t have to make something just because one customer told you that they thought it was a good idea.)

Now, of course you can’t stop doing everything. You can’t stop paying your taxes for example. But you can stop doing commissions if they make you crazy. Or you can stop making that product line that you really hate making or that product line that doesn’t make you enough profit.

You can stop doing sale or return if you want to. You can stop paying for delivery in both directions. You can stop working with galleries who don’t pay you. You can stop working with galleries who don’t keep good records.

This is your business. Your life. Your rules.

I recommend everyone goes through the process of revising and adding to their stop-doing list on a regular basis.

The end of the month can be a really good time to get this done. You can reflect back on the events of the last month while they are still fresh in your mind. We’ve got a great free worksheet to help you do just that.

Did anything happen that frustrated or upset you? Did you have any customer service issues? Did you have an experience with a shop or gallery that made you feel less than stellar about the relationship?

What can you learn from these experiences? If a sale or return retailer sent your textile designs back dirty and creased how can you stop that happening again? Can you change your packaging or your terms and conditions? Do you want to stop doing Sale or Return on this product line, or maybe even altogether?

You don’t have to act on it right away but it’s really great to be clear on the things that aren’t working for you. Maybe it’s too scary to give up on Sale or Return right now, but if you know it’s causing you a problem you can look for some other sources before you give it up.

And if you encounter the same problem over and over again then you know it’s time to really make some changes.

Anything that drains your energy or makes you feel like avoiding making stuff needs to be added to the stop doing list.

Take a look at the video below to see Lady Gaga talking about the effects of saying yes to everything and how it feels to eventually start saying no.

The Do-More List

Of course you can always look at this from the other side too. How about keeping a Do-More list? Maybe there’s a particular type of shop you just love working with. Maybe you love doing commissions. Maybe you love designing wedding stationery.

Maybe you want to “Do-More” pitching to potential wholesale stockists. Maybe you want to “Do-More” teaching and public speaking. Maybe you want to ‘Do-More” portrait sessions.

Taking some time each month to examine what you love doing and what you don’t want to be doing any more is extremely powerful and can help you to make better decisions for your health and happiness. Take your Stop-Doing List and your Do-More list and write them out. Stick them on the wall. Look at them every day.  Remind yourself what you want and what you don’t want.

Because you get to choose. You really do.

I'm Nicola Taylor

I’m the founder of Maker’s Business Toolkit and I help artists, makers, and handmade business owners to make more money with less stress.

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