Make, Sell, Repeat. Pause!

photo credit: pearson maron
Make, sell, repeat.

Is this what you do?

Well, if so, then let me just stop you right there. You’re zipping around this looping track of production, so you must be really busy. Busy being busy. But, you’re missing out on a lot. In fact, you’re missing crucial aspects of business.

I encourage you to hit the pause button on your repeat cycle and take a few moments to see what you’re busy passing by:

creative opportunities: When we’re stuck in the routine of just filling orders, we can flat out miss opportunities. Whether they are ones we dream up or those knocking at the door- they can be be easy to ignore if you’ve got your nose down, music up, and production non-stop.  Every now and then stop and see what’s out there. What else is going on?  What is out there waiting for you?

{pause: visit the Etsy events page to see what’s happening online and in your area}

growth: Autopilot equals stagnancy. And stagnancy is the biggest deterrent for growth. To amplify your business you’ve got to get out of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol and look around.  Shake things up a bit. Try something different….see what happens.

{pause: read Meg Auman’s article on Growth & Scalability}

insight: If we’ve got our nose to the grindstone then it’s really hard to gain insight about our business. We might be overlooking cracks in the foundation, mistakes to learn from, or even accomplishments to celebrate. Take time to reflect.  Write about it, talk it out, create a photo collage, scrutinize your process. Think.

{pause: journal with  Susannah Conway’s Creative Workbook}

passion: Filling orders for 653 widgets might squeeze a bit of the creative passion out of it all. Or perhaps you’ve preoccupied yourself with products that sell…but not products you love to make.  In any event, you’ve got to find that spark to rekindle that creative fire – maybe it means selling less for more or zeroing in on the products you really enjoy creating. In the end, follow your passion, strategically, and a market will follow.  

{pause: print & complete Hedgehog Concept Diagram by me and Perideau Designs to focus in on your passion}

These are just a a few (crucial!) aspects of entrepreneurial success we might miss if our business is set on the repeat cycle.  Sure, there are times when buckling down and working the midnight shift might be necessary…but if all you’re doing is filling orders,  you’re more of a robot than a creative entrepreneur. So, go ahead, and hit the pause button and see what you’ve been missing.


  1. so happy to share this lesson I learned myself, the hard way! I still find myself getting into the production rut & needing to stop to come up for air & look around!

    @cupcakesforclara- so glad my post resonated with you! love your artwork & i’m sure your creative bursts are always amazing!

  2. I am so feeling like this right now with my printing business Sweet Harvey. I would love to make a change but it is also difficult because a lot of my income stems from the Etsy side of my business so it is hard to turn away the sales. Re-evaluating is on my list for early this year. I want to do something amazing this year.

    Have a super Monday – Brandi

  3. Jill B says:

    I agree- The New Year is a great time to re-group and think about other ideas.
    I am still on an inspiration high from the giveaway.
    I am going to take some time to work on new ideas and get rid of other ideas that were just easier at the time.
    I think with most small designers, it’s the process and love of design that got us all started…sometimes its tough to remember that.

  4. @brandi – I can totally relate, we really rely on my income & it’s hard to feel like I might be missing some business. But it never fails, the rewards come back tenfold…. new opportunities, insight for a more profitable/efficient business, and new clients….

    Best wishes to you in the new year!

    ps. been a long time fan of Sweet Harvey!

  5. Fabulous, fabulous tips! I closed my shop for a month over the holidays to not only update inventory, but to take a look at 1-Where my biz had been in the past months and 2- where I want it to go in the next year. I can honestly say that through the madness of Christmas orders it was refreshing to pause, step back and tweak my plan. I decided to step away from some areas so that I may concentrate on others and I feel like it’s going to bring great things. 🙂

  6. Nikki says:

    Thank you for this post! I too am getting stuck in the production/business planning side of business that I neglect the creative side. And really, who wants an artists fresh out of creativity??

    Your post could not have come at a better time 🙂
    Eveningsong Ink

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