As a North Easterner I’m attuned to the changing seasons. I think of winter as the time for hunkering down and honing a skill and summer as a stretch of languid days full of drinking lemonade and going to the beach. However, for makers and handmade business owners summer can be a time to reconnect, gather inspiration, or try something totally new.
Perhaps it’s because the formative years of my life were governed by the academic calendar, but I still think of summer being a vacation from my usual routine. Even now that I’ve spent a decade working full time, I see summer as a chance to take time out and shift my focus.
Of course, summer presents challenges of its own. For those of you who sell at craft fairs or flea markets, summer is high time and you may find yourself out nearly ever weekend and thinking, “Relaxing summer? What relaxing summer?” For those of you with kids you might spend your days juggling their schedules, now that school is out. And of course, there’s always the beach, an outdoor concert, a barbeque, or a family gathering to distract you from your projects.
Instead of fighting summer’s natural pull, I suggest that you use it as a special time to refresh and reinvigorate your creative and social side. I took some time to brainstorm ideas around finding and focusing, on a summer project:
Reconnect with your network
No, not on Facebook. Summer is a great chance to get out and see people face-to-face. Use all those barbeque invitations, or weekends spend working craft fairs, to your advantage and push yourself to reconnect with your network or forge new contacts and friendships. Time spent minding your stall at the flea market, or grilling hot dogs, is a great time to get to know other creative people. Be sure you have your business cards ready so you can keep in touch!
Take a risk and try something new
Is there a project or skill you’ve been curious about but never dared to try? Maybe you’ve always wanted to draw, but never started. Why not carry a sketchbook with you on your family vacation? Maybe you want to start a blog or to write more regularly? Why not start with your summer travels or staycation?
Use a vacation or a break as an opportunity to take a class or workshop in something you always wanted to try – if you are away from home, it’s a chance to experience and learn about a local culture somewhere else, and if you are at home, it’s a chance to learn more about your own community. Since it’s a “special occasion” there’s less risk, right?
Get re-inspired and remember why you do what you do in the first place
Burnout is a serious issue among creatives and handmade business owners. We’re all pushing ourselves to the limit to create more, do more, and be more efficient through it all. Why not take a few months to reconnect with what brought you to your practice in the first place? For me, talking to other creatives who are about to take the leap to start or grow their business always leaves me energized and excited. What does this for you? Is it volunteering to teach a craft you love at a local kids arts camp? Sharing your business acumen with local entrepreneurs?
Summer is all about excitement, adventure and discovery, so why not bring that feeling into your creative business practice?
So, what’s your summer project? For me, I’m going to be paying special attention to what inspires me and what makes me feel extra jazzed so that I can start thinking about making that feeling into my next book!