I’ve gone over the top, or over the edge. One look at my dry erase TO DO board in the studio here, shows I’m headed for a disaster, if I don’t get busy.
I have had this little system for years now. Decades even. I have 10 tags that hang on 10 hooks, below my white board. Each client gets the next available number, and their name & job(s) get put on the board. I have stuck to 10 clients at once and it has served me well. I have noticed I get more than a little nuts when I get to # 9 and #10…..but, that hasn’t happened often……. Up to now!
Today, I went over the top and had to make a tag #11. Yikes and holy sewing machines! I’ve looked at the board to try & find a simple job to do right away to get the system back in check; but there are no simple jobs. I think that is truly one of the problems with the current schedule here. None of the jobs are really simple. I love the alterations end of things, and right now, over half the list of work involves drafting patterns, and constructing custom items or garments. While I like that kind of work, it takes me longer, for less work per hour usually.
I need to do a couple things right away. (besides get to work, the obvious solution, huh?)
First, I need to communicate a little more clearly with clients, regarding the realistic date I can begin their project and therefore, a date that is possible for completion. Up until right now, I’ve been working with about a week and a half turn around, with the exception of BIG jobs.
Secondly, I need to be really honest with new inquiries. I started off well today, responding to a couple of Craigslist potential clients….explaining how swamped I was and how I most likely could not get to their project until April.
Third and the scariest! I just went over the TO DO list. Frightening, since I’m only one person and truly can’t sew or knit all of my waking hours. I have 32 pieces of custom work on the board right now. With 13 of them due on Friday of this week. On target for these pieces. Whew! I have 13 pieces in the workroom to be altered. Manageable.
Now that I have a plan, this is only a touch less scary. What was I thinking? I have pulled in more work this week, than I did in all of February. No wonder I had time to make all those new items for my Etsy Store.
I will need to be more hard lined when a client starts adding to an order. I see 4 of them on the board that have done just that. It starts out with me agreeing to make one custom item…………….and when they come for a fitting, they have more fabric, and the new item(s) get added to the list without me thinking. That’s the deal……….I need to start thinking for heavens sake!
I will re think all this work after I get to Friday. I’m OK til then………….I think. I don’t like to cut jobs and my schedule too close, as life has a way of intervening here & messing with the number of hours I have. After the 2 jobs are complete & picked up on Friday, I’m going to review the work load. None of the remaining custom work has deadlines. One alteration job has a deadline of 10 days from now………..and is simple & quick.
After I get over being overwhelmed at how the work just mushroomed out of control here………..I’ll be grateful for the terrific clients I have, who share my name & contact info with others! When I come up for air on Friday, that is!
************Todays’ projects included working on 3 of the shirts for the Friday deadline and beginning a short row knitting project with some wispy mohair yarn……..hoping to come up with a lightweight scarf, although that is not clear yet. For an entire day, that doesn’t seem like much! Met with one client (one of those custom people, who brought MORE fabric for yet another couple shirts) Picked up fabric from yet another custom client,when I dropped off a finished blouse. Met with 2 clients to take on their 5 pieces of alterations; the ones with the deadline. When I write my list down, it seems like I was busy…..
Times up here………must go lash myself to the sewing machine for a few more hours! Crossing my fingers, I’ve got a handle on this schedule of mine before April.