The first thing that I do is figure out what I want to sell. I make a list. For example:
Then I check my inventory to see how many of the items I have already and prioritize what needs to get done first. I look at the list and then determine how many of each category and how many different types of each item I need to make . A lot of times I'm over ambitious with my numbers but it does help me stay focused. As a crafty person one craft usually fuels ideas for the next and it can easily turn into a ridiculously huge amount of stuff to try and get done. Try to be realistic in how much time you have to accomplish everything and how long it takes you to do something. I have a bad habit of thinking I can do more in a day than I actually can. I then write down a lower number than I think I'll get done. If there is time you can always do more.
This is what it looks like when I don't stick to the plan. CHAOS! Now I have to clean up.
Next is gathering supplies. It's very easy to jump right in and start creating only to find out you don't have what you need to finish and unless you live really close to a craft supply store this is going to take time out of your crafting to run around and find what you need. The best way I've found is to make a recipe of the item you wish to make and then a shopping list. You can file the recipe away in case sales are good and you get a request to do more or just for your own files. It also helps you keep track of costs so you know what to charge for your finished item. I like to use craftybase for keeping track of the supplies, recipes and it also has a great format for calculating what you should charge for handmade items. The initial entering of items can be tedious but in the end it saves a lot of book work and keeping track. They have a 30 day trial period and then if you like it you can subscribe monthly. You can determine if your overall sales in a month can justify the extra cost of the program. I have an Etsy shop where I sell all year round so for me I think it's a good investment.
Getting things done
If you are like me there are other things that need my attention (laundry, meals, groceries, or just plain life) so keeping things organized is key. I am not the best at this step but when I do get it right things go so much more smoothly and I get a lot accomplished. Breaking up your projects into steps can help you get more than one item done at a time. For instance when I make my cards, I've started making up kits with all the supplies each card needs in one kit. So one day I'll spend brainstorming ideas for cards and then gathering the supplies I need for each kit. I make 6 cards of each design so I make sure I have enough in the kit for 6 cards. When I have time to make a set I'll take out the kit and put the cards together in the steps below.
1.Cut all card bases
2.Cut the background pattern paper for all cards
3.Stamp or print images and greetings for cards
4.Punch or die cut shapes
5.Ink all edges
6.Adhere background paper to base
7.Arrange and adhere images and embellishments to cards
8.Add greeting or inscription to the inside
I do the same for quilted items, I make kits by spending one day cutting and packaging and then sew in steps. I don't work on more than one at a time so that I don't get confused but I may work on it until a step is finished and then pack it away for the next available time. One thing I have found to help me the most is to put everything away at the end of the day. I've tried to leave stuff out to continue the next day but I find it very overwhelming and there is just something appealing about walking into a clean space the next day. If you've stopped a project at a certain step it's very easy to pick up where you left off. Just don't leave it so long you forget what the project was.
These are just the things that I find help me stay organized and focused, everyone is different in how they do things but if you do struggle like me, give these things a try it might help :)