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A Glass Blower’s Companion with Jason Michael -Helping Today's Glass Artist Think Like an Artistic Entrepreneur

Dec 19, 2015

For starters.  Pardon the few yawns....I recorded this super early and missed a couole
in the edits ......
    when it comes
to the end of every year all we hear about is new years resolutions abut losing weight, quitting the cig habit, cutting back on drinking, etc. instead of setting resoutions or goals that are meant to stop a bad habit or even crreate new good habits why dont we think about what we can start doing to improve our lives, businesses and relationships with those who are most important to us. 
we all have areas of our live that could use improving, its the fabric of what makes us human. BUt istead od tying to stop something lets actually start something.   in this episode i want to dicuss 3 areas that we should focus on when it comes to growing our business's and the relationships around us.    think of the areas of your business that you are struggling in. is it keeping your books up to date?, is your studio space clean and organized? are you leaving any hours in the day to socialize outside of the studio environment, or even at home?   lets focus on these 3- areas and create ways to make the answera to all thre questins YES!!!   so how are we gong to do this..well its starts with planting the seed. once the seed is planates it has to be nurtured and taken care of otherwise if it sprouts you may have a plant that withers and dies,or grows in a unhealthy manner. but if you pay attention to the seed, focus your efforts to not forget about it and keep it watered your seed will grow into a beautiful, sustaining tree that will bare fruti for yers to come.  much like our business and relationships we oftne get so "busy" that we tend to forget about everything around us and theose areas being ignored tend to fall apart and die.   if we create habits and routines that involve the details of the busniess and spend time nurturing our relationships the true success of our business shines brighter then any star inthe sky.  havng a organized, clean studio space, up to date books and heathy relationships will allow yu to focus with a clear mind while being a creative rockstar which in the ned will bring in more moeny and allow you to finish orders on time, give you a clear vision of where your business is growing and could use improvemnet, and have yoursef surrounded by a loving support group of friends and family that will always be there for you.  so lets break down each area and focus on the steps we should take  to improve on these areas and keep them in check at all times.
1- clean and organized studio- this is the first area of importance as it will be the foudation to your success in every other area of your business and life. as crazy as it sound if your studio is an unorganzied, filthy mess then the rest of your life is as well..your work space is a direct reflection of you and your mindset.  How can yu seriously have a prodcuove day of your glass is everywhere and paper work is piling up all over the place. I suggest taking one full day off of the torch and focus on this area first.  Having an oranized, clean space will allow you to start your days off with a clear picture of what you need to get made ofr the day as well as what other appointments you may have too.  
heres a short example and actionable plan of attack that will help get and then keep you organized including items that you hould have to help in these areas.
  • buy 10 small shoebox plastic tubs($10.00). Designate 2 bins to paperwork. 1 for receipts for business purchases and the other for orders/invoices. this will help you keep track of your daily/weekly profit and loss. each Friday (or which ever the last day of your week is) and imput these numbers into your bookkeeping. these 2-bins should be empties at the end of each week. Now use the other 8 for inventory for small items and label each container accoringly.(there is a link to a form you can download and print to put and tape to the top of each lid wthat will show how much invenory is in stock.) this will not only keep you u to date with your stock for when irders come in but also keeo the glass wrapped tight and put away and safe.
  • buy 6-10 2' sections of 1-1/4'"diameter pvc(approx. ($3.25 each.)  cut these in half an use these to store your color rods. theres many ways of building a rack or creating a make shift one which i will have a link to direct you to plans for buildog a small box for these. its also a great place to store your frit containers. if you have a little higher budget thers are many varienatios you can work with to organize and keep you color put away. 
  • create a shipping a receiving area. at any bigbox home suply store you can by a 4-piece sheving unit for around ($65-75.00) that will make a great organizing space for your shipping and receiving area. these units genrally come with 4 shelves and are 4-6' long dependng on model. use these for your desk and shipping space..this will ge you a clean and organzed area to store bubble wrap, packng peanuts, shipping boxes, etc. along withthe shelf get a small desh organizer to keep your tape, labels, stamps, etc. if you have wifi in your studio space i suggest also buying a air printer which will allow you to print invoices, shiipping lables, recepits,etc. They cost around($65.00) and are a great investment. tis will pay for itself alone inthe time you send running to the post offcie and havng to wait in line to ship your work. you will need a digital scale and i recomend one that can weigh ounces and pounds. these can be a little pricey so shop around. there will be some links to amazon where you can purchase all of these items mentioned.
  • find an area in your space as well to store your clear rods and tubes and makie it easily acceable. i also recomend printing out the invenotry slip and keep it postd and updated so yu are always aars of your stock of material and can order accordingly when needed. 
  • small shop vac ($40.00)  this is a versatile tool that will keep yr floors and bench clean and well be used for vac-stacks.  its healthier to vaccum them to sweep the most important part of the vaccum is the filter so invest on a small particulate vac and also a dust mask for small particulates.  this will keep your lungs heathy and your aras clean. depending on the surface of your bench i also recomend using windex and a cloth to wipre your areas down. 
if you follow these steps and make this investment inot yourself and studio and use practice this a end of the day routine your stuio will look profesional, keep you and your glass oganized and give you a clear vision to your days activities every day you walk into it.  this space should be made and kept sacred.
2- up to date book keeping- Now that you have an organized, proffesional looking studio you will now be able to keep your books up to date.  Having up to date books will give you a clear site of ho your business is doing financially and allow for easy budgetting this year and allow for projections.  when paying quartery taxes it is imperatie tht you have a clear vision of your estimated revenue. each quarter you will need to make a small payment based on the estimated taxes owed for that time period. by having an up to date book your numbers will speak for themselves and help you to plan your quarterly payments. 
By using the small bin methos of capturing and continig your receipts tll make it easier to organzize and then enter your expenses and income weekly. if you are selling daily then keep a daily ledger, otherwise o your numbers weekly(dont forget to weigh out your waist and write down the estimated cost) there is a link attached for a weekly P-and-L statement which includes a spot to write down this number. Stay on top of this area and you will always know what is comng and going and generally after the first 90-days of doing htis yu will be able to set budget, see which customer ordered what when and on what date, which then yiu can tae that info and use it to yur advantage whe nyou call your shops for follow ups on their inventory of yours. then you can find out what hey truly need instead of just taking a shot in the dark and end up with a smaller order then yu had hoped for. having an organized book will also make it easier for your accountant to finalize your quarterly and anunua tax bill which in the long run saves yiu mney. the more work the accountant the more it will cost you for their services. Stay pro-active....
theres a variety of companies that offer services for online cloud accounting. One that I highyl recomend is FreshBooks. I have been using them for 3-years now and its a simple, professioal looking platform that aloows you to print invoices, track time, import your bank info and keep track of all expenses.  theres are other brands like quicken, quick books, GoDaddy accounting,etc.  each brnd has its pros and cons and fees. I recomend FreshBooks because its what I use and am familliar with.  
3- healthy relationships- Get out of the studio and go play. Hang with friends and family. If you can create a work schedule for yourself you can then schedule your time with friends. 
Get organized and everything else will fall into place. You dont have to implement every detail as we all have our own needs and unique space. But the general concepts are universal in the studio and organizing a small business. As the end of the year approaches we will get into more detais of these areas like book keeping, organizng our studios and scheduling our play time. 
much love and happy melting.
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