I have gotten an email from every company I have purchased from since 2004 and they all say the same thing...'Here's how we are navigating these uncertain times.' Just that phase makes me feel uneasy and not reassured. I'm sure I'm not alone.
So, when I read that stuff, I choose to focus on the certainty in my life. I'm taking all advice from officials seriously. That is certain. I'm prepping my heart and mind to have my kids do school at home. That is certain. And, I'm darn certain that I'm tough as nails and will do everything in my power to meet this challenge head on with as much grace and kindness as possible. Don't be afraid, I tell myself (Philippians 4:6) WE CAN DO THIS! I am certain.
Can we pinky promise on something? Let's make a pact to stick together. We can encourage each other in the low times. We can offer the world our cheerful baked creations even if they are in photo form!
Can I provide a little certainty? Reassurance? Here are 7 practical tips...
1. Take care of your customers.
If they must cancel an order, can you offer a credit toward a future project? Or even a refund? It might go against your policy and contract, and it's hard on business now, but we will be baking again soon. Our customers will love us for being caring. Do you need to freeze cookies for a postponed event? You can save the cookies...here's how I freeze cookies [CLICK HERE].
2. Keep sharing your beautiful creations on social media!
Fill up the world with colorful cookies. It's simple, but they make people smile. I love scrolling on Instagram and looking at your cookies. Please keep posting. I forget what you did a year ago or 3 years ago, so don't be afraid to share something from the archives.
3. Is this your cue to take a much needed break from baking?
Are you burned out from the holiday rush, Valentine's Day, and prepping for Easter. Those holidays can take the wind out of your sails and burn up your creativity. Maybe for the next few weeks leave #teamnosleep and join up with #teamlovestosleep.
4. Or is baking your therapy?
It is mine. When things become uncertain, decorating cookies is what helps me feel normal. Can you take a little time to bake for fun. It's time to just explore a new cutter or technique. Or make something for a loved one. I just read this article yesterday about bringing meals to others during these times. CLICK HERE to check out these practice tips if you're sharing baked goods.
5. Get organized.
I am going through fits of productivity and exhaustion in this situation. When I get a burst of energy, I do something. And when I'm low on energy, I snuggle with my kids and watch a movie. It's all ok. But, if you love to keep busy, here's what I suggest:
- Finally sort through your cutters. Confession: I still haven't unpacked my cutter boxes since we moved last June! I'm going to take it one box at a time and get them organized. I like to keep them in labeled ziplock bags (by theme). Then I alphabetize the bags into large baskets. I know have duplicates and can share them with friends and neighbors that would love to have a reason to get in the kitchen. So I'm going to post my dups on my church and personal page and can mail them to people :)
- Clean out your tools. Sort and get your drawers looking pretty. Clean out your colors, wipe them down and clean your storage containers.
- Organize your stencils. Do you have a big box or binder? CLICK HERE - to see how I store my stencils! Right now I have a pile of stencils that need to be filed back into place. It's a good project for the evenings when I'm too tired to decorate, but have a little energy to do something mindless.
6. Plan ahead.
Don't laugh, but it's not too early to think about fall and holiday designs. That season is a money-maker for bakers, make it your best yet! You don't need to bake samples, but you can start sketching, working on your pre-sale release dates, and maybe come up with some new ways to promote and market your cookies. Plus, you can work on a production schedule. Maybe you know you can make 30 dozen cookies in a week. Great! Start planning for your biggest season yet, by maximizing your freezer space (again, check out my freezer tips. They are great for holidays and big orders)
7. Bake and decorate with your family.
I am embarrassed to admit that my kids decorate very few cookies. We usually only decorate together for the big holidays (christmas and easter). Can you make a project just for them to create? Decorating with kids isn't always relaxing, though. But it doesn't have to be stressful. CLICK HERE - to check out this blog post for my tips for decorating with kids. Scroll down just a bit to get to the 'decorating with kids' tips! Or maybe Paint-Your-Own cookies is an easier way to connect with kids in the kitchen? CLICK HERE to get tips for cookie painting with kids!
How are you using this time to advance your decorating skills, plan for your business, or take of yourself? Please share in the comments for all to read!
Guys, we will get through this. Let's stick together and encourage one another.
Sending much love and prayers to all my baker friends!