What can you do while you wait?

Well, here we are! Pausing in solidarity, to make the Coronavirus slow its roll.

I don’t know about you, but I have a HARD time chilling out. Especially when I’m stressed about. . . well, EVERYTHING.

But just because we can’t storm the castle doesn’t mean we’re stalemated.

In fact, it’s an ideal opportunity to consider all the wonderful learning, planning and enrichment you now officially have time for.

You know – the stuff you normally put off (but shouldn’t)

So here are a few ideas to keep you engaged, inspired, and moving forward towards the future.

1. PRACTICE

Oh my gosh, if I could get ONE concept through to upholstery students it would be this: education is practically worthless without practice. Soooooooo while you have some time on your hands????

Most people are hellbent for glory to acquire new information at the speed of light. But if you used the next month or two to focus hard on something you’ve already “learned” I promise you’ll be happier for it. (and by happier, I mean faster, better and more confident)

So PRACTICE. Practice ANYTHING. If you’re already stuck home and cranky, you might as well be stuck home and cranky at your sewing machine.

2. TAKE AN ONLINE COURSE

Ohhhhhhh you already knew this one!!!!! There are SO many options popping up in the light of social distancing. PICK ANYTHING!!!!!!!

I’m sure you know we’re huge proponents of hands-on training, but technology is WAY too good of a tool to waste. If you CAN find it online? You SHOULD find it online.

And don’t limit yourself to upholstery – this lull is a nice excuse to learn outside your professional box. Knit. Crochet. Cook. Edit video. Play the banjo. Review your first-aid. Appreciate some opera. Is learning ever really wasted? Consider it a sabbatical.

In addition to YouTube, (ahem, The Funky Little Chair) there is great online sewing and upholstery content available through The Workroom Channel, BluPrint (previously Craftsy) and several private instructor platforms such as Natural Upholstery, Homeroom, and Kim’s Upholstery.

3. BE ON YOUR BUSINESS, NOT IN IT

There are SO many things we should and need to do as business owners – but it’s hard focus on your business when you’re frantically at the bench.

At the moment, you’re maybe not. So how about:

  • Create a standard operating procedure for something in your business (cleaning and maintenance schedule, client estimate and order process)
  • Organize your damn photos, google drive, emails (UGH anyone want to do mine?)
  • Automate something (Initial email response, a calendar event for sharpening the scissors, email sorting filters)
  • Clean and organize the workroom – your future self will be so happy
  • Create a social media and marketing schedule so you have a system when things get busy
  • Take a fresh, hard look at your website and make a plan to update content. Have your services changed? Your target client? Does this website still serve your audience well and get them to what they need?

4. BE ON YOUR BUSINESS, NOT IN IT (PART TWO)

READ A BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If only so we can talk about it in person someday!!!!!!!!!

Here are my top five favorites from 2019:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Probably my favorite book of last year, just read it <3

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it by Michael E. Gerber
Oooooh the writing on this one is ROUGH. But hang in there, skim where you must but don’t quit – this book completely broke my brain

Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time by Rory Vaden
This book will make you reconsider your entire to-do list. For a cliff’s notes version, head to YouTube and find the author’s related TedTalk. 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
What I’m currently reading and already planning to re-read

(here’s where I also tell you that the book links above are affiliate links, so if you buy one, Amazon give me like a buck, wee hoooooo!)

5. Treat yourself to a personal project

How many times have I heard upholsterers complain that we never get to our own stuff? Now’s the time. Feather your nest. Upholster the sofa. Make some pretty pillows. Sew new curtains.

Then blog about it <3

6. Find an accountability partner

This is someone you check in with who knows what goals you’re currently working on, and it’s 100% online friendly – my favorite platform is Zoom.

Do you know someone who will keep you on track? Someone with similar goals at the moment? Now is a great time to build a bridge. You’ll both feel better with a long goal to focus on and work towards.

(I’ve already got a couple and they rock my professional world)

7. Get involved with an NUA committee

While you’ve got a little time to fill . . . .

Our National Upholstery Association is less than a year old – and we’ve just shared our strategic plan for the next 3 years! (View the full plan HERE.)

There are SO many things we all wish were there – the upholstery industry is incredibly depleted. It makes it hard to generate momentum, individually and collectively. The NUA board has been working hard to build framework for pooling our efforts.

But change does not happen without participation.

Why IS our professional infrastructure so depleted? Because of the ALMOST unilateral decision of individual businesses and professionals, over the last 30 years, to opt OUT. And I do understand – it’s hard to invest precious energy in a long game while you’re fighting uphill to run a business.

But if we are to rebuild, we must successfully draw on the efforts of many. The seeds we plant today will hopefully yield fruits for many years to come.

(If you are an NUA member interested in getting involved, look for the “volunteer” tab at nationalupholsteryassociation.org)

8. Set your professional journey down for a moment and just love your family to pieces.

Because it’s upholstery – and it can wait <3


2020 is off to a rough start! Our thoughts are with all of you as students and small business owners. If you’re registered for a class this spring, watch your email for updates as we adjust accordingly. Most importantly: Hang in there!

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”

Helen Keller

3 thoughts on “What can you do while you wait?

  1. Same here. Huge thanks to sis Lorraine Bernstein for the introduction! I may just reupholster a chair that I have been putting off. Of course, this will be after I practice, practice, practice.

  2. You always have some great ideas and this post does not disappoint! Now if I can just get out of my chair…..

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