Meet Erica Boucher from Memory Box Candle Co.. Erica runs Memory Box Candle Co. in southern California. Many of you may also recognize her from her YouTube channel of the same name, where she teaches others how to make candles and grow their businesses. Erica has been documenting her entire journey of starting up her candle business through videos and it’s been such an incredible experience for her so far!
It actually all started back in December of 2018. I was working as a receptionist for a body waxing center. My co-workers and I were doing a secret Santa gift exchange. I decided to make some custom scented candles for everyone and I had so much fun with the entire process! During this time I was a reseller on Ebay. All of my focus was on that business, so candles were just a fun little hobby.
It wasn’t until September 2019 that I really thought about pursuing the idea of starting a candle business. My motivation stems from many different things: passion, purpose and creativity. I’ve always been very artistic. However, I never could figure out a way to monetize that creativity until I found candle making.
My business is everything to me. I am so passionate about it and it gives me so much purpose in life! This keeps me motivated to keep going. Even though it has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
I think I have mentioned a million times on my channel how terrible my time management skills are. And honestly, it got to the point where I didn’t even think I had the capability to improve my skills. Or LEARN to manage my time more efficiently. However, recently I have been taking a lot of steps to improve and I have already noticed a huge difference. So here is my advice from someone who has been absolutely horrendous at time management:
Plan your tasks. This is so important and yet it can be one of the most challenging parts. I have never been a “to-do” list kind of person. I like to have a plan. But if I try to plan too far in advance I will never follow it. What I found that works the best for me is to write down the tasks I need to get done the night before. That way I am still planning, but it doesn’t feel as structured and overwhelming.
Create a “downtime task” sheet. This sounds silly, but I feel like it helps a lot. At my old job we used to have a sheet with a list of things to do when we weren’t busy with customers. This is exactly what I do for myself. So during the times where I feel a little disorganized. Or I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my day I can refer to the list to keep myself on track.
Prep your work. This allows me to be more efficient with my time. I used to run around for 30-60 minutes before shipping to get all of the prep work done. This is something that can be included in your “downtime task” list. Pre-cutting the packing paper, printing out stickers/labels, organizing my papers, making sure I always have tape, refilling the packing peanut bin, etc. There’s so many things that can be done ahead of time to help make you more productive within the time frame you have for that task.
I’m still learning everyday on how to manage my time better. However, these are the biggest things that have helped me and I hope they can help others too!
Oh gosh, this was something that took me so long to figure out (and to be honest I still feel like I’m trying to figure it out). I don’t think there ever CAN be a separation from my work and life. My work is my entire life. And that’s not a bad thing either. I absolutely love what I do. I wouldn’t change anything and I am beyond grateful for what I have. But learning how to have a healthy work/life balance can be hard for anyone (not just those who are self employed).
A lot of times when you’re self employed you can put a lot of pressure on yourself. The biggest things I have done to help myself with work/life balance is to always prioritize my health first; both physical and mental. I can’t overwork myself and be okay, I know that about myself and I’ve accepted it. I work out, take breaks, take naps, take walks, etc.
This has helped me so much. It was hard to accept my breaks/days off in the beginning. I felt like I was only wasting time that could have been used to work and grow my business quicker. But it’s definitely not a waste, I’m happier because of it. It keeps me from burning out and I still focus 50-75% of my day on work.
Quickbooks is my go-to for bookkeeping and it has helped me tremendously.
Canva is something I use a lot for designing candle labels and instagram stories.
Inventora is my savior for knowing my inventory levels for all of my supplies and it’s so nice to visually see what materials I’m low on and need to reorder (this is especially helpful as I grow more in my business). And weirdly enough I love the “reminder” app on my iPhone. So far it’s the only thing I have found that helps me stay on track and not forget important things.
I absolutely LOVE the fact that you are able to put in the exact materials used to create a product. These materials will be automatically reduced from your total inventory after you tell the system that you’ve made x amount of a completed product.
This part honestly sold me. I also love how simple and user-friendly it is!
Inventory management has always been super intimidating to me. I actually had NO idea that you had to keep track of your raw materials. Not until I started using Inventora. It’s honestly a really great resource for any small business owner that has inventory (not just candle businesses) and I will continue recommending it to my viewers!
Want to know more about Erica Boucher from Memory Box Candle Co.? Check out the links below!