Balancing work and play during the summer

Category: Business planning Entrepreneurship Operations Startup

During summer in Alberta, festivals, rodeos, farmers’ markets, and other events flourish throughout the province. Edmonton in the summer is known as festival city, and with good reason – there are over 55 festivals in the capital region during the summer! Calgary is home to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth: The Calgary Stampede.

With all these options available to showcase your products to potential customers, it can be a small business owner’s dream come true. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do too much during the short summer season. Here are some things to consider to allow yourself to take advantage of all that’s going on in the city, but still be able to enjoy the events yourself:

Do your research

Ensure you are picking the right markets for your product. Before you commit to selling at a particular market or event, it’s important to decide if it’s the right place to sell your product. If you’re thinking of joining a particular farmers’ market, take a trip there and check it out beforehand. Is it busy enough to make your participation worthwhile? Are the patrons of the market the right demographic for your product? Doing a little legwork beforehand can save you from frustration later on; there’s nothing more disheartening than being at a market where your goods don’t sell well!

You’ll also want to be sure that the market you’d like to join isn’t already saturated with the type of product you sell. Most farmers’ markets have maximum number of different types of vendors that they allow, so your application may not be approved or you might be limited in the type of product you are approved to sell. All these factors are important to keep in mind when deciding what markets you’d like to join.

Make a plan well in advance

Once you’ve done your homework to pick the best festivals or markets to sell at, sit down with a calendar and map things out. I find having this visual really helps to ensure that you’re not overextending yourself. Write down all important personal events and activities first (like family birthdays, vacation time, etc.) and then plan your selling events around these. If you’re a baker like me, be sure to include time to prepare! If there’s a particular festival or market you want to attend as just a regular shopper and not a vendor, be sure to include those as well.

Once all that is in place, you’ll have a better idea of how much time you have available for markets. And once you have your plan in place, stick to it! Sometimes you hear of a particular event and think “I should be involved in that” – but trust me when I say: don’t give in to the temptation! Adding in extra things at the last minute can disrupt all the careful planning you did earlier, and it leads to you being too rushed to really ensure your product is the best it can be. A better idea is to add that event to the list of things you’d like to participate in next summer.

Ask for help!

As a vendor, it can be hard to get out and enjoy the markets or events that you are participating in, especially if you’re a one-woman business like me. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help!  Most of us have friends or family who are happy to come by and man your table to allow you an hour or two away to enjoy the festival or market that you’re at. Have a teenager at home who keeps telling you how bored they are all summer long? Bam! Instant market help (and great experience for your teen, too).

Summer in Alberta is packed with events to participate in. A little thought and planning will ensure that you can achieve a balance between work and play, which allows you to enjoy all the amazing summer festivals and events going on across the province! 

 

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About the Author

Renata Carson

Proprietor, The Hungry Hippo Bakery

Renata’s love of baking began in childhood and she has been hooked ever since. While she makes a huge range of baked goods, her specialty is elaborately decorated sugar cookies. Renata continues to work full time in the healthcare industry, spending every other waking minute baking and creating. Renata rents a commercial kitchen for her creations and sells on Etsy, in farmers’ markets, and at special events. Currently you can find her at the St Albert Farmers' Market on select Saturdays from now until September 2017!