1. Make lists, lists, lists! (And stick to them) A month or so prior to a show, I make a list of everything I need to take with me (supplies, business cards, inventory, display items). This gives me plenty of time to order things in bulk online (like brown kraft bags for purchases) to keeps costs down instead of trying to buy everything locally last minute. I also make a list for how much inventory I want to take with me, then break down the work into daily sublists consisting of how much I HAVE to do each day in order to achieve that goal.
2. Try to get everything finished a day early. It's always the same, no matter how prepared I feel, I'm always up too late finishing last minute todos the night before a show. This year I really pushed myself to have everything done the day before and it was so much better! I was still up until 1:30am, of course... but it was more about packing and checking my lists- then checking them twice. All of my inventory was finished so it freed up time for me to pack super well and feel really prepared before going to sleep!
3. Be prepared for anything. Make sure you have all of the supplies you could possibly need! Scissors, tape, glue, needle and thread, extra buttons... you never know when you're going to have to whip out a stack of new business cards because you ran out, or a super awesome display sign because you spilled coffee on your old one! Even though I hope that doesn't happen :)
4. Get sleep and stay hydrated. If I'm being honest with you guys, I hate drinking water. But standing on your feet all day, smiling at strangers and making small talk with buyers.. it can wear you out. So keep those water bottles full and go straight to bed! (After eating something delicious at a local joint, because you definitely deserve a good meal!)
5. Smile and say hello! I've really found that this goes a long way. The way my booth is set up, we're situated behind a table and in front of the wall with my animal heads on it. Sometimes people don't see the wall at first, so they might just keep walking by if I'm not paying attention and trying to make eye contact with them! (Plus, there's nothing like some good eye contact to make buyers feel like they HAVE to come by and look at what you're selling, am I right? :) If you're not engaging with the crowd, you can easily get passed by.
6. Make friends and have a good time. Say hi to your booth neighbor! No one wants to sit silently next to the same people for two days. You could end up making some new friends and scoring some unique Christmas presents while you're at it.
7. Take as much as you can, but don't kill yourself. There is only so much time in a day, so you're going to reach a point where you can't physically make any more stuffff! If you do run out at the show, you can always set up an order sheet or email list and you'll be good to go.