If you run your own handmade business you know that making stuff is just 1/4 of the fun. Aside from being a product designer you have to be a computer wiz, photo genius skilled promoter, and master book keeper (among many other things)! This is why I like to make my 'order taking' a simple process.
Since the very beginning my method of taking down orders has remained the same. It would probably be an accountants worst nightmare but for me it has kept things simple. When I get an order I get out one of my trusted index cards and write down the following;
1.) Company (I have two businesses so I want to keep this straight, also etsy orders get a 'etsy' written over the company name)
2.) Purchase Date
3.) Item Description
4.) Item Price
5.) Payment Method/Payment Date
6.) Shipping Method (which usually comes later, I will write the item weight here when it's time to ship, and/or write the country name if it's an international order)
7. Customer's Name & Street Address & Email Address (written on the back of the card).
One more optional thing that I write down is 'Cali' at the top of orders which I received California resale tax for, this makes it easy during tax time to crunch those state tax numbers!
I purchased a custom stamp online that stamps the words 'Price', 'Payment', and 'Shipping' (spaced one line apart), this makes my life much easier.
I keep these cards in front of my computer until the item(s) are ready to ship, when they are staring me in the face I can't possibly forget an order. Once they are on their way I will put them in a card file or my new index card binder!
Index card binders (shown in the pictures) can be found at office supply stores or walmart and they fit standard index cards (you can punch the holes with a regular hole punch too). A less expensive option is a card file box (most sell for just .99 cents) but it was fun to get an index card binder and spruce it up with my own images and new plastic file separators (separate your orders by month and keep extra punched/stamped index cards in back)! It can be a bit time consuming to write down long wholesale orders though, so for this I print out the orders and place them in a full size binder.
These methods have worked for me, if you have any tips or suggestions I'd love to hear them!