E-Commerce DIY

5 Essential Holiday Planning Tips for Makers

By Sarah Sewell

5 Essential Holiday Planning Tips for Makers

No doubt about it, being a handmade small business owner during the holidays is a rush like no other. Decorating, shopping, wrapping, running errands, attending activities, and that doesn’t include your everyday tasks or responding to the extra cha-chings dinging on your phone. Some shop owners report doing as much as 50% of their business in the last three months of the year and finding it necessary to put in 19-hour days in order to meet the demands. 

What?!?

But you aren’t in this business to be sleepless, burnt out, stressed about possibly missing events with your family, or pressured by less than happy customers. 

So how can you be proactive in taking care of your shop, your customers, AND you this holiday and beyond? In a nutshell: planning. 

In my membership group, Flourish at Artisan Indie, we walk through a series of 12-weeks beginning as early as the summer where we break down different aspects of your business in preparation for the holiday selling season. I’m including some of the highlights here as quick tips for you to get your business holiday-ready, and for you to save your sanity:

Ensure Your Shop is Ready to Receive Buyers

This is really something you should do all year, but I will add it to the holiday planning list. Successful selling is based on the five pillars of e-commerce: knowing your target market, branding, photography, seo, and copy. (You can read more about what I mean when I refer to the pillars of e-commerce here.) Each of these is essential in everything you do from the products you create to your marketing efforts and your continued relationship building after the sale. 

Take steps to review your audience and the products you are creating. While it’s difficult to say which of the pillars is most important in your strategy, photography is certainly a key. Remember when a potential buyer is browsing online, they have seconds viewing a thumbnail-sized image to decide if they will click on your listing for more information or a competitor’s option. Your photos should show your product clearly, with lifestyle photo options, and consistent editing reflecting your brand and attractive to your ideal customer. 

Some other questions to consider when looking at your shop with holiday-shopper’s eyes - 

  • Have you designed a special collection to be released for the holidays?
  • What current trends are hot this season? 
  • Which of those would appeal to your market and fit in with your brand?
  • Review your listing for SEO and keywords adding in any tags for gift suggestions as needed.  Revise your listing copy so it evokes emotion within your buyer making them see and feel having your product in their life - or better yet, so they can’t see their life without your product!  
  •  Ensure customers have a way to sign up for a mailing list if you offer one or can follow you on social media. 

Have Your Policies Set in Place

While we are talking about having your shop set up properly go ahead and fill out all your sections - including your about section and your policies page. Your buyers are likely in a hurry to find the perfect gift and have everything crossed off their list. Anticipate and answer as many questions as you can in your policies. This may avoid a lot of unnecessary back and forth conversations with your customer such as your personalization or customization options, your turnaround time or shipping time, return policy for gifted items, your policy regarding items not delivered in time, and so on. 

You may also wish to re-state key points in your transaction email response with your buyer. And if you have a stand-alone site that allows for a Frequently Asked Questions area, you may state it here also.

It’s true a hurried shopper may not read everything you have prepared, but knowing where you stand on issues will give you peace of mind and a set answer rather than spending time evaluating each matter on a case by case basis. You will have a cut and paste response to work from which will save you time in e-mailing responses. 

Plan Ahead 

Did you know major retailers have their holiday marketing planned in the spring? Start planning your holiday marketing as early as June or July. Watch for trend reports, plan your collections, order any supplies for inventory preparation and shipping. In your favorite planner or on a designated calendar in your studio, mark off shipping deadlines (announced approximately September).  

Having a focused plan will allow you to know when you are working on your specific products, have your photography scheduled (either outsourced or models scheduled), ample time for photo editing and promotional graphics to be created, sales to be announced and run, etc. 

Schedule Your Content in Advance 

Now that you have all of your important dates marked off as far as promotions and deadlines, you can begin scheduling your content. Be aware of which platform your audience spends time online, and concentrate your heaviest marketing efforts there,  but don’t neglect other avenues of traffic as well. There are many schedulers available each with different features, benefits, and pricing options. Choose your favorite and dedicate time to upload your graphics and captions so you are assured that your content is being posted automatically. Consistency is key to brand awareness and to assuring your customers you are to be trusted. 

Of course each day you will want to visit each platform and nurture any relationships thereby responding to comments, interacting with your audience, and engaging with influencers, but the heavy lifting of making decisions around what to post is already handled. The engagement piece can be achieved in a relatively short amount of time each day. 

Post-Holiday Plans

It’s pretty likely you are going to be ten kinds of exhausted by the time you ship your last order.  What will you do with your shop after the holidays? Despite desperately wanting to tune out from your shop for a couple of weeks and regroup without responding to every ping on your phone that comes through, it will take much longer for you to regain the momentum in your shop statistics. 

I have always advised against putting your shop on vacation mode. Instead, I advise extending shipping times to allow you to ease back in at a slower pace. Consider adding a message in your shop announcement and in your transaction e-mail that you are enjoying reduced holiday hours and re-iterate your anticipated ship time. 

Hire Support

You may have heard the saying you can do anything, but you can’t do everything all at the same time. This is so true within your business.  All the higher income sellers have learned the secret of successful outsourcing. This can be challenging, especially in the early stages of your business. 

But during the holidays this might become a sanity saver. Within your business, you might bring in support with production such as helping you make your products or a simpler task such as labeling, packaging, or running errands like shipping. 

Or you might choose to outsource some home tasks like hiring a cleaning person or childcare to come in during the holidays and alleviate some of the household duties freeing up some additional hours for you to enjoy your family or devote to your business. 

Bonus Tip: It’s Okay to Say No

I couldn’t help but add this one in, and it’s because self-care is a topic close to my heart. Again, you didn’t become an entrepreneur to be overwhelmed and unhappy by the work you are doing. Remember the holidays are a busy season, and there are many opportunities for activities, parties, vendor events, and more. Each time you say “yes” to one thing, it means you are saying “no” to something else. 

Check-in with yourself as you run your business during the holidays and throughout the year. Make sure you aren’t making decisions to work extra hours or to accommodate customer requests at the expense of your own well-being and happiness. 

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to receive ongoing support each month, I invite you to learn more about my craft and commerce community, Flourish at Artisan Indie. We offer training, brainstorming, and mentoring live and in saved presentations; access to over 40 experts and advisors each with specialties to support you in your business journey; a community of over 2000 members where you can find peer support and your new business BFF; discounts and offers on your favorite business tools; promotional opportunities on social media for your business; and so much more! 

Join Flourish at Artisan Indie Craft and Commerce Community

Looking for more holiday selling tips for your handmade business? You may also be interested in reading

How to Create a Holiday Gift Guide

How to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday

How to Maintain Your Shop's Selling Momentum After Cyber Monday 

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Marmalead Brings Ease to Makers Struggling with Etsy SEO

By Sarah Sewell

Marmalead Brings Ease to Makers Struggling with Etsy SEO

Most makers I meet with always say the same thing, "If I could just get my listings in front of people I could be selling like hotcakes!" Most crafters selling on Etsy struggle with being found in search. With web-based businesses, where you are placed in search can make or break your online business.

Etsy businesses have similar challenges. Although Etsy is seen as a marketplace for handmade goods, it is also its own search engine. There are 1.7 million sellers selling on the massive craft commerce platform, and the sellers that are finding huge success are the ones that rank on the first few pages.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is what online businesses do to optimize their shops to be found in search. Depending on the platform virtual storefront owners optimize their web pages and / or shop listings with keywords. These keywords alert the search algorithm to what type of web page or what type of product is being sold. It is actually quite a bit more complicated than that, but in short this is what you do to help the algorithm know where to place your web page, shop or listing.

For years Etsy sellers struggled with optimizing their shops because there was a lack of resources available to teach them how to optimize their Etsy listings properly. Most sellers relied on the Etsy Seller Handbook to give them some sort of guidance or direction, but if anyone has read this handbook they know its verbiage is vague at the very least. Struggling with something like keyword research and SEO is one of the biggest reasons crafters and makers don't try to sell their handcraft goods online. It's a challenge many are just not wanting to tackle. 

When Marmalead launched in 2015 there really wasn't anyone out there who offered such a groundbreaking service for makers. They opened as a company that offers keywords research and SEO help just for small businesses selling on the Etsy platform. FINALLY, a resource that craftpreneurs could use to specifically grow their ranking in search.

What's so special about Marmalead?

Marmalead uses machine learning to take the guesswork out of getting found on Etsy. It offers powerful (and fun) brainstorming tools to help you find the keywords real shoppers are using to find listings just like yours. Marmalead helps you to discover the details behind the keywords to learn REAL search volume, REAL keywords engagement, REAL competition of keywords and so much more. The Marmalead team is committed to providing only the very best in Etsy SEO. They are constantly testing and improving their tools to provide the most up to date and accurate information for their users.

Marmalead offers some pretty amazing features for keyword research:

  • Seasonality: This allows users to KNOW how keywords are GOING to perform by looking at the past 12-month performance and giving a 3-month forecast.
  • Engagement: This allows users to see how many unique visits a keyword is expected to generate over the next 30 days with REAL shoppers.
  • Long Tail: Today long-tail keywords get the most queries. Marmalead uses powerful machine learning that peers behind the scenes to put it's users listings in a better spot for being sold.
  • Real Search Volume: See how many searches a keyword is expected to have from real shoppers over the next 30 days.
  • Side-by-Side Comparison: This allows users to compare search phrase metrics side by side to identify the best ones to focus on.

And More Powerful Brainstorming Tools:

  • Storm: This tool delivers a massive list of keyword suggestions. You can save the ones you like and clear out the rest!
  • Popular Search: This allows users to know which searches are trending and be the first ones to ride the wave!
  • Similar Search: This shows users other keyword variations that have been already searched by REAL shoppers.

As an Etsy Coach for creatives, I have worked with a number of SEO tools over the years but have found Marmalead to be extremely accurate and very user-friendly (especially with those sellers that aren't quite "tech savvy.") If you sell on Etsy and want to boost your visibility in search, you MUST do great keyword research. Using Marmalead to do that research will help you optimize your listings to capture those elusive front page spots.

Marmalead offers support and information to Etsy sellers in a far superior way than its other competitors, which makes them the perfect fit for my clients. I am grateful to have such an awesome tool that I can recommend and that I KNOW will help take my clients to the next level with their handmade business.

If our readers out there are struggling with Etsy Ranking I highly recommend signing up for Marmalead to help you take the guesswork out of keyword research and to start ranking to be found in search! I am not an affiliate of Marmalead nor am I getting compensated for my opinion or this blog. Just truly a big fan of the service and have seen it helps thousands grow their handmade businesses online. If you are interested in joining you can learn more and subscribe at www.marmalead.com

Happy Selling!

Sarah ❤

Did you know inside the Flourish membership community you are eligible for promotional rates on great services like Marmalead as well as other vendors and suppliers to help your business run efficiently? We call it Flourish Swag! And it's just one of the many perks of our community.  You can find out more of what we offer by visiting us here at www.artisanindie.com

Join Flourish Craft and Commerce Community

 

You may also enjoy reading 

Selling on Etsy

Three Strategies to Increase Revenue in Your Store

Five Pillars of E-Commerce for Makers

 

 

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Meet Alicia with Shop Leebrick!

By Sarah Sewell

Meet Alicia with Shop Leebrick!

Imagine unleashing rainbows and unicorns with your lotion, or breathing in a sugary pop-rock rush of childhood memories as you soak in the tub. That state of delight is what Alicia Leebrick wishes for her customers.

Shop Leebrick Handmade Soap

All of Leebrick products are created with love and care. She handcrafts her products in small batches and they are made fresh daily.

Alicia is dedicated to crafting bath and body products with scents that not only bring smiles to her family’s faces, but also to her customers. Made with the finest fragrance oils and never any harsh chemicals these products are sure to bring joy to all who use them.

Shop Leebrick Handmade Sugar Scrub

You can check out more of her scrumptious smelling bath and body products on her beautiful website shopleebrick.com or visit her on Etsy at shopleebrick.etsy.com

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Are you setting your Artisan Business up for Success?

By Sarah Sewell

Are you setting your Artisan Business up for Success?

Are you setting the scene for success? I believe the fact that you are here reading this post means YES you are ready to take your artisan business to the next level. Success can look different to different people. What matters is what you think success would look like to you. You may want to earn 6 or 7 figures a year selling your work, you may only want a side hustle to supplement your spouses income, whatever your reason for wanting to grow your business it absolutely is and should be an exciting endeavor.

Doing what you love and earning a living from it is an amazing feeling. My personal idea of success is simply having financial freedom and living my best life. This may be your idea too! The feeling of supporting yourself from something that you made or designed is a feeling that is hard to beat! I am here to tell you that this IS possible! I earned just under 7 figures in my handmade business before growing into my current career now. In my Flourish Craft Commerce Community we have a thousands of makers living that dream now and still wanting to grow further. It is not only possible but probable if you believe that it can happen for you. You must have a vision of success formed in your mind in order to adjust your sails to take you there.

The makers in our Flourish community are more than likely not all AMAZE-BALLS at business, sales, marketing or entrepreneurship. Many creatives see themselves as hobbyists and NOT as business owners and that creates doubt inside right from the beginning. They are highly skilled in their craft but not necessarily in how to run or grow a business.

I have something to share about this… You DON’T have to be an expert in business in order to find success. You don't have to have a MBA or a background in marketing. What you do need is a belief in yourself and a belief in your craft. If you have a desire to make and a desire to sell what you make you are already half way there.

Tips and Tricks to set your Artisan Business up for Success!

1. Goal Setting: Set up some clear objectives. You don’t need to know the end game or even what that would look like. Start simple and small if you like. Ask yourself questions like how much money you would like to earn in your first year? What online marketplaces would you like to see your goods sold on? What products will you create for the holiday seasons?

If you are more of a seasoned seller already perhaps you can ask yourself bigger questions like "am I ready to build my own website"? "Is wholesale right for my business"? Etc etc…. having some clear objectives can help get you headed towards your path of success.

2. Create a Space to Flourish: Many makers craft or create from their dining room table, or even the living room couch. You do you boo! Many successful craftpreneurs started this way and now have multiple warehouses they are utilizing for their business. START where you are, but spend some time thinking how you can maximize your creativity within this space. Fill your surrounding with inspiring things. Make use of the space you have to work with and get organized.

Creativity thrives in spaces that feel good. Take some time to clean out, repurpose and organize the space you have to work in. You will find when this is done the creative juices will be flowing!

3. Get Inspired. It’s hard to find success when you don’t have a dream or the excitement to get to that dream. Inspiration and Excitement is the heart and soul of a creative business. If you are feeling down, (which happens to us all sometimes) get out of the house, let the sun shine on your face, breathe in some fresh air, listen to feel good music, take some classes, go to a museum, spend some time on Pinterest whatever it takes….find some inspiration and stick with it!

Creating a vision board is a great way to stay inspired. Pin visuals of your goals & dreams to this board and look at them daily! This will help you stay focused on your dreams and inspirations.

4. Improve your social connections. You have probably heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with, I am not sure if that is true but I do know we are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Take an audit of the people around you and make sure you are spending your time with those that are encouraging, uplifting, positive and supportive. Sometimes we can’t get away from those who suck our energy but try your best to reduce face time with people that aren’t aligned with your ideas of growth and success.

If the people we surround ourselves with influence our behaviors then it makes the most sense if we want to have success to surround ourselves with those who are successful and those who believe that we too can succeed. 

5. Be Flexible. It is important to be aware that life doesn’t always move us in a linear motion. Sometimes it’s a step forward and three steps back….then 20 giant hops ahead only to stumble and lose 10. It is LIFE. The more flexible and fluid you can be the less you will be knocked down for any length of time. You must remember as a business there are seasons, there are slumps, there are highs and there are lows. If you have a growth mindset you will be prepared for this and will have a plan of action to work on something else when the slow downs happen.

Those who find it hard to succeed are usually those commiserating with others about why everything bad is happening to them. They play the victim and when they do this they are giving away their control and power in owning their business. Successful business owners are in it for the long game. They know there is a natural ebb and flow to things and they adjust as needed to move forward.

Remember life has peaks and valley's! You will have up days, you will have down days, don't take it too seriously. Follow the tips above and you will be off to a good start! 

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How to dispel Fear & Doubt in your Creative Business.

By Sarah Sewell

How to dispel Fear & Doubt in your Creative Business.

Show of hands....who’s exhausted from trying to convince the world that you’re worthy?

I get it....I’ve been there . Like the time in my 20’s I tried so hard to get the promotion I deserved by doing my managers work at the RV dealership so he could take time off to play golf.

And the time early on in my business when I was trying hard to convince friends and family that I was worth it I’d even give them my product away for free just so they’d see the awesome work I’d done....

And all the times I’ve cried myself to sleep wondering when I was going to stop getting questioned about my choices from my own parents and spouse and feeling so sad that they didn’t believe I was capable of making it work...

Yes, I have been there....and I got really tired of feeling like I had to prove anything to anybody. I also got tired of me not believing in me....

So I decided to refocus on what was calling me...I focused on my purpose...I focused on my dream.

I focused on doing what I love to do....what feels good to me....what comes naturally. I focused on the soft pull down in my abdomen that was assuring me I was meant for something more.

It for sure took some effort to not get sucked back into the mindset of “not enough” but I would just remind myself when that happened that I matter and am important just as I am....just as me.

Gratitude and purpose took over and true authentic happiness and fulfillment filled me up. I started to love myself more and believe in myself more and you know what happened? People followed suit.

I realized believing in myself is key to success. How could I expect anyone else to feel I was worthy of enough before when I didn’t believe it enough about myself?

When you can get connected to your true self and find yourself led by your purpose or passion it will PULL you. You will find the need to convince anyone of your worthiness will simply melt away. When you and your purpose are aligned naturally the fulfillment & prosperity will follow.

When you focus on what’s calling you and you live from a sense of real deep purpose, the universe will respond to the power of your song and you are so worthy. The doubt and fear will fall away and you will know you are on the right path.

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5 Ways to Improve your Content Marketing Posts.

By Sarah Sewell

5 Ways to Improve your Content Marketing Posts.

Let’s talk about Content. How many of you are putting thought into your content curation but you just aren’t seeing the results you’d like?

Let’s look at the top 5 reasons why you may not be seeing the engagement you would like to see and how you can fix it!

1. You’re creating content based on content others are creating.

Are you posting what everyone else is posting? Just following the crowd so to speak? This is YOUR business! There are no rules on what you have to post! Your audience doesn’t know what they need to hear & that’s why they need you! Your thoughts, your opinions, YOU matter! Being authentic is the best way to attract a following that will stay.

2. Posting in the wrong places! 

While getting specific on who your target market is you need to know where they’re hanging out! Being visible isn’t everything, despite what you’ve read! It is important, but it’s completely useless if you’re visible in the wrong places! Ask yourself today where are my people hanging out? What platform are they spending their time on.

3. Your heart is in the wrong place! 

Your intention is to sell. But, would you pay lots of money to work with or buy from somebody you don’t even know? Take a closer look at your intentions so you can connect rather than just sell! People don’t want to hear “Give me your money!” All the time. They want a reason to feel good about spending their hard earn money with you and your brand. Give them that reason.

4. You’re not confident. 

People pick up on your vibes and if you’re not confident in what you’re talking about, they wont be confident in you, your brand or your product. Take some time to think about why you love what you do!! What sets you apart, what lights you up! Remember sales is a transference of feeling from one to another. Confidence in yourself is necessary to build your business.

5. You’re not providing a CTA! 

Maybe you are providing value and great content! That’s amazing! You may be getting your viewers excited and ready to buy! However, if you don’t give them a call-to-action, they have no incentive to reach out to you! Instead they will see your content, maybe give it a like or heart but then move on. Give them a reason to comment, to follow you, maybe message you or click the link to BUY from you.

Brainstorm ways you can share amazing content with your audience this week! Remember, you’re selling yourself!! Posting curated content is a fantastic way to grow a following and build a brand but you must take care in how you are doing it to ensure you see the fruits of your labor. Happy Selling!

 

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Brand Building for Makers

By Sarah Sewell

Brand Building for Makers

What’s a BRAND?

A brand is so much more than a pretty logo or catchy name. It is more than a great font and a business card. All those things are important to a brand yes, but a brand is MORE than that. Think of your brand as your business’s identity. It is the essence of who you are as a maker, the product you create and the values your hold in business. The image you send out to the masses, the message you state, the feeling you give out... that is all representation of your brand.

Have you ever seen something online, maybe an ad or a video or a product and known right away if it was for you, or if not for you perhaps a friend or family member? The feeling that ad gave you, the vision, the message… those feelings were representing that specific brand.

For example, when I say Chick-fil-a what does that make you think about? Perhaps if you are a more religious person you might think it is a stand up business with core values that are important to you, or maybe you are more liberal and are repelled by its stand on other controversial topics? Or maybe you could care less... you might just be a sucker for a good chicken sandwich and a frosted lemonade! Either way Chick-fil-a’s brand is well defined. There is a certain opinion or feeling around their brand. It will either attract you or repel you. Those it attracts is Chick-fil-a’s target audience. They have built their brand to attract in those they want to sell to and those they KNOW will buy their product.

 

Branding yourself and your craft business is like knitting a quilt... and all the little pieces that describe your brand are the squares you use to complete the whole blanket. These pieces will include the look and feel of your brand:

  • Business Name
  • Logo & Visuals
  • Theme or Style of Shop (Physical or Digital)
  • Materials used to create
  • Brands Voice
  • Words you use to describe your brand/products
  • Graphics for ads and marketing materials

All of these things come together to complete the look, feel and message of your brand. This finished quilt tells the world who you are as a business. It is important that you take your time when building your brand and it is the foundation your business is built on.

 

Tips to get started:

  1. Decide on a NAME: Short and catchy is great as long as it speaks to your audience. Pick something that won’t be hard to spell or pronounce. As an ecommerce business you want to be found online, you won’t be found if your name is being misspelled in the search engines. Also, in the process of picking out a name, research to make sure nobody else is using it and make sure it is available. When you land on the one, go to google domains and buy your URL. .com is recommended as it is the most popular. If .com isn’t available, we like .co as an alternative. Grab your name on allllll the social media sites as well especially on the main ones: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter 
  1. Make your Visuals SHINE: What does your brand stand for? Take Nike for example. When you think about the visuals of Nike you see all sorts of visuals of men and women doing some form of athletics. If you look at my own brand at Artisan Indie, I am always sharing photos of makers, artists, and designers creating something. You want to share and showcase BEAUTIFUL imagery and photos. If you aren’t a natural born photographer, then purchase stock photos or hire a photographer. Visuals and Imagery makes allll the difference when it comes to attracting people to your brand. Your photos should speak directly to your audience. The goal would be to create brand recognition, that when people see certain imagery or photos they would automatically think of your brand. 
  1. BE AUTHENTIC: In today’s noisy digital world, the ads and the gimmicks are plenty. The brands that are going to have the most success are the ones who are REAL. You as a handmade seller has an advantage because YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. Consumers buy from artisans for a reason…. they want handmade or one of a kind for a purpose. They aren’t going to Walmart to buy your goods, they are on Etsy, or your own site, or at a craft show and they want something different than what they can find everywhere else…. they want real…. they want you.

 

All this being said you still want to leave room for your brand to evolve. You want to make sure when you pick a name, theme, slogan, visuals etc. that you aren’t boxing yourself in too much. There is a fine balance when building a brand. You don’t want to be too vague, but you don’t want to be to niche either. Businesses evolve and grow over time. You may be making nursery décor now but overtime it may evolve into home décor. A too specific name might turn some people away.

I had a client who started her entrepreneurial journey by making baby clothes. Like most crafters turned business owners, she started making things for her family. She was a new mom and decided to make clothing for her new little one…. this lasted for a few years but as the baby got older and as she started getting requests for older children and even shirts for moms her shop evolved into all type of clothing. She ended up having to do a BIG rebrand because her business was branded originally towards babies, with a name that included the word baby and pastel visuals.

Rebranding is sometimes what a business has to go through but know when that happens you can lose some traction in growing your business. As creatives we are continually changing our styles and methods….as humans we evolve and more than likely our products will too. This doesn’t mean to always go neutral in your branding, some of the most successful shops I know are very niche in their business and their branding, but if you feel like you could at some point branch out and include other products that might speak to different markets, you may want to pic a name that is evergreen, something that can move with you no matter what you add or take away from your product offering. 

 

Challenge: What message or feeling is your brand giving to the public? Take a look at what you are projecting out there in the world. IS your message consistent? Do your ads and promotions have the same look and feel. Do they have the same underlying message.. or are they kind of all over the place? You want imagery of you and your brand to feel cohesive and well put together.

The same goes for yourself when you are presenting yourself as part of your brand. If you go LIVE on your social media pages are your appearance, attire, and background speaking for your brand? For example, if you have a rustic theme business you wouldn’t have hot pink neon signs set up behind you while speaking to your audience. You want the look and feel to be in line with the message your brand represents.

Today do a critique of your social media sites, websites, craft show set ups etc. and make sure you are being consistent and holding true to your brand. Recruit some of your best friends, fans or followers and ask them what they see and feel when interacting with your brand. Sometimes its feedback from others that helps us grow the most.

Happy Selling! 

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Setting your craft business up for success.

By Sarah Sewell

Setting your craft business up for success.

Setting yourself up for Success:

Are you setting the scene for success? I believe the fact that you are here reading this blog means YES you are ready to take your craft business to the next level. Success can look different to different people. What matters is what you think success would look like to you. You may want to earn 6 or 7 figures a year selling your work, you may only want a side hustle to supplement your spouse’s income, whatever your reason for wanting to grow your business it absolutely is and should be an exciting endeavor.

 

Doing what you love and earning a living from it is an amazing feeling. My personal idea of success is simply having financial freedom and living my best life. This may be your idea too! The feeling of supporting yourself from something that you made or designed is a feeling that is hard to beat! I am here to tell you that this IS possible! I earned just under 7 figures in my handmade business before growing into my current career now. In my Flourish Craft Business Community we have a few hundred members living that dream now and still wanting to grow further. It is not only possible but probable if you believe that it can happen for you, but you must have a vision of success formed in your mind in order to adjust your sails to take you there.

 

My members in the Flourish community are more than likely not all AMAZE-BALLS at business, or sales or entrepreneurship. They ARE however great at their craft or have honed a skill that has enabled them to be a creator, maker, artist and designer. This is what usually creates doubt in the minds of creatives, they see themselves as hobbyists and NOT as business owners. They know they are great at what they make but usually feel they fall short in business. I have something to share about this… You DON’T have to be an expert in business in order to find success. What you do need is a belief in yourself and a belief in your craft. If you have a desire to make and a desire to sell what you make you are already half  there.

 

Let’s go over some tips and tricks to set yourself up for success:

 

  1. Goal Setting: Set up some clear objectives. You don’t need to know the end game or even what that would look like. Start simple and small if you like. Ask yourself questions like how much money you would like to earn in your first year? What online marketplaces would you like to see your goods sold on? What products will you create for the holiday seasons? If you are more of a seasoned seller already perhaps you can ask yourself bigger questions like am I ready to build my own website? Is wholesale right for my business? Etc etc…. having some clear objectives can help get you headed towards your path of success.

 

  1. Create a Space to Flourish: Many makers craft or create from their dining room table, or even the living room couch! I am not here to judge as many successful craftpreneurs also started this way and now have multiple warehouses they are utilizing for their business. START where you are, but spend some time thinking how you can maximize your creativity within this space. Fill your surrounding with inspiring things. Make use of the space you have to work with and get organized. Creativity thrives in spaces that feel good. Take some time to clean out, repurpose and organize the space you have to work in. You will find when this is done the creative juices will be flowing!

 

  1. Get Inspired. It’s hard to find success when you don’t have a dream or the excitement to get to that dream. Inspiration and Excitement is the heart and soul of a creative business. If you are feeling down, (which happens to us all sometimes) get out of the house, let the sun shine on your face, breathe in some fresh air, listen to feel good music, take some classes, go to a museum, spend some time on Pinterest whatever it takes….find some inspiration and stick with it! Creating a vision board is a great way to stay inspired. Pin visuals of your goals & dreams to this board and look at them daily! This will help you stay focused on your dreams and inspirations.

 

  1. Improve your social connections. You have probably heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with, I am not sure if that is true, but I do know we are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Take an audit of the people around you and make sure you are spending your time with those that are encouraging, uplifting, positive and supportive. Sometimes we can’t get away from those who suck our energy but try your best to reduce face time with people that aren’t aligned with your ideas of growth and success. If the people we surround ourselves with influence our behaviors, then it makes the most sense if we want to have success to surround ourselves with those who are successful and those who believe that we too can succeed. This is a core value in my Flourish community, we are a network of artisans that empower and uplift one another. We believe that celebrating and sharing our wins enables others to know and believe that they can do it too!

 

  1. Be Flexible. It is important to be aware that life doesn’t always move us in a linear motion. Sometimes it’s a step forward and three steps back…. then 20 giant hops ahead only to stumble and lose 10. It is LIFE. The more flexible and fluid you can be the less you will be knocked down for any length of time. You must remember as a business there are seasons, there are slumps, there are highs and there are lows. If you have a growth mindset you will be prepared for this and will have a plan of action to work on something else when the slowdowns happen. Those who find it hard to succeed are usually those commiserating with others about why everything bad is happening to them. They play the victim and when they do this, they are giving away their control and power in owning their business. Successful business owners are in it for the long game. They know there is a natural ebb and flow to things, and they adjust as needed to move forward.

Starting a craft business is thrilling, the thought of supporting yourself on what you make IS incredibly freeing. I am here to say YOU CAN DO IT but you must ensure you are setting yourself up for success. Take action to move yourself in a forward motion direction, be flexible through the peaks and valleys and keep a growth mindset. Believe it, See it and Be it! You got this!

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