There are so many blogs, articles, videos and information out there on how to really sell your crafts online that it can be too overwhelming to really comprehend…so what do we do? Shut it off and dive in and then wonder where we went wrong!
To help make it a bit easier to digest, I’ve decided to give you the TOP TEN TIPS which I have found most helpful in growing my own online business….
Are you making something that people actually need or want?
Sounds pretty basic, I know, but you might be making the cutest little doo dad in the world but the reality is that there is such a limited market or even no market at all for your creation. Step back and take your love of your creation out of the picture for a sec and REALLY look at it and ask yourself:
- Is there a market for my creation?
- Is the market willing to pay enough to make my time creating it worthwhile?
Basic questions that so many fail to ask themselves and end up spinning their wheels rather than growing a successful business.
Can you reproduce your work or are you a one of…
Both types of work can be successful, but if you are working one of a kind creations, there will be a limit since no matter how fast you work, you can only produce so many a day in addition to extra time for photos and writing descriptions. If this is your love then set your goals accordingly.
Work each and every day
We all would love to have the dream of sitting back and creating something we love as the money rolls in….sound like a dream….well, that is because it is just a dream. Marketing, photographing product, promotion, listing, packaging, shipping all take time away from creating. Get it through your head right from the start that in addition to making handmade wonders, you must also schedule time each and every day for other parts of running your business.
Be professional online
We all have seen posts in groups and on forums and message boards bashing a customer when an order goes bad but before jumping on the dog pile take a second and imagine reading it as a potential customer. Customers frequent many of the same places you do online and do see these posts. Would you want to buy from an artist knowing they just went on a rant about another customer?
Rant to your spouse, your dog, your pillow, the trees….but keep your online self friendly and professional!
The dreaded photos
We have all seen them, product photos which are out of focus, over exposed, or just unreadable. As much as many of us despise setting up and taking a hundred pictures to get that ONE it is part of business….so, make a pot of coffee, put on your favorite tunes and get to clicking! If you still can’t get that one stunning shot, um, consult your camera manual or get help from someone who has photos you admire.
Love your work, but be open to change
If you don’t love your work, it will come through….but don’t be so in love with your creation that you refuse to consider ideas and change. If you are doing everything right and still not gaining ground then you may need to look at your work again. Don’t look at it as a failure but as you now know what doesn’t work so you can scratch that off your list. Don’t get discouraged! After all, Edison created 1,000 nonworking lightbulbs before he created the one that did work!
Mailing lists are your friends
Once a customer places an order and you have their email address, don’t abuse it! Sending nonstop promotions will only make you a spammer, but an occasional email introducing a new product or service could turn them into a repeat customer. Be thoughtful with your communication and try to see it from their side…spammy or information they can use.
Get your own website
There is nothing wrong with listing your work on a multi-vendor site, but at least own your domain and forward it to your shop so that your business cards read YourBusinessName.com rather than YourBusinessName.Etsy.com. Silly thing maybe, but that bit of stand aloneness could create a more professional and polished impression on your customers.
Please, please, please understand that there will always be someone out there creating for less. They may be in it for fun or pin money or they may just not understand business or they may get an unheard of price on supplies, but if you intend to always have the lowest price your bottom line will show it!
Instead of getting into a price war, how about concentrating on promoting the value and quality of your work? You want to attract the customers that appreciate your work and are willing to pay for it, not nickle and dime you out of a profit.
Never stop learning
There is always more to learn whether it is a new technique, a new marketing idea, or a new supplier…always be open to learning and growing and your business will follow suit.