When your handmade business is off to a slow start what is a person to do?
Should you just give up before you risk too much? Do you continue on the same path?
Giving up is not yet the best answer, but staying on the same path isn’t an option either. The answer is to keep building your small handmade business. Building doesn’t have to mean investing more money, because there are lots of free options to enhance your business and it’s reach, appeal and accessibility. What it takes is for you to invest your time in building it up, and I don’t mean making more product. I mean you have to put down those knitting needles, beads, and paint brushes and invest time into the business side of things.
Every day you should be doing something to improve your business that doesn’t cost you any money. That can mean lots of things depending on what you make and sell. However, there are some universal truths for every small business that sells handmade goods.
Make improving a daily commitment. Write it in your planners. Mark it on your calendar. Create an alarm on your phone. Set the time aside, and do it every day. It pays dividends!
Your Online Presence Is Your Most Precious Asset
You should work on your online presence as much as possible. Why? Because everyone is online. If your handmade business doesn’t have an online presence then you’re behind your competitors already. Customers can’t buy from you if they have never heard of you, and if they have heard of you but can’t find you is just as bad!
Starting a website can be a daunting task, even to those comfortable with using the internet. Sometimes, it’s easier to start small. Try a Facebook page for your business. This ensures that if someone is looking for you, they’ll be able to find your contact information and even be able to send you a message. Be sure to share it with your friends and family to get some initial followers and ask them to share it with their friends too! Asking people in your circle to help and support you is NOT asking too much and most people are more than happy to help you. Often times, they are also more than happy to buy products from you.
Blogging and video blogging is another way you can get your handmade business and your brand out into the world. Be yourself, but be sure you’re giving your visitors great content so that they keep coming back. Don’t forget to ask them to subscribe to your channel or blog so they’ll be updated when you post the next time. They won’t want to come back if you are a Debbie Downer, so be sure to keep it upbeat and focus on the positive. Also be sure to be natural when talking about your products. You love them or you wouldn’t make them, but tell them why they’d love them, and who else would love to get them as gifts!
The most obvious is to sell your product online! There are many options and each has it’s pros and cons. You’ll have to decide which is right for you. Some options are Ebay, Etsy, and Handmade at Amazon. I’d recommend checking them all out for yourself. I personally use Etsy, but that’s because it’s so easy to use and the fees are straightforward, and I can appreciate that!
(If you are interested in starting an Etsy shop, you can get 40 free listing by clicking this link…that will save you right around $8 and allows you to get going for free! I also get 40 free listing when you use it, so THANK YOU! I have the best readers!)
It’s like a dirty word for the small business owner. Who wants to do that? Yuck.
It really doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Networking can be fun.
Find people who make similar items and connect with them. Follow them on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. There is room for ALL handmade businesses so the term to embrace is “community over competition”. It is so nice to know other makers because if you have a question you’ll have someone to ask! You also have someone you’ll be able to bounce ideas off of or vent to. Let’s face it, everyone deals with at least one annoying customer every now and again.
You should also put some time into building your social networks. These are invaluable for the handmade business and can bring you heaps upon heaps of customers who are looking for your items. If you post, they will come. Be sure to use relevant hashtags so they can find you easily. Some options for social networks are: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This gives you an opportunity to connect with your customers and potential customers in a way you wouldn’t otherwise get to. You get to see their life, and in many ways they get to see yours. Sharing parts of yourself, your process, your materials can be fun. Customers love getting a peek “behind the scenes” too! You will do best and gain the biggest following by participating on your social networks daily.
Once you’ve got all of those things down pat, then you can move on to more advanced ways to improve your business. Honestly, the few things listed above could take weeks or months to fully accomplish and get the hang of. That’s okay. As long as you are working towards improvement every day, then your business is getting better. You should count yourself successful if you are getting your business, brand, or product in front of one brand new person every day. In one year, that’s 365 people who otherwise would have never known about you or your business! Imagine if you averaged 3 people per day!