One thing that I have been working on for the past month or so is getting my craft business in order. When I started selling regularly this past summer, I dove right in and just started making necklaces like a fool. I have had great sales at craft fairs, but I don’t know exactly how many necklaces I have sold. That may not seem like a problem to some. I mean, I’m doing something right and people like my stuff, and it’s great, but then I realized I wasn’t really running everything like a business, but more like a hobby that included getting up early and selling at fairs on the weekend. I say I was running things like a hobby because I had been spending money like it didn’t matter if I made it back, and only because I was really liking what I was doing. Well, I quickly began to realize that it does matter where the money comes and goes if I want to keep this good thing going. And I really do want to keep this thing going. Over the past three weeks I was on Christmas break from my other job, which is teaching. I went back to work Monday and I’m already lamenting that I am not going to have enough time to spend on craft related things like I want to do. Well, what I really want to do is focus entirely on craft related things. I know this isn’t going to come overnight, but just in the past three weeks I’ve gone from having 20 something Twitter followers to 200+, from having 1 or two blog readers a day to 100+ most days, and from having about 5 things listed on my Etsy to over 30 (I’m still working on this- it is such a tedious task!). So, I guess what I am saying is that I really feel like I’m doing the right things. One thing I have been doing is reading a lot of other blogs and doing some research on how to better what I am doing and I have come up with a lot stuff and I thought I would share what I have found. I would say that you could just consider it a compilation of some of the best of what I have read. I mean, it took me 3 weeks of reading and searching to compile this relatively small list. I know there is plenty more out there, but here is what I have found helpful so far.
The website The Boss of You has a lot of information available about how to run your own business. The website and book, The Boss of You, seem to go hand in hand. (I don’t have the book yet, but it’s on my list!) The one section of the website I find most helpful is the Business Tools and Calculators section and in particular, the Build-Your-Own-Budget spreadsheet which you can download for free from their website and customize and then enter in expenses, etc., to build a yearly budget. It’s a really great and free tool to take advantage of, especially if, like me you aren’t good at making your own spreadsheets.
Another source of information I find really helpful is the Naughty Secretary Club blog by Jennifer Perkins. I’m a huge fan of her jewelry, her book, and her blog. She’s really good at what she does, too. Her regular blogging, her business savvy- she’s some one I really admire. Additionally, her blog is a treasure trove of information for anyone who needs a little extra information on how to have a crafty business. Her most recent post about business brought to my attention that there is a new Craft, Inc. Business Planner. I read the Craft, Inc. book a couple years ago and really learned a lot from it, so I am very excited to also get my hands on the business planner. In the meantime though, I have been reading what’s free and if you go to Jennifer’s blog, she has over 25 business related posts that cover things like business related books, blogging, marketing, and where to sell your crafty goods.
Another website I like a lot is Craft Zine. I read the blog daily. Back when Craft Zine used to publish a quarterly magazine, they ran this great article by Jenny Ryan about how to turn your hobby into a craft business. It’s a short article, but it is very informative regarding taxes, among other things.
Another website I started visiting regularly is Design*Sponge. On this site there is an excellent link called biz ladies that covers all sorts of topics from trademarking to wholesaling, as well as book writing, blogging, advertising, and much more. I have only started reading all the great information on this blog. I haven’t gotten through all of it yet, but I have really enjoyed what I have read.
The website SCORE is another great place to go if you are looking for information on writing a business plan, preparing a budget, or finding your target market. Score’s target is small business. They may not be specifically craft related, but they have some pretty sound advice on this page. I have to say that Score is a web site that I found through Jennifer’s blog, and I was glad she pointed me in its direction because it has been really helpful.
One last link is something I found was on Etsy. These Wise Guides look like a fun, instant gratification type purchase. They cover topics like selling sucessfully on Etsy, marketing, social networking, and craft fair success guides. I haven’t purchased any of these guides yet, but again, I plan to do it sooner than later. I really like the fact that you simply pay a small fee and then get the information emailed to you. I like having things on hand all the time on the computer.
So, these are some of the sources I have been referencing a lot recently. I hope this little compilation will be helpful to you if you, like me, are trying to improve or expand on your craft business in 2010. If you have any sources you would like to share with me that would be fantastic. Where do you go when you have a business-related question? A marketing question? I’d sure love to hear about it.