Sunday, October 21, 2012

Business Tips - by Hand

A few months ago I was nominated as the creator of the week via by Hand Giveaways {read the interview here}. Along with sharing information all about myself, my business, how I got started and my inspirations - I was asked to include any tips I had for other sellers, along with favorite ways to promote my business, if I had any. I was very happy to oblige, and am re-posting my list here today for other people who are interested in starting a business, have a new business, are looking to expand business, etc...to help you on your way.
 
When I started there was no one to ask. I had to be creative, think way outside the box, relied on my business education background, bought books, and together today - I have a successful and thriving business. Hopefully these tips, and the included interview link, can offer a little bit of insight into the process:

  • Make something you love.
  • Give your shop meaning. After you decide what it is you would like to sell, make sure your shop has a story, a purpose and that everything goes together. So many people start shops without a unique selling perspective. Know what makes your shop unique and play that up, always.
  • Be realistic with your goals. Expect to be working hard the first 2 years and not making a lot of money. Otherwise, when you aren't rich the first day, you'll want to quit. I started with a 3 year plan. I didn't expect to be making any type of income until after my third Christmas. I worked extremely hard, all day, every day, and was lucky that I was making a very good profit by the second year. That isn't typical, but it can happen with a well rounded shop, good product and a lot of hard work.
  • Don't give up when things get tough. Take a step back, a breather, a break and come back ready.
  • Submit, submit, submit! Send your story to blogs, newspapers, magazines - everywhere you can think of at least bi-monthly and you'll start to snag press.
  • Get social - Start a blog, get on Twitter and Facebook. It's free advertising.
  • Have the best photography possible and very descriptive descriptions.
  • Go above and beyond with customer service.
  • Always be growing, learning, and improving.

My favorite way to promote is through reviews, interviews, magazine spreads and my own social network. I have never purchased an ad. I prefer to have personal opinions written up. I feel it carries more weight when someone vouches for a product rather than putting up an ad that anyone can have.