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Topic: pearls of wisdom: what do you know now...  (Read 58141 times)
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Ironic Insanity
« Reply #120 on: June 09, 2009 08:26:06 AM »

This thread has helped me gain back some of my confidence.  I tried selling (simple) chainmaile necklaces on ebay a few months ago.  I started it at $1, not including shipping and made sure to add that I would gladly fix any problem with it that occurred during shipping.  Wouldn't you know, I got a crazy.  She said it was too small (it was over 18inches long!), a ring fell off (going from OH to CA) and she said that the price didn't match the quality (all said and done, she paid $6).  It really shook me up and she ruined my ebay account with an F- feedback.  She just screwed me and didn't attempt to let me fix it, even though I said I would and do it without charge. 

 Now I've started up a new ebay account and I'm sort of tentatively thinking about selling a few things.  I work mainly in jewelry, and some maile, as well as a little polyclay.  I'm going for the "dabbler" image so I can reach more people and because this is a side venture for me.  I do have a question though: I'm a college student looking for some side cash in addition to my (min wage) federal work study job.  Since I'm only going to be doing ebay for now and maybe etsy if I get good, do I need to declare the income/get a license/keep immaculate records?  Basically I am looking for some general advice from all you brilliant people.

Thank you!
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Brooky
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« Reply #121 on: June 28, 2009 09:02:05 AM »

Hi,
You poor bugger that's a hard hit on your first sale. Just to prop you up a bit, the biggest thing that I have learnt over the years revolve around two words, patience and action.

Most success stories do not happen overnight and nothing happens if you don't take action.

My main site now is sending flowers around the world. I remember spending 6 months looking and reading and building my site and sorting out my global flower partners with an entire $50 in sales. It drove me nuts but I had conviction that I was doing everything ok. I never stopped building links by writing articles and how to's and submitting to directories even though I never got a result. Then slowly they came and now we are on page 1 on google for over 10 different terms and just got to position 2 for "sending flowers" on australian google last night. Thats with 47,000,000 competing sites.
That took 2 years part time. Even now I am typing this at 1:36 in the morning after a hard days work because I have a craft business website which I want to promote.

As far as the cash bit, the tax department has a bite about 100 times bigger than it's bark. If your not earning it you don't pay tax, if you have made a few bucks put a little aside and declare it because they can't take more than you earn so you are still ahead. That's my thought, your call.

Re ebay, I must say I have never been able to get a really good trot along with ebay, to me they cost too much and you are at the mercy of the "crazies" one or two bad raps for no good reason can really screw you up.

Here is a cheap business suggestion.
1. Go to a large market near you and talk to one of the fashion type stallholders. Not one with your product but something that would be complemented by what you make.

2. Offer them some of your goods on consignment with them taking a reasonable cut.

3. Open a free paypal business account first so that people can buy online from you.

4.Make a website for free at Free Websites and put pictures of all of your goods online for free. Offer a free update to anyone who comes to your site and make sure you add the contact form so that people can contact you so that you have their email address. Just send them out an email every time you make something new.

5. Print up some cards with your website address and have these as swingtags for the goods on consignment so that customers who buy can buy direct online from you in the future.

6.This should develop nicely overtime as everyone is a winner and you can scale the website up to whatever size you want in the future.

One last bit of "make you feel better". Did you know that Estee Lauder began with four products that she started making on her kitchen bench in 1946. Food for thought.

Cheers
Marc
ps: Don't let the crazies get to you.
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Ironic Insanity
« Reply #122 on: June 29, 2009 10:27:16 AM »

Thank you so much for all the encouragement and the advice.  It really helps to hear that everyone goes through a rough start up too.  I decided that instead of going with ebay again, that I would just go straight to etsy.  No sales yet, but its only just been a month so I'm not too overly worried.  I have been promoting as much as humanely possible, getting better tools and supplies and immersing myself in tips, tricks and advice.  I also took the advice of everyone who said to buy a few small things and get feedback.  Hopefully that will help too. 

I think I will declare the extra money as well....just in case.  If it comes out to anything much that is...lol.

Thank you again!
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christie.mcnabb
« Reply #123 on: November 20, 2009 07:09:16 AM »

i am not currently running my own business, but have done some marketing consulting for those starting/running their own.  (willing to barter if anyone needs some one-to-one marketing lovin'!)

one of the most important things i tell people is to "talk."  email something to EVERY one of your contacts--friends, family, coworkers, etc--telling about your new venture and how they can partner with you to grow your project.  encourage them to forward the email to friends who may also be interested.  do this on a regular basis. 

it's a known fact that the more you hear about something, the more likely you are to think about it. obviously that's been abused in our society...hideous car or other commercials come to mind as being obnoxious.  but we still remember them, don't we...

so "talk."  have confidence that you're offering something the world wants and needs to know about.   Cool
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thegreengriffin
« Reply #124 on: June 15, 2010 09:37:25 AM »

wear/use your product all the time, if you make purses, only carry them (and give them as gifts so others can carry them too!), if you make jewelry, always wear it ect, then when someone compliments you, say thanks, i make them and hand them a business card.  i get my business cards from vistaprint.  they do a deal where you can get loads of stuff for free and it just has a small ad for them on the back.  do a bulk purchase though b/c you do have ot pay for shipping.  i got address labels, 250 business cards, a coffee mug, a journal, a canvas bag, two address ink stamps (all personalized) for $20 shipping, and it makes you look so much more professional.  if you have a day job where you have a coffee mug, this is another great way to advertise.
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helenwalks
« Reply #125 on: July 19, 2010 12:37:37 AM »

I think the hardest thing I ever learned in business was getting out of my own head and starting to consider things from the customer perspective.

I'd take hours or days creating something that I thought was perfect and couldn't understand why everyone didn't love it.

Learning to listen to what customers actually wanted and the creating and packaging it to align with their existing desire took me years and years - but it made the difference.

I doubt I would have ever got this if it wasn't' for my mentor Janet - so thanks for that  Wink

Helen.
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napolitana
« Reply #126 on: September 13, 2010 08:08:10 AM »

My advice: Facebook is a wonderful tool.

In my country, Etsy is not used. But almost everybody has a Facebook account. You can create a page for your business and suggest that page to your friends. Your friends will suggest it to others... and so on. The good thing is that it's free. I created a page on Facebook of my small business (I make custom order amigurumis), and keep it updated with pics, what I'm currently working on, future projects...
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« Reply #127 on: April 14, 2011 07:56:09 AM »

There is some great advice in this thread.  Brooky's post is actually how I am going about starting to sell things, and so far it is going well! 

As for claiming income and taxes, I only know about Ontario:  You don't need to charge taxes if you are not making more than $30,000.  You should be claiming any/all income though when you file income tax, but you can't claim business expenses and costs unless you are registered.  Legally, you don't need to register your business name if you are working under your own name however, only if you are using a unique business name.
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« Reply #128 on: May 21, 2011 07:18:45 PM »

Definitley getting a few business cards to use as hang tags and keep in my billfold., even if it's just an email and name. Tons of good stuff here, bookmarking!
How about Deviant Art? Does anyone here have an account with them, and if you do, do you think it helps?
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« Reply #129 on: July 19, 2011 12:11:10 AM »

Lots of great wisdom here!

A lot of thought should go in to the start-up process.  Make a good business plan.  It doesn't need to be a formal 100-page document, but I have seen my share of:
1: Great idea
3: Make lots of money

There are four essential parts to the businessplan

1. What is my product?
Your product is so much more than "a handbag", it is the sum of your materials, time, service etc.  What defines your product?  Do you have some sort of signature?  What can you offer that no one else is offering?  Remember, service is free (in most cases), and is what customers will remember you for.  Make sure you know what your product is before you start making them!

2. Who are my customers?
What type of people will buy your products?  Where can you find them?  How do you advertise to them?  How much are they willing to pay?  Why would they buy your product instead of someone elses? (If you can't answer that last question, the customer sure can't!)

3. What are my goals and terms of success?
You need to know where you are going and what you want to achieve, or else you will just be going in all directions at once and never get anywhere.  Your goals are what you wish to achieve.  Are you happy just selling to your friends and coworkers, or is your goal to make enough money to buy a large house with a pool?  Your terms of success are how you know that you have failed or succeeded.  Is it not loosing money?  Is it getting your product into two nationwide chains by the end of the year?  Both goals and terms of success should be in time-limited stages.  Try not to start on the next goal before you have achieved the first.  If you do not meet your terms of success, you need to either rethink your strategy, or give up the whole project.

4. Finances
How will I finance my business?  How much money do I need to make? What expenses will I have, regardless of sales?  How much money can I afford to loose before I have to give this up?  Make a proper budget and stick to it!


Remember, the businessplan isn't something to shove in a drawer once it is done, it is a living, work in progress.  You will constantly have to read through it, revise it and make sure you are on the right track.  While going through the different sections as I have written them is a good place to start, you have to work on all four sections at the same time.  Changing something in the budget, might mean changing something in the product and so on.
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