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Topic: pearls of wisdom: what do you know now...  (Read 56517 times)
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Kara B
« Reply #130 on: July 19, 2011 01:24:54 AM »

I also have few bits of general advice, that I thought would be better to have in a separate post.

Barter where you can.  Exchange a shirt for a webpage, a ring for businesscard designs etc.  Photo students are often willing to take pictures for free for their portfolio (make sure you put their name on your webpage and they put your name in their portfolio).  Try to get anything you can for free, but remember to keep a certain standard.  There are allways other people in the start-up faze needing services and publicity.

Give discounts to friends and family, but make sure they know what they are getting.  You don't want them bragging about how cheap your stuff is if you can't give the same deal to everyone.  Letting them know the "real" price will also make them feel more special, and hopefully they won't mind paying full price later.

Value your own stuff, and others will too.  People will always think that something expensive is better than the same item cheaper.  Don't apologize for your stuff.  If you tell people you think your stuff is crap (either by selling it cheaply, pointing out the mistakes or any other way of diminishing it), they will think of it as crap too, and treat it like it is.

Support other crafters.  If you want them to buy your stuff, you really need to buy their stuff too.  Craft items are cheap because crafters sell them cheaply.  We are all helping to keep the prices down, and people are expecting to be able to buy crafts cheaply.  Instead, make sure future crafters can live off their crafts by slowly raising prices to the level we all deserve.

And I second all the excellent advice that has been posted here allready.  Good luck to everyone!
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dawnshandmadejewelery
dawns handmade jewelery
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« Reply #131 on: October 05, 2011 04:23:44 PM »

I am also just starting out I have not even sold one thing!

But when I had my anime blog up and running i did find out a few different thing.

You first need to know if your going to do things locally or in different areas.You need to make shore the internet understand where you are planning on selling.

Because shipping rates and such are difficult if you don't know where you are shipping.

And a second thing I had learned is advertising dose not always have to cost a arm and leg.

first of all there is craigslist.org where you can post locally.

if craigslist is not enough you could always try this little trick.(Type in your search engine.The state where you live and then the words "Free Classifieds".

I am from Wisconsin so I would put "Free Wisconsin classifieds".

or you could always check out groups on yahoo and place something like "selling crafts" in the subject line to see if there are any groups where you can place a link to your facebook,myspace,or blog or site.

And making a facebook page and twitter account I heard helps also but have not yet got one started myself.

And a second thing you could always do is make a craft gift for a friend.For instance I make jewelery so I have decided to give a few to some friends and take pictures of them wearing them and place pictures on facebook kind of like using them as models.That way I get free models and that way I don't have to go big or gifts on birthdays and what not.

And here is another idea that i usable you could make a slideshow and place it on youtube and then once uploaded you could send the video to friends and family in comments on facebook walls and so on.So people can see what you make.

And also on youtube if you have a video camera you can make a advertisement video.and place it on your blog or site or facebook.or you could even take a link to the video and place it in your signatures that way you could advertise even more for free.you can place a signature even on your e-mail.

P.S. there is even a way to place a picture next to your signature in the free yahoo mail signature settings.I have done it before for a old e-mail address I had but not my new one yet.

All you have to do is look up on yahoo or google or whatever search engine you use to find out how.

All you have to search for is "How to place image in yahoo signature."Simple as that.

I hope this post was easy to follow.And you could always ask questions on yahoo answers.

You could always ask something like "How to advertise for free.Or how to advertise online."

My biggest advice I could give is how to advertise for free until a few months ago I had no income do to being disabled.And now i have a income only since July so I have decided to try and make a little extra income for some pending money that is why I have decided to start making jewelery.

I was working on a free blog for a while based on anime something that I enjoy but in the last few month I have gotten more into crafting.

So I am giving advice I have learned based on start before.

Hope my wisdom helped.If not you can ask me questions in private messages and I will help you fend out more.


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Recently started to create handmade jewelery.I have decided to start doing something with my time.
NightShiftOriginals
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« Reply #132 on: April 27, 2012 01:59:37 AM »

Something that's been a huge help for me is that I bought a 12-section accordion file, and then put each month's paperwork in corresponding sections, one section per month of the year.  All invoices in and out, all receipts and shipping info, everything is neatly stored in one easy to find place.

I also keep a manilla folder each month for my international shipping.  I write the date and the customer's first initial, last name in a list on the outside of the envelope, like this:

April:
4/2 C. Smith
4/5 J. Hancock
etc.

Inside the folder, we keep our copy of the customs form, along with the receipt from each time we go to the post office.  That way, I have a very easy reference for mailing dates if there's ever a question from my customers.  At the end of the month, I'll close the folder, and put it in the above mentioned accordion file.  Then I'll start a fresh envelope for the new month!

I also never knew that Paypal could organize your multi order shipping by the customer's first initial, so when we're packing orders, we will write their name as "C. Smith" so when we're printing shipping, we can find their name quickly on the list. Also helps when we've got more than one person with the same common last name.

I've gotten in the habit when buying supplies online that before I finalize any checkout, I'll go to Google and search for "(site name) coupon code" just in case there's a 10-15% code out there, or free shipping.  I'm about 75% successful on this - there's no reason not to spend an extra minute if it'll save you a few bucks!

I'm sure I'll think of a few more to add to this list. Smiley
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Oralabora
« Reply #133 on: May 28, 2012 12:53:21 AM »

I wish someone told me about tags. How to find good ones any way. I wish someone told me how to take good photo's. It took me a lot of trial and error to figure that out Then I came across some good forums that told me how to take great pictures ^_^ I wish someone told me that I should read the forum post. lol It would have saved a whole lot of headaches if I started out reading the forums and posting questions I had no matter how crazy the question may seem.
Being in business is really a growing process. lol I didn't learn patience until I started my own business. I learned Patience, building strong connections with people and not cutting corners is key to having a successful business lol that and having good tags ^_^
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whiteowldesigns
White Owl Designs
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« Reply #134 on: August 09, 2012 05:26:56 PM »

I agree, tags and SEO would have been really good to know about early on.

I used to do shows and did really, really well. I burnt out, moved, took a few years off and started again only selling just online. It has been SO hard and SO frustrating. People love my work, but it's HARD to sell. When I did shows people could touch my work, meet me and see the detail. They can't do that online and that hurts sales - a lot.

I would say, do craft shows if you can. If you can't then keep then faith. Learn everything you can about marketing crafts and well marketing anything online, learn about business, learn about your customers, learn, learn, learn. Strive to perfect your art, always raise your own bar. Keep trying and keep believing.

At some point after trying for years ask yourself if you enjoy it, can you afford to keep doing it. If the answer is yes then just keep on keeping on. Personally I am addicted to every aspect of my business and my crafts. I couldn't not do it. If the answer is no, you don't love it or can't afford it - then take a step back, reconsider your expenses and do what you love within your budget.

But at first... and for a long time after, and through thick and thin - be smart, be flexible, be excellent and believe in yourself and your creations.
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shadojake
« Reply #135 on: June 05, 2013 05:49:33 AM »

4. Personalize your services... at my "day job" (retail bead store), we take plain brown paper bags and decorate them. Not much, just a little handmade paper (not by us, that would be a bit too much work! lol)  mod podged on with a puffy paint squiggly on top and our name stamped... doesn't take more than a few seconds for each one, but customers DEFINITELY notice. We started decorating plain brown gift boxes the same way, and customers are requesting them. 

I bought some plan brown bags with handles and stamped my logo on them.  Turned out cute.  I need to get some curly ribbon to add a spark of color though.  This personalizes it but I don't spend a ton of time on it.

Blessings,
Cindy
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God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
shadojake
« Reply #136 on: June 08, 2013 07:18:36 PM »

don't know if anyone has mentioned this before but here's my pearl of wisdom...

when at all possible take some of your inventory around with you!  i make handbags, and i always carry one of my bags as my own purse.  i get lots of compliments and always try to give people my business card with my website addy.  but i've found that going home and looking at the website is a lot to do for some people.  i've decided to keep a few bags in my car from now on.  i took a bunch in my car to my friend's daughter's bdya party.  someone complimented my bag, as usual, but this time i had products to show.  and i sold $100 worht of merchandise!  people love seeing it and getting a chance to really take a look!

I had some of my custom coasters in the back of my car, boxed up of course, to deliver to a customer.  One the way I had some stops to make.  At one of them, my nail tech found out through our conversation.  She needed a wedding present so I offered to show them to her but couldn't sell her one due to them being sold already.  Long story short, she wanted me to replicated one of the monograms for her for a wedding this today.  I went home that day, Thursday, made a set and delivered it to her yesterday.  She had thought about adding a set of wine glasses to it but when she saw the coasters in the holder, she decided against the wine glasses.  BTW, she loved the coaster set.  I can't wait to see how the newlyweds liked them.  I did include some biz cards for the purchaser and the recipient.

So the point of this story is that having some stock in my car helped me make another sale.  I plan on putting some more in my car after reading this ... it has encouraged me even more.  Thanks ladies, keep the ideas coming.
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God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
dannijm
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« Reply #137 on: February 21, 2014 12:07:55 PM »

Oh the things I have learned Let's see.
1) paying for marketing is pointless. Marketing is what people say about you when you're not in the room. People will talk, good or bad. Do you ever sees commercials for Bentleys? No? Because people talk, and so does quality.
Ads are so saturated now a days most people ignore them anyway.
 
2)Consistency is key. If you say you're going to do XYZ every Tuesday for the rest of your life, you better make sure rain or shine you do it every Tuesday.

3) The only person that appreciates artsy fartsy photos are other artsy fartsy people. Just take a picture of the product on a simple/fitting background and call it day.

4)Underpricing yourself is just as bad as overpricing yourself. When grandma jones wants to buy a gift for her favorite grandchild and she sees your product, loves it, but then sees the price of other products and yours is waa aay cheaper, she's going to assume it is cheap. Price sets precedent.

5)Crappy website. Nuff said.

6) Not having direction. What is your company about? What do you sell? Or are you trying to dip into everything? This doesn't work, trust me. I was trying to make anything and everything before I stuck with toys. Find a niche and get cozy.

7) Trying to do everything. Ask for help people. Seriously.

8)Thinking you have something to offer people, thus making them want to help you.
If you are approaching a business/person because they have something you need/want that they can easily get, chances are, you have nothing they want. Let's be super realistic and stick to people (at first), that can give you what you want, and you can give them what they need. This may mean staying local, or finding other small businesses. Whatever it takes. Baby steps.

9) Cold calls. Research is important, and even better, show up, look around, meet the owner, shake hands, exchange business cards, then follow up.

10) Feeling insecure about your product because it's not selling. Just remember someone invented rock pets, the snuggy, chia pets, BOTTLED WATER.

11) Not taking a break. I suggest one week every three months of no work, no calls, no nothing.

12) Being afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no, and statically speaking, one no gets you closer to a yes.

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