Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Business Chat - 10 things I wish I had known when I began

  1. It’s hard. It does get easier. Make friends in the community, talking about it makes it easier. Sharing information makes it easier. Just knowing that other people are doing what you are doing makes it easier. Acknowledge that sometimes things are hard. Suck it up.
  2. Focus on your difference from the rest of the crowd, don't try to blend in with all the other businesses. Tell your story, people really do want to hear it. I thought my story was kind of weird, it is actually. But weird in a good way, and weird in a way that sets me apart. It makes me who I am. It’s critical to know your own story and tell your customers.
  3. You can’t please everybody. Don’t bother trying. Some people just aren’t going to get what you do and it’s a waste of time trying to make them care. Those who care are your target audience, your right people. Focus on them and ignore the rest.
  4. Don’t make things just because you think they will sell. They won’t. Make things that you like, that fit in with your other work.
  5. You have to make time to work ON the business as well as working IN the business. Set your own roadmap to success instead of blindly following someone else. When I first started I was so focused on doing the stuff that I loved, like making work, figuring out how to display it, meeting new colleagues and learning how to sell that I neglected the less-fun stuff like updating my business plan. I was always thinking like an employee and forgot to think like a boss. You must spend some time every week doing the mundane things in order to move forward and grow.
  6. Consistency is key. Whether it’s blog posts, email newsletter, attending craft shows, doing tasks on a consistent basis is critical for success. For some crafters, consistency means every day, for others it may mean every week or every month. One-off or inconsistent activities will get you inconsistent results. Nothing works if you keep changing your mind. Stop doubting yourself and your decisions, pick something, believe in it, and go for it. 100%.
  7. Mistakes will be made. Don’t beat yourself up because you goofed up, it is part of the process. Figure out what went wrong and don’t do it again. Get over it. 
  8. I am an artist. I make art. It is important to own the words. 
  9. I am a manufacturer. I am a maker. I make product. It is not crass to sell your work. You are sharing your gift with the world. And if you don’t sell your work you do not have a business.
  10. It is TOTALLY worth it. 

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