Sunday, June 01, 2014

The Business Chat - 5 ways to kill your own success

“The economy is terrible! All those third world products! All the copying! No one appreciate handmade work! There are too many jewelers/soap makers/print makers/knitters for anyone to make money!”
We all dream of having a wildly successful little business don’t we? (That is why you’re reading this I assume.) Many of us will do just that, set up shop and work out way to our own version of success. And many will not. 
For some the dream just doesn’t seem to happen no matter what they do. The ones who don’t succeed are so busy blaming everything around them that they don’t realize most of the time, the blame for their failure is actually themselves. 
So often people sabotage their own success, without even realizing it.  
Here’s 5 things that self sabotagers do. 
1. All research no action. 
Ooh, wouldn’t it be great if you learnt how to -insert new skill here - before you did a show? And what about that book on marketing, you should read that first. Oh, and maybe you should buy and learn how to use accounting software? And web design? You can’t possible open an online shop until you learn how to code your website. Wait, there’s still lots to learn about marketing!
Argh, you can’t possible do anything until you’ve researched all there is to know in the universe! 
You’re right, there is a ton of stuff to know. Your little business is more than just making some pretty work. 
You will never know it all. That is not possible. 
At some point you are going to have to put down the books and just do it. 
You can’t succeed if you don’t start. 

2. Quitting too soon
“Well, I made some stuff, I took photos of a few of my best pieces and then I opened an Etsy shop. Only 1 piece sold in 3 months! I did one show, it was okay, but I didn’t sell nearly as much as the girl beside me and it was hard! So I closed up. You can’t make any money selling handmade work.” 
Oh sigh. 
If all it took to be successful was a few photos, and a handful of pretty things then the world would be jammed with success stories. There is no shortcut to success in the handmade world. Expecting overnight success is like someone picking up a guitar for the first time, playing a few times and then wondering why they aren’t selling millions of songs. EVERYTHING takes practice and business is no different. 
It takes time to learn the business of how to sell. Time to put together a really good collection of work, time to build up a clientele, to learn how to sell online, to selling at shows, to actually making a profit. 
If you thought this was a quick way to get rich you’re in the wrong game. Buy a lottery ticket. 
When you are starting out you are up against people who have been doing this for years. What makes you think you can just jump the queue? 
If you’re not in it for the long haul, don’t start.

3. Looking for all the pitfalls. 
“I can’t put my work online, someone will copy it!” 
“In this economy? No way can you run a business these days.”
“Have you seen what it costs to be in a show? There’s no way you can make any money.”
There are a million things that can go wrong in your business venture! Spending your mental energy cataloging every possible pitfall will suck the lifeblood out of your success. 
YOU and only you are responsible for the success of your business. 
Focus on the positives and quit whining about the economy, your competitors, and all the other ways life can dump on you. No one wants to hear it. 
When life give you lemons, make lemonade. 
(or add vodka, either way you have a nice beverage.)  

4. Scattered attention
I know, you have SO many ideas it’s hard to pick one isn’t it? And so you pick several. Yes your jewelry is awesome, but so are your knitted scarves, and your painting, why not combine all 3? Or start 3 businesses?  
Because you can’t possible focus on 3 things at once. 
Especially when you’re starting out and most likely have a job as well, not to mention family, friends, and a life. What’s going to happen is that nothing will get the time and attention it deserves and when something has to go it will probably be the thing that isn’t making any money - your business. 
You can do it all, just not at the same time. Focus on one thing at a time. Especially during the beginning stages of your business when you have a lot to learn about running a business. 

5. Waiting for the stars to align and everything is perfect
Imagine this, your work is the best it can be, your website is amazing, your photos are world class and your product descriptions are riveting. The weather is guaranteed for your outdoor show and your booth display is awesome. Now imagine unicorns dancing around rainbows and showers of money falling from the sky because that is about as likely to happen as the first scene. 
Nothing is ever perfect. You can always improve and you will need to. 
Do the best you can all the time but get your work out there. Evolve as time goes on. 
Done is better than perfect. 

See anything in here that you can relate to? 

1 comment:

Janice said...

Excellent article! True of any business, not just the world of handmade.