Saturday, 21 January 2017

Is Business For You? Crafting aside.

To have a business, you must have an understanding of the market you are in and the forces which are against and for you. You are also obligated to your customers to fulfill their orders. You are up against the daily hustle to make sales in order to make ends meet. Not forgetting dealing with "paper mess".  This is the administrative back and forth with potential customers that can take five to ten emails before finalizing the specifics. While this may not seem like a deterrent, it is another one of the many things you have to deal with as a business owner. 

All of which takes time away from being creative.

There is a perpetual myth that creating a business from your crafts is an easy and pleasurable thing to do. Not only is this not the case, but it is not candid and far from the truth. 

With the rise of Pinterest and lifestyle blogs, this myth is constantly perpetuated by the carefully staged photos and perfectly framed slices of a well crafted life. These flawless scenes give no hint as to the hard work and constant struggle it is to own and run a business based on selling your craftwork. You see, what lies beneath the surface of these carefully staged photos are many reasons why you should think twice before embarking on it especially with the mentality that it is all sunshine and rainbows.

Here's the truth, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t start a business, like the risk of failure, the reality of how hard you have to work to make ends meet, and how much time you actually have to spend in the day-to-day running of the business. It isn’t for the faint of heart. And maybe, just maybe, it isn’t for you at all. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It should not be this way! 

While you cannot avoid the crazy, stressful challenges of entrepreneurship altogether, you can avoid becoming a small business casualty. Here are five ways to avoid handmade entrepreneurial burnout.

1. Set Personal & Business Goals and Timelines

Before you spend thousands on supplies and programs, ask how, will your business complement your lifestyle and serve you and your family? How many sales do you need to close each week to make your annual sales goal? What is your annual sales goal? What is the lowest possible cost per product your business can absorb and still maintain a healthy profit margin? Do you want to sell your business in the future, or let it die with you as the sole owner? If the former, what do you need to do to maximize the value of your business over time?

Map out your plan. Identify in advance what you want to achieve so you can take action steps that will lead you in that direction.

2.Maintain a Manageable Product Line

After you know what you want your business to do for you, map out a product line that make sense. Yes, this would mean that you will probably not be able to make everything you love to make. Like many new entrepreneurs, chances are good that you have too many product ideas and not enough time or supplies to execute them all.

It’s far better to sell a large quantity of a few products than to sell a small quantity of a lot of products. Start with a small, targeted line available in a few variations. Launch with products that have the highest profit margin (even if they are not your favorite ones to make) . This will allow you to build a steady stream of cash flow needed to fund your growth. Resist the temptation, stay focused. DO NOT make, package, photograph,post on Instagram, blog about, and sell every single thing you can possibly make just because you can. Be strategic.

3. Don’t Do Anything that Does Not Fit into your Goals and Time Frames

I have heard my father in many of his 'pep' talk saying that people become successful because of what they choose not to do, even more than because of what they choose to do. After 15 years in business, I have concluded that this is true. Trying to do too many things often means you end up doing nothing.

4. Schedule Everything You can Possibly Schedule

Make a list of all of the things that must be routinely done in your business, then eliminate anything that can either be worked together or which does not really need to be done at all. Your final list should contain only the things that must get done to feed your goals. Work with this list and nothing more. 

Now that you know what you have to do, you can schedule it. In the 16 to 18 hours you have in a work day DO Include time for yourself , your friends and family of course! Stick to this as closely as possible. This is the only way you can ensure that the items you have identified as critical - actually get done.

5. Build your Brand by Focusing on Serving your Existing Target Customers

It takes less money, time and energy to keep the business of an existing customer than it does to pursue and win a new one. Of course, your job also includes to acquire new customers, just don’t do so at the risk of losing existing ones!

Nurturing a small but steadily growing group of people who buy your products all year long means you are building brand-loyal customers who will buy and tell their friends about how great your products are. The more they buy and the more you serve them, the more they will see themselves in your products.

Now through your social media platforms , flea markets or events you attend, many of your customers will likely meet up and new relationships can develop. This will be good for you and your brand. Cultivate these relationships and use your social media to solidify them. 

6. Delegate Non-negotiable Action Items that You Cannot do Yourself

Now that you have ripped your non-negotiable business tasks to the bare minimum, it’s time to get some help. Outsource everything you don’t want to do ,  don’t have time to do, or are not good at doing. If, like many Creatives and Makers, you have control issues.  Delegate small tasks first. Once you see how happy, relaxed and not burned out you are when you delegate you will become quite good at it. I kid you not.

Hope this helps, if it did return the favor and extend the post on your social platforms. Share your thoughts with me and help others who may need a little inspiration. Happy Crafting!


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