So you're ready to build your handmade business?! Hooray!!
It's an exciting time and there's lots to know so let's dive in.
First things first, we get to build our businesses any way we desire so forget how the next chick is doing it, pay no mind to what others are selling or how they are doing their thing, you get to do it your way. That's really all their is to that.
How do you find your way?
You can begin any way that feels good. As a handmade creator myself, I can tell you how I started, but that may not be your story so lets talk about some options:
When we are ready to go into business, chances are we have been creating, perfecting our skills and our crafts, but perfection is not a pre-requisite to success. At all. Ever. Practice is.
So, let's assume you have your business plan, your pillars and standards are in place and you are excited to open for business. You've set a date, you are hyping things up, sharing bits and teasers to your audience who is rattled with anticipation! (I have a whole launch plan I follow, if you need help with this, let me know!)
What are you selling and how will you offer it for sale?
I'm sure by now you've got your 'what' handled, or at least a solid idea of what you'd like to sell, so let's explore the 'how'.
If you sell digital products, you can skip ahead to planning your content strategy and pre-loading your items for quick sale and easy download.
As for physical, handmade products, you can decide to create a product or a variety, what I love to call a collection of products, essentially building inventory of your own, and then sell them (there are a variety of ways to do that which include social media; live, in person selling via events or retail locations; blogging; email sales; affiliates; third party selling platforms like Etsy, Amazon, your own self hosted web site; to name a few.)
This method is best executed along side a strong content strategy. The exception, of course, is selling live or via retail establishment, in which case, the need for inventory seems like a no-brainer.
You may feel more comfortable, confident you can handle the orders if you have a few ready made products. It's completely up to you, your desired business goals, the amount of time you wish to spend working in your business, available space to store inventory and budget to pre-purchase supplies and how you wish to sell them.
Another sales strategy you may wish to employ for your business offers is to market and accept pre-orders and create based on demand/orders placed. This requires less up front costs and no inventory build up as orders are taken (and paid for) in advance under the agreement that they will be created and fulfilled at a later date (which should absolutely be disclosed).
Custom made or personalized projects often take on a pre-order persona, where they are paid for in advance and created on demand, this is very common practice in the hand made space, but please get paid up front. No one would expect to order from Amazon and pay upon delivery and you are a business, just like Amazon.
Now, in order to sell you likely need something to show!
So how do we go about that....
Some items can be beautifully demonstrated through mock ups (computer generated images that involve stock photos of products with digital copies of your art placed on top) however, if you are selling a product, especially one you have never made before, I would advise you to create a prototype of the item for yourself to test your methods and quality.
It's just good business.
We learn by doing and through creating you will not only refine your processes but find what you love and what you don't. You will find your zones of genius and incompetence and you will learn to navigate each. You will find new edges to stretch to, lessons to integrate and new levels of growth and success.
Practice makes perfect and I have absolutely improved over time, so don't feel like you need to perfect in order to get started. You should have some footing under you though, as in finding your footing you will build your confidence. That confidence and a genuine love for what you've produced comes radiating through when we sell, which just makes it easier and more natural to talk about.
Yes, it is natural to question -
Is it good enough?
Will people pay for it?
Can I (insert your most prominent limiting belief here)?
You will never know the answers unless you try. This business is on your heart for a reason, so why not make a commitment to give it your all, get the support you require along the way and watch how the world opens up for you?
I'm here for you babe!
What's the best that could happen? :)