By the time I was nearly 15 I had already made well over £1,000 (pure profit) from my online jewellery business and been featured in two national magazines. I think it initially me being so entrepreneurial was me simply being terrified of failure, and the fact I couldn’t legally get a job. Mainly though it was that my parents never gave me much money and always encouraged me to make my own. So I babysat, did petsitting and started my own jewellery business. I now sell vintage clothes, photoshop presets and my art. Now, this blog post it’s going to be me going out my own business expediters but more so some advice for you all.
- Something I see around the web is if you are going to put “hobby time” into your business you are going to make hobby money. If you treat your business like a business and really work at it, it will pay off (but it’s going to be hard).
- Do your research, some businesses are highly competitive – if your craft/passion is unique you will have less competition (but if it’s really unsual there may not be much of a market for it also). Jewellery making for instance is horrifically competitive – an etsy search of “jewelry” (american spelling) brings up 5 million results. No wonder I stopped making jewellery a few years later.
- Thing about where you are going to sell – your own website? etsy? asos marketplace? bigcartel? fiverr? Your own website has it’s own advantages in the sense that you can customise it and make it look seriously slick (if you are thinking of doing this I would advise buying hosting and buying a themeforest theme), but then you have to drive all the traffic to it too. If you sell your services through etsy for instance (something I would highly recommend myself if you are selling something handmade/vintage and not a “service”) you will get a HUGE amount of in site traffic just by the search, most of my traffic comes through etsy (if you are thinking of selling on etsy – use this link to sign up and you will get 40 free listings, normally only 20 cents a listing but it helps!). Bigcartel is awesome if you want to sell something on your own site but want some customisation. Unless you have 5 or less products though you will need to pay monthly for it, you also have the advantage of some in site traffic through the bigcartel directory (I primarily used bigcartel for my jewellery business, to see my old site still in action see here). It also has the advantage of amazing customer service. Fiverr is awesome if you want to sell some sort of “service” wether that be retouching or voice overs, so many random stuff is sold on there! I do have a fiver myself selling editing services, retouching, tattoo designing etc. but am yet to sell anything, however you do read about people who make a living off of fiverr. If you are selling clothes try asos marketplace, it’s amazing (I sell so many vintage clothes on there!).
- Think about how you are going to promote, the traffic and business isn’t going to come easy. Your going to have to be integrated on lots of social networks – a facebook page is a must (I find artists often feel this is pretentious, I can promise you it’s not if you want to make it as an artist you have to treat it like a business.). Get shortstack for your facebook page (free!) this allows you to make beautiful “tabs” for your facebook page really easily (such as contact me, etc.) so see it in action see here. This is a little cheeky but on fiverr lots of people offer to invite there “7,000 or so” facebook friends to your facebook page for $5 (£3) this is great for getting REAL likes and the same price as one day of facebook advertising which would only get your 10-20 or so likes. Pinterest is a hugely valuable resource (better than facebook and twitter for selling stuff) for promoting anything (a service or product) join viralwoot it’s free. + if you are willing to pay storewoot does the same thing but better but is paid. After you have a substancial amount of followers doing a “repin to win” image is a good idea (too see in action click here, on facebook you could do a share it to win it thing also). Also on pinterest you can join group boards (a communal pin board type thing) which may already have 12,000 followers which you can post on (awesome I know!) Renae of richmombuisness.com has over 100 group boards which you can join here. Another thing I found yesterday is a site called pingroupie which lists almost every pinterest group board (and you can search it too! hint: look you can view your search results by amount of followers or repins – makes it more worth your time) Instagram is also a great form of promotion, another cheeky thing if you want to gain interest around your instagram there are lots of instagram bots about which like peoples images, follow people and comment so you don’t have too (This is the main way people get followers). This will help I promise (instagress is great but not free – some are).
- I swear to god you can make money from ANYTHING if you try hard enough. Watch this video if your uninspired. For instance when I get back from uni I am going to start doing photography and photoshop tutoring, think outside the box.
- If you really want to get a lot of interest around what your doing – try to get into a magazine (a relevant one). On fiverr people sell PR (Press Release) services. Be persistent. I was lucky as I was only 16 so I had a bit of an unsual “edge”. A editor may get 300 PR a day, so e-mail often and you may get lucky. Do some research on this, as it’s very time consuming.
- I can promise you that your work is better than you think it is, don’t get disheartened and STICK WITH IT. It will pay off in the long run.
- If you are going to have/sell on any kind of website make sure you do your research on SEO (search engine optimisation) even on etsy this is really important. I can almost guarantee that there are shops selling the same kind of thing but one will sell so much more than the other because of SEO. It’s all about search engine rankings. (Hint hint: research this lots, but people also sell SEO services on fiverr).
- Don’t spend too much on advertising, maybe I didn’t do it right, but I have found that it doesn’t do much for sales.
- Lastly, promote promote and really work at it! But not too much…
That’s all I can think of for now… Maybe I will do a part two as this is such a big subject (I could really talk about this all day).
Photo Credit: Unknown