Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Jenna Herbut, founder of the online business program designed for creative entrepreneurs, Make It University. Jenna loves nothing more than to help people do what they love and earn what they deserve, and is also in the process of filming a documentary about the handmade community called, Make It Happen. Today she offers some helpful tips on growing your handmade business during this spring season. Thank you, Jenna, for helping to jump-start some springtime motivation! —Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump…
I know the spring is generally considered the ‘slow time’ of year for many crafters and artisans. Craft shows aren’t as bumpin’, and it’s really hard to sell as much as you would during the holiday season when shoppers are loading up on gifts. Although this is true, I think this time of year has a lot more potential than meets the eye.
Spring is the time when cherry blossoms bloom, electric green leaves appear and everything is shiny and new. I think it’s also a time when our brains are bursting with new ideas and inspiration. It’s time to plant some biz seeds that will sprout into opportunities and success!
Here are 7 things you can do this spring to grow your handmade business:
1. Get super clear on what you want to accomplish this year. This can be difficult because there are so many options, but take out your favorite notebook and let all your ideas flow. Pay close attention to how you feel about each of your goals. Do you feel inspired or tired? If you are not super excited about something, it’s better to just leave it on the back burner or scrap it all together. When you focus on what lights you up, it’s amazing how everything else lines up. To help you even more clarity, I love Cameron Herald exercise, Painted Picture. It takes your mind on a trip to the future so you see exactly what you want so you can get clear on the things you need to do to get there. I highly recommend you do this exercise because it’s truly life changing!
2. Clean up and organize your space. I know, I know…I sound like your mom, but it’s truly amazing what an organized workspace will do for your mental health! What you feel on the inside is a direct reflection of what you see on the outside so you want to make sure your studio or workspace gives you the creative energy you need as an artist. Make it a gorgeous space that inspires you and makes you feel good inside. If you are not naturally a gifted organizer, perhaps you could enlist the help of a friend who is. Bribe them with wine and sparkling conversation because who can say no to that?!
3. Re-connect with your customers. When you are so busy trying to do a million things, it’s easy to neglect your customers. This is not good, because without these lovely people, you don’t really have a business. Customers love to be acknowledged and appreciated so reach out and connect with them. Tell them what you’ve been up to and what you have going on in the next little while. If it makes sense, offer them a coupon that they can use online or at the next craft show you will be at. They want to hear from you! Also make a point of chatting up your regular customers at craft shows. Typically spring shows are less congested with shoppers so you have more of an opportunity to have a conversation. Ask them about their experience using your product and if they have any feedback. This information is gold so make sure you quickly write it down.
4. You know all the stuff you have been putting off for the past 6 months…DO IT! Again, sounding a bit like your mama, but you will feel amazing and your business will flourish. If you are not clear what you have been putting off, take a mental time machine back 5 months ago. Did you wish you have new signage, better hangtags, an opt-in on your website, sexy business cards, gorgeous product photos?? Yep, you know what I’m talking about! When we are busy it is so easy to put things off until ‘someday.’ To be a successful creative entrepreneur you have to get in the habit of doing. It’s one thing to have the best intentions and ideas (most of us do) but to really step up your game, do what you say you are going to do. You won’t believe the difference this will make on your business and your life.
5. Use this time of year as your test kitchen. Try out new design ideas, change up your booth display, try a new color scheme on your website, hire an intern and clear out all the stale of stock you can’t stand to look at. Part of growing your handmade business is to keep things fresh and new. If you aren’t feeling excited and passionate about what you are selling, no one else will. As Lou Holtz says, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.” It’s way easier to experiment in the springtime because you are not crazy busy and the stakes aren’t as high. If things don’t work out according to plan, you will learn something new and no one get’s hurt!
6. Connect with likeminded people. I’m a big advocate of accountability partners and mastermind groups. To get started you only need one other person or a small group of like-minded people who you trust and vibe with. Set up monthly meetings either in person or over the phone/Skype and discuss what you are working on and what you need help with. Be sure to also mention what you ‘wins’ have been so you can celebrate them together! You won’t believe the difference this will make in your business and your life.
7. Give yourself some downtime. I know when you are so passionate about your business it’s so easy to work all of the time. When work feels more like play it can be tempting to keep going late into the evenings and not take any time off during the weekend. But, it’s amazing how much more you can accomplish when you take time off to chill out once in a while. I find I relax the most when I get out of town for a few days. It doesn’t have to be far, but just a slight change in scenery can do wonders for creativity. If a weekend getaway isn’t in the cards, at least plan a day trip where you ditch any technology and focus on nature. You are you greatest asset, so it’s important you make self care a priority.
Leveraging and taking full advantage of this time of year will put you in a prime position once the holiday season eventually hits. You will be more relaxed, motivated and profitable than you ever thought possible. Success is a decision, and I hope you decide to rock this spring!
If you are interested in learning more about mindset, goal setting and living your dreams, check out Make It University. I have a free video series that goes deeper into the concepts mentioned above that I would love to share with you.