Friday, August 20, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: 10 Dos and Don'ts For Running Your Online Craft Business

This week I'm going to go over a few things I wish I'd known or thought through when I first started selling online.

10. Don't jump in without giving it some thought.  Do you want this to be a full-time business, a means to support your crafty hobby, or something in between?  What kind of time and money do you have to invest?  What marketplace seems to be the best fit for your style of work?  Do answer these questions and do the research.

 9. Don't think you can set up shop and sales will automatically start rolling in.  Unless you have a highly original or trendy product, it's not likely to happen.  Do learn about search engine optimization, product photography, tagging, effective description and policy writing, etc.

8. Don't join Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, Blogger, StumbleUpon, Squidoo, and Digg all at once.  I'm on all of these sites but I don't spend much time on some of them because there are only so many hours in a day.  I get the best results from the ones I spend time on and enjoy.  Try one thing at a time and see what works best for you.  Do make sure you haven't overextended yourself or you won't have time to craft.

7.  Don't be afraid to ask for feedback.  Sure, your friends and/or family might think what you do is great.  That doesn't mean fresh eyes can't see ways to make your shop better.  Do make sure you get a critique from your online crafting community once you've set up shop.

6. Don't take every piece of advice you get.  Harsh, blunt advice can sometimes be the most helpful, but that's not always the case.  Sometimes the advice you get isn't what's best for you and your shop.  Do take what you can use and leave the rest.

5. Don't sell yourself short.  Learn how to price your work and make sure you can live with the profit that results.  If you're paying renewing fees or monthly subscription fees, do work them into your pricing so you don't chew away at profit if the item sits for a while.

4. Don't let promoting steal your joy.  If you can, use sites like Blogger, Tumblr, or HootSuite to schedule posts in advance.  A little bit of forethought can save you time in the long run.  Do try to find ways to promote that save you time and don't cost more than your budget allows.

3. Don't let your time get sucked away by unimportant things.  You may enjoy the socializing, but hanging out on crafting community forums for hours at a time isn't considered working (unless you're researching like mentioned in #9 and #10.)  Do use that time to work on your shop instead.

2. Don't think you're done.  You're never done!  Your pictures can almost always be improved.  Because Google algorithms change, your SEO will need tweaks.  You may find another venue or setting up your own site is necessary for you to grow.  Do understand that even successful businesses strive to be better than the year before by changing, tweaking, and (hopefully) growing.

1. Don't give up.  If you love your craft, don't quit trying to sell it even if it takes a while to get your business off the ground.  Do refer back to #2 during the slow times and think about what you can do to improve.  Stay motivated!

Do you have any tips for someone new to online selling?  Leave them in the comments!

Until next time,