I have a PSA for you if you plan on taking your handmade business to Amazon Handmade.
Prepare yourself in advance - actually, PROTECT yourself in advance from professional thieves. How? By understanding Amazon's return policy - which is pretty much that customers can return anything at anytime, for any reason.
If you sell single-use products, like myself, you are especially vulnerable to professional thieves. You may think I'm exaggerating, but trust me - they exist and Amazon does not care about your small handmade business and the effort and costs you will incur as a handmade seller.
But don't lose hope! There is one important action that you need to take with ALL of your Amazon Handmade listings - and that is to require customization in some form or fashion, which makes your item non-returnable and non-refundable in the instances where the client simply wants to buy your item, use it, and return it.
Here's the language that Amazon uses on their website:
Raise your hand if you’ve ever stopped your grind long enough to think about what’s actually working?
It’s tough when you’re in the midst of everything biz related to stop and ask a few questions, but there have been three questions that changed my handmade business - and made me more profitable than ever before IN SPITE of a pandemic.
Where are my leads ACTUALLY coming from?
For me, it’s Pinterest. And yes, I have thousands of pins, but over 90% are MY product pins. And I paused my pinning grind to focus on the two types of content Pinterest is actually rewarding and pushing out to pinners: story pins and video pins. The result? Today it’s 448k monthly viewers and almost 800 potential customers heading to my website every week- from PINTEREST.
Am I actually making money?
The biggest punch in the face came in early 2020, pre-Covid. I knew something was wrong - my sales were going up, my revenue was increasing - but the cash in my bank...
Have you ever struggled with what to pay yourself?
This has been a constant battle for me since I started my business. I had heard all of the stories that most businesses weren't profitable in their first few months or even for a couple of years. So I didn't mind not taking a salary because I felt the tax benefits were LIKE getting paid and I invested every dollar I made into building my company.
HOWEVER, I recently began taking a harder look at what it would take for me to quit teaching and work for myself full-time. There's a lot of early mornings, late nights, and low energy days when it comes to my family and I want to fix that ASAP.
Here's a couple of problems with this approach that I wished I had fixed sooner:
1. My pay should have been included in my expenses. Period.
2. My pricing should include my pay. Period.
There are a couple of books that address this, and one that I recommend is Profit First. But because I sell a variety of items at a variety of price points, it was...
Can you imagine the emojis and the perfect picture to go with this caption:
"It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely." - Albert Einstein
I wrote about feeling lonely on Friday on my Instagram page, and I thought you might like to read my thoughts here if you missed it. I am 100% confident that you might feel the same way.
Loneliness as you innovate and build something new is not a new phenomenon. (See Al's quote above!)
Do you ever feel lonely?
Not because of the virus - and not because you are PHYSICALLY alone. But because you feel like no one understands why you work so hard for so little. And maybe sometimes you wonder the same thing, if it’s all worth it?
I know that feeling. And if your work, your side hustle, your labor of love brings you tremendous joy and hope, then I want to encourage you to keep going.
How? Well, try these 3 actions I took that made all of the difference in the world to help me push through the times I felt stuck:
1. Find your...
Hi there, my friend! I think about you all of the time - and it's mainly because I think we have a lot in common. I'm constantly considering new ideas and testing strategies that I then think, wow, you could probably benefit from this, too!
Here's what I've got for you today: I dropped a sign off yesterday to my friend Andi, a realtor, and I asked her how her social media was going. I offered to help - and she laughed and said she could use all the help she could get because she didn't know what to post.
I think you and I are a few steps ahead of Andi if you've downloaded my branded captions worksheet - and familiarized yourself with the concept of "content categories" or "content buckets" I explained that concept to her and then I realized, there are also four "CONTENT FILTERS" that you can use to determine what to post.
The four filters are: Like, Know, Trust, and Sell.
Here's the brief breakdown:
Whatever content category you are focusing on...
If you don't follow me on Instagram, I wanted to make sure I shared this message of hope and purpose with you:
When this is all over, what do you want to say about yourself? How will you lead your family, your company, and your mind through these challenges?
Consider this: whether or not you have fear of any kind doesn’t change the fact that we are all being afforded a little extra time to allow our ingenuities to reveal themselves.
For instance: did you hear about the guys in Italy that created life saving medical parts? Of course, their $2-$3 replacements of the $10,000 part could now make them the target of a lawsuit but wow, what a way to make the news!!!
Maybe you’re not going to create a life-saving medical part replacement BUT there are innovations within your business awaiting discovery by you.
Most entrepreneurs, by nature, are problem-solvers. That’s how most of us stay in business.
So tell me: what’s your business and what problem(s) do...
What role does intuition, the formal name for "gut instinct," play in your business?
Although I do not believe I should be driven ONLY by my feelings, I do believe that following my gut instinct is a solid strategy. Why? Because to be successful in business requires one main skill: the ability to figure out solutions and solve problems. We must innovate and build upon our ideas.
As we develop a solution for our clients, and proactively continue to do so, more opportunities to do the same will offer themselves up to us. In the book, "Big Magic," Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the gift of inspiration - and the dangers of ignoring it, as that inspiration might move on to inspire someone else.
I will give you a quick illustration from my own experience: when I started making collages, I purchased the letters from a local craft store. It wasn't long before I thought, wouldn't it be great if I could make these myself? And then I could make ANYTHING - and sell it to others, too! Any...
I think this is question we have all asked ourselves. I'd like to share why I choose to post only Monday-Friday on Facebook and Instagram.
When I first started posting on social media, I posted pictures of my collages three times a day. It was a fairly effective strategy but it was STRESSFUL and I made myself feel bad when I didn't post as much.
About a year ago, I joined a social media group that helped me understand how to connect better on a personal level. I started posting 1x/day, 7 days a week.
That, too, was stressful and took me away from the main part of my business: making collages.
After partnering up with an acquaintance from my social media group, we tracked our "analytics" (aka profile visits, very simple) from IG for a few weeks. What I found: traffic dropped drastically on the weekend.
What I decided: if everyone else is out living their best life on the weekend, I should be, too!!
My branded captions strategy has played a big role in WHAT I post on...
I'm a teacher first, not a business person. I'm also more into language arts than math but even I could tell something was wrong with my bank account.
My sales continued to double. My revenues were up like crazy on every platform I sell - but my bank account remained the same. It's like the money was dissolving into the digital universe!
What I realized felt like a punch in the gut: I was not profitable. Every sale that came in barely covered the expense to make the item and ship it. I had been working essentially for free since, well - the beginning of my business.
To put it even more bluntly, at my current prices, I could sell ZERO wooden cutouts in 2020 and possible show a greater profit at the end of the year. OUCH!!!
Just thinking about it makes me cringe. It was a finally a no-brainer to raise my prices.
So, because i love sharing my failures and my successes with you, I want to share the TWO revelations I've had when it comes to raising prices.
The first sign:
You get so busy...