It’s crazy to think that almost a full six months have passed. SIX MONTHS! I still wouldn’t quite classify myself as a small business though. That is of course the end game but for now I would say that I’m still hovering in the hobby zone. Although I wish business was a bit steadier I’m feeling good. It takes a lot of time to build any sort of brand and I’m doing my best to make sure that I’m spending the right amount of time on the right projects.
My biggest fear getting into this (aside from wasting time and money) is a bad customer review. When you have a sheet of 100+ stickers you can’t take the time to test each one to make sure it’s properly peeling form the back. My fear was that one that wouldn’t come off would take a five star review down to only a two thus potentially tanking a fresh reputation. I’ve been lucky with a lot of five star reviews and nothing less.
For anyone looking to potentially start their own small/craft business I’ve created five quick bullet points of advice. Nothing crazy but things that I didn’t think of beforehand that I hope could be helpful to you!
1. DON’T WAIT! Seems pretty straightforward but it’s the truth. I personally have a tendency to spend a lot of time planning to start. Planning to make something happen when the truth is that I should have really just jumped in head first months ago.
2. CREATE A SYSTEM – I’m not saying I have the <i>perfect system</i>, I’m just saying you need one! I’m not at a point where I’m getting consistent orders but it seems like when I do get an order that I end up with more than one at a time. In an effort to keep myself sane I had to create a simple system. That mostly consists of not delaying on the order or tracking progress.
3. CREATE A FINANCIAL SYSTEM – This is important for many reasons. Unless my business really picks up over the course of the next four months, I’m going to end up in the red because of the initial startup costs that go with starting a business. This leads me to the next item…
4. PLAN AHEAD – This was my biggest mistake. I was so excited to start creating things that I didn’t realize I had no way of shipping these beauties. As I adapted to my new business I got in the habit of ordering packing supplies ahead of a product release. If I got ahead of myself I simply adjusted my shipping time in Etsy to plan for a mishap. Worse case, I knew I could run to the post office and pay extra to get it right!
5. BE FLEXIBLE – To me this is the second most important aside from not waiting. You can develop your systems and plan as much as you want but if you’re not willing to roll with the punches you can’t succeed. Life isn’t black and white. It’s extremely grey at times. My stickers weren’t moving very fast so I quickly had to develop new products that would help move the current ones along. I also moved into Vinyl a little faster than I was truly hoping to. That’s okay though because I’ve ended up making more money in two weeks than I did in the first three and a half months.
I’ll admit that I’m not exactly where I was hoping to be financially but I’m satisfied. I have plenty of room to grow and I’m really looking forward to the advances over the next few months. The holidays are coming soon and from what I’ve been studying that seems to be a very busy time. I assume of course it’s going to depend on your product and the market that your own.