Starting your small business? Or maybe you're halfway into your first year and realising you know nothing about business and the world of marketing is swallowing you whole 🤣. I was and still am the later, charging full steam ahead is what I do best and googling everything I don't understand is how I teach myself along the way.
I had zero clues about business, marketing, website development, costing, all the valuable business tools 🤣. All I wanted to do was custom, crazy coloured knitwear. I really had no idea how much of my time would be spent on the other stuff. Whether you're creatively minded or business savvy, these are the three biggest business lessons I learnt in my first year of running a small handmade biz.
1. Not everyone is kind. Not everyone wants to help you.
Possibly the biggest thing you can take home today, right now, is not everyone wants to help you. There are bad people out there who make their $ from stealing other peoples ideas, their hardworking and taking advantage of their kindness. One month I was over the moon with people asking to collaborate and have my work int Shri retail shops. The next I was seeking legal action against a retail store illegally changing contract terms and another small business stealing my work and having it featured in a major fashion magazine. Stress city is an understatement, I didn't sleep for two months. I couldn't eat, I felt like I was strung out on the worst comedown of my life.
Be aware, think about what you think is best for your biz and take the opportunities that present with a grain of salt.
2. Don't lower costs because someone told you it's too expensive.
Whether handmade or manufactured through suppliers, say it with me, 'I will not lower my costs because someone says it is expensive'. These people are not your customer, accept this and move on. Realising who and who isn't your customer will eliminate any issues you have surrounding your price points.
Your first price point sets the bar for your future worth. If you start low then increase to where you want to be, people will question it. You run the risk of potential customers not seeing the worth and value in buying from you. Lastly, it shits over other makers who have nailed their price points. When you break down your costs and look at your profit margin, are you happy? Is this sustainable? Finically, mentally and physically (if like me you handmade everything yourself)?
For example, hand knitting a Chunky Cardi's takes me three full days, 7am-6pm. 99% of people will assume I get to keep the cost they pay for it (I wish this was true). Taking away costs (including paying myself super - do not forget to pay yourself super!) I make $350au for three days work. When you see another maker selling a 'handmade' cardigan for $150au it makes no sense.
3. Make free advertising your b*tch.
Marketing and advertising is expensive and time consuming. By enveloping the free avenues of these into your everyday grind can quickly become second nature.
Get in front of the camera, followers and customers love to see the person behind the brand. Making daily IG stories, IG reels, YouTube videos and tiktoks videos is FREE. Whilst boosting your social following it helps to make your biz recognisable and trustworthy. Putting your mug in front of the camera daily (four-five times) is extremely beneficial in letting your followers and customers see who you are. You're not selling your products, you're selling 'yourself' so put on a good show. By yourself I mean personality, you as a person. Please don't think you have to take you clothes off online four times a day, unless that's what you do then you do you boo (no judgement here).
I am not a biz wiz professional nor do I claim to have all the answers but I hope this helps you.