Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 7: eCommerce Platforms

Well, here we are in week 7 already! If you’ve been following along, we have talked about whether or not you can (or want to!) sell your craft, if you DO sell, how to price your products so that you are making a profit, and business-y stuff like how to come up with a name, how to track your expenses , and how to get paid.  Last week, we moved into the part where you start to show up online, talking about social media (and how to find a flock of raving fans!). 

At this point, you’re all set up and ready to go for it. Just one thing...where are you selling from? If you’re gonna be a real-deal handmade business owner...well...you’ve gotta have a place to sell your goods from!

 There is a whole sea of ecommerce platforms for you to choose from, and if you took the time to look into every single one of them...you might run screaming in the other direction.

For the sake of ease, I’m going to share with you the options that are most popular with...

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Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 6: Social Media

We’re in week 6 of bootcamp, and hopefully you’ve picked up a few nuggets of wisdom about how you can get the nuts and bolts of your business set up. To review, we’ve covered how to decide if you can sell, pricing your products, naming your business, tracking your money, and accepting payments. 

Now, let's talk about stirring up some excitement online!

Social media is a great way to get some quick and easy awareness of your business. E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y and their mother (literally) is on at least one social media platform, and chances are they have seen and purchased something after they saw a post.

The “Big 3” social media platforms that have the most users are:

  1. Facebook, with 2.6 billion monthly active users

  2. YouTube, with over 2 billion monthly active users

  3. Instagram, with over 1 billion active monthly users

I’d be willing to bet that you have an account on at least ONE of these platforms, likely 2 or all 3. On each of these...

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Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 5: How to Get Paid

Woohoo, now you’re really rolling! You’ve got your product and pricing set, you’ve created a name and a legit setup for your business structure, and you know how to track your budget.

So now...let's talk about how you get PAID!

First things first: you should have a separate business checking account set up to keep your money separate from your business’ money.

I know, I know, it sounds strange...but you and your business ARE separate entities, even if you are the solopreneur running it. 

 

Trust me, separating out your funds now will save you LOADS of time and headache down the road. Checking accounts are most often free, and it will make your expense tracking SO MUCH EASIER if you are purchasing from and depositing into a completely separate account.

Now that we have covered WHERE to collect your money, let’s talk about HOW you collect it. 

If you are selling on Etsy or another established marketplace, this is fairly easy. All you have...

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Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 4: Tracking Your Money

Lets face it: you are in business to make money! You make and sell your awesome goodies to make money, which in turn allows you to buy more materials, pay yourself for your valuable time, and more MORE awesome things to sell. 

As a handmade business owner, I can honestly say that one of the most difficult things for me is keeping accurate track of my money. I’m not a numbers person, I don’t find accounting particularly easy, and I really really don’t like when it comes to bookkeeping time. I do, however, understand that keeping track of my money is vitally important to my business...so while I’m no accounting pro, I do take the time to carefully track where my business’ money comes from and where it goes.

There are two pretty basic categories to track here: expense and income. 

(There’s a third category called sales tax, and I’ll get to that at the end).

Expense is the money your business spends.

Income is the money your business...

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Tips for Choosing A Business Name - Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 3

Your business name should be the second most recognizable thing about your business, only behind your art. It should be broad enough that it can allow you space to grow and pivot, but distinctive enough that it can be a strong representation of a well-defined brand. I know it can be a tough decision, so here are my tips for choosing a business name.

Some questions to ask yourself when choosing a name for your business include:

  1. Are there any other businesses that have the same name, and if so, are they in your niche?
  2. Are there any products otherwise copyrighted/trademarked businesses that use this name?
  3. Is the name easy to read/pronounce?
  4. Are there other words or names that are easily confused with this name?
  5. Are the domain name and social media handles available for this name? (i.e., can you get a Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest page with that business name along with a “yourname.com” web address?)
  6. Can you shorten it to initials without any unfortunate acronyms ...
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Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 2: Pricing for Profit

Ok, at this point let's say you’ve decided that YES, you ARE going to sell your craft. 

AWESOME!

I am a pretty big fan of surveying your audience for opinion when it comes to habit, style, use, etc, but there’s one question that I can’t STAND to see:

“What do you think I can charge for this?”

It sends chills up my spine just reading it.

Why?

Well, to be perfectly honest, it really doesn’t matter what someone *thinks* you should or could charge for something. Thoughts and feelings have no place in your pricing strategy if you are indeed running a business. One of the biggest mistakes I see craft business owners make is using their materials cost as their retail price, and this is a pretty quick way to get into a financial hole. 

If you are selling as a hobbyist, you can price just to cover your materials and call it a day...but if you want this to be a revenue stream for you, you are going to have to become intimately aware of your...

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Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp Week 1: Can I Sell My Craft?

Tell me if any of these sound familiar:

“You should totally sell these!”  

“I LOVE your necklace! Wait..you MADE it???!!!”

“You should open an Etsy shop!”

“I bought something like that at a craft show…”

 

As a crafter, one of the most common struggles occurs when the urge (or suggestion) arises to sell your work. That little seed of an idea, once planted, can quickly take root in your artistic brain and grow wild and strong with potential (and doubt!).

 

There’s an inner dialogue...well, more of an inner ramble...that sounds something like this:

 

“ohh...I SHOULD totally sell these! 

I can’t believe she likes my (insert name of your art here) enough to buy it. 

Yup, I’m going into business! 

Wait...maybe she just said that because she was being nice. 

Would anyone even buy this? 

I don’t think anyone would buy this. 

No one is gonna buy...

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Announcing Bloom Business Basics Bootcamp

Chances are, you’ve had at least *some* extra time in these past few weeks to think about what having a handmade business means. Tell me if any of these describe you:

I craft for fun, and people have told me I should sell!

I have sold some of my crafts, but I wouldn’t really call it a *business*

I have been dabbling: I have a place online to sell (Facebook/Etsy/some other place) but I really don’t know how to make it a real deal business

I have had a handmade business for some time now, BUT the bulk of my sales are from craft shows. Selling online is a whole new world!

I’ve got it all nailed down: I sell at shows, I’ve got a solid web presence, and now I’m just looking for ways to bump up traffic and sales

Here’s the really interesting thing: no matter how “new” or “old” you are at this...IT IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DEAL NOW! We are playing a new game in a new world, my friend. Nothing will ever be the same after this,...

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Self-Care for Handmade Sellers: What does that even MEAN?

covid 19 selling online Apr 14, 2020

To say that this is a strange time in history would be a GRAND understatement. It seems that in the mere blink of an eye, the world as we know it came to a screeching halt. I am writing this from Pittsburgh, PA, where we have been sheltering in place since March 16 with a *tentative* end date of April 30. 

 

If you are anything like me, you have been cycling through phases of fear, anger, denial, overwhelm, panic, relief, acceptance, and probably a few other feelings that can’t really be described (because this has never happened in our lifetimes). 

 

As the owner of a handmade or boutique business, your in-person sales likely got the guillotine as soon as the stay at home orders started being put in place. There were some gray areas in the beginning, but with the lightning fast spread of this virus, the vast majority of small business owners temporarily shuttered to keep their customers, communities, and families safe.

 

For some people, this time has...

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How to Set Up a Virtual Craft Fair

It looks like the 2020 spring art and craft show season has been cancelled…

...or HAS it?

If you are anything like me, you came into 2020 with a feeling of “yaaaassss….THIS is MY year! I am full of ideas and creativity and hope!”.

It felt GOOD. It felt RIGHT. It felt PROMISING.

Then, the world just kinda went ahead and fell apart. If ever there was a time to be in the soap business, now is it. This new coronavirus is spreading faster than wildfire and is twice as scary. For businesses like ours, it would be easy to sit back and say “well, that just about does it. I’m done.”

Let me be the first to say: this is NOT the end, my friend. Oh, no. This is the BEGINNING: the beginning of a new era. The beginning of a new world. The beginning of the new normal (I know...buzzword alert). 

It’s time to take your work, bust right through those fears, and get your business rolling online. If ever there was a time for you to get online, this...

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