Fast Start Your Paper Goods Business
Today we are all about paper which is really exciting to me because I love the paper industry so much when I was a kid aa lot of my most favorite times were spent in card shops which there used to be aa lot more of those I think in the nineties where you could just go into a story that was just card it's and I used to hang out in those kind of places after school so today is really exciting we are going to talk about a lot of things today that have to do with owning or running starting a paper business because there are so many different directions you can go into that there is a lot more to a paper business than just stationary so we're going to talk about how you decide where you want to focus who you want to sell teo and how you can actually get started and to do that we have an amazing guest today who's going to join us patricia zapeta and she owns a business called a little hut and I am so excited that she's going to be here with us and our second segment so I'd like you to check ...
out her web site and I'm going to give you her information in just a second actually so that you can so finding her is a little bit easier but she helped me with our faster action guide today and so this is what you'll get. We put this together, and it includes olive patricia's, favorite tips for owning the paper business. So we talk about what kind of tools and supplies she recommends that you have a favorite websites where she gets her design inspiration, all sorts of good stuff. And we also have a financial tip sheet from lauren vernell. And that is fantastic. And we have a social media cheat sheet from little far media where they give us a lot of really good suggestions for how to interact on social media's around our businesses when we're not quite sure what to do. So if you're having a little bit of social media phobia, that tip sheet from little farm media will certainly help you out there. And I've also included all of my favorite resource is and this guy two things I dio while I'm working services, I recommend the clients that help make running their businesses easier. And to sort of all of my favorite favorite little tips and tricks are in this guide. So on that note this is patricia and she is going to be our guest this is her lovely had shot she looks gorgeous there and you can investigate her a little bit while you listen to be talk by visiting her various web site she's a great instagram which is patricia's opera, which is the a p a t a on dh her website is actually patricia's apa dot com so I want you to go there and check it out because I really one of the things that were going tio really talk about with her today and that I cover a lot in the exclusive audio bonus that comes with purchase is just how she created that website and I will tell you right now that there was it was a big shock to me to find out that she does her own photography when I asked her what one of her biggest expenses were, I asked her that as a lead in teo on what I assumed was going to say when she works with a vote, wouldn't you work for the photographer to get her product shots? And it turns out that she does it herself and I just felt like it was mind blowing because her work is so precise and so beautiful and it really runs the gamut and she's created brand new products which I think is really interesting and the paper world like she tells a great story about how she was really that she lives in houston, and she was really attracted to quilters because the quote market is there. So she meets with a lot of quilters and fabric designers, and she wanted to recreate that in paper, so she meet makes the's three d box is with paper cutouts in them, and then you can slide your own paper or fabric into them to make this like paper wall quell that you can change all of the time. So she's, just constantly, constantly coming up with new and fresh ways to use paper, which is why I felt like she was going to be a really good guest for us because I know some people are probably watching because they want to be make wedding invitations or wedding pat packages for brides and grooms, or some people just want to design cards. Other people may be interested in poster design and how that works, and a lot of people now are making party supplies. That sort of seems like a really segment of the paper business that has been recently revitalized with bunting and tassels and all of the different kinds of decorations that come along with parties. And so I really did feel like patricia was a great representation of somebody who really goes her own way so her her thought process can really benefit all of us no matter which direction we want to take with paper. So speaking of that direction, why paper? Why you the possibilities of paper almost endless, which is what? Which is what I had to started to say people really like paper, and you can do almost anything with it, and for the majority of our products, the cost to the consumer for paper isn't usually as high as it could be for other handmade goods. People also make a lot of their impulse purchases when they are at craft shows are regular home goods stores or boutique stores based around paper, they'll see a beautiful sheet of wrapping paper that they just want to pick up and buyer they'll see a card and buy it even if they don't need a card at that particular moment, but they'll save it for somebody else. I go to people's homes sometimes, and they'll even have little cards framed that they just loved so much that they bought it, pop it in a little frame and hang it on their wall and so papers a really good impulse buy for a lot of people, it feels really easy and comfortable and natural for customers to buy paper because they know they're going to have a use for it at some point down the road and these days where they're self publishing possibilities that exist out there you don't have tio wait to get a contract if you wanted to make a journal or to do list pad or anything else that you think fits into your vision or your your line of goods that you want a source for people the because you can now make these things yourself and sell them directly to your to your customers all by yourself which is amazing so I am I'm pretty sure that being in the paper industry is just plain magic there so many things you can do and you're really only limited by your own imagination which I think is fantastic so again I did some scientific studies here and everybody likes birthday cards and likes to have their their presents wrapped so that's two things you could do with paper right there that are going to be really popular with all of your friends and family if you are short on ideas everybody loves to get some sort of beautiful paper just for them so I have been using this website to do a little bit of research and I really liked it and it's called craft count and they rank at sea stores based on the criteria that you put in so I did this ranking for for cards in stationery and these air the top ten stores as of the day that I pulled this information which was very recently and I looked through all ten of these stores and I was astounded by the variations in the work that I saw it wasn't just cards there were framed papers they were prince there were paintings that had been printed out onto paper, there was bunting there were party hats, there were paper jewelry was in some of these shops I mean, it was just pretty much endless, which I think I hope gives you a lot of hope to know that there's so many extra things you could do there's so many little things you could dio and there's if you get really creative and invented there's a way that you could create a whole story or theme incorporating all of these various different kinds of products that tie into your brand or what you really want to create paper is just unstoppable, which which I really love so much so next we're going to get into what do you need to get started with the paper business today? So if you really wanted to have a brand new online shop up and running by the end of this weekend, what could you start to d'oh so let's talk about a couple of different things that you might need where we've got this list going here a vision a plan supplies tools encourage these are all of the things that you need right now to start your business in my opinion and they're all things that I think you can either begin to work on immediately so you can start taking action today or these are things that you can sort of put in your hopper and give some consideration while you're going about your going about your daily activities, so let's start with a vision, so for our purposes today, we're going to consider a vision to be what you want to create your vision could be how you want your business to look, what you want to make, and who you're going to sell it to your vision is how you picture your business running, working, looking, and what you picture it, providing for you and it's also, who you're going to connect with, so threw out everything that we talked about today, we really want to be keeping your customer in mind, and this customer is going to be individual to you into what you make, but we're going to try tio build a lens or a filter, that we look at our business through this lens or this filter, so that the decisions that we decide to make when we're starting our business really come back. Tio, is this what my customer wants to see? Is this what my customers going to buy? Then we're going to have a kind of a backup lands behind that, which says is this what I you know? Is this what I what I want to make? Is this what I want to be putting out into the world? Because you want to make sure that what you want to make and what you want to put out into the world matches up with somebody who's going to want to buy it, you need to be able to find that customer who's going to drive with what you want to put out into the world, and once you get all of these ingredients together in your soup pot, you could make a delicious business soup, which sounds, sounds yummy. So your vision is all of those things, that's, all of the things that you want to think about, all the things that you want to create, and it can change anytime it's personal, it belongs to you, so you can take it in any direction that you want, tio, but this is just sort of, like how you picture things going for you, and the reason that this vision is actually helpful is because you want tio be able to move forward, you want to be able to take action, so you need to have some idea of what you're going to dio and just saying, I'd like to have a really successful stationary line, or I'd like tio have a paper business, isn't isn't going to cut it when you sit down to do the work, because that doesn't tell you what you need to do next, and since you're just starting your business, I want you to really pay attention to how you build in action steps into how you keep yourself motivated as time goes on and it starts now, try to build and create the very best habits you can around your business, right from the beginning, which is something a lot of us don't think about doing, because we're just like flailing around in this new business, not sure of what we're doing so it's really difficult to even think about what those habits might be, or what your day is going to look like, or how you're going to structure all of this, because you're just reacting to everything. So I want you to start out your business by reacting less and just deciding what you want to do more so instead of getting a bunch of e mails where people say, oh, do you make a valentine's day card that says x y and z, I want you to be able to already know what your cards they're going to say so that you can write back to these people right away and say, don't have a card that says that that I have one that says thiss instead of trying, tio respond to every kind of request that you might get unless you're unless your vision is based around a custom work, you know, you need to sell what you have already made or what you're able to make without doing without doing your your same workflow over and over and over again to meet the needs of one individual person. So I want you to think about the business habits that you're going to start building as you start your business and try to keep those in check as much as possible. I have sort of a new little personal theme that I said I was going to use during two thousand fourteen, but I didn't do a very good job of it, frankly, so I'm going to try again in two thousand fifteen, but that is that I want to start the way that I want to end, so if I want to end really strong, if I want to end really successful, if I want to end feeling very powerful, if I went toe end having met my goals, I want to start with that in mind, and I want to start out with those same values and principles that I think I'm going to build as a part of my business or a project I'm working on gets bigger and bigger, like, why not just start out feeling like it's already? Really beggar it's already where I've gotten too, because that will help you manage the hole in between time from the start to when you decide to do something else. So that is a vision in a nutshell, are there? Is there any feedback from online about that? Well, we got a really great global audience, as we always do on creative life. Sash is joining us from helsinki, finland, natalee's, nbc she's joining us, joining us from dawson creek. I thought I was a soap opera actually think it is a male is saying I love paper cutting in collage and she's a great follower of your block. Carrie, she said, is absolutely awesome by the way she follows your lines. Thank you for that. Hi, honey, that should be hi, honey, I'm home, I think, she says. I love making mixed media cards, paper and fabric it's all about a medium where people can connect and reflect in a fast paced digital world for their very excited to be learning to david. Yes, we want to hear what your challenges are with starting your business, please share those in the chat rooms we'd love to know what you need despite your paper goods business today, mixed media is another really popular way to go with paper that I think often doesn't get put in the in the paper category, people sort of see that as artwork, and then I think there's kind of a natural division and a lot of people's minds between, like what is paper and they just lump stationery, and then what is art? And that would be anything that you would like glue are put on a canvas or on a board. So I think that mixed media looking at it through the lens of paper is really interesting because some of the most popular types of products that have come out in the past few years have been built on mixed media artwork in people incorporating bits of ephemera or scrapbook paper, whatever it is into their paintings into there, journals are journaling artists, card decks. All of those are great examples of the power of paper and just what you can, what you can make with that when you decide that that's the direction you're headed in now, we got some questions coming in carrying, so I think these will help us in terms of framing the course today. Somebody's asking, are we going to talk about pricing of cards and eyes that something's going to covering to explain how to I should get your product priced for the right market? We can definitely talk about that a little bit with patricia why don't we ask her how she prices for products when she comes on board? That's absolutely great and people are also asking things like pay powell and shipping and things like that of those things that patricia can can handle are we going to stay away from that? We could talk to patricia about that, but what? What are the papal questions was basically and that day is asking very basic question do you recommend using merchant services like paypal? I personally use merchant services like paypal and so I do recommend them when I am taking money on the spot out at a book signing or at a fair or anything like that I use a square on my phone or on my ipad, which is how I would run a credit card right from where I'm standing and where the city I live in portland, oregon. Actually, a lot of the local businesses are run that way to they don't have cash registers anymore, they just haven't ipad on a stand and they use a square to take their money so that's one merchant service that I use and then I also when I sell products or programs directly from my web site, I use paypal and I like it a lot it doesn't always feel ready to pay the fees, of course, but uh they make they make my bookkeeping really simple, which I appreciate and there is a website I might get this wrong, but if somebody googles around to maybe somebody in the chat can find the exact website if I don't say it correctly or they can double check this but it's called paypal fee calculator or something along those lines, and so I use this tool a lot. In fact, I'm really surprised I can't remember exactly what it's called, but I use this when I'm determining my own prices, and even though I sell very different things than you, then you d'oh if I know that I want to make ten dollars off the sale of something I used the papal fee calculator and has two different windows that you can use, and this is one of my favorite resource is for crafters and makers and small business people actually, you can put in that you want to make ten dollars, and then the paper healthy calculator will tell you how much you need to charge or you can tell you can do it the opposite way and you can say I'm going to charge ten dollars and the papal fee calculator will say, ok, then you're going to make eight dollars in seventy three cents or whatever it is, so it could really help you when you're forecasting your numbers when you're trying to figure out you're budgeting all of those kinds of things are made a lot easier when you have a tool like that and I sort of access it and use it all the time particularly when I'm working with a client went on one on their pricing strategies or their income goals for the year we'll use a service like that if they're using paypal or any kind of service that takes a percentage of the papal fee calculator on ly detects what papal takes s o the percentage could be different if you're using and another merchant services but you can use a calculator to figure that out and it's pretty handy way to decide what your pricing formulas that are going to be also there's some other tricks for people that I can share with you as your business grows and you start to take in more money on a monthly basis if you have for example in etc shop and you've connected paypal to that once your business grows to a certain a dollar amount of month that's become dependable or reliable for you and you know for example that you always bring in over three thousand dollars a month from from your various shops that all funnel through a paypal account you can sign up for discounted rates through paypal if you bring in a certain amount of money so if they're taking making I'm just making these numbers up but if they're taking forty percent of what you make, which of course, is ridiculous that's not really it's, just a really high number, and you're bringing in three thousand dollars a month, you can apply and show that you consistently bring in this dollar amount, and you can apply tohave that rate reduced down to, like thirty percent so there's ways to save money by working directly with paypal once your business starts doing a certain volume of work. So this isn't this is a good habit to build, which is sort of what we were talking about in the beginning of the course is occasionally building in the time to check in on all of your resource is if you were consistently using a particular online marketplace to sell your goods. If you are consistently using something like paypal to take your credit card payments, set aside some counts sometime in your calendar each month to just do some checking and follow up and take the temperature sort of of these products and services online, because you never know when they're introducing new programs. When somebody has figured out a tipper trick that you might be able to apply to your business, sometimes you might want to figure out if you're selling off your website, how to make those papal buttons customized so that it doesn't seem like so your business might seymour feel more legitimate to you or to a potential customer when they come to your web site instead of seeing the long oval pain our shopping heart graphic flashing there's ways that you can customize those buttons to match your own branding so set aside some time each month to really look at the tools that you're using from the internet to see if there's been any improvements in place that you could apply if there's been any programs introduced that are a good match for you or if there's any tips or tricks that people have around the functionality or any sort of hacks for using those programs that you would find helpful because there's a lot of information out there that makes these service is not only easier to use but better for you to use if you really dig down into it I think that I had been in business for maybe four years before I learned about the paypal discount for any sort of monthly volume and that was a really great thing to know so it's it's really beneficial to pay attention to the services use and how they impact your business as as time goes goes on but if you get in the habit of doing that now setting that time aside you'll be in a much better position it will not take you four years to save some fees like it did me so it's a pretty good way to go testing now we got some other question about what we're going to cover in this course, jennifer dotson is asking, are we going to talk about local printing? Any advice from bookbinding? Is that something within two covers right now? I'm going to be talking about but finding which I think book binding and making books would sort of be a different course in general, away from the paper goods business on dh as faras local printing goes there's not a lot of advice I can give you without knowing aa lot about what you make or what your local printing options are, but we do have a few general printing questions that we're going to ask patricia, I think will benefit our global audience versus getting very specific into printing questions because the variances air wild on your computer what kind of monitor you have, what kind paper you're using there's there's too many variables for us to go really deep into printing, but we do have some tips around patching your work to make things like printing easier, so we'll do our best to get some good general knowledge that benefits everybody out there and I'm sorry we can't be more specific about that, but there's just too many details to be able to do that I've got some great replies from people when they ask, you know what? What do you need to stop from a business today, gitano saying I want to create custom cards that create a positive emotional response to the recipient I've had people cry when they open a car door given them and I really want maple make people feel good that sounds great but there's a really great goal amon ideas saying, well, she needs time to start a business today so she's researching to see what she needs to be unique to have a unique business plan and then the guts to follow through that's the courage salute lee and creatively carol is saying my challenges structuring structure during my day now on that day saying everything I do buy right now is by word of mouth and she says she has a thriving whether you photography business and art business on she's doing is a lot of mixed media in both paper on digital yes, word of mouth is a really great way to go, and we're going to talk a little bit about this class about how you can train to forecast or how you can keep up with trends that are happening and your particular nish or area focus in the paper business and there's a lot of interesting in good stuff going on four weddings and that word of mouth is a great way to you really get some momentum going around your paper business because it's easier to share that product with people on a it's more economical for you to try to share what you're making with the world or give out samples or entice people with your paper products, because the that overhead investment oftentimes isn't as heavier weight is, if you were, you know, if you're a painter, you just can't say, like, here, take this painting, you know, because that wouldn't be economical. But so paper, really there's. Just a lot of freedom there, which I love.