How to Make a Living Selling What You Make

Lesson 27 of 41

Create a Production Strategy

 

How to Make a Living Selling What You Make

Lesson 27 of 41

Create a Production Strategy

 

Lesson Info

Create a Production Strategy

Hello everyone so today we're on lesson twenty one create a production strategy today's goal is to create a production strategy right for sustainable growth because I know a lot of you have run your make a living number and you've seen where it needs to be and you thought there is no way I can make that much product right like that's not even possible like forget selling that much product how I supposed to make it right that we want to do today is we want to create a production strategy so that even if you're the only one making things right now you know where you're headed in the future and you know how this can work right? So in the last lesson we identified missing opportunities in your product line we looked at where the gaps were where you were leaving money on the table and you created that plan tto add new products to bring them to market right let's take a look at where we are in this boot camp we are in session three create your plan for business success we're going to the hom...

e stretch here guys right way still got a lot to learn so we're in less than twenty one creative production strategy so here's the reality make a living selling what you make making a living selling what you make means balancing production time with all the other aspects of running your business we all dream about just spending all day in our studio right making things and it's fun and it's great and that's not the reality right now if you structure your business right, you can still get those chunks of time or you could still have that created time you can have that design time you could make things but you're going to have to do all that other stuff too, right? So are you working at capacity and still not hitting your make a living number right? So you won't feel like they're working a lot and they're not anywhere close, right? Yeah, so part of that hopefully we've started to fix by doing things like adjusting your pricing right and also by you bumping up that marketing peace, learning how to enter the market with a bang, right? Because I think there's a lot of people spending a lot of time on marketing right now and not really getting out there, but if you're working at capacity, if you're busting your fingers right to get production in and you're still not hitting your make a living number, then you have two choices one you can get help with production, right? You can bring people in, you can hire people you can outsource, you could get help in that area of your business or you could also get help with other aspects of your business right you could still focus on production and hire someone to do some of those other jobs that take away your time, right answering emails, packing orders, customer service, calling stores, whatever it is right, you get helping those areas as well. So when I start to talk about production and hiring help, a lot of people are like, well, I can't do it right like it's. The customers want me, right? They all want to buy me right? Whatever recess. Yeah, but even in a business that requires you to do the making, you can still bring in help in lots of other areas. Right? So this is michelle, our mess. I follow her on instagram she's a painter, she's, a painter, right? People literally by her and her processor. It they buy her paintings. But here, she's got someone else packing up those prints, right? She sells a lot of prints. So she's, having someone else do the printing, the packing, all of that stuff, right? So even if people by you and the exact thing that you're doing there's still room to hire help and there is probably also maurin your business that you can let go of then you realize so another example this is stephanie from space cadet creative and I worked with her space cadet yarn I believe just re branded and I've worked with her a lot and she was at a place in her business where she wanted to grow and she knew she needed help but she dies custom yarn and she kept saying to me look megan like the magic is in the dye pots for me right? Like that's the magic that so people but I I can't let go that I can't let go of that okay, what else can you let go of what are you spending your time on right? And it turned out she's like well, you know, after they're all died all the schemes of you don't have to be twisted you don't have to do that right she's like, oh wait right I don't have to do that right? So there may be certain court elements that you have two d'oh but there's probably a lot that you can let go of so before we actually start to talk about what you guys can let go of one to bring up a very special guest anna manzano is not anna, by the way, but this is an adorable product, right? So some of you might know anna she's been on a number of creative live classes in the audience but I'm so excited to bring her up today talk about her production strategy because she made that same transition that I think a lot of you guys are gonna have to come on up here wait what's the hold up one of your products of your adorable stuff way actually use you as an example in another lesson way talking we're talking about we're shells customers being great gift givers and I mentioned your example of planning the baby shower your customers are gonna win christmas should win all the time so give us a little bit of your background and tell us how you got started so high so let's see an apple is about six and a half years old previously I was working as an editorial photographer and the uh the industry was just going downhill and I picked up bartending because I wasn't getting as much work and so my creative inspiration was really waning and I needed something to kind of revitalize me and so um as I was becoming an aunty I was picking up sewing and so it just kind of naturally progress I didn't want to give my niece is anything that I could you know see a million other people's nieces wearing so I just kind of went with it and find it as we went along and you actually you didn't first make the baby stuff you were doing a lot of different things and this is when you realize that people start giving money right? The market told you this was a good friend you know, just kind of my little test market of friends and family yeah, I kind of just went with what I naturally gravitated towards is just making cute stuff just using my hands figuring out how I learned how to do a french team today okay, how can I now apply this eso lots of one ofthe things lots of like one of a kind clutches and like fabric hearings and then I pillows and things that are completely not what I've been doing for the last few years but it was cool to just kind of experiment and not put a lot of pressure on myself and just yeah, you wouldn't give you time to evolve your style of all of your technique and then kind of when you found out you really hit it out of the park I think that s so at what point did you realize you had to bring in other people for production? I think other people realized it before I did I think like honestly, I think I was in kind of a state of denial or just like no, I'm going to make this work like my name is in the brand there's no way I can possibly have you know someone and I don't know that I was necessarily against it I think I was just so focused on building it and trying to make it work that I didn't realize that it kind of wasn't or that it wasn't really sustainable to where I kind of had this like vision this imagination of where I could take it right didn't realize like oh wait I can't do all the things I kind of need someone so so yeah about look see I started in two thousand nine and three years later someone another maker who was very familiar with my work she was like I think you need some help and I think it should be me so it was awesome yeah it made it a very natural transition yeah and I think you know if you don't if you're not that lucky to have someone say like hey approached me you know what's in your friends and family if they're like I haven't seen you in a month and she's super stressed out like you got a lot of that time right now so did you start with one person? What she's full time was she part time? What how did you kind of handle that so started with one jennifer so I don't just keep calling her some of your one yeah so jennifer started officially actually yesterday made was her third year anniversary the apple of our three so yeah she started just cutting things for me so it started where I would literally hand cut every little thing and that in itself was not a very sustainable way to do things that you know only a limited amount of like wherewithal in my hands and everything and things were kind of not looking as high quality as I wanted so she she actually took a bunch of stuff home and she kind of did piecework for me as a trial and then when you call it what you guys call it her homework she would take home work home and bring the bags back and then we send her home with more stuff and then and then I do all the sewing still so it was just kind of ah what's the next step like what is the next thing that was going to give me some help and just take a little more off my plate a little less weight on my shoulders and then she started sewing and it was like she'd so the little heart and then she so like a little part in the shed so the tags and that was more it wasn't it was more at that point on her comfort level I don't know if I trust myself doing this curve was like all right, well I'll do the curve you do all this stuff that like makes me crazy and I have a million things piling up right? So it really was like what you're saying earlier about what tonight what's on my plate that's just like driving me insane that I have time for you know exactly what that was kind of where we started it was it was awesome awesome and I love that you sent her home with like the homeworks possession actually how my assistant started with me is that she didn't start by making everything she just would make like the links of the chain and these bags right she would bring me these little bags of stuff and then I would go through and make the finished piece right I think a lot of people assume that if they're gonna hire someone that person is able to make the product start to finish and that's really not true and you know you can actually like just like you did right bring her comfort level of and get her kind of on board from the ground up right awesome on dh then how did you expand the production team from there? Okay so let's see as faras the production side of things our second person it kind of it's kind of strange we uh we just started getting mohr wholesale accounts more were doing bigger shows are online sales started started teo you know consistently pick up and then now now the two of us were bogged down and we're both like our guest it's time to bring on another general very so then it's like what was my role kind of like shifted a lot of that shifted onto her and then same thing like what is it that you know that then the tags in the hearts and all those little things then shift it to someone else it was just kind of a natural who can we bring on tio then take the excess stuff off so yeah, I think uh maybe a year after she was with me we chugged along for a year and you know, what were you working out of your own space or were you working at a studio so her so she started I literally started my entire company on the kitchen table and when it was mealtime it went away onto the shelf and then, uh then when production time again it was back on the table and then it went into like a second bedroom and then I took over the entire living room and then when jennifer started with me it was in the living room still and then about maybe close to nine months were like, ok, we've got people like like clients coming to see us and pick up orders that I'm like, I really want you to come to my living room can you meet me downstairs in front or next or rite aid and it's just a really awkward and we're just you know, like we're on this big table but there's a fabric allover the place and it just got a little bit too crazy and I kind of wanted my space back too because we're thinking about that's when we're thinking about bringing on another person and it just was like the thought of a third person here is a kind of making anxious and so we went tio r first studio and that was a glorified shed really like like three hundred bucks a month which was great but we're like out in the element and it was cold and I just want to point out that the california so well for you something cold okay right well when you know you're sitting there like this is all so so he stuck it out for almost a year and then I was like all right girls let's let's move across town and then we graduated to a basement studio with lime green walls and like incense and yeah it's just kind of like what's the what's the next step I can take that still like financially within reason not like leaves us still with a little bit of room to grow that hopefully is like inspiring for everyone toe work in and now we're like in this we have a store and we have this beautiful like well lit non studio that's really great but it definitely was like six, six and half years in the making you know, building a team building something like all this stuff it wasn't like a I'm going to go get sixteen hundred square feet right away right yeah definitely you really grueling challenge as the business through so you know you mentioned that that your first employee she actually approached you is she said look like you need help and I could be the one to help you but how did you find your other team members then so one as far as production one of them started as an intern she was a fashion marketing student and marketing and merchandising and she kind of wanted more of the business and of things so you were like here so well yeah she she helped with a lot of stuff and she she was like gushing about how much you know real world experience she was getting and I was like well this is great because you're you're totally motivated and in it and then once her semester was over she really wanted to stay on with us and so at that point I was like, well you're also sowing did you want to do that and so she kind of transition to the production side and then as far as um once she was going back to school and decided not to work with us anymore then I put out a craigslist ad which is always a gamble but luckily after a few strange interviews on email exchanges I found it really good a person who is also a fashion student very driven and awesome so circles around me so what was the scariest part for you of hiring someone? Or was it like you were just working so hard that it was? Was it more of a relief than anything else? Or I think I think that I think that answer depends on, like, which higher it was interesting, yeah, because with jennifer with my first hire, I was just kind of so in the zone, like, make it work pulled a sixteen hour days that I was, I felt this kind of like, oh, there's, actually potential here and thiss could actually work, and this is a thing that I don't have to be scared about, so it was more or less like me kind of letting go of the the death grip, I had everything on and, uh, and then for everything else I think it was, I think the scariest part was maybe I wouldn't maybe use the word stereo it maybe use the word, like, difficult is like, okay, so I have everything in line with, like the state and the I r s and all that stuff do I have? Do I have systems in place to duplicate myself so that I'm not having to baby them beyond, you know, a training period and it's just just things like that and and making sure that I'm kind of staying true to the whole reason I hired these people so that I can now focus my energy on like where it needs to be going and not like oh let me just help you sew this thing real quick because that's kind of not the point of it right and so when you got to like that second hiring the third higher and you were making sure everything was all square do you work with an accountant a lawyer both yes yes all right yeah I'm a big advocate for asking the right people whether it's like pulling your network of like either people that are going through the same thing or have gone through it like hey who's your c p a you know or were talk with score like it's an invaluable like free resource yeah in the states I'm not sure if that's all right I think you think I'm not sure for which what is it the small road stands for it's a small business resource yeah they're repaired and entrepreneurs that have they work across the industries and they're like they might be retired but a lot of the strategies right? You know they know their stuff yeah so that was really really valuable working with them and just kind of just asking a bunch of people like hey what did you ask in in your interview you know how how did you structure this and what was what was the scariest part? Like exactly what you're asking me now? I was just like, I don't really know what to do and, you know, how much did you pay them and write all these things that I was just kind of this this is me creating what I wanted to be, but at the same time trying to be fair and be smart and not just do it because I think it's the right thing to do, but also really smart about it. So how do you balance your production schedule? Are you guys making things to order? Are you creating based on projections for past sales? Is it a little above what? How do you figure all that out? So we kind of we kind of come up with this little cute saying because I like a little rations and I like crime wave with this thing on the production and it's called project in course, correct. So basically we'll kind of look at we try and project as far out as possible is realistic, so we usually are looking like three to six months ahead as faras like, okay, let's block out, which weekends are for which shows we know that obviously holidays, they're going to be just knock down, drag out craziness. We see a pop for mother's day and then we'll do a promotion for a week here so what kind of block all those out? And then we'll kind of go a little more like tight on the time frame and then now that we have the retail store it's a whole other beast like that's that I'm still pressing I feel like on a daily basis so it's you know, okay, that didn't go as well as we I wanted it too, so maybe maybe we bump the inventory, the part numbers down and then maybe we focus on this one that we didn't anticipate was going to go so well, so we started we when I first brought jennifer on I was still doing some one of a kind one ofthe custom things and that just wasn't sustainable yeah andi so now we have a set like catalog that we go from way kind of we make at it says, you know, people people are trending towards this color or this style or whatever on a big thing that we did was start leaves or cutting all our design so we're no longer sitting there cutting so now we're able tio I work with another person locally it's all based in sacramento right on the grid and he laser cuts for us so that's another kind of like contracting team member that I have that I was sitting there literally for hours trying to figure out this laser cutter yeah versus here. Ryan right here's our files please cut right right and that's amazing to me right that you used to cut all of this but teo e o hours and hours and hours yeah, so but that's you know, it is a natural progression of everything so right, you know what there any I think a lot of people when they have to make those switches from like I was doing this by hand like, you know, I'm hiring a laser cutter like is that cheating? What did you ever feel like that or you were just like I cannot I cannot and jennifer in my other team like we cannot cut out anymore anchors her whenever she was right I think that's tricky because certain times I was just like, man like, I'm not staying true to the like at sea like me like you got to do it all by hand. I've got to make these blanks like I gotta search every single scene and make the teacher from scratch and I actually started I was thinking like and I'm going to do this and I'm going to be indeed brand I'm goingto d I y it I'm literally going to make every single flipping t shirt and then I was like, well I don't talk to a market that I'd have to charge one hundred forty dollars for that I don't really know how to talk to that market so no, I'm not going to do that I'm going to go and get the blanks from you know where I need to do and then we'll do the embellishment and all that stuff ourselves and so everyone's no one has ever been like you don't make the t shirts for my god yeah so that's just a mindset thing that I had to just get over right and right and I'm sure that really like what your customer values is that it made in sacramento that it yeah and whether it's cut out with a laser or your hand right really doesn't make a difference right? And they actually love it because it puts the night you know, it's just like click quality and all that stuff outweighed all of it well, but I should really slaved over this you know? It's actually yeah that's awesome. All right, so can you give us an idea of your daily schedule now that you have this team and I know it's still shifting a lot because of the retail space but where you currently spending your time all over the improving honesty? I'm still I still that's very true I am so in a transition because we do have this store now and we're it's kind of kind of depends on like what season we're in what month or in what week we're in and what it is what kind of needs my attention that's kind of the beauty of like having a tina's I could be like okay guys are we are we good here because I've got to focus on this so they're like yeah sweet get out of here like we're good you know and they kind of like they just I just feel very confident about not having teo oversee as much as I once thought I did and so as faras my daily routine I do work in the retail store a few days a week because I love hearing that firsthand feedback you know you think that we're trying to come in there to kill that are just so funny I started writing down things that they say we'll ask them interview questions and we're putting that on social media because there's just there's really funny and I just I love it it's very like it's just kind of like a breath of fresh air and grumpy old people you know so uh yeah and and all it's it's a lot of admin that's honestly that's something I should have outsourced awhile ago but that's something that I've been death grouping for awhile I was like no I have to answer every single e mail guys you finally made a hello at an apple that someone else manages so baby steps not all siphoning into my e mails more so that's the transition jennifer has started taking over managing our wholesale accounts so I've just been our first phase has been see seeing her on all the correspondent so that she knows the nuances of each one and then pretty soon we'll probably will do this through the holiday season and then probably next year shoal transition into just being their first point of contact so I'm like really excited yeah e and I think you know, a wholesale is one of those things to our people think like, oh, they all they have to talk to me right after you know, they want to talk to the person who's going to respond to the email and I answer the phone right now that's not you that's okay, sure, if it's the person who's doing it, the quick cast right, right? And I think that, you know, we're going to like a trade show are think, yeah, I think that's a great way for them to like c o she's like the person and then from there it's like okay, now we're in fully capable hands and we're continuing the relationship that way, but so that's kind of were honestly still kind of figuring on a lot of that out and so but yeah man admin to my eye yeah, so how are you budging out time for new designs if that happens that happened for you so that's kind of we're talking about this a little while owen like that's kind of the thing that is frustrating me is because we're in this transition period with like a lot of new things happening for the business just launched this thing called the greenhouse which is a space behind our studio are I'm sorry behind our store which is the children's creative studio where it's essentially a service based business out and it's essentially a whole new start up so and that's where a lot of my time has been dedicated and so as faras creating whole new designs for the product based business that has kind of taken a back seat like we're doing new variations and like where like we're doing stuff like you know this is a fun thing we did like little kids like a little infinity scarves and everything and you know we've got all kinds of things and then I think a lot of my inspiration to as faras in the store a lot of my inspiration is coming from bringing in new products that is kind of keeping me on the ball and like oh my god, you got to get your new head bands from x y v brand you know, our awesome or these stuffed animals and or, you know, just featuring other handmade artists from throughout california alongside our stuff that merchandise really well together that people can then create more of ah, like I can create more of an experience for them, and they can kind of build a gift that they really want that's just beyond my line and what I'm able to deliver right now, I think is really special that's really? Yeah, I actually have another friend who was maker and how to make her business and was really successful and do this evening open up a retail space and really re energized her business. She was like, oh, I'm so excited to design new products again now that I'm in the store and have all these other accent stuff, not saying everyone has to run out and open a retail space, but I think it's kind of interesting, like how that impacts that your your creative process and so, yeah, some and that's actually something that I have a lot of people holding me accountable to is like, so I actually go on vacation, I'm using the worst vacation because I I'm trying to get it in my brain that I actually need to take a vacation, so are sort of an open for four months now I've taken a couple of days here in there, but it's all been like working travel. So my grandma turns eighty next friday and so from tuesday to the following thursday I'm got nine days and so it's basically until then, making sure my team has everything they need for me to actually unplug maybe like an email checking a day being called to the store see how everything's going but oh my gosh, you take those because I think I'm gay I'm guessing that what's gonna happen is you're going to go everything is in iran's super smooth right? And you're going to realize how you were able to do that again in the future yeah, yeah yeah so then on top of that like, okay, vacation and then I have a massive angry that I'm a part of each month and they're like, okay, you're taking your sketchbook right? And you're actually going to use it right and draw and like if it means bringing some fabric and like because that's kind of when I started I was just kind of like teo that's a fun new design not necessarily sketching out so so fantastic well, thank you so much for coming out. I think you know everyone in the creative live audiences loved seeing how your business has evolved from come from your first courses here on creative live on I think we all learned a lot from listening to you, so thank you so much for joining us all right so what were some key takeaway is that you guys got listening to anna anything jump out at you you can't do it by yourself last number yeah reminder that you have to have your ducks in a row like checking in with I r s checking out here you know when you hire right there important yeah and I always always always tell people you anytime I talk about production anytime I talk about hiring I'm not a lawyer I'm not an accountant I'm not an expert find your local person the law's always very right talked to those people get your ducks in a row because you don't have to go back and fix things later because you really well just try this right so yeah michelle having a system in place is good for streamlining your own workflow but also when you d'oh wantto bring someone else on if you have a system you can just teach them a system headed like oh what do I do this I don't even that right exactly knowing the steps knowing that system just right makes it so much easier to bring in help right? Like working smarter not harder, right? Yes realized she doesn't need to be hands cutting everything outsource that right that are used for time being something else right exactly you know and it's one of those things two or sometimes we think we have to do this and the customer expects something else you know I have a friend who makes the score just jewelry and she saw us everything out by hand it's all this intricate piercing and people are like oh is that laser cut just like no, I kinda had my hand it's like well people keep asking you should be laser cut well, I not just laser cut it write what you know, why add more work if you don't have to write at least on some of the you know, repeatable things for sure. So all right, so what I want you guys to do now is design a production strategy that is sustainable for the long term even if you're not ready for it yet you want tohave right? These systems in place this strategy in place so that when you get to that point where suddenly you're like I've been putting in sixteen hour production days this is not sustainable you're like oh, hey, look, I have all my ducks in a row let's go find someone right? So some of the things that you have to figure out are you making repeatable designs or one of the kinds? Chances are that it even if you're doing one of a kind, you're probably gonna need something repeatable, right? You know, if you're a painter, you probably want to sell prints or some other thing that's more repeatable because it just a more consistent, repeatable revenue stream, right? And you can't bring in help specifically for those one of the kinds, and then also will you make an item and then sell it or make items to order? You know, my business is really wholesale driven, so a lot of our products don't get made until a store places in order, we keep the best sellers and stock. My production assistant is amazing at forecasting, she just intuitively knows, but I personally don't like to carry a lot of inventory. I mentioned the cia guys before, right? When I see product sitting in my studio, I don't think of product, I'm like that is money, money is just sitting there, but I can't use it, right? So we like to wait and make us much stuff to order a pse we can, because it's way more efficient for us, but we can also turn anything around really quickly, you know, if an order comes in online and I don't have it, I have all I have all the materials in my studio, if I'm home or my assistants working, we can get out the door in twenty four hours, right? You may have a longer turnaround time you may need to carry some inventory seems to figure out how that looks for you, right? And then you need to figure out how many hours a week of production will it take you to hit your make a living goal? This is the real challenge, right? And we're going to estimate this, so at least you have an idea, and then you're gonna start into intuitively find it. So and again, we're gonna add a little over it's, right? Because even me, who doesn't like to carry inventory, we always have some inventory, right? So you're never going to make exactly the amount of product that you're going to sell. You're always going to make a little more so, you know, ten to fifty percent of excess inventory, depending on your business model and it's got this retail space. Now, if your whole retail space to fill, you always have to carry more product, right? You got a lot of money. I could never do what anna does. I cannot have that much money tied up in inventory. It would make my head scream, right? So what we want to dio as we want to take your make a living number, and we want to divide that just by your average selling price per piece and think about your model, right? So even though my a d s online my average dollars for sales around one twenty most of my work is wholesale right? So when they're my a t s is a little lower, you know my average selling price for peace is probably somewhere in the one hundred dollar range those cue a little higher than my online and you're gonna take your make a living number and you divide that by your average price per piece and that gets you your total number of pieces for the per year how many pieces you have to sell to hit that number and we're going to decimate this out right? So you might have some variation but this is just a kind of an easy way to think about it to start then you're gonna take the average time it takes you to make a peace times the total number of pieces that you have to sell in the year right? And then you're going to buy that by your number of production weeks in the year think way back when we did that lesson on how much do you pay yourself an hour you figured out how many actual production weeks you had, right? It's not fifty two you're not making production fifty two weeks here even if you have an employee there not right you're gonna want to give them a break you're gonna want to give them vacation how many hours the work the law may require it so how many production weeks in the year and that's going to tell you how many production hours per week you need so that number whatever you got there how does that fit with how many hours a week you plan on working how many hours a week feel sustainable to you, right? You may start out being like yeah I can do sixty I got seventy hours a week. How long is that really gonna last right? Especially if you're making things can get hard on your body gets a hard on your family it's hard in your life plus then how many hours do you need a week for running the business marketing the sails the customer service the design time the administrative tasks and mentioned up to our eyeballs in admin right? How many hours do you have to spend on that? So then how many hours a week did that leave you for production? Is it enough is enough right? Got a hundred seventy seven hours a week production teo yeah that's a lot of hours or I have a day yeah, we could just buy more hours today, right? Yeah, pollock I had. Yeah. So what should you d'oh when the number of required production ours exceeds your personal production hours right? You've two choices and really you could combine them so you also have a third option as well, right? You can hire help or outsource production he might hire work or you might just realize right we don't have to cut these by hand I can send him to the laser cutter right or you can hire help for other areas of your business to give yourself more production time you say you're probably in any combination of both right because even if you hire help for other areas of your business they're still not thirty five hours in a day right um but so figuring out which one of those works for you and deciding what's the best fit go back to your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner we did that swat analysis we figured out where your time should be spent right for me a really good use of my time is going to a trade show right and a better use of my assistance time is being home making stuff right? So what's the best use of your time and really what makes you the money right no trade show no money, no assistant all the good stuff right? So what's driving the revenue the other thing is what energizes you and what gets your creative juices flowing you know I got your point my business where I thought I don't want to do any production I want to have my assistant to all of it right? I'll handle the sales like him on the marketing all design stuff all that when I'm not doing any production I stop designing jewelry you anna mentioned her creativity comes from right? I'm gonna get this fabric and my cut it out it was the same thing for me when I'm doing a little bit of that repetitive production stuff that's and I'm like, ooh let's do this thing let's try that thing right? I actually had to bring a little bit of production back onto my own plate so that I could get excited about designing jewelry again not all of it my assistant still there she's still doing the bulk of it, but I had to keep a few things for me so that I had something to energize me and maybe what energizes he was not production maybe it's the marketing maybe it's selling maybe it's social media what gets your creative juices flowing then? The other thing is what drains you? What do you hate doing? What are the things that make it difficult right to get worked on here's the good news, you're the boss you said what you have to do, so if you don't want to do it, you can find someone else to do it for you, right? You're the boss, you get to say it has to get done right, but you had to decide who does it so your first exercise is to make a someone else could do this list so when you're in your studio or in your office, so keep a list, right? Maybe it's a notebook, maybe it's your phone mind wasn evernote and any time you're doing a task and you think I really wish I had someone else to do this for me or someone else could be doing this if there's a better use of my time, right? That task down you're going really quickly find but there's a lot of things in your business that you could let go of right there's a lot of things that you don't have to dio, and that could free you up for doing more of the good stuff, right? So make that list and then look for some themes and group those related tasks together, because when you grow up, those really to task together, that's, how we start to create job descriptions, right? Because you probably could hire someone to, like, answer the phone and make production and call wholesale accounts and, you know, pack, order like that's and then sweep the floor and, like, get you coffee or something that's, a lot of different things for one person, we're gonna find the related tasks and group them together, so I wanted you just a quick, hot seat with someone. So who wants to come up here and talk about their stopping this christine you're making a face so I'm gonna bring you up. I know you were thinking I could see a generous so hop on up here, okay? So just kind of thinking about your business and your businesses day what are some things that you could stop doing or that someone else could dio right? Yeah, um maybe packing order pecking orders is a big one, right? Kind of love that too here's the thing you can always jump in and help you could always jump in and do it a little right. The other thing is that you can figure out what parts about it you love, right, and then kind of systematize the rest, right? So is it really like you just wanna be able to write the personal note to the customer? You can still write the personal note and then you give it to them and they pack it up. They print the label, they stick the label on, they do all the good stuff, especially because right you're working at a lower price point, so you're dealing with a higher volume, so right now you like doing the whole thing, but just keep that piece right, right the personal note and you have someone else do the rest, what else um, that's well, but what about things like you're talking about? Maybe doing like some kits to bring your dollar amount for, like, like, putting together kids like that sorting? Yeah, it was s o when I would get the stamps, I would I would get the the packed, like, putting together a product like the package eso putting it in its plastic sleeve, making sure that yeah, basically, it was putting it together. So the card we're backing with a plastic sleeve and yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely somebody else could do that. What else can you think of, uh, bring it to the post office, right? Right, right, right, right. Because especially, I live in san francisco, and I don't have a car. Oh, yeah. Oh, it's like mean for the whole box, right? Yeah. Absolutely. Getting those orders out the door. That's definitely something else that people could do. Anything else? Um, basically that's it I think, any other things that you absolutely hate in your day, I can't well, no, not really. Are you starting that? Because you say admin stuff, I suppose they're like answering emails like, hey, where's, the shipment, but oh, that is absolutely I think someone else could be doing right someone else should answer that. Hey, where's, this shipment my product didn't arrive right? I think it's because I'm just getting started, right? And right now, all right and that's what I want, you think because you're really knew so there's like, oh, I can just deal with it yeah, but when you start to amplify that number, I can just deal with it gets really complicated. Yeah, and I also think to just something like answering emails, you know, you're thinking about doing those workshops, right? So something you get like, why do I need to bring or can I cancel my reservation or all of those things and having someone to handle all of that? Yeah could be really, really big time saver and even if it's on ly five to ten hours a week to kind of do all of these things because all of this could pretty much be done by the same person, right? Yeah, you don't have a you're ordering a lot of suffering, so you don't have a ton of production, but all of this could be handled by the same person. You know that person is on ly working for you five, ten hours a week, that's five, ten hours a week that you could work on designing and marketing and doing those workshops and traveling and all of that other stuff that's really the engine that drives your business right answering emails is never the engine that drives your business I do not care everyone anyone who tells me I spent I wake up every morning I check email for an hour or two you are doing it wrong hands down you're doing it wrong okay so yeah all of these could be a job description yeah one thing I realized because I'm just starting is every time I get an order so I'll get an email for an order like oh so I guess because I'm just starting and I kind of like pack this right now and ship tomorrow no yeah don't notice I quit my cousin to be like going to the post office our dan do you have to like report for work every so it almost every day so like I also need to figure out a system to maybe ship like maybe once or twice a week only right you have a near the kind of product that absolutely there should be a system and there should be designated ship days and you should let people know right like we ship on tuesdays and fridays yeah that's yeah you want to put these systems because once it starts picking up it should get really unworldly really quickly right? Yeah people are so excited about someone ordered right? Yeah, no but yeah, so that's perfect because when you down, but you can keep making this list than is you go on to, because I think, right that's another thing that happens, a lot of these things I feel really knew a novel when you're just starting become really stressful, right? So then, once you've got these jobs, you need to figure out if you should hire an employee or outsource, right? So, first of all, do you have a consistent need for this task? Is it something that's happening weekly? Sounds like there needs to be at least weekly trips to the post office, right? And then how much control do you need over the work that gets done right with an employer and have more control with a contractor? You, they're going to have more freedom, right? So maybe that it's, like I don't care how the work gets done as long as it gets done, it looks right, right? Even though my employees is an employee, I'm super not into micromanaging, I'm like, I don't care, like the way she makes the jewelry might not be exactly the same way that I make the jewelry, but once it's made you can't tell who made it, you don't know that it was amy who well, did that, not me, right? So for me, I'm not a micromanager, but how much control do you need in the beginning, you might want an employee just because you might wantto have a little bit more control, right? You also have to figure out, are you comfortable with someone else in your space, right? Do you want to bring someone into your living room if that's where you are right now, right? And do you have the right tools or equipment? Right? If you're bringing on someone else to do production and you're also still doing production now, you need double the tools and equipment, right? You need the second sewing machine, the second torch, whatever it is, do you have the money for that? Or do you have it in place? And then you also want to find out what the laws are where your businesses based think a lot of people think I'm just gonna hire a contractor, but usually a lot of the times, even if they're working from a different space. If you're telling them exactly what needs to be done and how many hours they're working, they're probably an employee. So you wantto talk to a lawyer talked to score, talked to those people to make sure that you're following those, then once you kind of know what you need mine your network, start with the people you know who do you know that has valuable skills and is available for work and I mentioned a fellow crafter who's like hey, I think you need work my employer was a former student of mine that one day I was like whoa you could weld really well what are you doing over winter break you want a little extra cash right that was how we started I found someone in my network and chances are there's probably someone in your network too you have a friend who's between jobs who would like to earn a little extra cash right by running things to the post office maybe you know someone who's still in school who just needs a few extra hours right who's in your network if you don't know someone in your network who do you know who might link you to someone in your network right? You might know someone who knows someone start talking to people right and go through your someone else could do this list and match those tasks with people in your network right? See where things line up you may find that where you thought you were gonna hire first is not where you where you end up hiring first because you find someone your network who's so obviously suited to do this thing on your stop doing list you're like I can't not hire her right and then once you've identified someone who might be a potential fit what homework or piecework could you give them as a trial run? Right instead of bringing them on, can they cut out pieces? Can they make components? Can they pack in ship, right? Can they twist schemes of yarn? What those little trial things that they can start with? Can they manage? The post office run takes a special kind of person, right? Especially in a city, all right, and then your last exercise established a timeline for bringing in help set target dates for when you'd like to hire or outsource help for specific tasks, and they're probably going to be sooner than you think. If you want production help for the holidays, the time to hire is not november it's august, because you're not gonna have time to train somebody in november and then you're gonna be screwed, right? So think ahead of when you want to hire them, right, and then identify if you have any revenue goals or funding needs that you need to require to make that happen, is it really not possible to bring someone else in your space, right? Are you going to need to find a new spot first? Are you going to need to buy that piece of equipment, figure out what you need? And then, of course, make sure that you talk. Teo your advisors talked to the accountant, talk to the lawyer, talk to someone who knows in your area, right? So you make sure you're keeping everything above board right from the beginning. All right? So in the next lesson, we're going to create a plan for growth based on current and future revenue streams, but first, let's, take a look at your lesson twenty one homework. So I want you to establish your necessary production hours per week and determine whether you think you might need help with production or business tasks or maybe both. Right? Then I want you to make that someone else could be doing this list. All right, just keep it with you, it's going to build over time he's gonna build more quickly than you realize, right? Like off the top of your head? You're like, oh, no, it's, fine, I can do it all and as you start to grow and pick up momentum, you're like, I don't want to do this anymore. Put that on your list, right? And then mind your network for any potential employees or contractors there's someone you already know that could help you out, or to someone you know, maybe noah contractor that you can outsource to write, and then finally, your extra credit is if it won, you're ready. I want you to post on social media that you're looking for help. Who knows? You might find right, and then make sure you use that hashtag make live cells that we can join in on that conversation. That's it for this lesson, and I'll see you guys in the next one.

Class Description

"The Course is RICH in content and full of VALUE. I strongly believe this course is BETTER than 99% of the course out there." - Tajul Ghani (CreativeLive Student)


It's common for a crafter to get inspired and pour time and money into launching a creative business idea that they “just know” will be a hit only to discover that there isn’t much of a market for the business they envisioned. But it doesn’t have to be that way – there are specific actions you can take to ensure even the most creative endeavor makes money right away and doesn’t flop.

How to Make a Living Selling What You Make is your complete guide to building a thriving handmade business. Megan Auman is a maker and educator who has built a multi-faceted business around her passion for great design. Her jewelry line is sold in stores across the US and in this bootcamp she’ll teach you the recipe to her success. You'll learn how to:

  • Generate revenue from the beginning while balancing longer term growth 
  • Find the best and worst revenue streams for your products 
  • Set targets, create profitable pricing, and evaluate market demand 
  • Deepen your product line and build your brand 
  • Grow your email list and use social media for long-term growth 
  • Develop production strategies as you start creating more product 
This course includes a comprehensive workbook with exercises and activities designed to propel you through the lessons and position your business for sustainable success.

Megan will help you develop your business idea so you don’t waste time and money on projects that don’t pencil. She’ll also share insights on what to do once your business is up and running. She’ll coach you through best practices for hiring, outsourcing, and planning for the long haul. You’ll walk away confident that you can develop and stick with a business plan that won’t have you tied to a day job or pouring money into a project that doesn’t pay. How to Make a Living Selling What You Make will set you up to earn a serious income by doing what you love.

Lessons

  1. Class Introduction
  2. Define Your Big Goals: What Gets You Out of Bed?

    Find out what motivates you, so when things get tough you know what you are working towards. (And why!)

  3. Finding YOUR Ideal Number
  4. How Much Should You Pay Yourself an Hour?
  5. Who is the Ideal Customer for Your Products?
  6. What is Your Customer Willing to Pay?
  7. Pricing Your Products for Profit
  8. Where Does Your Brand Need Work?
  9. What Are The Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Products?
  10. What Makes You a Great Business Owner?
  11. What Should Your Product Be Now?
  12. Bonuses w/ Purchase
  13. Bonus w/ Purchase: Your MAL # (ideal #) in Detail

    Are you scared to move forward with your business because you are embarrassed by certain aspects of your brand?

  14. Bonus with Purchase: Testing Customer Profiles using Facebook ads
  1. Live Check In
  2. Shift Your Money Mindset
  3. How To Finance Your Business
  4. Are You Ready to Crowdfund?
  5. Analyze Business Opportunities
  6. Test the Market by Entering with a BANG
  7. Plan Your First Big Sales Event
  8. Market and Promote Your Event: How to Build Buzz
  9. Make Your Event a Success
  10. Analyze and Move Forward
  11. Bonus with Purchase: Calculating ROI
  1. Evolve Your Product Line

    Gaps in your product line mean you are leaving money on the table. Identify those missed opportunities and fill them.

  2. Create a Production Strategy
  3. Plan for Growth and Future Revenue Streams
  4. Your Big Business Vision
  5. Draft Your Daily and Monthly Action Plan
  6. Keep the Momentum Going
  7. Live Check-in - Finale
  8. Bonus with Purchase: Adjusting your MAL # with employees and contractors
  9. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Catherine Utschig
  10. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Christine Herrin
  11. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Holly Tanner Straus
  12. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Joy Jenkins
  13. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Leah Drapkin
  14. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Lisa Jones
  15. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Monica Jacquay
  16. Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Richelle

Reviews

user a03f28
 

Love the shorter and longer format to this class. It keeps me interested and I don't have to schedule a whole day at once, during the free play. Well worth the money if you pay for the class too. Megan is amazing! She really knows business, marketing and has strategies which apply to all kinds of businesses. The work book is 150 pages long and breaks everything down into small bits and teaches you to really think about all aspects of your business. Where you were, are now and best of all where you want to be and how to get there. Highly recommend any of her classes. Thank you so much Megan and Creative Live for bringing us such wonderful content!

user-e2bf69
 

This course was totally awesome!!! I cannot express enough how fantastic Megan Auman is, what a great teacher she is, and am so thankful she offered it for FREE!!! Wow!!! It was exactly where I was at, stuck and frustrated. Exactly what I needed to begin to get my business off the ground. I am currently implementing all I have learned from her. Rebranding my self, rebuilding my website, new product shots, model shots, list building, etc., etc. I am still connected with the Facebook group, and that is awesome we have that connection to continue helping each other out and using each other as a sounding board. I plan on purchasing the course as soon as I can. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this course to anyone who is struggling to get their business off the ground and going!!!

user-3f5a23
 

Thank you Megan for this opportunity. I really liked the first classes. You indicated interesting directions to think about. Even though life verifies the rest it is still worth to become smarter. Great Work! Best regards from Poland. Ewa