How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

Lesson 4 of 30

(A)lways (B)e (R)eleasing

 

How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

Lesson 4 of 30

(A)lways (B)e (R)eleasing

 

Lesson Info

(A)lways (B)e (R)eleasing

- [Megan] All right, so I want to talk about this idea of Always Be Releasing. So, what moves your business forward? So, I showed you guys this image, and like I said, we're going to look at it a lot, but this is really to drive home this point of simplification. So, you have your craft and your audience. And I like to picture this as a nice little spinning wheel that when these two things are working in tandem, this creates the momentum that drives your business forward. But this doesn't work if you aren't consistently sharing your craft with your audience. This thing can't happen if you're like, "I'm making my craft, and I'm hiding it over here in the corner, and no one ever knows about it. And I don't understand why I'm not making any money." Right? So, you have to think about always putting stuff out there. So, what holds you back from sharing with your audience? Maybe it's this thought of, "My work isn't good enough yet." Does anyone feel like that? Like, "I'm not ready. It's not ...

good enough." Yeah. I see a couple of head nods here. How about, "I don't want to bother people?" Who feels like that? I'm not sending this email because I don't want to bother people. I'm not asking my friends to share my stuff because I don't want to bother people. How about, "My audience is so small. Nobody cares anyway?" Does anyone feel like that? Like, "No one's paying attention. Why should I bother?" I definitely hear people say that. Or maybe this one, "When I do share, my audience shrinks." Who wouldn't say definitely had that like, "Oh my gosh, I just posted on Instagram and now I lost seven followers." Does anyone have that panic? So then you're like, "Do I really want to share this? Should I really share this?" So, there are these concerns that happen. So, I want you guys to share because this is really important and it's really the foundation of what we're doing here. So, what holds you back from sharing with your audience and sharing more with your audience? Yeah, we'll go Rochelle and I go, "I'm going to make all of you guys down just to make you all go." And now you guys are like, "I want to share. I want to tell you." Rochelle, go ahead. - [Rochelle] I'm put together right now, but in real life, I'm a hot mess constantly. So, that and just a feeling like it's not perfect really holds me back. - Yeah. Michelle, what about you? - [Michelle] I'm still learning my craft, and so when I see well-established artists on Instagram, I feel like, "Okay. I'm not up to par at all." - Yeah, we might give you... For anyone else who's feeling that way, I'm going to give you a homework assignment right now. Unfollow them. I'm going to give you guys permission to do that because if that's holding your business back, if you're like, "I'm not as good as XYZ," then just unfollow them. It's really simple. Hit the unfollow button, move on with your life. Look, we just solved all of your problems. I think we're done. All right, Cath? - [Cath] I'm still really figuring out what I want to do with my craft and how I want to present it. - Caitlin? - [Caitlin] I get stuck on photography and framing it just right. I feel like my... I think just perfectionism gets in my way. - Yeah. - [Female 1] I have photography written down and also time. I would like to learn some kind of auto-posting thing just to save some time and get it all automated somehow. - Denise? - [Denise] Mine is very similar. With the other people that you're following with more followers and similar aesthetics, I find myself hesitating because what someone just posted, I love their stuff, but at the same time, my stuff looks very similar to that even though you just posted that. So, obviously I didn't have time to copy you, but now I'm worried that if I post this, people are going to think, "Oh, you're just a copycat of so-and-so." You know what I mean? So, that holds me back. And then, also, I know that photography is such a big deal that I find myself it takes me so long since photography is not my jam. It takes me so long to get it looking like it needs to look to show the aesthetic of the brand that I almost just put it off because I don't have the time to make it look as good as it needs to get on there. - Yeah, and the big one. And so, we are definitely going to be talking about photography later in this class because I know it's a sticking point for people. But I'm also going to give you that same unfollow homework. - And my question was that when you said that, there's a struggle because those people inspire me. So, where do you find like, "I need the inspiration," but how do you... - So, I would say there's two things there. One is that you can unfollow some but not all, right? So, think about instead of, "I have to follow everyone," maybe just a smaller handful of people. And then the other thing is if you feel like you're like, "Oh, I have the same idea. People are going to think I copied," maybe look for some inspiration in people who are doing something a little bit different than you. So, try to follow some more accounts that aren't also making the same kinds of products so that you're drawing inspiration from other places without feeling like, "Oh, no. Someone's going to say I copied." - Yeah. - [Tanya] Over the last year, I've started doing more launching. And launching is really hard. - What part of it is hard for you? - Oh, I hate social media. And so actually doing the social media, making myself do that is hard. - And so, this is one of the things that we're going to be talking about throughout this class is that if you're like, "I hate social media." It's probably not the right way to grow your audience, right? So, we're going to talk about some other strategies that might be better suited for you. - [Female 2] Sometimes, I feel like my image is not Instagram-worthy because that's my favorite social media. And also, to your point, sometimes you feel like you spend 30, 45 minutes to getting the perfect shot, and then you get 3 likes. And you're like, "I could've been doing something during this time. I could've been making an item instead." - Right, yeah. And I do think that when you say you're saying 35, 40 minutes, is that the like, "I have to get it exactly perfect," thing. So, if it's not cropped exactly right... - Or too dark. - Yeah, so we're going to get rid of, hopefully, some of these perfectionist tendencies because they're absolutely holding your business back. Jordan? - [Jordan] Captions, actually. Because I send my stuff off to people, they send me photos back. So I always have a lot of photos, but I have a hard time being like, "What do I say about this little girl holding this bunny? 'Look, little girl holding a cute bunny.'" "Please look." - So we are definitely going to preview this but I actually want to give you a little teaser, something that I use all the time that I think is really key because I also have a ton of images all the time. And when you take these professional images, then you feel like you have to have this very market-y kind of copy. And so I live by this rule of what I call "Professional Images, Conversational Copy." So, it's like here is my great beautiful image of the hand holding the coffee, and the caption is literally like, "Happy Friday, guys. What's everybody up to?" So, right away, you're saying, "Okay, I don't have to be marketing all the time. I'm sharing my images but I'm just connecting with my audience." So, that's one of the ways that I solve that particular problem. And we can talk about more of that, but that's just like it's such a big sticking point for me of like, "Be conversational in your copy," but I wanted to address it now. We'll probably talk about it again later. Matt? - [Matt] I had a huge influx of Instagram a year ago, so it was just...and I was just posting stuff, not caring, and I was just like, "Whatever. Yeah, yeah, yeah," and every day would post something new. And then, I was like, "Cool, now I have all these followers." And now, there's this pressure of like, "Oh, god. Are they going to like this? I don't know." - Now, everybody's paying attention. - Yeah, and comparing like, "Oh, this one got this many less likes. What did I do wrong?" And like, "Oh, god." And so it's this weird trying to still cater to myself, but then I'll be like, "Well, I can't post this on Instagram because it's not on brand," or whatever. So, it makes it a little more confusing because you're like, "These external pressures." But when I didn't care, it was so much easier, so much better. - Right, and that is a really big concern, and that actually does come back to the perfectionist thing because now, suddenly, you're like, "People are watching. I better be good all the time." Sarah? - [Sarah] I've gotten pretty good at growing my Instagram account because I use one of those posting apps so I can plan it out really well. That's made it a lot easier, but I feel like I need to find another channel. I need to find another audience from another source. - Yeah, And I think that is a really great thing to talk about. And I happen to have seen Sarah's Instagram and it's beautiful. That's how I found out about you. Someone was like, "Look at Sarah's Instagram." Right, but if that's not growing fast enough or it's not growing a lot, then you might need another channel. And the other thing is when I talk about sharing and sharing often, I'm not just talking about social media. And that's one of the things that I'm going to drive on here. I feel like we've entered into this timeframe where it's like, "The only way that I can reach people is social media." Does anyone feel like that? Like that's the only way to reach your customers? So, during this class today, we're going to talk about five different audience growth strategies, and only one of them is social media. Tanya is like, "Yes." So, we're going to talk about some other things. We are also going to talk about how email is super, super important. So, when I'm talking about sharing, a big part of that is emailing more. And don't worry, we're going to have a whole segment about that, so we're going to get there. I think we have at least one share from our online audience. So, we have, "I have confidence issues with my art." We can work on those. This is just a thing of putting it out there. "I'm scared that no one likes or buys my stuff," "I worry I'm bugging people," yup. "I feel like I can't compete," and I'm hearing that, I think, from a couple of people, too. "I'm concerned that people will demand a certain product and I'll be stuck making one thing." This a legitimate concern, and it happens if you have... It's funny because this is actually a fear of success, right? So, if I'm successful and everyone wants this one thing then I never get to make anything else. And actually, we are going to address this very problem in this class. So, today, we're really focused on the audience growth strategies but tomorrow, we're going to talk about honing your craft piece. And this is something that we're going to address because it's a real concern that happens. People know me for this, they're buying it, and now I'm bored and over it. How do I move on? So, I just want to say if this is the thing that's holding you back, there are strategies to get around this, so put the product out. "I don't have an awesome story about why I make it. It feels like people won't connect with me because they can't relate." So, that's a really interesting one, right? And I think that comes from we always feel like everybody else's story is more interesting than our own. I have always thought, "I'm so jealous of those people who have 'Quit my day job' stories or..." Honey, you were, what, a scientist, right? Or you have a science background? - Yes. - And now you make jewelry? - Yes. - Yeah. I'm like, "That's so cool. That's not fair." I have, "I went to college for metalsmithing and now I'm a metalsmith." Which really is actually still cool but in my head, it's not interesting because it happened to me. And so, I think there's a lot of that and so one of those things is actually just telling your story, and tweaking your story, and figuring out what the interesting element is. Because I remember when I was in college and I would sit in business classes and we'd introduce our major and I was like, "Hi, I'm Megan. I'm a Metalsmithing major." And 20 heads would be like, "A what?" So, depending on the situation, you can make your story interesting. So, that's a really valid concern, but it's definitely something you can work on. And, "It's hard to put out content and I don't have enough followers." So, I want to address this one also right off the bat. If you have two followers, they're important. If you have two email subscribers, they're important. They're, in fact, more important because they're the first two people who said, "Hey, this person's cool. I like it." Even if it's your mom, it's still okay, right? And so, we fall into this trap where we think, "If I don't have huge follower, it doesn't matter so I'm not going to do anything." But what you're actually doing is you're doing it a service. So, if you're saying, "Well, I only have 100 people on my email list. I'm not going to email them," you're doing a disservice to those hundred people who literally said, "I like your work so much that I want it showing up in my inbox." That's what they said. Or, "I like you enough that I want you to pop up in my Instagram feed." And hopefully Instagram's algorithm actually then does that for you, right? But those people are committing to you, and so you want to be respectful of them because they're the first ones. They're your early adopters. They're the people who are going to love you for a long time. Everyone wants to be the person that discovered the band, right? "I listened to them way back when." That's your first followers, so respect that and share your content with them. All right, awesome. So, in order to succeed, you need to adopt the mindset of Always Be Releasing. And so, if you learned anything about sales ever in your life, there's this idea of ABC, Always Be Closing, which feels like a lot of work, man. I got to close the sale all the time. That's hard. I like Always Be Releasing because then it's like, "Okay, my job is not to try to convince everyone to buy all the time," because that's what Always Be Closing feels like. Instead, Always Be Releasing is, "My job is to keep putting it out there," right? My job is to put it out into the universe. My job is to send the email. My job is to the Instagram post. My job is to pin it. My job is to email my store. My job is to reach out to the press. Whatever it is. I don't have to try to convince someone to sell, I just have to keep showing up. I just have to keep release... So, what does it mean to Always Be Releasing? It means that you are constantly putting new ideas into the marketplace. And I realize that this sounds stressful, and Tanya was like, "I'm trying to launch. It's hard." So, we're going to talk about this because this doesn't mean that you have to do it forever, but you're constantly trying things. So, it's new products, new marketing angles, new photography, new blog posts, new emails. And I'm not saying that every day you have to release a new product, and a new marketing angle, and have new photography, have new blog posts, and have new emails, and pitch new angles to the press. No, no, no. I'm not saying this has to happen every day. I'm not saying that you even have to put out new products every week, but you can't be like, "Oh, crap. A year went by and I haven't released anything," and then wonder why your audience doesn't respond when you suddenly remember to send them an email. So, I also want to be clear about this. So, I think in "Make a Living Selling What You Make," I talked about my issue where people just drip out products. So, this is not a drip out product. We are still trying to get some energy and make things into an event when we're releasing, but I'm thinking maybe, I'm going to pick on Tanya for a minute, that you're thinking it's making it a little too big of a deal. So, when you say launching is hard, what do you mean by that? - I mean launching a new collection, at least five or six designs, in my case, in a number of different colors. So, there's a lot behind that. - So, what makes it hard for you? Is it just the amount of work that has to happen? - Yeah. It's a lot of photography, it's a lot of making, to begin with, and putting it up on the website, and then announcing it to the world for two or three weeks continually. - All the time. And so, I think in your case, one of the things that you might want to do to start is literally pairing back how much product you're trying to get out in any one time. That sounds immediately like an issue that's happening. And so, with Always Be Releasing, you can think in terms of smaller launches, okay? So, I'm going to maybe put out just a couple of products or maybe, in your case, it's one product that's in six colors or it's the six products but they only come in one color to start, right? So, thinking about how you can just get things out a little more quickly so that it doesn't feel like I'm doing all of this work and then nothing's happening. So, we want to get things out more often, and having this mindset is what helps you overcome perfection paralysis. You cannot wait until your product and your brand are perfect to share with your audience. And guess what? It doesn't have to be perfect. If that border of your Instagram picture is a little off one way or the other, it's not going to matter. I'm just going to look at Caitlyn when I say that. Those little details that matter to us don't matter as much to our audience. So, we are visual people, right? So, we obsess over details. Most of your audience doesn't. The other thing is that your audience hasn't seen the alternative. They haven't seen the six different compositions that you took, so they don't know that there was a choice between this one and that one. They only see the one you put out there. And it's going to be fine. It's going to be fine, okay? And I'm going to tell you guys something else too. Some of your posts are going to get more likes than others. Some of your emails are going to have better open rates than others. Some of them are going to have better click-through than others. It does not mean that you're failing, okay? It does not mean that. It is just life, okay? So, you have to let go of this, "Everything has to be better than the next thing." Matt's nodding his head back there. Because it drives you crazy. You're like, "Oh, this works," and now it's not working and it's fine. Sometimes, you're going to share something that you know is not going to get as much engagement. I actually do this. I'll put up a post and I know it's not going to be my most liked post, but it's more important to me to show up that day and remind people that I exist than it is to have it perfect. Your audience is busy. They have a lot going on and they are not thinking about you. They are not waking up every morning being like, "What piece of Caitlyn's do I want to buy today?" Wouldn't it be great if they were? But they're not. They're not thinking about that. Even if they love you, they've forgotten about you. And if you don't show up regularly, they're going to keep forgetting about you. Then two years go by and they're going to be like, "What was that girl and I liked that jewelry, but now I don't remember anything about her so I can't even Google it," and it's because you haven't been showing up. So, you need to show up even if it's not perfect. It's also a process of just a little incremental improvement. Okay, so your photography is not as great as you want it to be yet. It's fine. You put it out there and then you say, "Next week, I'm going to do one little thing that makes it a little better. Next week, I'm going to learn how to use a filter on my app," or whatever it is, right? "I'm going to get a little bit better at editing." "I'm going to call my friend who always has the right lighting and ask her what she's doing." It's just going to get a little bit better. And it's just this idea that, "Okay, I'm putting my current best out there today even though I know that tomorrow I can do a little better." That's fine. And you know what? Sometimes, tomorrow you're going to do a little worse. That's okay, too. Sometimes, it's a little rocky. That's okay. It also means just embracing every aspect of your business as a creative act. So, Jordan mentioned that she really loves marketing. I'm guessing that you think of marketing very creatively and that's why you love it. Because it's fun. - Yeah, actually, because I do feel like I get to experience this other side of creativity of myself other than sewing and designing. I love that interaction and that building a relationship and community. - Yeah, and so I like to think of everything that I'm doing as an experiment, as a creative act. I'm sending out this email today, I have no idea how it's going to land. I don't know. I know it's not perfect, but I'm going to try it and see. And if it does great and it has great click-through or great open rates, I'm going to sit down and I'm going to say, "Okay, well, why do I think that was? What worked?" And if it didn't, I'm going to be like, "Okay, well, now I know maybe that doesn't work. Let's try something a little different." So, every time things either go well or go poorly, it's not a chance to say, "I'm a failure," or "Oh, I can't do it again because I'm never going to have this success." It's just a chance to say, okay, maybe, "What worked," "What didn't," and "Can I move forward?" Now, here is the really key point, we're going to bring this back to what we started talking about which is about sharing your craft with your audience is what brings in money. It's sending the email, it's posting to Instagram. And I'm not saying that every email and every Instagram post makes you money. It's a cumulative effect. Because this is the other problem, right? We're like, "I posted once on Instagram and nobody bought anything. Instagram doesn't work." Did anyone thought that? "It doesn't work. Nobody bought something off of my post today. It's clearly a failure." Or, "That email didn't work, so email marketing is dead." Or, "I pitched one magazine and they didn't cover my work, so this does not work for me." That's not what I'm talking about. It's that consistent sharing that brings in the money. It's, "Oh, I saw through Instagram post and an email, and oh my gosh, I really do want that necklace. I need to buy it." But ultimately, you can't make money if you're not putting the work out there. And so, when you're thinking about always releasing and you're feeling that moment of hesitancy or you're spending 40 minutes trying to take the right Instagram picture, I want you to go back to those reasons that we wrote down a few minutes ago, right? So if you're, like, the fear of, "Do I press the Post button? Do I press it? Do I hit the Send button?" Then, you're like, "Okay, on my deathbed, I don't want to have worked for someone else my whole life. Send." That's what I want you guys to think about when you're thinking about Always Be Releasing. You cannot wait for people to find you. You have to bring your craft to them, and this is the other thing that we're going to really focus on throughout this class. So, how many people set up their Instagram profile or set up whatever it was and they're like, "Well, I don't have any followers," or "I don't have very many followers?" What have you done to get them? Are you just waiting for them to find you? No, doesn't work like that. As much as we want to pretend that the internet is like a magic place where if I build it they will come. I built the website, so where are all the people? I feel the dreams. Come on, guys. Does not work like that. You have to find them. You have to bring your craft to them. And so when we talk about growing your audience strategies, that's what we're going to be talking about. We're going to be talking about how you can be much more proactive in getting to your audience. So, really, this idea of Always Be Releasing looks different depending on the audience growth strategy you're using. So, we've been talking a lot about Instagram here because I think it's the default now that a lot of people think about. And it might be your audience growth strategy, and we're absolutely going to talk about how to do that. But you might realize that it's not your strategy, and so, for you, Always Be Releasing might look completely different. You might determine...and we're going to talk about these later, but you might realize that, "Oh, my work is really well suited for press," and so what Always Be Releasing looks like is pitching to press every week. Or you might realize that, "Actually, my products are a really good candidate for search. I want my stuff to show up on the top of Goole or the top of an Etsy search," and so, for you, Always Be Releasing is this process of continually honing and tweaking all of the elements of your search descriptions. And don't worry if you're like, "That just sounded like gibberish," because later on today, we are going to have an awesome guest who is a genius at search and she's a genius at...she's a jeweler, so she's a genius at talking about it like humans understand instead of robots. So, if you're like, "I don't know anything about search," don't worry. I don't know anything about search either and that's why Tiffany is coming in. So, it's going to look different depending on your strategy and that's why we're going to spend a large part of today talking about what strategy is right for you and how to execute that. But, regardless of the audience growth strategy that you're using, you have to use this idea of Always Be Releasing to push this forward. So, do you guys have any questions so far about where we're at? Denise? - So, one of the things that was on the list of Always Be Releasing, which is my first go-to, was releasing new products. And I have this growing list of products that I have a desire to produce and to develop and introduce, but there's also this fear of saturation, too many products. And you see these really great brands and they only have their key 10 products that they have. How do find the balance between...and this may be for a whole different conversation but does Always Be Releasing maybe does that not have to do with, in my case, new products? Should I just reign that in and focus on always releasing more emails and that kind of thing or... - So, that's a really great question. And I actually think there's three different things to look at here, and one is that in my experience, new products always fuel growth. So, when I sat down and looked at what caused my online sales to grow, it was constantly releasing new products because it gives your audience something to buy from you. Now, that said, if you have a lot of products and your line starts to get bigger, that becomes a problem too. Because if we give our customers too much choice, they get overwhelmed and they choose nothing. - I don't want to overwhelm wholesalers. When I get a line sheet that's 18-page. You know what I mean? - But you know what? You will not be the first person to send them an 18-page line sheet. I can promise you that. Mine was starting... Mine creeps up there pretty strongly. What's important is if your line gets bigger, you have to be the one that helps your customer make decisions. So, in the case of selling to stores, you have to be the one to say, "Okay, here's the 18-page line sheet, but here are our three bestsellers and three new releases I'm the most excited about." So, you give them some direction. The same thing with if you're selling online. "Hey, guys. Here are some things I want to highlight." I'm going to show you guys an example email I sent out that was like, "Okay, guys. Here are all the products under $100." So, that was a way where that was a week I wasn't releasing anything new, but I wanted to send something to my audience. "Here's a different way to sort through my products. I've been showing you guys a lot of really expensive stuff. Here's a few things that are under this $100 price point." So, in your case, it's going to be a mix of both, right. If you have these new product ideas, go for it. Especially because I think, in your case, they're probably very related to your core product line. You're pretty well-defined there. So, feel free to add those products, just include it as part of that strategy. Part of your releasing is going to be helping your customers navigate that bigger product line. - Organizing it? - Yeah, organizing, showing them, making recommendations. When you have a big product line, part of your role is the tastemaker, right? "Here are the things you want, here are the reasons you should buy it." Makes sense? - Yeah. - Jordan? - Mine is on paying yourself, because, obviously, taking product photos, writing a blog post, sending emails, all of those things take time. And so, if you're pricing your product on, "This is how long it takes me to make it and then I can sell it for this much," but I actually spend two hours marketing for every one hour sewing, you're like, "Oh, I'm making $5." - So, that is a really great question. And we're going to talk about pricing a little bit later in the class. But because pricing is such a special topic for me, I'm going to answer that question right now because I think it is really important. And so the best way to handle that is to think about that you have billable hours and non-billable hours. So, your billable hours are when you're producing your product. Your non-billable hours are taking the pictures, taking the marketing. So, you have to set an hourly wage that covers both of them. So, that means that if you need to make... How much do you really need to make an hour off the top of your head? - Twenty. - Okay, so if you need to make $20 an hour and you only spend a third of your time making, then you're actually going to pay yourself $60 an hour when you calculate your price. - Ouch. - Right. And that does change some things, but that's the way that that actually has to work in order to make sure you're getting paid for all of that time. Now, ideally, you want to be probably closer to a 50/50 split in terms of making and marketing. Once you can kind of get the ball rolling, that's a really good place to be in. So then, in that case, you could say, "Okay, well, half of my time is making, half of my time is marketing," then maybe you can go $40 an hour instead of the $60. So, it depends on where you're at. So, there's a little bit of wiggle room in there but that's the best way to make sure that you're covered. Other questions from you guys? I know we have a few questions from our online audience. "How often is too often to be releasing new products?" So, this is a really great question because it's this idea of drip versus launch, making an engagement. So I would say you only want to release something new about once a month because that gives you some time to build some anticipation, get people excited to that. So, if you're designing something new every day, hold off, group it together, release it about once a month. I would also try not to go longer than a couple of months without at least releasing something new, something that you can get your audience excited about. But don't be like, "Hey, guys. Today I have something new, and tomorrow I have something new, and tomorrow something new, and then I have something new the next day." Try to group it together so that you can make it a little bit exciting. But then, remember that people aren't paying attention to you all the time. So, when you release a new group of products, don't just put up one Instagram post and one email and call it a day. So, I release these new products, and then I'm going to spend two weeks leading up to it getting people excited. "Hey, guys. This is what I'm working on. This is what's coming. This is what's happening." Then I released it, now I'm going to keep talking about it. I'm going to send out another email the next week. I'm going to keep posting on Instagram. I'm going to keep reaching out to my stores. This is not a one-and-done process like, "I released it. I get to walk away." And that's why Always Be Releasing isn't just about new product, it's also about trying to photograph it in a different way. I do this all the time. I'll photograph my necklaces, and we're going to talk about this more, but I'll photograph my necklaces and if stuff sells, awesome. If they don't sell, back to the model, we shoot again. So, continuing to remind people these products are here, these products exist. Here is a different way I can present it to my audience because the first image may not have resonated with them. The second image may not resonate, the fourth image may not resonate. It takes seeing it a lot of times. And you also have to realize that if you put out 10 images or even 10 emails, maybe your audience sees half if you're lucky. So, it's really important to think about it from that perspective as well. All right, so let's take a look at our next question. "The one thing holding me back from ABR is I don't know what my focus is going to be with my line, so how do I put out a line that people will recognize as mine if it's inconsistent?" Zoe, that's a really great question. So, part of this we're going to talk about later. We're actually going to address this issue of focus, but really the best thing here is that you're going to have to pick and be a little bit selective about what you put out online. So, thinking about, "What is my focus for right now, and what can I share?" So, maybe you're doing jewelry, and painting, and making dog beds. I know, sure. Right? That seems pretty disparate. So you're like, "Hey, you know what? For the next month, even though I'm going to keep playing around with these other things, I'm just going to talk about dog beds." And guess what? If you just said, "I'm going to talk about painting," or "I'm going to talk about jewelry," that's fine. Any of those are fine. You just pick one. But we are going to talk about this idea of focus a little bit more later on in the class. All right, next question. "So, I took your 'Sell Your Products to Retailers' class because over the last year I've lost passion and interest in communicating directly to my audience through social media. How does ABR approach apply to developing wholesale accounts?" So, this is from Drew. So, this is a great question and it absolutely applies because one of the things that I have found, and I am as guilty of this as anyone, is that most people do not communicate enough with their current stores. So, when you are in a wholesale business and that's your focus, your money is not in the new accounts, it's in the re-orders. It's getting those stores to buy again. And here's what happens, your work goes into a store, and if it sells well, there's nothing there to remind them that they had your work. It just goes away. And so then they're like, "Oh, yeah. Who was that girl when we kind of liked that jewelry?" And then six months later they might stumble on you at a craft show and they're like, "Oh, yeah. You're that girl." Right? That's bad. So, with ABR, you can think about reaching out to your stores more consistently. And with wholesale, this is going to look...it's not going to be like, "Here's new product," all the time necessarily. Sometimes it's just a personal email to your stores checking in, "Hey, I sent you products six weeks ago. How's it going? Do you need anything new? Were there any questions that the audience had? Is anything not selling? Did anything sell really quickly?" So, just keeping in touch with your stores. And then, if you do have new things that you're working on, tease them out. So, this is another mistake. You guys can learn from all my mistakes. So, this is another mistake that I've made where I post so frequently on social media and so people who follow me online, they see the evolution of what I'm doing. Most of my stores are not super social media-savvy. And so, they come to a show and they're like, "What is this new thing? This is so out of left field." I'm like, "But I've been working on it for the last five months." But they don't know that. They saw what I looked like six months ago and what I look like now. And so, they come to a show and they're surprised. And then, they're so surprised that they're not ready to buy. So, you want to bring your stores along on the journey. So, that could be as simple as sending out an email, and I keep a separate email list just for my existing retailers in MailChimp. It's their own list. And so, that could be as simple as shooting out an email. That's a picture of what you're working on your bench or what you've got on your worktable. "Hey, guys. This is what I'm developing. This is when I expect to launch it. You'll get a new line sheet when that happens, but I just wanted to give you a heads up this is what's coming. Oh, and by the way, how is stuff selling? Do you need me to restock you now?" You can absolutely use this strategy for wholesale. And the best part about this, I'm going to look at Tanya again, this kind of strategy, the ABR with wholesale, means you never have to use social media ever. So, that's a really good option.

Class Description

Are you a maker in the first phase of starting a business? You have a great business idea or beautiful product to sell, but not enough time to focus on both your craft AND selling your product. Well, this class is for you. 

Considered one of the most respected crafters in the business, Megan Auman will show you how you can concurrently work on your craft, grow sales, and focus on marketing initiatives that will get customers in the door. Megan is a designer, metalsmith, educator, and entrepreneur who has built a multi-faceted business around her passion for great design and sustainable business. Her designs have been featured in Design Sponge, Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, and more. 

In this class, she will show you:
  • The who, where, and when of your business; who you should be selling to, where you should sell, and the right time to launch 
  • How to adapt your business and your product line as your business grows 
  • How to make money in the beginning stages of your business that allows you to justify spending more time on your craft
Learn the essential skills needed for having a successful craft business. There's no better time than now, so reserve your spot and turn your craft into a profitable business.

Reviews

Kristen Girard
 

Fantastic class! If you have never taken a Megan Auman class, this is the perfect one to start with. It filled in some knowledge gaps that I didn't know I had. Lots of great basic knowledge that I haven't been able to find elsewhere. Super helpful!

Maike Armstrong
 

First of all, it's so fun to learn from Megan! She is so motivating and enthusiastic – making you feel great about your business even when you are just starting out. The class is well put together, easy to follow and has simple, actionable steps to follow in order to actually move forward. I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself!

Shelby Anderson
 

Megan's class has given me such a great start and very practical how-to's for starting as a solopreneur. I've been so overwhelmed by all there is to do and all the tips, tricks, and knowledge; she was great at explaining and giving some real life and real time examples of how to step out and be great as a creative. Thank you Megan!