How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

Lesson 10 of 30

Student Examples: Personal Focus Group

 

How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

Lesson 10 of 30

Student Examples: Personal Focus Group

 

Lesson Info

Student Examples: Personal Focus Group

- [Megan] We are going to do some Hot Seats. And unbeknownst to our group, we did this exercise for a couple of people, our Personal Focus Group exercise, where we actually took your product and asked people here at CreativeLive what they thought of it and to see if we could get them to describe it. You guys are looking so nervous. It's all good, it's all positive. Jordan, this is you, right? So, remember, what we're doing with this exercise is we are looking to see if there is enough consistency to get us for Search or if there is enough of that such a unique idea, it's so clever, it's so interesting, whatever it is that sort of leads us to think, "Okay, press is my strategy." And if not, then we're back to shows, stores or visual content creation. So, let's see what people had to say. So, right off the bat, I'm not seeing a ton of really clear descriptors. Unless I'm missing something, you guys can all help me out and look. But it seems like a pretty well across the board. I'm seeing...

a few words here or there. But interestingly enough, l don't even see the word "bunny" popping up a lot, which is funny because that's what it is. And so we're seeing a handful things, but we're not really seeing anything with a lot of consistency. And we're also not seeing anything that really points this towards press. So just looking at this range, for you, you're probably talking about visual content creation. Does that track with what you were thinking? - [Woman] Yes. Oh yeah, actually. - Perfect. And so that's really, literally, how this exercise goes. So we did a couple more. So now we have Tanya's in here. And you have a couple of descriptors on there. So, let's see what people said about yours. Let's see. A lot of words. And I even saw these in advance and I'm still like "wh-ooh." So, we are seeing a couple of consistent things here. We are seeing teardrop happen a lot, we're seeing chandelier happen more than once. So, based off of this, I think you do have some potential for Search Optimization. What were you thinking was probably your best direction? - I've been wanting to go in Search. Right now I'm kind of concentrating on stores. Right at the beginning of the year, at least. - Yeah. So, I think that makes sense for you but I think, as an online strategy, we are starting to see a few words coming consistently for you, so I think this could be one. The other thing with you that people don't know from looking simply at the product is that there is an interesting story behind your product. Why don't you just tell people what that is really quick so that they aren't just guessing. - Oh, it's sun-melted glass jewelry. Which means I have a giant magnifying glass that I use to focus sunlight to melt the glass. - Right. So that's a cool interesting story. So there might be some potential for press for you as well. And I know that's a thing you've worked on in the past. So I don't think you would necessarily have to give that up if that's something you want. But it is encouraging to know that you were thinking about Search, and we're starting to see this consistency because that does make you a good candidate. Awesome. All right, one more. So, here we have Sarah. And let's see. Yours. When I looked at yours before, the first thing that I noticed was coming up was the word "hippie." Not always spelled the same way. But were happening multiple times. Are you guys seeing anything else on here that's jumping out as consistent? I think you can go a couple different ways. So, what are you thinking for yours? - I was thinking Search. - Okay. Yeah. - Well, I was hoping for Search. But now I see this... - But this is to me, it's not as consistent but just even seeing the fact that there are certain things happening, even if that's not the way that you might have described it, that's good to know that phrases are coming up. So, I think, in your case, there is still room for Search as a possibility. Like if you... - More like a vibe than a specific product. - Right. And so I think that's key, but the other thing to keep in mind is that people don't always know how to describe a vibe. And so you're like, "Okay, hippie." Maybe not exactly what you're going for it but it might be the vibe that people are using to talk about it so you might have to use that language in certain places even if it's not at the forefront of your site. There might be like some other places where people land if they are looking for the hippie LA Retro vibe. - Yes. - Right? - Yeah. - So, yeah. So, I do think, looking at this, for you, I think there's still some possibility for you in Search. - Mm-hmm. For sure. All right. So does that make sense? We only did three. I know we probably could have done a few more but we were trying not to stress people out. So, before we talk about the next element since we're in the middle of Hot Seats. I want to see if anyone is having real trouble figuring out which is the right one for them. Kellen. [sp] - [Kellen] I'm not really sure. I feel like maybe press for some of my necklaces that are more like this the dripping ones. But I was also thinking maybe stores. So I'm not really sure. - So, what is it about your work that makes you think that press is the right solution? Just based on what people are saying, or? - Yeah, what people say. It's like the feedback I get is like, "Oh, I've never seen anything like this before. This is so unusual. What a good idea." And things like that. - So, I think, in your case, I would agree that that's probably something that you could try. The challenge is that press for jewelry is just incredibly competitive. It's just one of those things that you have to acknowledge. And so, in your case, and this is the next thing we're going to talk about is financial needs, too. If you're trying to build momentum a little bit faster, you might want to put your focus on stores and then do a little bit of press outreach to supplement that. - Okay. - Because I think the stores are going to bring you more money more quickly. Especially at your new price points. So... - Yeah. All right. Great - Is anyone else feeling stuck? Denise. - [Denise] I'm still stuck between...like stores and search are the two that really stand out to me for my products. Correct me if I'm wrong, search seems like...and we'll go into this later, it seems to me like when you first upload this on to your website, you put the tags in or whatever, it's a one-and-done thing. Is that not right? Because to me, it's like, okay, I can go home and do the search thing and then stores would be my consistent outreach focus. - Sort of. Yes. So, there is a very big one-and-done push, but there are other strategies that Tiffany is going to talk about that help support your Search. And it's also one of those where it sounds like it might be one and done, but if you've got a lot of products and you're doing your keyword research, it might actually take you longer to implement. [crosstalk] - I do still need to choose, stores or search? - So, you probably do...I think you could work on both but just know that, again, it's that balancing piece. The other thing, again, back to this idea of stores versus any of these online platforms. Stores are a little bit easier to get revenue going quickly. So you might want to... - Okay. So would you recommend doing that before the Search thing? - I would probably... But here's the thing about Search. It takes time to get traction. So you may want to get the basics of Search set up right, and then while you're waiting for Google to work its magic... because that can take a few months, then you can focus on your stores. That's a good way to balance those, too. Other questions or anyone else who's feeling stuck? All right. And so, the next piece then, is what we were just talking about as we're, "Okay, I'm deciding between two." How does it align with your financial needs? Because not all of them build as quickly as others. So, shows are usually a pretty quick way to get going once you take into account the timing of the application process. So once you know that, "I might have to apply for a show three months in advance," there's a little bit of a time lag, but the beauty of shows is you go to a show, you hand people things they hand you money. It's really quick you get some cash flow. Stores, you can get going pretty quickly. So, a lot of people start with trade shows but you don't have to. And then sell your products to retailers, we go into this strategy of literally you can get up tomorrow morning, build a line sheet, start reaching out to stores. Which means you could start generating revenue really quickly. Search just takes a while for Google to index. Once it gets going, it's good. Tiffany, when she's here, she will talk about this idea that she did almost no online marketing this Christmas because she was in the process of opening a store, like opening a physical storefront, and she had her best holiday online in forever, because Search just kept sending her people. It's pretty amazing. But it does take a little while for that to gain traction. Press, it depends on the kind of press you're going after. You might be able to get some blog posts that get you money right away. That cozy cuff I pitched to Design Sponge and she featured it and then it was, boom, all these orders right away. But a magazine has a much longer lead time. So if you're pitching a lot of magazines, you're not going to see money for five, six, seven months till that process is going on. So you just want to be cognizant of those things. And then, visual content creation can go either way. So if you're focusing more on the Pinterest side, that's like Google, it takes a while to gain traction. Usually, anywhere from six months to a year is what I found my pins that have gone viral, most of them have taken that long. With Instagram, you can get there quicker, but you have to be very aggressive about your audience-growth strategy. That's that six to eight hours a day I'm in there. Maybe not quite that many, but it's a lot. So, and again, if you have time to grow slower you don't have to be in there as much. So it's important to just consider those financial pressures as well. So I want everybody to share what you're going to focus on going forward. So, Rochelle. - The visual one seems perfect for me. - Perfect? - Yeah. My stuff is one of a kind so I don't want it in a store. - Michelle. - [Mitchelle] I think visual, for mine. - Okay. [crosstalk] - [Catherine] Visual. - I'm going to focus on stores. - Awesome. - I'm going with stores, too. - Oaky. - I'm going to do like you suggested and set up the Search and then focus on the stores. - Perfect. - I think Search and stores. - Okay. - Search, definitely. - Oh, everyone's so decisive. I'm really having a hard time... - That's okay. And actually, if you're having a hard time, let's talk about it. That's why I'm here. - I feel like stores is a better way for me to go just because it is more of a consistent income. So you have that money coming in so that you can work on building your brand a little bit more and introducing new products or whatever. Yeah, because I feel like visual is definitely more like the Instagram world and, yeah, that's where moms hang out. But they also hang out in stores. - They do. Yeah. And in your case, when you're thinking stores, are you thinking more of like the bunnies or are you thinking of more of the little...where you have the bows as well? - Yeah, yeah. I think probably more of the bunnies. I'm picturing more higher-end baby stores or gift shops that have baby section. - Okay. And so is your question which one are you sort of deciding between, or what the timing of...? - Yeah. Because I realized the stores is going to be a lot of work of creating the line sheet and reaching out. And so, should I just put visual aside for a bit while I do that or...? - Yeah. I think if stores are your big goal and you want that consistency, that's probably what I would do is just set that aside. And you can still do that. So here's the thing. Especially with something like an Instagram profile. Is it doesn't mean you have to ignore it completely, you might still post to it. You do have an existing audience on there? - Yeah, yeah. - How many followers do you have? - A bit over 1000. - Okay. So you do have a decent following on there so you don't want to ignore it for months because then you're never going to show up in the new algorithm again. So you do want to keep posting there, but your aggressive outreach won't be in trying to build your followers it'll be in reaching out to stores. - Okay, yeah. - Awesome. Matt. - [Matt] Definitely, stores. Yeah, I feel like I focus a lot on the social media aspect of it and the income from it just didn't equal... The result was like, "Wow, awesome. Great. Woo-hoo," but, no one's buying. They're just like, "Cool. Next thing." Whereas, stores, I don't really have to do a whole lot. I just give them stuff and they're like, "Here's some money." And like, "We did all the work and we sold it." - Yeah. It always does feel like magic when you're like, "Oh..." A lot of my store still pay me by check and it's like, "Oh, look here's the money that just showed up. And look how nice and big that check is." So there definitely is. I agree with you. I think there's a good proportion of you feel like you're getting more money for your effort from stores. - Yeah, it's totally much more worth it. And I think it's nice to have the social media aspect of it because people can go back to that if they buy something in the store or whatever, but yeah, I'm noticing the work because definitely if I just focused 90% of my energy on just stores, it'd be great. And just kind of shifting that attention. - Perfect. Sarah. - [Sarah] I'm thinking Search, specifically Pinterest, which I own your class on CreativeLive, but I need to follow through with it. - Yeah. Yeah, and so I think that's actually a great fit for you because we're seeing some consistent words and there is a vibe. And then what's interesting about Pinterest is you can employ two sets of strategies for that. So you can employ all the Search strategies that Tiffany is going to teach, but then you can also employ some of those visual content creation strategies that we're going to talk about tomorrow. So you can blend those two together. And that's a super powerful tool and people do buy off of Pinterest. So that is the one thing that in that Instagram versus Pinterest debate, Instagram is awesome and it's great for relationship building, but man, it's so easy to get people to buy from Pinterest. It's like a couple of clicks then you're done. So... - One issue I've actually had with my website, it hasn't integrated well with Pinterest. So, I actually, on my Pinterest have it linked to my Etsy. Have you found that Pinterest works well for Etsy people, too or...? - Yes. So, Pinterest does work really well for Etsy. Etsy has optimized for Rich Pins, so it is a great platform for that. The challenge is that it's obviously a little harder to track, you have a little less control, and it's harder to capture email. So, I think over time, if Pinterest is really the strategy that you're focusing on, it's worth thinking about what bugs and problems you need to solve on your own website to optimize that, but for now, just to get moving and get going forward, it's fine to work from your Etsy shop because it will get the job done. - Okay. - And the other thing that's nice about Pinterest is that Pinterest is really smart about showing people related things. So if you spend some time building up the Etsy shop and then you get your website under control, as long as your images have that similar vibe and you're repinning them and your followers are repinning them to similar boards, some of your new stuff will start showing up as recommended below, say something that was pinned from Etsy. So it'll actually be not terrible to make that transition. - Okay. - Denise. - My question is just talk about Etsy. I started out on Etsy and then transitioned with our rebranding to my own website and so I'm not selling on Etsy anymore. Would you recommend selling not only on my website but also on Etsy to grow sales? Because I know some people just go straight to Etsy. And that's just a headache. - Right. And so that's something... It really depends on your personal preference and what you want to manage. So, Tiffany is a great example of someone who still uses both. Because, obviously, if you have that...she has great SEO coming straight to her Etsy stores so she's not going to give that up. It's too big of a revenue source. So if it seems like that's where people are looking for you, then it's probably worth putting some stuff on. But if your Etsy sales were just coming from you pushing people to it, then it's not worth it. So, like in my case, most of my Etsy sales came from me going, "Hey guys, go to my Etsy store. Hey guys, go to my Etsy store. Hey guys, go to my Etsy store." And so then I was like, "Great, I'm moving over here. I'm not going to worry about this because I wasn't getting any kind of organic search on Etsy from Etsy or Google. But if you were getting a lot of that organic Search, it's probably worth putting things back out there. And the other thing that you can do if you don't want to manage a ton of products across both platforms is you can put a small handful of products in Etsy, and as long as you have products in your store you can say, in your description, "Go shop my entire line at X." But you can't say that if you have nothing in your store. So, I think, I actually have my cheapest pair of earrings still auto-renew on Etsy and then that language in there. So that's another way that you can do that. Because if you have a lot of SKUs, managing both shops... - It's a lot. - ...is a lot. So, other questions about that audience-building strategy? So, one more little thing for those of you who might be feeling a little bit stuck is I actually created a little quiz for you guys. If you're still not sure which is the right strategy for you, you could actually go to designinganmba.com/gya, which stands for Grow Your Audience and you can take this little quiz and it'll actually give you your results. So if you're like, "I'm not sure." And I will say go with your gut. If you take my quiz and you're like, "Megan, I hate your answer." They should be really strongly based on what you have here. But if you like, " Ugh. Megan, I hate your answer," then, ignore me and do what you got it based on the Personal Focus Group. The Personal Focus Group really is the best way to do this because it helps you understand how your customer thinks about your product. But if you can't do that or you're not getting a lot of good results or you're just not sure or you just want to take a fun quiz that's different than like, Which Sex and the City Character are You? on BuzzFeed, you can come take this quiz. Do you guys have any other questions about choosing the strategy? Yeah. - When you're talking about your Personal Focus Group, and you've just, I guess, randomly picked some people to be the focus group. Aren't you really looking more for your target-audience type of person? - It's helpful. In your case, I probably wouldn't ask me because I don't have kids. But it's still one of the things is like even though I love ideal customer exercises, you guys know I do them all the time, I think they're really good. You are going to sell to a broader range of people than just your really distinct profiles. And so this is a good chance just to get a little bit more feedback. You might take the weight of people who fit your ideal customer profile a little bit better, but I don't personally know 20 people who exactly fit in my ideal customer profile. It'd be awesome if I did because I probably would make all the money I needed and I wouldn't have to work very hard, I could just keep selling to those 20 people over and over again, and they would love me because they knew me personally. I don't personally know that many people so I'm just going to take the wider range. - Okay. So, why I chose visual...and you gave examples of Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs. So, Instagram is a no-brainer, I got to do that anyway. I hate Pinterest. - You don't have to do it. - Okay. So then, how would I make my blog work for that? - So, you don't have to do a blog. If you're focusing on Instagram you can focus on Instagram. - Okay. So just the one thing is nice? - Yeah. So, the blog is more of a container for your Pinterest content. A blog can also be a great place if you're writing articles that are really smartly optimized for Search. And so that's something that I think Tiffany is going to talk about too. So if you can throw in ways that are really descriptive, that can make your blog work. The other way that I would just use your blog, in this case, is probably just using it as a way to more permanently store the images that you're sharing on Instagram. So, Marta Spendowska does this really well. She's a painter. And so, literally, her entire blog is just her Instagram repeated over again. And that's a smart strategy because then you own the content. Because again, Facebook could decide tomorrow to hit that "cancel Instagram" button. I'm sure it's somewhere that's probably behind glass, but I bet it exists. So they could decide to do that. And then, obviously, they're still going to be on your phone, but boom, they're gone off the internet. So putting them on your blog is a way to keep them for you. Does that make sense? - Yeah. Very smart. - So it's just a way to back up your content that you're working so hard to create. - Okay, awesome. Because I was like, "What am I going to talk about on my blog about?" - Yeah. And really, Instagram by itself can be the strategy. When we get to visual content creation we're going to talk about picking a focus. It's not like you have to do all of those things. That's why when you were, "I don't like Pinterest" I was like, "Cool. You don't have worry about it." I love Pinterest but you don't have to. It doesn't matter. - At least to understand it. - Yeah. And that's fine. If you gravitate toward Instagram, we'll go with Instagram. - Okay. - And so it's not that you have to do all three, it's those are some of your options within that. - Okay, awesome. Thanks. - So I see someone else had a question. Now we're going to go to our online questions. All right. "I want a quicker access to income. However, I feel like my work fits better with visual content versus press. Should I still try to pursue press? I am still developing my focus." So if visual content is a better fit for you, then definitely, go for that. Because with press, if it's not a great fit you're going to have a hard time gaining traction there. It's just, the nature of the game is very competitive. There's a reason it's called Earned Media. And so, if it's not a great fit, you're probably not going to have a lot of success. That's why I want to focus on a certain type of product. That said, if you need income more quickly, it just means that you're going to have to shift that circle so that most of your time is spent on audience building. You're going to have to be really aggressive at going out there and drawing in customers and that's going to help you make money more quickly. And we're going to talk about how to do that. So don't be like, "Megan, I have no idea." And that's what we're going to talk about when we get to the visual content creation part. So yeah, that's how you can handle that. I think we have another question. "What about a Facebook business page as a source for growing our audience?" Yes. Sort of. We're not going to focus on it a lot here. And there are two reasons why. One of them is that I just don't like Facebook, and I'm teaching this class. When it really comes down to it, that's sort of it. Okay, there are actually three reasons. The second one is that while a lot of people are on Facebook, they're not really on Facebook because they're looking for something to buy. So they're on Facebook and they're going to rant about politics or they're going to check in on what their granddaughter is doing or they're going to catch up with their college roommate. And yes, I'm not saying that people don't buy from Facebook, people buy from Facebook, but it's not why they're on Facebook. And if you're building something around visual content, why not be on the platform where people go to look for beautiful content? So one way to think about it is that Facebook is like the coffee shop, and Instagram is like the museum where you can sort of buy things, and then Pinterest is literally like the store. So you can sell things from the coffee shop but it's really hard to get people to pay attention to them. Think about all the people that hang paintings in the coffee shop and then nobody buys them because you're there to catch up with your girlfriend or get some quick caffeine or get the news and get out. Whereas, if you want to find the pretty things you're going to go to Instagram or you're going to go to Pinterest. And Facebook also doesn't make your pretty content look that pretty. It really does your great images a lot of disservices. And so if this is a strategy that you really love, I'm not going to discourage it. And if you've been rocking Facebook, keep rocking Facebook. But if you're focusing on visual content, I think it's a better space. And the last reason that we're not really talking about Facebook is that it is really...now with the business page, pretty solidly, pay to play. It's really hard to get your content seen unless you're spending money. And all of these other strategies, with the exception of shows, because obviously, there's entry fees in shows. All these other strategies you can actually do without investing a lot of money. Now, there are ways that you can invest money to make them go faster. So, with stores, it's easier to go to trade shows. That's going to make you go faster and that's obviously an investment of your time. But you can create a line sheet on your computer, turn it into a PDF, and start emailing stores tomorrow for free. You can, at least for the time being, still reach your Instagram audience for free. Same thing with Pinterest, the same thing with Search. Yes, you can pay for Ad Words, and that might get you going quicker, but you can optimize your stuff for Search for free. You can reach out to the press for free. And while I am a huge fan of investing money in your business, believe you me, I spend a lot of money on my business, I also realize that that is a very real sticking point for a lot of you that you don't have a lot of money to spend on your business and that's why we're not really talking about Facebook because it can suck a lot of money really fast. You're like, "Oh, boost a post, boost a post, boost a post. I spent $250 this week on Facebook and nothing happened?" It feels like that happens and so that's why we're not talking about it. Do we have any other questions? Okay, perfect. So do you guys have any other questions about choosing or does everyone feel pretty committed to their choice? And I just want to remind you guys, that you're making this choice, but you're not making it forever. So you're going to commit to something for the next six months to a year and if it doesn't work or you get in there and you don't love it, you can change. Honestly, when I started my business and I started doing shows, I really thought I was going to do that forever. Looking back, I don't know why I thought I was going to do that forever. I think I thought that because that's what I saw coming out of the world that I was in. I was like, "This is what people do when they want to make a living. They do shows, they do the show circuit forever." So I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to do this forever." And I was like, "No. I'm not going to do this forever, what are my other options?" So you might commit to something and realize that's not quite right and that's okay. Give it a year and then you can reassess. Feels so much easier to make a commitment for a year than for life, right? Any other question specific to choosing? Denise. - Well [crosstalk] - Go ahead. Go for it. - So, if we choose to pursue the stores route, you mentioned how it's super easy to generate your emails and send your line sheet, it's free. Do you think it's worth it, worth the investment because I've heard you talk a lot about doing postcard mailings? Should we stick with the emails for a while, let that go or would you right away do the postcards, send them out and get something visual in people's hands? - I would do the postcards right away. If you have the $250 bucks to spend on it I would do it. Very simply, for that reason, first of all, that stores they're like, "I get 200 to 300 emails a day." That's a lot to have to wade through, and now you're trying to get them to pay attention to your product just based on a couple of words in a subject line and that's tricky. And in your case, one of the things that you might want to think about is sending a postcard and the call to action might not just be, "Get the line sheet," it might be, "Let me know if you'd like to send me a couple of samples." Because in your case, it's really that that I think is going to really sell the product. The aesthetic is really important because you have that strong branding, and so the postcard is going to show that, but then letting them know, "Hey, I'm okay to send you a couple things so you can see the product." Because in your case, it's not going to cost you that much, it's going to make a huge impact, and it's probably going to save you a lot of money of not having to go to so many trade shows if you're willing to just send samples to stores. But I wouldn't send unsolicited samples because they're probably... - [inaudible] - Right. So say, send the postcard, "Let me know, I'd love to send you samples." And you can actually... So none of these are either/or strategies. So you send the postcard and then you follow up in, say, two weeks if you don't hear anything with an email, "Hey, just wanted to make sure you got my postcard. I'd be happy to send you samples if you're thinking about buying the line."

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

Liana Badea
 

I truly enjoyed this class, as it is very detailed, but straight to the point. 30 modules, more than 10 hours, it is so worth it! I also loved the interactive part of it. Building your business from scratch is not easy, there is so much to do. This class gave me some important pointers and valuable guidance, thank you Megan! I strongly recommend this class to anyone who wants to work smarter, not harder and be successful.

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!