How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

 

Lesson Info

Which Audience Building Strategy is Right for You?

- [Megan] So, how do you know which of these audience building strategies is right for you? SoI have got a couple of exercises that we're going to do to find the right strategy. And again just as a reminder, we've got these five ways. And actually, before I go into this, does anyone have any questions about the five ways? Or are they all pretty obvious? - [Woman] Would it be too much to choose one in person and one online? Do you really need to just choose one? - So, it depends on really how much time you have in your business. So, if you're going completely 100% full-time, you might be able to get away with both. But just know that you are probably going to spend most of your time on audience building then. And if you have that financial pressure, and that works for you, then yes you can. I would not pick more than one online and more than one offline. But I think if you have a ton time to devote to audience building, you can do it. Just know that that's probably going to be the bulk ...

of each day. So let's talk about what kinds of work work best for each of these strategies. So, for shows, what really works best is the developed body of work that fits with the aesthetic of the types of shows you're focusing on. This is one that people skip over. But every show has a style, right? Every show has a vibe. When you go to Renegade, you know you're at Renegade. They have a certain style that they are looking at. And you can figure this out by going to their website, looking at the artists that are there, looking at their website, looking at their social media feeds, getting a feel for the aesthetic. And this is not the only game in town. So, you may look at something like a more traditional show. This is Artrider they do a handful of shows in the northeast, clearly very different aesthetic. So if you are going to do shows, you need to be honest about if your work fits into the aesthetic of the show. Because if not, you're going to be wasting your time and your money applying to all of these shows that you're never going to get into. So that's really what shows work best for and again, you need that more defined body of work. So if you only have one thing that you are doing well right now, shows are really not the best option for you. But if you've got that well-defined body of work and you fit in with one of those aesthetics, they could be a great option. Stores work best for, again, a more developed body of work, stores want to see that they've got some choices. And for stores, it's easier if it's a repeatable product line. One of a kinds are not impossible for wholesale but it's definitely easier with products that you can make over and over again. Because that's what stores are really looking for. You send them a line sheet, they're going to pick a thing and then they know that they can keep ordering that thing over and over and over again. Stores are pretty consistent. If something sells, they kind of want it back. So, that's something to keep in mind if you're thinking about stores. Yeah, repeatable that was my point with those. Repeatable, simple, things like that. All right. So, Search is getting your products to rank high in these different things. It works best for repeatable products and the reason for that is because if you have things that are sold out, that's problematic for search right? Someone finds it if it's one of a kind they click over and that thing is gone. First of all then they're going to bounce really quickly which Google is not going to like so you're going to drop in search really fast. Same thing with Etsy. Even if you are getting found on search on Pinterest. We actually had an interesting conversation at lunch where I said I had something that I had made... sold years and years ago when I first started. Somehow, of off my sold items on Etsy it went viral on Pinterest. And people are messaging me, "Can you make this?" No, I haven't made this in eight years please stop bothering me. So, that's a problem if you are focusing on something like search with one of a kind is that one thing sells out but the search traffic is driving back to that specific link, it doesn't work very well. So, it's better for repeatable products and it's better for things that have a really clear description and people are already looking for them. So, Tiffany who is our search expert, and again she will be in later, her business got started because she was making these feather earrings and feather hair extensions on Etsy. And she was making them at a time when people were looking for feather earrings, they were really in. And so she was ranking really high on Etsy search because she was using the right keywords and it was something that people were looking for and you could clearly understand what she was doing. She actually then transitioned that into these thin gold hoop earrings which actually are still selling mostly through her Etsy shop but she is literally the second search result on Google for thin gold hoop earrings. Again, really clear and obviously a lot of people want thin gold hoop earrings. So if this is you, if your product can be described very easily and consistently, search is a great option. Press works really well for unique and interesting products that solve an unexpected need. Yes, you can get press for technically anything but some of it is really hard. So, if you have jewelry and it's just like, "oh that's so pretty." It's really hard to get press because everybody else has jewelry that's "oh that's really pretty." And so that's a hard one to break in to. But if your product has the cool story or cool function or something like that behind it, Press is a really great option. So this is the product that I used to make called the "CozyCuff" that was a coffee cup sleeve that you can also wear as a bracelet because I'm a jeweler and so if it's about the same size as your wrist, it's also a bracelet, right? I got a ton of press for this because people were like, "My gosh that's so clever, I've never seen that before." And it got featured in a lot of places because it was a unique idea. Another really great example of this is Emily Mcdowell and she did this card right before Valentine's day that was I know we're not like together or anything but it felt weird not to say anything so I got you this card, It's not a big deal, doesn't really mean anything, there isn't even a heart on it. So, basically like it's just a card, oh forget it. There's not Valentine's day cards like that, right? That didn't exist when she did this and so it immediately got picked up by press and everybody featured it. Because they were like, "This is so cool and different." So if that's the case with your products, press is a really great option for you. And then there's visual content creation and this is really building an audience through the images that you create. And this works best for the cash all category that we're going to call it, right? You don't quite fit into any of the other ones, it's not easily searchable, it's maybe not the most press-worthy but you really want to go that online route, this is probably the best way to go. Products that are more aesthetically focused that don't fill a specific need. Have you guys heard that, "oh make sure your product fills a need" right? Not every product fills a need some things are just pretty, okay? Yes, if you really want to argue it, okay this fills the need of what am I going to wear on stage for CreativeLive. But know what? You're buying it because it's pretty, let's be honest, okay? And it's fine we are going to own that. People buy our stuff because they like the way it looks and if that's the case, a really visual platform is great for you. And different kinds of content do better on... we're going to focus on the two main visual platforms, Instagram and Pinterest, and different kinds of concepts do do better on each and we'll talk about the differences. But obviously, Instagram is much more photo-heavy and usually, with Pinterest it's linked back to some blog content, well get to that. But it can also just be very image heavy as well. So that's kind of the rundown on who those five work best for. Before we get into the exercise, does anyone have any questions about those? Even if you are like, "I'm kind of not sure what's happening, is this right for me?" We can start to talk about some of that too. - [Man] With the search engine type stuff, are we going to dig into that in the sense of how do you do that? - Oh, absolutely. So, in the next segment, we are bringing Tiffany Whipps in and she is literally going to teach us to do exactly what she did and clearly, she knows how to do it because she's had it work for her more than once. And that is not an area that's well suited for my products so I don't do it. So I brought in an expert. Yeah, Jordan. - [Jordan] I'm just wondering stores being sort of an offline and then visual content being online, do you find it's usually better to build your online audience and then go to stores? because that sort of gives you some street cred or something? - Actually, for me, it worked the complete opposite way. So one of the things that is really tricky about using visual content creation, is that for most people, it's a pretty slow growth process. Some people have explosive growth, but a lot of people, it's like chugging along, chugging along, chugging along. And if you need to make money more quickly, it can be a little bit tough. Whereas with stores, if you have that well-developed product line, it's actually really easy to get started making money, right? You send some emails, you send some line sheets, you send some postcards, maybe do a trade show. You can start making money much quicker because you can reach out to stores, right? It's much easier to prospect. And depending on the type of store, they probably don't care about your online following. Like it's a nice, but it's not a necessity, what they care about is, is it a great product that fits in the aesthetic of their store, their customer is going to love it, right price point. So you don't have to have one before you have the other.

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

  • 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!
  • 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!
  • 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!