Skip to main content

craft & maker

Marketing for Crafters: Create the Right Plan

Lesson 2 of 10

Achieving Success in Your Craft Business

Tara Swiger

Marketing for Crafters: Create the Right Plan

Tara Swiger

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

2. Achieving Success in Your Craft Business

Lesson Info

Achieving Success in Your Craft Business

So let's talk about now, since we have our definitions of success, what actually can help you reach your own definition of success and this is what I've learned through working answering people's crafty business questions for the last four years, but specifically working really closely one on one with a range of makers for the past three years inside my starship program, they joined their part of it for a year. We have one on one talks a couple times a year. We have weekly chats where they check in so like I really know what's going on in people's businesses because I get to hear about it constantly, which is fun but it's also really given me a great bird's eye view on what's working for people and this is what I figured out, the first thing that makes for a successful business and we're defining successful here by whatever it is for you my successful I mean that you reached your own version of success. The first one is in durability and I actually read this word in danny shapiro's slo...

w writing and I was like, oh that's a great word what it means is the ability to her endure and enduring means you just keep going when things get bad when things get discouraging when you have a so sales month, when you feel like nobody values what you d'oh, you keep on all of the people that I've talked to who have reached what their definition of success was, I have only done it after being really sure it was never gonna happen like I'm super disappointed I'm like at the bottom nothing's ever going to work out, and they kept doing it because that's the difference if you haven't reached yet, that successful business it's because you haven't been going at it long enough, you haven't been enduring it through the hard times when I talk to people who have quit their business, they stopped enduring, they stopped wanting to keep going. Yeah, it was like our whole conversation on a four mile walk last night so that cisco was like so many shops and including, like, it's myself. It's so easy to just like this is never gonna work there's three million plus a t people, you know, they can all do the same thing I d'oh when your reality they can't, and they don't. I have the passion that I do and you just you got to get past that point. Yes, and the thing is that I always remind myself, ninety percent of these people won't be there in a year, they won't be your competition anymore, I mean. I don't really believe they are your competition now, because what you do is so unique if you make the thing that only you can make, you don't have any competition, but they're not going to still be there. And I mean, I have to remind myself of this all the time, like that's, it's, the person who keeps going right, and the people who finished the marathons or those ultramarathon that are like, one hundred miles, usually the guy who wins and the people who place are just the people who are finishing because most people don't finish so in durability and the question kind of ask yourself when you're trying to, like, ok, so I'm going to be more endurable is what motivates you? What keeps you going and it's happened to that over and over and over, I feel like the people who end up quitting the people aren't going to be there in a year, it's, because they don't really tap into their own motivation again. If you're defining success by the outside world terms of what other people say, successful businesses that will never motivate you, you've got to find that thing that you care about so much, you're willing to do the hard work of building a business. And what I kind of have been telling myself through all of this when I very first quit my day job my husband then lost his job the next month our car literally exploded it caught fire on the car we had just paid off by the way got fire and our house was broken into and they stole everything tv xboxes all having oh and my husband's grandma died all within four months so but I didn't go back and look for another job I didn't quit my business and partly that was because my husband was telling me this is what you're supposed to dio you, we've been working towards this for three years you're not just going to give it up because times are hard and so knowing what motivated me and that was being self employed that north star freedom like that was my north star for that year that I quit I know is I had to keep me going even after I quit in all this scrap happened was to stay motivated and moving through and so yeah, there are hard times, but I also knew I could get through this right? Like I'm not going to die from this I'm going to die from self employment right? It's very rarely the case I'm not going to starve, so even though times are hard you have to keep going and and that doesn't mean, though times, like won't get hard that's the one thing I always when I tell people is creating a successful business doesn't mean that everything is just like roses, like things were still super rough sometimes because life is like that, so the next point is consistency. Now, this was tricky because it is very easy to do the same wrong thing over and over, right? Like, if you were being, say, a robot, when you write your e mails, you could keep writing robotic, boring, non personal e mails over and over, and that wouldn't take you anywhere, so trick with consistency is to pay attention to what's working and then do that. And if you don't know yet, if it's working, if your experiment, you haven't been experimenting long enough, stick with it and you've got some good data on if it's working or not, and then keep going because consistency like we talked about in session to it builds trust worthiness, it shows that you're going to be there over and over, so I can't say consistency, I don't mean just doing the same, um, pointless tasks over and over, I mean showing up for your customer and there are two points to this, and the first way is to show up. In the way they need you to give them the information that they need from you again and again build the relationship that will help them be able to purchase your thing again and again. And then the second step of consistency is to be conflict, paying attention to what works and tweaking consistently and showing up consistently doing those things, you know, works. So then the third piece about what will make you be able to reach your definition of success is clarity by this, I really mean lack of a confusion because I get these e mails that were like, and if you send these e mails or you feel like sending these e mails, know that you are not alone and that's, I really want to do this, but I also think maybe I could do this, and then I was thinking, should I start here, or should I start here? But I don't even know or maybe shouldn't started off, so I started all well, I don't know on what that is is that's confusion and that's frustration overwhelmed just not knowing, and that is perfectly ok. So I've thought a lot, though, about what is the most effective way for me to answer this question that will help them cut through the fog of confusion, and this is what I've come to, you can't have clarity until you're ready to you cannot cut through the confusion until you're ready to stop holding on to that confusion because you know what? That confusion is very comforting. The confusion lets you think, well, I'm not ready to take a step yet, so I don't really have to do anything that confusion with you say, well, since I don't know, I I just don't know and you can stay in in action and that's, that's easier been doing something, so you can't cut through confusion until you're ready to and there's a few ways that you can do this, but the main thing is that you have to be ready to make a decision and have it be the wrong decision. You have to be ready to take action and have it be pointless, and then to do it again, and this goes back to consistency and durability. You have to be willing and that's actually, why I rate them like this so that you first are, like, come face to face with the hardness of in durability and then the kind of long sog of consistency, because if you don't feel ready for that, then you're not gonna have clarity. If you're not like I'm ready to do this thing I want to dio clarity is never going to come, so there's a there's a few ways to get some clarity. And uh these air like big life things that will take a whole lifetime but the first one is to know yourself to know your sparkle to know your product, to know what you can do better than anyone else because of your experience, your knowledge, your skills, the things you've tried and bill that and the next one is to know your goals that's what we're really going to dig into here in a minute is it to know where it is you're going specifically like it's a destination a map and you are going to get yourself there and then the third one is to take out action best way to get clarity is to do something if you aren't sure where to go to dinner the best way is to start like walking to where there are restaurants right if you're not sure what to order just like pointed the menu in order and the same is true for big you know, business decisions if you're not sure what business to start but I actually tell people start making something make the product you think might be a product and make fifty of them you know he's right back well, I don't know if I could make fifty okay then you're not ready because when you're ready you'll be like I've got to try something most of the businesses that have been working with that have become more successful as they grow it's that they've tried a product and they thought this will be my product and then they did not actually that will be my product so they try something else or they totally change how they photographed or they totally change how they describe it to totally change who the right person is I mean, just in the course of this class you went from thinking your girl is like a sixteen year old to thinking she's like a busy mom right? And I don't know maybe you haven't landed on that yet but you took action and defined it you defined it for yourself who she wass and then we're willing to shift that's the thing about clarity you don't get there until you pick something so before him have on other questions we have people in the chat room who are still sort of struggling struggling with the idea of pricing and whether they found the right price for their product no rocks, he says. I'm at the point of raising my prices now and I think that's the hardest part for me I value my work but I struggle with telling people that then susan h brings up the question says I need to raise the price of some of my most popular crow shea items but there have been people who've been buying the same items for a long time will they accept this price increase or will they stop buying I don't know we're used to the right is that can be hard, all right say I'm gonna double the price well, but I've been buying into this price for the past couple of years well and see so doubling in that stage doubling at that stage might be a bit dramatic, so I suggest first, the thing about pricing is to do the math, and I have a class that walks you through all of the prophet math because this is kind of intense and you need to know your your profit margins. You need to know your own business goals, you need to know the cost of what you're making, and I can't believe how many makers don't know that. So before you even think about pricing, you have to first know all your numbers and go through the math that called classes called pay yourself if you're looking for it. And so you have to know that first and then set your prices based on that. And if you you knew all that when you set your prices, but now you're ready to raise it because say you're too busy or you're too overwhelmed with orders, I would make an announcement and say, I know you've been making it at this price, but in order to continue providing you with what you love, I'm going to be changing the price to this and then you have to accept that you're building your business for yourself, that you are creating sustainability for your own life, and they are responsible for other people's lives so they might stop buying. But I find that unlikely people are buying it again and again, it's, because they love it and they want in their life. Most people are going to be willing, since it's chris sided shade items, I doubt she'd bring the price by fifty dollars, probably raising it by like two, five most people who love something I mean, think about your favorite shampoo or your favorite address or your favorite something in your life you would pay an extra five, even twenty dollars for it in order to keep it in your life, right? So, that's, what I suggest, I hope that helps the first step is to really know your number. So if you're really really lost about what you should be making and how you should be pricing, then you haven't done the math yet because the math will guide you. It's not a fun answer. So now that we've talked about kind of what makes for a successful business, the question is, how do you maintain consistency and how do you take action on a regular basis? Because when I was talking about writing this class that's the question that the producer kept asking me is ok but how do people do that like let's really dig in to how you stay motivated because most people know they need to be consistent but they're not doing it so how do you take consistent action? You need to get clear on much your goals are and this is what we're going to dio in just a minute in this segment you will not be consistent unless you know why you're being consistent this is why so much marketing advice that you've read doesn't work for you because you don't know why you're doing it you just know you're supposed to be doing it so you have to know why what it is you hoped to reach with it you have to know what your goal is and where you're going and then you also have to choose the actions and tools directly related to those goals and this is a process will go through in segment for today where we're going to learn how to choose actions and tools in segment two and then we're going to narrow down the ones that are related to your goals in segment for because that's the thing that most people don't want to do so they want to kind of do everything you know you set a goal and then you just want to do everything that everybody thinks you should d'oh instead of finding the one that's going toe push you specifically to where you want to go, it's like taking a road trip, you know, once you know what your destination is, you're only going to go down the roads that are going to get you to the destination, ignore all the roads that won't get you there, and then third steps taken, consistent action is to have a really doable plan, like I mentioned when you're talking about getting overwhelmed most of the time, we don't take action because we don't have a specific enough action to take, so we'll do that in segment for we will give you like such specific nous okay, so this morning we're gonna get clearing your goals, and then which is your actions, and then we'll create a doable plan, and all of this is related to what we're talking about in order to create the success your successful business that you've defined says, talk about getting clear on your goals. The first step to any plan of action is to know where you're going in the road trip metaphor, which will use again and again today, you have to know where you're headed, like you can't set out to go across the country, if you don't know where you're going, are you going to southern california, northern california, canada, that's going to affect everything you d'oh, that's what we'll do this morning is you will pick a destination were moved you are moving towards and you'll make all your other decisions about remark king plan who filter everything you've learned over the last two sessions through this through this destination to pick what will get you there now we've talked about north stars and those air kind of the guiding principles that you're that you want to create in your business, but golds are specifically what you want to do or accomplish different people have different definitions, but this is what I'm talking about. I'm talking about setting a goal that's actually destination I want to have made x amount of money I want to have been in o magazine I want to have sold ten pieces of art. This is a very specific dim, findable measurable thing and in order to ah actually get your goal, you have to know why you want to get to that goal because again it's so easy to slip into, I'm comparing myself to other people I want what other people want I wantto go look fancy to other people or like I specifically accomplished something, so in order to make a plan and actually get where you want to go and care about where you want to go, you need to figure out why why do you want this thing and I find this is especially important with people who have a money goal because money in itself doesn't mean anything, right? It's a it's a symbol and it's a thing we trade for other things in our life, so I personally don't find money goals inspiring until I break down. Why? What is it that I want to get from that? Why do I want that? Is it so that I could quit my job? That's all that I have made my bills, is it so they can replace the stuff that was stolen? Esso and an example is in my own life right now, money for me symbolizes a down payment on a new home, but I don't just want want a home to own a home. I want it because it will have an extra room for my family comes to stay in my town, they can actually stay with me instead of hotel, so when I start my family, I have a room for a baby, so the home isn't even a thing that I want what I want is a sense of family connection, having a place to call my own. So for me, I have to translate that money goal of mine to make x amount a month or a year down into what that really mean. He's because what? I'm really so when times get tough, you really I mean money you need to pay the bills but after a certain point it's not nearly as motivating as well what I really want his family and connection in life you said I mean and also keeps you from this feeling if you feel kind of funny about money or ricky or you have money issues or you've never had money, so thinking about making more seems really bad or you've always had plenty so thinking that you want mohr feels really bad any of your issues around money like we won't have a therapy session to talk about but knowing getting beyond the money to the deeper why kind of helps you bypass those issues and make it so it's motivating to you because remember what I said about in durability is you have to find your motivation and your motivation is probably not gonna be your goal your goal is a symbol of what's really deeper really a symbol of your north star it's a time bound, measurable aspect of bringing more of your north star in your life so I'm gonna ask you guys when you think about your oh yeah ok so start filling out page forty four and this is where I ask you to start thinking big crazy goals in your life five years, four years, three years, two years in one year and again goldsworthy things you're going to accomplish or dio like I want to be an old magazine in five years I'm gonna buy house I wantto you know, like you're starting you're adding to your family the things that are gonna happen and that she liked to have happened don't worry about how doable these seem yet because we are going to pick one specifically and kind of work through it right now I want you to list everything this could be related to your businesses could be related to your life especially if your business and packs your life kind of all in there and as you're writing them down if one you kind of get stuck out you feel funny about you don't feel quite right dig into why you want it and write that down too so for me I write my might write in three years we bought a house what that really means is connection a more family too john you know so then I want to hear from you guys if you have a bigger why behind one of your goals what does it think? Yes to be debt free I love that and that's more of like the stress lifted off of the family like more time to enjoy each other and say the business got crazy and I did end up on baby number three then you know I can take time away from the shop and I don't have to worry about the extra income to pay the bills because we don't have debt yes that's being that free is a huge one for people so it also like what I heard you say there is like freedom freedom from being tied tio all of these bills that feel like they're just like drug you guys down which brings me to wanting to travel right it's hard to take a huge vacation when you know that payments coming up right so those kind of all tied together right and this goes back to that motivation thing because if you were putting off a big vacation in order to pay aggressively down on your debt now you will say more votive ated because you know it's not just about this it's not about these lean times it's about getting out of this you have freedom to do things you guys want to dio with your family anybody else willing to share your bigger why so I just realized that my bigger wise also freedom it's totally freedom um I know that I'm coming up on a big life change probably in three to five years and I just want to have everything set up so that I can kind of do that while still doing my business which I want to keep going um but I also want to pay for my business yes because I feel like um that will also give me, like, psychological freedom. Yes. And also it it sounds like a little bit their independence. Yeah, and I think and that's, a big thing is feeling like that. You would be ok if if your business need to support you. Or if you needed tio change something else in your life. You can take care of yourself. Maybe both confidence you'd raise your hand. Um, yeah. I would like to be able to make enough money to support my family so that my husband can quit his terrible day job and do what he's passionate about, which is photography he's a very talented photographer, but right now, he's, letting me live my dream. So that would be great. Yes. I love that that's like a a joint dream you guys can have together. That's so great. Does anybody in the chapel ing to share publicly? Well, it's funny that you brought up travel. We had a couple of people who said that one of their goals was to be sort of location independent to travel around, to write, to do there are wherever they're located it's a lot of people like that we had a question coming here from bluebird about the clarity of their of their business, they say clarity to be more clear about my direction I've been making about one sale a month, and these air on different items. How do I know which item is the clear direction for my business to focus on? Oh, that's, a good question. Yeah. That's my mom, yeah, you better have a good answer for I know. Well, if not, I'll just talk to me. Oh, no, I so the thing about clarity, though, is that what I said is that you have to take action, so by putting the things in her shop that she's not sure which will sell that is helping her figure out, I think she hasn't doesn't have enough data yet to decide, you know, but I would say that after two or three months, even with one sale a month, if the same thing is selling or people are getting excited about it, and the other thing is my mom has sheep, so she has their roving, and so that is something that she has no matter what else happens, so I would always encourage her to definitely be aiming at that, because she has that no matter matter what other art supplies she has, no matter what else she has a sheep, she has the roving, they're going to keep making there wolf, no matter what she does, they just make well, so so I think though, if the if the more general question is how do I get clarity and know which direction to go? Sometimes you need more data and then sometimes you just decide I love this this is what I'm doing the kind of my mom loves painting and so you just keep doing it because you love it and and if you do it and you focus your business around it and you focus on your right people and you focus on selling it in the right places, it will eventually be the thing that people come to you for, so you can't wait forever to see what do people want most because you have to tell them this is why I'm offering you this this is what's awesome about it in order to let them know why they should buy it. If there are too many options, they won't know that you're great at anything they won't get that you do this better than anybody else. So, um a lot of times you have to enforce your own clarity by taking action, cutting out the things that aren't working, focusing and making one thing work it's kind of like what we're talking about with your business and your time you're saying you want to wait until you know how many sales you're going to make before you decide how much time to spend and I said no decide how much time to spend and then you'll know how much to grow your business so you you decide the boundaries, the products, the time and then you'll build your business towards that as opposed to just waiting and seeing because you won't be as focused and has motivated if you don't you're not sure where you're going, you know we have another great common here that I want to share this one's from j m mackel plan they say I've always wanted to have a cleaning crew for my house and I always thought that this is not a selfish but now I'm asking myself, why do I want that? And I realize it's because I want to shift my role in the family from the domestic goddess to the entrepreneur and by hiring the screening this cleaning clue crew will allow her to kind of shift her role. I like that and I actually know that that is a choice that many of the makers I work with make toe have somebody come in and it sounds like a really big deal but it's pretty easy to hire somebody to come in and clean every couple weeks every week and that could be a huge shift in your whole life, you know, it takes that responsibility off you and many of the makers I work with choose tio in order to spend the time where they khun vest. Spend their time like their family and their products. They take cleaning off the table or take cooking off the table and maybe always order in or find some other alternative. Have the spouse, cook or teacher five year old to cook or something so that you can take that off your plate.

Class Description

The world is awash in good marketing ideas. The key to success is having a concrete marketing plan that aligns with your goals. In Marketing for Crafters: Creating the Right Plan, Tara Swiger will help you structure a plan that is just right for the way you want to do business.

Every crafter brings a unique set of skills, dreams, and limitations to their business, and it is essential you are clear about the commitment you want to make to marketing so you can create a plan and actually stick to it. In this course, Tara will help you get honest about what you want and help you chart the course for getting there. With so many options available, marketing can feel incredibly overwhelming – Tara will teach you a process for vetting new marketing ideas and platforms, and teach you skills for evaluating the usefulness of marketing tools before you commit.

Marketing for Crafters: Creating the Right Plan will show you how to structure a marketing plan that attracts loyal customers and keeps you excited about your business.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Resource Guide for Marketing for Crafters

100 Off Solo Mission Coupon

Marketing for Crafters Bibliography

Marketing for Crafters Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

I feel like I found a secret gold mine of information! Tara is so smart and so present, she really gets what it means to have a crafty business! She helps you think, rethink, and then think about it some more, all with a different strategy and approach that is laser sharp. I've taken a lot of these kinds of classes and she knows her stuff, she isn't just reading from a prompter or listing off "rules" or steps, she genuinely cares and comes up with a way to answer everyone specifically and generally. She informs you in a way that is friendly and approachable while still being SUPER focused and serious about helping you achieve all that you want out of your business!

a Creativelive Student

Very valuable information that has changed everything for me, starting with doing what I love and not falling into the pit of doing things just for the hope of attracting customers. If I cannot have a business a love, I won't want to do it. My target, although it will be more difficult to attract, will receive a lot more from me if they are the right customer. The biggest component to this course is doing the homework, but to do the homework listening to the videos makes it very clear on what is needed. Tara does not talk in a language that is difficult to understand or over my head - she brings clarity from confusion.


Easy to understand, actionable advice for those of us needing a little help finding our 'North Star". Fantastic workbook, too. I have incorporated some of the exercises into my daily routine. I also love Tara's podcast!!