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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 38 of 39

Defining Success

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

38. Defining Success

Lesson Info

Defining Success

We're going to discuss something that is really important to me and this falls under the popular topic guys of self care taking care of yourself so you can take care of business and really being a good boss to yourself, which is which is one of the main takeaways that I want you to get from start a handmade business, I want you to really, really, really become the very best boss of yourself that you could be, but in order to do that in order to know if we're doing a good job in order to know if we should celebrate one of our milestones air success or something like that, one thing you have to do first is define what success means to you, which is something that we really forget to do, so you never really know if you're successful if you don't really know what that means so and some things that were really unrealistic expectations of what success is onto yourself, like I will be successful uh, if I become if I make a million dollars for my business or whatever it is, you want to deal li...

ke that's really a very loose and sort of undefined goal I want I want you to be very specific about what success means to you so that you can tell a fear on track so you can tell if you need to pivot so you can tell if you need to change that for a while I thought that my I would know I was successful if I was somebody called me a best selling author that wasn't blood related to me then I would know like I have reached some sort of level of success in the first time my my main publisher story so I work with several different publishers, but story is published these two books and they're very close to my heart night and I do I didn't say it earlier, but I want to thank them for giving these books to the studio audience and for sponsoring our contest, but when I opened up a story catalog and saw the best seller little ribbon and bloom thing that they put on the catalogs that they give to wholesalers, I felt like that was a moment when I when I felt some sort of recognition for myself that I hadn't I hadn't really experienced before. It was one of the first times I felt really good about the handmade marketplace and it's not that I spent all these other months feeling terrible about the handmade marketplace I was just overwhelmed with it all and didn't I hadn't really thought about what was going to make me feel good aside from seeing the book in the store another very a poignant moment that I had with my book was I was waiting for pizza in my neighborhood pizza shop in north hampton, massachusetts, and somebody had a tweet and they said on twitter, your book is the number one book of two thousand ten on amazon dot com and I just burst into tears in my car that was that was a level of success that I had not I didn't even know existed didn't know that was possible for there to be a good number one craft, but but for whatever reason, I felt very successful in that moment I felt like, ok, here you've go ahead, you've done a really good job, even leave work early today and during his pizza without multitasking um, you know, so really finding out what success means to you is really important because you want to recognize all parts of your business and you want to recognize yourself as a business person if you were working for somebody else and it was time for your annual or semiannual review and you know, your boss would sit down with you and they would tell you the things that you were doing well within the things that they wanted you teo strengthen and that's that would be them defining what they felt was success in your position, and I want you to be able to do that with yourself I want you to know when you're doing a good job so that you can acknowledge that and move on you can you can figure out what success means to you and a lot of ways, but for our purposes you can set your you can look your intentions and set an intention for success you're always probably going to get to your definition of success so I want you to know that there's more beyond that there's more beyond this there's mohr beyond the biggest thing for your business that you can imagine there's more beyond the best life for yourself that you can imagine you are never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to run out of dreams. You are never going to stop having things that you want tio reach for or strive for or create or or give to the world or except from the world you are always going toe have dreams so you can dream a cz bigas you want because once you get there there will be another dream on the other side. I never thought it would get better than writing the handmade marketplace, but then I wrote grow your hammy business and then I wrote delicious and then I wrote the handmade marketplace the second edition I mean, I'm not sure what's after that, but if I had just stopped with one dream, you know I would have had a lot more free time actually in past five years but so keep track of what's important to you that's how you'll figure out if you're on the right track if the things that you were doing every day for your business or making you feel lousy then stop doing those things those things aren't going to make you feels successful that's not how you're going to define success the other side to that is though is some of the stuff that you need to do for your business it's just going to be things that you need to push through, you'll either need to push through the fear pushed through the just the blogger of it if it's something that you don't particularly like but if there is a tactic that you're using to make your business successful and that's not working for you that's what you can let go off if you're uncomfortable with numbers, you still need to do your books or know about your money so you could give up a lot of things but not everything if you don't like it, I want to remind you that you can pivot when you need teo you can choose to change directions you can choose to change your mind, you can choose to stop selling things you can choose to stop selling to a specific customer if you don't like the way they they interact with you after they get your product or if they always have too many questions, or if they want a lot of changes or if they're just mean to you, you don't have to take anybody's money ever you get to decide who you do business, where then how you do business and you get to decide what kind of business person you are going to be and what your day is going to be like every day, you are so in charge of everything that you want to get out of life, that it is crazy impossible for you to fail, the only way you can fail at having a handmade business as if you don't start and if you don't try, and if you don't put yourself out there, and if you don't push through your fears, that is the only way you can fail. So I want you to take care of yourself so you can take care of business and that's why I want to know how you're going to define success. That is what I want to know from you. Kathy, how do you define success? Get ready, everyone, because she's not the only one I'm crawling on, I was creating a community of for our community or tribe for my business, so I feel supported because that's one of the things that, um, not that I'm missing right now, but that I that I need to have in order to support and that's happened for you I see people responding to online and liking when you came up to do your item description so you're finding people who are genuinely interested in what you're doing and who are attracted to the work that you make that's really good erin you're next e think my next intention is tio increase my social media presence increased your social media presence that's good in the example of how to do that was done for you. So do you do you have any goals in mind for making that happen? How do you know when you're going to be successful? Well I don't know um I don't know I think I think I need to sit down and figure out what I really need what I which avenue of social media that I'd like tio focus on um so I don't really have an answer for that, right? Okay, so it sounds like you need to do some research on that but you have a direction that you want to go in yes, great, great. Leslie read what I wrote off man cry um for me, success is when my husband can comfortably pursue his passion without concern about providing for our family financially very, very nice. I bet your husband is somewhere right now feeling so appreciative of your desire to make that happen so yeah marlowe um I think a really being attention that I've learned through this whole three days is that it's really ok to let some things go? I do a lot and the whole perfectionism thing I think is is uh is just holding me back so you feel like that's stalling you out sometimes your desire to do things yeah your standard of because nobody's ever called you and then like what is it it's crap tomorrow thank you so much more and if they did, I wouldn't listen to them anyway because I don't listen to that kind of thing but um the you know, the thing about blogging I've been I've been thinking about it for years really since my very last post on any of my blog's and I think I'm just going toe take away that that barrier that it excuse of perfectionism and just just do it and why not? You know I'm not don't apologize e back in whenever you're ready yeah if you're not ever ready let it go yeah exactly let it go there's no reason to hand to stuff that's going to make you feel that if you're not going to do it anyways yeah there's no reason that there's no reason to put off your own happiness thank you for that you are very, very welcome ms rosalie gail let us hear it uh I would like to make some money my intention is financial tased by actually say that's fine yeah nobody wants to do this to be poor rights you know I mean, gosh, we would all be fantastic volunteers then and like just giving it away if money wasn't an objective I mean we want to create good jobs for ourselves and having a good job means having a good financial base so there's no reason to ever apologize for wanting to make money from your skill or from your business you were in business to make money so I am highly highly motivated by money because I would like tio have it so I need it I want to have it I'm willing to earn it and I tried to create jobs for myself that allow me to make it so yes that's a great one and one that we don't talk enough about in our creative community we seem to be like, oh, I just do it for the love of it or I'm so passionate. Whatever it is I feel like I feel like that's a lot of crap sometimes that you know we really need to make money and if you are not in business to make money, then you need to re evaluate why why you're in business because otherwise you could have a super awesome hobby or run a great charity which which is fantastic to but if you're in business to make money, don't be shy about it and you, heather now I'm feeling sassy about it. What do you have to say? No, I would I would definitely say that I won't feel successful when I make enough money to support my family that's, right? And I think when I am able tio share my creative space with other people, be able to afford to bring people in to do their own thing and learn, and when I am recognized, where people want to see what I'm working on next, and want to see what I create next, I think that that'll feel really good when people are waiting to see what comes out of my studio. Next be kathy, can you share with us your definition of success or your intention for the next six months? Yeah, I want to make more money, good, I would like my husband to stop telling me to get a real job. I would like that, too. Yeah, I'd like to read it nice. Yeah, that that doesn't help anybody get a real job, so I'd like to support myself and my family and education and do the things I'm doing, take care of the business side, wipe some of those projects off and get them started, and then do the fun stuff like the illustrations that I'd like to do in the new heinz I'd like to bring yeah and you can do that you could do that in the next time somebody tells you to get a real job let's say jump jump jump very busy creating my empire so stop it yes stuff it that's what I would say I put my husband eric in the lake all the time it's annoying to me so I want to spend our last few minutes here either listening to intentions from our online audience or answering questions, but first I want to say this is another amazing graphic I made I learned how to use the color font changer and was pretty excited about that. Um so I want to thank everybody for being here and for watching we can't believe that over and for communicating and I would love teo and this on a great news note from other people. So, um we would love to read you some of the online intentions I actually asked people to tweet them out there shopping and right in the chat room so one very volatile ok art spirit says my intention is to open etc store in two thousand fourteen I don't have a business yet, but since hearing all of this awesome info I feel confident and go for it uh that's a great one that's fantastic way have scavenger and he who has been with us probably all three days and her intentions are to started to channel reach out to and connect with local community to build a presence and get tutorials on my block we can't wait to see you do that that's going to be great annie okay so they just go on and on let's see curious kerry who's also been with us for the last three days says my intentions for the next six months are to continue to improve my photos get my website up and running with my own dough name domain name stop pressuring myself to blawg right give that up you give that up work on putting myself out there to the press and redefine some of some my products so I can add more ideal customers great what a great list all right I think we do have time for one final question if you are yes it's a good one and build upon exactly what what we've been talking about this whole time good make make sure it is good because I only have one answer left fans okay so car this is a question from car meena who says just because you love to create doesn't necessarily mean that you should start a business oh and so true so true but how do you know when what you're creating is good enough to sell? Usually my friends and family are the people who purchase what I do but how do I know I want to expand that to the rest of the world and I bet even people who have been with us this whole time are still question themselves and they're worth so what are your final words of wisdom for car? Meena okay, so I hear two things in that question when do I know if it's good enough that says to me that you're not quite sure that you actually want to sell it? You're waiting for some sort of outside justification to come to you, carmen and that says like this product must be for sale if you're not feeling that inside of you naturally then maybe you don't really want to have a handmade business if people are asking you to buy the product that is one good indicator and if you want to make it for sale that's the most important indicator is whatever it is that you're making something that you want to do over and over again or that you actually want to sell just because we make things doesn't mean we have to put them up for sale and I think that in today's world really hard to remember that and we talked about this a little bit last night an event that we have here a creative life but there's nothing wrong with being a handmade business supporter and being the kind of person you purchases from people are blog's about hand makers or who participates in the community that is a really great place to be. An r business world wouldn't exist without those supporters. Your product is is ready to be for sale when you are ready to sell things and that's. How you can tell if you should be selling it is if that is something that you genuinely want to dio, because if you don't want to be in business, you're not goingto have a good business. The end.

Class Description

Most artists and crafters are easily inspired to create new work, but getting inspired to build a business that shares that work with the world can sound like a much more daunting prospect. Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business, is ready to teach you everything you need to know to break into the online marketplace and share your work with the world.

Kari will help you determine the online sales venue that’s best suited to your handmade goods. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of both selling through an existing online marketplace (like Supermarket or Etsy®) and setting up your own independently-operated website. You’ll also develop the optimal marketing strategy for sharing your products with the world, from social media to blogging to branding and packaging. Kari will cover essential best practices for running a successful crafting business, including confidently setting price points, creating media kids, acting as your own publicist, and much more.

No matter what you make, this course will give you the confidence to see the things you have to offer as uniquely valuable to customers, the inspiration to take your work to new heights, and the foundation you need to ensure your business’s success.



Kari Chapin's course, Start a Handmade Business, was a game-changer for me. Her content was presented in such an accessible, engaging, easy-to-digest, and oftentimes hilarious way. At the same time, she did not sugar-coat things. Having a handmade business is a job and requires work. I love that she emphasized that fact. Not only did she give the nut and bolts of how to start a handmade business but spent a lot of time on the emotional component of being an artist trying to sell her work. Her guests (Skype and in-studio) were well-chosen and showed the rapport she has with her community. This showed that she lives what she teaches. The interaction with the studio audience and online community was integral to the course because it showed real-life examples of business owners at varying stages in their career. (I was so lucky to be one of the studio audience members. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!) This class was a comprehensive look at handmade businesses that everyone from fledgling businesses to more established businesses can benefit from. I highly recommend this course! Thank you Kari for sharing your mind-blowing wisdom and warm and fuzzy heart with us! And thank you CreativeLive for having this awesome resource for the creative community! --Cathy Pascual,


Well, it's been a few days since the course and I am still pumped. Kari said a few things in particular that I needed to hear and I'm so grateful for that. I have been involved in the facebook group she put together and I am so happy about that. It's an awesome resource and my fellow creatives have been very helpful and encouraging. I totally recommend this course to any creative entrepreneur at any stage in their journey. Plus she is cute, funny and has just the right amount of snarkiness. I so enjoyed it!

a Creativelive Student

I loved this course with Kari Chapin! Her wealth of information delivered with such an honest and funny voice was refreshing and inspiring. I have accomplished things in the last few days that have languished on my to-do list for a year or more, largely due to this class. Kari is very down-to-earth and just plain adorable! I highly recommend this course for anyone creative who has or wants to have their own business.