Where do I start?

Personally I feel that it is great to share your knowledge of any skill. I especially enjoy sharing how I managed to quit my waitressing job last spring and started a business selling my handcrafted jewelry. Honestly it has been the hardest I have ever worked at anything, but it also happens to be the most rewarding. I started this blog hoping it would give other people the inspiration to stop living for someone else’s business and start reaping the benefits of their own talents. I want to caution that this type of endeavor comes with a lot of hard work, a ton of marketing, and some jewelry making.

In the beginning phases of starting my business I worked many uncountable hours researching how other people ran business, when and where all of the Michigan Art Shows and Music Festivals were, which involved long hours on the computer. There are more streamlined ways of finding shows, I am continually seeking way to make more time for jewelry and less time bug-eyed staring at the computer. But there is always an upside to everything in life, staring at the computer allows me to share this blog and information with anybody who wants to know.

Now that I have been at this for a little time, I realize that the way of making a business successful is marketing and promotion. Here are some tips on promoting you handcrafted items. I am going to start with the basics, those things you can do while you are honing your skills while still working your ‘day job’.

  • Get a business card. If you do not have the capacity to design your own, look to some local printing shops, they might be able to help, or they have may have templates. If you are interested in a template designed card, you should take a little time to think it over. One of the biggest problem with using a template is that it may be difficult to distinguish yourself. Take time to look at public bulletin boards in restaurants and other public spaces to make sure no one else is using the template you are interested in. You do not want to be embarrassed when a toilet cleaning service has the same business card you do. Business cards are an investment into branding your business and they should be thoroughly thought about. If at all possible, design your own card, but only if you are capable. Ask for other people’s advice about your design before you send it off to be printed. I would also like to add that it is probably cheaper in the long run to have your cards professionally printed and they will look more professional. I like to do things locally, but my business cards are one thing that I do order because I have found a place that offers the type of service I am looking for at an affordable rate. The company I use is Vista Print, they are an internet based company and after your initial set up they will send you a million offers that are generally free except for shipping. Even if you are unsure of where your business is going, if you want to sell your jewelry you need a way for people to get in contact with you. I read on the internet somewhere that it is a good idea to put a picture of your product on your business card, which seems to be a good idea. I think it allows people to have a visual reminder of why they picked up your card in the first place. Below is my personal business card which I designed with Adobe Photoshop. This is an expensive and somewhat difficult program to use( I am grateful that it was included on my computer which I pay for through tuition at Northern Michigan University)
  • Business Card

  • Look at the resources for obtaining a Tax Identification Number. There are different licenses available based on how much you actually want to sell. There are vendors permits and different rules on if you have to pay taxes based on the amount of goods you plan to sell. If you are in Michigan, the page where I found information on my tax obligations. The Tax Identification Number is basically the same thing as a business license, but you should read and research your obligations, as I only know those pertaining to Michigan. It is also free to obtain a Tax ID Number in Michigan and you can do it entirely over the internet. Also, if you are planning to sell in other states, you probably need a Tax ID Number from that individual state.


Filed under Business Tips, Festivals & Shows, Hand Crafted Jewelry, Jewelry Business, Jewelry Making, My Environment

6 responses to “Where do I start?

  1. Great business tips Beth, and I want to congratulate you on making an easy transition between your waitress job and starting your own business.
    I wanted to comment here because I teach small business owners how their business cards are great marketing tool, and one of the first tools that any business owner get when they are starting their business – but somehow don’t know how to use it to full potential.
    I would like to add one more tip here , and suggest small business owners to join their own local chamber of commerce, and get connected with some other local businesses where they can ask for advise , whether that is their business card or tax advice.
    I know you want to stay away from computer but please continue writing on your blog more great tips and share your knowledge with online community :). I enjoyed reading your article and thank you for that.

  2. Debbie

    Need a business license? I just chanced upon a great website for all your business licenses, tax registration forms and all kinds of permits. Thousands of businesses use their services every day to be in compliance. They cover every business license, permit, and tax registration from a California Business License to a Florida Business License and all-states in-between. I really think that you should check it out! Their website is http://www.businesslicenses.com
    Good Luck!

  3. blysemomma

    Great post. I share in those sentiments. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the good suggestions. I have been selling my jewelry at flea markets believe it or not and doing very well. If you are considering it as a way to get started, I highly recommend a DVD that showed me how to do it successfully. It talks about making $1,000 per day at flea markets and I have been very successful since I started using these techqniques. Take a look at http://www.salesandmanagementsolutions.com/lp_flea.htm to see if it might help you.

  5. I have never done a flea market, does it seem like everyone is trying to haggle for the deal?

  6. Thank you! This is a start for me and I am at the point of feeling stuck and this helping me out. I also am a strong believer in marking on your skills and to focus on your dream instead of working towards someone else’s!

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