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)
- 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.