Learning as you Go


First Lessons

(day 3 abc)

I started this online selling business about 8 months ago.  WOAH!  I’ve come a really long way in such a time.  I’ve also put a lot of hard work into this.  I will admit that when I started I was pretty clueless to the whole ordeal.  I didn’t really know what people would be interested in, didn’t really know how to go about marketing, and was basically clueless.  However, throughout all of my research, I’ve learned quite a few things about selling hand-made crafts.

  1. People will buy ANYTHING.  When I first started, my thoughts were “but that’s so easy to make.  If someone wants it, they can just make it themselves.”  There are so many people who either can’t find the time to do it, or don’t want to put forth the effort, or for whatever reasons, simply will not make it themselves.  Hand-made can be cute, chic, popular, and buying it already made is *easy*.
  2. Research makes a HUGE difference.  I started off with some pretty interesting products.  I thought they were pretty cool at the time, but turns out there was little to no interest.  After doing some research, making up a lot of different test products, I was finally able to create a niche that I enjoyed and would sell.  Any time that I am debating about adding a new product, I now put forth the research and ask myself a few key questions.
    • Crochet Newborn TurtleCan I offer something unique?  Let’s specifically look at my newborn turtle shell photo prop (it’s a top seller right now).  If my little turtle looked like all of the others, mine wouldn’t stand out.  There would be no reason for anyone to click on my thumbnail because it looks exactly like the one next to it as well as the one before it.
    • Can I offer it at a competitive price?  There are some things on the market that people are selling for pretty cheap.  If I offered my own rendition of the product at that price I’d be jipping myself.  Maybe they’ve discovered a more efficient method of making it, or maybe they are jipping themselves in order to get more purchases.  I dunno, but I respect myself and my business too much to offer something at too low of a price.
    • Is there even a market for this product?  If you offer something that no other seller in your market place offers…well…this can either be hugely good, or hugely bad.  Sometimes the truly unique products sell the best, but oftentimes, they also sell the worse.
  3. Marketing hand-made craftsMarketing can largely impact your sales.  If no one knows about your product (apart from searches within the marketplace), how can they buy it?  And depending on what market you are using (etsy is becoming a bit overcrowded and can be seriously competitive), you might be in for quite a challenge.  There are lot of easy and free marketing devises that are largely effective in letting people know that you exist as a business (Please, check out my other post: Advertising Your Crafts? For more information about free and effective advertisement).
  4. Be specific.  Followers come about because of consistency and specific products.  If someone is looking for newborn photo props (because they are a photographer, for example), they will probably stumble along my etsy shop, and seeing a few things that they like, favorite my entire shop rather than one or two products.  This will keep them in touch when I add more and new products that they might also like.

I’m sure that there are several other lessons that I could dive into about my first several months as a seller.  The important thing to consider is, I’ve done a LOT of research, and I’ve learned a LOT about the challenges and difficulties, and have even over come quite a bit to get to where I am today.  It’s all about learning from your mistakes, making changes where you see you can, and always growing better, stronger, and upwards.

Research to be an expoer

I’d know that I would certainly *LOVE* to hear of any lessons you’ve learned during the first couple months of your business.  I’m sure that some of my other readers would also enjoy your stories and learning from word-of-mouth is sure easier than learning from your own mistakes!

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11 thoughts on “Learning as you Go

  1. Hi Sarah,

    About your first point, many people might not know HOW to do it. What seems so easy to you could be completely unapproachable to others. For example, crafts and me? No way! On the other hand, I can build websites with eyes closed in under an hour.

    What I learned is that one of the keys to successful marketing is speaking the language of your customer. Research and hanging around where your customer hangs around helps a lot – as you rightly pointed out.

    Great post – thanks for sharing.

    Dee

    1. That is very true about some people being able to do things that other people can’t. I also agree about speaking the language of your customer (defining terms).
      Thanks so much for your comment, Dee!
      -Sarah

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