The Ultimate Toolkit To Grow Your Handmade Business

Benefit from my process, tools and resources I use everyday to help my creative clients smash it online and turn their handmade dreams into a thriving business.

I put together the ultimate toolkit of online resources, services and apps to help your business standout, attract your dream customers, and sell more handmade online.

Passion To Profit: Creative Women Summit – From February 13 to 17, join me along with 20+ creative heroines during this weeklong virtual conference that will help turn your creative passion into a profitable business. Grab your free ticket.

Shopify – My favorite e-commerce platform I use to build my design and strategy on for clients. Whether you're just starting out or need a more robust selling platform, Shopify gives you the flexibility and full control to create a fully branded shopping experience while supporting your promotional efforts. Start your free trial.

EasyImport Etsy Importer – A timesaving Etsy to Shopify migration app that loads your existing product listings to your new online store in a few clicks.

Kit – Meet a virtual marketing assistant that runs on autopilot. Kit is a Shopify app that handles Instagram and Facebook advertising, email marketing, and social posting to help drive sales.

Pure Chat – Make it easy for customers to ask questions and close more sales. The app integrates seamlessly with your online store and helps you stay in touch with customers from anywhere.

Convertkit – You don't have to be a blogger to love Convertkit. It's email marketing made easy with features to grow your list, segment and tag subscribers, and identify your customers versus your prospects so you can market effectively. 

Clickfunnels – I help clients build excitement for their product, grow their email list, and even land pre-sales before I launch their online store. How? With Clickfunnels promotional landing and sales pages to target your dream customers. Start your free trial.    

Brand Mapping For Creatives E-Course – I created this online course to help creative makers get clear on your brand using visual mapping instead of struggling with writer's block.

40 Tools and Resources For Creating Beautiful DIY Product Photography – If your not ready for professional photography, this is a must read for taking quality products photos on your own.

10 Common Jewelry Product Photography Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) – Specialize in jewelry design? Get specific tips to help your product photos stand out.

9 Simple Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell – Learn to write descriptions that speak to your customers' desires and persuades them to buy.

If you need help using any of these resources, send me a note with your questions and I'll be in touch.

NOTE: Some resources contain affiliate links.

Ready To Graduate From Etsy? Shop-Worthy Ingredients For An Online Store That Sells

 

Ever wondered if Etsy restrictions are holding your business back? If growing your email list is a no-no, it’s nearly impossible to win repeat sales among the ginormous pool of Etsy sellers. Follow some of my tips below, to leave seller limitations far behind and create an online store to generate traffic and sales.

Here’s a 7-point roadmap that will help you migrate from Etsy to you own shop-worthy store:

 

DON’T SOLEY RELY ON MARKETPLACES AKA ETSY

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking Etsy. It’s a great first step towards launching your handmade business dreams. But it’s important to understand that Etsy is a marketplace for selling and not your website. Like renting space at a craft fair it may offer good visibility but the trade offs can be costly. Limitations in strategic design layout, listing fees, or no direct promotions just to name a few.

Giving your handmade business an online home gives you complete control to implement a solid sales strategy...one built on a formula of:

  • traffic > outreach tactics to drive traffic to your online shop
  • conversion > having a website that “speaks” to your dream customers and makes it easy for them to buy
  • nurturing > relationship building with existing and potential customers until they’re ready to buy from you

YOU’RE NOT GRABBING THEIR DETAILS BEFORE THEY LEAVE

As an Etsy seller you’re only allowed to use your customer contact information for the purposes of completing a sales transaction. This means you can’t add them to your email list, send promotional emails, or simply check-in. If you are, you’re putting your Etsy shop at risk of being shut down. Why put your only sales platform at risk?

With your own functional and well-designed online store, you’re able to get visitor’s attentions and collect their email address. Even if they’re not ready to purchase yet. How? You offer them value in the form of a ‘lead magnet’. Something they’re willing to hand over their email address for. And yes! This applies to product sellers too!

A lead magnet is typically free and offers value in the form of:

  • Product tip sheets
  • Gift guides
  • Maker’s process guide
  • Usage or styling guides
  • The possibilities are endless

To maximize the impact of your lead magnet, include a time sensitive (i.e. expires in 7-days) or limited quantity (i.e. available to the first 5 customers) offer that creates urgency and gives them an easy way to buy from you. 

Get all 7 shop-worthy ingredients to create your own killer online store:

 

 

YOU DON’T HAVE AN EFFECTIVE SALES CONVERSION PLAN

In the web industry, we call the page with your key call-to-action, such as Shop Now, Get The Tip Sheet, etc., the ‘goal page’. When the web visitor leaves the goal page without hitting a call-to-action, we call that ‘a leak’.

When you launch your own online shop it needs an effective conversion plan. One that focuses on the kinds of things that reduces leaks, such creating good first impressions through great design, easy navigation, benefit-driven copy, accessible pricing and a highly visible call-to-action.

On Etsy and other marketplaces, you have no control over design layout or custom call-to-actions that can optimize your web presence and entice visitors to click buy. And can't add or change high converting tactics such as:

  • Irresistible lead magnet which offers incredible value & can be consumed rapidly
  • Interesting product video banners
  • Benefit-driven lightbox pop-ups
  • Simple effective navigation
  • And more...

The conversion plan should also consider the sales funnel or strategy to pull your web visitors from an initial simple action, right through all the stages of engagement to becoming a customer.

 

3 KEY TAKEAWAYS YOU CAN IMPLEMENT NOW

Lesson 1: Don’t rely on Etsy or other marketplaces to sustain your handmade business.

Lesson 2: Don’t break the rules, make the rules with your own online store and a solid sales strategy.

Lesson 3: The quickest way to grow your email list is to offer a lead magnet tailored for your dream customer. 

 

I've shared with you just a sampling of how to create your own online store that actually works for you to generate traffic and sales. Get all 7 tips in the Beyond Etsy: Roadmap here:

 

How To Write A Killer Product Description That Sells

Free shipping. Couch shopping. Instant chat support…just some of the conveniences your online store offers customers. But one disadvantage for your customers is not being able to try a product before a purchase.

Especially true for handmade goods or food products…you just can’t ship out one piece of candy for customers to taste compared to a physical storefront.

You can add trust factors to boost credibility like customer reviews, guarantees, your story and maker’s process to your online store. But until there’s an “app for that”, your online store can’t replicate the tactile and sensory experience a brick and mortar store delivers.

As a shop owner, you can take advantage of the untapped power of your product descriptions to boost confidence while reducing returns and unsatisfied customers.

A killer product description does more then lists a bunch of features. It’s an opportunity to convey desire, whimsy, and transformation in addition to your product’s physical traits.

Imagine walking into your favorite store or boutique…The sales associate doesn’t come up to you and ramble on about the size, color, fabric, and exact measurements of the dress you’re eyeing.

No, the associate sells the benefits of the dress and would say something like…

“That dress is a perfect transition piece from work to cocktails. The V-neck elongates the neck and accentuates the collarbone. The fabric is airy, lightweight and lets you move effortlessly. Did you notice the side slit? Sexy and tasteful at the same time. And the color? Cobalt blue pops with your skintone…”

See the pattern? A good sales person skillfully weaves the features of the product with the benefits. And that’s what you need to do as a successful shop owner. Obviously you can’t have an exchange with your customers like in-store, but the idea is to anticipate the needs and desires of your customers.

So where to begin?

Start by reading through your product descriptions. Is it descriptive? Does it tell a story? Can your customer imagine him or her/self in the description? Or does it read more like a grocery list?

Next, split your product description in two parts…

Part 1: Your product story. Tell the story from the perspective of your customer. The occasion they would use your product. How the product makes them feel. Offer suggestions for wearing, cooking, or using your product. Make the story conversational as if you’re talking directly to one customer.

Part 2: Your product features. While not exciting, features offer the important need-to-know details about your product. This would be a bullet list of size, color, material, dimensions or other characteristics to help your customers make an informed decision. Don’t lead with features. Place this part under your product story.

Here’s an example of how jewelry designer, Megan Auman interweaves product story with features in her descriptions.

In addition, Megan also share characteristics about her materials to highlight its beauty.

Jewelry designer, Megan Auman mixes product story and features for a compelling description.

Jewelry designer, Megan Auman mixes product story and features for a compelling description.

The ability to craft a product description that taps into the lifestyle, desires and needs of your customers will lower uncertainty and result in more sales. 

Need help to makeover your product descriptions? Contact us to see how we can amp up your copy to sell.

Winning Strategies To Promote Your Online Store: Plus Free Tracker

Your online store is live and optimized to sell with in-store appeal and a sales funnel to lead customers down the rabbit hole of sales. But how do you hit your sales goals and continually drive traffic excited to buy from you? With a promotional strategy, of course...

One of the biggest mistakes I see handmade business owners make when it comes to their online store is not having a strategy or plan to get folks to buy from you. The days of "build it and they will shop" is over. If you want your creative business to give you the financial freedom you've been dreaming of, here's how to create and roll out a promotional campaign to sell more handmade online.

So what's a promotional campaign, anyway? A promotional campaign highlights a particular product line or feature to a specific audience(s) for a limited period of time (usually associated with a holiday, event or special observance) with the goal of selling. Think Black Friday, Valentine's Day or my favorite Mother's Day!

Now that we've covered the basic of what a promotion is, it's your turn to brainstorm, create and roll out your own promotional campaign. Need help? So glad you asked! I'm going to help shorten your learning curve and outline to steps to create promo campaigns to drive more traffic and sell more handmade products.

And to save you even more time, I've put together a 2017 E-commerce Promotional Calendar & Sales Tracker to keep all your promotional activities organized and stay in the know with how much you've made. Download promotional calendar for free now!

Let's get started...

1)   Set financial goals: How much do you want to make this year? Start with the end in mind. Name your big financial goal for your handmade business. Then break that figure up into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily sales goals. So, if you want your online store to generate $60,000 in annual sales. You'll need to hit $15,000 per quarter, $5000 per month, $1154 per week, and $165 per day in sales. Okay, have your number? Great, plot it on your calendar. 

2)   Identify your audience: Who are your core customers? Who are your products made for? If you’ve come up with everyone, then start again. It’s impossible to do, be and provide all things to all people. You need a clear vision of your customer. So clear you could physically describe them, share a snapshot of their life with a friend, and identify their deepest pain and desires. Stuck on branding? Check out my free Brand Mapping for Creatives course.

3)   Create value content: Even though you sell products, a solid promotional strategy does more than say "buy this now". Especially true if you’re not a large brand with a following. You need to build traction overtime with know, like and trust factors. Tell a story about your maker's process or the life cycle of your product...be creative and have fun.

4)   Plot out holidays & observances: If you've downloaded my free E-commerce Promotional Calendar & Sales Tracker, I've done the heavy lifting for you with major holidays & observances already plotted out. Customers have been primed to shop for holidays and special occasions. So take advantage of that with your promotional campaigns. Don’t feel you have to promote for every event. But do take advantage of ones that make sense for your business.

5)   Create your offers: Think outside the discount box when coming up with your offers. Sure customers love a discount or free shipping but if you offer discounts every other week there’s no urgency to buy now. Customers can just wait until your next sale. Try a contest or even an added-value like gift with purchase. Just make sure to limit your offer to create scarcity and urgency to buy now, not later.

6)   Plan Your Rollout: Identify when you want to start your promotion (or lead way to get your audience excited and share your promotion with others). Another method is a flash event were you only give 48-24 hours to take advantage of the offer. Next, decide how you’ll let your audience know. An email to only your VIP customers, SMS text, social media engagement, paid advertising or an combination of all. When notifying your audience, remember where they hangout and preferred method of communication.

7)   Leverage Partnerships: Enlist the help of other brands to bolster your promotion. Reach out and build relationships with influencers and complimentary brands. You never know who may be open to a cross-promotion for maximum reach and impact.

8)   Track Your Results: Remember your goals? It’s important to track your results, to see what’s working and what’s not. In addition to sales, you'll want to track website analytics (bounce rate, sales conversion, etc.), social media engagement, and advertising impressions.

Create Your Promotional Campaign...

Okay, now that you're armed with everything to get you started, create your own promotional campaign. I'd love to see what you've come up with. So after you download the free calendar, share in the comments how your campaign is going!

8 Habits To Embrace & Let Go To Jumpstart Your Creative Business

The New Year is a traditional time to set goals and improve habits for both your personal life and business. Whether you’re big into resolutions or not, there are success habits that can make a positive impact on your creative business – and other habits holding you back from business success.

December and January are my favorite times of year for my business. I take time out to evaluate what worked really well, things that didn’t, and set goals for the coming year. It’s so empowering to kick January off with a bang because I’m armed with a plan to move my business forward.

With the help of my business mentor, I learned that everyday behaviors have the power to prime my business for success (or derail it). So here are a few habits and mindset hacks that can turn your creative business into a profitable success.


 

EMBRACE

 

A Morning Ritual:

A morning ritual is a scheduled time before starting your day that’s dedicated to activities that fuel your mind, body or soul. These are often things like exercise, journaling, or breakfast (actually sitting at your table) that we put off for later in the day. Then when we get busy, are easy to put off and never do it.

The practice of a morning ritual allows you to enter your day by focusing on your needs in a relaxed environment and gives you the space to prioritize the rest of your day.

Starting a morning ritual is as easy as blocking out time in your calendar. You may need to wake up an hour earlier or more. Even if you’re not a morning person, (like me), your morning ritual is designed to be something to look forward to. So getting up earlier is no longer something to dread.

Once you’ve set the time, next figure out what you want to do. Maybe exercise, journaling, meditation, learning a new language, or even a mini Netflix binge. The choice is yours so you might as well be creative with it! If you have multiple activities you may want to dedicate a morning for each. Monday morning is exercise; Tuesday morning is drawing, etc.

Doing The Work:

As a creative, I know you have a million new ideas floating in your mind. To truly jumpstart your business it’s time to take you ideas from thoughts to action.

Doing the work sounds so simple, right? It’s my mantra whenever I find myself paralyzed in perfection or self-doubt. When I actually start taking action, I soon get a result. Most of the time the results are positive, like sharing great content, but sometimes the result doesn’t always hit the mark. And I’m okay with that (as a recovering perfectionism that speaks volumes)!

It’s best to have a result that can be tweak, than never getting an idea out of your head. Doing the work takes practice and reframing your mindset. Being able to acknowledge when fears and doubts start to creep in is a first step. Once you acknowledge your state of mind, it’s easier to make a conscious decision to do it anyway. Or ask yourself; do I want to be in the same place in my business as I am today?

One of my illustrations inspired by Danielle's book.

One of my illustrations inspired by Danielle's book.

More Creativity:

Embrace other forms of creativity. Maybe you’re a ceramics artist who uses your imagination and hands to create. When the occasional creative block arises instead of scrolling Instagram, expressing yourself in another creative form can help recharge your creative business.

Try writing, drawing, or even dancing. You’ll never know when your creative genius will strike for your next product line or collection. Thanks to Danielle Meder’s book Draw Fashion Now, I balance designing and strategizing e-commerce stores with fashion illustration.

Goal Setting:

I use to dread setting business goals. I’d just wait and see what would happen...big mistake. Setting goals reminded me of annual reviews when I worked in corporate. Just write a bunch of stuff that sounds good to my boss and then forget about it.

But goal setting for your creative business is exciting. One, because it’s work you actually love doing. Second, if you don’t set clear goals or at least a roadmap to follow you can get off track without knowing it. I created the Brand Mapping for Creatives course to help entrepreneurs get clear on their brand using visual mapping. Check it out and enroll for free.


 

LET GO...

 

Perfectionism:

As a recovery perfectionist, I know it can be hard to finish a project when your mind’s telling you to add one last thing (over and over again). But remember it’s about progress never perfection.

Being a perfectionist only sets you up for attaining something that doesn’t exist. When you perceive someone as perfect, they're just playing up on their strengths. But at the end of the day, we’re all real people that deal with ups and downs. So focus on your strengths and let the other stuff go. And when people see the “other stuff” embrace it – it’s what makes you human.

Shiny Object Syndrome AKA Distractions:

I heard that humans are attracted to shiny objects because our ancestors sought out the gleaming reflection of water to quench our thirst. True or not, shiny object syndrome can totally derail you off your creative business. Your head spins like Linda Blair when you see a new tool that you can live without…even though you’ve been doing just fine without it.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting new things that can improve your productivity or business, but when you have shiny object syndrome it paralyzes you from doing anything until you get that object. My business would be 10x better if only I had X. And until then I’m not going to create.

Or you get one shiny object only to be swayed by another 2 seconds later. These distractions will not move your business forward. Once you set goals for your business (Embrace #4), you can use them as a compass for decision-making.

Then you can ask yourself, will this product, service, or course help me attain my goals. If so, then you should consider it. If not, move on immediately.

Comparing Yourself To Others:

This goes hand in hand with shiny object syndrome because most often you want something another person has. Whether it’s your competitor, peer, or business idol self-comparison to others can be self-defeating.

It’s important to differentiate between people you admire and look up to versus putting yourself down because your not their yet. Instead of beating yourself up, (Embrace #2) and just do the work to achieve the success you see in others.

Procrastination:

Putting things off only delays your progress. Acknowledge what your procrastination is all about: fear, perfectionism, success then do it anyway.

If you take your creative business seriously, there will be things that push you out of your comfort zone. It may feel dreadful at first, but remember why you started your creative business in the first place. Then compare what life was like before starting your business. Do you really want to go back to that place? Procrastination is the quickest way to limit your handmade business dreams.

 

So what habits will you embrace and let go? Share in the comments below, I love to hear how you'll change your business mindset in the New Year.