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[117] Round Table Q&A with Thrivers in Winchester, England

 

This week, I’m bringing you something special!

When I was in England recently, I had a Thriver meetup – and 5 wonderful makers (who also happen to be Thriver Circle members) came along. We spent 2 hours talking all things creative business!

In the first part of the session, each maker had 15 minutes to ask questions about their business. In the second session, I opened the floor to general handmade biz questions.

I did record everything, but alas, half of the first session didn’t save (darn technology!) so today I’m sharing with you that second session – the open Q&A.

We cover some important topics – from pricing to finding and marketing to your ideal customer, to collaboration and SEO. We packed a lot in this short session!

Enjoy, and a huge thanks to my guests for not only coming along and being awesome, but being willing for me to share this with the world via the podcast. Their names and details are below – do check them out!

 

My Guests

 

Quotes and Highlights:

  • Adela sought advice on marketing her card-making business for adults, Della by Design.
  • Try bundling and marketing kits for events – hen’s parties or girls’ craft nights in.
  • Market these event packages on the website separate from the individual kits to increase reach across audience markets.
  • Victoria, of Toria by Victoria Jowett, asked about establishing a creative partnership.
  • Approach your potential partner with a concrete proposal package.
  • Ensure that collaborative partnerships are formalised in a written contract.
  • “Remember, when you’re working with someone else it doesn’t just double your problems it multiplies them as there are two people wanting to get things done.” {Jess}
  • Jo, of Stitches to Treasure, enquired about how to establish a business focus.
  • “You don’t just have to have one group of target customers. You make different ways to engage the different groups.” {Jess}
  • Use a variety of marketing messages and customers will connect with the ones that resonate to them.
  • Suze, of Suze Harris Decorative Woodwork, sought advice on how to set an hourly rate.
  • Ensure you cover all of your time not just the making.
  • In the early stage of a business your time will be skewed towards learning lessons. This will shift as you gain experience.
  • “You can do all the maths you want with your pricing but at the end of the day it’s just the starting point. It’s not the end point.” {Jess}
  • Remember business is about experimentation. Take risks. (Jess shares an anecdote about product lines that have been trialed and retired)
  • Victoria is looking to boost her SEO.
  • Ensure photos are saved with key words and your business name in the title.
  • Mix up your key words and utilise the power of the Alt Tag.
  • Adela wants to run an Instagram Christmas promotion featuring styled images with objects from other businesses.
  • Try working with a different maker each day to increase reach and build relationships.

 

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[114] The Starving Artist Myth with Kerstin Pressler

 

Do you ever feel like you will never make any money from your art/craft… or, even worse, that you don’t really deserve to?

That it is somehow noble or the ‘right thing’ to not charge for what you create? That taking money for it will somehow devalue it?

You might be suffering from the myth of the ‘starving artist’. This idea that you can never make money from art, and that, in fact, there is something ‘bad’ about doing so.

In this episode, I chat with Kerstin Pressler, and we discuss this very myth – and why both of us are vehemently against it. Furthermore, we discuss ways that you CAN make money from your art or creative pursuits – right from the get-go. You don’t need to suffer for the sake of your art for years until you start making money from it!

 

 

Quotes & Highlights:

  • Kerstin Pressler is a fine artist living in Europe between Germany and the Netherlands.
  • A savvy businesswoman from the get-go Kerstin also runs ‘The Biz School for Creatives.
  • The Biz School for Creatives gives creative and makers the tools to make their art into a thriving business.
  • “I knew I didn’t want to struggle, so I needed to figure it out- I want to paint and create things, but I also knew that I needed to make money”- Kerstin Pressler
  • Kerstin started to figure out how to run a business while she was in art school, and as she kept learning she started to teach other students what she had learnt.
  • For the first few years, you can expect to spend 80 to 90 percent of your time working on the business side.
  • “It can be a choice- you don’t need to make a living from your art, but you need to accept that you will need to have a job, because you still need to eat!”- Kerstin
  • The starving artist myth: If you want to be a successful artist, you need to endure a long period of struggle in which you make little money because you’re so dedicated to your art and that is all that matters.
  • One way in which Kerstin supported herself was by being open to other revenue streams- teaching, smaller businesses and using social media (to name a few).
  • You don’t just need to finance your business- you need to finance your life, make sure your prices reflect this!”- Kerstin
  • Write down your price and see what the hourly rate is- you might find that for some pieces (especially those that are time consuming) that you are working under the minimum wage.
  • As artists sometimes we don’t charge what our work is worth because we are either being told that we, and our work is not good enough, or more commonly because you don’t have the confidence.
  • Think of two numbers (you’ll need to do the maths!)
    • In one year, how much money do I actually need to pay all my bills, including putting away savings, to survive?- this is your minimum.
    • How much would I need to be able to pay for all of the above, but be able to do things I want to do, for example: go on a holiday, buy new clothes- this number is your goal.
  • “Being a perfectionist is dangerous because it just means you never start, or never make a move because you’re so afraid of making a mistake”- Jess
  • If you wait until everything is perfect-it will never happen!”- Kerstin
  • There will always be a struggle, you just need to be confident that you can get through it.
  • Surround yourself with other creative and entrepreneurs that walk in similar shoes- people you can share the journey with who understand and don’t judge you.
  • “A doctor doesn’t need to explain himself, so (as an artist) why do I need to explain myself”- Kerstin
  • If you just commit to doing a lot of something, you’ll figure it out, simply because you have to.
  • Developing systems allows you to be able to hand that work off to someone giving you time to be creative.
  • You need to be willing to invest in order to grow.
  • You can find Kerstin and The Biz School for Creatives or connect with her on Facebook in the Sparkling Creative group.

 

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[68] The Future of Online Selling with Jonathan Peacock of Zibbet

The Create & Thrive Podcast 68

In this Episode I discuss all things SEO, website creation, and online marketplaces with Jonathan Peacock of Zibbet.

In the beginning, Jonathan developed Zibbet as an online sales platform for friends of his who were fine artists, as there wasn’t really an appropriate online sales platform for them at the time.

Over time, Zibbet has grown in scope. and now focuses on helping makers get their work into the world. They also offer their own website builder and have been working on some other pretty exciting things, which we discuss in this podcast.

We also chat about the future of social selling and the benefits of selling on an online venue as well as your own website – and how to best make these venues work for you.

This podcast includes some really great tips for both beginners and those with a little more experience. Jonathan has a great mind for business while keeping the particular needs of creative entrepreneurs squarely in his sights, and he and I are definitely on the same wavelength regarding how to be successful in business, as you’ll hear at the end of the ep!.

EPISODE 68 QUOTE

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • ‘If you do the work you WILL be competitive’ {Jess}
  • If you have a hobby you can sell in any online marketplace that is easy and works.
  • If you are creating a brand then you need to have your own website and domain name.
  • ‘If you are trying to build a real business and you don’t have your own website then you are doing it wrong’ {Jonathan}
  • You need to make sure that all links lead to your website not an online marketplace.
  • Sending traffic to an online marketplace could ultimately end up with you losing the sale to another maker.
  • Online markets should be used for extra sales and extra exposure.
  • You need to be competitive online, everything should be top notch.
  • Zibbet have their own website builder which is also integrated with their online marketplace.
  • Currently Zibbet are developing a platform that integrates a whole range of channels to make sales and inventory control even easier for sellers.
  • SEO is super important and stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
  • There is on-page SEO which includes title tag and meta description (your welcome message).
  • Fill these on-page SEO tools with great keywords and word it in a way that is enticing to people.
  • There is also off-page SEO which is all about creating back links to your website for example being a guest blogger.
  • Make sure all online appearances such as guest blogging link back to your website and keep creating these external link backs.
  • Google yourself to see what comes up. This are what you need to work on. It has to be good stuff.
  • Do your research with website builders as features and cost can vary greatly.
  • Jonathan notes three things that are really important for building a business.
  • 1. Consume a lot of great content because that is how you learn and grow.
  • 2. You need to work really hard, there are no short-cuts.
  • 3. You need to have lots of patience as this journey takes time.
  • ‘Constantly learn, work very hard, and be patient’ {Jonathan}
  • You can find and explore Zibbet here or head over to the Create & Thrive facebook page to enter our giveaway!

 

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[39] Daisy Forster on Facebook and Thinking Inside the Box

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Daisy Forster runs a creative business selling her hand-dyed yarns.

She started her business selling online via Facebook, and has since grown to offer yarn club subscriptions, and also run dyeing workshops and retreats as well as business retreats to assist other creatives.

I invited Daisy on the show after a comment she made in the Thriver Circle, about how she has used social media – primarily Facebook – to grow her business to a very profitable level over the last few years. With all the talk out there about how Facebook ‘doesn’t work’ any more for small business, I thought it was worthwhile to pick her brain about it – to find out why it worked for her, and how you can use that knowledge in your own business.

We also discuss the huge leap forward her business made when she decided to start offering a ‘yarn club’ subscription – members get a box with a new skein/skeins of her hand-dyed yarn every month that they are subscribed. This is been so successful that Daisy currently has 4 different clubs, and it is a huge part of her business model.

If you’ve ever thought about offering a subscription club for your own handmade goods, don’t miss this one!

 

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Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Daisy Forster runs Devon Sun Yarns, hosts luxury yarn retreats, is a knitter, and a creative business mentor.
  • Daisy found that using Facebook worked naturally to grow her business, as she was already involved in many groups as an active member.
  • ‘You need to build a community with the people who like your page’. {Daisy}
  • Daisy created a yarn club to help her organise, supply to her committed customers, and streamline her business.
  • ‘Make sure your business is working for you’. {Daisy}
  • It is important to work smart in the small amount of time that you have.
  • Daisy likes to work with what is inspiring her at the time which keeps her business flexible.
  • When it comes to social media you should check in with your business multiple times a day.
  • ‘The best marketing moves I have made are to be consistent’. {Daisy}
  • Always be present on social media as people love to know you will be there.
  • Learn and know when your peak times are to post so you show up on peoples feeds every day.
  • ‘Positive systems and habits can be the difference between sanity and insanity’. {Jess}
  • Don’t wait. The real learning comes from doing.
  • You can find Daisy at her website, Instagram or Facebook.
  • The book Daisy is featured in: The Business of Being Social

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[24] Blogging, Content, and Design Essentials with Arianne Foulks of Aeolidia

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 24

Today I am talking with the amazing Arianne Foulks from Aeolidia, with whom I discuss the essential website design and content elements that will ensure your site invites people in and encourages them to want to shop with you.

Arianne has a wildly successful web and graphic design studio, and directs a team of people who craft gorgeous websites for creatives. I invited her on the show because she knows what works! In this episode we talk about logo design, photography, content, and more – all the things which a great website needs to get right.

It’s so important to have your own home on the internet – somewhere that represents your business to the world and tells your business story. But it can be hard to know what to focus on when creating a website, as there are so many possibilities!

Listen in for Arianne’s top tips for making sure your business’s online home is the best it can be.

 

Have your domain name

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • “Have your own domain name even if you have other web presences.” {Arianne}
  • Get your domain name and point it to your primary online presence (e.g. Etsy)
  • Having your own domain belongs to you and nobody else unlike Facebook and Etsy when your shopfront belongs to those companies.
  • People want to go at their leisure and find out about you online before getting in contact.
  • It’s like having a menu in a restaurant, it’s a way to see what’s on offer before you sit down to eat.
  • Your about page is the most important thing to get done first on your website.
  • “People want to know who made it, why they made it and what their story is.” {Arianne}
  • Big beautiful photos are so important.
  • Tell a story with your products through styling.
  • “Learn a little bit about what makes good photography. Less of the technical stuff and more of what makes a great photo.” {Arianne}
  • Make sure you tell people your name so they feel they know you a little more.
  • Contact information is vital.
  • “It’s an important for searchability to keep your website up to date and relevant” {Jess}
  • It can be important to have both their own website and other online stores if possible.
  • It’s not enough to rely on Etsy or another platform to send them buyers.
  • “Relying solely on a company who is not under your control to send you customers is not ideal.” {Arianne}
  • Build up an audience on your own website.
  • “I can sell in Australian Dollars on my own website but in American Dollars on Etsy.” {Jess}
  • StitchLabs: A way to keep your inventory up to date on multiple platforms without having to do it manually.
  • It’s still very important to blog even when you have an ecommerce site.
  • “Those who have been in the blogging world for ages think it’s a no-brainer. But for newbies I understand the confusion about why you would blog.” {Jess}
  • You need to enjoy blogging to want to blog.
  • Blogging brings traffic to your site – partly through Google and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
  • Blogging gives you keywords which will eventually list on Google and traffic will come to you over the years.
  • “Having a blog can really humanise your brand.” {Arianne}
  • Establish yourself as an expert in something.
  • Once you start blogging it makes all your other marketing efforts easier.
  • Your social media is made much easier when you have your blog written and you can borrow content.
  • “Get yourself on a schedule and find something that you like and you enjoy doing with your blog.” {Arianne}
  • Make sure you’re keeping your target market in mind.
  • Video can be a great way to get more people interested in your website.
  • Make sure you have some keywords associated with your video so it’s searchable.
  • “There’s a lot of writing that goes into marketing.” {Arianne}
  • “When we say keywords, we don’t just mean individual words.” {Jess}
  • Think about it more like a ‘keyphrase’.
  • What are your customers going to be typing in?
  • Try not to use jargon and lingo that your customers may not know.
  • Keep working on your website as long as it doesn’t take you away from other aspects of your business that also may need work.

 

Download/Listen to this Episode

 

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)