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(CLOSED) Win one of TWO places in the upcoming Set Up Shop ecourse!

1-Win Set Up Shop

I’m so excited to be bringing you the very first Create & Thrive e-course this April!

I’ve been dreaming of offering this course for a long time now – in fact, if you happened to be at the Problogger conference last year, you may have been in the audience when I was up on stage chatting to Chris Guillebeau about it. He (and those of you in the audience) told me it sounded like something people really needed… and so here it is.

I’ve been in this handmade business gig for quite a while now (5 years!) and I’ve learnt a LOT along the way. It’s certainly been less than smooth sailing, and I made SO many mistakes!

There are so many things I wish I’d learnt sooner, because they made a huge difference to the success of my business.

I’ve also talked to many a handmade business owner over the last few years, and the same questions kept coming up over and over and over again. So I thought “what if there was a course where someone could learn all the fundamental steps they need to take to get their handmade shop and business ship-shape from the get-go?”.

Now there is.

Set up Shop is a practical, detailed, step-by-step guide to take your online shop from Go to WHOA in just 30 days!

Maybe you’re yet to open your online shop… you’re in the planning and dreaming stages, and just need that final push!

…or perhaps you’ve opened an Etsy shop, but are just muddling along, not sure if you’re ‘doing it right’?

… maybe you’ve been successfully wholesaling, but with the way the retail market is going, you know it’s time to take the leap to selling online, too?

…or, you want to learn how to set up shop on your own website, rather than on someone else’s venue?

 

Sound like something you need?

If you want to find out all the deets about the course, just visit this page. Oh, and make sure you’re subscribed to the C&T updates, because the peeps on my list get first access to the course, and some levels only have limited places available…

Registration doesn’t open till later in March… but this week, I’m giving away TWO places in the course – one Gold Membership and one Silver Membership.

(Please note, this giveaway is now closed. Winners will be announced soon!)

How to Enter

Gold Membership Place

This place is a merit-based prize. I will choose the winner based upon your comment.

Leave a comment below telling me why you NEED this course. What difference would it make to your business… and your life? Is it that little bit of help you need to take you from hobbyist to professional?

Silver Membership Place

This is a random-draw prize.

Complete as many or as few of the entry options below. The more you choose to do, the more points you’ll accrue… and the more chance you’ll have to win.

 

By leaving a comment and completing some of the other entry options, you will be in both draws! 

This competition is open world-wide, to anyone who dreams of turning their handmade hobby into a business! All you need is a computer, some time during April to complete the course, and the passion to make it happen – because that’s something I simply can’t teach you. Entries close Midnight Sunday the 17th of March AEST.

Best of luck – can’t wait to meet you in the course!

Oh, and remember… if you don’t win, but still want to be the first to know when registration opens, subscribe to the C&T updates (you’ll get a free ebook, too – sweet eh?)!

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C&T Q&A – How Do I Price My Handmade Goods?

 

how do I price my handmade goods

Today’s question is from Linda Ursin, and she writes:

How do you know what price to set for your crafted items?

Ahh, the age-old pricing question! We all ask it – and chances are, we’ll keep asking it for as long as we’re in business.

I hate to break it to you, but pricing is never a done and dusted thing. As your business grows – as you grow as an artisan – what you make and what you charge will evolve with you.

There is no one-size-fits-all magic bullet to pricing. Sorry!

However – there are some tools, guidelines and strategies to take into account when you’re pricing your wares to ensure you’re making the money you need to be making – and making what you and your work is worth, rather than underselling yourself.

Underpricing is a HUGE issue in the handmade community, and anything I can do to battle that is a good thing in my book 🙂

 

1. Price With The Head

Let’s start with the most basic of tools – the formula. I promise it’s not too scary!

I have found many formulas out there. The most fundamental and basic one is probably this:

Cost Price (labour + price of materials) x 2 = Wholesale

Wholesale x 2 = Retail

So, what does this mean to me, and you? Well, say you have a labour cost of $20 per hour (think about how much you could live on if this was your full-time business!). And your materials cost for an item was $5. Lets say I made a pair of earrings that took 1/2 an hour.

$20 x .5 = $10 labour + $5 materials = $15.

$15 x 2 = $30 = Wholesale Price

Now, if you want to make a profit – which is the amount you have to grow and re-invest in your business – you should double this amount for Retail, which equals $60. (By the way, the retail price is what you should be selling for online, and at markets.)

Sounds like a lot, hey?

But, in professional handmade business circles, this is standard practice. It is difficult for those of us who do this as a hobby to look at it like this sometimes – and when you’re competing with people who sell at a price that doesn’t even begin to come near their true costs, you might feel like you’re being greedy.

Remember – hobbyists aren’t trying to make a living out of selling their craft – they’re just trying to cover materials costs and maybe get a little extra on the side. That is how they can afford to charge so little – their livelihood is not relying on this money!

Also – if you’re selling internationally – and especially if you’re selling in another currency in some places (for example, I still sell in USD on Etsy because I’ve found through experimentation that listing prices in AUD puts off my American customers from buying, but it doesn’t bother Aussies to buy in USD) you need to take exchange rates/paypal fees/paypal currency conversion fees etc into account.

For those of you who want to do a super-serious, completely in-depth calculation to work out your prices, check out this excellent article by Australian Jeweller Simone Walsh.

When you graduate from a hobbyist to a business, you’re going to need to re-think your pricing. Starting with a simple formula like the one above is an excellent start… but it’s not the end of the story. Once you know mathematically what you should be pricing, you need to turn around and look at your price from another perspective.

 

2. Price with the Heart

There’s more to price than the basic in and out formula. Why do you think Apple has such a huge profit margin compared to other tech companies?

It ain’t because their materials and labour costs are way lower. No, it’s because they’ve built a brand that enables them to charge twice as much for pretty much the exact same technology as their competitor – and their customers are not only happy to pay, they’re ravenous, raving fans, just dying to drop another wad of $$ on the new model eye-phone, even when their ‘old’ one works just fine, thank you very much!

That, my friends, is the power of branding, and that is where pricing with the heart comes in.

Someone who outlines this very issue excellently is my friend Megan Auman. She actually wrote a new post on this recently – but she’s been writing and talking about this issue for a long time now.

You need to start looking at your brand from the outside – through the eyes of your customer. Visit your shop and pretend you have never been there before. That it’s just a shop you’ve stumbled upon while browsing Etsy. Even better, pretend you’ve stumbled across your band on a stand-alone website, or in a retail store! (Etsy can sometimes have the issue of making people expect artificially low prices.)

What does it say to you?

  • Does it say ‘professional artisan’?
  • Does it say ‘high-quality craftsmanship’?
  • Does it say ‘unique, exclusive design’?
  • Does your brand scream ‘cheap’ or does it scream ’boutique’?

I want you to be intentionally blind to the prices – blind to the fact that you make these things. I want you to pretend you’ve never made one of your whatevers, and that you don’t have the skill or the inclination to make it.

What would you expect to pay for it? What would you be willing to pay for it?

Take this to another level. Are you even your target customer? Because hey, maybe your target customer is someone who is willing to pay WAY more for your whatever than you would. What might someone really be willing to pay for your wares?

A good way to research this is to show your product to friends or family. Especially those who are a little bit removed from what you make. Ask them – ‘if you saw this in a shop, what would you expect to pay for it’? You might be surprised.

I’d like to let you in on a little secret.

I actually raised my prices 2 times last year. The first was a small, 10% rise in April. The second was a much more dramatic rise in September (and honestly, I have to thank Megan’s talk at the Artful Biz Con for finally giving me the push I needed to take that step).

For example: at this time last year, I was selling this pair of sterling silver earrings for $22 ($22!! I seriously can’t believe that figure now – SO low!). Then it was $25. Now it is $35, and I’m much more comfortable that I’m on the right track with my pricing. Megan would probably tell me off – tell me I should be charging about $60 retail for them – but I’m not quite there yet! Like I said at the beginning, you’re never ‘done’ with pricing.

In the first 2 months of 2013, I sold around the same volume of jewellery on Etsy as I did this same time last year. (I sold a lot more overall this year because the business on my own website is much, much higher now). However, guess what? My revenue – the money I earnt – from those same volume of sales? It’s DOUBLE what I earnt last year. Therein lies the power in raising your prices to what you and your work is worth.

Not only that? I am much more comfortable with my prices now. I am a professional artisan. This is my livelihood. I have years of skill and practice. I make an excellent, quality product. And my prices reflect that.

Do yours?

 

Homework

  1. Visit your shop and do the above ‘I am a stranger’ exercise. I’d love for you to come back here and share your findings!
  2. Take just ONE of your products and work out a price using the formula I gave you above. It is very basic, but it’s a good start. Share with us what you discover – are you pricing way too low?
  3. Do you know anyone who needs this info? Share it with them via twitter, facebook, pinterest or G+ below.

Money Makes The World Go Round – So Don’t Work For Free (or Cheap)

1-914886-money-australian-money

 {source}

Is it as simple as that?

Well, I’ve decided it is.

I don’t work for free or cheap, because making money is such an essential part of running a business. Actually… if you aren’t making money, you aren’t running a business.

You get paid for the work you do in a job, so why would the work you do in your business be any different? Before talking about how to price your products, services or any other money fundamentals you have to get comfortable with being paid.  That also means being paid fairly.

This is something that I admit has taken me a while to learn. Now I am comfortable with it.

I would like you to get comfortable with it too.

Being paid doesn’t negate the other reasons I do what I do, and nor should it for you.  I want to create beautiful things and I want to support other creative business owners, but I also want to be paid for doing those things.

You can love what you do (and I hope you do) and make money too.

Love and money can sit very nicely together – thank you!

Ask yourself if you are working for free, or not charging enough, because you don’t fully value what you do?

I have found If you truly value what you do you will find it a lot easier to charge good money for it. I know for myself that was really hard at the beginning, and honestly for a long time afterwards.

I felt like I was in the learning phase (not that that ever ends) and would often compare myself to others who were further along in their businesses. In addition, I would also compare myself with others that were less experienced and sold work cheaper than mine. Now I don’t do any of that.

There are many things that are unique and special about all of us.

When pricing, or just asking to be paid, I consider my own unique experiences, training, skills, personal attributes, vision and the value I am creating for others.  I know this can sometimes take a while to work out in business.

If you aren’t quite there yet take some time now to think about those things. I do believe that once we can charge fairly for what we do, this will not only be good for us as individuals, but also as a community and an industry.

Do you feel like you’re undervaluing yourself and your work? Or are you happy with the price you’ve put on your time, expertise and experience?

Why Ease and Self-Care are Vital Business Tools

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{Felt box from the manusmade shop}

This is a guest post by Tania Wojciechowski.

I’m traveling for my day job this week. My meetings ended early, so I returned to my hotel room to do some work. In my head, I had a rambling to-do list that had been talking to me all day. I hadn’t written any of it down, but knew each item intimately from all the internal chatter: write a post, set up skype interview, email S and D, edit the interview I did on Sunday, respond to the person who wants to put my goods in their shop, start preparing questions for a different interview, follow up with H. And so on.

Returning to my hotel room, I set up my laptop to get to work. I didn’t have time to transition from my meetings to my “other” work – building my new part-time business, organizing the retreat that I’m hosting, following up on the other handmaking business I run. I grabbed a nutrition bar and sat down.

My hands hung over the keyboard without doing anything.

If I was honest with myself, I didn’t have the energy to write that post. I didn’t have the words to connect with the people I wanted to. I had felt like crap for a couple of days. If I was honest with myself, all I wanted was a warm bath.

So, I got honest with myself, and I had a bath. My shoulders came down, and my breath deepened. Much better. I got out, wrapped myself in a robe, and promptly fell asleep for an hour. I can’t remember the last time I allowed myself to take a nap.

I awoke refreshed, and happy that I had listened to my real needs. Not the to-do list, not the stress of not getting things done. But the real need for rest, for pause, for ease.

Ease as self-care

I picked Ease as my word for 2013 for a reason. Because as much as every time I say that word aloud it comes out in one long breath (Eeeeeaaaaaasseeee), I also come to Ease kicking and screaming. Ease is lazy. Foreign. Non-productive.

But what if Ease was, well, easy? What if I incorporated Ease into my life?

What would that look like?

  • I’d hear my body when it’s telling me it’s tired.
  • I’d work when I felt most productive, and not work when I my energy levels were lower.
  • I’d tap into what truly makes me ME and let that guide me.

Well, it would really start to look like honest-to-goodness self care.

Tapping into your Ease, your self care, your truest self, can be as simple as listening, identifying your most unique qualities, and letting them to guide your life.For example:

  • For example, do you love playing with strangers, like Dyana Valentine?

  • Write a TED Talk and work a big crowd.

  • Are you an art-maker who also loves experimental music?

  • Find a band to work with and create the most amazing sound and light show ever produced at your local community centre.

Ease. Alignment. Happiness. Hard work filled with passion and flow. It’s finally starting to sound really quite productive to me.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tania

I’m Tania Wojciechowski, and I’m a creativity coach-in-training, a maker of handmade goods, and a wellness aficionado. Oh yes, I also have a day job. All these activities are a reflection of the thing that I’m most passionate about, which is finding ways to become my best and most joyfully authentic self. I use humour, creativity, and an inordinate amount of daily dance-breaks to really explore this in myself. Even my day job – which, to be honest, is not quite my dream job – is an opportunity for me to test out being my best self in a bureaucratic setting. As a creativity coach, I’ll be guiding women, who may have forgotten the deep connection to their creativity and wellness, back to a place that makes them feel whole again.

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C&T Q&A – How did you choose your business name? {Share your Story}

This week’s question is from Karen, who writes:

My question is how do people arrive at their business name? I love yours, Epheriell. It’s a beautiful word, but why not Jess Van Den Jewellery Design? Why and how do people choose what they choose? It’s such an important first impression, that one word or phrase chosen, or to put their whole personal name out there. How do you know what’s the right choice for you?

Also, the boring bit, the legalities of it all. I believe using your name doesn’t require registration, but put ‘Jewellery Designer’ after it, and it becomes a business name, and will cost a fee. It’s so hard to know what your business will look like in 6, 12 months time. I suppose one just has to hope the name will still fit.

I bounce a round a bit with this question Jess, but I would love it if you and your posse would have a go at tackling it.

X Karen

I LOVE this question, and its one that I often wonder about, too.

business name

{photo of Jess by Paul Harris of see saw photography}

Let’s break it down and start with the first question – where does a name come from?

Funnily enough, as often as I get asked about the genesis of the name Epheriell, I’ve never written about it before.

In my case, the word ‘Epheriell’ is one I made up over 10 years ago now. I used to use it as my online handle for many years… and when I started my jewellery business, it just seemed natural that I use it as my brand name.

So, what does it mean? Epheriell is a mash-up of the words ‘Ephemeral’ and ‘Ethereal’ – with the addition of the ‘ell’ on the word, which came from a book I was reading at the time. I believe it was one of Jostein Gaarder’s books, and it had angels in it. I noticed that all the angels’ names ended with the ‘ell’ sound, and thought it was pretty.

And so, the word Epheriell was born!

Honestly, at the time, I didn’t put a great deal of thought into using this as my business name. It just ‘fit’. I certainly didn’t consider using my name, as I was only a hobbyist at the time, playing around. In hindsight, perhaps it would have been a good move, but on the up-side, my name is now still free to represent me and all that I am and do, rather than being tied to my jewellery brand exclusively.

As for the second part – the legalities – alas, I can’t give advice on that, because every country and every state will have different laws and regulations surrounding business names, so the best thing to do would be to search online for the business regulations in your area, or talk to a lawyer or someone else who has the qualifications to tell you what you need to do.

So, where did YOUR business name come from? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!