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[122] How to be a Misfit Entrepreneur with Kate Toon

Do you ever feel like you’re not a ‘real entrepreneur’?

Yeah, me too. And so does my guest this week, Kate Toon – who happens to be the author of How to be a Misfit Entrepreneur.

I met Kate at the Artful Business Conference this year, and promptly invited her to come on the show, because I loved the way she approached ‘being an entrepreneur’.

We have a lot of laughs, and chat about what it means to grow a business YOUR way – and how to own that and be proud of it, rather than feel like you’re somehow not doing it right.

 

Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on iTunes.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible. (Membership is open on September 27th!)

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • Most of us don’t fit the myth of the yacht owning, hammock lazing, one-hour workday entrepreneur.
  • Develop your own style of entrepreneurship to fit the lifestyle you want to lead.
  • Business growth for the sake of growth is not mandatory.
  • It’s okay to align your goals to personal wants rather than business outcomes.
  • “We can keep doing what we’re doing and it is okay. We don’t always have to be doing something new or different or exciting to be happy.” {Jess}
  • Keep expectations of your business growth realistic, avoid comparisons and get on with your own journey.
  • “Nobody is immune to the feeling of an imposter or not being good enough. Even if from the outside if they look super successful.” {Jess}
  • There will always be someone doing things better than you – stop focusing on others and focus on building your business.
  • “Stop consuming and start creating.” {Kate}
  • Looking for inspiration? Don’t go to your competitors go to your customers.
  • Criticism and difficult customers are part of the entrepreneurship journey.
  • Take the high road but you do not have to cave to an unreasonable customer.
  • Kate recommends The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.
  • Develop your business direction with your core values in mind. These will change and grow as you do.
  • Chase interesting ideas and stray from your path. Some ideas will work and some will crash and burn. Let these ones go.
  • “The whole point of having a business is getting some satisfaction and enjoyment out of it – not just money and customers.” {Kate}
  • Time management and organisation is essential – structure your day, keep motivation high, track time and establish tasks.
  • Kate recommends the Pomodoro technique for time management.
  • Find out more about Kate and buy her book here.

 

 

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You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher)

[121] How to Embrace Change

How can we embrace change when change is either scary, or not happening fast enough?

Changes might be imposed upon your business by outside forces.

You may feel like you’ll never succeed because the challenges your biz is facing won’t ever change.

You might even feel internally resistant to having a successful business because it changes how you think about yourself. (Fear of success is a common example of this – who are you to be successful? How will you handle it?)

In this episode I discuss the many ways change can cause frustration and anxiety, and ways we can learn to roll with changes.

 

Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on iTunes.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.

 

 

 

Quotes & Highlights from this Episode:

  • Change is inevitable in business as it is in life.
  • When change isn’t going the way you want it to go – be selective on how you use your energy.
  • When change from outside of your control happens, try to switch your perspective, look for the silver lining and fold the changes into your business.
  • “We have limited energy and if we are constantly using that energy that comes at us from the outside world we will exhaust ourselves” {Jess}
  • When considering a change in your business, find a person/s that you trust, who will provide honest feedback, who understands the situation and doesn’t have a vested interest.
  • If you don’t have someone, write it down or record yourself and get the ideas out of your head.
  • Challenge established thought patterns about your business and yourself. Jess shares an anecdote that illustrates this regarding establishing Epheriell.
  • “Your perception of yourself may have to change and develop in order for you to really embrace this new thing you want to do” {Jess}
  • When growing a business it can feel like nothing is changing and everything is stuck.
  • “A lot of people give up because they can’t see a way forward and they can’t see that things will ever get better, evolve or change… They will, they always will” {Jess}
  • Be consistent and patient in nurturing your business. It is normal for this to take time.
  • “We can waste a lot of time focusing on the past or the future and neglecting the present and what we can actually achieve in this moment right now”. {Jess}
  • Focus on what you can do today.
  • Plan your week/month/year out but always bring it back today. And accept that is what you can do and be proud of what you have done.
  • If you feel like you are procrastinating, think about how you use your time. Plan the week ahead, identify key tasks, identify tasks you would like to complete and finally tasks thatare a bonus to complete.
  • Don’t overcommit. Allow sufficient time to complete tasks and allow space for the unexpected.
  • If you are feeling mentally cluttered do a spring clean – clear out your workspace, rearrange your space, empty your inbox and create a fresh start.

 

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You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher)

[120] Can you make a successful living selling OOAK items online?

 

Can you make a living selling OOAK handmade items online?

This is a question I’ve been asked many times over the years, and now that I’ve been in the handmade industry for almost 10 years, I can confirm that my stance on this remains the same.

In short: no, you can’t.

Of course, there are exceptions, and good reasons why this is the case.

In this episode, I outline the reasons why it is extremely difficult to make a living from selling OOAK items online (and I am specifically talking about online selling, not markets, wholesale etc.).

If you happen to make a living selling OOAK items online, I want to hear from you! I’ve been trying to interview someone who does on the podcast from the beginning, but I am yet to find someone. If you are that someone, or know of someone who fits the bill (makes a full-time living from their handmade business, and 90% or more of their sales online exclusively from OOAK items) then I want to hear from you!

Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on iTunes.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.

 

 

 

Quotes & Highlights from this Episode:

  • A one of a kind (OOAK) piece is a unique item of which you only make the one.
  • The hard truth, learned from my own research and experience, is that it is not really possible to make a living selling OOAK items online.
  • OOAK can absolutely be successful in handmade business. The challenge is when you move online.
  • The two exceptions to this are:
  1. Expensive items priced in the mid to high hundreds of dollars. These need to be quick to make, have a good mark up and sell daily.
  2. Makers with a large and dedicated following. Time is invested in building a presence, batch making items and managing a big release.
  • “If your OOAK items are mid to low priced, the chances of you making a successful living selling online is very small.” {Jess}
  • Selling an OOAK piece online takes far more work than selling in person.
  • Each product needs to be individually listed with photos, editing, title, keywords and tags, description notes, proofing and more and all of these little pieces of time add up.
  • When starting out there is ample time, energy and enthusiasm to experiment and create OOAK items but as your business grows this becomes less sustainable.
  • As your creativity ebbs and flows having a line of reproducible items provides you with breathing room.
  • “You should have the freedom to make and list OOAK items when the inspiration strikes and you have the time” {Jess}
  • Utilise price points to support these creative endeavours. Your OOAK items should have pricing that reflects their elevated and unique status.
  • Reproducible designs do not mean that the piece is not handmade or a labour of love.
  • If you have OOAK items, list them on your best selling venue and deactivate the listing when at markets.

 

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You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher)

[119] 10 Steps to Wholesale Readiness

Are you ready to sell your handmade goods wholesale? Is that even something you want to do?

In this episode, I outline 10 steps to wholesale readiness – questions you need to ask yourself to know if selling wholesale is a good choice for your handmade business, and if so, are you ready to dive in?

If you’d like a free pdf copy of the questions and thinking points, scroll down and you’ll see just how to get a hold of that.

If you do decide that you want to sell wholesale, make sure you don’t miss out joining me and Melanie Augustin for our e-course Wholesale Know-How! Class starts Monday the 28th of August (2017, if you’re reading this in the future) and we only run the course once per year.

 

Quotes & Highlights from this Episode:

  • Not sure if your products are up to scratch for the wholesale market? Scout out the stores you would like to stock your work and assess the quality of the current products.
  • Easily replicable work is quicker to resupply and build your stockist list.
  • Quality control is key with wholesale especially if you are not the only maker of your products.
  • “If you are thinking about going into wholesale you need to go back and look at your pricing structure.” {Jess}
  • You should be able to sell your products at wholesale rates and still make a profit.
  • Avoid over-extending yourself – be realistic about your timeframes for manufacture and delivery.
  • Build a social media presence to demonstrate your market reach and potential for promotional activities.
  • Finding the right stockist takes time, energy and perseverance.
  • “Be selective with the stockists you approach – start small, start local.” {Jess}
  • Practise your product pitch until you have it pat.
  • Are you willing to take on assistance when you hit your wholesale ceiling?
  • “When you focus on selling wholesale it doubles your making workload.” {Jess}
  • You can choose how much of your business to make wholesale. (Jess shares an anecdote about finding a wholesale business balance with Epheriell).
  • Be clear about your wholesale goals.
  • “Until you decide why you are doing wholesaling you will struggle with progress” {Jess}

 

 

 

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You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher)

[118] The Only Race is With Yourself

 

Do you feel ‘left behind’ when you look at other handmade businesses?

Do you worry that you aren’t doing enough? That your business isn’t growing fast enough? That you should be where that person is?

I’m here to tell you that this is a super-common feeling. AND that you need to stop looking at and comparing yourself to those other businesses out there.

You can only do what YOU can do. You cannot compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.

That is: maybe you have a job, and children, and elderly parents, and a partner, and hobbies… etc etc. In other words – your life only leaves you with a certain amount of time free to work on your business.

Your free time may be vastly different to that person’s free time.

Stop acting like you’re in a race with other people. The only race is with yourself.

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • Many fledgling creative entrepreneurs struggle with finding what they think is enough time, energy, and resources.
  • There are times when establishing a business will feel onerous and times when it will feel easy.
  • What really matters is that you enjoy the majority of the journey. Otherwise a time will come when it all becomes too hard.
  • “You are not in competition with someone else. You’re not racing someone else. You’re simply racing against yourself.” {Jess}
  • In the words of Mary Schmich “the race is long and in the end it is only with yourself.”
  • It is okay for your craft to remain a hobby rather than a business. (Jess shares an anecdote from a Thriver Circle member who made the decision to close her business and instead pursue her craft as a pastime).
  • Establishing a business is more than just creating your saleable project. You will be spending a large proportion of time learning about marketing, administration, finances, connecting with people.
  • Factor in your time, energy and resources when making goals.
  • “We get frustrated from the disparity between our reality and our imagined reality.” {Jess}
  • Create a toolkit of time management and planning strategies.
  • Building a business takes times, patience and long-term dedication.
  • “Every little step is progress forward. No matter how small it is. It is always a step forward and it is always something to be proud of.” {Jess}

 

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You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher)