From Making to Marketing Week 2: Business Plan Challenge

Lexi

Thank you, everyone for your many comments from last week’s newsletter and blog post.  I’m working my way through the emails and will answer each one of you.   I’d like to bring up a few more questions for you to think about as you continue your journey into marketing your jewelry.

I’ve received a number of comments and these are some of the questions we have discussed.  Please remember, these are only things for you to think about, and not, by any means, my personal opinion.  I’m only putting it out there for you to think about.

Ask Yourself…

Exactly what does it mean to you to “go pro”?   Only you can decide that.

  • Have you considered the time it will take?
  • Can you give full time to your business, or will it be worked into your weekly family schedule, spending time with your children and spouse, household duties, and your “real” job?
  • How many shows can you commit to each month, or maybe one every three months is all you can handle?
  • If you have a day job, are you committed to get home at night and work on your pieces after bath time and the kids are in bed? (Thanks Amber G for that thought!)
  • Are you a self-starter?
  • Will making multiples of the same design bore you, or do you enjoy the process?

photo credit: rpongsaj

Plan for Success

One question that many of you wrote is “Do I need a business plan?”

From only my personal experience, I say yes, but not the kind many people think of.

My business plan concerns only one year at a time…basically, “Where do I want to be one year from now?”   Maybe it’s my ADD, but trying to figure out a 5-year plan distorts my mind and makes me more confused.

So I set a goal.  It may be very broad. I’ve heard it said that a goal is just a dream with a deadline.  I can handle that.

photo credit: GoToVan

So, maybe your goal is an economic goal, such as, “I want to make $10,000.00 in sales this year”.  If you are just starting out, maybe you will say “I want to be in 6 shows this year”, but you must have a goal.  Now your objectives will determine how you reach that goal.  “I will make $10,000.00 this year by getting into 5 new galleries/shows.”

Only you can decide what your goal is, and you must make sure your objectives are things you can do, that they are measurable, and will help you reach the goal.

Maybe your goal is to offer a new technique in your artwork.  But there are so many techniques out there that it overwhelms you. Where do you start? Having too many ideas or goals is often as much of an artistic block as not knowing what to do.  So narrow it down, and pick learning only two new techniques as an objective.   Maybe your goal is “I will make 3 new pieces learning this new technique”.  That is an easily measured objective that helps you reach your goal.

Share Your Plan with Us

So think about the time that you have to devote to your business, and then figure out where you want to be one year from now.

That’s your challenge for this week, decide what your goal is, and what do you need to do to reach that goal.

Write it down.  Put it in a place where you will look at it daily. Let’s talk.

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Posted in From Making to Marketing, Handmade Business
14 comments on “From Making to Marketing Week 2: Business Plan Challenge
  1. Dottie Moon says:

    I fall in the category of working a full time job and tending farm & family. I work my jewelry business on the weekends (and any other free time I have 🙂 ). I like your idea of 1 year goals/objectives. Much easier to focus on and attain without getting discouraged.

    For 2014 I want to: (1) learn 1 new technique and complete 10 projects for sale using this technique. (2) Increase my exposure from 2 Galleries & Retail locations to 4
    (3) Increase sales by 50% over 2013 by attending 5 Fine Art Shows, hosting an Open House at my studio, and through sales at the Galleries and Retail locations.

    Need to promote myself more…..Oh, so very hard to do!

    Thanks for doing this Lexi. We all need to put our “business” hat on sometimes and that’s NOT what we like doing! 🙂

  2. Elaine R says:

    I will perfect two new techniques I learned last year and will make THREE additional items from each technique. I’m looking into new shows and plan to add at least two additional shows – hopefully three by then end of 2014. I’m also going to add to/upgrade my show equipment as well. I will also plan an open house for the 2014 Christmas season.

    I consider myself a part-time artist as I have other interest as well, but the jewelry making/creating ranks very high on my lists. I will, for 2014, dedicate at least 20 hours a week into my business.

    I will devote more time on the internet promoting my business and working on my website.

  3. lexierickson says:

    HI Dottie–Thank you for writing. I like your goals, and we will do whatever we can to help you with them, especially with any new techniques you want to learn, and also by giving some tips for Home Shows and an Open House. That’s where you can make so much more money! No outlay for a show and no gallery commission. Those tips all be coming in our Making to Marketing segments in the upcoming weeks. We will be here for you.
    Lexi

  4. Royce says:

    I am currently doing craft shows, I did 5 this year. I do non juried shows due to the cost of the booths. I hesitate to plunk down the money for a big show. Even thou I always get great comments and sell pretty well I still haven’t the confidence to approach retail shops or galleries. This year I got into my first retail shop and hope to use that as a spring board to have more faith in myself and my craft to move forward. I wonder sometimes if me making one of a kind and never making multiples hurts me or helps.

    • lexierickson says:

      Elaine let us know if there is anyway to help you.. You have some good goals. and good luck with your business. Its hard to juggle when you you have to do this on a part time basis.
      Lexi

  5. Thank you for helping me to understand that I only need to make a plan for1 year at a time. I always got stuck when I would sit down to work on my business plan. I have a full time job, make jewelry and do arts and crafts shows. My 2014 plan is to double my sells from 2013. Work on my website and drive traffic to it. Get in better shows than last year. Take time to work on metal smithing. I took a class 2 years ago and loved it but have not practiced.

    Sherri

    • lexierickson says:

      Sherri–I hate to say this, but you have to practice what you learn in classes. I know with a full-time job, and family, friends and obligations its so hard to do. If you can spend 2 hours, twice a week after work and family obligation, just 2 hours, practicing, you can get so much done. Soon you will be in the better shows, and being more successful. Good luck.
      Lexi

  6. Thank you for this segment, I feel it is very important to have a business plan and the business classes that I have taken always talks about a 5 year plan. I just recently became unemployed after being a dental assistant for 28 years, so I now have the time to put the energy into something I love. I have been making jewelry for over 20 years and have a certification in silversmithing. I would like to know more about marketing and driving people to my website. My main goals this year is to do at least 3 shows a month, get sales on my website, get into at least 3 stores and to start silversmithing again. I feel this is a great place to start!
    Vicki

  7. My goal for 2014 is to learn 2 new lampworking techniques and incorporate them into my current portfolio. I would also like to market myself more in my direct community. (Ideas???)

    I work full time, traveling Monday through Thursday every week. Since I do not have access to a torch on regular “work days”, I make my beads, manage my Etsy shop, participate in local fund raisers, on weekends and holidays.

    I have done shows before, and found them more work than profitable. Now, I sell online from my Etsy shop and receive many custom orders. I do no more than two shows a year, and those are two local fundraisers.

    I have lots of long tem goals for my lampworking, so I have to pace myself in a realistic way!

    thanks!

    • lexierickson says:

      You’ve figured it out, Donna. Ouch, that traveling schedule sound brutal. Uses travel time to think up new designs, if you can. If Im traveling, I can sometimes draw with my finger on my iPad, using a program called PenUltimate. It gives me just a sketch or idea which I can flesh out later. And yes, I find shows to be so much work. If you don’t have the time, you are doing well to have an Etsy shop. The thing about shows is consistency, and you have to do a lot of them, be there for the people next year who liked your work and thought about it all year and will be ready to buy next year. You are on the right track, with our shop. Good luck. Keep us posted with how its going for you.
      Lexi

  8. Marilyn Campbell says:

    Thank you for this information. It will be a great help to me in the near future. I’m finishing my ‘Shedio'[shed/studio] at this time, but with a full time job, I am taking much longer than I was hoping to get it completed. The ‘1 year plan’ is great, learning to control my spastic learning tendancies by cutting back on too many at 1 time will also be of assistance when I get back to what I truly love to do…make jewelery.
    Thank you, Lexi & Wbbers U,
    Marilyn

    • lexierickson says:

      You are welcome, Marilyn, and Im glad this helped you. Im to even going to tell you how ing its taking me to finish my basement/studio. Lets just say its a work in progress, OK? I hope you soon get back to your true love jewelry making.
      Lexi

  9. Liz says:

    Thank you for this gift of encouragement and challenge. I had an awful selling season and am quite discouraged by it.

    –Focus on promoting by using blog(not sure of a schedule since I don’t know what to write about), facebook page(twice a week), and pintrest (focus on the process of making- twice a month).

    –List at least one item a week on Etsy

    –Carefully select and participate in two new shows.

    –Get out of comfort zone to create more one-of-a-kind jewelry instead of production jewelry.

    –Seek out at least two stores to carry my creations.

    –Trust myself and be brave in sharing my passion.

    • lexierickson says:

      Hi Liz–thank you for sharing some of your goals. I’ll tell you something I just learned. Not everyone has time to read all the blogs out there on jewelry, so Pinterest has become the real hot spot. Now maybe that’s not news to any of you, but I heard there are ways to sell on Pinterest. I’ll ask around and maybe we can post something soon. Blogs are sometimes difficult for some people to write. Those that know me know that I talk all the time, so for me, its not a problem! Good luck and watch for our upcoming segment on Pinterest.
      Lexi

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