Handmaker's Factory

Business on a Budget

Starting your own business can be scary at the best of times, even when you have loans or financial backing but what if you are a stay at home mum with minimal funds to invest. Never let your dreams be stifled by your lack of anything as insignificant as money.

There are plenty of places which can be used to maximise the chances of living your dream. The internet has changed not only the big cheesy business environment but also the ability for anyone to start and run a successful business. And success is relative. I spent days in utter euphoria after selling one design and considered myself to be a huge success.

So after you've decided you are just great at something and feel you'd love to do this as a job,and that's the biggest hurdle
sometimes...finding your true passion, you have a tool at the end of your finger tips fired up ready to help you.

Enoch and Plonk 

Social media has been used by the handmade community for a while now to promote and sell work but why have your eggs in one basket? Diversify! With the success of Facebook there are many free social media sites where you can get yourself and your work noticed.

Blogging is a great way of connecting with people who are interested in your work and others in the blogging community. Connections can be made and networking opportunities exist if you just take the steps to get yourself out there. Many blogging platforms are free and can look as professional as a paid website. If you're not great at writing choose to take excellent photos of your work and show those. You'll find tonnes of books and website's geared towards bloggers and blogging. How to make them sound and look great etc.

Start a newsletter. Make it the best you can. MailChimp is free and can be customised to match your website. Promote it on all of your social media sites.

Selling your work can be done relative cheaply. There are many site's where you can do this and new ones starting all the time. Some charge by the listing, some by sales. Many have free options where there is a limit to the length of time an item can be listed or how many items can be listed.

Don't be frightened to ask for help. You'd be amazed at how many of us have been in your position at some time or another and have a short cut or advice. Most people are very willing to help out and network with you, so don't think that just because they are further down the business path they won't help you along the way.

Promote yourself when ever and where ever you can. If you have business cards printed carry some with you. Leave them where you feel potential customers may hang out. If someone notices your design hand over a card. It takes a while to get used to this one but can lead to ...who knows what ! Grab your friends and relatives and get them to model for you. You may need some kind of bribery but a great photo with your design being used can go a long way. Ask customers to email you photos of you creation being worn or used. If you're very lucky you'll get some excellent professional photos.

"My tips would be check out Ebay - if you've the time to search you can find some good deals, and if you're not in a rush for whatever it is you're buying check out sellers abroad. I've bought beads before now from sellers in China for a few pence and free shipping!! "
Joy Geoghegan from Beaded Bazaar

"Take advantage of tools that are free or very cheap for example Facebook, Twitter, Mail Chimp as well as opening an Etsy shop and over in the UK we have Folksy too. The biggest expense is time. Not just sewing time but time to learn how to use and make the most of these free and cheap tools!"
Pink label by Molly Moo and Jessica too

"Learn to network - you can get so much information about running a small business from those who have lots of experience. Learn about social media and what it can do for your business. It's free and can give you great exposure."
Emma Leigh-Currill

Personality sells. Show your passion, it costs nothing and can be your biggest asset. Be yourself. It's the easiest thing in the world to sound bland on your blog or website but you want potential customers to be as passionate about your wares as you are or at least somewhere close.

Some websites you may find useful:
Facebook
Twitter
MailChimp
Ebay
Etsy
Folksy
Blogger
Wordpress
Moo Cards
Vistaprint
Flickr
PicMonkey
canva


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Nicola from Enoch and Plonkenoch and plonk logo small

Nicola Thomas

Artist and Designer at enoch & plonk
Tags: Guest post

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