Believe in yourself. Believe in your work.
Today's post is a little rant on why (and how).
I have met so many of you out there in the handcrafted jewelry world who have SUCH TALENT! But you might not really believe that -- not enough to roll up your sleeves and make your dream of quitting your day job and having a successful jewelry business a REALITY.
Have you sold some of your jewelry? I'll bet you have. Do people love your designs? I'll bet they do. But have you gone beyond the craft/hobby level? Are you thinking big?
Sure -- we aren't all marketing and business majors. And it's tough to take the time to learn and do the work required for a successful business while you're also struggling to create and be a dedicated artist. But there's a lot of support for you if you are really serious. Here are just a few thoughts on how to get started, or if you're already started, to take things to the next level.
- First and foremost, make sure you are creating quality work, and paying attention to the finer details that make your pieces distinctive and desirable.
- Become visible -- whether you choose as your primary venue/s trade shows, gift fairs, craft shows, galleries, boutiques, a web site, retailer or catalogs.
- Use social networks to promote your product. Participate in blog forums and use effective online marketing sites. Some good ones to look into are Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Instagram.
- Take the time required to develop a good business plan. If you don't know how, work with your local Small Business Development Center or business incubator -- or if worse comes to worse, get a good 'how to' book and work through it on your own -- then ask a professional to help you fine tune and develop it.
- Make sure you know what's unique and desirable about your work and who your target customers are. Are you trying to appeal to those seeking high-end jewelry? Steampunk? Vintage inspired? And once you figure out who they are, go where they are!
- Remember to develop a recognizable and appealing brand. This involves everything from the company name you choose, to your logo, packaging, and even your product.
- Focus! Are you trying to do too many things, or is your target niche too broad? Be specific about who your most important customer is, and create what they want.
- Be sure to have (and implement) a good marketing plan. Do your homework on market research and make the most of social media, your web site, and other appropriate venues.
- Take some risks! If you don't currently have the capital to develop the inventory you need or get the help you need, consider a small business loan to jump-start or re-invigorate your endeavors.
- Keep learning! Whether it's continuing to hone your skills or learning more about how to successfully market and run a small business, you will have to prepare yourself for lifelong learning. Read books, talk with experts, enjoy the support of your more experienced colleagues and mentors, take classes, get a degree, work with small business support agencies -- whatever it takes.
- Don't give up on yourself. If you believe this is truly what you were meant to do, don't wait until "the time is right". The time will probably never be completely right. If you can, quit your day job and dive in. If you can't, do your jewelry work on the side in a very disciplined way until you reach the point where your new business can support you.
That's my rant for today. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these previous posts on similar themes:
Until Next Time,