To be perfectly honest, building a craft business calls for consistently high doses of resilience. It may take half-a-year or more to see the results of your hard work.
Sad. But it is the truth most creative people are aware of.
Having no previous experience in running a business or working in retail makes it worse. As a newbie, you don’t know what to do.
You have no idea how to manage everything as demands and pressure rise. Let alone owning a craft business.
Like every creative person, you wish people like what you do. You could say you did a great job doing what you have to do. Yet, at the back of your mind, it is never enough.
Most craft businesses I know locally and internationally need a long time before it gives results. Compared to reselling items familiar to people, the iPhone, for example, selling creativity is quite challenging.
That said, I’ll share what I learned as a craft business owner over the years. At least, you’ll realize things you probably missed until you read this post.
Are you ready? Let’s find out.
Here are the 14 shocking craft business lessons you need to learn today:
- Unique handmade products don’t easily attract high sales.
- Craft business, if ignored, could take compromise your creativity.
- Fear paralyzes creativity.
- Never underestimate the power of your unique ideas.
- Imposter syndrome provokes innovation.
- Imposter syndrome results in underpricing products.
- Awareness of your competitors helps you in many ways.
- Positive impression never fail to charm customers.
- Your storytelling skills beget sales.
- Mastering your emotions is a game-changer.
- Resilience affects focus.
- Focus on the results.
- Be strategic.
- Sell with 100% confidence.
1. Unique handmade products don’t easily attract high sales.
As I mentioned earlier, building a craft business will not give you immediate high sales and profit.
When I started my handmade notebooks, I had no income in the first 6 months after I opened my online shop.
I remember how concerned my parents were. Although they showed support, they couldn’t understand why I had to go through that sh*t and exhausted myself.
At the time, I worked as a full-time content writer by day and creating notebooks at night and weekends sometimes. I didn’t spare time to relax thinking I would lose customers if I did.
Months after, my efforts on promoting my handmade notebooks on several Facebook groups worked.
I started to get orders from Filipino customers, as well as from abroad, which was cool. Normally, I received at least 3 orders in a day sometimes more. It was that crazy.
2. Craft business, if ignored, could compromise your creativity.
Despite the increasing number of orders my shop received, I wasn’t prepared for the upcoming consequences.
I thought monetizing my craft could result in unhealthy outcomes. It was until the sales dropped and customers drove away for whatever reason. Then, there was a creative burnout.
When it happened, an obsession with finding my mistakes took most of my time instead of spending it on my business. It crippled me and unable to get out of it for years.
3. Fear paralyzes creativity.
Do any of the following seem true to you?
- You fear that your new small craft business will collapse.
- You worry about losing the competition.
- Your anxiety consumes you to the extent quitting becomes tempting.
- You think you will lose everything you worked hard for.
If you say yes to most of them, it is best to step back before they affect your well-being. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me, demotivated for years. And I guess you won’t like it.
Most experts, according to their research studies, found out exhaustion with a mix of fear caused creative burnout.
4. Never underestimate the power of your unique ideas.
Most successful business owners will tell you to search for the gap in the market. As a creative person, being unique is what you have always upheld, isn’t it?
So, why won’t you use it to your advantage?
Running a craft business doesn’t make a significant difference as other non-handmade retailers. As a business owner, you are always on the lookout for gaps in the market.
In other words, to succeed, you have to know your edge in a sea of great craft shops. Study their products.
Be so familiar with your niche that you won’t have problems in planning strategies to make your business work.
David Bunton, the president of The Appraisal Foundation, explained the importance of gaining a basic understanding of the market, including potential competitors.
“Without that basic understanding, a contemplate growth strategy may not coincide with what’s best for the long-term value of the company,” he said.
5. Imposter syndrome provokes innovation.
Martin Eriksson, the founder and chairman of Mind the Product, shared how imposter syndrome affects even the most successful people in the world in his 20+ years in the business.
“Despite all he’s achieved, he feels like a fraud,” he explained.
As a countermeasure, the best way is to change our perspective on our insecurities. Instead, take advantage of this uncomfortable feeling as an avenue to challenge our creativity.
According to Tim Harford, a Behaviour Economist and Financial Times columnist, in his talk, imposter syndrome does its job by testing our creativity in solving various problems.
Depending on how we see it, the feeling of inadequacy encourages us to perform our duties better or to complain. Turn stress to your advantage.
6. Imposter syndrome results in underpricing products.
Concerning my previous point, under-estimating your efforts in creating beautiful products for your target market is unfair. You spent time and exerted hours of handwork to create a piece.
Yet, it doesn’t give you the prerogative to overprice it. If so, that it drives away your prospective customers. Hence, no sales.
As a quick guide, here’s the formula to use to determine the right price for your craft business.
The [(number of hours spent on the item x per hour labor cost) + (material costs)] x 2 = price of the product
For example, you spent 5 hours making the journal, you ask for $5/hr labor cost, and you spent $10 on the materials.
So, you’ll have,
[(5 hours x $5/hr) + $10)] x 2 = ($25 + $10) x 2 = $35 x 2 = $70
Do you understand what I’m trying to say here?
7. Awareness of your competitors helps you in many ways.
Part of knowing your business inside and out is being aware of your competitor’s updated services and/or product releases.
This isn’t to copy them but to serve as a reference to help you position your business better according to how your customer’s behavior.
They have been in the same business as you earlier than you did. Therefore, it’s best to see what works and whatnot instead of being insecure about it.
8. Positive impression never fail to charm customers.
Your attitude towards customers determines the future of your craft business.
They may like your product, but their experience—from talking to you to purchasing it—has more power. People will likely remember it more than the product per se.
9. Your storytelling skills beget sales.
I failed to realize this lesson before until it was too late to retreat. Despite that, I don’t want to blame anyone for it.
What happened? I was too focused on my effort and the incoming revenue I thought I deserve, without caring about the customer’s experience using my handmade notebooks.
Given the scenario, do you think only the product’s appearance plays a pivotal role in attracting more purchases?
No, it is not enough.
Let me explain.
Nobody could deny how Apple excelled in this department. Regardless of the product, when marketing incorporates an emotional connection with the target customers, it succeeds.
What’s in it for you?
If this marketing strategy worked for electronic devices, how much more with a product made by hand?
You have a lot of stories to tell than you think. Tell your customers how you felt when you made them. Help them realize the benefits they get once they have your products in their hands.
Use those moments in your workshop for your marketing. Let them see how you did it. Do you get me?
10. Mastering your emotions is a game-changer.
Being creative unconsciously compels you to uphold self-reliance for several factors. Among those could be your past experiences or inherited moral values from your parents.
Like you, I tend to exercise self-reliance in almost all aspects of my life. The people, who know me well, are aware of it and have been telling me to tone it down.
It took years before I could do. Well, at least, I did.
After a long-time pursue credence, I gained nothing but negative results. If I were to do it right, I should have allowed others to lend a hand when I needed it.
Despite our tendency as creative people to embrace self-reliance and social isolation to the core, we also have to accept our limitations.
That’s because regardless how excellent we are in attracting people to look at our products, however, running the whole business is another story.
To make it work, you have to find a balance between the 2 things:
- Gratifying our ego by refusing help
- Accepting your limitations as a human being
Asking for help doesn’t make you as weak or inadequate as you thought. Rather, it is one of a few humbling moments that reminds you to be human.
Think of it as an opportunity to save more time dealing with other issues, giving you more time allowance for creating products you want to sell.
11. Resilience affects focus.
The demand your craft business requires could be too much to handle. The circumstances may tempt you to alter your business goals. While this may be true, it’s not something you’d like to end up, right?
Remove any barriers to your success by simply accepting your limitations. Change the way you see break hours to allow your brain to breathe. But truth be told. Our artistic life requires a lot from us.
Not everyone can create amazing things from literally nothing. Besides, only a few people are willing to undergo this process to monetize their craft and can go the extra mile than us.
It is how we organize our life as an artist and a shop owner that act as significant facets of a successful craft business.
12. Focus on the results.
Have you heard the adage, “Begin with the end in mind”?
Jackie Nagel, the founder of Synnovatia.com, a site dedicated to helping small businesses, wrote on Pulse about how aspiring or new business owners should emulate Starbucks’ marketing strategy.
“When creating marketing materials for your new product, tell (better yet, show) consumers what will happen to them emotionally when they buy into your brand. How will they feel? What will they experience?” she cited.
13. Be strategic.
I know you heard this many times in your life. But you never thought that this “conventional wisdom” does a lot of difference, specifically in leveraging your brand.
That means work on your storytelling skills. Have them prioritized in your marketing strategies to see ROI sooner than refusing to do so.
14. Sell with 200% confidence.
I always have problems with interacting with people. As an introvert, running an Etsy shop was an attractive option for me to monetize my hobby. At the time, I thought it would help me escape extroversion.
I thought running an online shop doesn’t require me to do it until I learned it was only an illusion for me.
Replying to hundreds of comments on several Facebook groups and on my Etsy shop challenged my introverted life.
It wasn’t at the beginning. As it progressed, the constant extroversion was dreading enough to provoke unhealthy thoughts and creative paralysis.
If this is something you don’t like to happen to your creative life, take my advice. You don’t have anything to lose.
You deserve to be happy, my friend. Allow yourself a little self-indulgence. by taking enough rest and doing counteractive measures to prevent yourself from creative burnout.
As a responsible artist, you should do it.
Conclusion – Craft Business Lessons Takeaway!
It takes time to build a successful business. For crafts like you do have, it might take longer as it takes a longer time for people to appreciate it.
Your success depends on how you lead yourself as an artist.
The longer you work for your craft doesn’t necessarily measure your success. What plays a significant role in the entire business operation is how you preserve your imagination and the right mindset.
Remember, you’re monetizing your craft. If you lose it, how can you produce more products?
Do you expect people will come to your shop to see how you look? No. Well, I’m not saying they don’t care about you. What I’m trying to say is, they’re more interested in your creativity, my friend.
The point is you already have the gift to create amazing things. Your head is full of ideas waiting for release. It’s up to you how you cultivate and show them to others.
Because now, more than ever, creative burnout is a currently a trend. Many people endure the agony of creative paralysis, including myself.
I could tell this on your face from experience. Creative burnout is not a joke. It is definitely not something you will like to experience.
If you have a friend or relative who might benefit from this post, kindly share it with them. They will be thankful for your deed.
Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 🙂