Guest Post by Jason Jorgeson
Crafting can be a fun and rewarding way to make a living. It can also be a great way to get frustrated and go broke. I have seen people go from shows with no sales to making over a quarter of a million dollars a year on their crafts. Two of the obvious differences are perseverance and flexibility. Obviously, if you quit, you lose.
You have to keep at it if it’s something you are serious about. We all have bad shows, and even bad years. The other thing is not quite so easy for some people. It’s flexibility.
Hanging in there does not necessarily mean doing things exactly the same way. Keep crafting, but be adaptable. In order to stay in business and grow as a business, you will probably need to constantly make small changes to your business. Part of it comes down to the balance between creativity and business. Keep having fun, but be willing to make adjustments to your stock and to your practices. Listen to the advice and ideas of friends, other crafters and especially your customers. Ask questions.
Ask advice of the customers who are buying your stuff as opposed to asking advice from those who only look. Listen to anyone who literally puts their money where their mouth is. When they see that you have taken their advice from the previous show, they are almost honor-bound to purchase the items they recommended to you and will most likely tell their friends. Here are some other ideas:
Work on Your Web Presence
Even if you love the thrill and atmosphere of a good show, it’s still important to develop web presence to stay in business and make your work sell. Many crafters sell online through Etsy, consignment companies or directly through their own website. Or, if you really want to sell only in person, at least have a website with information and photos so that fans of your work know your schedule and your merchandise.
Selling online is generally a good idea for supplementing your festival income, but merely having a simple website to show off new merchandise and list your schedule of shows can make a huge difference as well. If you really want your business to take off, sell online and also hire a professional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consultant to work with your site.
For a reasonable monthly fee, you can have someone use every tactic available to drive traffic toward your site, bumping you up in the search engine rankings so that potential customers are finding your site first. This can increase your web presence dramatically while simultaneously converting visitors into customers.
Streamline Your Tools
Saving money is just as important as making money. Depending on the type of crafting that you do, your tools can be your biggest expense. Replacing tools is pricey and carrying all of them a with you can be exhausting, especially if you travel a lot. I have found that the oscillating multi tool is a God send for woodworking and other crafts.
This tool is light, precise and incredibly versatile. It uses different blades for different jobs, so this one tool is like having a few dozen tools in one. You can make very precise cuts in any kind of wood, plywood, drywall, thin sheet metal, plastics and most natural materials. You can use it to scrape paint, grind, sand, and polish. And they keep coming up with more blades for more uses. You can buy the one tool, then just experiment with different blades. This can streamline your process and save you lots of money over the long haul.
Jason Jorgeson is a writer, craftsman and business person who advocates the use of an expert SEO consultant for affordable SEO to boost businesses. He has written several articles about oscillating tool uses, multi tool accessories, and off-brand replacements for sonicrafter blades.