I want to invite you to follow along as we build an actual handmade business from the ground up in real time. Our ultimate goal is to turn the business into a venture that makes at least $100,000 in revenue over its lifetime. We’re not limiting ourselves to a timeframe – so we’re going to work as hard as we can, and for as long as we need, to hit our goal!
And we’re sharing every single step.
From the exact strategies to launch and grow a handmade business, to how much money we’re making and every little detail in between. Be part of our lessons learnt, follow our progress, celebrate our wins and cheer us back onto our feet when we make mistakes (which we most probably will).
The best business advice I ever received
The reason we’re starting a handmade business and sharing all the nitty-gritty details with you is simple.
This is something I wish I had when I started my first business.
When I first started, building a business seemed easy enough:
Step 1. Come up with an idea and start making things
Step 2. Make a website or an online shop and put some stuff on it
Step 3. Build a bunch of traffic through social media, SEO and pay some search engines
Step 4. Turn that traffic into customers and repeat it all over again
How hard could it be?!
Even if you type into Google, “how to market my online business”, you’ll find millions of articles and blog posts telling you how to run your business and the top 10 best tactics. Now, there’s nothing wrong with these. In fact, I’ve learned valuable information soaking up knowledge from my favorite businesspeople.
But even after the thousands of articles I’ve read, podcasts I’ve listened to and YouTube videos I’ve streamed, one piece of advice has stuck with me.
Try anything and everything until you find what works for your business.
So, we want to do something different. Instead of giving you more articles on what you should be doing, we’ll be experimenting with everything ourselves and showing you exactly how we’re doing it, with complete transparency. After that, I encourage you to take what you need out of our lessons and apply it to your own creative business.
Who are we?
Throughout this journey you’ll be getting to know us very well, so let’s get the formalities out of the way, shall we?
My name is Ria and I head up Content Marketing at Zibbet. My job is to help creative entrepreneurs sell more, so this journey will be right up my alley. I started my very first handmade business in 2013 selling invitation templates. I started off selling my products on Etsy, but eventually I realized the business wasn’t something that I truly cared about. Next, I started a creative community that was all about helping creatives make a profit from their passion. After seeing so many people sell the things they loved making, it hit me – I don’t want to tell people how to run their business. I want to be right in the middle of it again, making my own things, selling them and educating creatives at the same time.
Hello! I’m Ash and I’m the other half of this journey. I’m a Designer at Zibbet and my dream has always been to start my own online business but I’ve never known where to start. Like so many creatives, I’ve spent hours plotting business ideas, following the stories of my favorite brands and obsessing over crafty things on all kinds of handmade marketplaces. But I’ve always felt overwhelmed – I’m not sure if I had the skills, money or time to really turn my daydreams into something real. It’s so scary to think about the possibility of failing. Now’s the time I’m going to stop worrying and just leap head first into something that I’m crazy passionate about.
What’s the business we’re building?
If you’re itching to know what kind of handmade business we’re building, I’ve got a bit of news for you.
We have absolutely no clue.
But that’s why it’s so exciting because we’re literally starting from ground zero. We’re going to share exactly how we brainstorm and come up with an idea and turn it into a viable business.
Although the product we settle on may not be exactly the same as yours, the business fundamentals we’ll be sharing from our experience will be relevant for any handmade business.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a jewelry maker, a clay connoisseur, a digital designer or an oil painter – our lessons should be your lessons, too.
What are we sharing?
The short version? Every-darn-thing.
The long version? We’ll be documenting our journey every single week and you’ll gain an all-access pass to see exactly what we’re doing behind the curtains:
- Our experiments to start, launch, grow and run our handmade business
- The results of our experiments
- Our metrics such as shop traffic and total orders
- The resources, tools, services and suppliers we use
- How much everything costs
- How much money we’re making
- …and every highlight and emotional breakdown we go through
What topics will we cover?
As our little venture unfolds we’re going to be touching on all manners of business building and handmade related topics.
- Coming up with a business idea
- Coming up with a business name
- Branding and logo design
- Product development
- Planning a launch strategy
- Building hype through marketing
- Finding the perfect price point
- Taking great photos
- Choosing a platform to sell on
- Packaging products
- Keeping our customers happy
- Scaling our business
- …and more!
I can’t promise you a set order because that’s not how most businesses work. Sometimes we’ll be taking shortcuts, other times we’ll get stuck, and the rest of the time, we’re probably going to be doing a lot of things backwards from conventional wisdom.
Because when we make big goals, we take big actions.
No matter how out of reach a goal seems to be, every single little step we take will help us get there. Most of us are familiar with reaching attainable goals and celebrating small wins. But big goals are scary. Sometimes it’s simply fear that hampers us from getting anywhere near our goals.
We’ve set the goal for $100,000 in total revenue over the lifetime of our business, not because we care about the money but because we want something that drives us to challenge ourselves. I encourage you to do the same when it comes to setting your own goals.
One thing I’ve encountered in a lot of creative entrepreneurs is a lack of confidence. It would be too easy to say “I can never make $100,000” and reach only half of what you could’ve achieved. Instead, I want to inspire confidence towards your personal venture so even you can yell, “I’m going to do every single action and take every single step, so that I can to reach my big goal”.
For us, that’s $100,000.
Perhaps we won’t make it or maybe we’ll blow it out of the water – at the end of the day, we really don’t know, unless we try.
What we’re starting with
Everybody has to start somewhere. Part of reaching our goal is to recognize what we do and don’t have when it comes to our money, time, skills and other (dis)advantages.
We’re starting with a budget of $10,000. We’re not really fans of spending everything in one fell swoop so we’ll be scrimping and saving as much as we can from our initial capital. I’d much rather show you how we can get a business off the ground by spending only the absolutely necessary. When it comes to how we use our money, it’ll be just as relevant if you only have a starting balance of $100. This means our starting budgets for things like product development and marketing are going to be on the skinny side 😉
Ashlee is an out-of-this-world visual designer and Ria is a gun at marketing online businesses. We’ll be relying on each others’ skills as much as possible to save money and create a business that we know that we can confidently do a freakin’ amazing job.
We’ve both decided to work on our business part-time. We understand that a lot of you are parents, full time employees, students or you have other commitments. At the end of the day, building a business is a way for us to generate income doing something we both love while still living the life we live. For us, that means not spending every single second and emotion attached to our business, doing other things that are fulfilling to our lives and having quality time to spend with our families. That’s the end goal for a lot of entrepreneurs after all, isn’t it?
But this also means that our time spent will be precious. We’re going to have to be way more diligent about our productivity and processes. Goodbye, procrastination!
We already foresee that social media will be a big part of our marketing plan. This means that we can leverage our own audience for our business.
Together our Instagram and Facebook audiences adds up to 360,000 followers, which seems like A LOT. But keep in mind, our followers may not be our target audience, and we’re not the type to spam our own audience we’ve worked hard to grow. And just like our skills, what we save in our influencer marketing budget gets spent on something else we don’t possess.
Be part of our journey
So that’s just the start of it! If you’re excited, please sign up to our email newsletter below and you’ll receive the very first post in the coming weeks. We’ll also be sharing what we’re doing in real time over at our @handmadeto100k Instagram feed.
If you want to share your own journey, I invite you to join our Facebook group where you can ask us questions, interact with our community of passion makers and turn our Handmade to $100K lessons into your business strategies.
Talk to you very very soon!
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