Time and time again I get asked hot burning questions about how to run a small business. Questions like how did you get your book deal? How do you get your jewelry in magazines? and How do you keep everything straight? Venus Zine and Sublime Stitching’s Jenny Hart are covering all these questions and more for you in a new monthly column called Crafting a Business with Jenny Hart. The articles are always interesting and well written and I always find them relevant and learn something new. This month Jenny mentions our girl gang the Austin Craft Mafia and the fact that we always swap swag with each other. Hey it’s a free and easy way to spread the gospel about your company. For tips like this and many more be sure to read the article, read the past articles and keep an eyeball peeled each month for more new articles. Oh and I love the Illustration by Alicia Traveria.
Usually when people ask me questions about running a business I send them over to the Austin Craft Mafia website and suggest they read our individual profile interviews. We answer a lot of questions there. Another more recent suggestion is that they pick up a copy of Craft, Inc by Meg Mateo Ilasco from Chronicle Books. The book claims to be the ultimate guide to turning what you do for fun into what you do for money. You bet your sweet toosh you could be making a living off of your Etsy store, just read the book to figure out how. There are tips on how to handle your first craft fair, wholesale versus consignment, trade show 101 plus interviews with companies like Wool and Hoop, Jonathan Adler, Poppi Jewelry and more. Sure there are tons of books on how to run your small crafty business, but this book has an Indie slant and a layout so pretty it would make the gals over at Decor8 proud!
I leave you with 10 free ways to promote your business and get the word out.
1) Start a blog! Well no one wants to just read about your business so you need to spice it up a little bit too! Once you have a blog start your own Bead Bloggers or Web Snob Weekly Round Up with some friends to promote your blogs.
2) Have a My Space account for your business. One of the number one refers to my website is my My Space profile. Don’t forget Face Book, although I am not as big of a fan since they are a little slimy about what they tell their advertisers.
3) Start a Flickr account. Once you have your account join some groups and send your pictures to those pools for others to see. Also be sure to add tags to your photos! Plus it’s fun and inspiring to see other people’s pictures.
4) Ask other like minded companies to trade links with you. The more links out there leading to your website the easier it will be for people to find you.
5) Chat on The Switchboards, Craftster, Supernaturale – however many crafty posting boards you have time for! These boards are awesome resources for business and craft information, plus you make new friends.
6) If you already have swag then it is free to swap it with other people. Jenny Hart puts Naughty Secretary Club post cards in her Sublime Stitching Orders, I put Vickie Howell’s postcards in my orders and Tina Sparkles includes postcards about All Dressed Up and Shy. Find your crafty circle and swap swag.
7) Blogs that specialize in writing about crafty goodies are always looking for new content (Indie Fixx, Modish, Anything Indie, ect . Most have a link and email right at the top that says something along the lines of “contact me if you think our readers would like your ______”. Contact them, it’s free advertising if they write about your business.
8) Have a mailing list and use it. If you have a web page or even an Etsy account you should have a newsletter that people are able to sign up for. Send your newsletter out with regularity but not so often that people unsubscribe. Let peeps know about sales and new products.
9) Start a local chapter of a Babes in Business, Church of Craft, Etsy Team and meet monthly. There are power in numbers!
10) Does your email have a signature with URLs? Mine is ridiculously long and every time you get an email from me you find this at the bottom….
Naughty Secretary Club
PO Box 151510 Austin, TX 78715
Watch Craft Lab & Stylelicious on DIY Network.
P.S. One last free thing that I LOVE are Google Alerts. Everytime the words Naughty Secretary Club, Jennifer Perkins, Stitch Austin or Austin Craft Mafia appear on the internet I get a Google Alert about it with a link. This way you can see what the world is saying. A lot of times I find mentions on blogs and websites through these alerts that I would have otherwise never seen. Just be sure when you are submitting words like “Naughty Secretary Club” to put it in quotes or you will get alerts about each of the 3 seperate words.