Create your own website
A lot of people shy away from setting up their own ecommerce website because it can seem like a very scary and time-consuming thing to create. Truth be told it is a time and monetary investment whatever option you choose but there are paths you can take and help on offer to make things easier. In the US, Google is trying to help as many local businesses online as possible through its programme ‘let’s put our cities on the map.’ They’re visiting towns and providing education about moving businesses online, so if you have a small physical store, they want to help you make sure it has an online presence too.
In the UK, many councils offer support to individuals setting up digital businesses, so get in touch to see if mentorship or training is available in your area. There is software out there that will help you to set up a website for free but in reality you need to consider so much more than the virtual shop window – will people purchase through your site? Will you offer discounts and shipping reductions like you can with Etsy? Lots of Etsy graduates choose to work with Shopify because it’s easy to customise and integrates useful platform features like these. It’s something you can set up yourself if you have plenty of time but having a professional on hand to do it on your behalf may save you time and money. After all, the sooner your site is up and running the sooner it can start paying for itself!
Set up a proper workshop
Increased production means you’ll need a better space and smarter tools. Working from your living room or shed might get tricky at this stage! Explore the possibility of renting your own workspace – this needn’t be flashy since your customers won’t be visiting you on site. Your priorities should be ease of working comfort. You might find just the nook you’re looking for on an industrial estate. Don’t forget to consider safety if you’re going to be working long hours in the middle of nowhere. If you’re the social type you may find you are better suited to a spot in a building shared with other artists and creative bods. Rent in these buildings may be higher but you might find you have access to joint events that help you market and sell your products.
Inside your workshop, alongside your usual tools, benches and plenty of light and ventilation, consider adding tools that will make your job even easier. Air compressors are the friends of so many craftsmen because they power key tools like staple guns and also help with speed cleaning. If you haven’t yet got one consider making an investment. Air Supplies guide you through the types available and what you would need.
Clear your schedule
Having your own site will likely mean you’ll need more products – whether that’s jewellery, clothing or upcycled furniture now is the time to make a commitment to yourself and your business and free up more of your schedule. You may want to ask to work part time at your day job at first but if you do, be prepared to work even longer hours.
When you’re building up your business and running the whole production line yourself, it’s not just manufacture you need to think about. There’s time to manage your website - adding new products and imagery, marketing, answering correspondence about your products and shipping them out to your happy customers too. You’ll also need to keep on top of your own finances, ensure you square things with HMRC from the off by reading this guide.
Think about how you will organise the production and selling process on a larger scale. If you’re a list maker you might like to enlist the help of the app todoist.com. Trello is another site that helps you keep on top of projects and tasks without losing the plot, though there’s a lot to be said for simply keeping things synced in your Google Calendar! There are lots of costs both obvious and hidden that are associated with running your own business – from business rates on your premises through to the cost of running competitions on social media to build your following, make sure you keep track of everything and regularly review to ensure your hobby pays.
*Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post. The links will take you to sites relevant to this post but to the best of my knowledge are NOT affiliate links. I just thought you crafty lot who sell your wares or want to do so, might find it useful!
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