Saturday, January 7, 2012
Hobby vs. Business - and - Give-Away Time Again : )
You make what you like to make. Like a blog, it’s yours and you can do what you want.
You sell to friends or give it away. They are your friends, if you are too busy with other things to make the product, oh well.
There are no rules.
You can be your own boss.
You can be relaxed and laidback with what you do. After all, it’s a hobby.
If you make money from your product, it is just an added bonus.
Like to dabble in everything? Go for it.
Who needs eBay?
It’s okay to accept cash only.
You make what sells and study it like a science. If it doesn’t sell, even though you love the idea, drop it like a hot potato.
If you advertise, in any way, shape or form, then be prepared to fill orders. If it means staying up half the night, taking a vacation day from work, spending more time and money than you intended, because of poor planning, so be it. You are in the people business and you need to produce what you said you would. They should never have to “understand” your situation.
#1 Rule – You have to spend money to make money. Understand that from the get-go. Once you’re in, you have to stay in or you have lost your investment.
#2 Rule – The customer must know the answer to this question; What’s in it for me? And your product must answer it within the first 30 seconds of their attention.
#3 Rule – Be professional. Be professional. Be professional. Wikipedia: A high standard of professional ethics, behavior and work activities while carrying out one's profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client just because he or she may not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the interest of the client ahead of his own interests.
In order to survive and grow, you will need middle-men, consignment sellers or if nothing else, rented space. This again, is a business transaction. If the negotiations are not going as you would like, keep repeating to yourself; “What is it I want when all is said and done? Do I want to like and be liked or do I want to sell product?”
Keep the energy up. Selling is 80% energy and 20% product. At no point in the process can you lose energy and continue to make money.
Know if you are actually making money. You need to be able to calculate the price of the product. Everything from the printer ink to the electricity used needs to be accounted for. What is your time worth? Are you under pricing your competitor because you ignore the fact that time – your time, your most precious resource, is not worth anything?
Focus on your product and make the tweaks you need to improve your product. Be open to ideas, but find your niche and settle in. If you keep surfing the internet and stores, trying to do what everyone else is doing, afraid you are missing out or just want to prove you can do it too – you are hurting yourself. Ever find yourself doing that with blogging? Thinking you can be the next Ree Drummond, when in reality, you never will be, and now no one knows who you are?
This one is personal opinion – but I say, if you have a home business and are focused on selling locally and getting your name and product known and trusted – then stick with that. There are a plethora of places to sell within your own community or state. Avoid eBay. One on one, phone calls, word of mouth, knowing who your customers are is very, very important. If you do decide to use eBay, price your product high enough, so if someone were to buy it, repackage it and sell it, you wouldn’t care.
Be able to be flexible in you payment acceptance methods. Is it worth it to invest in a Smart Phone to be able to take credit cards? You will certainly be doing some type of internet sales – accepting PayPal transactions are a must. Again, it costs money – to make money. Do you take personal checks? How much risk are you willing to take to sell? On a personal note – this year I took in hundreds of dollars in personal checks from dozens of customers and only one did not pay after the order was shipped. Will I continue to take personal checks? I think so.
One last word of advice - don't quit your day job.
Thanks for indulging me this post - I have been wanting to do this for a long time. Good luck : )
Time for another give-away : )
How would you like to try a bar of handmade goat's milk soap felted with Navajo Churro sheep's wool?
A GOAT IN SHEEPS CLOTHING
I will be drawing three names next Friday
and will promptly ship our newest product to the three winners.
I purchase the wool from a friend and kindred spirit who raises
Navajo Churro sheep in Wyoming.
This wool is amazing to work with.
Wool has natural anti-fungal properties and retains it's freshness.
No more slippery soap in the tub or shower. Great for kids too.
The wool will continue to shrink around the bar with use and
after the bar is gone, you still have a small wash cloth for the kitchen or bathroom.
You could even cut a slit in one end and slip another small bar of soap inside.
If you would like a chance to win a free bar of felted soap,
be a follower of this blog and then just let me know you want included in the drawing
in you comments below.