5 things You Need to Know to Start Your Handmade Business - Sherpherd Like A Girl Amika Ryan

5 things You Need to Know to Start Your Handmade Business

When I first started my handmade craft business, I made mistakes. And first, let me tell you that that’s okay. 

Mistakes are how we learn and grow.

But, as I went along in my new craft business, I learned the hard way how to become successful. 

Sometimes things worked out great, sometimes they didn’t.

Looking back, there are five things stand out to me now, that I wish I would’ve known when I first got started. And I’m going to share them with you so you can get a head start in your online craft business.

Video is a game changer

When first starting my handmade business and brought it online, I wish I’d have known the power of video. 

Video increases brand awareness, increases your online presence, reveals your personality, and can boost social media engagement. However, the most important thing video can do is build trust. 

Because video builds trust with whomever views it, video can massively change your business in a very short amount of time. Video has changed my business since I can connect with my audience and community on a more personal level (without having to leave my house or my kids). This in turn builds trust between me and my audience, and makes it easier for them to make a decision to purchase. People want to buy from people they know, like and trust.

Think about it this way, would you rather buy a handmade ceramic mug from a random online shop that you saw an ad for, or would you rather purchase from your online friend who you’ve seen posting on social media not only about her mugs, but also her family, activities, etc? My guess is you’d say prefer giving your money to a friend because of the connection you two have. 

Video is what can make this connection between you and your craft business with your audience as you bring it into the online space. 

No more hiding behind Facebook posts, your products, or your website! People want to interact with YOU.

If I’d have known this sooner, I would’ve made way more videos in the beginning of my business, but now I use it as a huge strategy in growing my audience, and so to have grown my sales. 

Have something for sale sooner 

I wish I would’ve had something, a product, that people could buy from me sooner.

The big mistake I made here was that I didn’t have anything specific to sell, but I was building my audience. And it’s really hard to attract the RIGHT people into your community if you don’t have the end in mind. The end being something to sell. After all, you are starting a business and businesses sell things.

If you’re in the same position that I was in, with not knowing what your master craft is, or not having a clear idea of exactly what you’re going to sell, then get creative. There are a million little things you could make money from with an audience that is also aligned with your master craft. 

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just has to be your “Minimum Viable Product.” Think of something that you could sell that you already have made, that you already have most of the supplies to make, that doesn’t take a whole lot of time to make or finish (if you have some products around that are partially finished), or that you quickly make a digital version of, like video tutorial.

An example of what I now sell in my business in between my big launches is my mini Fall Craft Tutorial. This was a challenge I did with my audience live (again, video is amazing), that I’ve now sell the recording of.

Again, it’s okay to make easy money in your business. I see too many times people just wanting to get their most expense crafts out there because it’ll bring in the most money. But probably want to be building your audience and making sales as quickly as possible and that sometimes means you gotta go with your minimum viable product.  

Figure out your master craft 

When I first started my craft business, I didn’t know what my “master” craft was, yet. 

I was dabbling here and dabbling there and honestly, it took me awhile to find my alignment. I didn’t start my business fully knowing who I wanted to serve because I didn’t know exactly what I loved making yet!. 

I think many crafters are like that. We like many things and have our hand in multiple different projects, which is okay!

However, to start making income with your craft business then what I’ve learned is you need to get laser focused on what your master craft is, sooner rather than later. You want to align your business with this craft  and find the right audience. Especially when you’re first starting out, or maybe you’ve had a business for a while, but it’s not growing the way you want it to.

When you position yourself as an expert in one craft, you’ll start bringing in money sooner as your audience will know that you are the go to person for that craft or topic. 

You can always expand outward into other master crafts later. But for now, focus!

Know how to use IG and FB groups the RIGHT way 

Oh my, when I first started bringing my handmade business online, I had no idea how to use Facebook and Instagram correctly.

What I see with new craft businesses online is that they are either way too salesy and they aren’t nurturing their audience before they put something out there for sale. Or, they are too scared to ask for the sale and give way too much and never, if ever ask their audience for something in return.

Through a lot of trial and error within my own community, I learned how to utilize social media the right way to build my following. When done right, building your following turns into sales. It’s all about a balance of giving and asking. And this balance is different depending on your audience, growth, and types of product or offers you’re putting out there.

Here is a huge tip – you need to give more to your community than you receive. Your posts should NOT always be about getting people to buy from you. You first should focus on providing value and growing the relationship.

This ties back to why video is important, because it builds a relationship. That’s what the focus of all of your posts and interactions on social media should be as well. 

When you build trust, you grow faster!

Invest in a coach

The one thing that skyrocketed my business was investing in a coach. I wish I would’ve invested earlier because I would’ve made progress faster and avoided a lot of the mistakes that I talked about above. 

A coach takes the guesswork out of growing your business because they’ve been where you are now and have grown to where you want to be. 

Now, I know that getting a business coach can sound like a scary thing. It’s hard to see how spending money you aren’t making yet on someone who promises will grow your business can be beneficial. Trust me, I’ve been there.

My first coach was $900 a month. At the time, I had no idea how I was going to pay for it. I knew the first payment could go on my credit card, but after that I wasn’t sure how I was going to cover the monthly expense.

My coach pushed me to do so much more in my business that first month than I had done in the past year. I launched my first online program and a subscription craft box, and made enough money to pay for my coach plus make a pretty good income for myself. 

I wish I would’ve invested in myself and business sooner so I could have felt that success and freedom sooner in my business!

Don’t waste another day thinking aimlessly about starting your business.
👉 Grab my free Handmade Business Quick Start Checklist now!

Amika teaches online courses and workshops for craft business owners, artists and fiber enthusiasts to help them create sustainable and profitable handmade businesses. She's dedicated to helping you succeed with your handmade craft business in the noisy online space that is the internet today.