Let me introduce Jessica founder of Create & Thrive and a successful Silver Jewellery Designer. In today's interview she shares how she went from 0 sales to a sale a day. She also shares a few tips, that you could use for your creative business.
Thanks for taking part Jessica, let's jump straight in.
How long did it take you to go from 0 sales to 1 sale a day & why do you think it was over this time period?
I had been running my shop - Epheriell - as a hobby for just over a year (alongside a full-time job) when I inadvertently went full time (due to medical interruptions in travel plans). I had quit my job to go travelling, but couldn't leave... so I threw myself into my hobby business full-time.
It really didn't take very long at this stage to build up to getting at least one sale a day online. Within about a month, I had hit this point. Of course - these were low price-point sales - at the time I was selling some of my most popular earrings for just $25. So, while I was making regular sales, it was still a good while before I was making enough money to live on.
When you were on the zero sales, how did you keep going when or if discouragement set in?
I think it took just over a month of having my Etsy shop set up before I had my first ever sale. I can still remember the moment I received that very first sale notification - I was ecstatic! It was such a high - and chasing that feeling became addictive, and helped to drive me to learn more, try more, experiment more, and create more.
When I went full-time at the beginning of 2010, I had already built up a network, an online presence, a blog and social media (just facebook and twitter back then). That meant I wasn't starting from scratch, but building upon the foundation I had already set up. I always tell my students that the most valuable thing you can cultivate in business is patience. A business - just like anything else - takes time and constant input to grow. You can't launch a new business today and expect to be making a living from it a week from now (yes, that does happen, but 99.9% of the time it doesn't).
The key is to seek the small wins. When you're starting out, that might be something as simple as afavoritee of your product, or a positive comment. Obviously, a sale is the most motivating win - but there are so many other things that can be motivating. When I went through periods of low or no sales, it was inherently motivating to me - it motivated me to create new designs, to try new marketing avenues, and to work on all other aspects of my business.
You have to believe in yourself - and your product - first and foremost. If you're not confident and full of love and belief in your product, you won't be able to maintain the enthusiasm and drive needed to make your business a success.
Which social media platform helps bring in more sales & what strategies have you in place for this to happen?
Originally, I'd have to say twitter was the most important platform - followed closely by Facebook. These days, I focus more on Instagram and Pinterest, because they are fabulously visual platforms, which works beautifully for a maker.
With social media, the key is to have a plan for what you're going to share, and when you're going to share it. This might be a routine (you share a product you're working on every weekday) or a defined plan (map out the next month's worth of posts).
You also need to ensure you're not stretching yourself too thin. There's only so much time you can devote to social media before it just becomes a time suck. Don't get on there during work hours unless you have a purpose, or you'll end up wasting way too much valuable work time down the rabbit hole!
What steps do you recommend in helping to achieve that 1 sale a day.
Consistency, consistency, consistency! You need to be working on your business every day. You need to be spreading the word about your business every day. Sean McCabe recently shared a piece of advice I wholeheartedly support: "Show up every day for two years. That’s the golden answer right there." He's absolutely right. The people who succeed turn up - day in, day out. They don't do a little bit today, then forget about their business for a week, then come back to it and expect it to be growing.
Show up, experiment, and believe in yourself. You can make your dream of having a thriving handmade business a reality.
Thank you so much Jessica.
BIO: Jess Van Den is a self-employed silversmith working under the Epheriell label. She's been making jewellery since 2008, when she opened her Etsy shop to sell her jewellery as a hobby, and turned Epheriell into her full-time occupation in 2010 - bringing her husband Nick on board soon after. She specialises in eco sterling silver wedding rings, and works out of her solar-powered home studio in the countryside north of Brisbane, Australia. She's also the founder and editor of Create & Thrive, where people learn how to turn their handmade hobby into a full-time business from those who've done just that.