Constantly keeping business cards on hand that you can distribute as needed is an important part of establishing yourself. Fortunately that's easy to do when you keep a few safely tucked away in this hand-painted business card holder created by Elfie Morgan at Painting from the Heart. And there are plenty of other lovely hand-painted designs to choose from that are all both eye-catching and practical!
Elfie Morgan: My No. 1 business-building tip would be to fill your shop with many ready-made pieces. I only do one-of-a-kind items, yet I found once I surpassed a minimum of 100 items ready for purchase in my shop, that's when sales started coming in. Having a lot to choose from is so valuable to one's business. Customers come back often to see what's new.
EM: The thing I love most about owning my own shop is the flexibility of my day. I decide when I work and just how much I work, and this is perfect for a retired person. I love being busy, though, and I love painting, so the work I do for my shop is too enjoyable to be classified as work.
EM: I only create one-of-a-kind items, which sets my pieces apart. I truly love to paint, and every stroke of the brush comes straight from my heart. I pay great attention to detail. I love to personalize my pieces for customers, and I would never sell a piece that was not perfect in every way. I love working on custom orders and will do my best to create a unique piece each and every time.
Knowing everything that's coming up in the month ahead is important no matter what career you're pursuing. And this erasable magnetic calendar by Crystal at Crystal Gayle Photo is an attractive way to keep track of all your commitments at a glance. Plus, there are a variety of photos and formats to choose from, so you can have your calendar perfectly customized to your particular tastes and needs.
Crystal: Hard work goes a long way. Not only am I trying to list new [items] and renew items multiple times a day to keep my shop well stocked; I spend some time nearly every day promoting with the Promotional Frenzy Team on Etsy — a wonderful team that helps promote everyone on the team, which in return leads to a huge amount of views and an increase in sales!
C: Owning my own shop allows me to be creative. I can create and produce prints and items that portray the way I see the world.
C: My products are printed at a professional printing lab, which then ensures that the photos are printed with high-quality products that are supposed to last at least 100 years.
An eye-catching and unique set of business cards is a great way to stand out from the pack. The colourful customized cards, such as this purple starburst print, designed by Heidi Eger at Heidi Eger Design will help you represent yourself in a way that's totally true to you.
Heidi Eger: Customer satisfaction. I have had many repeat customers because I believe that no customer is too small. You purchase a $5 business card design or a custom order worth $50 from me, and I will make sure it's perfect for you. Word of mouth is the greatest advertising, and I make sure every customer gets exactly what they want!
HE: I love the creative outlet my Etsy shop gives me. When I come home from my day job, I work on my shop, and it never feels like work. Also, when an original design that I created is loved and bought by a stranger, it is a wonderful feeling.
HE: I have to love all the stuff I design. If I design something and end up hating it, I will scrap it even if I know it will sell. I don't try to be trendy just to make sales. I design things that are sometimes weird, sometimes funky, sometimes pretty and always 100 per cent me.
Making sure clients, co-workers and potential connections have your number is a huge part of creating a strong business, and keeping your business cards on display is a great way to do that. Make sure your number catches their attention with the help of this gorgeous fused-glass business card holder created by Myrna Isaac at MAI Stuff Studio.
Myrna Isaac: There are so many variables and activities needed to be taken into consideration when building a business, so this is tough to pin down to just one tip. With that said, I think the most important thing to remember is to be flexible in every aspect of your business. Always be willing to evaluate where you're at with your business, re-research your market and make changes where needed. You need to continue to "tweak" to meet the needs of your [prospective] customers. To quote Jesse Jackson, "If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against the odds."
MI: I love the independence of being able to work when I want and create what I want. I also love it when someone purchases and even "likes" one of my creations. It feels good to know that one of my creations has given at least a moment of joy or pleasure to someone else.
MI: There are so many talented artists and crafters on Etsy, with each one of our products standing out as unique. I strive to produce a distinct and quality product that is eye-catching and appealing to look at.
Writing down important notes with a variety of cheap plastic pens you've collected from hotels, companies and gift bags is no way to work. Instead, be proud of the pen you do business with by purchasing a gorgeous hand-turned wooden pen from Kevin and Juanita Hopkins at Element Arts and Crafts.
Kevin and Juanita Hopkins: Although it can lead to temporary moments of regret, being willing to accept custom orders is probably our best business-building tip. Nearly a third of our sales on Etsy have been custom orders. Sometimes someone likes a certain style of pen but in a different wood, or they've seen a shaving set in our sold items that they really like and want us to duplicate. We've gotten ourselves into some nervy moments, [such as] agreeing to build a wooden travel box for a shaving kit that was being given by a bride to her husband... with holders for soap and lotion... and a special latch that would hold a bead she wanted to tie on... and their wedding date engraved on the lid in a specific font... The requests seemed to keep piling on, and there were definitely moments that we regretted agreeing to do it. But in the end we were pleased, she was thrilled, and in the process, we learned some new skills — although we drew the line at engraving a badger scene.
KH and JH: For one thing, it's just nice to see so many things that we've created together in one space. We've both had a number of different hobbies and tried our hands at many different crafts. It's been good to focus on one and to see what can result. Although our Etsy shop is still more of a hobby, it's one that is finally paying for itself and then some. Another thing we love is knowing that items we've created are being purchased by people around the world. It's still a rush to think that out of the million-plus objects on Etsy, someone has come across something we've made and said, "Yes. That's exactly what I want."
KH and JH: I think we've taken a craft that has traditionally been seen in the realm of 50-year-old men and made it a little more hip. This might have just as much to do with the way we photograph each piece or the story we tell in the description as [it does with] the wood we've chosen. We're not afraid to use the more exotic species or to try some crazy designs. We want to make items that people will actually use, not just put on a shelf. I think that's also why we try to price each piece fairly. Yes, we're creating one-of-a-kind, hand-turned items — that can sometimes be pretty labour intensive — but we're making them for other people to enjoy and indulge in, not just look at.
When you have your own business, standing out from the pack is crucial, and having a one-of-a-kind, eye-catching logo is the perfect way to do that. Ensure you and your brand get recognized by picking out an attractive and modern logo design, such as this pre-made business logo from Shayna Pitch-Nadeau at The Paper Pegasus. She has plenty of designs to choose from, or you can even request to have a specific design customized just for you.
Shayna Pitch-Nadeau: My No. 1 business tip would be to be social. I knew that with all the competition on Etsy, I would need a way to stand out. So I made a point to send out personal messages to people, introducing myself and finding out about their experiences with their own businesses. I got some great tips from other sellers that allowed me to make important changes to my shop early on, which helped attract more customers.
SPN: I've always wanted to have my own stationery shop, and The Paper Pegasus is a small step in achieving that goal. I love that it's a true reflection of my style and personality. I like the creative freedom that having my own shop gives me.
SPN: It's so hard with all the competition on Etsy to truly be unique, but I'd like to think that my store does have a certain something special. I think that a good colour scheme is just as important as a good design. I think my shop is quirky without being cheesy — it's modern with lots of personality.
When you're trying to be taken seriously in business, the last thing you want is to be late for a meeting or to miss an important phone call. Keep track of where you need to be and what needs to get done from morning to night with the help of this custom leather day planner from Christine Marie Ford.
Christine Marie Ford: If you wish to sell online, you've got to be online. With that in mind, investing in a smartphone to have with me at all times has been indispensable! I downloaded the free Etsy app for my iPhone, and it dings whenever an Etsy message comes in and makes a delightful "cha-ching" sound when I've made a sale. I like to respond to messages and sales within seconds. Even if I can't process everything, just making the initial contact to let customers know that someone is "home" makes all the difference.
CMF: There are so many things to love! I'd say, first and foremost, I love creating beautiful things. With Etsy, I have direct access to my potential customers. The customer gets to choose what they like, as opposed to an art curator, gallery or shop owner who has only selected pieces to feature. Secondly, the flexible hours are amazing! I'm slow moving in the morning but tend to be a night owl. Also, I'm still recovering from an accident that paralyzed my right shoulder, and physiotherapy takes a lot of my time. With my Etsy shop, I can schedule my own hours.
CMF: I like to think that my products have my own personal stamp on them. Often the circumstances in my life add to new skill sets. For instance, for many years I supplemented my income by working as an admin assistant. For this reason, I'm a whiz kid when it comes to desk top publishing. This really works with my bookbinding, because I can easily create custom content for my customers at a reasonable price. Also, my background in quilting and art has led me to create my own way of collage-style fabric art that I've not seen anywhere else. I actually specialize in three areas: jewellery making, fabric art and bookbinding. Very often my skills overlap. For instance, with my one-of-a-kind shoes, I used skills from all three disciplines to create them.
Make sure your clients and co-workers always know they're appreciated with the help of these elegant thank-you cards from Alexandra Gayowsky at Pocket Squares Co. A quick note on a lovely card is a great way to show you care.
Alex Gayowksy: It all starts with the product. I definitely didn't expect my products to be as successful as they are. I just started by making them for my friends in school and myself. But I think when you create an item that is unique and well made, you'll do well. Chances are if you would use the product yourself, others would too!
AG: There is nothing better than sending your creations out into the world to be used and loved every day. Etsy customers are so wonderful to work with. Their understanding and positive feedback is continually inspiring.
AG: As a now-graduated English masters student, I love literature and try to incorporate beautiful and interesting — but never cliché — literary quotes on many of my products. I'm very picky about choosing eco-friendly and durable paper. All of my paper is recycled and milled in Canada. My stamps are either hand carved by myself or the very talented Stephanie Galea in Toronto. And each product is individually printed, cut, bound or folded and packaged.
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