Monday, June 15, 2009

Productive Waiting

Once you've got your shops/studios/listings up online, and you've advertised your little heart out, then comes waiting. It has to be productive waiting though! Continue on the social networks, keep your name fresh in people's minds! As tempting as it is to sit by the computer and constantly check back for "number of views", don't. It will drain you faster than you know! Instead, keep your blog updated, and get out of the house to spread word of your business locally! Make a flier, hand out business cards--meet people! People are your buyers, not usernames online! ;o) Spend some time stretching your creative mind! Can you make your item with different features? Can you create something that you can sell with it, such as in a set?

Another, possibly even overlooked activity to do while waiting for the sales to come in, is to read other people's blogs and follow them! Establish a relationship outside of just pitching sales at them all day! Get to know their writing, the me, this will later come in handy! When "JaneDoBlogger" mentions she is planning an upcoming birthday party for her twins, you can wish her luck in planning, a "Happy Birthday" to the little ones, and subtly bring up the idea of one of your items making a perfect gift for the kids! And of course, since you've been following her blogs, you'll know to suggest the Spongebob print for Johnny and Tinkerbell for Jenny! See how this works? You aren't just blindly posting ads all over the web! You are genuinely seeking out PEOPLE, not just nameless/faceless internet users! In addition, they will appreciate your approach and therefor remember you....and your store, when they are in need of something that you sell! Want another bonus to following?? You can get ideas from these new relationships! For example you have only been selling your item in fall colors....after reading other blogs, you notice that summer colors seem to be the most popular see where I'm going here?? Sell what people like, not just you and your relatives!

Now back to that mention of flyers...what to say on them? Well, for starters, select one item to feature. Make that your headline...Follow that up with some bullet-style features/points about the item! Don't list too much--just enough to get their attention! Play with bold type, fonts, and sizes. Don't use a font that is difficult to read quickly! Keep some space at the bottom so you can make tear-away tags with your business name and phone/website on it! You might want to print them out on colored paper as well to make them more visible. Where do you post them?? Laundry mats, convenience stores, colleges...anywhere that will let you really! Be creative with where you post flyers--you want high traffic areas, ideally in places where your target market will be!

Business cards...if you can't afford to buy them professionally made, make them yourself! Time consuming, yes, but it has a nice effect! What to do with them? Hand them to every person you exchange money the store, at the movies, at the bank. Ask to leave a couple here and there (movie rental stores, gas stations...anywhere you see other business cards!). Send 2 or 3 with every order you ship. Include one in Christmas cards, birthday cards, etc! Hand them out at the park while your kids play with the other kids. Use them to introduce yourself!

As you can see, although waiting is seemingly endless and maybe unnerving to some, as long as you make it productive, it will pass! If you want your business to be your only source of income, you have to want it enough to work for it! Yes, work. I know you thought owning your own business would be fun and exciting and dare I suggest, easy? But what you come to see very quickly, is that rather than just being the cashier at the local dollar store, you have just signed up to be: owner, bookkeeper, design team, investor, manufacturer, marketing department, salesman, customer service department, and packaging/shipping....all in one--one, being...YOU! :o) Sounds harsh, I know...but it will get easier (note: I did not say simpler, just easier!). You will get the hang of your marketing techniques, finding what works and what doesn't. You will figure out how all this online information of owning your home business applies to you. You will find your groove, and make that money!

Keep all of your information up to date, and always be productively waiting for the sales!