It’s the time again, and we get into some heavy hitting questions that I may or may not have all the right answers for. We dig deep on some of these, and there is plenty of conversation around things I know you have been thinking about. It’s a long one today, so let’s kick this off.

Make sure you visit the links at the bottom for everything we referenced in this episode.

The Questions

We have a wide range of topics this time around. We talk about the validity of craft shows, how to market to unfamiliar markets, and what would I do if I could not use my creativity? Lots to talk about, so let’s get on with it.

James

I like to do children’s and themed murals but would like to get into bigger stuff. My goal is to be 100% freelance. I’ve done six 700+ sq ft murals last year and two restaurant murals and a current project now. What is the best way to grow this business model?

Jamie

I recently started painting. What I started as just a little “Canvas Therapy” has now grabbed the attention of others and I have received many inquiries about purchasing my artwork. Which is great, but I have no idea how to price the paintings. I have friends that have told me to start an Etsy page and sell online. Once again…pricing? Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Jennifer

What I’m most interested in —and where I’ve been most stuck and would love to see/hear you address — is around specifics about how creators manage/outsource production. If there are common places people use for specific categories, or if people tend to try to produce locally. If they have small product runs printed that they pick up or have shipped to them which they ship as orders are placed, or if they have set ups where they have producers print and ship for them other than Zazzle, etc.

Kim

Regarding your question of what I struggle with in my business… (there’s so many lol), but the biggest thing would be time management and having a full time day job and an hour long commute each way. It’s so hard to be a one man band by doing everything for my little biz and then doing the other stuff.. day job, cooking, cleaning, etc…

Juli

How to best manage marketing and social media promotions when you are spread out in different market places? I think about that and feel that I’d be sending people all over the place. Perhaps it should all start with our own website?

Roger

I’m a maker, but by day I work in the corporate world. I am married and have two kids. I would love to quit the cubical jungle and spend all my time creating. I can see the potential of this happening but get scared to death when I think about my family and I loosing our health care coverage. What are the options for a independent artist? What do other artist do for health care?

The Craft Gallery

Do you think the maker’s movement is stagnated? Does the industry needs more than online marketplaces and creative coaches?

Stephanie

If I could give you enough money for you and your family to live very comfortably for the rest of your days but the only stipulation would be you had to 100% retire from any and all creative work, would you take it? Why or why not?

Jacie

You mentioned that many people have been asking you what you think about starting a second business. I’m curious what your thoughts are around that, and any tips you might have for those that have decided to go for it. Thanks so much for sharing so much great advice with all of us – we really appreciate it!

Amantha

We all know or should know that you preach that there is life after Christmas. I’d like to talk about the life BEFORE Christmas. I’ve never really promoted Christmas in my shop or got on that train. Foolish I know.

I’m guessing that if I want to rock Christmas sales that I better start now. Can you address the timeline that makers usually engage in in the run-up to Christmas? So are people making products now and planning strategies now? What are the general strategies for promoting products in the run-up to the big holiday?

Sara Breslin

I have a question! I am interested in doing more licensing of the illustration I do, so far people have approached me for work but I would like to start branching out and making connections with more companies. My question is, where do I start? How can I find companies that would be interested in my style of work? My Google searches haven’t give up much info. I would love it if you could answer this sometime! Thanks a bunch! -Sara Breslin

Jon

1. If you had to start your podcast over (aka brand new….none of your previous lists or contacts) but you get to keep the knowledge you have gained, how would you go about doing that?

2. Who is the artist that blew faster than what you expected and what do you think they did differently than other artists?

Nyk

I want to start a shirt line. I was going to set up on Etsy to start until I started making enough sales to cover the costs of a Shopify site.I thought Etsy would be easier to start with since I will be going to school full time and still running my Yoga biz.
But after listening to some of the Etsy sellers on your podcast it seems like there is a pretty steep learning curve even with Etsy if you want to get your stuff seen.

So since I am starting from scratch should I go the Etsy route Shopify or another option … Keeping in mind my full schedule?

Lizzi

Regarding difficult customers what is your advice for someone who is difficult. I mean all out just rude. Do you walk away or take the money and suck it up.

What are you thinking about Facebook ads and promoted posts? I hear a lot about small businesses putting lots of money into them. How do you know if it is worth it for you? We all know facebook is trying to make money (business is business.) But when is it just not even worth it?

When it comes to branding how important are things like pack ins and business cards in packages? Do you think customers just throw them away or does it make a difference?

What is your opinion on handmade or small businesses working with deals websites. Is it worth it for the exposure or is it too much of a gamble? Do you think it devalues the brand to sell at such a low price? What is the possibility of it actually leading to sales that matter?

What are your thoughts on online handmade businesses not doing local craft fairs or events. Are they missing an opportunity? Is it ok to just want to stay in the online market space?

That is it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the topics and learned a thing or two. I know I did. Thanks to all those who put themselves out there for this, and we’ll do it again next month.

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