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    19 Replies Latest reply on Dec 24, 2012 1:29 PM by Moderator Berta

    Where do I start??

    iram1204 Wayfarer

      Hi All,

       

      I have finally decided to follow my dream and open an online craft store. I am not sure where to start or who to go to for guidence. If someone has the same type of business, can you please guide me?

       

      Thanks for the help!

        • Re: Where do I start??
          Guide

          Hi iram1204,

           

          Welcome to our forum. Its great to have you share your dream with us.

           

          First thing I would do is get a business plan together. Here are a few of our previous discussions for you to review and use as a learning tool.

          5 minute video - About Writing a Business Plan

          Re: Creating a business plan    Help with Business Plan  Help with Business PlanHelp with Business Plan

          The 5 Most Important Things To Have In Your Business Plan

           

          An accountant would be helpful to guide you through the logistics of the finances to start your business. He/she can also help u create your business plan. Next is to put your business plan into motion (bank accounts, supplies, financing, permits - if needed, marketing, warehouse, overhead, website design, insurance, etc)

           

          Marketing your business would be next. This stage depends on how much money you have allotted in your business plan for this purpose. There are many free sites; social, banner ads, classifieds, and fan pages to utilize. Here are a few more of our previous discussions on this topic: Tap into the Power of Facebook with Facebook for BusinessRe: How do small businesses use social networking?

           

          Congratulations, you are in business!!!!  Good luck.

          • Re: Where do I start??
            kworkingparents Adventurer

            Congratulations!  I have decided to follow my dream too and start my own business which would make a difference in this world.  My business is help4workingparents.com which helps the working parents of Southern California find the best activities, resources & deals in the area.

             

            I have found that register.com is invaluable for a website, and that Google AdSense is helpful.

            Also Yelp, Manta and MerchantCircle was how our working parents group found a lot of the local businesses.  Make sure you have a few positive comments posted from visitors to your business.

             

            Good Luck!

              • Re: Where do I start??
                iram1204 Wayfarer

                Hi Kristina,

                 

                Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Congratulations on your new venture also.

                 

                I will look into the sites you provided and take it from there. My only fear is that I may not make enough money in this industry, but all I can do is try my best.

                 

                Once again, thank you!

                 

                Iram

                  • Re: Where do I start??
                    Moderator Cath Guide

                    Hi iram,

                     

                    I am also a crafter and one thing I have found very difficult is how to price my craft items.  I want them to sell so I try to avoid overpricing but then, I don't want to give them away. Crafters remember to add up their supplies in the price but so often forget to add anything for labor.  It is hard to come up with a price that is attractive to potential customers and also, cover expenses.

                     

                    Good luck in your endeavors.  Be sure to let us know how you are progressing.

                     

                    Cath

                      • Re: Where do I start??
                        iram1204 Wayfarer

                        Hi Cath,

                         

                        Thank you so much for your insight.

                        I do have a question, does this business generate enough income that you may not have to work a full time job??

                         

                        Thanks again, and I wish you much success!!

                         

                        Iram

                          • Re: Where do I start??
                            Moderator Cath Guide

                            Hi again iram,

                             

                            Good question but I am not going to give you the answer you are hoping for, I'm afraid.  I truly enjoy my crafting and spend a great deal of my free time working in it.  But I feel blessed that I can share it with those less fortunate.  I donate a lot of my work (knitted mittens, hats, scarves and baby quilts, sweaters, and burp cloths, and machine embroidered items to a wonderful agency in my area.  They reach out to those who are in need.  I feel pleased that I can assist them.  Yes, I know I could sell my wares but at this time in my life, I choose to reach out in my own way.

                             

                            So long story, I have never tried to do any mass production and selling.  I have a friend who is encouraging me to join her in her etsy store and am considering that.  So I may have a different answer to your question after the first of the year.

                             

                            Who is selling online and able to do it full-time?  Please share your success stories.  What has worked well for you?  What hasn't?

                             

                            Cathy

                    • Re: Where do I start??
                      baltimoreseo Adventurer

                      Business plan, setting up your goal..Get real

                       

                      after that get business lic, bank acct

                       

                      Start selling on ebay and other online stores that your can sell to test out the market.

                       

                      If there is enough demands, then scale it out with own ecommerce site and all..

                       

                      just my 2cent..

                      • Re: Where do I start??
                        Guide

                        Hi Iram1204,

                         

                        My mother-in-law got into the craft scene after my father-in-law died as a way to support the family (she still had two children in their teens living at home). She spent most of her weekends doing craft shows and working on her crafts during the week. When she wasn't working, she spent her time going to craft fairs and pricing products to get a better idea of what items were available and how to price her own items. She was also able to increase her client list by doing special requests and orders (most of which she collected at craft fairs that she was working). I recall that she didn't complain about her income; however, it was the eighties when most people had expendable income. Good luck.

                         

                        Melinda

                        • Re: Where do I start??
                          77hornytoad Adventurer

                          Hello Iram, good for you!  Have you looked into the costs of starting a website?  Im not sure how many products you offer but if you pay someone to make the site it can get pretty expensive.  Have you tried selling some of your crafts on ebay?  That could be a good way to judge the volume of demand and the amount people will be willing to pay.  Plus ebay is pretty cheap.

                          • Re: Where do I start??
                            mperuski Adventurer

                            Congrats on taking the plunge!  I know that this is a scary and exciting time for you.  Just a few words of suggestion in addition to all the great advice you have already received.

                             

                            First, be very mindful of your inventory costs and all the money you are investing.  My first business was gift baskets and I know from experience how these costs can get out of hand very quickly.  Keep track of your books closely from the very beginning.  Watch your margins and trends. 

                             

                            Marketing is essential.  There are a lot of low cost marketing avenues to try and give it a go, but make sure you are out there working it.  You can't just build it and they will come.

                             

                            Check out Agiliron.com.  Their application seems to be really cost-effective and developed for your niche.

                             

                            Good luck!

                             

                            Michelle Peruski

                            www.balact.com

                            • Re: Where do I start??
                              alicenikolic Scout

                              Hi,

                              Congratulations for your new business. According to me, for the success of the business you must follow the 4 P's -Product, Price, Place and Promotion. These are the 4 keys which you must pay attention on. I believe for promoting your business use the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. I hope my suggestion is of some help to you.

                               

                              Good Luck!

                              • Re: Where do I start??
                                Moderator Cath Guide

                                Hi again Iram,

                                 

                                Just a word of caution: make sure you are charging enough to cover your supplies and your time.  I know you have heard this over and over.  But too often, in trying to make a sale, the owner will charge too little.  Now this sounds like a good thing to do.  BUT once a price has been marked it is difficult to go back and raise the price.

                                 

                                Better to begin with a very reasonable price for an item - one you can justify replacing with the price you just charged for the original.  Who knows?  The buyer may come back and want to purchase more and will probably walk away if they find the price has increased.

                                 

                                Cath

                                • Re: Where do I start??
                                  Jim Peters Tracker

                                  Congratulations for your new venture and following your dreams. Make sure you market your products properly online or otherwise. For online marketing you can hire an Search engine optimizer to all that for you.

                                  • Re: Where do I start??
                                    joliemartin Scout

                                    No doubt! Online business is a very popular day by day because of customer attraction. I have found that people are very busy and they prefer online shopping. It is because internet accessible to everyone and they easily collect all information about that product which they really need and get it through an online order. According to my personal experience online business is much easier as compare to away from the house. If you have good capital then sure to start it anytime wastage.

                                     

                                     

                                    UK Wholesale Portal

                                    • Re: Where do I start??
                                      longlivemedia Tracker

                                      I would recommend that you first imagine how you would like your store to function. Now, if you now have an idea about your website, you may need to employ a designer or  programmer to help you realize your imagination. After that, you'll have to think about your marketing strategies. It's not enough to build a website, you have to know how to promote that website. For that, I recommend you check this article (http://smallbusiness.printplace.com/2012/09/11/small-but-effective-marketing-tweaks/) to give you an idea on how to proceed with your strategies.

                                       


                                      • Re: Where do I start??
                                        dmck24 Adventurer

                                        Hi iram,

                                         

                                        I would like to congratulate you for starting your business.

                                         

                                        Your field of expertise is crafting.

                                        Now you are going to develop a new set of skills as a business owner and an internet marketer.

                                         

                                        How long does it take to become a good crafter?

                                        It doesn't happen over night right?

                                        The same thing is true to running a business and advertising it.

                                         

                                        So, don't rush it.

                                        Build a good foundation.

                                        Spend some time developing your business and marketing skill by learning and experimenting.

                                        Income will be a result of the skills you develop.

                                         

                                        Best regards,

                                        Dan Becker

                                        Business Loans & Grants

                                         

                                          • Re: Where do I start??
                                            Moderator Berta Guide

                                            Hi Dan,

                                             

                                            You've given some great advice that everyone can use in their life. Don't rush! Slow & steady wins the race. Just like in the classic story of the Rabbit vs the Turtle. The hare rushes to win but looses in the end because he burned himself out by rushing. If we set a slow but steady pace & don't rush ourselves to the victory line, we can and will accomplish our goals.

                                             

                                            ~Berta

                                          • Re: Where do I start??
                                            Ranger

                                            Congratulations on your venture, iram!  Give us updates when you can . I know the community cares and is interested in how you are doing.

                                             

                                            Joleen