Starting a craft business requires more than making products and setting up at a craft show or on Etsy. But you likely know that since you’re checking out a startup checklist.
Success is more likely when you plan for it and take your business seriously.
Although you may not need to apply for a loan, hire employees, or fill a brick-and-mortar store with inventory, a small business still requires a lot of planning.
Use the free checklist as a general overview of the steps you’ll likely want to take to get started, and read over the article for more details and tips.
You can also use this checklist to audit a craft business that’s already up and running. It can help you find areas of improvement.
Craft Startup Checklist
- Legal requirements
- Business registration
- Licenses & permits
- Business insurance
- Numbers to track
- Startup costs
- Financial goals
- Product Pricing
- Work hours
- Who your target market is
- Define a target market by a commonality your customers share
- Describe your ideal customer or brand ambassador
- Uncover your target market’s pleasures & stressors
- Learn what preconceived notions your target market has about your business
- Why your business/products are different
- Research competition and identify market gaps
- Define benefits your business/products offer
- Explore your USP/UBP/UVP
- Develop a brand that will help your business/products stand out among the competition
- What you’re selling
- Choose 1 product category to focus on
- Narrow down 3 – 5 products to focus on
- Develop a signature style
- Create a product collection to launch with
- How you’ll market
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Social Media
- Paid ads
- Print marketing
- Press Releases
- Where you’ll sell your products
- Etsy or other online marketplaces
- Craft Shows
- When you’ll schedule tasks
- Quarterly reviews & goal setting
- High-value tasks
- Projects & events that boost sales
*Find a detailed explanation of each checkpoint below
Registration, taxes, permits, regulations, etc. will vary depending on the type of business you set up, what you’re selling, where you’re operating your business, where you’re shipping products to, etc.
If you’d like a more detailed guideline, check out Laws for Selling Handmade.
You’ll be required to research the exact steps you must take for your business. Some areas you’ll want to investigate are:
Depending on the structure (e.g. sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.) and what you name it, you may need to register your business.
You may need to register for a tax identification number and research how to properly charge and remit taxes based on where your business is located and where it operates (e.g. if you ship products outside of your location).
Licenses and permits
Most businesses require some form of license or permit to operate legally. For example, you may need a business license or zoning permit to run your business out of your home.
Depending on what you sell, there may be regulations to follow, which are generally in place to protect the consumer. For example, if you’re selling cosmetics or children’s products you may have safety and labeling regulations to follow.
Depending on how your business is structured (e.g. sole proprietorship vs. an LLC), what you sell, and potential risks, you may want some form of business insurance.
Check out Laws for Selling Handmade for more details
Numbers to Know
For a business to succeed, it must have profits. To help ensure your business profits, you’ll want to pay close attention to its numbers. Such as:
How much money do you need to spend to get your business up and running and when do you expect to break even? It’s important to consider costs outside of materials and to factor in your wage for any hours spent working on your business. You’ll find several examples of expenses a handmade business has here.
It’s a good idea to set a budget for each month and to adjust that budget based on profits. If you didn’t profit last month, you should find ways to cut costs next month. Don’t spend money without thinking about its return on investment (ROI) or continuously dip into your personal bank account to keep your business running. The Success Planner will help you take a closer look at the number side of your business and run it properly.
How much revenue do you hope to generate in a year and what must you sell each month to reach that goal? These numbers should influence the projects you plan and the tasks you schedule each week. The Success Planner will help you set realistic goals and plan projects that help you reach them.
Many crafters underprice their work and set prices based on what they think consumers will pay. You must price your products for profit. Here’s the right way to price handmade products and the pricing formula to avoid.
You must know how much you’re profiting with each sale and at the end of each month. First, you must work profits into your prices. But before you can do that, you must know what your expenses are. At the end of each month, when you add up your revenue, you must then deduct every dollar you spent on your business, included the hourly wage you want to pay yourself. What you’re left with are your profits.
For a business to stay afloat, to grow, and to succeed, it must have profits.
To determine this number, you need to track all of your expenses. Here are some examples of the costs a craft business will have when selling online or at craft shows.
Knowing how many hours you have to work on your business will help you set realistic goals, create an effective schedule, and price products properly to be sure you’re getting paid for the hours you work.
Consider how many hours you’ll have available each month to work on your business. Multiply those hours by the wage you’d like to be paid. Those wages should be factored into the prices you set, and you must sell enough product to cover your wages (and all expenses). I explain pricing in more detail here.
You should also be tracking your time. Small tasks such as running to the post office or packing for a craft show quickly add up.
You may plan to only work 20 hours/week on your business, but if you end up working 30, you want to be sure your business can pay you for those hours. If you constantly run over your allotted work hours, but your prices stay the same, it means you’re either not being paid for all of your time, or your profits decrease.
Keep track of any time you spend on your business and if you’re spending more than you planned for, you may need to raise your prices or cut back on non-essential/low-value tasks.
Who your Target Market is
Before you can start making products that are sure to sell, you must know who you’re making them for. Although most business owners define their target market by demographics, general information such as “women in their 30’s” isn’t enough to help you create a bestseller.
Imagine you’re given the task of buying a gift for someone. To buy something they’re going to love, you’d need to know who the gift is for, right?
And would “a woman in her 30’s” be enough information to help you pick the perfect gift for them?
But if I told you that woman in her 30’s loves yoga, you’d have a much easier time finding a gift she’s almost certain to love.
Think of your products as gifts and apply the same idea to your business. You need to define more than just demographics if you want information that will help you create products your target market is sure to love and will spend money on.
Some of the key steps to take are:
Determine a target market by a commonality your customers share
A target market is a group of people that share something in common. As mentioned, we don’t want that commonality to be based solely on demographics. Instead, consider what your customers might bond over.
This will help you find a profitable target market and uncover important information beyond demographics.
It’s unlikely you’d bond with someone simply because they’re the same gender, age, or have the same marital status as you. But if you love yoga, you might bond with others who also love yoga.
That commonality is what forms a good target market and is also something that drives purchasing. If you love yoga, you’re likely to purchase yoga-related products.
It also helps you find your potential customers.
For example, you can find people who love yoga: at yoga studios, reading yoga magazines & blogs, following yoga-focused social media accounts/groups/hashtags, etc.
Consider a commonality your customers would share.
I’ll teach you a secret method for finding profitable commonalities that will help you target the right market in How to Find a Goldmine of Customers.
Describe your ideal customer or brand ambassador
Being able to imagine a specific person will help you create a business your target market can relate to and products they want to buy.
I’m not a fan of typical ideal customer Q&A templates that have you listing your ideal customer’s favorite ice cream flavor or TV show. Information you define should be based on what influences your target market to buy.
I also find it helps to think of your ideal customer as someone who best represents your entire customer base.
Every one of your customers will be slightly different, but if your target market elected one person to best represent what the entire group wants, who would that person be?
Once you have a clear picture of them, you can keep them in mind when making business decisions.
You can also think about that person from a business perspective and define a brand ambassador. They’re a person your target market will be attracted to because they want to be like them.
Consider big brands that have hired celebrity ambassadors (e.g. Britney Spears for Pepsi, Tiger Woods for Rolex, Jennifer Aniston for Aveeno). Aveeno sees their customers as down-to-earth, girl-next-door type of women who appreciate natural beauty; they’re trying to improve their skin, not cover it up with layers of makeup. Jennifer Aniston embodies that, so it makes her the perfect brand ambassador. People who love Jennifer Aniston (her looks, her style, her vibe, etc.), perk up and pay attention when they see her in an ad.
You obviously won’t be hiring a celebrity or spokesperson at this point. But it can help to imagine who your target market would be drawn to.
Let’s say Jennifer Aniston would be the perfect ambassador for my craft business selling jewelry. When creating products, writing text for product descriptions, developing a brand, etc. I would think about Jennifer Aniston and what she would wear, how she might describe the products, colors and styles she would be drawn to, etc.
Learn more in How to Find a Goldmine of Customers.
Uncover your target market’s pleasures & stressors
Once you know who your target market is, get to know what makes them happy and what stresses them out.
This is information that will help you create better products for them, write marketing messages and product descriptions that connect with them, and make it easier to sell to them (I teach you how to uncover this information in How to Find a Goldmine of Customers).
Learn your target market’s preconceived notions about your business
Your target market already has expectations of your business. They’ve shopped with your competitors and are expecting the same standards or better from your business.
Think about it this way, if you visit a new fast-food restaurant, you’ll have certain expectations of it (e.g. fast service, cheap prices, good-tasting food, etc.). Those expectations are based on your experiences at other fast-food restaurants.
If the new fast-food restaurant doesn’t meet those basic standards, you may not become their customer (or a repeat customer).
The same idea applies to your business. You need to know where your target market has previously shopped for products like yours. Then you must meet or exceed the standards those competitors have provided to your target market.
>> How are your competitor’s products photographed?
>> What do their websites look like?
>> What type of customer service do they provide?
For help uncovering your target market’s preconceived notions and how to alter your business to meet or exceed them, check out How To Find a Goldmine of Customers.
Why your Business/Products are Different
Your craft business needs a “why”. Why people will buy from you when they have so many other businesses to choose from.
Your “why” is what sets your business apart from competitors and gives your target market a *valid reason to buy from you.
*Valid meaning, your “why” matters to your target market. Many craft business owners will claim “one-of-a-kind designs” or “handmade with love” or “unique materials” are what make their products stand out from competitors. However, those aren’t typically product features consumers shop for and are willing to pay double the price they might pay at a big box store.
Research competition & identify market gaps
Before you can determine how you’ll set your business apart, you must know what’s out there to differentiate from.
Look for big and small competitors. Although you may not be aiming to compete with a big chain, it’s likely your target market is aware of them and considering them as an option to buy from.
For example, if my craft business sells yoga accessories, I may not be trying to “compete” with Lululemon. However, people within my target market are aware of Lululemon and will compare my products to their’s before buying.
Get to know what your competitors are already offering your target market and any gaps they’re leaving that your business can fill.
For example, if I make and sell yoga mat bags, I would look at smaller business on Etsy, as well as big competitors, such as Lululemon. I might notice that most of my competitors are offering a one-strap style of bag and realize there’s a gap in the market for a backpack-style yoga mat bag.
Define benefits your business/products offer
It’s important to step into your customers’ shoes when thinking about benefits to highlight, and consider which ones they’ll be willing to spend money on.
You may think “original designs” is a benefit, but consider if consumers really care who designed the products or if there are product features that are more important to them.
For example, if you saw a top in a store and the salesperson said it was designed by a person you’ve never heard of, would that compel you to buy? Probably not. But if they told you the top is made with material that will never shrink or fade, that’s a benefit that may encourage you to buy.
You understand the benefits of the materials/ingredients/processes you use, but your customers may not. So be sure you’re highlighting benefits in terms they’ll understand.
For example, “serged seams” may not mean much to someone who doesn’t sew. However, “strong seams that won’t split” puts the benefit into terms a consumer immediately understands.
Highlighting too many benefits will overwhelm consumers and your message will be lost. Focus on one or two key benefits your target market will care most about. If you’ve chosen wisely, they will help your business stand apart from competitors.
Explore your USP, UBP, and UVP
Unique selling proposition (USP), unique buying proposition (UBP), and unique value proposition (UVP) are different ways to look at how your business is unique.
You might not need all three but they’re different angles you can explore to help you find something that makes your business/products stand out.
Here’s how I like to think of each:
- USP – (unique selling proposition) is step one in communicating how your business is unique. It should be immediately obvious to a shopper and be what drives/attracts consumers to your business/products. For example, if I’m selling a yoga mat backpack, instead of a regular over-the-shoulder-style bag, the backpack style is what immediately sets my yoga mat bags apart. Shoppers notice that at first glance and it makes my bags stand out among all other yoga bag mats. Other factors such as branding or packaging can also initially communicate a USP.
- UBP – (unique buying proposition) is information that your target market needs to hear to buy. It’s communicated to shoppers as they hear your sales pitch at a craft show, read a product description on Etsy, or read a product tag. For example, pointing out how a backpack-style yoga mat bag is more comfortable to wear, or is better for the back, or won’t move around when walking/running/biking is the type of information that encourages someone to buy.
*Which UBP I point out would depend on my target market or the segment within it I’m targeting. For example, if I’m targeting yogis who walk, run, or bike ride to yoga practice, I would point out how the bag will stay in place as they move.
- UVP – (unique value proposition) is the value customers gain after they make a purchase. The information may also be communicated through a sales pitch or product description, but it helps shoppers see the long-term value or the “bigger picture” value of buying from you. For example, someone buying a yoga mat backpack may not initially care about or buy because of: waterproof fabric, or machine washable fabric, or ethically sourced fabric. But those are elements that would be valuable to them long-term/after purchasing/bigger picture.
Your unique proposition(s) should be simple to understand and to communicate. You don’t have a lot of time to capture the attention of consumers. They must immediately understand why your business/products are unique and they must care about that unique factor if it’s going to help you make sales.
Develop a brand that will help your business and products stand out among the competition
A brand is another element that helps your business stand out and entices consumers to buy. A brand isn’t about a logo; it’s about a feeling consumers get from your business.
I can’t tell you how many skincare products I’ve purchased (that I didn’t need to) because of the packaging, wording, colors, etc.
Pura Botanicals is a perfect example of a skincare brand that makes me feel I need their products, simply because of branding. The packaging, colors of the creams and serums, scents, fonts, product names, photography, etc. all have a feminine, clean, and luxurious feel. I imagine I would have a spa-like experience every morning and night using their products and that I’ll have the most amazing skin if I use their products.
You can take an ordinary product and make it unique with branding.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just think about the feeling you want consumers to have when they see your products, visit your website, stop at your craft show booth, speak to you, etc.
Then consider the colors, fonts, words, tones, materials, and even tastes and smells that communicate that feeling. Keep those consistent across each element of your business.
What you’re Selling
Many crafters make products on the fly, based on what they feel inspired to create each day. While inspiration is important, if you want your products to sell, you must put your customers first.
Think about your target market during every step of creating products.
Choose 1 product category to focus on
As a creative person, you may feel compelled to make a variety of items. After all, more options mean more opportunities for sales, right? Wrong.
Too much selection can actually harm sales. Check out The Easiest Way to Increase Craft Business Sales by 27%
It can also make your business seem less professional. When selling handmade products, you want to come across as an expert. Selling everything from candles and soap to knitting and jewelry can make you come across as a Jack of all trades, master of none.
It’s typically best to stick to one category, or subcategory, of product. For example, focus on jewelry or knitting, but not both. This helps to create cohesion within your business, refine your craft, and keep profits high (switching between different materials, techniques, tools, etc. can slow production down, increase costs, and eat into your profits).
Narrow down 3 – 5 products to focus on
Even when you’ve limited your products to fit within one category/subcategory, it’s still important to limit the types of products you offer within that category/subcategory.
Again, too many types of products can have a harmful impact on sales, make your business appear less professional, and reduce your profits. Here’s how to know if you’re offering (or planning to offer) too many products).
3 – 5 is a good range to start with when it comes to the types of products you offer within a category/subcategory.
For example, if I’m selling products under the category of jewelry, there are many types of products I could make: earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, toe rings, anklets, belly chains, etc. However, I would want to stick to 3 – 5 product types, especially to start.
I may start my business by offering earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. As my business grows, I can add more types of jewelry.
I would also want to limit the types of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets I offer. For example, I could make stud earrings, drop earrings, hoop earrings, huggie earrings, climbers, etc. But to start, I would want to focus on just a few styles.
Develop a signature style
A signature style will create cohesion among your products and will help boost sales.
If a product line isn’t cohesive, it creates confusion and makes customers question if a brand is right for them.
Imagine a teenager shopping in a clothing store and they find a top they love, but the store also sells clothes their mom would wear, as well as clothes their grandma would wear. Even though the teenager loves the top, they don’t want to shop in the same store as their grandma.
Cohesion strengthens a message and a brand and ensures shoppers who discover your business through one product, will love the rest of your products and be interested in buying more than one item.
If the teenager finds a top they love and the rest of the store is full of similar items, they’re likely to buy multiple items, or come back and buy again.
A signature style also helps create products that are exclusive to your business and require consumers to come to you to buy.
For example, Aveda products have a signature scent. If I want hair and body products that have that clean, slightly spicy, botanical scent, I need to buy from Aveda. And if I like the clean, earthy smell of one of their products, I’m going to like all of their products because they all incorporate aromatherapy and use flower and plant-based scents.
You can easily create a signature style by focusing on a few key product features and repeating them across all products. Be sure to keep your target market in mind and what they’ll be drawn to.
Examples of product features are:
- Style/feel (e.g. classic, bohemian, romantic, etc.)
- Techniques/processes (e.g. wire-wrapped, beadwork, stamped, etc.)
I could take 3 – 5 product features and implement them into each product. The fewer product features that are repeated, the clearer a signature style will be.
For example, let’s say I’m targeting people who practice yoga and I sell jewelry. The key elements I focus on may be:
- Mindful messages
Each piece I create would be either gold, silver, or rose gold, and be stamped with a mindful message (e.g. “be present”, “deep breath”, “namaste”, etc.). My business would become known for yoga-themed stamped metal jewelry.
Create a product collection to launch with
A product collection should convey a story, message, or feeling, be cohesive, and encourage sales.
A product collection might be a group of skincare products that tell the story of a relaxing spa day at home. Or, it may a collection of bags that share a back-to-school message. Or, a jewelry set may evoke the feeling of romance for Valentine’s Day.
Consider the time of year you’re launching your business, and what your target market will be shopping for. What’s the story, message, or feeling that might encourage them to buy?
The products you sell, especially within a collection, should all work together and have repeating elements.
- Jewelry – a product collection should include a necklace, earrings, and bracelet that can be worn together.
- Bath & Body – a bar of soap, lotion, and body spray within a product collection should have the same scent or benefit (e.g. moisturizing).
- Art – a collection should include pieces that can be hung together or displayed in the same room.
- Accessories – a product collection of knitted goods should offer mittens, scarves, and hats that can be worn together.
- Home goods – a product collection of pottery dishes should look like they all belong on the same table.
A business may have several product collections at any given time. 1 – 3 is a good average for how many product collections a small craft business should focus on.
When you’re launching a business, it’s perfectly fine to start with just one product collection. But depending on what you sell, you may want to have more than one. Don’t overwhelm yourself, or your customers, with too many though.
People within your target market will have varying budgets and comfort levels when it comes to how much they spend with your business. So products within a collection should keep those different types of shoppers in mind.
You also don’t want to put a limit on how much someone can spend with your business.
For example, if I love the smell of a handwash, I also want to be able to buy the hand cream and body lotion in the same scent. But if the business only offers handwash in that scent, I don’t have the opportunity to spend more money with them.
For these reasons, it’s important to consider having:
How you’ll Market
You need to know how you’ll reach your potential customers. Anyone can make a product, and it’s easy to make a sale once your product is in front of the right person. But getting your products in front of those people, and getting them to pay attention to your marketing message, is one of the most difficult parts of running a business.
Choosing a profitable target market is key (How to Find a Goldmine of Customers will help you with that). With the right target market, you’ll have a good idea of where to find your potential customers. Then you need a plan for how to constantly market to them.
There are many marketing channels and methods you can implement. But you don’t want to try and do it all from the start. Choose a few that cater to your strengths, your target market, and that you’ll be able to keep up with.
You may consider the following marketing channels and methods you’ll use to promote your business/products:
Search engine optimization (SEO)
If you plan to sell your products online, understanding and implementing search engine optimization techniques is a must.
Here are a couple of guides to get you started if you have an Etsy shop. But the techniques can also be applied to a website.
Starting a newsletter is something many business owners put off. But email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing.
People who sign up for your newsletter will be much more engaged with your business than someone who follows you on Instagram. Not to mention, when you post something to social media, only a fraction of your followers will see your post.
On the other hand, when you send out an email, every single subscriber will receive that email.
The following will be helpful:
- How To Start a Newsletter for your Handmade Business (quick setup guide)
- 365+ Newsletter Ideas (for your handmade business)
- How to Start Send & Grow a Successful Newsletter
Start with the social media platforms you personally use, enjoy, and are good at. If you prefer to talk, rather than write, YouTube may be a good option. If you love taking pictures and writing short captions, Instagram could be a good fit.
You also want to consider the social media platforms your target market uses. For example, a younger target market may be on TikTok more than they are Facebook. And someone interested in yoga may follow their influencers on Instagram, rather than Pinterest.
You can pay to get your business or products into search results, feeds, or platforms such as social media, Google, Etsy, blogs, etc.
If you find a platform that reaches the exact target market your products are perfect for, it may be worth spending money on advertising. Start small, and if you see results, invest more money with additional rounds of ads.
For example, let’s say I sell prenatal yoga accessories and I discover a prenatal yoga blog. Every reader of that blog is the right fit for my products, so I would look into the costs of placing an ad on the blog. Even though the readership of a general parenting blog may be much bigger, it’s hit or miss as to whether my ad will reach the right people.
Print marketing (business cards, flyers, signs)
If you mainly run your business offline (e.g. sell through crafts shows and shops), you may require printed marketing tools such as:
- Business cards (check out: What to Put on a Craft Business Card)
- Signs for craft shows
- Posters to put up around your city
- Lookbooks to market your products to local boutiques (check out: How To Create a Lookbook For Your Handmade Products)
If your business has a unique angle, or is doing something unique (e.g. running a sale with all profits going towards recovery from a recent local disaster), the press may be interested in writing a story about your business.
Creating a press release and sending it to different media outlets, could help get your business featured. You may consider sending press releases to the following types of outlets:
- News stations
You can start a blog for your business and write articles for it, or, you may write articles to be posted on someone else’s blog.
The key is to write about topics your target market will search for, and that will allow you to mention your products so a blog post can lead to a sale.
For example, if I’m selling prenatal yoga accessories, I would explore the different topics my target market might search. E.g.:
- Prenatal yoga poses
- When to start prenatal yoga
- Prenatal yoga classes near me
I could write a blog post on each of those topics, which would help bring my ideal customer to me. When they type “when to start prenatal yoga”, the goal is for my article to appear near the top of search results. However, I could also share these articles through my newsletter.
When they’re reading each article, I could mention my products and link to them. This is an effective form of marketing, which I think of as the Trojan horse strategy (learn how to effectively use it: How To Use the Trojan Horse Strategy to Sell your Handmade Products).
Where you’ll Sell your Products
Marketing should lead consumers to a sales channel. A sales channel is where consumers buy your products. There are several ways to sell your handmade products, but don’t try to do too much to start.
It’s also important to consider your target market and how they shop for your products. For example, if I sell clothing, shoppers likely want to try items on, so I may focus on getting into local boutiques. If I sell hard-to-ship items, craft shows may be a good option. And if I sell niche products, my shoppers are more likely to go online and type a specific term into Google, so a website or Etsy shop would be the best fit.
Some of the sales channels you may want to explore are:
Etsy or other online marketplaces
Online handmade marketplaces make it cheap and easy to quickly set up an online shop. You may be interested in:
You may set up your own website if you’re more technically advanced and hope to grow your online presence. Websites can take months, if not years, to gain traction organically. But you’ll benefit from a website long-term. You have full control over a website, whereas Etsy can make changes to its platform at any time that can have a negative impact on your shop.
Events such as craft shows, festivals, and markets are a great way to grow your business locally. You’ll be face to face with your customers and can gather important information. When someone buys from you online, you don’t have the opportunity to ask them questions or to get a general idea of their demographics. At craft shows, you can observe as shoppers view your products for the first time and see what they’re drawn to, what they ignore, what they put down after seeing the price, etc.
You’ll find Make More Money at Craft Fairs helpful if you plan to dive into the craft show world.
If you’ve priced your products properly and have good profit margins, you may consider selling your products wholesale to retailers.
The downside is that you’ll be selling your products at lower prices than you would if you sold directly to consumers online or at craft shows. But the perk is, you can sell multiple items in one order, and you don’t have the costs of marketing and selling your products to consumers; the retailer takes care of that part.
Selling through consignment is a similar option.
You may be interested in:
- How To Create a Lookbook For Your Handmade Products
- Consignment vs. Wholesale (Which is Better?)
- What’s a Fair Consignment Percentage? (How To Negotiate an Increase)
- How to Attract Wholesale Orders at Craft Shows
When you’ll Schedule Tasks
If you want a successful craft business, you can’t wing it. You’ve got to make a plan you can follow throughout the year and ensure you’re not spending your limited time and money on tasks that don’t give you a return on investment.
It’s important to always look and work ahead. If you hope to get your spring product collection into stores, you must start planning and preparing it months in advance. Most retailers research and buy products at least one quarter in advance. Meaning, they buy spring products in winter. The same idea applies to craft shows; you must apply to and prepare for months in advance.
Quarterly reviews & goal setting
Take the time at the end of each month, and year, to review the previous month/year to get a clear understanding of effective marketing and sales channels, products that brought in the most revenue, and tasks that were worth your time and money.
In The Success Planner, I’ll teach you what to track so you have valuable information that will help you improve your business each month.
High-value tasks should take priority in your schedule. They’re ones that are more likely to give you a return on investment (ROI).
Meaning, if you spend an hour per day posting to Facebook, but no one clicks on your posts to visit your online shop, that task isn’t helping to generate any revenue. You’re not making a return on your time investment. So posting to Facebook should not take priority over tasks that do help generate revenue.
As I explain in The Success Planner, I like to break business tasks into 3 main areas, which should each have high-value tasks:
Many crafters spend the majority of their time creating, and will quickly post to social media and get an Etsy listing up when it comes to marketing and selling. To start, you should split your time evenly among the three areas, and then adjust as necessary.
If you don’t market your products, you can’t sell them. And if you don’t sell the products you create, creating will not give you a return on investment.
The more you uncover which tasks are high-value (which is done by calculating ROI, conversion rates, etc. I’ll teach you how in The Success Planner), the more efficiently your business will run and the more successful it can be.
There will be some tasks that won’t help you make a sale but are necessary. For example, answering emails or submitting taxes won’t necessarily help you sell more product, but they’re tasks that are required when running a business. I consider these:
- Admin tasks
Although they may not be “high valued” (i.e. help generate revenue), they should make it onto your schedule as well.
Projects & events that boost sales
It’s a good idea to look at your year and roughly schedule bigger projects and events that will give you a boost in revenue.
Think of a project as a bigger task that requires several steps to complete and will help drive sales.
Launching a new product line is an example of a project. You may plan a product launch for spring, summer, fall, and winter, which will give you a reason to market new and exciting products. It also gives shoppers a reason to buy. If you simply sell the same products year-round, there isn’t much incentive for consumers to come back month after month and check out what’s new.
Events such as craft shows also give you a boost in revenue. Research local craft shows and choose a few you’d like to participate in each quarter. If there’s a popular craft show that happens each November, you’ll want to note the application date in your schedule so you don’t miss it. And once you’re accepted, you’ll need to plan an inventory schedule to be sure you have enough stock prepared.
The Success Planner will help you set realistic (and important goals) for your business, and then create a realistic plan that makes reaching those goals inevitable.
I hope this checklist has helped you create a plan to launch your craft business. Or, has helped you audit your existing craft business to find areas of improvement 🙂
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!