Sometimes business feels a little overwhelming right? The time you so desperately want more sales seems to be the same time you feel stumped on how to get them.
This is a worksheet I use that helps me get back to basics.
Business is not complicated.
We tend to over-complicate things when we’re not seeing the results we want.
What am I missing?
Which new sites can I join?
What are other ways to market my business?
What type of product do I need to make next?
WHO HAS THE ANSWERS I NEED?!
You have all the answers. Sometimes you just need to be asked the right questions.
So here we go. I’m going to do just that 🙂
Here are the questions you’ll answer on the worksheet and some more information to help you answer them effectively.
WHAT ARE YOUR REVENUE STREAMS?
Revenue is the money you make, before any deductions (such as expenses, wages, taxes, etc.).
A stream is a way in which money flows to you.
I want to know how you make money. But I don’t want a list of all the products you sell.
If I sold jewelry, my revenue streams would NOT be:
- Revenue stream #1 – necklaces
- Revenue stream #2 – rings
- Revenue stream #3 – bracelets
But rather the different ways I make money. For example, my revenue streams may be:
Selling my necklaces, rings and bracelets is one way I make money.
I earn money when I teach others how to make jewelry through workshops.
Another service option may be offering to consult as a personal stylist.
A membership portion of my website where I charge $10/month to gain access to exclusive information, products, promotions, etc.
Another option may be creating a subscription box; people pay a monthly fee to be sent a curated box of handmade jewelry and other accessories.
I may have built a large following through my blog, which covers topics on jewelry making. Placing ads on this blog makes me money when people click the ads.
I make money when other people sell my jewelry through my affiliate program.
Another option may be that I sign up for another company’s affiliate program and get a portion of their sales when I sell one of their products (such as jewelry boxes, jewelry cleaning supplies or something else related to my business and products).
List all the ways you earn money through your business.
It’s totally fine if you only have one revenue stream (selling your handmade products). You can fill in this worksheet based on the revenue streams you currently have, or list ones you can add to generate more money.
If you have several revenue streams, you may print more copies of the worksheet and use one per revenue stream.
WHAT ARE YOUR SALES CHANNELS?
I talk about sales channels in chapter 1 of HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY.
The Cliff’s notes are: they’re the platforms that allow money to be made, or to exchange hands.
NOT how people hear about your products or services or ways you drive traffic to boost revenue. Rather, the last step where money gets transferred to you or added to your account because of a consumer’s action (e.g. they pay for an item in their shopping cart, they click on an ad featured on your blog, etc.)
In my jewelry business example, my sales channels for each revenue stream may be:
Where I sell my products:
- Craft Shows
Where I offer my jewelry making classes:
- At a local jewelry supply store
- Online through Skillshare
Where I sell monthly memberships to my exclusive content:
Where I make money from people clicking ads:
How I make money by other people selling my products:
- Since affiliates are responsible for generating sales, I’m not in control of where and how affiliate sales are made. What I am in control of is getting affiliates signed up (which would be considered the “sales channel” in this situation). I may increase affiliates through:
- My website
- Craft shows
- Home shopping parties
List all the places consumers can take an action that puts money in your pocket.
WHAT ARE YOUR MARKETING CHANNELS?
Now you must think about how people get to your sales channels so you can make money.
Where do people hear about your business? When they land on your website, in your Etsy shop, or find you at a craft show, where did they come from?
Not the ways they hear about your business or products, we’ll get into that next; just the platforms they hear, see, encounter, interact with, etc.
Let’s look at the places someone might discover my jewelry/business.
We’ll focus on just my PRODUCTS revenue stream in this example. But you would list the marketing channels for each sales channel under each of your revenue streams:
REVENUE STREAM: PRODUCTS
SALES CHANNEL: Website – marketing channels may be:
- Search Engines
- Email Marketing
SALES CHANNEL: Craft Shows – marketing channels may be:
- Social media
SALES CHANNEL: Retailers – although you may want to advertise the fact that your products can be found in certain retailers, the perk of selling your products at wholesale prices to retailers, is that they do most of the work to get people into their store and get your products sold. Therefore, you want to focus on getting more retailers carrying your products (i.e. driving retailers to your order forms) rather than driving traffic to their stores. Marketing channels may be:
You’ll find more examples of online and offline marketing channels in HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY.
*In “Chapter 6: Where” for those who have the ebook. The topic of marketing channels, marketing methods, and the other important step in marketing, funnels, begins on page 125.
Again, start by listing the marketing channels you currently use for each sales channel listed under each revenue stream. Then consider other marketing channels you can begin using if you want to generate more money.
Don’t try to think too far out of the box here though. Marketing channels are pretty basic for businesses across the board. A few top examples are:
- THE best marketing channel is email marketing (which many businesses aren’t using, if that’s you, make it a priority this year…here’s how.
- You’re probably using a social media platform
- Craft fairs are a great sales AND marketing platform; shoppers you don’t sell to, you must market to (get them on your newsletter list, hand them a postcard, get them to follow you on social media).
You may not need to add many more marketing channels but rather choose more effective ones (e.g. which is better for your products: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube? Choose one or two). Or, use more effective methods…explained next.
WHAT ARE YOUR MARKETING METHODS?
Take a look at each marketing channel you listed. In which ways do you use those platforms?
For example, under my revenue stream of selling products:
SALES CHANNEL: Website
- MARKETING CHANNEL: Search Engines marketing methods are:
- Ads (e.g. Google Ads)
- MARKETING CHANNEL: Email Marketing marketing methods are:
- Weekly newsletter
- Free email challenge (e.g. “Style makeover in one week” sharing tips on what to keep, what to donate and what to implement, clothing and accessory wise, to be “on-trend”. More email marketing ideas like this found in here.)
SALES CHANNEL: Craft Shows
- MARKETING CHANNEL: Social Media marketing methods are:
- Getting featured on event organizer’s social media pages
- Sharing photos on Instagram of products people can find at an upcoming event you’re preparing for
- Using Facebook live at the event
SALES CHANNEL: Retailers
- MARKETING CHANNEL: Mail marketing methods are:
- MARKETING CHANNEL: Email marketing methods are:
- Cold emails
- Follow up emails
- Restocking reminder emails
Again, plenty more examples of marketing methods your handmade business can use in HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY. (Chapter 6 – page 125 for those who have the ebook)
List the methods you currently use and/or ones you could test. The idea isn’t to expand how many ways you marketing your business but rather find your best ways. That may involve testing a variety of marketing methods but narrowing it down to just a few best practices.
For example, on Facebook, I may try the following methods:
- Posting photos
- Posting videos
- Running Facebook ads
- Commenting on other business’ posts
- Creating a Facebook Group
But if I find Facebook useful as a marketing channel, it’s likely that only a couple of these methods will appeal to my audience. They may prefer seeing a video of a model wearing my jewelry, as opposed to a photo post, so they can see how it sparkles in the light. I may find that commenting on others’ posts is a waste of time and no one interacts with my Facebook Group.
Based on ONE revenue stream: selling my products, I have a decent to-do list:
- Improve SEO
- Run Google Ads
- Increase newsletter signups
- Send weekly newsletter
- Create an email challenge or a freebie that promotes my products
- Tag craft shows in social media posts
- Regularly post to Instagram before an event
- Use Facebook Live leading up to and at an event
- Create and mail lookbooks
- Send emails to new retailers
- Send follow up emails to new retailers who didn’t reply to first email
- Send restocking reminder emails to existing retailers
The problem with this list is, it’s a little unorganized and before I get to work on it, I should assess that each item listed is indeed necessary and/or has an impact on sales.
Instead of having a run-on list of all the things you can do, you need to ensure you’re working on the right things at the right time to complete projects that drive sales.
What exactly would I work on if I wanted to “Improve SEO”? It needs to be broken into actionable steps before it’s added to my schedule. Otherwise, I’m likely to procrastinate because I don’t know where to start or I may waste time thinking about where to start or working out of sequence.
You also want to organize bigger projects.
What’s going to drive sales in your business this year? Sales should always be trickling in, but you should also have projects planned that PUSH sales and give you the boost needed to hit sales goals.
Give people a reason to buy from you. Projects create those reasons. Listing a new product in your shop every day or two does not. You’ll find a thorough explanation of sales-boosting projects and examples of them in THE SUCCESS PLANNER.
Look at each section of the worksheet; what must you do to maintain or grow your revenue streams, sales channels, and marketing channels?
For example, you must make stock each month and perhaps launch new product lines each quarter to maintain your PRODUCTS revenue stream. You may need to update your Etsy shop each week or month. Maintain balance in your business by giving attention to each area of your business: create, market, sell, and admin (covered in detail in THE SUCCESS PLANNER).
Consider if certain to-dos should really make it onto your schedule. If something doesn’t directly or indirectly drive sales and isn’t necessary why are you working on it?
Sort through your to-do list and ensure: what gets scheduled is purposeful.
For example, I may have written “Share links on Twitter” as a way to promote my product listings, and it may be a task I’ve been completing for the past year…but that doesn’t mean it’s useful and should continue to go on my schedule. I’d want to check how much traffic Twitter has driven to my listings and how valuable that traffic is; do they buy or bounce?
You’ll determine what’s purposeful and worth your time based on your return on investment assessments, assigning a value to projects and tasks, looking at your conversion rates, etc.
I’ll help you with all of this in THE SUCCESS PLANNER.
Each step required for a profit-making system is thoroughly explained and worksheets are provided to help you carry out that system throughout the year.
Print the Sales-Driving Tasks worksheet and fill in:
- Revenue streams
- Sales Channels
- Marketing Channels
- Marketing Methods
And then organize that list; either on your own or with the help of THE SUCCESS PLANNER.
Which sales channels, marketing channels, and methods are you going to stop using this year (they weren’t profitable last year) and which will you try this year? Please tell me in the comments!
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!