So let’s come back to your objectives and the strategies you may take. Of course it is only a suggestion and it can be slightly different depending on type of handmade you make. As a general rule I would say that is better to focus of less channels but to do it the right way.
Today, I have prepared for you 3 general scenarios based on your goals. I suggest, you read them all so you see the differences in approaches and then you are able to verify if the objective you have set is truly what you want.
Why should I check if my goals are what I want? Because many times people don’t see that behind any business there is a lot to think about and to do. That is not easy, you need to constantly learn and look for new opportunities. You can’t stay in one place and expect that everything will go well from now on.
I don’t want to discourage you from running a business – on the contrary, I would love to see you grow. But I don’t want to lie to you that it will be easy. You have potential (you come here to learn more – it shows a lot of your values) and you can make it work when you are prepared and you plan as much as possible. You will not make nervous moves when something goes wrong. You will step down, rethink your startegy and be able to identify new possibilities.
So let’s get back to our scenarios:
SCENARIO 1 – It is simply a hobby. I don’t want to run a handmade business.
If your aim is to get just couple of orders per month because you want to continue it as a hobby, then you don’t need to go into too many channels – actually, I would recommend focusing on one or two (e.g. social media and some platform) and maybe some local promotion (friends recommendations). Otherwise you will get overwhelmed, and there is a big chance that you will need to spend more time on promotion than on work that gives you pleasure. So choose one channel and do it well as much as you need!
Another way is to look for some other handcrafter to do products for him/her. Then you don’t care about selling at all. You simply make some products as requested, get some extra money to your budget and not worry about business related issues at all! 🙂
SCENARIO 2 – I want to be independent from my handmade business.
If your aim is to own your handmade business (and earn as much as in a “normal” job) then it would be better to pick few channels (but also not too many straight away). They should rather supplement each other. For example, you can choose few platforms and/or your own online shop and support it with your social media channels.
It is important to diversify the channels the moment it starts to be your business – no matter what are your further aspirations. Look for platforms that have your “dream customers” and give you some potential to grow. It is up to you how fast you will start all of them, but I would suggest to start step by step with new ones so first you get familiar with one and then start another one.
I recommend to do it one after another and not sign in to all potential platforms in the same time. This can be overwhelming and may discourage you or stress when you won’t be able to find something on one, will be mixing features etc.
You should also remember to be visible locally – this can be actually the best solution for you as people recommend best someone who they know! Don’t forget about it!
Why should I diversify my sales channels?
Because many times global sales channels have shown they can change the rules and leave you alone. When you run a business you can’t rely only on one supplier – you put yourself at a great risk. As in normal life – always prepare yourself a Plan B.
In this scenario you may also soon see that Facebook or other social media will stop to be your sales channels but they will become rather your promotion channels. Still important to take care of, dragging new customers but you will try to make transactions e.g. on your own website.
What is the difference between sales channels and promotion channels?
With sales channels you sell and with promotion channels you attract customers to your shop – which is not on any of them. As Facebook (and other social media) opened his door to sales it became confusing. Especially that in “Scenario 1” it is serving both purposes. However, in that scenario you don’t run a business, you don’t have your own website or some platform’s account.
Why is it better to treat Facebook (or other social media) as a promotion channel and give up selling there?
Apart from diversification, I would say that you can better keep track on your sales, customers profiles and promotions (you get more of them so it is easier to do it automatically). Either your own website or a platform give you tools to understand better your customers needs, opinions, activity in general. By analyzing it a bit you can prepare better communication or improve your products. And you don’t need to spend too much time on getting this information in graphs or tables formats. Secondly, somehow when you treat is as a supporting promotion channel, your communication starts to be more “relaxed” and interesting. You have less stress to sell through this channel and it influences your posts… It is just my subjective observation 😉
I would compare it to some date – a girl meets some guy and she would really like him to like her back 🙂 . So she is stressed, she tries very much to show him the best of her. And somehow he may feel pressure and steps back. And then some other day, the same girl is relaxed, doesn’t even think about meeting anyone. And by accident she is noticed by some guy in a bus. It is him who approaches her because he sees how nice and positive she is 😀
Another thing that you may ask yourself at this point is whether I should have my own shop or use some other existing platform. As there are couple of adventages and disadventages of both of them I will develop this topic later on 🙂
SCENARIO 3 – I want to grow my own brand and a successful handmade business
If your aim for the future is to grow, make a successful brand, to be able to hire someone one day or outsource some production to another handcrafter according to your projects, then it would be good to be visible in many places. Of course you would need to do it step by step but it is good to have a plan for it.
After getting familiar with one platform, join a new one etc. You may also think about someone to manage your profiles (to add products and write your posts on social media etc.) so that you are able to focus on your actual work. There are many “virtual assistants” that support businesses like yours and it is worth to see the prices before to be able to estimate when would be a good moment to get this kind of help. On the other hand you may look for some student or someone how wants just a simple additional remote job.
Remember that your time spent on marketing is a time lost on production. Then the time spent on production can be lost on design. So as you grow you may even need support from some other handcrafter/s. And you may also find them in some FB groups like ours 🙂
It is good to ask yourself at this point what would you like to focus on in your business – production, design or a little bit of both? That will help you look for right people for the future cooperation because you never know when you will meet them on the way 🙂
Similarly to the “Scenario 2”, your social media channels will serve you to promote and not to sell. You will try to keep track on your sales, your customers profiles etc. You will develop the strategy and look for new opportunities everywhere. Even sales platforms may serve you more and more as promotion channels as you will try to draw customers to your own shop. You will become a true business(wo)man 🙂
That is why it is good that everyone has different goals. You may not see it yet but as soon as you grow you will start to realize that having a group like ours is very valuable! Some handcrafters don’t want to grow their businesses (and it is ok!) and others aim for it! So why not to connect the powers and do something together?!… Look at what others do and keep it in mind. Share what you do and what are your goals so others may think about you for their projects! You never know what kind of idea will develop in the future from it 😉
I wish you all good inspiration and stay connected! 🙂