I've been neglecting this site. When I got down to the why I realized something huge.
There is an incredible amount of pressure to be "online".
Whether you agree or not, almost every piece of information you see as a business owner is to GET ONLINE! It can range, from drop-shipping to Facebook ads, creating blogs to shipping rates, creating funnels...you get the picture. The thing is, it's been a huge mentality in the industry that the business that doesn't embrace technology will fail. Your sales aren't good right now? Make an Instagram account. Have one, but not seeing results? Create a better feed, take prettier pictures, engage more.
There's something wrong with this picture. Incredibly wrong.
The focus has become so much to move online, that we are neglecting (what I think) is the most important aspect of a successful business. Your relationship with a customer. How do you turn a window-shopper into a buyer? You develop a relationship. How do you turn a one-time buyer into a repeat customer? Your relationship. How do you grow your business? Through relationships.
We are so focused on engaging every person that happens across our social media, making sure our links are great, our email campaigns have a wide reach that we've forgotten completely about the people right in front of us! We sit in our offices (or bedrooms, or kitchen tables) working on ads, pictures and campaigns for so long that at the end of the day we're burnt-out and tired. What we really need to do is get out there and meet people in person!
On a (somewhat calculated) whim, I took my business offline this summer. I could almost feel the death-stares and impending doom. I've had multiple other business owners ask me about it. But you know what? I have never been more satisfied with a decision. It took me back to square one. It challenged me to make the most of my interactions with those in my community. It made me realize the importance of attending events and fairs, utilizing referrals and solidified my personal idea that I like to know my customers. They become my friends. And my sales increased.
Now, I'm not saying you have to throw your phone away and disconnect your internet. The technology we have is a wonderful tool- but that is exactly what it is, a tool. How many of you can work in your trade with just one tool? I know I can't. For me, my favorite business tool is interaction. I love seeing the way someone's face lights up when they find the perfect piece. I love talking to them, learning about where they're from and why they chose that particular color of stone over the one next to it. I love sharing the story behind my materials. I lost that when I focused on getting online sales. It became a list of names, with addresses. It became a rat-race to have the best website, the most engaging ads, the easiest checkout. I'm just glad I saw it in time. While you're reaching out to people on the opposite side of the world, don't forget about the people around you.
I suppose what I'm trying to get down to, is that there is no right or wrong in business. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of voices telling you there is, but no one knows your business better than you. Trust yourself.
Business cards are one of those things that we all know we *should* have. It's an unspoken rule of owning your own business. But do you ever wonder- are they worth it? Do people actually keep them, let alone reference them? Do you look at your own stack of miscellaneous cards and shake your head while throwing them out?
Now, I'm not going to tell you to get crazy and boycott business cards. They're one of the foundations of promoting and marketing for a reason! However, I'd love to pass along a few tips and tricks that you can implement to make sure that your business card cost is an investment, and not just money being thrown down the drain.
I'd like to start with a quick little introduction, as many of you have probably stumbled across this page. Whether you're hunting for quick tips, long-term strategies, maybe just a sympathetic ear- we're here for you! My name is Kristine, and my passion is to help handmade business owners to find success and to live that dream. To sustain themselves and to leave the 9-5 grind, to have the joy of creating their own products and *gasp* making MORE than just a living at it. I've created this community with that simple hope, that those of us who are headed down that windy path of entrepreneurship can support each other, not only in growing our own businesses, but in wholeheartedly enjoying the process!
You may be reading this thinking "I wish! Owning a small business and especially a handmade one is anything but...(insert words like fun, easy, exciting)". But really, it can be! And once that seed of hope is planted in your mind, you'll see how easy it is to really take the reins of your business and turn it around. Throw out words like burnt-out, overwhelmed, stressed and tired...they don't belong here.
I'll always be real and honest with you. Yes, owning a handmade business takes time, effort, dedication...but it also can be doubled with joy, happiness, financial freedom. So, if you're ready to take back your business and have it work for you- you're in the right place! I'd love to meet you, so please feel free to introduce yourself in the comments below. For even more community fun, you are more than welcome to join our private Facebook group and Instagram page- both @ Effortlessly Handmade!