How to Build Your Own Craft Business: Wearing Many Hats {Day 24}

Build Your Own Creative Business Series by Lisa Jacobs on Marketing Creativity

Hello! It’s so nice to have you back on this {Day 24} of my 31-Days to Build Your Own Creative Business Series. If you’re just joining me, you can click here to catch up from Day 1Today, we’re going to talk about the many hats you wear when creating a creative career for yourself.

The many hats you wear

Let’s just stop and consider your day for a moment. If you’re anything like me, you wake up and go over the day’s schedule. You cover things like: what needs to be made, who needs to be replied to, what customers need to be served, and what meetings need to be attended. You’re your own assistant.

Next, you might launch into production. Perhaps, like me, you try to get at least one thing crossed off your list over a quiet two cups of coffee before your children wake up for the day. It’s time to make the donuts. You’re the manufacturer. 

Once that’s done, the rest of the world is waking up and logging on, and that means it’s time for you to engage! It’s up to you to spread the word about your business and make sure your customers have new and exciting products to look at. Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, here you come! After all, you’re the PR agent.

Now that you’ve gotten all that out of the way, it’s time to get down to action. You have orders to ship, as well as custom requests and convos to respond to. Your customers aren’t going to serve themselves! You’re the customer service representative. 

Phew! It’s been a long morning so far. After you’ve taken a lunch break and stretched your legs a bit, you’ve got to do a little planning for the coming month. There are books and a budget to keep. You have new designs to plan, supplies to order, and inventory to maintain because you’re the office manager.

Hold on! Wait a second! You realize that those new designs aren’t going to market themselves. You need an advertising strategy and a proactive plan to spread the word. Who’s going to be interested in what you’re creating? You have to draw up an ideal customer. Where’s the person who wants this product hanging out? Why, that question is going to require some brainstorming. Add that to your to-do list because you’re the VP of sales and marketing.

Time to wind down. The family’s all home now, and that indicates a proper quitting time. You just need a few minutes of reflection to look over your to-do list. You ask yourself: Am I doing a good job? Is this working? Am I wasting my precious resources or building something that will succeed? Have I done enough? Should I do more? Are the things I’m doing returning the results I want? It’s a solitary and quiet, sometimes somber moment. You have to look at your business –this thing you love and hold so close to your heart– with a wider perspective right now because you’re the CEO.

Start-up ain’t easy

I point out all those jobs you do so that you’ll realize all that you do in a day! It’s probably hard for your family and friends to understand, especially at first. They come and go, and all the while, you’re still lost in your new product, or your online storefront, or whatever else you’re working on. Start-up ain’t easy. Forgive me if I’ve ever given you a different impression. I never mean to. Remember that:

” . . . we always envy others, comparing our shadows to their sunlit sides.”–Margaret George, The Autobiography of Henry VIII

If you ever find yourself struggling in a rut or feeling overwhelmed, here are few things to contemplate (you might want to bookmark this for the future because mama said there’d be days like this 🙂 ):

Just keep digging

Consider this story from Think and Grow Rich, in which Napolean Hill writes of R.U. Darby, who invested in gold mining in the gold-rush days. He and his uncle had discovered an ore of gold and bought the equipment they needed to mine the land. As soon as they began drilling below the ore, they found that the vein of  gold disappeared completely! They kept drilling to no avail, until they finally gave up hope and quit. Mr. Darby sold the machinery to a junk man for a fraction of its cost. The junk man then called a mining engineer to evaluate the land, and the engineer calculated that the vein of gold would be found three feet from where Mr. Darby and his uncle had stopped drilling. When Mr. Darby quit, he was three feet away from striking millions of dollars worth of gold.

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step BEYOND their greatest failure.”–Napoleon Hill

When I’m in a funk, I pick myself up with that story, and I try to adhere to the following fundamentals:

  • Focus on the next step. What do you need to do in order to grow? You probably know what the answer is, but you don’t know how to achieve something you’ve never done before. Comfort zone, anyone? You don’t need to have the next step accomplished tomorrow, but you do need to know the next small action you have to take to get you closer toward your goal. By breaking down big goals into small actions, you can make the stretching of your comfort zone a bit more … comfortable. For now, write down your goal and start to brainstorm on the page about the things you’ll need to do to achieve it. You’ll find that when you put pen to paper around a question, solutions start falling onto the page. Turn these solutions into a numbered to-do list, simply by prioritizing them. Which small actions need to be taken first? Be persistent in your follow-through, and before you know it, you’re on the next step!
  • Do something today that you’ll thank yourself for tomorrow. You know, that thing you’ve been putting off? That mess you haven’t cleaned up? That stack of unfinished business you’ve been avoiding? Tackle it. Go, right now. Do something today that will allow you to wake up tomorrow morning with a sigh of relief that it’s finished. Put in the hard work that you’re dreading. Stop procrastinating. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
  • Ask: Is what I’m doing working? Oftentimes when we’re involved in an ineffective way of doing things, we get stuck in a “that’s-just-the-way-things-are” mentality. That’s just the way things are can slow us down for y-e-a-r-s, and it’s a crying shame how often we try to out-think our commonsense. Is there anywhere in your life where you’re stubbornly trying to fit a square peg into a circular hole? In the handmade business, our perspective is almost always too close. If you’re happy with the results you’re getting, do more of what’s working. If you’re not happy with the results, you have to do things differently. I am loving on the “Naive Question” posed by Paul DePodesta (the guy behind the movie, Moneyball) in a speech he delivered: “If we weren’t already doing it this way, is this the way we would start?” If you weren’t already doing your [shipping, producing, schedule, branding, customer service, fan page, mailing list, etc.] this way, is this the way you would start? If the answer is “no,” change the way you’re doing things to achieve the results you want.
  • Be realistic.  Fact: New business take 3 years to get off the ground. Furthermore, each brick in its building is placed by you. “In a startup, absolutely nothing happens unless you make it happen.”–Marc Andreessen  Fact: Making it big takes 10 years. “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you like like an overnight success.”–Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter. What you get out of your small business is relative to what you put into it. Be realistic about the time and energy it takes to become a success.

Always protect your dream

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. –Mark Twain.

Keep up the good work! That does it for {Day 24}.If you loved this post, you will absolutely love my e-program, Shop Fundamentals: How to Build a Solid Foundation for Your Creative Business, Turn Your Visitors into Paying Customers, and Keep People Coming Back for More. In honor of the {31 days to} Build Your Own Creative Business Series, I’m offering this complete business-boosting workbook for ($57) only $31 while it runs! Until next time~

Shop Fundamentals by Marketing Creativity

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