Finances, ahhh!!! Cue the running and screaming! Okay okay slow down. Let's talk about this. Here we are again with one more topic of the Grow Your Shop Series. I'm glad you're here today because I'm talking about money...yay!! First a disclaimer...I'm not the best with it. Just being honest. It's only by the grace of God that I get to keep doing what I love. So for the record, this post isn't a cookie-cutter finance plan to keep your business floating. I believe there are plenty of articles from more professional and more qualified people out there than myself. We'll be talking about the flow of income and how it can help launch your business.
Utilize All Your Gifts
Apart from being an artist I'm also a writer. Having a successful online shop was always my #1 goal but I knew that I needed a financial flow to help build that. A few years back, I started working with Demand Media Studios creating content for various popular websites such as Apartment Therapy and eHow. For every article that was accepted, I was paid $25. That would change depending on topics and sections. I also then started being a contributor to two high traffic craft blogs submitting tutorials and was paid for each post. That money would then be used to market my online shop, purchase new materials and be saved towards new products. It worked so well, I even got to pay myself once in a while!
Think about your skills...all of them. Do you write good blog posts? Take amazing photos? Are a social media whiz? You can freelance your services to help others and in turn create financial flow back to your online shop. Work with websites who will pay you for content. Sign up to be a stock photo photographer and reap the rewards of royalties every time someone downloads your photos. Ask big blogs if they could use a hand with their social accounts or emails and become their virtual assistant. Branch out rivers of possibilities to lead back towards your financial pool.
Provide Different Price Points
Another way to start a financial flow is by making sure you have a variety of different price points within your shop. For example, I used to design and sell graphic tees. These were very popular and brought in great financial flow. Knowing my customer base, they are very creative and many are entrepreneurs themselves. So with that in mind, I started providing painted quotes as prints for a lower price. This gives the buyer other options which in turn helps the financial flow. A customer could like a tee but also an uplifting art print and illustrated coffee mug.
Many customers would be more likely to buy from a shop if they see variety in pricing. Think about it. It's pretty psychological. How many times have we been in Target and have gone "Oh that top is great, $20!" then turn around just to go "What? Fuzzy slippers are only $8? Yup that's happening." Both end up in your cart in a heartbeat. Of course, it's Target...they know what they are doing. You can use that same mentality for your shop to create a financial flow. Here's a great article from the Etsy Blog about pricing and the worksheet they provide to help price out your products. It's a tricky game; just try one different things and track the results.
Share Your Brand
A very big myth that I see with many shop owners especially new ones is that you have to have one platform for your shop. For many, it's either between Etsy or Storenvy. I actually have written my own thoughts about the pros and cons of each and will share them at a later date. Hello Awesome, my shop, used to be found both on Etsy AND Storenvy. Now I understand most people don't want the hassel of handling two different shops. That is understandable and right now I'm primarily on Etsy. But my take is go where the customers go. If you are not having many sales and are struggling to bring traffic to one shop, you should consider opening another one on a different platform to try and bring in customers. I personally have had great luck with Storenvy but it took a while. Years back I ran a graphic design shop on Etsy that was hopping. You should share your brand across different platforms to provide more opportunities for people to buy your stuff. It's really that simple. You don't have to provide all your products on both unless you want to. Think about the platform and the kind of people it attracts. What do they like? What do they don't like? What are the trends and fads? Don't compromise your work but use what you have to draw them in.
To find the financial flow is to go beyond the normal "list-sell-buy" attitude; where you list, sell for a price, they buy. Businesses rarely just run like that. Let's use Target again: do they really need Starbucks to get customers? No but it helps! Adding a Starbucks is something that pleases the customers and adds a different financial flow. It's possible that Starbucks has to pay Target a percentage to have a kiosk in their stores.
As you can see, there are many ways you can financially help your shop grow. Be creative and think of something yourself! Being flexible is essential to running a business. You've been given infinite resources to do the incredible. Try to get past the cookie-cutter mindsets to find the financial flow for your shop.