I’m Lisa Jacobs of the Energy Shop, where I turned $100 worth of supplies into the career of my dreams. I stay home and care for my four children, I never work more than 12 hours per week, and in the last two years, I’ve earned more than $60,000 from my handmade business.
I’m proud to do what I love and bring home a second-income for my family, but sadly, my success is rare. Most creative business owners employ a wait-and-see attitude that never sees good fortune.
Your attitude and willingness to learn, on the other hand, is the stuff dreams are built of–it’s what will propel you ahead. I have a strong appreciation for handmade sellers who seek useful information for building their shops, like the resources you’ll find here on Handmade Success. Simply being readers of this blog proves that you’re in business to build, grow, and expand.
I’m living proof that you can get paid to be you, and spend your days doing what you love to do. Furthermore, I can attest to the fact that your open and willing attitude is the secret to becoming a self-made success. Here are some tips I’ve gathered to help you build upon your own sturdy foundation.
“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
–Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Expect that your business will take 3 years just to get off the ground. Expect that it will require 10,000 hours of your time to become a bona-fide success (approximately 10 years). And remember, slow and steady wins the race. The work you are putting in now is going to make for a great story someday. Your greatest success awaits.
I talk to too many sellers who tell me, “I want my own successful business, but [friends/family members/work/organizations] can’t find out about it!”
Listen, I get this. The Rescue You Program: How to Improve Your Life and Reinvent Your Love after an Affair is a self-help book about healing from infidelity that I wrote after my husband had an affair. I wanted everyone to read my book, but I didn’t want anybody to know about it. Trust me, that strategy just doesn’t work!
To have a thriving small business, you have to own it! You have to tell all of your friends about it, and let your passion escape and surround you everywhere you go. It’s a mistake to think that you can limit and expand yourself at the same time.
At least have a plan to tell the world your plans. I didn’t start telling people about the Energy Shop until it was about 3 months old, with a decent amount of sales and revenue to back my announcement. Now, the Energy Shop is what I do. It’s my career, and I respect it as well as anyone respects the traditional career positions they’ve earned.
Forfeit your comfort zone.
Unless you’re completely comfortable and satisfied there, and in that case, continue on. However, we all dream for more, bigger, better, and greater. Who doesn’t? What separates the successful from the unsuccessful is that the successful are willing to tackle their fears, outwit their old thinking patterns, and break their unproductive habits.
Here’s a technique we often use in my Marketing Creativity group sessions: “Imagine yourself 10 years from now, sitting atop the success you’re striving to accomplish today. What advice would you give to the person you are right now?”
I could publish an inspirational book from the responses I get to this question. Everybody always gives amazing advice to the person they were 10 years ago. Offer yourself that gentle encouragement right now, and allow yourself to grow beyond the limitations of your comfort zone.
Always make it about the customer.
Too often handmade sellers are advised to tell their story, but I believe this is overdone to a fault. As a paying customer, I want everything to be about me! This is true for most as we are narcissistic creatures; it’s our nature. When you go food shopping, do you buy for the groceries you want to bring home, or do you spend money because the grocer tells nice stories about his life?
You want the customers to feel like they’re treating themselves when they shop with you, not like they’re donating a sale to the cause of you. If your story was so good that it did compel someone to buy, chances are that was their good deed for the day rather than the beginning of repeat business.
Because I have always made my shop about serving the customer, most of my business is repeat. I turn every sale into a personal experience, and I strive to build a relationship with each buyer.
I was recently discussing this in a Marketing Creativity webinar with a shop owner who had a large brand stamp on a very nice closet organizer she made. I loved what she was making, but when considering a purchase, I was completely put off by the huge brand stamped on the piece. I explained to her that I couldn’t buy the item because it would feel like hanging a billboard for her business in my closet. I want everything about my closet to be about ME. And that’s the way your customers think too.
Forget the stories you read, check the facts. None of the top sellers on Etsy are using their retail space to talk about themselves. Talk about your customer. Don’t talk about how you felt making the piece, talk about how they’ll feel when they’re using it.
Finally, I want to encourage you to keep moving forward.
Keep your vision of how to be your own Handmade Success front and center.
I’d like to thank Kerry for all that you do! and I appreciate the opportunity to share with you all today. All the best~
Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity
Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching that is designed to help you get paid to be … you.Share on Facebook