Do you have an idea for a product that you want to begin selling? What’s the best way to get trading? In my experience, and for many of my contemporary solo maker mates, your business begins by selling to…
Your mums best friend who has a dog walker - and she walks with a lady on a Thursday that mentioned she was looking for… (your product/service) see where I’m going here?
In short, your existing connections.
Your business begins with your existing friends, family and people in your wider circle.
There is a common saying in our game which is that The Money’s in the List.
This means that there is money to be made in the list of folk that you already know. I’m not talking about an extensive list of emails that you are highly likely to NOT have at this point, I mean that if you took just 10 people you know that are likely to enjoy and like your product, you have a list - albeit in your head.
Now, take it out of your head and write them down...keep writing and yes, definately include your mum and all her mates ( very probably they will be your best ambassadors)
If you don’t have a list at all right now, then this is the best place to start it.
I use Mailchimp which is peasey to use and crucially free for your first couple of thousand people. Sign up, have a look around and get comfortable with the platform. There are tons of YouTube vids on how to use it - take 20 mins out and watch them.
(GDPR note down at the bottom, boring but necessary - (don’t let it put you off)
So, let’s imagine that you have 10 people on your written list from earlier when you wrote them down. Find email addresses for each of them - this marks the beginning of your list.
It’s likely know these people well, they may all be family members and this is fine.
10 is a respectable number to begin with.
This is your beginning. You can grow your number by talking to people about your plan as you go about you life. If you go to a tots group in the morning, talk about your products to other mums - if you go to aquarobics with someone that you think might be interested - talk to them. More about these chats later, but in short - man/woman up - you have a business to grow and you CAN do this.
As you chat GATHER EMAIL ADDRESSES!!!! Winkle a first name, surname and an email address out of them that you can actually read. Promise you will to write and tell them when you’re ready to go. They will LOVE the fact that they be first in line to know and likely be rooting for you.
During this gathering period, your products don’t need to be ready yet. You can give yourself a couple of months just list-building. Creating a collection of folks that want to hear from you.
Keep building up your list of people religiously, aim for at least one a day.
10 people soon becomes 12, 12 becomes 15. Quick word here about not getting bogged down by the numbers. Don’t compare. 10 people is great. Imagine them all in your kitchen gathered together - that’s my kitchen filled, standing room only.
In my opinion, this is the most organic and solid way to begin trading. Building a collection of people to sell too, is as crucial as making your first few sales.
I’d love to know how you get on and if you have any questions, just fling them over to email@example.com
GDPR note. It’s dead simple. You just need to have permission to add that person to your list. On Mailchimp you can add people yourself no problem - you just need to be able to trace how they agreed to be on it. Keep a note on their file - met this person at the swimming pool, met this person at a school fair, etc. The great thing is that you are building your list from the beginning so you can do it right from the start. Don’t be worried about it, just build.
Sam Barnes has been a practising artist for 25 years. Throughout her career she has had her own gallery, worked with hundreds of artists in making and marketing their own works and exhibited her own extensively. Her work has been successfully published & licensed many times. Sam is passionate about artists, makers and creatives earning a decent living from what they do. Our world needs new and beautiful things and artists deserve liveable incomes. Those two things are possible. Sam writes from her first hand experience and occasionally works 1:1 with others.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.