Now let me start off by saying I am not an expert in the field of business...but that being said, I have been selling my art work online for going on three years, and each year there is a substantial increase in my sales. I have learned some things and thought I might share a few with you- just in case someone out there may benefit!
I have been fortunate enough to have been "discovered" and featured by some pretty notable places, such as the Today Show, Telegraph UK, Art Doll Quarterly Magazine, some museums, Showtime, and some others I won't bother to mention.
With all that, I know that there are many out there starting out and wanting to know how to do well when they start a business. Even if one has a long time established business, there is always room to learn more and improve!
While these tips I share won't be earthshaking or maybe not even new to you, they are for sure must haves in order to have some success in selling what you have! Are you ready? Here goes...
1. Have something people want to buy-
Want to sell crocheted kleenexes , peanut scented breath spray, battery operated socks with massage action, or anything else? Try to get a feel for what is already out there and how large a market you may have. And if you do want to sell something that is in a highly competitive market, make sure you have some ideas on how to really be distinctive in what you do. If you can't be different, you will have a tough time being found or getting people to want what you have!
2. Do your research and see what you will have to do before selling-
Making a bunch of items, popping them on a website and then sitting back and waiting for the sales to roll in just won't happen.
You have to know what you are getting into and do a lot of leg work before counting on making a bunch of easy cash. Easy cash is a term I cringe on since I just don't think there is such a thing. Know the laws of your state for selling online, or what have you. Ask lots of questions of those who have gone before you, read helpful articles, write out ideas for what you will sell, ideas for getting your business built step by step.
3. Be patient-
If you have done the above and now you are set up and wondering why the sales aren't pouring in, I have news for you...
they generally won't! Success in selling or in business is 99.9 percent of the time a waiting game. I know, you did not want to hear that, but it is true.
Success is built slowly in most cases, and one step at a time. It involves a wealth of patience, learning, rebounding from setbacks, and running into the occasional "break" that you just might get when the right person comes along and finds you. It involves a little bit of gambling too, since no one can really say for sure what form of advertising may trigger a boost in your business- It involves careful thinking about who your buyers are and where they may be. In other words, don't run an ad for your diamond encrusted tiaras in an agricultural magazine , or buy a commercial spot for your knitted dish towels during a football game...
And may I add, even the best of all business have dry spells and dips...you have to ride them out most of the time.
4. Customer service-
To me, this is a no brainer...but you would be surprised how many times I have heard other businesses and sellers say things like.."I don't have the time to say 'thank you', I'm too busy for that. I send their item to them and that is enough"...I hate to say so, but one should never be too busy or too important to say thank you to their customers!
If there is one huge tip I have for those in business it is this...Be as personable as you can. I don't mean you strike up a friendship with all of your customers, but letting them know you appreciate their patronage and are friendly and approachable is a good thing.
If they buy something, or have questions then be prompt as possible in your response. Show your appreciation by saying "thank you" and be polite for heaven's sake! You should never be too big or busy to say so, period. If a customer is being "difficult", you can still be polite while being firm... Yes, there are demanding people out there, and no, you don't have to give them everything they want- but you sure can be polite while telling them so. The bottom line? Treat your customers how you would like to be treated...simple and effective most of the time!
Those are my tips for the day, and stay tuned for future tidbits. I wish all success in their business endeavors!
Debbie Ritter- Artist and Designer @ uneekdolldesigns.etsy.com