How I got started and you can too!!!
My most asked question I get is "How did you get started in all this?" This question is usually dual purpose, after 4 years in business I have come to understand that this also can be taken as " How can I start?!". For a few years I was very protective of my business. I got all offended when someone wanted to copy me, or know my secrets, or know exactly how I did things. "How dare they!" I thought, "This is my livelihood!". Then the Lord began speaking to me "Sarah, I gave you these talents, use them to show MY love". I'd be nothing, NOTHING without the blessings that He gave me! Why wouldn't I want to tell people about that? Surely, I'm not the only mom out there who could use a few extra dollars a month!
I started my business simply as a way to help out with bills. I had to quit my job when I went into preterm labor at 27 weeks. I was on strict bedrest for the next 12 weeks and I knew going back to work just wasn't going to be worth it with 2 kiddos and a deployed husband. I ordered this fancy machine I had been drooling over for months with our tax refund and never looked back! First I made gifts for everyone I knew, then people were asking me to make those gifts for THEIR friends, and suddenly I was making actual money! It really all happened really fast!
Maybe you're a stay at home mom trying to help your family out, maybe you're a single mom trying to afford dance lessons for your daughter, maybe you just want to add some income to save up for that big vacation, I'm here to tell you that you CAN do it!. You don't need fancy tools, you just need the DRIVE! I believe other than being enormously blessed by God, that having the passion behind what I love to do is what blessed me. You have to find what YOU love, not what you think other people like (sure that's important too) but if you're trying to make something you're half interested in, you'll burnout quickly!
So how do you actually start? My best advice is just leap! I'd begin by finding what you love and seeking out a LOCAL community first so you can find some local clients. The best places for these are things like Buy/Sell/Trade pages in your community on facebook. I also had luck with apps like varge sale. You may not be selling for TOP dollar here as people want bargains, however, you'll be getting your name out there! This is the most important thing when starting, you want to be known as the "shirt, wine glass, jewelry, etc lady! Be Personable!! I truly was and still am very much appreciative ANY time someone buys from me! So be genuine, people are handing you their hard earned dollars, do not ever take the for granted. EVER!
Another place to find customers are local events. Seek out local craft shows, vendor events, community picnics, church functions, school fairs etc. You can even type into google ""town" vendor events". I'd had good results doing a quick google search! You can also type the same thing into the search bar on facebook and you may even get good results! For me, facebook has been such a huge thing for me, you can link up with other makers, connect with vendor events and so on. Some of my favorite FB pages to join for creative people is "Craft Living, "the Joyful Entrepreneur". These community pages are FULL of likeminded people who can give you advice and encouragement along the way!
Another really important tip is that if you're going to create a facebook page or group to help market your items my number 1 rule is GOOD PHOTOS!!! Please for the love of all things do not take a picture of your jewelry, cups, etc on your messy kitchen table! You don't need a fancy camera but you do need a plain background. If you sell something small like jewelry, you can go to hobby lobby and buy a sheet of scrapbook paper, take that paper outside, and take a photo. BOOM, instant quality photo! You can use a simple photo editor to adjust lighting and such. I actually like picmonkey! It's super easy!
My last tip is to follow the seasons. When you're starting up, see what holiday is coming up and make something that people can snatch up as gifts or decor. Most people are LAST MINUTE people, this is how I did so well on facebook Buy/sale/trade groups! The first items I made were teacher cups. I offered them right around April/May which was teacher appreciation weeks! Most of us are busy and we are all looking for something new and unique but who thinks in March about teacher appreciation? I know I don't! Your timing is KEY! Do you want to sell a ton for Christmas? You better get started in September! See where I'm going?! Take advantage of all these holidays and seasons!
So there are my simple tips! You don't need fancy equipment, or a huge investment. I never once took out a loan or borrowed money for my business. I bought things as I made a few dollars here and there. I worked with babies in the house, and a deployed husband. You CAN make it work! You can do anything you set your mind too! If you do find yourself needing a little money for start ups supplies, here is a good tip, find something you can sell around your house!! Don't use that old tv anymore?, kids outgrown some clothes? That blender you bought for your New Years resolution in 2008? sell it! You can be amazed at what you can find to purge when you have a goal in mind and need some quick cash!
Let me know if you have questions I'm happy to help!!!