graphic design · graphics for shirts · Heat Press · Onesies · SCORE · Small Business

2018 Goals for Rahm Designs LLC

I started thinking about things I’d like to do in the new year. Every year I hope to move closer to having a successful business – to have an income doing the things I’m passionate about. Here are some of the goals I have for 2018.

  • I will define what I want to do with my business. I know I want to pursue graphic design and writing projects, but I am not certain about what kinds of services I would like to offer. Should I offer many services or specialize in a few?
  • I will buy a larger heat press. I’ve put this off for a while, but if I want to expand my business possibly into adult sizes, I will need one.
  • I will start my own e-commerce site. I am hoping to add a shopping cart to my existing website, www.rahmdesignsllc.com.
  • I will learn more about SEO. I know this is crucial to online sales, but I feel I don’t put enough time into it.
  • I will set aside time each week for new design work, and write (at least a little bit) everday.

I am also looking forward to working with SCORE and the Women’s Business Center to grow my business. Here’s to many sales in 2018!

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graphic design · graphics for shirts · SCORE · Small Business

Business Update 11-7-17

Sales have decreased significantly on Etsy. Some of the other sellers have said in the forums that Etsy is running tests on the search algorithm, but I don’t know if that’s really the reason for the decrease in sales. I’m hoping sales pick up just before the holidays like they did last year.

Since I’ve had fewer sales I have been spending time working on my freelance writing jobs as well as creating a new portfolio of cute graphics. I have followed SCORE’s marketing expert’s advice in developing a new portfolio with the cutest graphics I can possibly make. I created a schedule that should have ten completed designs by the end of the year. I am currently working on design #3. Once the portfolio is completed I will concentrate on marketing and approaching local businesses and organizations.

I still have not decided if Rahm Designs, LLC should only focus on graphics for children’s clothing and accessories or branch out to include other graphic design and writing projects. Maybe my freelance writing jobs should be separate from my graphic design work.

I am excited to see what the new year will bring with hopefully a new portfolio. I’m also hoping I will figure out where to concentrate my efforts.

graphic design · graphics for shirts · Heat Press · Onesies · SCORE · Small Business

New Holiday Designs Available in the Rahm Designs, LLC Etsy Shop

holiday-stegosaurus-onesiet-rex-santa-hat-onesie

I am following SCORE’s marketing expert’s advice and creating a new portfolio of super cute graphics. I started with holiday designs since it’s about that time of the year.

SCORE · Small Business · Toledo, OH

Helpful Business Resources for Entrepreneurs in Northwest Ohio

I have started my own design business, and over the last year I have learned of some local resources for entrepreneurs. Here are some organizations and websites that have helped me in my journey.

SCORE

northwestohio.score.org

SCORE offers free one-on-one mentoring. I have been meeting with a mentor from SCORE for a year now, and he has been incredibly helpful in teaching me about basic business operations and marketing. He has also referred me to other resources.

SBA.gov

The website of the US Small Business Administration is extremely helpful. I have completed many of their online trainings.

Women’s Business Center of Ohio

wbcohio.org

I just recently attended a writing class with the Women’s Business Center, and I was really impressed. Although their offices are in Cleveland and Columbus, they do hold events in Toledo. They are having a resource fair at the main library on September 20th from 2-7pm.

Toledo Lucas County Library

The library has been an amazing resource for me. At the suggestion of my SCORE mentor, I met with their business technology specialist to learn about the research databases accessible through the library’s website. These databases contain a lot of information, but I have used it primarily to learn about potential customers and competitors. The library also has a great selection of business books.

Assets

assetstoledo.com

Assets offers a 13-week 50-hour training course for new entrepreneurs that meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I have not taken this training myself, but I have heard from a friend that it’s very good.

Fitsmallbusiness.com

I have just learned of this website. It offers lots of articles, guides, and courses. I plan on spending more time there later.

Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Development Center

toledochamber.com

This website offers a ton of local information and even some video trainings. The SBDC also offers free one-on-one counseling.

Toledoregion.com

Check out the Entrepreneurial and Business Network section of this website. They have a list of lots of local resources for businesses.

Google Primer

This is a free app that provides quick little business trainings. I think it’s fun to go through if you have a couple free minutes.

I hope you find this list helpful. Do you know of any other Northwest Ohio resources? Please mention them in the comments.

 

graphic design · graphics for shirts · Heat Press · Onesies · SCORE · Small Business

Rahm Designs, LLC August 2017 Update

I was not feeling well this past weekend, and didn’t get anything done for a couple days. I’m juggling several different projects right now, so it was discouraging to fall behind schedule. However, I’m feeling better now. I’m back at work and slowly tackling projects one-by-one. Here’s an update on Rahm Designs, LLC.

For the past 12 months the Rahm Designs, LLC Etsy shop has seen a 279 percent increase in revenue. From month-to-month it doesn’t usually feel like there’s that big of a change, so it was nice to see the stats over a larger period of time. Most of our orders come from Etsy and I feel it’s the best fit for our items as far as ecommerce sites go, but we still get frustrated with Etsy’s seller’s fees. We also get sales from eBay, but no where near the traffic and sales we get on Etsy.

We will meet with our SCORE mentor as well as the marketing mentor on the 23rd. I have been gathering all of our marketing materials and I’m eager to hear their feedback. It’s been several weeks since we’ve seen our mentor and a lot has happened in the mean time, so we’ll have a lot of catching up to do.

I’m still thinking about the organization of the business. I have many different interests, and I’m not sure what to focus on. Can Rahm Designs, LLC cover several different areas?

I’m excited to be working on some new designs, all of which were ideas from my family. My drawing skills feel a little rusty, but I’m antsy to put out a finished product. It’s been a while since I’ve put out new designs, and I’m excited to show everyone.

There’s a lot of uncertainty in my life right now. My husband has a new job, and my job at the mental health agency might be coming to an end in a few months. While it’s a little nerve wracking at the moment, I believe these changes will ultimately be better for my career and my life. Let’s see what the next chapter holds.

SCORE · Small Business

July 2017: Update on Rahm Designs, LLC

I still spend a good amount of time working on Rahm Designs, LLC everyday, but I’ve slowed down a little to concentrate on some other creative opportunities.

My focus is still on marketing. I am reading some helpful books in my free time, and promoting the business on social media daily. I’ve also been sending flyers to local daycare centers. I’m so excited to be meeting with Northwest Ohio SCORE’s marketing mentor in August, that I’ve already been preparing questions for him.

Sales have been up and down, and seem pretty unpredictable. I received a large custom order last week that gave our revenue a boost. Gamer Kids and Baby Pride Wear are still our two most popular Etsy shop sections. In a post last week I shared a coupon code for our Etsy shop to celebrate Gen Con, which will be here in a little less than a month!

Lately I’ve been feeling pretty creative, and I’ve been spending a lot of time writing and drawing. Carrying a journal and sketchbook everywhere I go really comes in handy!

When I started this blog, its sole purpose was to promote Rahm Designs, LLC, but posting every week has shown me a newfound love for writing. I am having fun exploring this interest, and checking out new opportunities. As I mentioned in a blog post last week, I am a new blogger for healthyplace.com. I am co-author of the Recovering From Mental Illness blog, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this resourceful website.

I’m hoping this will be a good month for Rahm Designs, LLC, and I want to thank everyone for your support.

 

Library · SCORE · Small Business

Small Business Marketing Kit for Dummies: My Introduction to Marketing

Small Business Marketing Kit for Dummies by Barbara Findlay Schenck is easy to read with simple explanations and practical advice. I picked up this book at the library after my SCORE mentor suggested I concentrate on marketing for my business. Go over to the Dummies website to check out this book’s cheat sheet at www.dummies.com/cheatsheet/smallbusinessmarketingkit and see a small preview of all the great information available in this book.

book

In chapter 1, Schenck gives a simple definition of marketing: the process through which you win and keep customers. Marketing is such a broad topic, so as a person with no formal business training, this straightforward definition helped me understand what it’s really all about. I had assumed marketing was the same thing as advertising, but I now know it’s so much more than that. Also in Chapter 1, the “marketing wheel” explains how marketing affects every aspect of your business and the entire process of making sales. Schenck says in marketing the whole is greater than the parts, and it’s a never-ending process.

This very thorough book gives lots of advice on research including product, market, competitor, and customer research, as well as covering all the details of developing your brand.

My favorite quote from Schenck has to be, “Your product is what Google says it is.”

The book goes on to explain how to develop goals and strategies, and how to set a marketing budget outlining to use of your time and money. I never really considered budgeting my time before, but as Schenck points out, most businesses use social media as part of their marketing efforts. Social media can be very effective, and while it doesn’t cost money, it does take a lot of time.

Schenck gives good advice for getting your message out both online and offline. This book is actually the reason I started my blog. Schenck suggests blogging on a regular basis as a way to create engaging content for your social media outlets. I’ve learned from this book that it’s important to interact with customers instead of just trying to sell.

This book is full of resources providing the names and websites of helpful organizations and services. It even comes with a CD packed with useful forms and checklists to accompany each chapter. I printed them out and put them in a binder, and I continue to work on them as I develop my marketing plan.

Over the past couple months I’ve read several marketing books, and I’m always at the library looking for more. This was the first book I picked up, and I’m really glad it was. It gives an excellent overview of marketing, especially for someone like me who is new to running a business. I highly recommend it!