art · Small Business

The Handmade Marketplace, 2nd Edition is a great resource for crafters!

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I just finished reading The Handmade Marketplace 2nd Edition by Kari Chapin, another awesome book I found at the library. It was a quick and easy read (I finished reading it during breaks at my day job), but it was a very thorough overview of the craft business. Throughout the book, Chapin adds input from the “Creative Collective”, a group of craft professionals of all different disciplines from around the world.

Chapin starts at the very beginning with setting goals and setting up your workspace in chapter one, and branding in chapter two.

Everyone seems to struggle with pricing, including myself, so I found chapter three extremely helpful. In this chapter Chapin explains pricing and members of the Creative Collective reveal their formulas and strategies. It was like someone turned the light on as these craft professionals demystified pricing.

Chapter four is about marketing, and Chapin emphasizes the importance of good photography. She adds simple instructions on how to make a light box using materials you probably already have at home.

Craft communities and the importance of making connections are highlighted in chapter five.

Chapters six through eight explain ways to promote your work such as blogging, advertising, and using social media.

The last four chapters of the book outline the different ways to sell your work. Craft fairs, e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores, and other creative opportunities are all included.

The Handmade Marketplace is a great resource. It’s so thorough; I can’t think of anything Chapin left out. I highly recommend this book to any crafters ready to take it to the next level.

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graphic design · graphics for shirts · Heat Press · Onesies · Small Business · Toledo, OH

Meeting with Our SCORE Mentor 10-4-17

Wednesday night we met with our SCORE mentor. A marketing expert joined us and it was encouraging to get a new perspective.

I had assumed to make my business successful I would have to branch out and offer lots of different services, but the marketing expert suggested I concentrate on one thing and become really good at it. I’m going to focus on graphics for children’s clothing, newborn to 5T. We are going to brainstorm new design ideas and create a strong portfolio of super cute graphics.

We are also going to make a list of businesses and organizations involved with children and reach out to them. The marketing expert said it is important to have a “leave behind” item when approaching these organizations, and he made some suggestions to improve our tri-fold brochure.

I took lots of notes during the meeting and I’m ready to get to work. I’m nervous about approaching local organizations but excited to work on new designs. I’m willing to give all these new suggestions a fair shot.

Library · Small Business

A Helpful and Enjoyable Read: The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging

I recently came across The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging at the library. I always enjoy reading the Huff Post articles that show up in my newsfeed on Facebook, so I was curious and checked the book out. It’s a bit dated as it sometimes mentions MySpace or the 2008 elections, but once you get past that, it can be a pretty helpful resource. This book includes lots of fascinating input from Huff Post bloggers on why the blog, Q and A’s, important posts, and tips.

This book starts at the very beginning explaining the history of blogging, the anatomy of a blog, and even tips for picking a title for your blog. It doesn’t leave anything out as far as the blogosphere is concerned. It even explained blog awards including the Webby Awards, Bloggies, and Blooker Prize. I didn’t even know those existed.

This book has lots of good information, however, I found Chapter 4: Finding Your Voice to be the most helpful. This chapter includes The Huffington Post Rules for Great Blogging as well as a list of sources for inspiration, both of which are going on my office wall.

The final section of this book is for resources. It includes the Huff Post blog roll, a glossary of blogging terms, and – for even more inspiration – the best of Huff Post.

I enjoyed The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging and recommend it to anyone interested in blogging. It’s a quick read and definitely helpful.

Small Business

Five Reasons Why I Love Writing

I started this blog earlier this year to promote my design business, but I quickly learned I also like to write. I posted once a week in the beginning. I enjoyed blogging so much that I started posting twice weekly despite being busy with my day job and design work. It even led to a blogging job at healthyplace.com. I’m new and still learning, but I would like to share five reasons why I love writing.

 

  1. I’m shy and not very talkative. I find it is easier to write than to speak. Writing is a really great outlet for me, and it feels good to have found another way to express myself.

 

  1. Writing is similar to design. They are art forms with problem solving elements, and I really enjoy this about them both.

 

  1. You write all the time for all different reasons, so I feel I’m getting lots of practice everyday. I even strive to write the best service notes I can at my day job.

 

  1. Being a strong writing can open doors, such as composing a professional and concise cover letter when applying for a job. You can make a great first impression.

 

  1. There are lots of opportunities with writing, and I want to explore them. I’m keeping my mind and eyes open.

 

I’m not sure where my interest in writing will lead, but I’m really enjoying blogging for my design business and healthyplace.com. Who knows what the future might bring.

mental health · Small Business

New at HealthyPlace

I love my blogging job at healthyplace.com and I’m happy to say they’ve hired a new blogger to contribute to the Recovering from Mental Illness blog. Check out her introduction here.

Check out my latest article, “Setting Goals and Pursuing Dreams with a Mental Illness”. My next article will come out September 20th, and there will be a new video coming soon as well.

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.