Last weekend marked my one-week business anniversary. I have successfully managed to open Craftworks Baby, and stay open for a whole week with no major disasters. Go me.
In that first week and the weeks running up to the launch of the store, I can’t tell you how nervous, excited and terrified I felt, at having to share what I love to make with the internet, opening myself up to any comments or criticisms that the world could throw at me. It's fair to say I still have a bit of a vulnerability hangover.
However, in my first week I’ve experienced very little in the way of negativity, in fact, the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m so unbelievably appreciative of everyone’s support and good wishes. As always, the main source of pessimism comes from my own brain. I know it’s one of the most unhelpful things in the world, but I do find it hard to think positively about my own skills and achievements. Giving others a pat on the back comes naturally to me, but doing it for myself talks a little more effort.
Although it’s only been a week, I’ve already learnt a massive amount about what I need to be doing in my business, and I wanted to share some of the main things I’ve discovered..
1. My website doesn’t look awful!
One of the big pieces of praise I had a few days ago was from a friend who wanted to know who built my website for me. As someone with limited technical abilities, and no real design background, this meant a lot to me, as alongside a great template from Squarespace and some brilliant YouTube tutorials, I created the website myself and I’m pretty proud of it. (By the way, if you're new to Squarespace and want to find some of the tutorials I used, just add a comment below and i'll post them.)
It was a bit of a learning curve, and there’s still a lot to try and iron out, but so far I’ve had some really nice feedback and apparently it doesn’t look like something my cat could have put together (which was a legit fear of mine). At the end of the day, my website does what it needs to do - direct people to my shop, and my content, both of which are really important to me.
2. People actually want to help me.
I have great friends and a wonderful family, but even I was overwhelmed at the amount of love and support people have given me since I launched the shop. I’d hate to be that annoying friend who’s constantly asking for publicity, and even inviting my friends on Facebook to like my business page felt a bit icky, but people have gone out of their way to like, share and comment on what I’ve been up to this past week and I can’t thank them enough. So far, putting myself out there has paid off.
3. Networking groups are really helpful communities.
Now it’s one thing finding that your nearest and dearest have gone over and above for you, but it’s another to find that complete strangers have taken time out of their busy days to help me get my business off the ground.
I joined a few networking groups on Facebook, ones specifically designed to support sellers on Etsy, and I’ve found the advice and comradery so invaluable. It’s the first place I go to find out more about anything to do with my store, from keywords and item titles, to shipping costs, and it’s been such a welcoming and helpful community of fellow craftspeople.
4. Social media isn’t as daunting as I originally thought.
People who know me well, know that using Facebook isn’t something that comes naturally to me.
If truth be told, I had barely used my personal account for about a year. However, I knew that when I opened my store, creating and updating a Facebook page was going to be key. After all, it’s gives people a much easier way to share things with their friends and helps get the word out. I thought I’d find it difficult to remember to post and update it, and I worried that I wouldn’t know what to share with any followers I gained.
That’s why I set myself a little challenge...
For the first month of opening, I've set myself a task to post on my business Facebook page everyday. My thinking is, that jumping in with both feet will get me into good habits and force me to think creatively about what I want to put out there.
So far, I’ve really enjoyed using the platform and have been brainstorming what other useful and interesting content to share on Facebook.
5. I need to be more strict with where I spend my time.
Having a side-hustle, even if it’s only a week old, takes up a lot of time. There’s keeping up with questions and messages that people have asked me about my products, there’s listing them in Etsy, taking photos of new makes, adding new content and blog posts to my site, posting on social media…
…and that’s all before actually making the things I want to sell.
As Craftworks Baby isn’t my day job and as it has to fit around my 9-5, I've realised I need to get really serious about where I’m spending my time and whether I’m using it in the best way. I’m not saying I have this down yet, but I’ve just been making more of a conscious effort to procrastinate less, and make sure that when do I have a few hours to dedicate to my business, I’m focusing on it 100% and getting important stuff done.
Above all, I have realised that there’s still so much to do and so many opportunities to look into, which is really exciting (if a little daunting!)
As first weeks go, I feel that I’m in a good place, and I want to say a massive thank you again for the support and kindness that I’ve received from so many people.
If anyone has anything to share about their own business or side-hustle milestones, then make sure your drop me a line in the comments below. I’d love to hear your experiences.