What is Limiting You and What Can You Do About It?
We all have something that we view as a limitation. You may be physically limited in some way or you may just feel limited. Here are a few of the most common perceived limitations and how to overcome them.
You Have Limited Funds – You must be very creative and work with what you have. Learn about Bootstrapping. You can bootstrap just about any type of business and it is a good idea even if you have sufficient funding.
Work with what you already have or can borrow. The tools you will need will vary by what you choose to make and sometimes you may not be able to get around having certain ones. Not only can you get deals on Ebay and Craigslist, but you can also network to find what you need. You may not realize how many people you know either have what you need or know someone who does. Make sure people know what you are looking for. Find locals who do something similar. They may have tools sitting around that they have long since upgraded but would work really well for someone just getting started.
Buy only what you need. You can usually find the exact quantity of materials you need rather than having to purchase in bulk. People who do custom orders do this with most everything they make. You may have to hunt around to find smaller quantities but you can usually find them somewhere.
Selling doesn’t have to cost a lot – Here are some ways to sell crafts online for free. What are the real costs of selling handmade items online? Not only is it less expensive than it ever has been, but you pay as you go. As you have more items and make more sales you can upgrade your site or hosting but there is always a basic starter package to get you going. If you sell on marketplaces you pay to list each item. You are totally in control over the expense.
Limited Time – Maybe you have a day job or a family and cannot devote enough time to get your store off the ground or get the initial items made. You are not the only one in this situation. It really comes down to time management and motivation. How bad do you want it and what are you willing to put in to achieve your goals?
You can get a lot done if you work nights and weekends. A little time spent on a regular basis can lead to big achievements. Break down each task into smaller pieces and just go step by step. In one evening you can do enough research to see where you can sell your handmade items. The next can be spent reading a marketplace’s “get started” articles and the third night you could have your first item online. How far along would you be if you had devoted just 30 minutes a day to your business over the last couple months? You would be surprised what you can accomplish with consistent effort.
Take a look at how you are spending your free time. How much of your time is spent doing unproductive tasks like watching tv? One hour a day, maybe two? Just an hour a day put into your business can reap huge benefits over time. It really is cumulative. You can actually accomplish quite a bit while watching tv. You just have to have the will power to do it.
You have too many orders and not enough time to complete them. That’s not a bad problem to have really but it is frustrating nonetheless. Before you start getting consistent orders you will have spikes. These could be rush orders or just more orders than usual for no particular reason. It may be a struggle to get everything completed when this happens. So often things slow down again. Take advantage of the slow downs to go over your process and refine steps as necessary. Wait until business is consistently up before making major changes like reducing hours in your day job or hiring help.
Limited Know How – My best advice for learning anything is to take each thing step by step and learn and you go. Too much reading up front not only takes time but can overwhelm you and prevent you from starting anything. It is called information overload. Get started doing something and then as you run into problems, ask Google. The concept of learning on a need to know basis also helps you retain the knowledge since you will be applying it immediately.
These days you can learn just about anything online. There are so many free how-to-make…. tutorials in forums and there are videos on Youtube. If you need books, buy them used on Amazon. You do not have to sign up for in-person classes anymore to learn how to make or do things.
Limited Ability – What if you do not know how to make anything?
Remember that everyone else had to learn and put in the time to do what they do. If you choose something you are naturally inclined to do as well as passionate about, the learning process is a lot easier and actually a lot of fun. Play to your strengths, what do you enjoy enough to want to spend the time to really learn how to do well?
Limited Emotionally – You can be your best friend or worst enemy. I know you have heard that before but it really applies with selling your own handmade items. You have to be very confident in what you do because there are so many unknowns. You also have to have the internal motivation to keep going regardless of whether you are noticing any results for your efforts.
In most cases success builds over time and it can take weeks or months to start seeing any results from your efforts. As you have heard me mention before, you may not start receiving sales until you have quite a few items and designs to offer. In most cases when you look at sellers that have huge stores you do not realize that they were building and making things consistently while they were getting very little attention and probably no sales. It wasn’t until they built everything up to a certain point that good things started to happen. I hear this same story over and over and have experienced the same thing myself.
Limited Space – You may not have enough room to do what you really want to do, but that does not mean you cannot do something. Your space may dictate what you can make and that is not always a bad thing. The process of making so many things is very similar and the skills transfer over. In just about every case you can find something to make that is very similar to what you ideally want to be doing. If you start off with something related or complementary to what you plan on venturing into over time, you can be building up your site and customer base. By the time you have a larger place to work you can jump right in and you will already have a place to sell and people to sell to. You have to get started with something though.
Limited Customers – Maybe you are ready to go, have your store set up, more than 40 handmade items for sale, plenty of free time, but not enough customers. If you are at this stage you can ask yourself a few questions.
How big is your market and if others offer similar items, are they selling? How long ago did you set up your store or website? Have you done any marketing? What about SEO? Are you selling on a popular marketplace? Are you getting views and no sales or no views?
It is always a good sign if you can see someone doing something similar and achieving some success. Ideally you want to do market research like this before taking the time to build everything. You want to make sure there is a market for what you are making.
The actual age of your site matters less than it used to from a search engine perspective but it does take time to become established from a business standpoint. The longer you have been around, the more people will know about you. It is not unreasonable to wait at least 3 months to start getting consistent traffic to a totally new site.
Whether you are new or established, you can always take a look at your site optimization. Make sure you are using good titles, tags, descriptions, and the best keywords.
Ultimately you will need a certain number of views if you expect to have any sales. Some marketplaces attract the right customers and others don’t. They also change over time. They may get better or worse. It could be time to start looking at other avenues if your particular marketplace has gone down hill. Maybe you are getting some views but not from the right audience. There may be a more specific marketplace out there that caters to your type of handmade items.
If you are already setup from a product and website standpoint you can shift focus to marketing and promotion. However much time you were spending on development each day can now be spent on getting the word out. Just like before, you can take things step by step in small increments. This consistent effort will lead to traffic and sales building over time.
How have you overcome your limitations?