Thank you for joining me today. Grab a cuppa something cozy and let’s chat.
First of all, you’re here because in some way you’re interested in starting and/or growing your own business so that you can live the life that you love. Whatever that means for you… more time with family. More freedom. More money. A sense of achievement.
Let me start by introducing myself in case you’re new here. My name is Chandi Agee, owner of Expression Fiber Arts, a positive twist on yarn. I’ve been running online businesses since I was 21 (previous business was cosmetics and skin care) and can easily say it’s my passion.
And just as much as running businesses, I love talking business and love helping others find the tools and inspiration they need to start their own businesses. That means YOU.
Here is what to expect:
- There will be 3 parts to this series. Check back for Parts 2 and 3.
- I’ll be sharing practical, actionable steps to help YOU start and/or grow a successful online business that you adore.
- And as is my style, there will be lots of encouragement and inspiring tidbits to fuel your passion and purpose for starting a business in the first place.
- There is a catch. I will not be trying to sell you a big, expensive business course at the end of this. Nope. I don’t have one. I just sell yarn. I just so happen to love business and love talking about it. All the info is free. I will, however, let you know right up front that I have a book for sale on how to make $1000 a month selling your handmade goods online. Code: pop30 will give you 30% off this book through February 2017 only and 100% of the proceeds will go toward our current charity love, which is Pencils of Promise. We’re going to raise $35,000 this year to build a school for children in need. So that’s it. That’s “the catch,” if you’re looking for one. But to be frank, you can take all the free info I give you and get started with your business. I know that sometimes in life every penny counts and I wish there had been someone around when I was just starting out, telling me all this advice. I hope to be that voice for you.
- This isn’t meant to motivate or inspire you to start a business if you don’t want to. Business isn’t for everybody. That’s a fact.
- By the time you finish this 3 part series, I hope you feel inspired to start that business you’ve always dreamed of starting!
Let’s get started
There are 2 parts to running a business and I can’t ignore the one and only tell you about the other. So you’ll have to suspend disbelief and bear with me as I ardently insist on both parts being important.
Part 1: The Passion Part
Part 2: The Practical Part
In order for a business to be successful, it helps to have both parts.
You can be all passion and dreams and hopes, but lack any structure, consistency and planning and you won’t have a business. You’ll have a dream. You’ll still be dreaming about it 5 years from now with nothing to show. Many people fall into this group.
You can be all practicality and only take action steps, set rigid goals and march endlessly toward those goals but for most people, you’ll end up feeling a bit lost when you get there. Why did you want to achieve those goals in the first place? You’ll find that achievement and money and “success” make for cold and lonely nights if you haven’t tied your business to your passion.
Discover Your Passion.
Also known as your ‘Why.’
Why do you want to start a business? You can get a job and make enough money to live and thrive, so why do you really want to start a business?
To be able to stay home and spend more time with your family?
To have more freedom? Self-expression? Control? Creativity? Learning? Growth?
Do you feel called to it inexplicably?
Do you want to have a positive impact on the world?
Grab a journal or a piece of paper and write down your Why. Why do you want to start a business?
Example: I want to start a beautiful, inspiring, business that grants me plenty of time to spend with family, allows for creative expression, personal growth and that uplifts others.
For further reading, check out Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek.
Get Practical and Figure Out The What
When talking to others about starting businesses, so many people get tangled in the weeds because they try to figure out HOW to get everything right away. They start naming off a few items of what they’d like to do, but then ardently defend their limitations, lack of knowledge and lack of know-how and then give up in frustration and overwhelm. Sound familiar?
Guess that. Stop trying to figure out HOW. Stop it. You don’t know or you’d be doing it already.
But you can and you will figure out HOW.
For now, let’s start to dabble in the What.
What are you going to be offering?
A business is essentially a mutually beneficial exchange. You offer something beautiful and wonderful to others who would like to pay you for it.
-Since many coming here will be knitters/crocheters (since I sell yarn), I will share this tidbit. Many have come to me in frustration, having tried to sell their hand-knit or hand-crocheted items online, only to find they can’t get a good price out of them. They then become frustrated with others for not being willing to pay what their wares are obviously worth. Afterall, don’t those people know how much time it took you to make that shawl?
Answer: They don’t care. They don’t. And it’s not your job to make them care.
Solution: Offer something they want and are already searching for and buying.
Yes, there are people selling handmade items and lots of them, at prices people are willing to pay. They’ve just figured out how to get them made in less time or in the amount of time they are willing to spend.
How do you discover this? Simple. Head to sites like etsy and ebay and see what others are doing. What are they selling? At what prices? Can you offer something similar? Take inspiration and then add your own twist to it.
Regardless of what you’re selling, whether it’s a physical product, a service, a digital product like an ebook or course, do some research to make sure it’s a wanted/needed product and that people are more than likely wanting to buy it at a price you are willing to sell it for.
Do this before ANYTHING else! This is the foundation upon which the rest of your business rests.
You need to find a desirable product that you can offer.
Take that same journal you were using before and start writing down ideas.
If you’re like me and love to sell handmade items, the options are endless.
Skincare! Soaps. Hair care products. Art. Home decor. Ceramics. Stop right now and just go to etsy! Endless ideas.
So I’ll wrap up Part 1 of 3 with a quick summary for you.
- Decide on your passion and reason for starting a business. Write it down.
- Research and decide on a product (or several to try) to test out. Something that you can offer (or learn to make… you don’t have to be an expert) and that others are willing to pay for. Write that down.
And please don’t stress and think you have to know right away. I spent about 2 years trying to find my first product to sell online, before finally settling on mineral makeup, way back in the day. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say.
Q & A:
A few questions I’ve received lately. Hopefully these resonate with you and answer those burning questions you’ve been wondering about.
Do I have to invent something new and fad-like to be successful?
No. You don’t. I hear this all the time and it’s just not true. You can go that route, but most businesses are started by selling products that are already being sold. You just put your own spin on it. Find something people are already buying that you can offer and put your own spin on it. Done. Boom.
I don’t feel like I’m an expert. What should I do? Does this prevent me from starting a business?
You don’t have to be an expert. Just get started and learn as you go. Study. Research. Ask questions of others. But don’t think you have to know everything or even a lot about your item before starting to sell it. The main thing at this point is to get started and keep moving toward your dreams. This is just a speedbump your mind is creating to slow you down. Jump over it.
I need money quickly. Which business should I start?
None. If you need money quickly, it’s best to get a job. A business takes time to get started. It takes a lot of thought and energy and effort usually before you’ll see any type of profit. There are exceptions, but most businesses take 1-2 years to really start seeing a good profit and allowing the owner to live off of them. I suggest getting a job to get those bills paid and start the business on the side. In the mornings. During your lunch break. At night. On the weekends. Make it work.
I’ll return soon with Part 2 where we get into the nitty gritty of actually taking those first action steps and getting rolling.
Have a great day! Do something nice for yourself. Stay hopeful. Have any swirling questions, concerns or fears? Post them below. I promise someone else has had that same concern and is just wishing you’d ask it so they don’t have to. I’d love to hear from you and will do my best to answer them in the coming posts.
P.S. Want to learn how to make $1000 or more a month selling your handmade items online? Order my ebook here for instant download and we’ll donate 100% of the proceeds earned through February 2017 to our Pencils of Promise campaign. You learn how to start a viable online business and children around the world get an education. Priceless. Code: pop30 will give you 30% off through February 2017.
Don’t need the book but want to contribute to our fundraiser? Just head here and click the Donate button.