The most challenging part of any business venture is knowing where to spend and where to save – that’s especially true for craft businesses. As we all know, crafting can be expensive, which is why many crafters start a business in the first place. After your 20th free crochet baby hat, you start thinking, “Man, I’m spending a lot on yarn. Time to start charging!”
If you’re going pro or just trying to break even on craft materials, having a business-savvy thought process can only help you. The bottom line is that money-saving tips can make a huge difference!
Here are some things to think about when you’re trying to cut costs in your craft business.
7 Money-Saving Tips for Your Craft Business
1. Take Advantage of Free Promotional Platforms
When you’re starting up, the most important thing is to get your name out there. Standing out in your yard and yelling “I exist!” at the sky is free, but not very effective. Luckily, there are so many free platforms for self-promotion in this internet age.
Sign up for every single social media platform you can as your business – Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn are must-haves. Decide on an updating schedule, and stick to it. Craft your brand by being personal, engaging and attentive to the greater world.
Don’t buy ads on these platforms until you can afford it. Research ways to increase the number of people you reach and engage with on each platform without spending money – we recommend reading Social Media Examiner regularly for amazing free promotional ideas.
2. Think Local
Even if you can reach an international audience online, staying local can be a big money-saver for crafty entrepreneurs. Here are some ways:
- Local media can be an easy way to promote yourself. Reach out to your local newspaper, local bloggers, even local community groups online (such as Facebook community groups) and let them know what your business is, and what you’ve been doing. If you’re a newer business, ask your local newspaper editor if they’d be interested in writing a feature story. If you’re somewhat established, contact them if you have something new to promote like a new product, service, event, charity involvement, etc.
- Selling locally saves you on shipping costs.
- Local buyers will mainly come to you by word-of-mouth – tell your local customers to spread the word!
- Being involved in your community often costs nothing but time, and after a while people will recognize your business. Participate in local charity events and community events.
3. Know When to Say “No”
As a business owner, people will throw opportunities your way all the time. In the beginning, it’s tempting to chase them all – but it’s important to slow down and note which opportunities may not be worth it. That convention across the country could be a great way to meet connections and learn the biz, but is the plane ticket and hotel cost worth it? Don’t stretch your time and resources thin by saying yes to every opportunity. It’s not mean to say “No” if something isn’t going to benefit your business – it’s just smart.
4. Try Before You Buy
From Hootsuite to Picmonkey, there are plenty of free services you can use for your business until you can afford the paid versions. Many services offer a “try before you buy,” so you can bounce around free trials until you decide something is worth the cost.
5. Care about Comparing
Whether it’s a new laptop or cheaper craft materials, you’re going to need to decide where to buy essentials for your business. There’s seemingly a zillion companies out there selling to small businesses, and it can be exhausting to try to dig through them for the best deals. It can be tempting to look at a few and pick one just to get it over with, but making a decision without much comparison – especially if it’s something with a contract – can really hurt your bank account in the long run. Take the time to make an educated comparison on the service or product you’re seeking so that you’re assured you’re getting the best deal.
6. Don’t Work For Free
Some people will tell you to take opportunities to work for free. It could be writing a blog post or crocheting an afghan that will hang in someone’s lobby, and they’ll usually tell you it will be good experience and will get your name out there. (Craigslist posts are notorious for these sorts of projects.)
However, if you’re trying to establish yourself as a business, you need to see your skills as a trade. You’re worth it, baby! It can be hard to break the habit of working for free if you’ve been crafting as a hobby for a long time, giving your creations away to family, friends and acquaintances. Now that you’re starting a business, you need to decide the lowest amount you’ll accept for your work, and stick to it. You already proved that your skills sell!
7. Set SMART Goals
When you’re focused on a goal, you’ll make smarter decisions in your spending. You’ll be wiser when it comes to your time, money, and resources. What is a SMART goal? It’s Strategic, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Based. For each cost-based aspect of running your craft business, ask yourself if your spending is related to a SMART goal. If it isn’t, that’s where you can cut spending.