Sunday, 10 June 2012

Advice on setting up your own business


Hello all, 

Disclaimour:  First let me say that I am no way a professional, life coach, trainer, teacher, experienced, qualified or generally anything official regarding the following information.  I simply did a lot of research due to wanting to start up my own business which is somthing I decided I need to work on my art skills to create the product first before jumpin in to sales with no product to sell.

 

Anyway, I decided upon recently sharing my research and thoughts regarding starting your own business with a friend of mine Amanda Kimberley that I would share some of that information here and in addition I could promote her in my blog!

Since writing my advice to her she went ahead and decided upon the user name ‘MrsDotDotDotty’ which I think is brilliant… (you’d almost have thought I’d come up with that name!!) …and it describes her art style very well!!

Please check out the wonderful works of Amanda Kimberley and of course more of her works can be seen via her Facebook, her Facebook business Mrsdotdotdotty and via her deviantART http://bubbles239.deviantart.com/ all of which I fully recommend you check out for she’s such a wonderful person, a great friend and a unique artist who colours her works using dots!!

 

On with the advice, I thought I would simplify what I wrote to her just to get the points across without all the additional jargon and aiming less towards the art promotional basis making it generally user friendly…

Here we go; I think for the most part having a personal website doesn't get you very far if you're not well known…  However this should not derive you from creating one just as long as you don’t have overly high expectations from the word ‘go’.  However, in my opinion, there are some ways you can get 'known' at least a little...  Try hitting every single social network; even the unknown or unused ones.  At least create profiles that direct people away to a particular page such as personal website, blog, Facebook (fan/group page) etc.  Or even to your store be it via your personal website or if you use a site such as Etsy or Ebay {Make sure you acquaint yourself with listing and selling fees along with any other fees you may encounter as a courtesy of using a host site, this includes the use of PayPal}.

But back to the personal website idea, you’ll want to create before hitting up other social networking sites to pimp yourself out.  Well putting yourself out there on the web with 100’s of profiles is a start, but where to link them all too!!?  Well that’s what you have to decide.  I originally opted for making a free and easy to set up website using a service called http://www.webs.com which is free and you can have your user name for example ICane.webs.com or you can pay out for a domain name such as ICane.com or ICane.co.uk etc…  I’d stick to the free .webs.com – worked for me for years before I closed it down, although recently considered reopening and of course that is http://www.missimoinsane.webs.com.  But that’s just one I am sure there are more I am just an experienced user where you can either choose their patterns and layouts etc or you can create your own (I create my own because I did web design at college) but anyway…  Creating a personal website for free and I am sure there’s ways to link in your twitter updates and such …ok I just looked into it and you can link twitter, Facebook, YouTube videos and much much more create as many pages as you like and when you start off you follow the onscreen tutorial – better than it used to be, there originally was a lot of guess work too it (I have been on and off this site for around 10 years now!! Originally it was called freewebs but I believe 2 years ago it changed hands and became just webs but it’s still free.  Anyhoo…  I recommend a free personal site done through this.  Link every other way you can possibly think to the website and start from there.

So then you want to connect to social networking sites of which first I recommend creating a ‘twitter’ not just because a lot of people are on it!  But it also connects to other social networking sites such as Facebook and deviantART, personal websites and more…  So rather than update 100 Social Networking statuses just update twitter and the rest …well, you get the picture.  This can be a useful tool while also jumping on a tweeting bandwagon!!

Second I recommend enhancing your Facebook or creating a Facebook page.  Also accept everyone who sends you friend requests as it puts you out there (again).  In addition join some more groups especially in the subject field of your interest on Facebook, try and make more contacts or even friends to enhance your “putting yourself out there quest”.

By now you’ll be fed-up.  You’ve probably spent a good number of hours, if not days and found that nothing you’ve done has improved your situation…  Believe me, I know how it feels!!

So third of all you want to get yourself onto Google plus!!  WHY!?  Because it’s mostly used for business networking and after all what you’re trying to achieve is in most ways starting up your own business.  {I assume I don’t need to point out the copyright laws and such…  nor any tax you may come across should you start doing seriously well!!}

Then you want to hit up further sites such as MySpace, Bebo, flicker etc etc…  Yey!! (Not) the good news is you can have all your notifications and updates sent to the same one email address – which makes life a lil easier.

You could also try YouTube, you don’t have to talk if you’re nervous nor even put yourself on screen you can simply do a picture slideshow and add annotations using basic computer software such as windows movie maker (free for all windows users and should come on your machine with windows!!)

So some key points for art sellers

1. First of all you want to make sure you clearly lay yourself out with an easy to navigate and understand website.
  Nothing worse than a fancy website you can’t use!
2. You want to make sure you get the best quality of your work possible which may mean investment to better scanner, camera, lighting etc etc and generally make your work as professional looking as possible.
3. Make sure all your work is copyrighted to you (easiest way to do this is upload it to deviantART which gives it an auto copyright to your user name.  SPEAKING OF USER NAMES, I SUGGEST YOU PICK SOMETHING SUITABLE AND USE IT FOR EVERYTHING!!  NOTHING WOSE THAN: User:  XxIVC20121988xX USE THIS FOR ALL SITES SO YOU’RE EASY TO FIND!!)
4. Don’t be scared to talk about yourself and make an established connection with people… but you don’t want people running for the hills either.

If you wish to branch out into selling your art here’s a few examples that I gave to Amanda and would also like to give out mentions as suggestions.  Branch out!  For example…  A friend of mine (Jessica) does this amazing zombie work although I believe she doesn’t have a personal website she hosts her art thought deviantART and sells through Etsy http://prettylittlezombies.deviantart.com/ and originally she sold herself short with prints (scanned copies) of her work in various sizes.  I recommend professional printing or get a good printer (like I recently have!).  Jessica was doing very well for herself with this but then she branched out into doing stickers, necklace pendants, postcards and such forth as seen on her Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/prettylittlezombies now and again Jessica hosts free give away competitions via various sites such as deviantART just to get her name out there a little more.  But with constant fresh original works all hand drawn and coloured etc she continues to do ok.  Now that doesn’t mean she sells lots of things and all the time but she does much better than I ever did.  Another friend of mine (Rachel) does amazing digital work with everything from horror clowns to digital portraits and a lot of weird and wonderful stuff in-between!  http://neglectedmemories.deviantart.com/ now Rachel does have a personal website but she’s not so sure that it’s really enhanced her sales! http://ghoulzdesignz.webs.com/ (see that Rachel used www.webs.com) she also sells through her personal website also.  She too originally just did commissions and copies however also branched out into pendants and commissions.  So here are two examples of two wonderful American Girls who are very talented, like you and try.  Not always successful but keep trying.  I remember the first couple of years Rachel found it very hard and she was very upset as she has a family to support and at such a young age too as well as being homeless!! 

You may also want to consider business cards, some websites do a free 50 but they have their logo on them too.  You can always print them yourself or find an inexpensive service and buy in bulk.  Alternative to business cards (which fit well in any bag) is of course flyers.  Possibly even posters and ask local shops to advertise for you or even advertise in the paper on via other popular sites by paying for advertisement or traffic.

Try attracting local custom for commissions and prints.  Perhaps do a sale or discount on first time purchases when buying multiple items.  Try branching into more than originals and prints/copies such as pendants, mouse-matts, t-shirts, iron-on’s etc etc.  Assuming this is all for your dot art.  But it works just the same for other forms of crafts and such just reinvent and be as unique as you can and professional.  Some people create themselves a logo I know Rachel had these awesome funky mushrooms with her name in them as a logo and some people put this on business card, and gift wrap such as a tag or bag or box or label etc…  Just try to tie everything in together – keeps things more professional that way.

So advice.
-          Decide on a user name
-          Sign up to webs.com
-          Perhaps create a logo
-          Create a website (I am happy to help, for free)
-          Add all your works to deviantART or other copyright site
-          Sign up to as many social networking sites as possible linking them all back to your personal website and of course all using the same user name.
-          Promote yourself.  On and Off-line!!
-          Don’t forget to enlist friends help and ask them to ask their friends too.  Perhaps host some kind of promotional kick off.

In addition to my advice I would also like to send everyone over to Marie TV via YouTube and watch some of the inspirational videos on everything to do with your own business, health and mental positivity alongside other advice and life.  She’s a wonderful coach and her videos speak volumes and inspire.  http://www.youtube.com/user/marieforleo

Thank you for your time, Imogen xX 

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