Making the leap from hobbyist to crafting professional isn’t easy. Growing a crafting or artisan business requires more than just passion and great design skills, it requires a certain amount of business acumen too.
You need to learn how to manage your finances, streamline your production process, market your services or products, and make sales – and that’s the tough part. Fortunately, there are some tools are there that can help. Here are 5 of them.
1. Accounting Software
The first thing you’re going to need is a good accounting software package. These tools help you to track and manage your finances in one place. This includes things like creating and sending invoices, tracking expenses, estimating taxes, and everything else you’ll need to do on a monthly basis as part of your accounting processes.
Many small manufacturers and sellers on Etsy recommend Quickbooks or Freshbooks. Using digital tools like these is a lot more efficient and accurate than doing it the old fashioned way by hand, and they’re a real godsend when it comes to creating expense reports.
2. Production Schedule Software
Crafting businesses are very different from other retailers in that they involve a production process. In other words, you’re not just buying products from distributors and selling them on, you’re manufacturing the products you sell yourself.
This makes the whole inventory management process more complicated. You have to monitor both your stock of materials and finished products. A production schedule software app is a tool specifically designed to help with this process. They allow you to manage your inventory, production processes, and sales orders from one place, automatically updating and calculating stocks based on your sales and production activities.
3. Social Media Automation Tools
As a small crafting business, social media marketing is probably going to play a key role in your marketing strategy. Many crafters and artisans generate a big chunk of their monthly sales through social marketing campaigns. If you plan on doing the same, social media automation tools are a must.
These tools, like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, allow you to manage your social media posts across all the different platforms from one interface. You can create and schedule your Facebook posts, Tweets, Pins, and other social posts ahead of time, which makes the process much more organized and efficient.
4. Email Marketing Tools
While we’re on the topic of marketing, let’s talk about email marketing tools. Email is still one of the most effective marketing channels out there with a superb ROI compared to other marketing channels. When you’re growing a crafting business, your email list will be invaluable for getting sales leads.
Email marketing tools like MailChimp allow you to create and automate your email campaigns. You can use this to send regular promotional offers and updates to the leads on your list to try to drive sales for your Etsy store or crafting website.
5. A Great Camera
Finally, you need a great camera and some solid editing software to touch up photos. If you’re selling your handmade goods online, your customers won’t be able to physically see them until they’ve already made a purchase.
Before that, they only have your photographs to go off, so you need to make sure they’re showing off your products in the very best light.