In the blog post “Which On-Line Platform is Right”, I described how I came to the decision to create by my website; then the fun began. I started surfing the internet to learn what needed to done to get a site up and running.
Once again, I will refer you Staci Ann Lowry’s Blog, “2 Days (or less) to your own website” for setting up our website. Another good blog to guide you thru the process is Thriftzizel.com. The basic steps are
- Buy your domain name
- Set up hosting
- Install the software
By following the steps presented in these blogs, you will be able to get a basic website up and running in two days. I say two days because there is at least 24hr time lag for system setup, communication, and configuration between the domain and hosting company. I followed Staci’s model and used Go Daddy for the domain name, Host Gator for the hosting, and WordPress for the software.
Instead of using a free WordPress template for site the layout, I chose Thesis Theme by DIYThemes. Genesis Theme by StudioPress another popular theme reviewed on the internet. Both have plenty of followers and detractors, which means there is no right answer.
This easy part done . . . . . now I need some interesting content to display.
Time, unlike spare change, is something I do not have laying around. There seems to be a shortage of hours during the week to work, run errands, do household chores, work on “The List”, weave, think about business, relax, and more. The weekends are the same without the work, unless called, which allows for uninterrupted blocks of time for “The List”, recreation, or weaving. I need to create more time and do better with the time I have.
I already busted my New Year’s Resolution to weave one project each month. Thru July, (7 months) I have completed 5 projects. I have plenty of ideas, things to try, samples to make, and special requests to complete. Unfortunately, weaving has been a fill-in, or as time allows and not a priority.
A little research into “how to get more time” suggests the following
- Do daily chores first; they do not go away, only stack up
- Combine errands; leave the house once and make several stops
- Plan “The List”; prioritize and block time
- Have some “me” time; relax and re-coop
- Hobby/Business; block time and follow business plan
- Block Time is uninterruptable
- Allow time for things that “come up”
After some time to organize and prioritize, I will start the new plan in 2 weeks and let you know how it goes at year end.
Not wanting to ad-lib this endeavor and have the best chance for success, I thought I should develop a plan and timeline to guide me. My efforts should work towards achieving a goal and my time needs to be productive. The plan will describe, define, and create a road map for the business. From this, I will develop activities and timelines to achieve the goals in the business plan.
I found several plan outlines and decided on the following sections:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Market Analysis
- Operation Plan
- Financial Plan
Because the Summary is the outline/highlights from the other sections, it’s advised to save this till the end. I will use future blog posts to develop each section of the business plan. My goal is to have the plan complete in 6 weeks.
While I was learning about the many choices and options available for the on-line part of the business, I was noticing that successful (or what appeared to be successful) crafters had created themes, design elements, or patterns for their handmade items; often referred to as “Top Sellers”. Crafter’s also offered to work with customers to design and create custom items.
What design and pattern should I use for kitchen towels? Twill 2/2 is the pattern of choice for towels. Twill makes a nice thick towel with a diagonal color pattern. For the design, I like the look of plaid bordering the towel. It is simple, fairly common, primarily two colors, and seems to be a “Top Seller” for some weavers.
My plaid border kitchen towel is going to have a design element inspired by the vintage flour sack; the basic narrow stripe. The stripe is simple, clean, and adds a small variation to the basic three striped plaid.
Next step is to layout the pattern on paper to see what it will look like.
What to do ….. so many choices and possibilities. I decided to search out and learn from crafters already in business. It seems everybody starts with ESTY and uses social media as promotion and advertisement. For those that went beyond ETSY, the paths are more diverse.
Staci Ann Lowry, The Ornament Girl, has the best blog for starting an on-line craft business. She describes her journey, choices she made and why, and gives good advice to navigating the World Wide Web.
For all the issues and reasons Staci and others outline, I chose to create my own website. And not to ignore the masses on ETSY, set-up an ETSY Store.
Experts tell you that very few people create a successful business; most fail. I am sure taking a hobby to a business is a steep hill to climb. Family and close friends “oooh and aaah” over your handmade items and suggest people will actually pay money to them. Really !!!
I am going to find if people will pay for my handwoven items. A quick ETSY search shows hundreds if not thousands have the same idea. To get started and stay focused, there needs to be goals, plans, tasks, time-lines, blah, blah,blah…..
Lets Get Started !!