How handmade artists can raise their level

How handmade artists can raise their level

Hello, a good handmade artist with bad sales!

Or an artisan whose sales seem to be going well, but her earnings quickly vanish, and you need more money.

Or a handmade artist with constant problems with clients: “difficult” customers, unpaid orders, returned packages, friends, and relatives who want everything for free…

Or maybe a crafter who has just decided to get on a professional path but is too shy to take money for her work? Or maybe just a crafter who would like to earn more.

What to do if any of the above is about you?

I want to point out right away that I am not a psychologist, and so, as far as the first points are concerned, I don’t give any specific practices. I want to tell you about my experience and draw your attention to those moments, the working through of which may be very useful.

First of all, you need to sort out your attitude to money. I recently read a review of a children’s book about the introduction to money. A woman wrote that the book was horrible because the hero wants to get rich, that it’s all soulless, and teaches children bad things. Well… Do you have a similar opinion?

Beliefs that money is bad can come from the subconscious, from words we heard as children, from old fairy tales with good but poor characters.

When I began to work through my attitude, it turned out that I was convinced that money could only be earned by hard work since my parents had to work very hard. At that time, I was still working with polymer clay, and I often had to spend a lot of time on each work.

I had to make toys sometimes in single copies. I had a sizeable waiting list for orders, settling for a below-average salary. When I realized my problem, my brain began to work on finding solutions.

I want to make a different and critical point about the attitudes of us crafters. They could enter your head later, perhaps quite recently, if you just started doing needlework and faced the incomprehension of others.

“You do nonsense; it does not make money,” “When will you do business?”, “You do not have time for this?”, “Find a normal job,” “You will remain without a pension,” and “spoil your eyesight. Or, “All famous artists became popular after they died or were crazy.”

Have you ever heard of it? Are you convinced that “The artist must be hungry”? I gave up drawing so much in my day, constantly hearing that I was doing nonsense. It’s a good thing I started doing needlework when I was “grown-up” and confident in what I wanted to do.

And the many jokes about freelancers who have to work 24/7 to get by?

How handmade artists can raise their level

– How handmade artists can raise their level

It’s all embedded in your subconscious and needs to be removed. Have you been told that you will be without a pension? Answer yourself so that you can shape it yourself. Were you told that artists were dying in poverty? When was that? Now the profession has many directions and is more in demand, and more people want and can afford to buy beautiful things. And now there’s the magic Internet, through which artists couldn’t sell before.

Change your mind about every one of the points you find. Once upon a time, these attitudes were relevant to someone, but these are different times, and it makes no sense to drag the ballast of the past with you. Some people need to realize what beliefs bother them, and some can’t do without a psychologist. Psychologists are perfect; you can find courses and learn some directions yourself. Working on yourself is always an enriching experience.

The most important thing is realizing your money blocks do not fall into a victim state. Take responsibility; we are smart adult people; now we understand what is happening and the desire to improve their lives. There is a desire, isn’t there?

We are our bosses, the masters of our lives, and we define ourselves. If you want to live in prosperity:

  1. Learn to be friends with money, love it, and make this love reciprocal.
  2. Imagine that money is your important friend, but you are always unhappy with her. You wash your hands after you say hello, and kick him/her out of your guests as soon as possible.
  3. Consider how to behave with this friend to make your relationship solid and fruitful.

Now let’s move on to self-esteem. Self-esteem is essential. If it is low, then you will consider yourself, not a good enough artisan, will be embarrassed to sell, to call a fair price. Consider yourself unworthy to buy quality things. 

You can also suffer from perfectionism. Imagine, perfectionism is also about low self-esteem! Try it while thinking up a new thing to relax and not try to make everything perfect. The result may surprise you.

Raise your self-esteem by various means: we write in the search engine “how to raise self-esteem,” read books or go to a psychologist, and look for courses on self-esteem.

Goals and Plans

Now that we’ve dealt with money blocks and self-esteem, we must understand how to structure a new relationship with money. What do you need money for? Do you want to travel, dress nicely, buy a house, an expensive puppy, or a motorcycle, or dream of having a cozy cafe? Or you may want to open a private kindergarten with the most wonderful teachers. Anything. That’s your goal.

Designate it and keep it in front of you. It will give you strength and work inspiration. And try to say that embroidery, for example, can not make money. Look for embroidered dresses in high fashion and prices for them. They were made by people just like you.

Feel free to make “expensive” wishes, do not limit yourself. And also improve your quality of life and comfort level. Throw out stale cosmetics and worn-out shoes and adjust to buy only quality things. Allow yourself more. Let the universe see that your needs have changed.

Do the accounting and the family budget

Calculate how much money you need per year, month, or week and what you must do to get there. Set specific goals. Just remember when calculating that you need money for your dreams and life.

So you don’t end up buying poor-quality food and not using cosmetics to save up for a trip or taking money to pay for utilities or a trip to the dentist from your car allowance.

Include everything you need: rent, food, clothes, entertainment, medicine, holiday gifts, etc. Be sure to spend money on yourself: you should feel that your work pleases you. Also, remember the materials and tools for your work. Everyone knows the difference between income and profit.

Set aside money

Determine how much you will set aside each month or with each money you receive. These can be small amounts, but they can be regular. You will build up a safety cushion and funds for some big purchases and get a sense of peace of mind when you’re working.

Agree that you get stressed when you make an urgent order to pay tomorrow for utilities or daycare. And stress is unproductive. You are nervous that stitches are laid crooked, beads crumble, or polymer clay burns.

Working is much more pleasant when you know that you do not have to put your last hopes in selling right this work. Most of the handmade artists are women. And for us women, peace of mind is essential.

Look for sources of additional income

You’re probably already thinking: how can I earn the necessary 70,000 when I can physically make 30,000 worth of goods? The figures are for illustrative purposes. Think about what you can do to earn a passive income and/or scale your handmade business.

Here’s a little extra income idea for masters:

  • Selling webinars,
  • Online master classes in PDF or video format,
  • Conducting live master classes,
  • Creating a club of needleworkers with master classes in your city, organizing fairs in your town,
  • Sale of drawings and photographs at Photostocks,
  • Assistance in organizing stores for aspiring needleworkers,
  • Advice on sales and review of the store decoration,
  • Sale of materials or tools for needlework,
  • Photo editing or taking pictures of other people’s work,
  • Color consulting or master classes,
  • Renting things out for photo shoots,
  • Publishing a book or online magazine,
  • Keeping an inspirational needlework group and selling advertising space in it, production of consumables for other needleworkers (cabochons, beads, dyed fabric, etc.).

The list could go on and on.

Or, while mulling over ideas, you may decide that your city lacks an excellent courier service or a photo studio, and decide to open them, leaving needlework as a hobby. Or come up with your system of storing handicraft materials and start production. Think bigger!

How handmade artists can raise their level

– How handmade artists can raise their level

How do you increase the amount of work you produce?

Look for ways to optimize labor. Delegate. It takes an hour to get to the post office and another three stand in line. Hire a courier or negotiate with postal employees. By the way, the post office in many countries has a service to make online payments for parcels at home. Packages can be dropped off without waiting in line. You can read more about this service on the post office website. It is also possible to sign a contract with a delivery service and call a courier home, saving time.

Consider whether there are operations in your work that can be entrusted to assistants. If there are, try them out. Your business may even allow you to train and hire artisans who will work under your supervision.

Do you make boxes for your products yourself? I also once did, spending 40 minutes of work on one box and buying materials. Then I thought about it and found some wonderful inexpensive packages from an online store.

The advice of hiring a babysitter or ordering an occasional home-cooked meal may help you. Think about what you can optimize in your situation.

And, of course, remember the balance between work and rest so you don’t burn out! You may conclude you want to avoid turning your hobby into a business. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but this article is still just for those who want to make money with needlework.

Another option besides reducing production is to improve the quality of work to go to the next level. And, accordingly, to increase prices. Become a brand, and find your unique style so that people will be willing to pay more for your special things. Personal branding is trending right now.

How to improve your level?

Constantly develop professionally. Improve the quality of your work. Even the best artists are continually learning and attending master classes.

Train your aesthetic taste

If you, for example, make ceramic dishes, do not look only at pictures of dishes. Look at paintings, photos of famous photographers, fashion shows, architecture, etc. Look for the best visuals, and gradually, an example will form in your brain of what “has the mark of quality,” and you will begin to distinguish what has a fine and good taste from what does not.

Replace low-quality materials and tools with good ones

You will be more pleasant and easier to work with, your work will look better, and the price will increase.

Participate in competitions; they boost development every time, take you out of your comfort zone, and force you to develop and do more difficult work.

Follow successful colleagues, read their blogs, see how they communicate and present their goods, and what techniques they use in sales. Make contacts, socialize, and try to create a collaboration. It can be an interesting experience. Be inspired by famous people’s good taste, confidence, and persistence in their work.

And, of course, learn and apply the rules of sales

To become a great master, you must think like a great master. And behave in the same way. Try to get up in the morning, imagine yourself as a successful master (artist, fashion designer, designer, photographer), and get into the role.

  • With what thoughts this person wakes up?
  • What’s for breakfast? How does he/she spend his/her morning?
  • How does he/she communicate with his/her family?
  • How does he answer his/her clients’ calls?
  • How does he/she plan his/her day?
  • Does he/she rush, does he/she exercise, how much time does she/he spend on social media, and does he/she spend any time at all?
  • How does he/she walk and talk?
  • What is he/she doing now?
  • How much money does he/she have in his/her account?
  • Imagine a large sum; how do you feel?

At the dawn of my creativity and later, when I had questions in various situations and had no experience, I used this technique: I imagined how one of my respected famous masters would act in the same situation. How would she answer a question about a discount, design a contest, etc.?

When I was young, I watched an interview with a musical group, and I remember one phrase the lead singer said about how to convince a producer to cooperate: come to the producer and say, “I’m a star!” And that’s it.

Well, you certainly understood that you must remember to keep up the quality and degree of interest in your work. I’m talking about confidence, not pride and arrogance. And I don’t mean to cut snowflakes out of toilet paper and sell them for fabulous prices.

Money is about respect. Treat yourself, your business, your clients, and your colleagues respectfully.

How you treat yourself and your work is how others will treat you. When asked about your employment, do you tell your acquaintances with your eyes down that you sculpt beads? Don’t be offended if someone smirks or offers to help you find a job out of pity.

Respond with dignity about what you do. The difference between a “molded brooch” and a “created brooch” can be hundreds or thousands. Of course, you don’t have to take things to the point of absurdity. If you’re making inexpensive wooden brooches printed for $30, you shouldn’t call them “luxury jewelry.”

Call your workspace a workshop, even if it’s half a kitchen table or a tray of beads on your knees.

But it is better to equip a special place that will inspire you and create a working spirit.

Respect and love your customers. These are the people who have chosen you. Be sure to thank them for the payment of your labor. But not from the position: “Oh, my savior! Finally, I’ll buy new tights instead of the leaky ones!” But from a position of gratitude for the exchange of energy and cooperation.

How handmade artists can raise their level

– How handmade artists can raise their level

Designate your boundaries

Write down the rules of the store and stick to them. Three days of reservation means that after three days, you sell the unpaid purse to the next customer, not a month and a half of calling a missing customer and looking for him/her with dogs and police.

Do not send without prepayment – it means you never send without prepayment to anyone. Don’t start an order without prepayment means don’t give in to persuasion, and don’t bake a portrait cake with a cost of a hundred dollars if the customer has sworn to pay back the money later. “Honestly, I’ll give it back when guests taste the finished cake and if everyone likes it.”

Designate boundaries with acquaintances who want your product for free. Or with relatives who might ask you for a few pairs of earrings for gifts to colleagues. Explain to them that it’s your work, that you’ll take a loss if you work for free. I can gladly give my work as a gift to a friend, but it will come from my decision and desire to bring joy, not from the sense that I have to.

A few years ago, I took a photography course, and my teacher, a very respected and experienced man, answered my question about whether to charge people I knew if they wanted to sign up for a photoshoot with me. He replied that he never takes photos for free because he values his professionalism and personal time. And if he does take pictures of any of his friends, they understand that it is his valuable gift to them, not an obligation.

Let’s now talk about “Why is it so expensive?”

You have the right to set a price that seems acceptable to you. You know how much labor is put into your work and how much the materials cost. And you know how much you want to get.

Never be embarrassed or make excuses when you hear this question. It costs that much because it has that price. You can politely tell them it is natural silk, not artificial silk. And this brooch is embroidered with one thread, which means it took twice as long to make. And that it’s Japanese gold-plated beads, not Chinese, for $1, that your work is the only one. But do not be covered in red spots and mumble something on the theme that the masters sometimes want to eat.

About the prices

Put a fair price for your product with which you are comfortable.
If you are underpriced because you think you will not buy anything for the amount you want, you will not get satisfaction from the sale and will regret that you worked for nothing. Your business will disappoint you.

If you put a price much higher than what you think the level and quality of your work is, you will be uncomfortable, you will feel that you are cheating the client, and you won’t sell anything.

Feel free to raise the price if your work is excellent. Work on your self-esteem so that you are not embarrassed by this need. Yes, some buyers may leave, but others, more solvent, will come. You may not believe it, but for someone to buy a handmade brooch for $500-1000 is the norm.

About discounts and sales

Don’t do them too often. Otherwise, you may broadcast to customers that you are not doing well. Or everyone will wait for your planned discounts every Sunday and stop buying without discounts.

These promotions may be appropriate for New Year, workshop birthdays, or Black Friday. But don’t make the discounts very big; put them on your best and most complicated items.

Customers may think you do the work in fifteen minutes between other more important things if you can afford to discount 50%. Don’t discount the value of your work. Better yet, do small cumulative discounts for regular customers or free shipping on a certain purchase amount.

But there is one interesting point. Money is an energy that likes movement.

If you have stagnation, or occasionally for prevention, you can do some exciting action or give your work to someone. Give movement to the energy of money; give to get. Give paid advertising, finally. It’s also very useful to participate in charity. All the world’s rich people share part of their profits with various foundations.

And a little magic at last! Magic or psychology? What difference does it make? What works is what you believe in. So you can safely use all available means. Visualization, with maps, affirmations, and color matching of the purse. Even if it is red underwear on the chandelier! Use anything that appeals to you and gives you the right attitude.

I wish everyone prosperity and enjoyment!