Survived Another Year in Business

 Sparkler. Photo by  Cristian Escobar  on  Unsplash

I made it. Time to celebrate!

I have been a business owner for two years now. It hasn't been easy. Trying to juggle a full-time job, family, school, and a business is not easy feat. For the second year, my business is in the red, but I have learned a lot about my successes and mistakes. This year has also been big in deciding what this business is and what direction I want to take it. I'm going to talk about that more in a future post. 

For this post, I wanted to do a brief overview of the year and add in some tips I've learned.

Craft shows are a great form of advertising, but research a show before you commit.

I attended several craft shows this year. Each one had a different venue, audience, and entrance fee. For most of these shows, I broke even. I made just enough to cover my booth fees and extra materials purchased. Even though my sells were not where I wanted them to be, I did meet a ton of locals and local artisans which proved fruitful in the long run. I also learned the importance of knowing each show and what types of vendors they allow. One of the fairs said the vendors would be split 50/50 between commercial and handmade. However, once we arrived, it was clear that that number was largely exaggerated. Only about 20 percent of the vendors sold handmade goods. It was impossible to compete with the low prices and pushy behavior of the buy-sell vendors. This is one event I will not be returning to.

Create a booth with presence.

I had previously posted about creating a pegboard wall which was used as my home mail center. I reused that idea to make new display walls for the craft fairs I exhibit at. I (with large help from my husband) also created a large display wall for art. I really wanted to stand out visually as a booth and create display space at and above eye level. Last year, I only had a couple tables and a few boxes to create height. However, it wasn't enough. I felt like customers were completely skipping over my booth because nothing was at eye level. My new set up worked wonderfully. I was noticed a bunch more and several vendors even stopped by to check out the setup. I still have a few changes to make, but everything is a work in progress.

 Holly Jolly Holiday Fair 2017

Plan ahead.

Planning ahead is crucial. I'm still working on this step. I find that I am always two weeks behind. I really need to slow down, focus less on today and more on tomorrow. I would like to get my social media done weeks in advance and create products months before their launch. I think planning will not only eliminate some stress, but also cut some costs. 

Which leads to...

Keep track of spending and make conscious purchases.

Since another year has come to a close, I thought I could evaluate my revenue and spending.

Breakdown of Revenue Sources

Breakdown of Expenses

Online sales were nearly half my revenue. Craft shows and weddings generated about the same amount.

For expenses, my supplies costs were huge. I really need to cut down on spending if I want to get out of the red. I'm only two years in, so I haven't lost hope. It is not uncommon for a business to lose money the first few years. That being said, I really need to pay attention to my spending habits and only buy necessities.

This has been another year of growth for me. Now onto year three.