I always recommend having multiple revenue streams.
I don’t think it’s smart that your long-term business plan only include something like selling on Etsy or selling your products on your own website. Why? What if something happens and that one revenue stream starts to dry up? Then, you’re gonna be in a hot mess of trouble.
Instead, set yourself up for success by having multiple revenue streams. It depends on what type of business you have, but if you sell jewelry, you could: sell on Etsy, have wholesale accounts with 5 boutiques, sell at craft shows, and teach a monthly jewelry making class. If you sell aprons, you could: sell on Etsy, sell on your own website, have 3 wholesale accounts with cooking stores, and sell your patterns.
If you’re looking for another revenue stream, consider hosting a party where you sell your stuff.
Here’s How It Works:
1. You want to make sure that you know people who are in your target market. If you don’t, then this revenue stream won’t work well for you. So, make a list of your friends, family, and neighbors that might be interested in buying your products. If applicable, include your knitting group, book club, church community, coworkers. Do you think you could get at least 25 people to your party? If so, keep going.
If not, do you know someone else who sells handmade items that you could pair up with? For instance, if you sell jewelry and you know someone who sells handmade clothes, you could work together to plan a party and both invite people.
2. Decide on a date and time you think would be convenient for most people. Try to set a wide time frame, so that people can drop in as they like. For instance, you could host it from 3pm-9pm on a Saturday and encourage people stop in whenever they can.
3. Make sure that you have enough inventory. You want to have a lot of variety that people can choose from—and you definitely don’t want to run out. This is another great reason to pair up with one or two more people who also sell handmade items.
4. Pick a couple things to give away as door prizes. For example, if you sell handbags, you could give away 2 mini-totes during the party.
5. Send out invitations. You can make this really simple by sending out invitations via email. This way you won’t eat up any money on stationery—and you can invite a lot of people.
Make sure that you include pictures of your door prizes and announce that’ll you’ll be giving away door prizes on your invitation. It’s another incentive to get people to come.
Also, I recommend serving simple appetizers and refreshments and including that these will be available on the invitation.
6. Ask a friend to help you out on the day of the party if you’re hosting it alone. You’ll want someone to help refill the ice bucket when you’re making a sale, someone to collect money while you talk to other customers, and someone to watch over things when you need to head to the bathroom.
7. Practice your set up. You want to make sure that your stuff is the star of the show, so you want to spend a lot of time on your set up just like if you were selling at a craft show. If you’re hosting the party with someone else, invite her over and do a mock set up together.
Ensure that there will be enough room for people to move around, mingle, and sit down. People will stay longer if they are comfortable.
8. Send out a reminder email the day before the party. People get busy—so you want to remind them to stop by your awesome event.
9. On the big day, set up, get gorgeous, and get excited. And, then have fun and make some money.
1. If you run out of a particular item, don’t sell the last one. Instead, take orders for that item.
2. Even if you think you’ll have a lot of people come to your party, do it with a friend or two. It makes it more fun and less stressful when you share the responsibility.
3. If you’re running low on business cards, order more well before the party. Make sure each person who stops by leaves with a business card even if she doesn’t buy anything, because she might buy something later.
4. Have a notebook available for people to sign up to receive your email newsletter where they can get more information about your business, announcements of new product lines, and discounts.
5. Put together information packs in case some of the attendees want to host a party where they sell your stuff. Of course, you’d be there as well—but they would be the ones to plan the party, invite their friends, and provide the refreshments.
You should offer people incentives for hosting a party. For instance, you could give your hostesses a $50 gift certificate for your products just for hosting the event. And, give her $10 more for every $100 that you make from her party. That way if you make $1000, you’re hostess will get an additional $100 to spend on your stuff. If the hostess knows about that incentive, she’ll be more likely to get as many people as possible to the party. And, it sets it up to be a win-win.
6. Pick your party date strategically. For instance, you could host your party a couple weeks before Mother’s Day to encourage people to buy their Mother’s Day gifts at your party.