Category Archives: Goals and Tracking

Keeping Track

One challenge for serious sellers is managing inventory. This is made more complicated when you are dealing with inventory that appears in many places and is constantly going in and out of stock.  You may have the same items posted in your Etsy shop, on your own website, displayed at craft fairs, on display in a local gallery or giftshop, and sold directly to friends and neighbors.

Keeping track with pencil and paper is a good start, and works for awhile with a beginning product line and a few sales outlets.  Discovering an automated system is your next major step in taking your business seriously.

You can use a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel to set up inventory tracking on your computer, especially if you have experience using business applications.  A good online spreadsheet program is free to use on Google Drive.  There are plenty of computer programs you can buy to track inventory, from POS (Point of Sale) systems for stores to inventory management systems for manufacturers.  Some are designed specifically for different types of artists and crafters.

But the latest inventory management tools are “in the cloud” – online systems available for a monthly fee.  There are several specifically targeted to the art and crafts market.  You can track your products at different stores and selling locations, whether Internet based or physical stores and galleries, consignment or wholesale.  You can track individual customers themselves, complete with integrated email lists.

stitchlabsStitchLabs inventory and order management system is very popular among serious Etsy sellers, integrating seamlessly with an Etsy shop.  StitchLabs was developed as an API app for Etsy shops, but goes far beyond.  You can connect to many other online selling platforms, from eBay to Shopify.  There are modules to connect to PayPal payment gateway and to QuickBooks for accounting.  It is a management system with a huge potential for artists and crafters.

Craftybase is another online system made for professional crafters that allows you to track products, sales and much more.  It does an especially good job of tracking the creative process – the  raw materials and the time that goes into making your items.

Bizelo is designed for general online sellers but with a new focus on Etsy and the arts marketplace.

And the Run|Inventory system, while simpler, is free.

So start inventory tracking from the very first days of selling your artwork, and explore the computer options for making this task a whole lot easier and more informative as your business grows.

Links and ideas (and lots more in the book) from Chapter 4 of Selling Arts and Crafts Online.  You’ll absolutely love this book!

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You can’t get it wrong

“LineScape #27”, textile painting (hand-dyed fabrics, cotton stitching, cotton batting)  © Ayn Hanna.

“LineScape #27”, textile painting (hand-dyed fabrics, cotton stitching, cotton batting) © Ayn Hanna.

Ayn Hanna, printmaker and textile artist, shares ideas about the path to success in “You can’t get it wrong” and 7 other thoughts about making a living as an Artist.  “One of the great mysteries of the Universe for many Artists is how to achieve success making a living doing the work we love to do.” writes Hanna.  “We each have our own struggles (resistance) to overcome and have to find our own way.  But how to do it, where to start?”

Her thoughts and practices are logical and inspiring.  My favorite tip is her “Step 4: Make a plan, break it down and lay out your first steps to reach the furthest point on the horizon that you can see…”  Learning how to define each next simple step is pretty much the only way I get anything done.   It is, in fact, listed as habit number 3 in “the top 10 habits of successful online entrepreneurs”…the list that opens The Everything Guide to Selling Arts and Crafts Online.

Enjoy Ayn Hanna’s insight and artwork on her website www.aynhanna.com

 

 

 

 

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Define Success

What's your definition of success?

What’s your definition of success?

What does a successful online arts and crafts business look like?

Almost anything!

From small shops selling a few beautiful items, to companies with thousands of orders each month, every successful online business is unique.  How do they measure success?  Quite simply, an online business is successful when it fulfills the goal of its owner.

What is your goal?

  • To support the hobby you love
  • To be a stay-at-home parent supplementing family income
  • To discover new, meaningful, rewarding work
  • To quit your day job
  • To simply make a living in a world filled with unemployment
  • To create a business your entire family can share
  • To expand your career as a dedicated artist

It all comes down to clearly defining the business you want for yourself.  You may be delighted with 10 sales each year.  You may be aiming for 10 dales a day or more!  The Everything Guide to Selling Arts & Crafts Online will show you how to transform your goal into realistic steps and how to keep track of your progress.

The bottom line is, “It’s all about you!”  In a really good way.

 

 

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