For many makers, who often work alone, it can be an isolating experience. Attending conferences, like Craftcation or workshops can help build relationships, find answers to problems we can’t figure out in our business and connect us to a community who can offer support. After spending four days of listening to creatives and business experts, you’d expect to learn a few things, right? Below are the top five things we took away during Craftcation!
1. JUST DO IT
So you feel stuck in a soul sucking 9-5 and dream of doing things on your own terms. You have this thing you call a “jobby” (a hobby that sometimes makes you money) but you want more. You're not alone. That soul sucking job is your catalyst to make this happen.
Visualize where you want to be and work hard to develop a plan to get yourself there. You can't wait to the perfect time, because it may never arrive. During the conference, blogger Rachael Mae Smith of The Crafted Life said that she had a vision for where she wanted to be and every Sunday she dedicated time to blogging. Two years later, what she had visualized for herself and her career came to fruition. You can do this too!
2. IMAGE IS... A LOT
I know, that's not what our mothers taught us to believe, but when it comes to business, first impressions matter. It doesn’t matter what you do or make, you’re always going to be up against competition.
In the first few seconds of a customer visiting your website or social media they will determine if your work appeals to them. This is why it’s important to invest in your company’s brand! Invest in a good logo and website. We talked a lot about this in our last two State of Makings: in a saturated and competitive handmade market, branding is super important!
Nowadays with platforms like Squarespace and Weebly (Craftcation sponsor!), you can build and maintain a high quality website on your own. If you can’t afford services like graphic design or a photographer, try trading products for services, search DIY tutorials for product photography. With the right type of lighting and angle, you’d be amazed at the quality of photos you could take with your cell phone.
Also, don’t overextend yourself on social media. Focus on the accounts that appeal to your target audience and concentrate your energy on those platforms. Being consistent and engaging with your followers will help establish trust and build solid relationships.
3. FIND A MENTOR
Browsing online and scrolling through social media can make you want to bury your head in the sand-- but don't do it! Every successful brand started somewhere. Find someone you admire, reach out and make a connection. No matter what you’re going through right now, chances are that the folks you look up to the most in business have experienced similar struggles and have overcome them.
By the way-- did you know Academy of Handmade offers a mentorship program for members? It's true! We do and it's been one of our favorite program.
4. GET ACCOUNTABLE
Writing down goals is easy, but the path to achieving them can be a bumpy and frustrating road. Help yourself stay on track by having an accountability partner. It becomes difficult to ditch the work that challenges you when you have someone to answer to. An accountability partner can help enhance your personal and business growth. So enough with the excuses.
Oh yeah-- Academy of Handmade also offers quarterly accountability pairings.
5. BE FEARLESS
It’s often the painful sting from failure that teaches us how to fine tune our message, our product, our delivery system and other aspects of our business. Brand strategist and the closing keynote speaker Tiffany Han admitted she often feels uncomfortable in her business. But the discomfort is what has allowed her grow and has contributed exponentially to her success.
Keep pushing through the all challenges that confront your confidence and growth and there will come a day when you realize that you’ve built something incredible for yourself!
Whether you are in the beginning stages of researching and planning a business, working on scaling, or figuring out a new direction, don’t let the crippling power of fear hold you back. Write down your goals, work hard to do what you need to do to achieve them, find a community of peers that can pick you up when you fall down and cheer you on when you hit milestones and succeed. Because if others are doing it and succeeding, so can you!
If you went to Craftcation, what did you learn? If you've been to a conference lately, what were your take aways? We'd love to know! Tell us in the comments below.