Having had one problem with advertising recently, I went on a half day course last Wednesday called the Entrepreneurial Artist: Building Your Creative Business. This promised four things:
- Making products that sell
- Getting the price right
- Craft fairs and Markets
- Selling over the Internet
Unfortunately the first two hours fifty five minutes of the three hour session was spent on the ‘craft fairs and markets’ bit. There was certainly one person who was interested in the ‘getting the price right’ bit and when I said I wanted to know about using the Internet, it was clear that the instructor knew nothing about the wording of the above poster and felt that it would have been impossible to have covered everything promised.
“What do you want to know about using the Internet,” she asked.
“About etsy, folksy, ebay, our own website; which is the best way to go?” I replied.
“notonthehighstreet.com has very high set up costs; etsy and folksy – you need to be lucky to make money and dedicated to it, putting new stuff on all the time; with ebay everybody wants something for nothing; you’ve got to find some way to drive business to your website. The best by far, easily the best, is Facebook!”
She had covered what I needed in about a minute!
I have a business Facebook page ( search for John Pindar Arts ) as well as my personal one but hadn’t really considered using it for sales. But thinking about it, it seems obvious. On Facebook you are dealing with people, mainly family and personal friends but also ‘internet friends’ with whom you have an established relationship. There are facilities for photo albums which can be easily updated while allowing ‘browsing’ of earlier ‘products’, and which allow comments to be posted easily ( such as ‘Sorry this print is sold!’). I now need to do a lot of scanning!
Incidentally there were a few interesting points in the main part of the course including a) getting 3rd party cover or fairs from A-N, b) going for juried fairs who want to see photos of your work before accepting you as it means they have some means of keeping up standards c) using iZettle to take card payments d) some galleries have started asking just for website addresses and make their judgement on that so an up to date good quality professional site is essential e) getting emails from visitors to your stand so you can keep them informed about your attendance at other fairs (‘Everyone should leave your stand with something even if it is only a flyer or business card.’ f) on your stand eye level in the centre is the most important g) the need to register as self employed with the tax man though if you earn less than £2000 pa you can tick a box on their website and not need to do anything else.
One final point which was mentioned and which I certainly took on board was that, if you are going to make a living as a creative, you need to spend three days creating and two days on the business side.