It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when running your own business. From market pressures and financial woes to family concerns and confidence issues, it’s common for even the most resourceful entrepreneurs to feel helpless at times. Yet those tools that you need to get your business running smoothly or to take an already thriving one to the next level are more plentiful and easily accessible than you might think.
This month, 15 of our Top 50 Etsy Parents reveal the one resource or tip that forever changed their businesses for the better. Whether a book, website, inspiring phrase, or creative way to consume caffeine, these entrepreneurs are onto something!
Know your SEO 1 of 15
I would have to say that SEO seminars online are the most valuable resource that I have found; I attended a one-on-one SEO seminar that really ramped up my business. There are so many online resources that you can use to learn why SEO is critical to your success.
— Jo, 42 Things
Remember starting is the hardest part 2 of 15
My most valuable resource has without a doubt been The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. Danielle's incredible passion for her work is contagious. She taught me that it's better to just get started, rather than waiting until everything is perfect. She encouraged me to discover my true strengths and to define success on my own terms.
— Ashley, Ashley Pahl
Choose a good photographer 3 of 15
Kara May Photography was the one resource that changed my shop forever. I will never again underestimate how important good photo presentation is. The professional pictures that she provided elevated the entire look, feel, and quality of my products, and thus my shop as a whole.
— Faith, FaithWorks4u
Learn the basics 4 of 15
Reading my camera manual (and looking up the photography jargon I didn't understand) was hands down the most important time investment that I have made for our business. I learned more about improving the presentation of our toys from that little 4"x 6" book than any other book or website.
— Erin and Nick, Imagination Kids Toys
Go back to school 5 of 15
Taking a letterpress class in 2004 at the NY Center for Book Arts encouraged me to design stationery. This work later became licensed, blogged, and seen at shows — thus leading to more design work in brand identity, online promotion, and overall retail and wholesale production.
— Tara, INK + WIT
Use your resources 6 of 15
Take a blogging course 7 of 15
I can recommend the Blogging Your Way course by Holly from Decor8blog. It's a really great course for creative business owners. You learn about blogging, photography, advertising, believing in yourself, and more. Plus you get lots of tips from great designers and creative entrepreneurs.
Learn from the past 8 of 15
The one resource that has helped me the most is basically every job I've ever held prior to starting my own business. I learned a lot about running a business working as a gallery manager, a graphic designer, and a Mardi Gras float artist. Skills and experiences that I never imagined would be useful often ended up being the most important ones.
— Suzanna, Sushipot Vintage
Don’t stop reading 9 of 15
I read a lot of business books and took classes through the Small Business Association prior to starting my business. But being a very hands-on person, I just had to jump right in, which definitely changed the way I thought about business forever. Now that I've been operating for just over a year, I feel that the business books mean even more to me. Some of my favorites include: Killer Brands: Create and Market a Brand That Will Annihilate the Competition by Frank Lane; Birthing the Elephant: The Woman's Go-For-It! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business by Karin Abarbanel, Bruce Freeman and Bobbi Brown; and The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally and Online by Kari Chapin.
— Araya, Wind & Willow Home
Find a community 10 of 15
Discovering craft blogs 7 years ago changed how I viewed and ran my business. Blogs taught me about selling online, the importance of good photography and building a loyal customer base, and allowed me to feel part of a community while starting my business.
— Manda, Treefall Design
Learn from others 11 of 15
Don’t disregard simple trial and error 12 of 15
I haven't read any business books, websites, or taken classes. My learning experience has been trial and error and patience. It may not be the best way to go about it, but it's been my journey. Don't be afraid to ask questions, though!
— Jennifer, A Merry Mishap
Do what you love 13 of 15
I have a favorite coffee cup that says, "Success is doing what you love." I use it every morning.
— Kim, Jikits
Find inspiration 14 of 15
I got my husband Nick the book Making Toys That Teach by Les Neufeld as a gift before we started the business, and it book had a big impact on us. As we've developed our own toy designs, we've stayed close to the inspiration of toys that are meaningful and helpful, as well as beautiful.
— Kimber and Nick, Little Sapling Toys
Go ahead, read the handbook 15 of 15
Etsy opened up a whole new market and opportunity for me. It is so easy to use and allows me to sell to a worldwide community. For a first-time seller, the site offers great advice in its seller's handbook. Etsy also has a great blog with some super interesting topics on almost anything.
— Kerstin, Paul and Paula
Want more from Babble’s Work/Shop series? Check out our past features below: