EtsyMetal Blog Carnival: Business Success Secrets

Each month, EtsyMetal artists write about a different topic related to the arts. This month it is:
Business Success Secrets:  

What does it mean to you to be "successful" in business as an artist?
This is just the second year I run my jewelry endeavor officially as a business. Or at least I believe I need to treat it like a business to get it from nowhere to somewhere. It is still a part time gig for now and the real success would be to be able to concentrate on this full time. So far I am measuring my success on the small steps I accomplish every day, every month, one ring at a time. The biggest reward are the compliments I get from my customers. If I made someone happy with a little art piece to wear, it's the best accomplishment I can hope for. 

There is something good about starting a business during a down economy. A slow economy means slow business. But that is true of a startup in a strong economy too. I can grow slow during these quiet times, and be positioned to grow explosively as the economy recovers. I can make all the errors now, learn from them and get stronger once things start up again. So far the second year has been so much better for me than the year before. Yes, I made a few mistakes, but I had at least to try them to see they are not working. Learning from errors is still the fastest way to learn. 

How do you walk the line between creativity and profitability? 
Having still a full time job as an architect, I don't have to worry too much about paying the bills with my art. It gives me the freedom to try out a lot of new things without worrying too much about if they sell or not. If I get good feedback and rings sell; great. But I don't sweat it, I can always melt those pieces down and make something new out of it. I often turn down request for custom pieces if I feel they don't fit in with what I am on right now. Sometimes they simply don't fit in my schedule and would get me overwhelmed. Being stressed out is not worth the money it might bring in. 
I definitely love to do new designs more than I like production work. I have so many designs in my head, there is never enough time to get them all out of my system and made into a tangible object. The few pieces I do multiples, I actually somewhat enjoy making since I still like the designs. However, I don't see myself making 100 rings of the same design. I probably start changing it up just to keep it fresh. Usually that's how new lines start. They grow out of designs I did before and usually they are better than the previous version. It's a design evolution. 

I strongly believe that you have to love what you make to be truly successful at it. If you don't stand 200% behind your creations they won't sell either. 

What is the best thing you've done for your business?
Connecting with like-minded artists like the Etsymetal team has been the best thing for me to get a step closer to my business goals. I learn so much from their point of views, hearing tips and tricks on how they got to where they are right now. Knowing there is always someone you can ask and get an answer. It's such a great resource. I also discovered the power of social media and how fast one can get ideas out there and get some feedback. I am still kind of a dork when it comes to blogging, Facebook and especially Twitter. But those have been a great tools to built customer relationships. I see people coming back to my store that saw a posting on my blog or Facebook. To use it to it's full potential I should really post more often, but it is a challenge sometimes to find that time.

Check out what my fellow etsymetal members think about this topic.

victoria takahashi / experimetal
Beth Cyr:
Twigs and Heather:
Nina Gibson:

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