There’s a good reason the word business is the same as “busy-ness” – it keeps you busy! So starting my own online design business is doing just that, keeping me very busy. I have a warped sense of humor, supposedly a sign of early dementia according to a BBC study, I love dogs, and I love to create. I combined these all in Cold Nose Design.
My first designs were mainly dachshund and chihuahua designs.
When I sat down to start looking at what I needed to do to get this business moving, it was a lot! New logo, new web site, lots of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, blogging) and advertising on social media with FB ads and boosts. And of course, monitoring how all these options are performing.
Addiitonally, I didn’t want to deal with getting my designs manufactured on all kinds of products, keeping an inventory of them and having to show up at all kinds of art events. This is all too expensive and also time consuming. When you’re spending all of your time running the business, it’s hard to create more designs. So I opted for selling my products online through CafePress. Yes, they take a BIG cut of the profits, but you don’t have to worry about manufacturing the products, shipping the products, or dealing with customer returns. That’s all handled by them. Additionally, they do some marketing for you too. So, not much of a financial investment is needed and you have more time to focus on what you really want to do.
One other interesting thing is that you can opt to have products sold through the marketplace. What this means is that I get even less of a commission, but more visibility. It also allows me to experiment with designs that are very different styles, like these:
What you don’t realize until you really start doing this is just how much time and effort social media marketing takes. If you work in a company that uses social media (if you don’t, you’re in deep do-do), you should know that this isn’t an intern job that should just take an hour or two. To really build up your audience, it’s going to take several posts a day, for which you have to figure out the right mix of posts that will get people to your site, combined with those that will advertise your products. And then you need to sit down, plan out the week’s posts, find the photos to go with it to make it more compelling and usually create videos to post too. Time suck, but a creative one. So now go and hug your social media employees because they are the ones who will get your company noticed. And if you are a one person team, hug yourself, or your canine support staff. More on my lessons of running my business in the future.