I have now been in business for a little over a year! I started learning how to make bath bombs in March 2020 when we closed up and went on a lock down due to COVID. Since starting this business, I have learned a lot and want to share my experience with you.
Before you start, RESEARCH! Learn everything that you can about what it is that you want to do. It took me many trials & errors and lots of $$ before I made bath bombs and candles that people would love. I am still working on improvements because there is a lot of competition out there.
Don't be afraid to fail. There are some days where absolutely nothing goes your way. But when it does, it totally makes up for it.
Celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small they are.
If you have to order materials, shop around. Don't just order off of the first site you come to. There is a company that I love to order from. They have the best shipping times. Sadly their rates for shipping is astronomical! I tend to order about 80lbs of wax at a time. It costs me $90 in shipping. Is it worth the extra to have it shipped quicker than another company that charges $45 in shipping for the 80lbs? And, in order to be able to afford the shipping costs, I have to figure that in to how much it costs me to make my product and then how much to charge you in order for me to make a profit. I chose the least expensive way for shipping even though it takes longer so I can keep my products at an affordable rate.
COVID has affected EVERYTHING! It has made it hard to get certain materials that I need for my products. For example, when I started making candles, I used amber glass containers. The companies that make the glass are short on resources as well as employees. Companies that I order from are short on employees, making my materials take a little longer than normal to get in.
Social media is a pain in the ass! Well, mostly Facebook in my opinion. I can cross post something from Instagram to FB and Instagram will get more notices. With FaceBook, I feel that my posts get lost in the flood of things in people's newsfeeds. Figure out which hashtags work best and get the best recognition. Mix it up. Don't always post specifically about your products that you have for sale. I think that viewers appreciate learning more about you and then will get excited for what you have to offer. Make your posts interactive. Ask questions, take polls. Show behind the scene action of you working on your business/products.
Get out of your comfort zone. This has been super hard for me because I am an introvert. My first market I did was so hard for me, even though it was super successful. Coming out of my shell and having to talk to people about who I am and what I make was hard. It has gotten a little easier. Going to shops to speak with owners about potentially selling my products in their stores was by far the most difficult. My husband, who is the best salesperson I have ever seen, would go and help me. If I got stuck when trying to talk about what I do, he would hop in the conversation and fill in the blanks for me.
Make sure you have a sales tax ID number! I thought that my EIN was for sales tax too. I learned from another small business owner that it is not the same. So, I applied for my Georgia sales tax ID number. And if you don't pay it by the 20th, you get penalized.
Get used to the competition. There is always someone out there that is doing the same thing you are. Theirs may be better or theirs may suck in comparison to yours. So, don't be offended when someone is posting about how much they love your competitors products and not yours. Besides, competition is a good thing. I have learned a lot from paying attention to other businesses like mine. Gaining new ideas as to what is popular and what to add to my shop.
Get used to hearing "No". Not everyone is going to love your stuff or want to work with you. Hearing "I am not interested at this time" hurts. Like it cuts you deep. But, not everyone is going to be your customer. On the flip side to that, not everyone is your customer, you can always say "no" politely if you are not comfortable with them.
We have had some great wins, but we have also had some losses. My biggest wins: working with local businesses and selling my products in their stores, return customers, happy customers, meeting new people, making connections, and coming out of my comfort zone. The losses: financial losses and mistakes, ruined batches of bath bombs, candles that aren't wicked properly or not enough fragrances, markets that get rained out or not enough foot traffic, being told no.
Whatever it is that you are wanting to pursue, DO IT! It is super rewarding and doing something that you love doing is the greatest feeling. And, just have fun with it!