I started my jewelry business in 1997, shortly after moving up to Alaska. At that time, the internet was still very young and I didn't even own a computer. Sure, there were lots of books on running your own small business (I did not read any of them) and seminars at the Small Business Administration (I did not go to any of these). What I did was run my business based on gut feelings. I had no real plan.
I would never be so bold as to tell you how to run your small business, but what I will do is tell you what has worked for me.
* From the very beginning, I told myself that I wanted my business to grow very slowly, just up until the point where I would need to hire help. One of the primary benefit of running my own business is being able to make my own hours and be very self sufficient. If I needed to hire someone, I might find myself adapting to their schedule. This would not make me happy.
* I signed up for every craft show I could that first year I was in business. How else would I know which ones would work for me? That year, I did 13 shows from September through December. Yes, it was exhausting, but lots of fun too. I quickly learned which shows I would not do again and which ones to sign up for year after year. As you might guess, I made some mistakes. This list of shows has changed many times over the years. I am now down to 3, two of which are shows I produce with my Bad Girls of the North business partner Carol. (I'll do a post on the evolution of that business at a later date) .
* I've always been good at math and I like to play with numbers and statistics. I keep extremely detailed records of my sales and expenses. I do year to year comparisons to help me figure out what has been working and what has not.
These 3 points are a good start. I don't want to put you to sleep with a super long post. If you have any specific things you would like me to share about my 14 years of making a living with my little jewelry business, let me know in the comment section. And thanks for listening.