2019 was by far, my most profitable year ever. When I look at everything we had to get through, what went well, and what I wasted wayyyy too much time on, I can't help but boil the success down to four simple lessons. If you're building a sewing business, I want to encourage you to give these a try!
The moment my language, tone, colors, brand stories, and vision got consistent, the moment people started saying, "I feel like I know her. Let's hire her, I trust her." See, everyone wants to jump and bring what they make to market, but if you don’t dig in and do the behind-the-scenes work that no one ‘sees’, there won’t be much cohesion for them to see later.
When you’re first starting out, it’s easy and fun to pick a font you like every time you create a graphic, or add a section to your website, or make something in Canva, but oftentimes it leads to a feed that’s hard to look at, or a tone that isn’t consistent across your web presence as a whole. If anything about your biz is tough to look at, people won’t stick around long enough to find the good stuff.
Spend a day locking in your logo, color pallet (with hex codes! ‘Green’ isn’t specific enough), textures, patterns, fonts (pick 3 you like that complement), a mission statement, your brand’s guiding principles, the strategy, your brand vibe, and your commitment to it. Things started clicking when I found my brand’s voice and tone (not mine), and committed to sticking to it.
I put together a free full-out branding blueprint if you’re struggling in this area and just need a battle buddy to tackle this element of your biz. Snag it here.
If there's no substance to back it up elsewhere, then you aren't building a brand and you'll have nothing left if algorithms leave you going sideways. Focus equal efforts everywhere, by creating pillar content on your main touchpoint (aka website, or wherever naturally holds the bulk of your content), then pulling key points from that pillar content in ways that best serve your ideal audience in all of the places they are, aka social media, your email list, podcasts, your store, and locally in your community.
The Instagram account with thousands of followers, zero email list, and zero web presence away from social is a tale as old as time, and friend, being popular doesn’t pay the bills. If you truly want to drive profits and get more customers, get those engaged ‘fans’ away from social and onto a platform you own. some of my worst performing Instagram posts have converted into some of the most profitable projects I’ve ever done. Let that sink in. The worst of Instagram are my best income-producers in real life.
Social media is not meant to be your entire business or marketing strategy - it should be the ‘handshake’ to a relationship with you… which can’t happen if it’s at the mercy of an algorithm.
The moment I started asking myself, "How will I bill for this?" while I was working was the moment I took a hard look at all those free services eating up HALF of my waking hours. Non project-based time should get factored into every estimate, along with budgeting for surprise expenses, transportation fees, materials/supplies/notions, and even postage. Spending more time in this area alone will immediately translate to a better ROI.
Being sold to can be exhausting... if the seller hasn't served you yet. If you don't serve your clients in some way before making an ask, pushing a product, or advertising to them, you're missing half the transaction. The most successful people in the world have strong compulsions to give... what does that tell you?
Not that giving will make you rich, but serving sure will prime your ideal clients to listen better when you do in fact have something for purchase. Get it stuck in your head: ‘serve, serve, serve, serve, sell.’ If you haven’t served at least this much, you have NO business selling to your audience. If you skip the serving, you’ll like lose out on all the engagement with your offers that you might have gained, had you gained their trust and provided value first.
These four things have been the jet fuel propelling my business this past year! If you’re stuck, lost, or you just want to shorten the learning curve and duplicate the success I’ve found in running a sewing business, start with these 4!
Have you implemented this yet? How did it go?