As a proud #sidehustle #girlboss creative business owner, I find a need to confess that glamorously side-hustling isn’t how it looks on Instagram.

welcome fall calligraphy pumpkin available on etsy

I’m trying to scale my calligraphy offerings as much as I can, and this fall, I tried a variety of tactics for this. Let’s go through them and see how they worked out…

Craft show

I glossed over this in my last post – with good reason. The craft show experience was not as I hoped. I spent about two weeks compiling a wide variety of lettered creations to sell, including stained wood signs, lettered pumpkins, my signature ornaments, and a few odds and ends that I had sitting around my craft room (note cards, gift bags, and the like). I chose a show with a low investment in a nearby town. This element – choosing the venue – may have been my downfall. I did choose an event where I thought I could stand out among mostly direct sales sellers, but it was an event in its first year that was small, had low attendance and took place literally in a firehouse. Not exactly the aesthetic that I try to project. (You wouldn’t see a Kate Spade bag being sold in a feed store, right?) So this was a bit of a fail. In the future, I’ll try to pick shows that more closely align with the Lucy + Fay brand.

Etsy expansion & Promoted Listings

As I crafted my craft show items, I also invested the time to list them on Etsy as I went. Additionally, I put about $10 a month toward Promoted Listings. These tactics were more successful! While I didn’t immediately see a huge bump in sales, I did see an immediate increase in views (thanks, Promoted Listings!).  I’ve been running them for about 2 months, and I’m finally seeing more sales! It feels great to move those craft show items out of my studio closet and into mailboxes across the country.

New product offerings

I’m just dipping my toe in these ideas so far, but I’m compiling popular holiday phrases for DIYers in a digital download pack for Etsy and feeling out opportunities to *gasp* teach calligraphy! (Pretty excited about that one)

So, what did we learn here?

I learned from the Great Craft Show Experiment that I really enjoy creating custom items more than I do making stock items over and over again. When someone tells me about their engagement photos and how they’d like a pumpkin lettered to share their happy news – that gets me excited. When I spend careful time painting just the right shade of emerald green for a nursery piece – that gets me excited. I want to spend more time meeting people and creating art that touches their lives. Luckily, I’ve been getting more of these requests, even from my Etsy listings of stock items! This is what I want to focus on for the near future.

It can be hard for creative business owners and entrepreneurs to pick a niche because they think they’re losing business if they do. And trust me, I suffer from this too. But I can’t bear to waste time doing things I don’t love doing. Your dispassionate promotion of these items will be obvious, I promise. Find what you love doing, and find the people who love that. They’re out there!

So, today’s creative business lesson? Find your sweet spot, and stick to it. #Girlboss, signing off.

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