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10 Mistakes to Avoid Selling Crafts  by William T Lasley,

2. Not Having a Plan
No, you do not need to hire a high-priced business planning firm to make a business plan, but you do need to have a
well-thought yearly plan for your business. What shows will you attend and when? How much should you spend on
supplies every month? Thinking these things through and writing all this down will help you stay on track and keep you
from taking on too many obligations for the year.

3. Starting Too Big
Lots of beginners will go out and borrow thousands of dollars to start their crafting career.
Buying the best equipment might seem like a good investment at first, but when lean times come those payments can
break the financial back of small business owners in a hurry. Likewise, you should not start out with all the top-rated
shows. Local craft shows are a great way to get your feet wet in the business without investing thousands in show Often,
buying supplies in bulk can save money. When comparison-shopping for materials, ask each vendor if quantity discounts
apply and if so, what the percentages off will be.

4. Attending the Wrong Shows
This is a problem that many people selling fine crafts and artwork discover when they attend their first street festival. If
people are paying $5.00 for hot dogs, you would think they would not complain about the price of your high-end crafts.
Wrong! Fine crafts and artwork belong at shows where customers appreciate the work involved. Not at the "Texas Chili
Jamboree!"

5. Not Budgeting
Nobody likes to make a budget; therefore many people simply do not. A budget is not some elaborate financial statement
that takes days to write. It's just a way for you to tell your money what to do instead of your money telling you what to
do! Plan your next month's budget for your business at the end of each month. Start with minimum expenses at the top
(things you must have to function like show fees that are due, and the utility bills on your workshop) and work your way
down the list to things you would like to do, should you make enough money (like having those brand new custom fliers
printed).

6. Not Planning for Lean Times
When planning your budget make sure you allow for savings. That fantastic show in DC may not pay out like it did in years
past. If you have funds available for emergencies, you will be able to weather the months when you do not make enough
to meet expenses. A good rule-of-thumbs is to have 3-6 months of operating expenses in savings. Yes, for some
businesses this may be a substantial amount. But trust me, if you break your arm and cannot produce products for a
while, this type of savings will literally save your business.

7. Taking Negative Comments Personally
I've seen too many first-time exhibitors almost in tears because of a rude comment from someone browsing their booth. "I
can get a gift like that at Wal-Mart for half the price!" or "I'll just make it myself." are two comments you can count on
hearing at almost every event.
Unfortunately there are obnoxious people in the world and a lot of them seem to find craft shows the place to practice
their skills of offending people. Don't listen to them! If they had the creativity, the skill and the dedication, they would be
at home making their own crafts instead of bothering you! While you should always listen to constructive criticism like:
"You should consider making this in blue.", there is no need in beating yourself up because of comments from someone
who has nothing else to do than harass crafters who are confined to their booths.

8. Following Trends
Just because that booth next to you in New Jersey was selling floppy-eared bunnies right and left does not mean you
should start making truckloads of bunnies for your next show. Trends come and go. So do craft business owners who
follow them. Yes, you should definitely create lines that may be trendy. If snowmen are "in" this holiday season, you may
want to create some to compliment your other items. But you should never simply change your product lines altogether to
follow the crowd.

9. No Tax Planning
One of the number one reasons for small business failure is poor tax planning. In order to stay in business, you must pay
your taxes! Once your profit margin is higher, that takes planning. I recommend an accountant, but you can use
QuickBooks or other tax software to do your own taxes. The main thing to remember is that when you make money, there
will likely be taxes due. Make sure you have the funds available BEFORE April 15th. It's also a good idea to keep a
separate checking account for your business. Keep any tax savings in this account for easy transfer from you to Uncle Sam.

10. Spending too much
Do you actually need that brand-new trailer to haul your display and inventory from show-to-show? Or will that old van
you've been using work just as well? How about a used trailer? Used equipment does the same job and can be half the
cost. That also goes for your canopy, cash register, computer and anything else you need to run your business.
Remember, you are in business to make money, not spend it!
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