business resources

Craftcation 2019 will change your life {and our friends get a special perk}

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We’re excited to post today about an event put on by our partners in California especially for makers and creative business owners in April 2019. Craftcation: Business + Makers Conference is an annual life-changing four-day event featuring industry professionals leading attendees in over 100+ hands-on DIY workshops and creative business classes.

If you’ve ever thought any of the following, it’s time to plan a trip to Ventura, CA:

  • I wish I could take a vacation where I get to make things with like-minded people.

  • I have this idea for a business that I want to turn into my full-time job but it’s too overwhelming to figure out where to start.

  • I have a successful business and I’m ready to take it to the next level but I’m not sure how.

  • I want to make meaningful connections with people in my field but I don’t have the time or opportunities to make it happen.

Craftcation is the place where you can make any one of those things happen!

If you’re a maker, blogger or creative business owner then it’s time to get ready for four inspiring days that you’ll never forget. Craftcation has over 100 hands-on workshops and business classes, so whether you’re coming to craft, grow your business or a little bit of both, there’s lots of making, meeting and learning in store for you.

Craftcation takes place April 3-7, 2019, in the beach town of Ventura, CA – about an hour north of Los Angeles. Craftcation utilizes Ventura’s historic downtown buildings and businesses as well as the beach for special events like networking meet & greets, cocktail socials, a pop-up shop, opening celebration, yoga, as well as food and art tours.

Registration opens today and the first 50 people to register get $50 off! After that, you can still get $20 off as a friend of Etsy Dallas if you apply through this link. Will you be there next spring?

Must-reads from the team for Read a Book Day

We asked Etsy Dallas members to share their must-reads to celebrate Read a Book Day, September 6, and the highlights are listed below. Read on for our suggestions if you're looking to take your business to the next level, work on yourself and your creativity, or just enjoy some fun fiction reads as we get into fall. Happy reading, bookworms!

Transform your business and working habits

Several of our members have raved about The 4-Hour Workweek, which is full of ideas to help with that elusive work-life balance, whether you have a creative business or not. If you're looking for a way to ramp up the profits and the way you think about your creative business, Profit First will get you thinking about how to trim the fat and start making more money. If you're an artist looking for some guidance about how to better monetize your craft, look no further than Lisa Congdon's essential guide, Art Inc., and move confidently forward in your business.

Never stop exploring your creativity or yourself

You've surely heard friends raving about Big Magic, but if you haven't found the time to read it yet, let our members be the next to urge you to read this inspirational guide this fall. It's always a good time to get yourself out of a rut and take a stab at The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron's eye-opening course in discovering and recovering your creative self. And if you just want to find a way to work on some good habits and find small life-hacks to be more productive as we get into the new school year, we recommend Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before (or her Happier podcast, if that's more your thing). 

Get ready for Halloween with some spooky reads

We loved knitter-author Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists, a story about how one family's life plays out after the children hear a psychic's eerie prophecies. As a bonus, you can follow her writing AND knitting on Instagram @chloekbenjaminInterview with the Vampire is a classic that we've all heard of, but have you actually read it? If you haven't read a good book in a while, this classic will draw you in and give you a passion to read again. Finally, if you need a campy, nostalgic thriller a-la-Stranger Things, check out My Best Friend's Exorcism and you'll surely be ready to decorate for Halloween.

Apps You NEED For Your Creative Business

Good afternoon!  Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite time-saving, business organizing, unbelievably simple apps to grow your business.  You're welcome!

Photo by anyaberkut/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by anyaberkut/iStock / Getty Images

Spark  - This app sorts email into newsletters/personal/important -- Our favorite feature:  You can SNOOZE (!!!) an email so you can ignore it until you want to see it again, and schedule it for that time.

A Color Story - Is an app by the blogging and social media gurus at A Beautiful Mess.  This elegant photography app features a ton of filters and effects, and makes your photos look like visual candy.  You can delete all your other photo editing apps, this is the one.  

Cool Note:  This app's namesake is also a beautiful hashtag.  Check it out, and add it to your hashtag bank!  #acolorstory

Later - This app is the number one platform for scheduling posts on Instagram.  Simple and intuitive, this app allows you to work ahead and organize and manage your visual marketing content.  If you get really into it, you can use it on your computer to preview your grid, create a bank of most used hashtags, and learn what works through powerful analytics.

Linktree - Since we are fresh on Instagram talk, go ahead and download Linktree.  Instagram only gives you one spot to link to an outside resource.  Linktree directs Instagram followers to multiple links- your blog, portfolio, store, or other social media accounts, for example.

Wunderlist - What's the first step in getting a bunch of things done?  Write a list.  Now, imagine that that list can remind you, be collaborative with others, and be accessed from all of your devices.  There is barely any reason to have a brain anymore, this will remember everything for you.

Pipedrive - So, you are a huge wholesale success now and you are having trouble keeping track of all your sales.  This is where Pipedrive shines.  Manage all you're business contacts in one place, ensure follow-ups, and organize your sales.  Boom.

ATracker - This app is your time tracking fitbit.  List your tasks, then tap when you start a new one.  It keeps track of your time commuting, designing, sleeping, whatever you need.  This is especially helpful when you are working on a project with a client that is priced hourly.  Create a task for their project, and tap it when you begin.  Much better than winging it when it is time to invoice!

 

Tax Basics with Yusef

Yusef Murphy, our very appreciated team accounting professional, has joined us today to break down some basics for every creative's "favorite" time of the year, TAX SEASON.  Enjoy, and don't panic!

It’s tax time. It’s the time of year when everyone begins to feel that sense of dread down in the pit of their stomach. They find everything else in the world to do except work on the taxes. For many business owners, small and large, taxes are a loathsome chore. But perhaps I can shed some light on what your taxes say about your business and why it matters. Sometimes a change in perspective can provide the extra motivation needed to tackle this sometimes cumbersome, but greatly important task.

For most small businesses, the tax return will service as the financial data for your business, especially if you are a cash basis business. The financial data presents 3 key indicators that imply a lot about your business:

Revenue

This is the amount your business produces from the sale of its products or services. It also reflects the effectiveness of your operation, growth potential, and business strategy.

Expenses

This is the amount your company spends to produce the service or products it sells. These expenses include the direct costs you incur to produce the product or service as well as the general administrative cost to run your business. This amount reflects the efficiency of your business operation.

Net Profit

This is the amount that the business takes home at the close of an operating cycle. This represents the profit of the business. This amount reflects the stability and health of your business.

Why this matters…

The goals of financial information are:

·       To help you make strategic and managerial decisions related to your business

·       Communicate the condition of your business to others

·       To help establish a framework for your business operations.

 

Your revenues, expenses, and net profit are the numbers you will need to direct the course of your business in the next operating cycle. These numbers will allow you to make adjustments in operating processes, set goals for growth, and create new strategies for increased profits.

Also, these number are used by lenders, investors, vendors and potential customers to evaluate the health, value and potential of your business.

Finally, these numbers establish a framework for your business operation. They will help you to identify tasks, procedures, and training that will be needed in order execute your business strategies.

The points of all of this, is to help you understand the importance of your tax preparation and to encourage you to embrace the process as an opportunity rather than a chore. Think of it like a report card. You want to be shooting for an “A”.

To help you in your preparation, here’s a list of items you’ll need to prepare your taxes:

·       Last year's business tax return

·       Articles of incorporation

·       Partnership agreement

·       Accounting records

·       Bank statements

·       Credit card statements

·       Payroll reports

·       Detail of asset purchases

·       Depreciation schedules

·       Detail of asset dispositions

·       Vehicle information

If there are any small business accounting or tax related questions that you may have, feel free to send them to me at aatpros@gmail.com

Yusef Murphy

Reflecting on Resolutions with Wandering Paper Co.

The new year is a great time to reflect on the successes and failures of the previous one. And we read recently that March is an excellent time to make resolutions. Alex Hughes of Wandering Paper Co. shares what she learned from her small-business goals from last year, and offers a sneak peek at what's next for her globally inspired paper goods business. 

Well, it’s a new year, and that means new goals! Yes, I realize it’s a little late to write a “New Year’s” post, buuut one of my goals this year is to “get more rest” so you could say I’ve gotten a jump on that one. :)

Anyway, before I write about my goals for 2017, I want to go back and revisit my 2016 goals. Here is a quick summary of last year’s goals, and ways I’ve addressed them:

1. Implement Systems to Maximize Efficiency and Minimize Costs

One of the big ways I’ve done this is by buying materials in bulk. This has forced me to address my fear of commitment, because now that I’m sitting on one thousand each of envelopes, packaging, and shipping materials, I’m forced to come to terms with the fact that I’m in this thing for the long haul. 

Another way I’ve done this is by keeping track of my inventory and sales throughout the year. Now that I have a year’s’ worth of numbers under my belt, I can make educated long-term decisions about how many supplies to order, how many prints and styles to make, etc.

2. Create a Thorough Accounting System & Maintain Organized Financial Records

Ugh. Let me be the first to say that numbers and financials are not my strong suit. The mere talk of numbers makes me tired. That said, I think I did an okay job with this one, and learned more than I ever thought I’d know about Excel (let’s just say they don’t teach you about spreadsheets in art school.) Huge thanks to my friend Will for getting me started, or as I like to call it, pro bono work for the mathematically challenged. Anyway, here are a couple things I did that were helpful:

  • Opened a separate bank account for my business
  • Made a spreadsheet of all business materials and expenses and used this to calculate wholesale and retail pricing.
  • Made a spreadsheet to track sales and inventory
  • Used accounting software (I used Wave Accounting, which is free) to track expenses and profits

Having these systems in place helped me identify expenses that were hurting my bottom line, as well as to figure out where I could afford to invest. The graphic designer in me really wants nicer business cards and packaging, but the numbers hold me accountable and force me to grow slowly. It helps me ensure that I have a healthy profit at the end of each month, which is pretty awesome.

Okay, enough talk about money. On to more fun things!

3. Explore Additional Sales Avenues: Craft Shows, Farmers' Markets, Wholesale

Check, check and check! This year I tried out lots of different craft shows, and sold at our neighborhood farmers’ market as well. I was excited to learn that the prints sold really well at both the craft fairs and farmers’ markets, but my favorite thing about doing these events was meeting other creative people. Some of the friends I met even turned into wholesale relationships!

4. Make Prints That Give Me Joy

I’m really glad I had kept this as a goal last year, because when you’re selling your work, the temptation is always there to make products that you think people will buy. This goal has helped me carve out time to make prints for their own sake and to experiment more. I’ve found that the unstructured “fun” projects are where I generate my best ideas or discover new and exciting things. These projects keep me excited about Wandering, because I am challenging myself and growing creatively.

Big thank you hearts to Alex for letting us see behind the scenes! Head over to the Wandering Paper Co. blog for more small business tips and to shop the collection of colorful multicultural paper goods!  

Sponsor Spotlight: Unanimous Craft


You probably already know Unanimous Craft is full of resources for indie businesses, but more than that, it's a place for indie shoppers too! Think of it as Yelp for crafty types.  It's a directory full of resources for crafters, artists, and independent business owners.

But what makes a resource like Unanimous Craft really wonderful is you! They need your input and your opinions on your favorite crafty places, spaces, and people. You can even review events like the Spring Bash.  

All you need to do to start writing your own reviews is:
1. Sign up for an account (this is super quick)
2. Search for your favorite indie businesses and 
3. Scroll down to the red "Review this Resource" button at the bottom of the page. 

----Easy, peasy way to add your voice to the crafty community!

Unanimous Craft Logo

You can stay in touch with Unanimous Craft on Facebook and twitter too.