So far, for Simply Delightful Creations, I have invested about $12,000. I typically spend 15 to 20 hours per week making products, and another 10 to 15 hours weekly on marketing, advertising, and networking to build the business.
I use an iPhone ($299, plus $120/month; AppleCare, $69; and MobileMe, $99/year) as my main point of contact and to help run the business. I also use the following apps: Vision Board, 99 cents; Twitterrific, $4.99; Soap, $4.99; The Best Camera, $2.99; Perfect Photo, $2.99; Camera Flash Deluxe, 99 cents; Red Laser, $1.99; and BlogPress, $2.99.
I am also in the process of adding Merchant Warehouse ($7.95/month, plus 2.1% per transaction), a credit card processing service that will streamline payment. The company also offers MerchantWARE Mobile, which means that I can do business from my iPhone while I’m on the go.
I use Facebook, Twitter, and Ning to create buzz about my handcrafted products. I usually post updates on production, pictures of products, specials that I am running, links, and updates to the Website. For example, in December, I ran a Cyber Monday special on my Ning site, which accounted for about 10% of my holiday sales. I was also a guest on the BlogTalkRadio show Lose Weight with Laura, where I made a special offer to listeners that translated into additional sales.
I have participated in Webinars with the Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise for coaching on how to start a small business online and with Handmadeology for advice on how to organize and manage an online presence. I expect revenues of $15,000 for 2010.
This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.