Monday, December 20, 2010

For Those of You Who Are Still Considering Starting a Home-based Business

I'm really happy about my decision to join a group called African Cultural Vendors. This is a network of African-descendant artisans. ACV is a venue and resource for artisans and craftspeople to network, offer feedback on shows, recommend shows or suppliers, anything an artisan needs.

The list began in 2007 as a central resource for artisans and craftspeople to locate festivals and events to exhibit their products. Unable to find a online resource designed for African-American artisans, the Yahoo group was created to assist vendors in locating conferences, fairs, festivals, and other events for their products. Although focused primarily for African American artisans and events, the list is all inclusive. All crafters are welcome. Currently, events are listed at the Yahoo group African Cultural Vendors. Please subscribe to the list at Please be advised that all requests for membership require approval.

The following list was compiled by a fellow member of ACV. I couldn't have said these things any better or clearer than Sha has and instead of re-inventing the wheel, I decided to share her ideas with the readers of my blog. In addition to reading the info below, please visit her site for more tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur. Check back soon as I will post my responses to her tips. I will use her ideas as a checklist for my progressive journey as a successful businesswoman in 2011.

5 Important Do Not’s for Entrepreneurs 2011 Success. By ShaChena Gibbs

Do not start a business for the wrong reason.

Most people start a business just because it sounds good or because the potential financial benefits look good. Start a business that you love. Something you are passionate about. Your business should be your baby, a talent or skill you already process.

Do not form a business without your Tribe.

Begin to let your friends and family know about your new business. Attend networking events and speak up. Give away your product for testimonies. You must build a following before you begin to profit.

Do not skip out on your legal provider.

Starting a business consist of a lot of paper work like forms and documents. The documents need to be reviewed by a lawyer. Even your products and services. Consumers can really be rude and sue you for various reasons. Having your legal team can help you to avoid these problems before they become reality.

Do not do it all by yourself.

At the beginning it can be a bit tough getting friends and family to understand what you are doing and have them believe in your passion. However, we suggest you find at least 2 friends to assist you, even if it’s just with making phone calls, running errands, checking emails, and/or packing and shipping. Entrepreneurs tend to get burnt out during the first 5 years of building on their dream.

Do not forget about ‘CUSTOMER SERVICE’.

Your customers are the core of your business growth. Without them, you will not make no money. You might as well close your doors. Poor customer service can ruin you. Word of mouth marketing spreads faster than any email you can send out and it’s most effective. One poor comment about your company service can spread like cancer. Train your staff paid and /or volunteer to treat your customers like royalty. And remember to practice what you preach.

Keep Rising,

ShaChena Gibbs
Small Business Educator
Real Sisters Rising, LLC

For over 10 years, Real Sisters Rising, LLC founder and CEO ShaChena Gibbs has owned or managed small businesses. Expert in her field, Ms. Gibbs personally and professionally guide her clients/members to reach higher heights to achieve major success in their business endeavors. ShaChena Gibbs is passionate about helping women globally become outstanding role models now for our youth later. Ms. Gibbs is definitely “Helping Women find the Diamond in their Destiny". She has been featured in the Daily News and many other publications.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tips to Motivate the Artist/Business Owner

"Men's best successes come after their disappointments."
- Henry Ward Beecher

I decided to share some tips that I’ve formulated for myself to help me figure out my direction and purpose in the next year and, hopefully, many years to come. I’ve shortened my long list as I found myself repeating some of the same statements or issues. If you have any to add, please feel free to do so in the comment box.

Tips to Motivate Myself the Artist as Business Owner:

1) Demonstrate that my customers and my products matter – Explain to myself my responsibilities as a business owner and artist. Understand how my work ethic, creativity, organization and punctuality contribute to my business’s success and my ability to meet deadlines and schedules.

2) Recognize good performance – Set a high production/quality standard for myself and then identify each of my efforts that exceeds my expectations or meets identified goals. Praise myself for a job well done. Discipline myself when my performance is not up to par.

3) Show confidence in myself and my work – Assign “stretch” goals that really challenge me to become a better artist by increasing the difficulty level for the next project. This will, also, build my confidence. Avoid the temptation to give up. Sometimes “muddling” through a task will motivate me to figure a problem out and then use real solutions.

As my first year as Kameli Shae and Ladyfingahs on Etsy comes to a close, I’ve begun to reflect and prepare for 2011. I must say that I came pretty darn close to meeting my goal of 50 sales for the year. That may sound like a small number to many, but when you have other responsibilities that are more important than a home-based business 50 sales can be a bunch. I need to add balance to the list. It can be really difficult at times trying to juggle all that my life entails. Through it all, I must say, I have a blast on this journey. It might be even more enjoyable if in the coming year, things get a little wilder... we'll see!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A few of My Favorite Things

1) Baking from Scratch - I took a break from my usual crafts to bake this bread from scratch. Everyone of us have an "un"hidden talent. Well, this is just one of mine...

This applesauce raisin nut bread was created using ingredients that were available in the kitchen that morning. In other words, I didn't fuss with going out to buy anything that wasn't on hand. I like to try to make do with my circumstances (a new lesson I've been trying lately.) I just kind of made my way through the cabinets and fridge to gather the items that went into my newly concocted recipe. A few of the items used were brown sugar, wheat flour, vanilla soy milk, raisins, apples that were peeled then boiled to the perfect consistency, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and vegetable oil, again just to name a few. The next time I bake this I will try to remember to write down the recipe and instructions so that I can post it here on the blog. My breads usually only last a day or two in my house. Best of all, I enjoy letting the "dos chicas" help prepare and mix the ingredients. Baking time often turns into lesson time as we get to review colors, counting, opposites, sight words, alphabets, spelling and so much more...

How will You Shop this Holiday Season?

This was once available as a poll on this blog. Although the poll has been removed I still ponder this issue. I'm curious as to whether you've considered joining the handmade revolution or would you still rather run to Stuff-Mart the night before your chosen holiday to retrieve whatever remains on the shelves. Did you know that crafters have been preparing for this holiday season since mid-year; just like the major retailers? Have you considered supporting crafters who spend countless hours designing,constructing, selling, packaging, etc. their wares themselves. If you're not willing to support independent shop owners or local businesses (not chain stores) this year, consider adding it to your list of resolutions for 2011...

For those of you that are interested, I ask which will it be:

a) indie shops - buying handmade only
b) combo - indie shops and major retailers
c) not buying at all; making every item myself
d) not making anything myself; buying every item
e) not giving gifts at all this year