Top

Tag Archives | toolulu

Tuesdays with Toolulu: Building your Network

We are back again this Tuesday to help you cast your net, and build relationships. Last time we talked about branding and part of our homework was to choose three words that describe you. You should also apply this to your business (and maybe use five words). These can be a little easier to define than personal branding because we all know what we do for a living. But make sure you know where you draw the line. These three to five words are key to the marketing actions you will take for your business.

So now for the good stuff. What do you do with these key words? Advertise and market them! People need to know what you do, and your branding should reflect that. Make sure you spread the word. Here are a couple simple ways to do that:
  1. Start with your friends and family. Make sure they know what you are up to. Don’t feel bad about sending them an email every so often (once/month) letting up know your specials or new offerings. Just make sure you have an opt out so if someone wants to stop receiving your promotional emails, give them the option. I have a dear friend that makes door signs, and I always love seeing her new designs in her monthly newsletter.
  2. Facebook. This can be a little less intrusive than sending an email every month, and still letting your friends, family, and beyond know what you are up to. Make sure you include a lot of pictures so potential clients have a visual representation of what you are selling. Another tip: don’t always make it about your company. Our rule of thumb is 25% QVC (sales postings) and 75% PBS (informative posts).
  3. Craft Shows & Farmers Markets. Build your network locally by having a stable presence at craft shows and farmers markets. Even if people don’t buy right on the spot, make sure they leave with a business card, a coupon, or something so they can remember you after the show.
  4. Attend Conferences. If you are looking to take your business to the next level, attending conferences is the best way to build your corporate network. There is nothing that compares to having a conversation directly with buyers, or the person that heads up the design team. At toolulu, we attend conference quite frequently and we always leave them with several good leads, and some new friends too. They are hands down the biggest bang for your buck! {Check out CraftyCon}

Once you start planting seeds and building your network, you will see action. It may not be immediate, but if you work it steadily, it will grow. I promise. As always, feel free to ask us any questions in the comments below. We love helping you build your community!


Toolulu.com is a social media marketing company whose tagline is “We Know Our Craft.” The women behind Toolulu are Christy Nelson and Deb Averett–avid crafters and designers who also happen to know a thing or two about business. They will be providing a series of articles for Craft Critique over the next several months focusing on building a craft business with a focus on social media.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Tuesdays with Toolulu: Personal Branding

It’s time again for some business tips from Toolulu. Our last article was all about setting goals. Did you do your homework? Were you inspired to set some specific and attainable goals for your business?
Today we’re focusing on branding. Some of you are promoting a product. For some of you, your product is you. Personal branding is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and some people question the use of that specific term. Any way you look at it, you’re presenting an image (or your personal brand) and people make judgments based on how they perceive you or your product. You want to make sure that your personal brand truly represents you.
A couple of weeks ago we gave a presentation where we discussed this very topic. We used an activity where we each came up with three words to describe our brand. For example, mine might be crafty, speaker, blogger. Everyone at the meeting was then given a sheet of stickers and given the instruction to go around and “tag” people with words that they felt they portray. Some of these people knew each other but others had to go on first impressions alone. Even the way we dress and carry ourselves send a message.
personal branding activity

Here is what people had to say about me. I got quite a few crafty and creative. I was surprised to see just as many label me as helpful. It’s not inaccurate. I love to help. It’s just not something that I was actively trying to portray or promote about myself. This isn’t a bad thing. But now that I know people see me as helpful, I might use that a little more in my overall marketing strategy.
Through this exercise I could see that if I want to be known as a speaker and blogger, I need to work a little more on portraying that. I can tweak my efforts to include things that show the other aspects of my personal brand.
Homework
Choose the three words you want to describe your brand.
Do a little crowd-sourcing. Ask people you know, your blog readers, twitter followers, facebook friends, etc… to use one word to describe your brand. Ask at least 10 people.
Are you surprised by the results? Are you sending the message you’re intending?
Use the results to make more informed decisions for your overall branding. In business, knowing what people think of you (for good and for bad), is a great thing. Get out there and start asking!
Toolulu.com is a social media marketing company whose tagline is “We Know Our Craft”. The women behind Toolulu are Christy Nelson and Deb Averett–avid crafters and designers who also happen to know a thing or two about business. They will be providing a series of articles for Craft Critique over the next several months focusing on building a craft business with a focus on social media.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Tuesdays with Toolulu: Crafty Business Goal Setting

We’re all crafters here, right? We know the difference between a glue gun and a glue dot. We know that it is Mod Podge, not modge podge. We can make things out of paper bags and pop tabs. But do we know how to run a business? So many of us start out innocently enough. Our friends and family want to buy things we’ve made. A few orders start trickling in. The extra money is alluring. Online marketplaces like Etsy make it even easier to get our products out there to the masses with little investment. Things start to get a little complicated when tax id numbers, budgets, fees, trademark, copyright, etc…become more of a part of your day than scissors, glue, and ribbon. Let us help. We’ll have a series of articles here over the next couple of months dedicated to these topics provided by Toolulu. Leave a comment or shoot us an email if you have a specific question or topic you’d like to see covered.

Today’s topic is goal setting. It’s pretty general but by having clear goals in mind, you’ll be able to make better plans for your business in the future. You’ll want to remember two things when setting goals.
1. Make them specific.
2. Make them attainable.
Set Specific Goals

Vague: Be on TV.
Specific: Share sewing tips as a contributor on a morning TV show.
Vague: Sell my stuff in stores.
Specific: Sell my hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn in the two local yarn shops and on Etsy.
Set Attainable Goals
You definitely want to reach for the stars here, but let’s face it. Not everyone is going to be the next Martha Stewart. Make your goals ambitious and as you begin to attain those goals, maybe then you’ll be ready to set the “take over the craft world” goal.
Homework
Set an ambitious goal. Set several initial goals to help you reach your ambitious goal. Make a timeline to reach those goals. Write them down! Here’s an example for you:
Ambitious goal: Publish an ebook of sewing patterns. (6 months)
Initial goal 1: Research bookstores and ebooks to see what is already available. (week 1)
Initial goal 2: Brainstorm for book ideas. (week 2)
Initial goal 3: Compile 10-12 of my patterns for possible inclusion. (4-6 weeks)
Initial goal 4: Test patterns. (month 2)
and so on…
Take a moment to set some goals for yourself or your business. You don’t have to be just starting out for this to work for you. Once you have a timeline and a destination (your ambitious goal), you can start working toward making all your crafty dreams come true. That is what it’s all about, after all.
Toolulu.com is a social media marketing company whose tagline is “We Know Our Craft”. The women behind Toolulu are Christy Nelson and Deb Averett–avid crafters and designers who also happen to know a thing or two about business. They will be providing a series of articles for Craft Critique over the next several months focusing on building a craft business with a focus on social media.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!