When you're a small, independent maker, it can be a challenge to find resources created with handmade products in mind. So many business books and online education assume that you want to be the next Jeff Bezos (no thanks!) or that you come armed with a business degree, or similar skill set. That can be alienating for handmade crafters like us when we intend to be, or at least start out as, sole traders and if you don't know what indie/craft/handmade resources are out there, it can get overwhelming, fast!
How do you create a business plan? What about budgets? Should you sell on an online marketplace like Etsy or have your own website? How do I start an email list? How important is branding? How can I improve my SEO? Should I pay for Facebook ads? All of the questions and more can be answered if you know where to look.
Time is also a factor with self-education. Let's say you want to go legit and start setting up your business professionally but you're already so busy making you don't know where the hours are going to come from. Or maybe you're working on your handmade business on the side, around work or family commitments. How on earth are we expected to fit it all in? Gah! Sound familiar? Maybe it doesn't have to be struggle-town. Here is where podcasts come in.
Luckily, there is a plethora of awesome (and often, free!) content out there designed with handmade business in mind.
Here are a few of my absolute favourites.
Hands down, this podcast is my favourite resource for makers. It was referred to me last year in a soapmaking community where I'd asked about podcasts for soap makers and someone suggested this as a really valuable podcast for general business topics. I immediately recognised one of the podcast trio as Jess Van Den from when I was first in business, way back in 2010. It was pretty awesome to see she was not only, still in the eco jewellery and wedding ring business, but she'd also made her way into education as Create and Thrive and was part of the awesome trio that host, The Business of Making, alongside Deb Engelmajer of Tizzit and Mikaela Danvers of The Makers Collective; complete legends in their own right.
What stands out most about this podcast, is the information and topics are so actionable. Often times, podcasters, bloggers and even YouTubers, waffle on about completely irrelevant, unrelated things before they get into the content. And once you get into the actual topic of conversation, sometimes it's just more personal anecdotes and you come away thinking, "well I know I have to do this but I still don't know how" and you've just invested 30 minutes of your precious time into something that didn't get you any further towards your goal. That can be super frustrating when you're time poor and trying your hardest to build a solid foundation for yourself.
Not so with The Business of Making. I have literally listened to every episode, at least twice. I listen when I'm going for a walk, driving, on public transport, doing the washing up, cleaning the house and, of course, making. Many of my own YouTube videos are simply royalty-free music over the making because I'm usually listening to a podcast in the background!
I can genuinely say, my own business has improved in both profile and sales since I began listening to and implementing many of their suggestions. I also found that my overall understanding of how to actually run a business (and especially a small business where you are the one doing everything) has grown. I now work smarter, not harder and can easily identify where in my business I should be focusing my attention and not suffering as much from "shiny syndrome" where a maker feels pulled in a hundred different directions and lacks traction and real results for all of their effort and time.
You can listen for free but if you find yourself as addicted as I was, please consider supporting them on Patreon. For a very small monthly cost, you can help keep their show on the air and depending on which tier you choose, you can also get a quality backlink by getting listed on their Supporters page and even a personalised shout out on the show which will can heard by countless fellow makers around the globe, practically forever. This podcast is growing in popularity by the day so get in early and show them some love!
If you've ever struggled with anxiety, self-doubt, impostor syndrome, jealousy, anger and a whole host of other "negative" emotions, this is the podcast for you! You might be wondering why I'd suggest something that isn't really "business" related. Well, it's because I believe that most of the blocks we come up against in building our businesses are rooted in personal issues. Sure, some things are outside of our control but if you really, really dig deep and keep asking yourself "why" you might just realise the root of the problem is internal.
Hosted by the highly educated Kara Lowentheil, her goal is to help us tackle our unresolved issues using cognitive psychology techniques and insights from feminist theory. Definitely worth a listen!
There's a book with the same business name but don't get them mixed up, it's not the same person.
I absolutely love how niched this podcast hosted by Sue Monhait is. This podcast has been around for a long time and I've gotten a lot of valuable insights from her guests own business experiences. I've obviously listened to all of the soap, candle and bath bomb-related episodes (because ya know) but you can absolutely learn a lot from outside of your own direct niche.
This is the podcast hosted by Jess Van Den of Epheriell and The Business of Making. You can dive in at any time and find some pearls of wisdom but you might like to start where I did by scrolling back to the 1st July 2018 and taking the #MakingItPodcourse It's a fabulous introduction to everything you need to everything you should consider when starting your own handmade business. Rather than being overwhelming, it's digestible and points you in the direction of other resources if you want to learn more.
This is possibly one of the most well known small business podcasts around and for good reason. One scroll through the episode list and you just know you're in for a well-deserved kick in the pants. Some of my favourites are:
- The 6 Signs You Might be Playing Business Rather Than Running it
- Your Market is Not “Too Saturated” Here’s Why
- Are you oversharing on your biz social media?
- You’re Pricing Too Low and The Rest of Us Are Mad at You
Seriously, check out it!
Beautifully bite-sized and down to earth advice hosted by Elise Joy with many interesting guests. I'm just beginning to sink my teeth into this one but so far so good.
So there you have it, my current favourite podcasts for makers. I hope you get as much out of them as I have.
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