Lessons: How to Make Money in this Business

24 April 2012

I think people are always wondering how to make money in this business. Trust me, I ask this of myself all the time.

Before we can make money, we have to objectively look at our craft, hobby, art as a business. Before someone tells you how to make money, start with making some goals.

Learn to put things and goals in writing.

 Sure, it's scary and you don't want to seem like business is overtaking your craft, but I think you will respect yourself if you are well equipped with true knowledge of your business.

Start simply by knowing what you did in the past, how you did it and start putting some financial goals on paper.

 Lesson one: I call this the 5 year Sales Plan

Look at where your past sales came from. If you are a small time wedding floral designer like myself, figure out where all the revenues from the previous year came from.

If you have been doing this for a longer period of time and you've kept good records, you probably have several years of data but for this post, let's assume you have just 1 year of info.

 For this example, Seriously Cool Floral Designer(SCFC) does sales in 4 different categories
 1) Wedding Flowers
 2) Weekly deliveries to office buildings, restaurants 
 3) Event Design Services
 4) Blog Sponsorship

 Obviously, sales of Wedding flowers and Weekly deliveries are the highest percentage. These are probably areas that are most likely to grow.  ( on a side note, make sure one's marketing is targeted to these top categories which means that postcards, brochures, website, blog addresses these two categories which are weddings and weekly deliveries.

Bottom Line:  Learn Where your Sales are Coming From

To determine goals, set a percentage increase you WISH to grow each category. For this example, Seriously Cool Floral Designer wants to increase AVERAGE sales of wedding flowers by 10% from year 2011 to  ear 2012.  10% should not be an issue given that the state of the economy is picking up in Seriously Cool's region.   It's a very small goal but achievable as SCFC is still relatively unknown in her region and has room to grow.

In addition, Seriously Cool also wants to increase the # of weddings from 20 to 25. 20 weddings at $2000 was very manageable for SCFC since the wedding season in her region goes from March to October.  She did 1 wedding per weekend during this time frame and did most of the design herself with the help of several setup crew, 1 processor, and 1 floral designer to help her on larger weddings.
Her cooler is a good size and can hold up to $10000 worth of finished floral designs so she knows she has room to grow.  Her studio is small but the rent is good and she thinks she can stay for at least 5 years.  Even at 25 weddings, she would not need to change her business too much.  It's still manageable.  At over 35 weddings, she may have to expand and move.  Until then, this plan is not only manageable to reachable.

Bottom Line: Focus on Growth Areas

SCFC has a beautiful and nicely written blog and she continues to work on it several times a week and has a good following.  Though she has 5 paid sponsors, she knows that it will be hard to double in 2012 but she will work hard on networking to other like vendors in her area to get that to 10 this year.  She is not raising her rates because she wants more sponsors not necessarily more revenue from each.   SCFC learned that once she gets a sponsor, they are most likely to repeat.

For SCFC blog, the key is to have interesting posts that are informative.  Build consistency in blogpost.  Marketing the blog is key and getting results.

Many vendors do not realize that they can branch out and have other products but SCFC learned that other vendors want to be associated with her Seriously Cool Blog  Her successful social presence helped her bring in 5 sponsors and she hopes to continue those blog sponsorships.
This is one product offering that is an indirect sale which she hopes to build on.  Selling to other vendors was easy because vendors who know SCFC know that they stand for Cool Designs.

Bottom Line: Learn to Sale to other Vendors

Event design is something SCFC started on a whim and has not done any marketing.  This might be a future opportunity that in Year 2014 she will have to address if she wants to seriously do more event design.  This started as a request from a client.  Clients who choose SCFC wanted to buy more things. First it was just asking questions.  Later, clients wanted her to go to site visits.  More and more clients want to go to one place for everything. SCFC has not capitalized on this but it's an important thing to note.

If a client wants to buy your floral services, perhaps there is another service that you can.

Bottom line:  What  MORE can you offer your clients

Watch out for next post.  I'll go deeper into these numbers.

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