Tips & Talk 56 – At What Point Do You Turn Pro?

At what point in your business do you turn from a hobbyist to a pro? And why does this even matter? In today’s show I give an example of a maker’s journey, at what point they become a specialist (or pro) and most importantly, what actions to take to incorporate this into your business for added visibility and sales.

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Transcript
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Hi there.

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It's Sue.

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And thanks for joining me for tips and talk day.

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These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions and

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things that I'm observing in the world of handmade small business.

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If you'd like to submit a topic,

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DME, over on Instagram at gift biz unwrapped,

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It's a dark and dreary Saturday afternoon,

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and you have an idea.

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You have scissors and a ball of string in the kitchen

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drawer. You have a bunch of half burned pillar candles in

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all sorts of colors.

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There are Mason jars in the basement from last year's canning.

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And of course,

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pots and pans in the kitchen,

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you decide I'm going to try my hand at candle making.

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So you pull up a YouTube video,

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follow the step-by-step directions,

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substituting equipment and ingredients with what you have on hand.

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And while you've made a candle,

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you know,

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it needs some time to set for awhile and the color

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isn't that great.

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Since you remelted and combined wax colors that you had on

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hand. Yes,

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it's a little chunky and you don't know yet if it'll

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burn or smell like anything,

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but you did it.

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And the process was fun.

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You tested your innovation and creativity,

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a wonderful activity for a Saturday afternoon.

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Can you now call yourself a candle maker?

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I guess you can.

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I mean,

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you made a candle,

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right? Having patients,

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you wait a while to light your candle.

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Clearly the string didn't work.

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The flame burnt down.

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As soon as it touched the wax,

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your experiment didn't produce what you expected,

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but it was fun.

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And you want to try again,

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but not with your nice double boiler and this time with

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the right ingredients.

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So you plan for round two,

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purchasing candle,

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wax, a couple of essential oils,

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real candle wicks this time.

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And you begin again,

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some of the steps are easy now because you've done it

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once before.

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And you've learned that you need to position the WIC as

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the wax cools.

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So it doesn't flop over to the side,

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like the last time,

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yay. Your results are so much better.

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And your candle actually burns.

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Are you now a candle maker As time goes on you

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perfect. Your candle,

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making skills,

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test out and decide on the product elements you like best

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which wicks,

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which type of wax and you've experimented with all sorts of

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containers that you now know are called vessels in the industry.

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You've also learned about sinkholes sent loads and burn rates.

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You've even added some creative elements to your candles with dried

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rose pedals from your garden.

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And even some dried herbs,

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your candles are looking and smelling pretty fabulous.

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If you don't say so yourself,

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and you're now giving them away as gifts to friends and

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family, whether you call yourself a candle maker yet or not,

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your becoming known as one in your personal circle,

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your passion for your candle making grows.

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You never knew how rewarding it would be.

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When people comment on your candle gifts,

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they praise you for their quality and beautiful scent.

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Some like them best because of the artistry you've added.

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Unlike others,

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they've seen on the shelves at local big brand stores,

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and they want you to make more of them and they'll

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pay you to do so.

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In fact,

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they say,

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I bet other people would want your candles too.

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Have you ever thought of selling them?

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You're taken aback,

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selling them well,

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yes. The idea had occurred to you,

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but only as a far-fetched dream,

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you know,

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others have turned their handmade products into a business,

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but you have no training in that area in response to

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how much you would charge.

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If someone wanted to buy your candle,

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you pull a price out of the air.

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If you charge for the candles,

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your friend requested at all,

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and then it happens again.

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Others ask for your candles too.

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Are you a candle maker?

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Now at this point,

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it's pretty obvious that yes you are.

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And the idea of making money from this seems more realistic

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given that you decide to give it a go,

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you choose a name for your business.

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Sign up for a small church,

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Bazaar and prepare for the event.

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Yes, the nerves and anxiety kick in.

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But with your friends support,

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you do it anyway.

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Your table display is kind of mediocre compared to some of

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the others,

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but you pick up some tips.

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It's exciting to make sales.

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And once again,

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see positive reaction to your candles.

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Maybe I can do this business thing you think to yourself,

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you begin to truly believe it.

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As time goes on,

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you attend larger shows.

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You adjust your pricing.

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So your sales will actually be profitable.

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Your cousin builds you a website and your businesses growing.

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There are definitely bumps in the road.

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Sales look really great for awhile.

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Then some months they get slower.

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You have to learn how to make sales on Etsy because

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you found that business doesn't come to you just by being

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online. And then there's the whole social media drama.

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But you're slowly finding your way.

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Now at this point,

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your not only a candle maker,

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but your turning pro you've put in the time,

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effort and financial investment to get your products to the level

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that they are.

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Now, you've experimented with techniques,

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special equipment,

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and along the way,

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added your own techniques to produce the product now available for

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sale today.

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The truth is you were a candle maker from that very

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first candle.

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And along the way,

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probably without even recognizing it,

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you turned pro the pro part is what makes you an

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expert in your industry.

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And yes,

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I am calling you an expert,

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the story of your candle making journey from that first Saturday

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afternoon, through your trials and challenges and successes to where you

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are today is what separates you and your special candles from

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all others.

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The thing is,

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you need to tell this story,

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how will anyone else know?

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I want you to re-listen to this podcast,

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as an example,

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and write down your origin story,

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the one that's true for you and your product,

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and then add it to your about me page.

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Do a blog article,

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sharing your journey include funny mishaps from your experimentation on social

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media or in your emails.

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All of these things demonstrate your investment in your craft and

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your commitment to the quality and individuality of the products that

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you offer today.

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Your authentic story,

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it's powerful,

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brings credibility and honesty to your brand trust in you as

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the artist and reinforces your position as an expert,

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a specialist and a pro That's a wrap.

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I'm a get to the point kind of girl.

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And this is what you can expect from these quick midweek

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sessions. Now it's your turn go out and fulfill that dream

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of yours.

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Share your handmade products with us.

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We want them,

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