Creative entrepreneur benefits from earlier digital expertise
The year that I officially left the workforce, I also became the boss of my new artisan jacket business. Having a diverse skillset in the digital marketing landscape from earlier jobs has proven invaluable as a new entrepreneur.
Initially, it was a very welcome change to trade in my computer screen for a sketch pad and sewing machine. I had a background in fashion and sewing and was determined to design, make and sell bohemian clothing and accessories. I wanted to be original, and finally I could be.
Marketing handmade artisans' companies is unique
All handmade product business owners who create their own pieces have to juggle the needs of their creative work with their business and marketing priorities.
And in defining their unique selling proposition and target audiences, crafters and artists include their own creative stories as an integral part of their brands. Their personalities and ways of connecting fuel much of their messaging.
A year and a half into my creative endeavour, I have designed and made over 40 handmade jackets, scarves and bags. I've registered as a vendor at 7 shows in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. My digital marketing knowledge continues to stand me in good stead. Whatever you now work at, you will find your knowledge invaluable later on if you plan to run your own business.
A lightbulb moment as a handmade artisan entrepreneur
Last week when I attended a handmade artisan management program introduction online, I had a lightbulb moment. When the instructor went through a list of digital marketing requirements for self-employed handmade artisans, I was putting mental checkmarks (DONE!) beside almost all of them:
- Define your customer - DONE, through Toronto Art Crawl 2022 show research
- Start an email list - DONE
- Set up a Shopify website - DONE, with stores at Facebook and Instagram too
- Optimize your website for SEO - DONE, with earlier knowledge acquired thanks to my former colleagues at AutoTrader and TD
- Content calendar - DONE, targeting prospects at different stages of the marketing funnel on my professional social media channels
Over my 30 year career, I had studied multimedia, created a digital art exhibit, studied web techniques at Toronto Metropolitan University and created websites. Then I studied digital marketing at the University of Toronto and worked in numerous digital marketing roles. In my last few years as an employee, I stuck to content writing.
Wide exposure to many different workplaces brought increased skills
I had also been exposed to somewhere between 30-50 different workplaces and companies during that time, since I frequently changed jobs. I've never forgotten the wonderful colleagues and marketing directors who helped me every step of the way. You know who you are!
It's liberating to utilize the different techniques I once knew - and experiment with new ones. I'm now making Instagram reels of my products and embracing video. With so much information I amassed at jobs now loosening up at the back of my brain, I can usually find a way to utilize most of it at Tapestry Design.