I’m Ready to Build My Handmade Business! How Do I Know What Products To Start With?

So you’re ready to build your handmade business?! Hooray!!

It’s an exciting time and there’s lots to know so let’s dive in.

First things first, we get to build our businesses any way we desire so forget how the next chick is doing it, pay no mind to what others are selling or how they are doing their thing, you get to do it your way. That’s really all their is to that. 

How do you find your way?

You can begin any way that feels good. As a handmade creator myself, I can tell you how I started, but that may not be your story so lets talk about some options:

When we are ready to go into business, chances are we have been creating, perfecting our skills and our crafts, but perfection is not a pre-requisite to success.  At all. Ever. Practice is. 

So, let’s assume you have your business plan, your pillars and standards are in place and you are excited to open for business.  You’ve set a date, you are hyping things up, sharing bits and teasers to your audience who is rattled with anticipation! (I have a whole launch plan I follow, if you need help with this, let me know!)

What are you selling and how will you offer it for sale?

I’m sure by now you’ve got your ‘what’ handled, or at least a solid idea of what you’d like to sell, so let’s explore the ‘how’.

If you sell digital products, you can skip ahead to planning your content strategy and pre-loading your items for quick sale and easy download.

As for physical, handmade products, you can decide to create a product or a variety, what I love to call a collection of products, essentially building inventory of your own, and then sell them (there are a variety of ways to do that which include social media; live, in person selling via events or retail locations; blogging; email sales; affiliates; third party selling platforms like Etsy, Amazon, your own self hosted web site; to name a few.)

This method is best executed along side a strong content strategy. The exception, of course, is selling live or via retail establishment, in which case, the need for inventory seems like a no-brainer. 

You may feel more comfortable, confident you can handle the orders if you have a few ready made products. It’s completely up to you, your desired business goals, the amount of time you wish to spend working in your business, available space to store inventory and budget to pre-purchase supplies and how you wish to sell them. 

Another sales strategy you may wish to employ for your business offers is to market and accept pre-orders and create based on demand/orders placed. This requires less up front costs and no inventory build up as orders are taken (and paid for) in advance under the agreement that they will be created and fulfilled at a later date (which should absolutely be disclosed). 

Custom made or personalized projects often take on a pre-order persona, where they are paid for in advance and created on demand, this is very common practice in the hand made space, but please get paid up front.  No one would expect to order from Amazon and pay upon delivery and you are a business, just like Amazon. 

Now, in order to sell you likely need something to show!

So how do we go about that….

Some items can be beautifully demonstrated through mock ups (computer generated images that involve stock photos of products with digital copies of your art placed on top) however, if you are selling a product, especially one you have never made before, I would advise you to create a prototype of the item for yourself to test your methods and quality.

It’s just good business.  

We learn by doing and through creating you will not only refine your processes but find what you love and what you don’t. You will find your zones of genius and incompetence and you will learn to navigate each. You will find new edges to stretch to, lessons to integrate and new levels of growth and success.

Practice makes perfect and I have absolutely improved over time, so don’t feel like you need to perfect in order to get started. You should have some footing under you though, as in finding your footing you will build your confidence. That confidence and a genuine love for what you’ve produced comes radiating through when we sell, which just makes it easier and more natural to talk about.

Yes, it is natural to question –

Is it good enough?

Will people pay for it?

Can I (insert your most prominent limiting belief here)? 

You will never know the answers unless you try. This business is on your heart for a reason, so why not make a commitment to give it your all, get the support you require along the way and watch how the world opens up for you?

I’m here for you babe!

What’s the best that could happen? 🙂




2022 Reflections

Hey gorgeous! It’s been a while but I didn’t want the year to go by without expressing my happiest wishes for you in 2023 and sharing some of my thoughts on 2022 and how I intend to close it out powerfully. And I’m a few days late, but that’s because I have taken my time these past days, to reflect and be, without rushing into doing just yet. 

2022 was not at all the year I expected.  Along with fun, joy and new experiences, it brought tons of devastation and loss in my personal life and I felt those dualities deeply.  I’ve contemplated love and grief and cultivated a stronger version of me than I’ve ever known.

Life is funny that way. Full of joy and sorrow and we find ourselves somewhere in between, often struggling to navigate our way through and the one thing I am most proud of in 2022 is the way I held and carried myself through it.

Here’s how:

  • I learned how to extract the lessons in my experiences, good and bad.
  • I don’t make things that don’t go my way mean anything about me.
  • I catch myself in thoughts that don’t serve or support me and I think better thoughts as often as possible.
  • I surround myself with support to lift me up, break my pattens and reveal my blind spots.
  • I celebrate each triumph and lesson
  • I live to be my best me

I deepened my relationship with myself, I got clear on what I wanted and I developed a deeper sense of self trust than I’ve ever known.

All I wanted to do was grow my business – and I did (also in unexpected ways, a story for another time) but I got so much more than that in 2022.

Moving into 2023, here’s what I’d love for you to know:

Your ‘word’ of the year; your resolutions; your vision board all mean nothing unless you have a plan for implementation and mindset support. Without a plan for something different, we can expect more of the same.

So lets create a plan! I’ve got some incredible resources inside my Facebook community, Get It Together, Girl (specifically the 12 Days of Bizmas and Birthday Bash celebrations) and I’ve just launched some new offers for deeper level support and mentorship so you have all the support you need to create the best 2023 you can imagine.

I’m here for you, babe, in all the ways.  Use me!

Wishing you a very happy New Year,

Passion in Business

I had the honor of being a guest on the Getting Down to BusiNAS podcast last week! We talked about the importance of being passionate in your business, how to be forward in your marketing and selling without being aggressive with yourself or others and signs of toxicity in life and business.  

Self awareness was paramount in our chat and it is a standard I hold myself to. It is the key. Passion in business is necessary but sometimes we want it so bad, that we develop habits and behaviors that hinder our success. 

Listen in to the Getting Down to BusiNAS podcast episode and join the conversation in the comments below!



From Shark Bait to Bulletproof

I felt like I was shark bait.  This little fish in a big ocean, treading water just waiting to be gobbled up alive. I was newly in business for myself and had no idea what I was doing.  None of us do! I decided I wanted to forge forward, but I knew I couldn’t carry on feeling like that.  Listen in to my latest podcast interview on how I went from shark bait to bullet proof. 



How to Create Financial Systems in Your Business

 How to Create a Financial System for your Business

Having a financial system for your business is crucial for business organization, knowing your numbers and running an efficient operation positioned to thrive. I am not a financial professional but I do have a thriving business, I have done it the hard way plus I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and I’m happy to teach you what I have learned so you can avoid my mistakes. I am also a slight math geek, I think because my inner control freak loves the stability of numbers but if you’re not, that’s OK! I promise this is a system you can follow.

What system? A financial management system.

There is an easy way and a hard way to run your business finances.

Can you guess which way I started? Yup..

I thought I knew what I needed to do. After all, I have a degree in accounting (insert smirk here).

I wrote everything down in my handy, dandy notebook. I filed all my Paypal payments in a folder in my email. In the beginning, money was errr… less than steady – so anything that came in was transferred into my bank account and used for supplies or groceries.

I kept all my receipts organized by month. I even totaled up my income and expenses each month on paper.

Then it came time to filing my year end taxes. I had my numbers but I had no idea what to do with them. I just had numbers, not categories of spending, not profit magins and there were lots of other blanks I was struggling to fill. I had to work backwards month by month, which was a huge pain. So let’s take it from the top:

Step 1: Set up your business

Check with your local County or Town to find out about registering your business as a d/b/a. My first business was Jackie Lopez d/b/a (or doing business as) Jackie’s Dragonfly Designs. You may choose to register as a sole proprietor or LLC later, but a d/b/a is an affordable way (I paid $35) to establish your business legally.

Once you have your d/b/a certificate you can register with your State to collect and remit sales tax. Businesses that offer services and retail products are usually required to collect tax but before you are legally permitted to do so, you must obtain the appropriate Certificate of Authority as its referred to in my home state of New York. You will be required to thereafter file quarterly or annual sales tax returns. Check with your state finance department for your local rules.

Sales tax can be a beast. I almost didn’t pursue my business because I was afraid of sales tax, but, with proper systems in place, sales tax becomes a breeze. Keep reading.

Step 2: Business Banking

Now that we have our business entity, it’s time to take your certificates to your bank of choice and open a business checking account. I was able to set up a business checking and savings for free at my local credit union in about an hour and left with a debit card and starter checks.

Having dedicated business accounts makes it super easy to see where your business stands and total up your income and expenses. When Paypal or Etsy payments came in, I directed them to my business account. I use my business account to purchase postage and supplies. These are reliable records I can follow.

If you’ve started the hard way like me, don’t panic. Start where you are and begin to sort your transactions. Get a business bank account and start today where you can.

Step 3: The System

Now that we are official and have a handle on our business assets, we need a system to maintain it. There are several ways to do this so pick one and commit to it. The secret to success here is next level organization.

The Notebook System – I still use my notebook for order tracking and production schedules but as a financial management system, it is lacking. So if you love your pen and paper like me, you can keep it, but it’s time to pair it with a spreadsheet.

Now despite loving math and numbers, I hate spreadsheets. Despite hating spreadsheets, I have created a basic Profit/Loss Sheet (Income less expenses = profit) and a Gross Margin Sheet (Cost of Goods Sold – revenue) and I encourage you to do the same. It does not have to be fancy and you can surely google around to find a form. Or if this sounds like an inhumane form of torture, you can head over to Paper + Spark and grab her spreadsheet templates. They are tailored and awesome.

In fact, you can run your entire business with the right spreadsheets an Paper + Spark is a great resource. If you’re spreadsheet savvy, you can absolutely create basic templates. You’ve got this!

Done For You Recordkeeping – If all of this sounds terrible, perhaps a service like QuickBooks or Mint.com may be for you. You will have to input your information and, well, garbage in, garbage out, but once you do the work, you will have a fully automated system ready to use and grow. A huge bonus to this system is sales tax is kept track of and calculated at the press of a button. Spreadsheets will too, provided you entered the data. As a matter of fat, most online sales systems will help you account for sales tax and it is worth investing in these sales systems. At a minimum, review your local county and state rules to inquire about your requirements to collect and remint sales tax (different than end of year income taxes) and obtain your permit to do so.

These are the basics but depending on your business structure, additional steps may be required. When we are just beginning our entrepreeneurial journey it is easiest to keep things simple with minimal fees and reporting requirements.   

The good news is, we are in control. You control your business and its structure and you can change it and modify things to suit your needs.

What may be next?

-Decide how you will take payments in person and online.

-You can now open or convert your Paypal to a business account. This will allow you to send invoices, add items to a virtual shop or create buttons for check outs and subscriptions. Yes, Paypal takes a fee, but this fee becomes a business expenses to use later to offset business income for tax purposes. You with me?

-Sign up for a Square account and get a card reader and free processing with this referral link

Note: I also receive free processing 🙂

-Upgrade your social media accounts from personal to business to unlock analytic data about the performance of your content.

Keeping payments and expenses all in one place, organized and up to date is crucial to a successful system. That is why I do not accept payments by CashApp or Venmo (although they now have a business account option) or FB Pay, because these additional methods create more leg work for me. It’s more to keep track of, which means more time and more spreadsheets. Yuck!

No need to create more work for yourself. Keep it simple.

Maintain it…

Now that you have your business set up, registered and your financials in place, we need a system to maintain it. Here’s what I recommend:

-Do your business bookkeeping weekly

This includes things like recording transactions, expenses and checking for unpaid invoices.

-Review your numbers monthly

It’s important to know where your business stands, how much cash you have available and whether you’ve hit your goals.

-Save monthly for your quarterly taxes

Saving for taxes is just smart.

-Pay yourself each month

We are in business to make money so do not forget to pay yourself.

-Do an audit seasonally or at least annually of your business spending

Check your spending and be sure to be purchasing supplies at wholesale, tax free, when applicable. You can apply with your new d/b/a certificate.

Know Your Numbers

Keep track of your earning and expenses. Tally your sales, costs and cash each month. Calculate your return on investment and profit margins. This is important! In the beginning of my business journey, I was making sales but not turning profits. Knowing your numbers is key.

If your business doesn’t have enough left at the end of the month to pay you and you haven’t made any large purchases, you may be over paying for supplies or need to look over your gross margin sheet with a magnifying glass. This step can sound overwhelming but it;s what business owners do. Be the CEO. If you are struggling, get the help you need. The struggle is not required my friend. Hire a professional, call your accountant, invest in software, download a spreadsheet, do what you need to do. You are worth it and you will thank me later.

Whether you are an online business or sell from a physical store, I hope this has provided you with a framework to get started for success. I’d love your feedback so please feel free to drop me a comment and let me know how you feel about tackling your business financials.

What is Private Label Merchandise?

𝚆𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚒𝚜 𝙿𝚛𝚒𝚟𝚊𝚝𝚎 𝙻𝚊𝚋𝚎𝚕 𝙼𝚎𝚛𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚒𝚜𝚎?

Private label merchandise is something I talk a lot about, so what exactly is it?

Private label means you and I co-create branded merchandise specifically for you and your business. Simply put, it is custom branded merchandise made by me for you.

You choose your product and quantities and I manufacture them, shipping them off to you or drop shipping them direct to your clients all around the world.

It’s a done for you approach to growing your brand and it’s so fun!

My business naturally expanded into private label but I began making t-shirts for friends!  As business owners, we always get to grow and expand in new ways that feel good! I get to support other entrepreneurs in growing their brands while still being creative! Win-Win!  

So who is it for? Everyone!

My clients are coaches, mentors, entrepreneurs, authors, speakers, wellness studio owners and business owners of all sorts!

Cool, right? But how can it help your business?

I’m glad you asked.  

Private label merch creates an emotional connection with your people; it showcases your brand, puts it in the homes and on the bodies of your clients; it’s a great conversation starter and lead generator; it’s perfect for client gifts (ahem- the holidays are coming and everyone loves a branded present!); perfect for giveaways, pay in full bonuses, early bird specials; incredible ways to close out programs, masterminds and 1:1 containers and there is nothing better than our own branded swag bag for in person and virtual retreats! Yep, I do that too!

I love it! I love immersing people in a brand experience. I love the feeling it creates. I love creating it. I love my clients! They are all incredible. 

My goal is to make it easy. To allow you to have the things without having to do the things so if you’ve thought about how cool it would be to have your own line of custom merchandise, reach out and let’s chat about bringing your brand to life.

If reading this reminds you that your business is in need of a shift, I’d love to support you. Let’s connect.