Saturday, January 10, 2009


At one of my shows last year, a customer came up to me and announced my business name, rather loudly, as she read it. She says "OHhhhh, you're Good Quill Hunting!!! I have seen you all over the internet." I chuckled and was very pleased, because indeed, she does see me all over the internet!! I belong to places I don't remember! I did that for a reason. I am home bound because we only have one car, which works for me 99.9% of the time. I don't need to drive all over the place to access anything really. I can go to Japan in 2 seconds right from my chair (with cable internet anyway). I can shop online, I can talk to other people online, online works in many many ways, at least for me, and has paid off already! I spend about 8 hours of my day networking, blogging, designing, getting inspiration and working on my website and graphics (which I really LOVE doing!). I then spend the other 8 hours beading until bedtime. I belong to a lot of Yahoo Beading groups and have even opened my own. I belong to forums and have also opened my own. Some would say I spread myself too thin, but how is it too thin when it is getting me recognition and/or sales?

The start of any business is many hours, long days, sleepless nights, no profits. They say it is like a marriage and the first five years are the most work. Well, I am 3 years in and have been teaching for 2 years and business is snowballing, slowly and at my own pace, thankfully, because I am only one person. I am actually ready to open a shop. I even have glass jewelry cases, in storage. They were free and need a little tlc, but that's a-ok with me! Creativity and necessity will make the most awesome cabinets! I have displays from my shows that I make (which I also sell, not in great abundance..yet), I have oodles of inventory and I also teach and have tables, but need chairs. I am closing the gap, slow but sure.

The benefit to this is that, although I will have networked myself into a tizzy, when all is said and done, I will have developed a well spread name for myself and will have a customer base good enough to pay rent on a shop.

I would rather create sometimes then be on here and have heard many people state the same. That's great if you want a houseful of artwork and keep it or give it to family members or friends. To sell, is to network and get your name out there. With internet access, you have the world at your fingertips and don't have to rely solely on 'word of mouth'. That is still one of the best ways to sell, but it all works hand in hand. You do not have to go to the sites you have signed up for everyday, you couldn't possibly begin to do that, time-wise, but at least set up a profile page and buy a Rolodex for passwords and user names. Pick your favorite places to maintain your visibility and go to them daily. Do not shut yourself into one corner and mainly chat with peers, because that isn't networking at its finest.

Another great form of networking is doing shows! I accidentally fell into this. A Yahoo group had posted my Daily Digest into my inbox. Someone was looking for a beading teacher. I hadn't taught before, but I had always considered being an English teacher, so figured, that would work out. I thought I had it in the bag, but she ended up blowing me off. I was working as a recep for H & R Block at the time and one day came home to an invitation by someone who had read of my interest to teach. It was with Bead Fiesta. I promptly replied and I have been teaching there for 2 years, entering my 3rd year! I have to travel, but it is so worth it! I also get a free table for teaching!! It is New England based, so usually not too bad a drive. With that experience, I have had other offers for teaching at my local shops, The Beadin' Path and Beads On The Kennebec. I was offered to be a vendor at 8 Pow Wow's next year as well. Tables are $10. , that is worth the gas money (2 1/2 hrs drive)!!

Occasionally, you also have to go out on a limb. I heard of a new Renaissance Faire here in Manchester, ME. That then prompted me to find out more, which led me to a show in Kingston, NH late last October. I had to buy a 10' x 10", but it was worth it because now I have it for the Pow Wow's and another Ren Faire I have been asked to do this year.

One of my favorite sayings is: YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
- Henry David Thoreau

If you have any valuable input here, please leave a comment. I encourage comments, so we can all learn do's and don'ts from others.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Good Quill Hunting. I like your entrepreneur Blog. Can I recommend a website for your Maine Links page, its called Maine Creates. is an online community and marketplace for the creative people of Maine. If you get a chance check it out. I am the founder of the web site. My name is Matt Zito. You can set up a free profile for your shop and you can sell through an online shop similar to Etsy. We have 140 members and about 15 online shops selling.