Are You Prepared for Luck?

Contributor post by Caroline and Jose of  Handcrafted Consulting
Surreal Portrait by ElleMoss

The New Year is upon us, and this time of the season we all seem to reflect on what has been, and dream a bit about what is to come. For your business, this often means ways to improve, grow, or prosper. The Roman philosopher Seneca said, in one of our most favorite of quotes, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."
Opportunity happens. But the magic is in what you do with that opportunity. By being ready, willing, and able, you can say "YES! Come on in!" when luck comes knocking on your door.

The Press Request
When editors or stylists need something for a photo shoot, they usually needed it yesterday. Reserve some of your work as press samples, so that you have product available when you receive a coveted press request.  Do you have systems in place to pack and ship that very same day? If you don't, look into setting up a FedEx and UPS account; familiarize yourself with the drop-off locations for express shipping in your area (nothing like driving through rush hour at 5:55 when you know the last pick up is at 6pm!), and create some extra pieces now and then so that you have a variety of current work available when you get that special email.

Hello Hi-Res!
Often, instead of requesting an actual product sample, magazines and blogs will simply request copies of the best of your best images- and in a large digital file size. Plan ahead for this when you photograph your work; include a few images with a plain white background. When you prepare images for your shop listings, make a second file of high resolution press images, too. This way, when asked for, you have them ready to send at the drop of a hat.
Are you prepared for luck?

The Giant Order
Out of the blue, a customer contacts you about a special event they are having that weekend. They want to purchase every pair of earrings you have for sale in your shop as special gifts for the attendees. Wow! But are you ready? Always keep on hand enough gift boxes, packaging, cards and other materials you would need to be able to ship all of your inventory out on a moment's notice.
Or, perhaps you have a chance to land a new account, but it requires an investment on your part, financially. Consider creating a nest-egg or "rainy day fund" for your business, just like you do for yourself and your family. A little saving now could pay off big when the right opportunity presents itself.

Supply Chain
It can take years to source the perfect paper for your greeting cards, the perfect printing company for your labels, the perfect gold chain you use in the necklaces you make. But now that you have found them, what happens when there is a glitch? What happens if a storm floods their warehouse that held your perfect paper, and you had just ordered it for a major client. What if the shipment of gold chain is held up in customs at the border, and you have a dozen wholesale orders to fill by Valentines Day?
Take some time to research alternatives to your normal vendors and suppliers. Build relationships with them, too, because you never know when you will need them.

Smooth Operator
You invested A LOT in your laser cutter. Your kiln is top of the line. You can finally produce your items at capacities big enough to fill the largest of orders in just a small amount of time. But just when you seal the deal with a major brand you have always wanted to work with, your equipment fails. Uh-oh. Now I am not trying to sound like a Debbie Downer here...but, are you prepared? Do you know the most common parts that may fail or need replacement on your machine? Can you keep one on hand, just in case? Have you networked with other artists in your area, so that you know who to ask (beg) to use their kiln/laser/printer when you are in a jam? At Paloma's Nest, our work is based on a very special and very rare set of alphabet letters given to me by my mother almost 20 years ago. I can't buy them anymore, but since our brand and aesthetic is built around these letters, I scour flea markets, antique stores, and online to find more. And when I do? I lock them in our safety deposit box at the bank. No kidding, they are THAT important.

As creatives, we are, in a sense "so lucky" to be making a living from our art or our talents. But we all know that that "luck" is a result of hard work and, as Seneca pointed out, preparation. When running a small business, there are a few opportunities that will simply pass you by if you are not ready for them. So let's put ourselves on luck's good side, and see where we can prepare to make 2013 a standout year!
So- are you prepared? Are you ready for a 2013 that will exceed your wildest dreams? Leave a comment below and share what changes you are making or steps you are taking to welcome luck to your door this year!


Caroline and Jose are the duo behind the heirloom gift brand Paloma's Nest. They believe artists don't have to be starving, so they mentor and coach creatives like you at Handcrafted Consulting.
Join them for a workshop or a one-to-one virtual chat about starting,
growing or managing your handmade business (plus, they are Certified
Etsy Educators)!

Jan Halvarson


Gretchen said...

Let's hope it for everybody! Thank you for being great and joyful and Happy New Year to You!

la domestique said...

Love this- so smart and inspiring! Happy New Year!

Leanna said...

I really enjoyed reading this today. As someone who is trying to build up their brand in 2013 it gave me a little pep in my step today! thanks!