Category Archives: Business Tips

PODCAST Launched!


Happy Little Business Diary was launched last night! I was going to wait for a new microphone… I was going was going to wait for new software… I was going to wait… but decided I didn’t need to! I just jumped in!

So here it is! The new handmade business podcast. Please bear with me while I figure it out… BUT! I am dedicated to bringing you your handmade tips and tricks. AND, answering any questions you have. Please send me an email at happylittlebusiness (at) yahoo (dot) com with your questions, tips to share, and you success stories.

It can ONLY get better from here.

ALSO: If you have a recommendation for any local/unsigned bands or musical artists, I’d love to hear them! I want to share the love and feature these wonderful undiscovered talents on the new podcast!

Happy creating, all!


Rejection Dejection: Get Over It


Let’s face it.

You’re not going to get accepted into everything you apply for. Business masterminds/groups, craft shows, art walks… eventually, someone will say “no” to you.

It’s going to hurt. It’ll burn and you might want to cry the moment you see that rejection email/letter… even if you’re at Starbucks. Trust me. I know.

Here are some things to remember when you get a rejection letter:

1. It was not personal.

Sometimes, our immediate reaction to rejection is, “They hate me.” Unless you know who the coordinators are, there is no way they hate you.

And even if they DO hate you, do you really want to be in a show run by people who have negative feelings toward you?

2. Maybe you weren’t the right fit.

Another thought that crosses your mind might be, “I’m not good enough.” Stop that thinking right now.

Take a closer look at the show/group you applied to. Are you a jewelry designer trying to get into a comic book convention? Or are you someone just starting out in the handmade business world trying to enter a business group/mastermind for established business owners?

Neither means you aren’t “good enough.” It means you have to find the right fit. And once you do, it’ll be that much sweeter.

3. Honestly, they may have just run out of room.

There is absolutely no way a show or group can accept everyone who applies. These people may have received 100 stellar applications, but if they only have room for 20 vendors, that means 80 rejections.

And keep in mind, if you’re applying to a craft show, they want to have a nice variety of vendors.

You may want to give up after a rejection. You feel like a failure and wonder if applying is pointless.

Stop right there. Don’t listen to those negative voices!

If you want to do craft shows, keep applying. You’ll learn with every rejection and will eventually get into one.

If you decide you don’t want to do craft shows, then you’ve STILL learned SOMETHING from your rejections. And you’ll need to find an alternative revenue stream.

These are all opportunities for growth. Opportunities for learning and improvement.

Take your rejections and discover your strengths and weaknesses.

You are an amazing, savvy business owner and you can either choose to dwell on the negativity of a rejection or turn it into something awesome.

How do you deal with rejection?

Why You Should Track Your Social Media Marketing


You may be spending hours on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter; marketing your business in the hopes of drawing more traffic and customers. If you’re not tracking your growth or what you’re doing, you are wasting your time.

Without a record of your efforts, you won’t really know what is working. If you don’t know what works, you might be implementing practices that waste your valuable time.

The next time you work on your marketing, take out a sheet of paper or a social media tracker and follow these three steps:


1) Write down your current numbers for the day.

How many blog views do you have? Do you know how many likes your Facebook page has? Write it all down. I track my blog views, FB page likes, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest follows.

If you want to get in depth, you can list how many likes, hearts, or retweets you get in one day.

2) Keep track of what you do.

What time of day are you doing your social media? Are you scheduling interactions ahead of time? Are you hopping from blog to blog, commenting and following? Whatever you’re doing, write it down.

Bonus: Write down what hashtags you’re using for the day. Some hashtags bring more views/faves.

3) The next time you go into your tracker, make note of any growth or reductions in numbers.

When you’re ready to play with your social media again, write down all the following numbers you’re tracking. If you’re tracking your likes, hearts, or retweets, make note of that as well. If you do this long enough, you’ll notice patterns. You’ll find out what hashtags draw more traffic, whether scheduling at certain times of day draws more views, and what doesn’t work.

If something isn’t working, eliminate it. That time is precious and can be spent implementing new strategies or creating products.

Do you track your social media growth?

How to Make Your Goals Achievable


Now that you’ve shifted your thinking from making resolutions to setting goals, how are you going to move forward?

Let’s take your goals and make them achievable.

Here’s how:

1) Write out all of your goals

Writing out all of your goals, including deadlines, shows you that your goals are real. You can put them in chronological order if you’d like to give yourself a timeline to follow.

2) Post your goals somewhere visible.

Whether you print out your goals or hand-write them with pretty paper and washi tape, stick your list up on the wall where you can see it every day. A great place is the bathroom mirror. The list will act as a reminder and help you keep your focus.

If your goals are monetary, maybe print out a little card and stick it in your wallet.

3) Track/journal your

What are you going to do to make your goal? Write out your plan. Then, track your progression.

You can do this by typing up your progress in a document on your computer, print out a ready-made tracker, or start a scrapbook. Journaling your progress shows you how awesome you’re doing, how close you are to achieving your goal, and if you need to tweak anything.

Another great thing about tracking your progress is you can see how even small steps can make a big difference in the end.

4) Make note of your weaknesses and strengths.

Sometimes, goals can be hard. There are reasons why we think we can’t achieve them. But I believe you can. Write out your doubts and weaknesses. And then, write out your strengths. Because you have them. Many of them. And when you feel like you’re failing, look at your strengths and remind yourself that… You. CAN. Do. It.

5) Add in a reward.

Give yourself something to look forward to. There are some who say that achieving your goal should be reward enough. And while reaching the finish line is going to be a wonderful experience, who says there can’t be a new purse or boots waiting for you? If it’s something that makes you happy and works, go for it.

What are you doing to achieve your goals?

Artist Interview: Kelley Frisby of Kellsworth Ink

kelley-frisby-artist-interview-blog-title Kelley Frisby is an artist and illustrator from Southern California. I’d describe her work as uniquely adorable. All of her illustrations, cake toppers, wine stoppers,  jewelry, and everything in between has a touch of whimsy, a pinch of vintage, and a whole lot of style. Kellsworth Ink is her side business for now, but it won’t be long until she’ll be running it full-time.

Thank you, Kelley, for sharing your firsthand experiences and tips!

kelley-frisby-painting1) Describe what you do in 15 words or less.

I’m an illustrator who dabbles in everything from cards & prints to custom wine-stoppers and cake-toppers.

2) What was your biggest struggle starting your creative business?

I think for me, time management. I’m freelance, so this job is still a side job. Working full time and then coming home to the job I really want after a long day is tough. You get tired, you don’t have the same enthusiasm at the end of the day you started out with, I think that’s usually my biggest hurdle.

3) Is this something you still struggle with or do you think you’ve moved past it?

I think I still struggle with it from time to time. Some days the “other” job takes it out of you and you just have trouble feeding the creative beast. I always end up getting it past it, it’s just some days are tougher than others.


4) What are some ways you feed your “creative beast?”

My creative beast loves movies. During the holidays, while painting and prepping, prepping and painting, I must have made my way through two seasons of Supernatural, LOL! Normally I pick visual movies that inspire me like, Amelie or the Labyrinth. Other times, I just want something on in the background that I can pick my head up, laugh at what’s going on and then continue forward. You know, something I’ve seen eight million times, the Goonies or So I Married an Axe Murderer.

5) Handling a day job and your side job can be tough. Do you have any time management tips to share?

My time management tips are probably terrible. I tend to do a lot of sketching on my lunch break. Generally working only on things that I can easily transport. Carrying paint supplies back and forth just wouldn’t work. So sketches, brain storming, things of that nature are done during my breaks. When I get home and unwind a bit, then I try to work on messier projects. Pulling out paint supplies, varnishing finished pieces or cutting and scoring my cards. Plus, it helps that I can borrow the Boyfriend’s hands to help package cards and apply tags to things, hee hee.


6) Where does the majority of your revenue come from? Example: online sales, craft shows, consignment deals, special orders/commissions.

The majority of my sales right now are from craft shows and consignment. The mass of that being craft shows. My online sales are super minimal at the present time because I think I spend too much time making new things and not enough time listing them on my Etsy or website…again, my own fault and bad time management.

7) We’ve all had craft shows that stunk. When the sales aren’t pouring in like you want them to, how do you keep from diving into a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream?

One of the things I do is look at what DID sell. Was it only my cheaper items? Was there a specific piece everyone stopped to look at but didn’t purchase? If so, then maybe my pricing was off or maybe I just didn’t “fit” with this crowd. If a show truly stinks, I try to look at those factors first before I give myself a belly ache with the ice cream.


8) How do you know when you need to take a break?

From drawing? Usually when my neck or back hurt from sitting so long, hee hee. I’ve never really been one of those people who is constantly sketching in their sketchbook or making things daily. I mean I have my spurts when that happens, but it’s not constant. I tend to get my creativity in waves. But when I’m really into working on something, it’s almost like you have to drag me away.

9) Any big goals for your business this year?

My biggest goal this year for my business is to get EVERY item up for sale online. I have so much stuff that I take with me to craft shows, but only a smidgeon of those are up on the website. For example I have literally 4 different types of birthday cards, a few thank you’s and get wells, and a huge assortment of every day blank cards but I have 4 things listed on Etsy and a handful on my personal site. My focus this is year is to get it ALL up online. My goal for myself personally is to make more art, try to exhibit more, go to shows and just get things FINISHED.

10) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I would hope that I am making art full time. That Kellsworth Ink makes enough to pay my bills and allow me to focus solely on creating new content and doing what I love.


11) If there was one thing you could tell yourself when you started working toward your dream, what would it be?

Honestly, I think I would have told myself to start sooner. I wish I’d started showing my stuff years ago instead of just last year. My focus previously was in polishing up my portfolio and trying to get my illustrations ready to sit down with a publisher or agent. While I still want that to happen, I’ve realized that this side business I love so much has potential as well. Granted I’m not able to quit my day job just yet…but hopefully, some day!

Thank you again, Kelley, for sharing your journey with Happy Little Business.

Make Goals, Not Resolutions


The new year means new beginnings and second chances. After a season of indulgence (just one more slice of pumpkin pie, please) and spending, we’re all making plans and resolutions. As entrepreneurs, our resolutions often include our small businesses. Sometimes, our resolutions are reinterpretations of what we couldn’t accomplish last year. How many of us look to why we never actually accomplished our resolutions?

Last year, Forbes put out an article that stated only 8% of people who made resolutions achieve them at the end of the year.

That is a rather depressing number. It’s enough to make some of us not want to even bother with resolutions.

And I agree. We shouldn’t be making resolutions. We should be making goals.

What’s the difference?

Most resolutions are vague and with no real deadline other than the knowledge that you should be done by the end of the year. Goals, however, are entirely different beasts all together.

So before tossing out your resolutions, try and turn them into goals first. Here’s how.

1) Get specific.

We’d all like to eat healthier. It’s a common resolution for most people. But “eat healthier” is a very vague statement. How are you going to eat healthier? What are you going to change in your diet? Do you have a number of fruits or veggies you want to eat every day? Or maybe you want to cut something out of your diet or cut down on the fast food meals. Take the vague and add some detail to it. “Eat healthier” becomes “Eat 3 fresh fruits every day.”

2) Give yourself something to track.

What about your goal can be tracked? Give yourself something you can measure and check your progress as you go along. Another common resolution is “lose weight.” How much do you want to lose? At the end of the year, you could be one pound lighter and that would technically be reaching your resolution but will you have grown or improved your life at all? “Lose weight” could turn into “Lose 20 lbs.”

3) Add in a deadline.

While most of our goals are going to be something we work on the entire year, other goals can be achieved in a shorter amount of time. You may want to lose those 20 lbs by April. Then you can set yourself up with another goal for the end of the year if you want. Or enjoy the 20 lbs you lost and take yourself to the beach. Deadlines give our brains a clear idea on when we need to reach our destination. And having a date down gives us a time frame on how much work we need to do. Without a deadline, you’ll kind of float around all year and then BAM! it’s December.

Using these 3 goal-making elements, look over your resolutions for the year and transform them into achievable and rewarding goals.

And don’t forget to throw in some fun goals as well… like “Take a trip to Seattle in May.”

What are some of your goals for the new year?

4 Customer Service Tips to Keep You Sane


Congratulations! You made it through the holiday season alive. Now comes the dark side of a busy holiday season for handmade business owners: difficult, upset, angry, and/or cranky customers. There is no doubt that you  will have more happy customers than unhappy, but the more sales you make, the more likely you are to have customers who need you to answer questions or fix a problem.

Imagine what the day after a major holiday looks like for a big retailer. Mile long lines for returns and exchanges. As an online small business owner, your job also includes customer service. And because there’s no buffer between you and a potentially cranky customer, you can go from happy to tears in a matter of seconds.

We already know you are going to do your best and go the extra mile to help your customer and make them feel special. But what about you? Are you approaching customer service with your own health and happiness in mind? Here are some tips to keep you sane.

1) Read the whole email. If it makes you angry, defensive, or want to cry, mark it as unread and walk away.

Customer service is an essential part of running your business. And you don’t want to write a response that is fueled by negative emotions. Writing an email or Etsy message gives customers the protection of being faceless and anonymous and there is a chance that, depending on what the problem is, they may get heated. Especially if you’re dealing with something that was meant to be a present for a loved one.

Before answering that upsetting email, write a reminder note and just step away. This doesn’t mean don’t respond. You will respond soon. But take advantage of the email/messaging system and walk away for a little bit to distance yourself from the negative energy.

2) Talk to someone.

Before answering an upsetting email or message, vent your frustrations and talk about your concerns with someone you know.

Talking to someone, sharing in the frustrations, and yelling can be therapeutic. You’ll get everything off your chest that you want to say to your customer but probably shouldn’t. And you don’t have to go to another business owner, but it can be helpful sometimes. There are discussion boards for handmade business owners and they usually have a few threads going on about difficult customers. If you ever need someone to relate to, seek out some of these forums.

3) Absolutely no excuses.

Life happens. Unhappiness may strike. Or maybe you were just so busy, one order slipped through the cracks. Whatever the reason, don’t respond to a customer with excuses.

Unless you’re emailing the customer BEFORE shipping out their order and letting them know why it will be late or that you need to cancel it, you should not respond with an excuse.

Why? They don’t want or need to know. All they want to know is if, how, and when you are going to fix their problem. And the less they know about your personal life, the less they can direct any negative energy toward it.

4) Be real. Be authentic. Be you.

You are not a big, faceless corporation. A lot of handmade customers come to you because you are a small business owner and not only do they love your gorgeous work, but they want to support you.

So, if you’re not a big, faceless corporation, why are you trying to talk like one? Stop stressing and don’t attempt to wrap your mind around what kind of jargon a “professional” business would use in this situation. If you think of yourself as a professional, then you are already a “professional.” And as long as you remember to apologize, thank them for allowing you to remedy the situation, and use spell check, the way you speak is probably just fine.

Do you have any customer service tips to share with other handmade business owners?