August Creative Resources

Pencils

Creative resources for August 2021. This list includes a few free-to-watch classes on CreativeLive, a resource list from Artwork Archive, and an uplifting blog from Creative Mornings.

Below is our Roundup of August Creative Resources
Use Anytime

The Best Opportunities for Artists in August 2021

Artwork Archive has a great monthly roundup of opportunities for artists. This list includes grants, residencies, events, and much more. Bookmark their page to come back each month to find out new resources.

HEY CreativeMornings!: 39 Things We Wish We’d Realized Sooner

Need a little inspiration? This post is from the CreativeMornings website may encourage you to move forward with your art. What would you tell your younger self?  

Creative Mornings is an incredible organization just for us creatives. After you read the article, take some time looking through their website. They have an amazing creative community.

August 25

Blogging to Sell Your Products

Do you have a blog? Or maybe you use Instagram to help you draw awareness to your art. Either way, you are using photos, captions, and writing to sell. This CreativeLive course is taught by Megan Auman and will walk you through the best ways to write and sell. The class takes just over 3 hours and is free on this day and available for a fee after this day. 

August 29

Turn Your Etsy Shop into a Sales Machine

If you are new to Etsy or looking to revamp your Etsy store, this course will lead you through what you need to know to grow your sales. It is over an 11-hour class and gets into the details to optimize your store. The course is a few years old, and Etsy is updated its business model and what you need to do. However, this course will help you use Etsy as one tool to create a better business. This course is free on this date and available for a fee after this date.

Above is the list of the August creative resources. If you would like to be the first to see what we round up for September, feel free to follow the blog through WordPress Reader or subscribe to our newsletter.

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July Creative Resources

July

July creative resources to kickstart this month’s creativity. A few posts and classes I found across the internet to keep your creativity moving through the summer.

Use Anytime

The Best Opportunities for Artists in July 2021

Artwork Archive has a great monthly roundup of opportunities for artists. This list includes grants, residencies, events and much more. Bookmark their page to come back each month to find out what’s new.

Toolkit: How to Write Your About Page

This post is from Creative Mornings website. The about page on your website may be one of the most important pages. This post will guide you through creating one just for you, along with examples of pages they liked. Take a look and maybe spend a little time this month updating your about me page.

Creative Mornings is an incredible organization just for us creatives. After you read the article, spend some time looking through their website. They are an amazing creative community.

July 12

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin gets into details on everything you need to know to start a handmade business. Even if you already have your business started, you will learn something new on this video series on CreativeLive. This course runs just under for 15.5 hours long and a half and is free on July 12 and is available for a fee after this date.  

 

July 20

Lightroom Classic: Essential Training

Mark Wallace teaches this class on CreativeLive. If you are interested in using this software, this is a great chance to learn about it for free on this date.

Here is the class description:

This class is a step-by-step walkthrough of Lightroom Classic, perfect for the beginner as well as those who have worked with Lightroom Classic previously. This class is everything you ever wanted to know about Lightroom Classic but were afraid to ask.

This class will give you an overview of Lightroom Classic and show you how to maximize its potential by creating a workflow for importing, keywording, adjusting, and exporting your images.

Want more creative resources, here is a look back to the last resource page and come back next month for the August resource page.

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Five December Resources for Your Creative Business

Online Creative Resources

Five December resources to give you a little help right before the holidays. A blog post with grants and show applications with December deadlines. Two video courses to help you with your online store. A blog post to get your Etsy shop up and running and a chance to sell online today with us. 

Here are your five December resources to help your creative business this week:

Use Anytime
December Monthly Art Opportunities 

Artwork Archive rounds up grants, competitions, and other art opportunities each month. The December listing is filled with opportunities for you to apply for. Take a look to see if there is one that will help you.

Quick Steps to Getting Started on Etsy Today

If you still don’t have an online store set up and don’t know where to start, this article will help you start today. Selling with Etsy is quick and relatively easy to get going. There will always be more to learn, but this will get your store setup today.

VIRTUAL MARKET:

The Art Fair Gallery started a virtual store, linking every product back to the artist’s website. We would love to have you join the market. It runs through December 15th and should take very little of your time to set up your products for sale. Email us to participate at catherine@theartfairgallery.com

December 6

optimize your creative store

Creative Live is running a class on optimizing your creative store. This class goes through setting up your home page, about page, SEO information, and more. It is free on December 6 and then available to watch when you have time for a fee.

December 10

simple email marketing for makers

Megan Auman’s class on CreativeLive will get you ready to hit send on emails to your customers. This course walks through all the steps to create an email that will get opened and clicked on. This course is free to stream on December 10 and available to watch when you have time for a fee.

Which of these December creative resources were most useful to you?

Here is a link to last week’s resources, with inspiration to get you through the holidays.  

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Creative Holiday Resources

Holiday Shopping Bag

Holiday creative resources – a few quick resources to help you get ready for holiday sales. Since we are rolling into the holidays, with black Friday, small business Saturday and Cyber Monday right around the corner.  

With this in mind, our resources are quick hits of information so you can continue getting ready for the holidays. Two of these items are repeats from last week, simply because they are timely, and I wanted you to see the grant opportunities for the month one more time.

Below are the creative holiday resources for this week:  Continue reading “Creative Holiday Resources”

Why Are You on Instagram?

Instagram Logo

Why are you on Instagram? We are all on Instagram for different reasons. Some of us use this space to be inspired by other people’s photographs. Others are here to look at travel pictures. Still others may be here to see their family and friends lives through their photos.

But many of us are also here to sell something.  And maybe sell without coming across as too salesy. Is that a word? 

So how do you use Instagram to Sell?

Continue reading “Why Are You on Instagram?”

Getting Started on Shopify

Open Sign

Getting started on Shopify is a bit more complicated than setting up an Etsy shop, but many of the steps are the same.  They all involve choosing a name and or URL for your shop and listing your items to sell.

Getting started with Shopify is more involved because you are creating your website and not only a store on another platform. 

We will break down some of the necessary steps you will need to take to get started. But just like Etsy and Amazon, there is always more than just the basics.

A little bit about Shopify before we get into how to set up your storefront. Shopify currently powers over 1,000,000 businesses. Over $61 billion in sales in 2019 have been made using their platform.  This is a large platform with good support surrounding it.

But as we mentioned it is more complicated than setting up an Etsy shop. Shopify gives you a platform and lots of themes you can use to get going. But it is more complicated to get up and running than other platforms. Not harder, just more involved. 

But we are dealing with the basics so you can get your shop up and running. You need to be able to sell online.  You need a place customers can buy from you when you aren’t selling at live events.

Here are the steps you will need to follow for getting started on Shopify.

Step one – Start!

When you log into shopify.com, you will have an opportunity to chose what type of plan you would like to use. We suggest using the 14-day free trial to get yourself started. You will be able to upgrade your plan once you have it up and running.

Or conversely, you may get started with this and decide this is more work than you want to invest in right now. In which case, close the shop, and you are not out any money, just your time. The plans currently run $29, $79, and $299 per month. Again, go with the trial plan for right now.

When you chose your plan, you will be required to select a store name. If you do not choose to buy a custom domain name, this will be your URL for the store. So, chose wisely. If you already have a name, check to see if this is available.

Your URL will then be yourstorename.myshopify.com. (or the URL you chose from the custom options.) They have a name generator, so see if your ideal name is available. If it isn’t, the auto generator will come up with some which are similar.

But before you take something with a similar name, take a peek at the shops with the name you wanted. Are they similar enough to what you do that you may lose business to someone else because of the store name?

Step two – Start adding your products to the store.

List your products

Like other platforms, you will add pictures, product names, and descriptions when you upload items. If you already have these saved in a file, this will speed up the time needed to complete this step. You can always change, delete, or add additional products to your store.

And like other platforms, the SEO (search engine optimization )of your written descriptions will determine your ranking with Google, Bing, and other search engines. 

If you are changing platforms and have this written out in a form you like, copy and paste. Which is a good idea anyway. You should have your pictures and product descriptions in your own folders. Having this information written down someplace other than your website will make your life easier. You can then copy and paste this information into social media posts or have it available if you choose to switch platforms in the future. 

Again, this can be changed to optimize search later. Get your products uploaded!

Pictures

I will continue to beat a dead horse here; use the highest quality pictures you can. If your images aren’t straight, clear, and focused, you may lose sales.

With each product, you will need to add in the items’ pricing and inventory on hand. Shopify will keep track of the stock you have sold on their site, and when it is sold, it will show the product in your shop as sold out.

Shipping

There is an opportunity here to set up your shipping. This is related to weight. Shopify will request you choose how you ship later in the process. I would read more on their site to see what works best for you. There are some price advantages to using their shipping, but do what works for your business.

Variations of Products

You can set variants of the same item, so you can select sizes and colors if you sell t-shirts for example.

In this step, you can also set up what this will look like on google. Important, as you can set up products directly in google products if this interests you. But you can always come back to this area to optimize this.

We do not want to get too caught up in the weeds here; get your products listed and ready to sell. There will always be more to do, but for now, get things listed.

Step three – add other pages.

So, yes, your product page is the most crucial. On Shopify, this is also your home page. But there are a few other pages you will want to have included.

About You page – a picture of you and information about what you do and who you are. This is a place to tell about how long you have been creating your art, your processes, and anything else you think may help someone decide to purchase from you.

Your Contact page – Shopify makes this simple with a template, so click a template and format it to look like your branding. This shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to complete, but it is essential. It gives your customers a chance to ask questions of you before they spend their money.

FAQ – If you can think of things customers may want to ask, you may want to have this written out for them. It will save you from needing to answer the same questions multiple times. Information regarding shipping and returns could be answered here.

Step four – setting up how your store will look

This involves choosing a theme, store banner, menus, colors, and typography. 

Themes can be free, you can buy one, or you can pay someone to set one up for you. 

For today, look at the free ones and see if they work for you. You can always change a theme, pay someone to make some changes to the way yours is set up, or ultimately have yours redone.

Choose your store banner.  

This will be what displays on the top of your store. Use a product, logo, or anything else which gives a good first impression of your store. (Make sure this is a high-quality photo.)

You can customize the colors on any theme. If you know CSS, you can change colors using the colors. If you don’t, here is a way to find some of the color names.

Change the fonts to ones that fit your brand.  

Be careful with the fonts, a rule of thumb is to not use more than two on a page. Make sure they are readable as well. A flowing font may look nice, but it isn’t helpful if people can’t read it.

Step four involves a lot of the imaging of your site. You could spend days or weeks playing with this. Don’t. Get it to where you like it a lot and move forward. You are trying to launch right now, not win awards with the beauty of your website.

Yes, it should look nice. You are an artist, and your website should reflect this, but your job today is getting your art out so people can buy it. Play with this, but don’t play for too long. Get it “good enough” to launch, and then come back at some time to play around more with it.

Step five – shipping

Yes, we already set up the weights and costs for shipping; now, we choose the shipping vendor.  We won’t discuss who to pick; Shopify has pages about this for you to learn more. Just know, this is the next step.

Step six – taxes

Depending on what you sell and where you are selling it, you will be responsible for collecting and paying sales tax. (Shopify does not pay your sales tax for you.)  If you are already selling, you are aware of this requirement. (We won’t advise on this; contact a local accountant to get advice on what your liability is.)

You will always have a sales tax liability in a state where you physically are. This would be your home state and any other state where you sell at a fair. Beyond this, other things come into play, depending on the number of transactions and the total revenue. 

Sales taxes are complicated; get professional advice. But for now, at least make sure you have set up your home state.

Set seven – setup your merchant provider

As we mentioned before, Shopify has its own way of collecting payments. It will also let you use your own merchant provider. There are different fees for each, I would look here for the latest fees. There is a lot involved in the costs, so look here and decide which works best for you.

Step eight – launch!

Once you have everything the way you want it, make sure you set your shop to the public so people can find you and choose which kind of monthly payment you think works for you. Shopify provides you with 14 days for free, which should give you more than enough time to get your shop setup, but you need to choose what will happen after the 14 days. 

You can always change your mind on your plan. You may want to go with the cheapest plan to begin and see how this goes.

Now, for the fees.  

Unlike Etsy or Amazon, this is your own space, and you need to pay a monthly fee to have a shop. The monthly costs are $29, $79, and $299 per month. Each has different accesses and advantages. If you are just starting out, the lowest priced fan maybe your best option. You can see all of the differences in plans here.

If you decide while setting your store up that this won’t work for you, you can always cancel and close it down before finishing the setup.

As stated, Shopify has a monthly fee, which is not something Amazon Handmade or Etsy currently charges you. Which means if you don’t sell anything for a few months, you are still paying to have your store open. This also happens with any other sort of website you will build on your own.  Just something you should think about when you are decided between platforms.

Why pay the fee?

Although paying this fee may bother you, it does come with some advantages Etsy and Amazon do not have. The customers who come to your site, they are your customers! You can collect emails, send them your newsletter, and send out sales information directly to them. 

This is not something either Etsy or Amazon allows. On both of these platforms, the customers belong to them. 

Of course, what Etsy and Amazon bring to the table are millions of customers looking for something you may be selling. On your own website, you need to drive the customers to your site. There are advantages of each platform and you will need to decide what is most important to you as you decide where to sell.  

Of course, today’s post was just to help you get started selling on Shopify.  Once your shop is up and running, lets get back to the SEO so we can drive more customers to your shop.