In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Cami discuss several questions from listeners about adding high-end products to your shop, deciding when it’s necessary to use a contract, best practices for following up on a proposal and getting started with affiliate links. These are questions from fellow artists, calligraphers, designers, stationers, etc. that will hopefully help you in your own biz journey as a creativepreneur!
You’ll want to stick around for this one because not only are Elisabeth and Cami diving into your burning biz-related questions but they are also dishing out their funniest stories and memories together. Buckle up because this is a fun one, y’all!
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Right now, I have an Etsy shop, but I want to move into having a website and selling something more high end than greeting cards. What is the best way to add on a second business, and how do you start selling more high end products? – Anna B
So for me, when I was wanting to incorporate more higher-end things, it definitely got to just build that like quality with your customers first, like they already expect, like, the things you’re going to get are going to be like, immaculate, they’re going to be great, the quality is gonna be good, like the customer service is going to be good, like everything is going to run really smoothly. Like you build up that trust with your audience. And then they’re going to be willing to pay for higher price things.
And I even play with my pricing. And like, I’ll just go in and be like, Okay, you know what, these were 20. And now we’re gonna do 22. And then I’m like, I can go higher now because I’ve like built that trust that it’s like a really great product. And I’m gonna go to a 24. So just like working my way up. So as you start adding in those products, like maybe you start a lower price to be like is this like where like, kind of test the market and see how it is with your customers and see if they’re, like, willing to spend that dollar amount, I’ll see what their average order value is, like, you’re always trying to get them to spend a little bit more. So play with the pricing with it, and then build up that trust on the quality first. So just like literally everything you put out, make it awesome because then they’re gonna know like, your quality’s amazing and will pay any type of dollar amount to get that from you.
Yeah, and to be honest, the way I’ve always viewed an Etsy shop is that an Etsy shop in my mind is an extension of your business and an Etsy shop isn’t necessarily the only version of your business or the only place your business lives. Although,I do know people who have completely built their platform or built their business on the platform of Etsy alone. However, I think it’s always good to have a domain and a website and have that be your home base with Etsy working in tandem which that is kind of like what Cami does.
Im so glad i discovered your podcast this weekend- I binged almost all of your Q and Cakes while painting this weekend . I know you guys focus more on invites rather than individual commissions as I do, but my question is what projects do you think warrant a contract? Do I need a contract for a one-off commission (like a pet portrait or wedding bouquet). I have this fear the clients will find something they’re not happy with (hasnt happened yet but I’m a litttttle bit of an anxious type!) and want to make sure I’m protected. Also how much do i need to explain about my style to ensure they know what they’re getting (maybe in a post-purchase email), or is having the samples on my website enough? Basically wondering how much communication is needed between purchase and delivery of the product for a commission. Okay ill stop there because I know Cami doesnt like the long questions – though this is already pretty much a novel. OOPS. Xoxox thanks for inspiring me every week! – Carrie @wasterlainpaints
No, you do not need a contract for every single project. And a project doesn’t necessarily warrant a contract, especially for a commission where it’s like you are doing that one piece of artwork, and it’s a little shorter of a timeframe, you’re creating like a product for them. With wedding invitations, I’m always going to have my contract because it’s such a long process. There are so many people involved, there are just like, a lot more moving pieces.
You can also outline the process there or make a really cute PDF so that when somebody buys it you can like send a follow-up email and be like thank you so much for purchasing from me. Here’s a PDF that explains how everything works and then like in your terms and agreements on your site. There’s basically something about like hiring you and style and like you will make certain artistic discretion so then if they come back to you and they’re like oh well you painted my dog such and such way and really it should have been and you can kind of that you could go back and be like I’m actually that’s like my artistic rendering or interpretation of it so no, I’m not going to fix like the two hairs by his ear or whatever you know.
Hi Cami + Elisabeth! What are your favorite funny/random stories about each other? Love the show, keep doing amazing things!! @kelseyhaverdesigns
For all of our funny/random stories skip to 13:45!
Hi Cami + Elisabeth! I’ve struggled with people to take action on proposals. More recently, as an example, I have sent off a proposal to a couple that they have been sitting on for 3.5 weeks now. Aside from the proposal, I have sent them tangible samples and they have expressed excitement and great interest in the one that I had sent. Toss in a pandemic and their wedding not being until late 2021, is this a proposal I should be pushing for or give it more time? With this context, my main questions are –
A. At what post does a proposal “expire”, or does it not?
B. If the proposal does expire, how do you notify the couple of this?
C. How do you follow-up in a light-hearted way to have them take action?
I hope this doesn’t sound scammy or insensitive. I’m not a pushy person to begin with so I always worry that my persistence is coming off in-genuine! – Alyssa @lavenacreativeco
I mean people like honestly, first and foremost, people want to be reminded of things because people are like, naturally forgetful. So just like keep that in the back of your mind and just frame it as be like, I’m doing them a favor and like reminding them that they need to book with me. But also like, yes, you do need to give them a deadline at some point because you can’t just be waiting there forever. It sucks. So a lot of times when I send out a proposal, I tell them that they have two weeks to make a decision and if anything hasn’t happened at that point, I pretty much move on.
Yeah, I think like a great way to follow up is just to be like, Hey, I just wanna make sure you saw the proposal wanted to check in and see if you had any questions. For me, just as a reminder, the proposal will expire on x date, and I’ll be opening up your spot to other couples and mine waiting queue or whatever this point, like something like that, just let them know, like, your spot is not secured until you officially book and after that, I will release your spot like that kind of phrasing where they’re like, oh, if I don’t get this like she’s gonna be booked to kind of thing will really help to get them moving. But having that expiration date on your proposal is good as well. I do two weeks as well, you can set it up in Dubsado to have like two weeks or like when the first payment is due. And then after it expires, I think that like they are able to do anything on the proposal.
For more on this, check out episode 49 The Art of the Follow Up, and episode 80 Throwback Episode: Inquiry Processes for Wedding Stationers.
I loved listening to your end of the year episode! (And loads of episodes really) Probably I am behind the times on this but could you tell more about how you started with affiliate links? I’m specifically curious how you make this work for you as an artist? @mhbpaper
I think the first way to start is with Amazon. I feel like that’s like everyone kind of dips their toes in with Amazon at first. And you can get that that’s like the Amazon affiliate program and the Amazon influencer program, it’s kind of confusing for how efficient Amazon is. I feel like their affiliate program on the back end is a little weird. So if you just Google it, it’ll take you right to that page, and you can sign up to be an affiliate. And then once you reach a threshold of like sales percentage, or like the amount of followers or something, it’ll let you be an influencer. And that’s what you can make a page directly on Amazon, which is really cool. And then just using it when people ask you like, hey, what type of paper do you use? Or what book do you recommend for this, you can just use your Amazon affiliate link to give them any of your recommendations and hopefully earn a percentage from that, which is awesome. So it’s really great for artists who are always getting asked questions about the supplies they use, like the printers they use. Everything I use in my office is all my Amazon supplies page, which is so great to keep things in one spot and you get a kickback from as well.
Also shameless plug, you asked specifically how to make this work for you as an artist, well, what question do artists get asked the most? it’s where did you print that? How did you get this made? And if you want to be an affiliate for the A-Z Directory, we created that as part of the program for you guys, because we love affiliate links. And we want you to leave affiliate links to so you would make 30% commission every time someone said, Where do you print that? You could say, hey, join the ad directory. And then you guys also get a 30% commission check off that.
For more on this, check out episode 53 The Magic of Affiliate Links.