Resources that helped my handmade business

I often get asked for advice on all topics of starting and growing a handmade business. I’m always learning and rarely feel like an expert on the topic, but I thought I’d share with you the resources that have had a big impact on me and how I operate Cat Snapp Studio. I’m not paid to promote any of these resources.

SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Small Business Development Center offers free and confidential advising on all aspects of developing your business from writing your business plan, to learning about business accounting, to hiring your first employee and beyond. It’s funded in part by federal tax dollars and local municipalities, so it exists to help small businesses grow! I worked with Washington’s SBDC to write my business plan and it increased my confidence in running my business. 

Previous to working with SBDC, I was more or less guessing at how to run a business. In working with an adviser, I not only learned broad business terms and principles, but the principles became real as I saw how they applied to my studio. I make decisions differently now based on actual data from my business and it isn’t icky or tedious. It’s clarifying.

I’ve since stopped the unhelpful comparisons between my biz and similar ones, because now I have goals that are specific to Cat Snapp Studio that eliminate using what others are doing as a measuring stick.

PAPER CAMP
Paper Camp, a course offered by Proof to Product, is where I learned everything there is to know about setting up my greeting card line to fit industry standards, selling wholesale and exhibiting at trade shows.  At the end of the course you gain access to the Paper Camp vendor directory and Paper Camp alumni Facebook group, both of which are major resources in their own rights.

Katie Hunt, the founder, also hosts the Proof to Product podcast that is full of valuable information and is a great way to gauge if Paper Camp is right for you.

HELPFUL BOOKS
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron: Many people swear by the morning pages exercise, but I found the weekly solo artist dates to be what sparked my creativity the most.

Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet: The book and workbook are available as free PDFs. His writing about creativity is straightforward and encouraging.

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz: “Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” A quick read that’s easy to apply. It was engaging for someone like me without a finance background. I really enjoyed reading one of its official spin-offs, Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers. It helped me understand inventory management in a relevant way.

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Check out Constellation & Co.’s Resources page for a list of vendors they suggest and more.

Cat Snapp