Dream, Make, Sell: BIG Plans to Build Your Business! | Michaels
Raena Burch (MIchaels): Good to go. Stephanie Fleming: Okay. All right, let's get going here. Hey, everybody. Thank you guys so much for those of you who joined us for the behind the scenes. Stephanie Fleming: Now we are officially starting the class. So let me do a little intro. So you know what to expect and who I am. Stephanie Fleming: My name is Stephanie Fleming I'm co founder of me and my big ideas. We are the creators of the happy planner I retired, actually this this past year, but now I am really finding my passion. Stephanie Fleming: Still sharing positivity and planning and all for all things creative and also helping creative entrepreneurs. Stephanie Fleming: Just with the tips that I have from doing being in business for 22 years. So, like many of you, I would suspect
Stephanie Fleming: I started my business in my garage with my mom. Like I said 22 years ago, which kind of dates me a little bit. And then, you know, the really want to go. There's too much, but Stephanie Fleming: Anyway, it's something I wear as a badge of honor. So I know what it's like to have a big idea and kind of have that, like, I don't know how to get started. Um, so when Stephanie Fleming: Michaels came to me and said they're doing this dream make sell campaign to help makers and encourage them and inspire them and educate them on how to Stephanie Fleming: Take something that you that they make. And you have these big ideas and you want to go into business for yourself maybe sell these creations that you meet Stephanie Fleming: And they asked me if I would share some of my tips I jumped. These are the things. What I want to do in retirement. I want to be. Stephanie Fleming: filling my time with passion projects like this. So whether you Stephanie Fleming: Have a big idea right now and you're just ready to get started, or you have a business right now that you'd like to grow or you need to just kind of make some you need to pivot, a little bit.
Stephanie Fleming: Or maybe you have a very successful business and you're here for just a couple, you know, little nuggets of wisdom, I thank you for being here and we're gonna have a good time. Stephanie Fleming: So, um, let's see one of, let me just first of all start off with a tiny little pep talk for you because, number one, I was a cheerleader. Number two, I'm all about all things positive Stephanie Fleming: And I want you to know that you actually can do this. So if you are wrestling with or you've ever had thoughts of Stephanie Fleming: Can I really do this, who do I think I am like, I don't have a business degree, maybe you don't have a college degree, neither did I. Stephanie Fleming: Neither do I. And, and you don't know anything about running a business or you think like maybe this isn't the right time, or I haven't worked in years. Like, oh my gosh. Well, let me
Stephanie Fleming: Stop you right now and tell you that you can do this. And by this I mean you can start that business but that you have been dreaming of you have ideas that are worth exploring. And while I can't promise you that. Stephanie Fleming: The ideas that you have in your business is going to thrive, or even survive for that matter, I can help you by sharing some tips that I've learned along the way. And over the years and. And by the way, when I started, I was in my 20s. Late Late my mid to late 20s, I was a mother of two Stephanie Fleming: That better Raena Burch (MIchaels): Okay, yes, sorry. Like I said, we're having some difficulties tonight. But yes, you're good to go. Now, Stephanie Fleming: Okay. All right. So, um, anyway, so what what I was saying was, I from Stephanie Fleming: That time when I started I was all those things probably that you would think, Oh my gosh, no. You don't have this. No, you don't have that you shouldn't be doing this, you have no experience, blah, blah, blah. Stephanie Fleming: But I did it anyway you know I was fortunate enough to have some really amazing mentors along the way and have a family business that Stephanie Fleming: family that had a business that as I grew up. I had some experience and could go to and so that's why I feel like
Stephanie Fleming: You know some of those little those little, you know, what are those things where someone's lifting you up and giving you a boost up I had those and I want to be able to share those with as many people as possible so Stephanie Fleming: Um, with that said, you can do this and you're in the right place. Stephanie Fleming: So let me tell you what you can expect tonight. Stephanie Fleming: I'm so I'm going to break this class down into four sections. One is going to be defining the purpose of your business, your product or your idea is we really need a lot of you guys that are here are planners and we need you to Stephanie Fleming: Really define the purpose of it so that you can create a plan. Stephanie Fleming: And then the second part is going to be assessing your business, your product or your idea like, where are you now, what kind of, you know, Stephanie Fleming: We're going to be doing. That's where you do your SWOT analysis. And then the third part is going to be about marketing and branding, which is my my baby. That's the part that I love. Stephanie Fleming: The most and then we'll do a Q AMP. A and I will try. If you have questions.
Stephanie Fleming: Like Raina said if you have you guys can chat amongst yourselves in the chat box and then if you have a question for me as I'm talking, you can put it in the Q AMP. A and if I happen to see it. Stephanie Fleming: While I'm talking in that section and maybe I'll go ahead and answer that there. And then I can kind of wrap up. And if we have time, do more questions at the end. Stephanie Fleming: So that's what to expect. So let's get started. Okay, first of all, I want to talk about the difference between a hobby and a business. So, a while back. My husband and I did an Instagram Live where we talked about the difference between a hobby and a business because Stephanie Fleming: You know, not only does it matter to the IRS, whether you have a business or what's the hobby or business because you need to make that differentiation between Stephanie Fleming: Am I making this as a hobby and then I'm selling it, you know, but not really. I'm making it with not the intention to sell it. That's a hobby. If you are making something with the intention to sell you have a business and you have to set things up completely different. Stephanie Fleming: And so in order for you to take your business to the next level, whatever that may be. You've got to start treating your business like the business that you want it to be. Stephanie Fleming: You know what I mean, it's like when somebody has has told you, maybe, hopefully, this won't date me either. But if anyone's ever told you to dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have
Stephanie Fleming: So if you are just saying, oh, this is a side hustle. It's just this little thing that I do. It's just a hobby, kind of a thing. And you're treating it that way. Stephanie Fleming: You may be selling things, but you don't really have a viable business and you've got to be able to make sure that you're treating this as a business knowing what your Stephanie Fleming: How much it costs you to make your goods, how you know what's kind of cash flow. Do you have what kind of inventory. Do you have even if it's small start treating it like the business. You want it to be otherwise you're going to find it. Maybe it's Stephanie Fleming: Growing and you're going, I don't know how to deal with this because you gotta backtrack. Stephanie Fleming: And start that planning. So, for there was a couple of people in the chat before we started. That said, I'm just thinking of getting started, and this is the perfect time so
Stephanie Fleming: Think about if you. And by the way, if you want to have a hobby that you just sell some things here and there. Stephanie Fleming: Bomb. That is great. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you're saying like, hey, I want to, you know, have this business, and I wanted to bring in a part time income for me. But you're treating it like a hobby. That's the difference. Right there. So you don't have to know everything. Stephanie Fleming: To take your hobby or your side hustle or whatever to the next level, but you do have to build a strong foundation for your business from the beginning. Stephanie Fleming: Do your research. The internet is a powerful thing. One that I did not have. So I was looking through please don't laugh phone books and the back of magazines to find resources and calling every printer in
Stephanie Fleming: In California and Southern California going do you print stickers. Do you print stickers. So now, YouTube, you can Google it GTS. You guys know what that means. Google it. Stephanie Fleming: So do your research and don't be afraid to ask for help. Consult with professionals or experts who are knowledgeable in the areas, especially those that you are not knowledgeable in. Okay, so the Stephanie Fleming: First part, we're going to talk about define are defining the purpose for your business.
Stephanie Fleming: And you and setting goals and developing a business plan. Now I'm going to be really honest with you. When my mom and I started our business. Stephanie Fleming: Our business plan was she and I sat at my son's baseball game on concrete bleachers going, wouldn't it be so great if we had these stickers Stephanie Fleming: That were clear and bigger for scrap occurs. And we had this great big idea and then we thought, you know, we should do. We should like go into business. We should do that, you know, if we sold roles and if we did 12 let's see if we sold those for this much. Stephanie Fleming: As $495 for a full wholesale order, we would need to make this much. And when we break even. And that was it. Stephanie Fleming: That was our business plan. And we said, so we can think we're design we sold them and we started making money. And when we were taking it to the next step. Someone's like so the. Can I see your business plan and
Stephanie Fleming: We were like, Stephanie Fleming: Or what our business plan. Yeah. We all have one of those. Stephanie Fleming: So we, we actually had to go some for some financing and get alone, we can we see your business plan, we were making money which we are very fortunate because our business was successful. Stephanie Fleming: So we have this great idea, but we had no idea which was great. It's fine. We were lucky, but we had to really do some unwinding. Stephanie Fleming: And start from the beginning up so the very first thing I think you want to do is, what are your goals for the business. What do you want to do.
Stephanie Fleming: Okay, so do you want your business to be okay if you think about it, I WANT TO HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL BRAND I want everyone to know I'm gonna take over the world. Stephanie Fleming: Or I want to bring in some side money. So I have some income. I have some spending money or I want to have this be something where I quit my job and I want this to be a full time income. Stephanie Fleming: These are going to be bumpers that you have and guide you know like guardrails, so if you're saying that Stephanie Fleming: You don't want it to be that big of the, you know, I just wanted to earn some side money. Stephanie Fleming: You're not going to throw a ton of your cash into that you're not going to go get the biggest loan that you can get, because you just want that doesn't make sense for just wanting to get some, you know, make some money on the side. Stephanie Fleming: If you are really going to go gung ho, and you've got these big, big dreams you might make Stephanie Fleming: Bigger decisions and you might put more on the line. So you have to know where you're going, you have to have a roadmap for your business, just like you do in your in in life for the things that you want. You have to be able to set those goals for your business.
Stephanie Fleming: And like I said, they're just it there. They're like bumpers, and you kind of as you if you get to the point where you're Stephanie Fleming: Evaluating where you're going on a regular basis. You can see, oh gosh, I've set these pillars for myself. This is not really, you know, I'm making that's not a good decision based on where I want to go. Stephanie Fleming: Somebody, how much money do you invest in a business, it really it differs, it really differs. And that's a whole
Stephanie Fleming: The. It depends on how much money you have, how much money you have access to what your comfort level is for Stephanie Fleming: Being in debt. Some people want to run their business just based on the profits they want to put it back in and other people are like, No, I want to take out a loan so that I can go full force. Stephanie Fleming: It really depends on number one, your product and and your level of comfort with going into debt and that. So there's really not one set answer, but I would suggest that you take your Stephanie Fleming: Your you know your guideposts and say, you know, how, how much do I want to invest, how much my comfortable with, um, Stephanie Fleming: Okay. So building a strong foundation is about protecting yourself from the beginning. Now I'm going to
Stephanie Fleming: tell you two things that are caveat. I'm not going to go really deep into them, but I would suggest that you meet with an accountant that knows about setting up accounting for a business, even if it's small, even if it's one Stephanie Fleming: One meeting where you say, Hey, I'm selling Reese homemade Reese and i i sell them on my etsy shop and I just want to know how I should do the accounting. What can I write off, how do I set this up. So at the end of the year, you know, you've got everything Stephanie Fleming: Done properly. So that is something that I think make sure you're doing that from the beginning because you don't want to be Stephanie Fleming: Caught kind of read, you know, like, say, Oh my gosh, I didn't realize I was supposed to be paying. Are you supposed to be paying estimated taxes, those kinds of things.
Stephanie Fleming: And also protect yourself legally know the things that you need to file. Do you need to have, and I don't, you don't necessarily have to meet with Stephanie Fleming: Anybody like a lawyer or anything at the beginning, although you could Stephanie Fleming: Um, you need to. I think the one of the best resources that I have found for those people starting a business is the US Small Business Administration. It is a fabulous resource. Stephanie Fleming: For if you're starting up for planning your new business. They have everything from market research competitive analysis, helping you write a business plan, it will walk you through it.
Stephanie Fleming: calculating your startup costs. So for your question right there that will help you calculate it, and even funding your business so Stephanie Fleming: There, it's sba.gov and it's a wealth of knowledge. So as you're starting. You want to make sure don't get yourself know your copyright laws if you're doing artwork of any kind. Stephanie Fleming: And just get again give yourself that foundation those legal guidelines of how it is that you need to set yourself up, do the homework at the beginning and then that way you can be on your way and you know you've kind of built your house on a really strong foundation Stephanie Fleming: Okay. So, and that's why I think to setting a business plan is something that you're going to go through all of those things you have to know
Stephanie Fleming: Your competitors and I'm going to say this. Stephanie Fleming: Because it's it's a two. Stephanie Fleming: It's a two way street. So Stephanie Fleming: On one hand, I say follow it and make sure you know you've done your market research, you've done your competitive analysis and, you know, let's say I make. We're going to stick with the wreaths I'm a can made Reese and Stephanie Fleming: If you're doing your business plan, you're going to need to know your, you need to tell them what makes your research so great. What makes them like different and stand out from everything else that's out there.
Stephanie Fleming: Who are your competitors. What are they doing well. What are you, you know, this kind of thing is that competitive analysis. Stephanie Fleming: And you, you need to know that. And you need to be able to follow that, because you can't just go in blindly into business and go I sell Reese, and I know nothing about the market. Stephanie Fleming: You know, I don't know what my pricing. I don't know what my competitors are. So with that said, once you get into business know what your competitors are doing and then do your thing. It's like being informed.
Stephanie Fleming: I don't want to get caught up in the other reef maker and you know john Smith and reef maker over here is making them for a little bit less. Oh my god, I think she don't get caught in your head. So right now, you're just laying the bricks laying the bricks. Stephanie Fleming: Somebody asked a great question over here is these are questions you have to ask, how do you leave corporate America when Stephanie Fleming: That means the insurance 401k all that part scares you. And I don't mean it should scare you, but you are smart to be thinking about that because a lot of people have this Stephanie Fleming: Oh, I'm going to start my own business. I'm going to work for myself. It's going to be so amazing and I have a flexible schedule and yes you do. You do have a flexible schedule to work all night long. Sometimes
Stephanie Fleming: There's really amazing, wonderful things for working for yourself. However, if you leave. Stephanie Fleming: Corporate America or you leave a job. You have to be able to look at all the benefits that you'd be giving up so Stephanie Fleming: If you're not comfortable with that maybe you do it, part time. Maybe it brings you joy and you do it, part time and it gives you some extra side money because it doesn't make sense to do it full time because of your 401K and your benefits and things like that so Stephanie Fleming: Maybe you do it on the side for, you know, you set a goal post for yourself and you say, until I'm making this much. My business is making this much. It'll be a side job for me. Stephanie Fleming: Um, okay. So let's talk about
Stephanie Fleming: assessing your product and your business and your idea. And this is all about the SWOT analysis. So a SWOT analysis is a tool that businesses use to Stephanie Fleming: Assess it is you're you're where you are and your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and when it's done properly and honestly and objectively the SWOT analysis, it provides critical thinking that's needed for strategic planning of your business and Stephanie Fleming: You have to be really honest with yourself if you're making the reeds and you're like okay my strengths are that Stephanie Fleming: My roof has high quality materials. It's, I haven't seen anybody use these materials like line and they the design is very unique and you know you list all your strengths. Right. Stephanie Fleming: You look at your weakness and you think, Okay, well, okay, maybe a possible weaknesses, is that it's a higher priced one Stephanie Fleming: And so I'm not as competitively priced opportunities would be something like I saw this really this blogger and she is Stephanie Fleming: Doing read some of the month. And I'm going to send her one because I think she would like that. So I'm going to share all the opportunities that I think I have for my business and your threats might be Stephanie Fleming: Your threats might be Joan Smith over here. She has really I keep seeing her Stephanie Fleming: Her her rethinking business grow and I really need to watch that and I need to be able to, you know, count on my strengths of my business.
Stephanie Fleming: So there are a lot of tools and you can go online and they'll show you. Oh, it's if there's an analysis for for your SWAT thing. And honestly, you guys are planners your creative people get a piece of paper. Stephanie Fleming: Put it, you know, like, so a wind down a line across and right S. W. O. T. That's it. It's just a graph. So start listing out all your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities and threats. Stephanie Fleming: And you can do this for your business. You can do it for your products, like I said, it could be product specific and it could be your organization, your actual business. Stephanie Fleming: And Stephanie Fleming: Let's see, um, Stephanie Fleming: And so it just, it's one of those things we have done it from, from the beginning, very informally and then more recently in the company. We had done.
Stephanie Fleming: We had done a more formal like executive team several days of going through this and so you can make it as easy and as involved as you'd like. But I think that's something else that as you're building this foundation build that in okay um let me look at a couple questions here. Stephanie Fleming: How do I figure out what product. I want to sell since I've always liked making arts and crafts. So the very first thing I think is that is, and I'm going to be, I'm always really honest with you guys, so I'll be really honest now. Stephanie Fleming: You have a desire to have a business you like making arts and crafts, but you don't have anything for sale yet. So my advice to you would be that
Stephanie Fleming: keep your mind open as you're making things. Is there a market for something. LOOK AT THE LOOK AT THE MARKETPLACE look at the things that you really enjoy making or that make hey I offer this. I've never seen anybody make anything like this and go from there. So, Stephanie Fleming: That's something that I would, I would say to do as you're Stephanie Fleming: Making them, you know, don't make the mistake of saying, I just want to work because a lot of people just want to quit their jobs and they want to work for themselves and they want to do this. So, but dip your toe in and you know do it kind of in that way. Stephanie Fleming: Is having a YouTube channel. Stephanie Fleming: A good source of income for crafters, I would say it could be, um, Stephanie Fleming: I would say it could be yes, for sure. Stephanie Fleming: And I think with with I'm getting off track. So this is what I do. This is what I do. I'll see it. Let me look I'm going to answer questions in the Q AMP. A if it's a to this pertinent to the topic right now right now and then I'll do all the rest of them at the end. Stephanie Fleming: What marketplaces would be good to look at for comparison. So when I mean you're going to be looking at something for comparison. If you make
Stephanie Fleming: If you make rates. I don't know. I'm sticking with this. I've never made a wreath in my life, which, you know, I probably should. Stephanie Fleming: But if you make wreaths you need to look at where if you go to online and look at Etsy. Stephanie Fleming: And where are you wanting to sell. Stephanie Fleming: Do you want to sell on Etsy. Go and see all the people on Etsy that make Reese. And if you look in there's 500,000 people making reads Stephanie Fleming: You are going to be like of shoots, it's going to be, it might be hard for me to stand out, right, if you go online and you say high end fabric reef. Stephanie Fleming: And you go on there and there's five people selling on Etsy. You might know that it's you know it's a little bit. You're like okay there's I can make a name for myself. So for instance, when my mom and I started with.
Stephanie Fleming: stickers for scrapbooking. When we would look we said okay, who is currently selling stickers, who is currently selling stickers for scrapbooking. Stephanie Fleming: We want to make them unclear sticker material and we want to make them large and we want to make them shaped like size for 12 by 12 pages there wasn't anybody doing what we did. Stephanie Fleming: Anybody there was tiny stickers. There was everything was on paper and they were. It was nobody had what we had. Now that could have been a disaster because maybe nobody wanted that thing.
Stephanie Fleming: But it also told us that, hey, this thing that we want. It's not out in the marketplace. There could be a place for this, um, Stephanie Fleming: So I think that's, you know, that's kind of where you go. You look if there are, if there's craft fairs. If that's where you want to sell. I know right now that's not really a thing, but Stephanie Fleming: If your goal is to sell at a local craft fair when they come back, look there to see other 10 wreath makers are there 10 you know somebody that makes personas are Stephanie Fleming: You to look and know that Stephanie Fleming: That marketplace. And that's what I mean by marketplaces basically where your products would be sold. Stephanie Fleming: Okay, now two things that, for those of you. So a couple people before Joe before we join. Notice that my ups. I'm flop. My husband here right over here. I used to be our CFO and our CEO of a happy planner and mamby and Stephanie Fleming: When I asked him, What are the two most important things about business. He said cash flow and inventory. And I was like, oh yeah, I'm not gonna be talking about that. However, Stephanie Fleming: It is really important. So if you are talking to your accountant and you have, you need to have a good
Stephanie Fleming: If you have a need to have a good understanding of your cash flow and have your inventory. So you don't want to just be throwing out money all the time and I don't know where I just bought the things and you need to know. Stephanie Fleming: What's coming in, what's going out and and with inventory, you need to really have a good handle on that because maybe when you're small, it's not going to be a big deal. But as you grow if you don't have those two things under control, that can wait. Yeah. Okay. Um, Raena Burch (MIchaels): Maybe now that you're retired, you can make race. Stephanie Fleming: For some reason, something must be telling me like Stephanie Fleming: Oh, you want to make Stephanie Fleming: A being a grandma, my actually like decorating for Halloween. What's the next one coming up Valentine's Day for the first time, because I'm like, I have this time and you know Stephanie Fleming: I'm feeling so creamy maybe research.
Raena Burch (MIchaels): Hey, there you go. Stephanie Fleming: Maybe read through my Stephanie Fleming: OK, so now I want to talk about marketing and branding. Um, and so, and like I said, if there's some specific questions when we're done. I can see if I can answer about starting the business but um Stephanie Fleming: There are so many different ways that like somebody asked about an LLC and those are kinds of things like my biggest Stephanie Fleming: Advice piece of advice for you is to build that strong foundation and consult with the people you really need to consult with where you can go one on one and say, here's my situation.
Stephanie Fleming: Because I, I don't know, I can't tell you it's much better for you to be an LLC or a sole proprietor or an S Corp or Stephanie Fleming: Because your situation is going to be so different. There really isn't one plan. I wish there was because then I could say, hey, here is the thing, but um Stephanie Fleming: No know know what you know where you're going, create that roadmap for what you want and if you don't know, that's fine. Sit with it for a while and think about it for a while. Stephanie Fleming: And protect yourself legally and financially, make sure you're setting things up properly and that you're not violating the laws are not paying you know you haven't filed some, you know, permit, you're supposed to file or selling or making or whatever. Stephanie Fleming: Come up with that product right you come for it and do your SWOT analysis. And then once you actually start selling and you say you now you have this you're starting this business.
Stephanie Fleming: This is the part for me that Stephanie Fleming: I love the most, because it's about marketing and branding and I have my notes here and I'm going to switch them around because the number one thing that I think that I have to offer you is build your brand build your brand. Build your Brand brand matters and Stephanie Fleming: If I cannot stress it enough. I can't stress it enough because Stephanie Fleming: Unless your business is going to be providing a commodity.
Stephanie Fleming: Which a commodity versus a brand would be commodities are like products that which can be easily substituted for one another, their items for which a demand exists, but no qualitative difference across the marketplace. Stephanie Fleming: And in contrast brands create differentiated products which are highly desired by their customer base. Okay. Brands connect with emotion. Stephanie Fleming: And commodities connect on price. So let's say you are going to make Washington you have, you know, you're going to bring it in from somewhere, let's say, and unless you're gonna say I had the cheapest watch the tape ever
Stephanie Fleming: You're watching tape better be, you know, you have to have a brand around it because it's going to be all about price, then right Stephanie Fleming: If you are someone. This is not for this crowd, probably. But if I sold notebook paper college ruled notebook paper that's a commodity it every year. Stephanie Fleming: You know places are going to carry notebook paper, but so it's going to be all about price, but you don't know what's your favorite brand of college will notebook paper. Nobody knows that there because there's no such thing. Um, Stephanie Fleming: So you want to be able to connect that right so your product has to stand out, but it has to stand for something Stephanie Fleming: That makes sense. So your product needs to stand out, but your brand needs to stand for something that is going to make you different okay um
Stephanie Fleming: People. This was how I always thought about it. People don't have relationships with companies or products they have relationships with brands and people Stephanie Fleming: And if you want to stand out. Because right now, if you have your reach. Stephanie Fleming: And you have a great read and everything and great great pricing all this, you've done. You've built the foundation and everything. Stephanie Fleming: You are going to be competing with a lot of people who have free advertising on social media.
Stephanie Fleming: I'm not advertising advertising, but get it going on social media. And all of these tools that back in my day. Stephanie Fleming: You either had to have a brick and mortar store or you needed to sell to a brick and mortar store or, you know, all of these things. So if you are making something Stephanie Fleming: And you want to stand out and you want to stand out with the millions and millions of people on Instagram or Tick tock or Snapchat. Notice Snapchat anymore or YouTube or, you know, all of these different things. You have got to have a brand and you have to be different. Stephanie Fleming: And that could be in your product that could be in the makeup of your business that could be in your messaging and how you go about inspiring your customers. Stephanie Fleming: You have to figure out what makes you unique. Um, so another thing that I would always say at the happy planner and it Mandy. When I worked there was Stephanie Fleming: You don't want your customers to feel like a transaction.
Stephanie Fleming: You want them to feel like they're part of something, a community of family, a movement right you don't want, and you have to, it has to be real, though. You can't just like your customer, believe me. Stephanie Fleming: Will know when you're not being genuine if you're just trying to be like oh hey you know I'm gonna, I want them to feel special. So that can get them their order. Stephanie Fleming: Customers are smart people are smart, they know when they're being sold something if you love the product to sell or the service or whatever. Um, Stephanie Fleming: It's not going to feel like a sale right when we created the happy planner man I happy planner stuff all over. I don't work there anymore, but every single day of my life. I use the happy planner. Stephanie Fleming: To help me in retirement to help me with my wellness journey to help me do my meal planning and I will scream it from the rooftops and if you want to buy it. Cool. But I must still be telling you that how much I love it and Stephanie Fleming: I started doing that from the beginning because I loved and believed in our product more than anyone. And I wanted to tell you and share with people, how much I loved it.
Stephanie Fleming: I didn't say please come by this do all these things, not that you don't ever you know advertise when something's on sale. I wanted to inspire people. Stephanie Fleming: And pass it, you know, and to get customers. Yes, but I wanted to share my love for this product we created. And I did that with all of our products and it was genuine and I created relationships with real people and they got to see behind the scenes. And so our tape was Stephanie Fleming: I want to be that person that's kind of the role I fell in where Stephanie Fleming: You know, let's let's take this product. I will be the one to go with my me and my big mouth go and share it with the world and tell everybody who will listen Stephanie Fleming: About you know about our products. So you need to be your biggest cheerleader. And you need to love what you do and find out what makes you different in that space and really
Stephanie Fleming: Like go out there and and be genuine about it and develop that brand that you have define it. Stephanie Fleming: You know, make sure that you know that you can tell somebody you know I was all about. I'm creating relationships and community. We are inspiring and educating and motivating people by sharing our products with them. Stephanie Fleming: And that's how and then people would want to buy them. If it felt like it fit into their life that felt to me like a respectful relationship with my customer, and that makes all the difference in the world and and it's something that's why I think Stephanie Fleming: Sometimes, you know, business gets bigger and it gets a little more harsh. And so for me it was like you know I'm personally connected to people and I care so Stephanie Fleming: I want you to care that much. I want you to care that much about your business and about your product because I think your customers will feel that Stephanie Fleming: Um, what else. Okay, so let me go back to where I was going to start um so marketing and branding. I want you to know who you are.
Stephanie Fleming: Know what your business or your product is and what you're not so this will help you when you're looking at Stephanie Fleming: Somebody else on Instagram that's doing something that you think, oh, that's cool. I think I should do that, you know, you're not everything to everybody Starbucks, you know, sells coffee if you live in California. In and Out Burger. So hamburgers. Stephanie Fleming: That people like they don't sell you want chicken tenders. Sorry, you're out of luck. You know, they do hamburgers and they do them well. Stephanie Fleming: And I would argue, and probably fight somebody if they said that it's not the best hamburger in the whole world but that's that's for a different day. Stephanie Fleming: Anyway, they know who they are. They make hamburgers. They make them a certain way. This is who they are. And I can tell you the line around in and out.
Stephanie Fleming: Every day at my house or in our city is wrapped around always full. Because they know who they are and they're not ashamed that they're not. They don't have chicken. They don't have salads. They don't have all this stuff so Stephanie Fleming: Know who you are and what you're not I'm know your customer. Know your customer. Who are you talking to, again, you don't have to. If you are. I see somebody here. Stephanie Fleming: I think you were young, if I'm looking back in the questions. Who wants to sell it, do an Etsy Scrushy business right so if you are selling your spreadsheet to Stephanie Fleming: Young girls and maybe young women, you don't need to market to me.
Stephanie Fleming: You know, you don't need to market to the 50 year old midlife or not that one day, not that I might not want to buy your product, but you need to really hone in and define who's my customer my customer is maybe she's between the ages of 12 and 25 Stephanie Fleming: And she's kind of, you know, she likes to she's kind of casual you really define that customer. So that's who you're talking to. Stephanie Fleming: And your potential customers to even if you don't have any you're like, this is who I want to buy my spreadsheets and so that is know your potential customers and the customers you have now so that you can speak to them. Stephanie Fleming: Like you know you would speak to somebody that you know some, some companies. Stephanie Fleming: Even give their customers names they define them. They're like, okay, it's Stephanie F and she lives in Orange County, California.
Stephanie Fleming: And she's 15 years old and she, you know, and this is what she'd car drive the car she drives. These are the things she likes to do in her free time. Some companies actually define and give a name to their ideal ideal customer Stephanie Fleming: Just another thing that gives you say hey does with this messaging resonate with Stephanie F in California. Stephanie Fleming: Um, so don't be everything to everyone. We covered that. And just remember in and out and Stephanie Fleming: Share the unique qualities of your business or your product with your customers. I'm so Stephanie Fleming: Happy planner, I can tell you how they're different. We wanted a lower price if you had more accessibility to everyone. We wanted positivity to be included in your daily planning life we wanted great design, we wanted discs to make the
Stephanie Fleming: Planner interchangeable, you can move it. You can customize it and there was five I'm retired now so don't hold this against me. But there was one more anyway. Stephanie Fleming: Um, anyway, so I knew what created. But what made us different and Stephanie Fleming: And what made us unique. So if somebody else said, oh, will you ever do a spiral bound planner. Stephanie Fleming: And we said, probably not. No, probably not. If I get it. If you love spiral bound planners, there's great spiral bound pairs, but we are hashtag disk love. We love the disks and that's what we do, you know, Stephanie Fleming: Not that we would never do anything else, but we knew that. That's what made us unique. Will you ever use high, high, high quality paper, probably not, because we want to be able to, you know, Stephanie Fleming: Have our product accessible to as many people as possible so know what makes you unique and then tell your customers that Stephanie Fleming: I'm okay. What else did I write to. Don't be afraid to toot your own horn. We talked about that.
Stephanie Fleming: Build a community. Okay. So building a community that supports inspires educates your customers. So this is Instagram, YouTube. Somebody asked about YouTube Stephanie Fleming: And this is about, again, creating a relationship community is relationship if you love your product and you connect with the customers that love your product as well. Stephanie Fleming: And I don't care if it's when it starts. Let's go with your spreadsheet business if it's 10 people that were your spreadsheet.
Stephanie Fleming: Every day they love them, they they change them out. They have one in every color that you make. And it's the 11th, it's you and 10 customers build on that then you guys just, you know, build on that engage with them every day. Stephanie Fleming: And that is going to create a community. When we started out on Periscope was the thing. Does anybody remember Periscope. Stephanie Fleming: And I was like okay and now when we started out like the happy planner part not like way back when. But when the happy planner came out, I was trying to think of a way to like communicate and show people Stephanie Fleming: Like what was inside of our planners and so we would do Periscope lives and I like rigged up some, like, you know, Genki like Stephanie Fleming: Overhead camera thing and I have a picture of it and it is like, Who does she think she is Stephanie Fleming: And we did a live, Periscope and people loved it. And so I built off of what the community left. You know, we try something new. People didn't really respond. We just moved on, you know, we tried something different and so
Stephanie Fleming: Building that community is so it's such an important part of branding and marketing and let me tell you guys, until we sold our business when we were actually going through the process of marketing the company. We sat down and until Stephanie Fleming: We spent almost zero on in marketing dollars almost zero. We went to a couple of events and we sponsored a couple of things like that like a wild and Stephanie Fleming: So that's not zero. I mean, we put the money into that we never paid for performance marketing. We never paid any kind of advertising. We didn't do AdWords, we didn't do anything. It was purely relationships and community building on social media for free.
Stephanie Fleming: For free because it was genuine that we cared. I spent the time, I answered. Things you can do that right so engage with your community build it build your brand. It's so important. Stephanie Fleming: Because also if you don't know what makes you different and what makes your product different your I guarantee you, your customer won't either. Stephanie Fleming: So if you're sitting there going, I can't. Want to find it. I'm sure that my customers know but like I can't tell you. Stephanie Fleming: What makes my product different. I mean, I like it. Your customers won't know. And eventually, somebody else is going to come along and they're going to want to buy their read from john Smith. Stephanie Fleming: Or whatever I named earlier. So that is something you need to do that work and know Stephanie Fleming: Who you are, who your businesses what they're not what your product is so that you can like shout that from the rooftops.
Stephanie Fleming: And for the people that want to come. Great, you have, you know, you bring them in with open arms. Stephanie Fleming: And for the people who are like, yeah, it's not really for me. Not really a wreath kind of go, no problem. You know, I have super short here. I don't use punches. No problem. Stephanie Fleming: We're going to be over here, loving our spreadsheets. Right. So build that community. I'm thinking. Think outside of the box. Think outside of the box. And another thing. Stephanie Fleming: For every. This is, I think this is in from the book, jab, jab, jab, right hook
Stephanie Fleming: And it's for every one thing you asked your customer to do. You should be providing three things of that are for them without asking. So if every day on your Instagram, it's Stephanie Fleming: Have this for sale has come by my knee wreath. I've got a new listing, blah, blah, blah. It's going to feel like a catalog. Stephanie Fleming: If that's what you're going for cool but if you have tips on decorating your door with your reef and how to the next one is, you know, changing your results seasonally, how to spice up your wreath with Stephanie Fleming: With. I don't know. Cute little Easter Bunny things that you can get at Michael's, of course you know how to change them out with the seasons. Then, and then you know you do that a couple times and then you post a new product you are giving your customer something as well. Okay, um,
Stephanie Fleming: Let me say when I have down here. I'm OK. And then, so now that we're here we've kind of gone through those things I could talk to you guys literally. That's why I use use, use the hashtag, me and my big mouth. Stephanie Fleming: I could talk to you about this stuff all day long, because it is a passion of mine, and I've loved being in business. I've loved as hard as I work Stephanie Fleming: That we worked it was all worth it. I want to leave you with one thing, because I think that I'm not leaving you, but I just mean as I wrap this up. Um,
Stephanie Fleming: owning your own business is hard work. Stephanie Fleming: If you don't, you're thinking that this is just going to be kind of seven easy thing you're going to do and you're going to have all this free time and Stephanie Fleming: You're going to be your own boss and you're not really looking at it for what it is you're going to be shocked down the road, especially if your business becomes successful, which I hope that for you and really wish that for you. Stephanie Fleming: There are, I have. Yes. Could I say, you know what, Friday, I'm going to go and I'm going to drive my kids to I'm going to chaperone that field trip. Yes.
Stephanie Fleming: That meant that I worked all weekend because somebody had to go package stickers you know somebody had to pack it by orders up Stephanie Fleming: And so you have to be willing to do the work. So you need to love it and I hope you love what you do. Stephanie Fleming: So as we wrap up before we get into questions. I want you to I would really encourage you, I'm not bossy, just a little bit. Stephanie Fleming: That take make a goal today right set a goal for your business if you're just starting. And I don't know if it was Emma, or somebody was going to was just started me was actually earlier on said she's just starting. Make a goal a measurable goal right that has some specific
Stephanie Fleming: specific goals. I can't say it tonight that maybe you want to do some research. Go to sba.gov and do your homework I'm starting up a business. Stephanie Fleming: Or if you're in business. You want to go there and just review to make sure you're doing things the right way. Stephanie Fleming: You know, makes them. I'm going to like really write down, who I am. I'm going to come up with my branding blurb. Who am I, what is my product set a goal this week.
Stephanie Fleming: And do it just start doing that thing and making that that progress. Okay, that's the goals because you really, I can't tell you specifically because you guys are all in so many different situations. So, um, so now let me take some questions. Stephanie Fleming: Let me take some questions. Let me close this baby out Stephanie Fleming: Okay. Stephanie Fleming: We asked, what should I use to make a website, um, there's a lot of good things out there to make a website you can if you don't want to do your very own, you can always sell on on Etsy. If you do want to do I use Squarespace. Stephanie Fleming: Because I i love it i that's not like super techie. That way, which is actually a really good selling point for Squarespace because
Stephanie Fleming: If I can do it. I set my own one, the one that I have right now. Stephanie Fleming calm, which was one that I just did after I wrote my book. And I'm like, oh, shoot, I retired I need my own website I use Squarespace and I set it up in like Stephanie Fleming: A day and a half. So, so Squarespace is amazing. There's a lot of other ones. So if you just did. Like if you Googled GTS. Stephanie Fleming: Google is your friend. And so as YouTube. You can learn anything. But if you look at you know website hosting platforms. They'll teach you there to be a list all kinds
Stephanie Fleming: Oh, somebody who's wicks, I can see that as well. Um Shopify okay so Shopify we use that for our site. We still do happy planner still uses Shopify for selling Stephanie Fleming: It has a lot bigger capability for selling your products and your product listing. If you are someone who maybe has just a few things to sell. Stephanie Fleming: Being someone who's more of a product creative designer person Squarespace is really hard for me to make pretty Stephanie Fleming: I mean, sorry Shopify was really hard for me to make pretty Squarespace to give you. There's all sorts of things you can use templates and Shopify was just a little harder. However, it's a great platform. Stephanie Fleming: very user friendly and very like what's the sometimes I can't think of the right term not organic. But when you you know intuitive. It's got very intuitive like
Stephanie Fleming: Navigation, but on the back end so Stephanie Fleming: That is there. Stephanie Fleming: Do you have any tips when you have to make difficult business decisions. Um, I would go back to your goals. Um, here's one for us. So for instance, Stephanie Fleming: When I forget how many years we had been in business and our, our back in the day, there were like 6500 independent scrapbooking stores. And that was our base that's how we started. All the mom and pops and stuff, but our business. Stephanie Fleming: Plan was we wanted to get our products in the hands of as many people as possible. And we wanted to be in the craft chains like Michaels.
Stephanie Fleming: And we knew we had to make some very difficult decisions in, you know, really marketing our product to retail chains and it was because it was in our business. Stephanie Fleming: Plan that that's how we wanted our products to become available. Not every mom and pop was happy with us but and and I, you know, it was a hard, difficult decision to make, because Stephanie Fleming: We felt so much gratitude for their support. Stephanie Fleming: But they were starting to go away and we needed our business to grow. And so we, you have to look and we said look back at those look back at your business plan look back at your goals and the foundations, you set for yourself and sometimes you just have to, um, Stephanie Fleming: I will say the hardest thing for me was is actually running the business. There are a lot of difficult decisions that you have to make and
Stephanie Fleming: It's almost like being a parent, sometimes you know you have to make these difficult decisions were Stephanie Fleming: Things that you are in charge of the health of your business. And if something is going to maybe your employees would wonder if you get to the point we have employees, maybe their decisions that you make that Stephanie Fleming: Your employees or your customers won't understand but you know that your business won't survive if you don't Stephanie Fleming: Just like if you're a parent, you need to be sometimes Punisher kids sometimes because you know I sneaked my kids like two times one of them was on my sexual ran in the middle of the street because he wasn't afraid of me. Stephanie Fleming: You know, so I made a difficult decision and said okay I rather have them be afraid of mice thinking don't at me. Don't do me a favor. We're not going to go there. I just said, I'm making a difficult decision as a parent because Stephanie Fleming: He kept running in the street. So, um, I would say, go back to those those foundations. Stephanie Fleming: Let's see. Do you ever feel like having a degree with streamline what of streamline things for you or the company. Stephanie Fleming: Yes and no. So there are a lot of things that I had to learn the hard and long way because I was a
Stephanie Fleming: Mom at right out of high school, I was not married. And I had, I was pregnant with my first with my first son, my son, my first child at 18 and I just had to be a mom and go to work and feed my family and so Stephanie Fleming: You know, I did that for eight years. I did in home daycare and I didn't have a degree and go to college and so Stephanie Fleming: I learned things the hard way. I'm a very hard worker and a very smart woman. I thought those were my circumstances and so Stephanie Fleming: There were a lot of things that people knew. However, I will say this is that I have an ability to learn and I will work harder than anybody you know so Stephanie Fleming: Those things combined. There are some people that I've seen, who come out of, you know, out of college and they're like, I know.
Stephanie Fleming: I am I am you know I have a degree, but they don't have an intuition. They don't have they're not really paying attention to customer and product and what it is and I have a feel for it. So it would have Stephanie Fleming: I would have learned a lot quicker. There would have been things that I maybe, you know, I really went to school, basically in my business. Stephanie Fleming: Um, but yeah, there would have been things that I'm sure I would have not, you know, Stephanie Fleming: Spend time trying to learn or hire somebody that I would have known to do but Stephanie Fleming: Um, so obviously it's not a bad thing, but it's also not a deterrent for people who say, well, I don't have a college degree or I don't know. There are plenty of successful people in the world who don't have a college degree. Stephanie Fleming: We may have to do things longer and harder, but we're still able to so Stephanie Fleming: How do you come up with prices for your products. So move Stephanie Fleming: That's a question for this guy right here. No. Um, so you have to, you really have to look at your cost of goods.
Stephanie Fleming: You know what it costs you to make it, including your time, but we highly say just put in the amount of time. If you ever want to scale your business. You have to know Stephanie Fleming: What the labor costs is even if you put in minimum wage for your time. If it's taking you all night long to make one thing you can't say like I just do that know that you're telling yourself, it takes eight hours of work you need to build that into your, your cost of goods and maybe Stephanie Fleming: Your price is not high enough, maybe if you maybe it priced it out to a product that's not actually a viable product. Stephanie Fleming: I've done that too, by the way, where we've said this would be so amazing right not actually handmade but we would come up with a product and we would say Stephanie Fleming: This would be like the coolest product ever could we do this, and we would talk to the factories and we would look and maybe that needs to be $129 and we're like, that is never going to happen. Stephanie Fleming: Because we would also kind of look and you get a feel for by doing market research.
Stephanie Fleming: How much do you read this cost. How much do these things cost and how much is, do you believe people will be willing to pay for your product. Stephanie Fleming: But I've talked myself out over Kevin and our team has talked ourselves out of products that it's like that is not a viable product line based on what it needs to cost. Stephanie Fleming: Um, let's see, how did you decide the name for your business.
Stephanie Fleming: So I'll tell a quick my mom and I went into business together and she was told I won't go into who told her this kept saying she would pitch your ideas and she would they would say, Stephanie Fleming: You and your big ideas we're not looking for base hits. We're looking for home runs. If I just kind of send her on her way very dismissive. Stephanie Fleming: And my mom was like, okay, you know, kind of a you and your big ideas thing. And when we started talking about this and we're like, this is a big idea. And we, that was one of the things we said, you know, we're in a creative space so Stephanie Fleming: Me and my big ideas would be such a cool name. And we don't have to be to. It's not like it's a computer, you know that we have to be in that like in some techie world we're like, what's that name so
Stephanie Fleming: We thought it would be pretty catchy and that is how and shockingly, nobody had it. So that's how we came up with. Stephanie Fleming: Me and my big ideas and I saw somebody else and you need to file a DDA which is a Doing business as. So if you are not doing business as Stephanie Fleming. I'm not Stephanie Fleming: In which case, maybe you still do. I'm not sure, but at the SBA website. You'll see. They'll guide you through filing a DPA for your business name. Stephanie Fleming: Those are the kinds of things that you may not think you need to do, or may not be aware of that. You need to that the SBA website will help you
Stephanie Fleming: Did you ever struggle with being creative. Once your passion became your business 100% yes yes yes yes, um, which is why part of my Stephanie Fleming: Like schedule my routine was constantly being inspired whether that was, you know, going on a walk or going to a mall and looking at different textures of things or looking at trends or Stephanie Fleming: Just getting away and trying to be creative. I had to figure out when your when your business at which I would assume a lot of you would be in that Stephanie Fleming: Boat is creative. Please nurture your creativity every day because if you make wreaths Stephanie Fleming: You might not always have to you know breeds might not always be the thing Stephanie Fleming: And so if you you need to evolve, you need to evolve, maybe it is, maybe a 25 years of selling wreaths or spreadsheets or or whatever or jewelry. But maybe you're making bracelets. Stephanie Fleming: Like this is pretty hot right now, right, or at least it was for I had only my little thing has my name for my grandkids on there. Stephanie Fleming: But so maybe you can make these for a couple years. And then if you don't, if you're trying to sell these in 30 years because they were hot in 2020
Stephanie Fleming: You know, you're going to be a slow business person, you're a business is not going to be making as much money as you probably like it to. Then you need to know that everyone's making necklaces. So nurturing your creativity and knowing what's going on in your Stephanie Fleming: In your world. Stephanie Fleming: How our connections with the factories made what is the right time to connect to the factory. Stephanie Fleming: And so we actually worked with a broker at the beginning, which is just somebody who already knows we found the his contact through business associates.
Stephanie Fleming: And that was somebody who was like I already know these factories. They've legitimize them, they know that they're, you know, Stephanie Fleming: Fair and good factories and we work through there. We paid a lot more money and we took less money on on the products until we learned how to do business with different factories. Stephanie Fleming: So, and that's working overseas the factories. We did like a printing company here. I was calling label makers to say hey you make stickers and they're like, Stephanie Fleming: Love bottle labels no sticker. They didn't get it. So, um, I would say the time to do it. If you can't keep up with the demand of your product and you like say you're so you're making stickers at home and you have Stephanie Fleming: 10 crickets right or 20 crickets. I don't know how many people have and you're they're going and you cannot keep up with the demand, perhaps you need to look in, you know, to scaling your business up and and see what that means for you and maybe make some new guidelines. Stephanie Fleming: Someone's asking about the IRS, not your girl. Sorry. Sorry, I am definitely not your girl I you'd be like, Oh, um,
Stephanie Fleming: How do you start a company, how do you start your business and building a shop. Stephanie Fleming: Well, go back and watch this. There's a lot to start it depends if you building a shop meaning like going online and creating a website where you sell your product. I would make sure that you, you know, Stephanie Fleming: Make sure you've done your homework on which platform really works for you.
Stephanie Fleming: Um, my goodness, I wish I let's see, um, Stephanie Fleming: Are we in a hard stop at six. Raena Burch (MIchaels): No. Stephanie Fleming: Okay, I can take a few more questions, if that's Raena Burch (MIchaels): Yeah, it's entirely up to you.
Stephanie Fleming: Okay, because I'm looking, I'm looking over here because Raena Burch (MIchaels): No, don't worry about the clock. Raena Burch (MIchaels): Just whenever you're ready. Stephanie Fleming: Okay, because a lot of people are asking questions in the chat.
Stephanie Fleming: Which is fine, I'll just go over here. Stephanie Fleming: Um, when did you decide to hire help outside of friends and family. And who did you start with that is a really great idea to we started we were always I've always been pretty conservative. So, um, the beginning it was Stephanie Fleming: You know anybody who would sit my kids were packaging stickers and we had a friend who was in sales. And she said, I love what you guys do so. Stephanie Fleming: I'd love to sell these and she kind of sold the neighbor commission and she wasn't like on payroll or anything. And, you know, so we kind of had this like
Stephanie Fleming: Like hire as needed. Do we know somebody do we know somebody. And I think you kind of get that feeling, all of a sudden it's like Stephanie Fleming: You kind of think I need. I don't know anybody if if you need somebody who's going to be in your accounting, let's say, and doing your, you know, taking in and taking your payments and dealing with things and Stephanie Fleming: You're like, I don't know anybody. It's not me. I need to do this and maybe you need to start searching for that. And you'd really have to look at your cash flow. You have to make sure that, you know, what does that mean, can you afford that. Stephanie Fleming: These are all things that I think meeting with it, having somebody that you work with as an accountant. Stephanie Fleming: Can help you plan that out. So you're not just going like, I think I need somebody you hire someone, and then get yourself into a position where Stephanie Fleming: You know, you're going, shoot. Now, I have this employee, I have to do this, you know, once you become an employer, you have there's employee.
Stephanie Fleming: There's employer tax laws. There's employee things that you have to follow and compliance and you've got all that stuff to do. So you really have to do your homework. Stephanie Fleming: Um, somebody else asking how do you organize your inventory, I did not. Stephanie Fleming: I did it. Only when I had it in my garage and they were a little bins by skew numbers and we had 12 stickers and once we grew too big. We had somebody to do that. So I'm sorry that I'm not going to be your resource for that. Stephanie Fleming: Um, Stephanie Fleming: The market is so saturated with planner shops. How to Be your own cheerleader without boring. Everyone okay so if you, this is just what I think is that if if you feel like talking about your product is just more white noise. Stephanie Fleming: Then you need to your maybe your product isn't standing out en