I was sent a copy of Fiona Pullen’s new book, Craft a Creative Business, to review. Fiona is the founder of The Sewing Directory a popular site in the UK for finding local and online sewing suppliers, sewing courses and sewing groups. As someone running a creative business, I thought it would be interesting to read about where I have made good choices and where I could stand to make improvements.
Fiona’s book is written in easy to digest bits, with lots of little “post it notes” and “memos” on its pages. It makes it easy to pick it up and put it down which is how most of us need to use books due to time constraints. The book is written for someone who is just starting a business and begins, in fact, with a chapter called “Where do I Start?” but the information found there can apply to those of use who have already started our businesses. For instance, she talks about finding your “USP” or unique selling point. One way she suggests doing that is to survey your potential customers. I would have to say that my USP is paper pieced patterns. I have never surveyed my readers to find out what kind of patterns they would like to buy though. I always wonder to myself whether a design will have appeal but I should stop and ask every now and then. I’m doing that now! Would you take a moment to complete my survey? Just click this link and it will bring you to a Google Doc Survey.
The book moves on to cover every aspect of a business from Legal Matters, Presentation, Social Media, Selling online, and Selling Offline.
I was reassured that I was adequately keeping my books, had a website and shop in good working order, etc. But I also identified some shortcomings. For one, I had installed Google Analytics on my blog a couple of years ago but haven’t been using the reports and information it generates. Fiona explains how I can do that in this book. She also talks a bit about copyright and mentioned the need for a watermark on your photos (check!) and a copyright statement on your blog. I had neglected the second but have added it now (see sidebar). At one point when talking about your website she suggested adding an “About Me” page with some photographs of your working space and sharing a bit about yourself with your readers. When I recently added my new Pattern Shop to the blog, a header was added at the same time creating an About Me page. Last week, I took the time to add some images of my sewing room and gardens and write a bit on that page.
I think that reading this whole book cover to cover might feel very intimidating to someone just starting out. And that is not surprising, because it IS intimidating and there is a lot to think about. It’s good to realize that you can work on some of these things over time. They don’t all need to happen right away.
I’m looking forward to identifying more ways to improve my creative business using this book. If you are interested in buying a copy, the book is available at Amazon and you could inquire at your local quilt shop as well.
I can’t wait for my survey results! It will be fun to read them.