How to Price your Items

When it comes to pricing, oh my gosh, the struggle is real! Buying all the goodies is what I am good at, but when it comes to playing the price tag game, forget it!

If you quickly research pricing your items for a small handmade business, it gets overwhelming fast. Some advice gets so technical that they are adding every last cent up, even including the costs of items purchased to make your goods. I don’t get that technical when it comes to pricing my items. There are some things that will pay for themselves in the long run, and I don’t really feel like adding 3 cents just because I use an item that helps me make a product.

Stick to these three big categories: ingredients, packaging (including shipping matterials), and shipping. Then you can include, time and extras at the end.

If you are like me and do both in person and online events, your pricing may differ to reflect or not reflect shipping prices.

To estimate shipping, you need to locate your shipping providers cost estimates based on weight. Sometimes depending on where you are shipping to, a flat rate option might be more cost saving. You can also use a shipping calculator that comes with your e-commerce store. I offer free shipping so I don’t use that feature.

First make a list of your goods that you sell. Since I do bath goods, I’ll use a few as examples. So say I make bath bombs, whipped body butter and cuticle oil.

Write down your ingredients for each item. If you have the cost that you paid for your ingredients, you can do some math and figure out how many oz, or another measurable number you use vs how much you bought. This will help you determine the costs to make your item. You can do the same for your shipping and packaging materials. Then once you know how much weight they all add up to, you can locate the weight on the shipping scale and find the average. Add all those numbers up. This is how much it costs you. Then you can pay yourself hourly or however you’d like. Say you’d rather pay yourself $1.00 per bath bomb or $3.00 per butter vs hourly. Then you will have your profit margin, and retail price.

You can also search similar items on ecommerce sites to see if your pricing is too high, too low, or in-between. I like being in the range of lower and in-between, but if you use higher quality ingredients, or offer more of a unique item, it’s ok to be in the in-between and high.

Ultimately your customers will help determine if your pricing is too high, or just right. If you don’t get very many sales, you can always adjust your prices, and experiment.

Here are some ways to keep costs lower:

  1. Buy in bulk. It makes the prices per oz cheaper, and you run out less.
  2. Use coupons when you can. If you can get the same item for even a dollar cheaper, it will reduce costs.
  3. Experiment with sizes. Is there a different size item you can sell that would reduce shipping, packaging or ingredient costs, but still allow your customers to enjoy it?

Pricing is a hard thing to find balance in. You don’t want to change too much, but you also don’t want to under charge and never make a profit either. As long as you add value to your goods, and accompany outstanding customer service, customer satisfaction will remain high, and your prices will be perfect just for you.

How do you price your items? Do you have a formula you follow? Do you base it off of other market prices? Do your prices change seasonally? Let me know below!

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How Far Will We Go, to Find Out We Went too Far?

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S Eliot

This quote reminds me of wanting to quit, but continuing anyway. If you start a business venture and end it prematurely, how will you know if you really reached your potential? Do you know you’re really climbing the mountain, instead of walking into a valley? You don’t until you are there, and if you aren’t there, well keep on walking. Climb the climb, and enjoy every last step. Document it, take notes and share the good and the bad.

In business, especially small business, just being is a risk. Opening a brick and mortar, or even an e-commerce store comes with it’s own set of fears, but the reward is also huge. Stepping out and doing craft shows, festivals, and markets also bring a huge reward, especially if you aren’t ready to sell more regularly, or you want to network and sell as much as you can. You gain valuable information on what customers like, and you can see their thoughts and actions that you can’t see behind a screen. You also network with other makers, as well as customers. The worst thing that can happen, is nothing. Every opportunity is a learning experience, no matter how long you have been a small business or not, you will always learn something on your latest venture.

When I was in high school I was in band. In the beginning of the year, and after every concert when we got the new music, we would look it over, and gasp at the runs and would ask each other “How in the world are we going to play this?!” After the concert, we often would laugh and look back, seeing how far we came, and would wonder why we even thought it was hard. There was only one song that we weren’t able to perform. We pushed ourselves hard, but it was just too technical, and too much. I still play it to this day for a challenge, and I still mess up every single time. But I have hope that one day I’ll be able to belt out the highest of the highest notes, and learn the fingerings while doing 8th and 16th note runs at the highest octave. We learned how far we could go. While we weren’t able to perform it in concert, we still grew as a band, and as individual musicians. We found new strengths, and new weaknesses. If we hadn’t tried that song, and pushed ourselves until the final moment, we wouldn’t gave grown. Growth comes when you step out of what is comfortable and you enter the unknown. The worst that can happen is nothing. You will always learn something.

So if you feel like you are ready for the next big step, shoot for the stars, research, plan and launch. The worst that can happen is you start to sink instead of swim. Then you can stop, pause, and back up. Taking notes of where to improve, where to go next and when to re-launch. It is better to go big and go home, than to stand still. The worst that will happen is you’ll learn that you aren’t ready yet. If you jump in, and start to swim, then you know you can start to plan for the next level. The next big step. Just make sure you are comfortable on your current level. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Slow and steady wins the race. Remember your only competition is you. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey to the top. The small things, the adventure, that is the part that every one loves following. The twists and turns, the surprises, makes the adventure a great amazing story, your story! The only one that can tell it is you!! So… is there a bear around the corner?! I don’t know, you tell me! See you at the top!

How to Keep Yourself Accountable in your Daily life.

If you are making yourself accountable for a new habit, or you just want to remember your task at hand, the best way to keep yourself accountable, is to write it down. You can do it privately, or in a more public way, but as long as you have it written down, it will get done. Whether it takes days or a year, that task will get checked off. Research has shown that by physically writing down a goal, you are more likely to achieve it than not, so don’t throw out that pen and paper just yet. To- Do list’s are your best friends. You can’t forget something that is written down and staring you in the face.

If you are not the type to write it down, tell a friend. If you tell someone you are going to do something, chances are you are going to do it, even if you don’t want to out of fear of going back on your word, or looking unsuccessful. Subconsciously you would rather achieve that goal, than to not do it, just because you told a friend you would.

Post it. This goes along with the whole telling your friend. I had a goal of running a 5k one am. So I posted that I was going to go run a 5k. A mile in, I really wanted to stop. I posted in my fitness group, and I am the admin of the group. If I stopped at a mile, after I said I was going to run a 5k, I would fail anyone that looked up to my workouts, and more importantly I would fail myself. I ended up running that 5k, and made a best time. Seems like hard work pays off even more, when you have eyes watching.

So there ya have it. It is short, simple ad to the point. Need to get something done? Want to achieve a goal? Tell a friend, post about it, or write it down. You can even do all three. When you get done, you will be even more proud that you stuck with it. What are you going to achieve this week?

How to Be Successful as a Blogger.

The most successful thing you can do as a blogger is generate new posts be to read. If you aren’t posting, what will keep readers coming back? A schedule will help keep you successful, and being on top of your daily posts will too.

After you go through all the steps of creating and planning your blog, take some time to write down some topics that you’d like to write about, or even write down titles if they come to you. You can use these as inspiration if you hit writers block, or use them as part of your schedule to write by. If you schedule a title or a certain day and become blank when trying to write about it, switch it out for something else until the words come back. It’s better to wait and write a well thought out post, than to write just to write, mumbling your way through. Forced writing can be very apparent. This can also be applied for all your social media platforms as well. Have a vision for your posts. Are you telling a story? Giving advice? What does your post solve? Use these solutions as tags.

Being successful as a blogger can mean many things. If you grow your audience, stick with your schedule, or post so many articles, that can be a success. You don’t have to make money from your blog to be successful, but that is always an accomplishment too.

If you aren’t sure what to talk about on your blog, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I like reading in the blogs I follow?
  2. What are topics that I am knowledgeable, and can easily write about?
  3. Do I have a wide audience, or is it more of a niche?

Once you know those, you can ask:

  1. What is the blog name?
  2. What will be the theme?
  3. What is the best schedule for writing? Write daily, or schedule posts? A mix of both?
  4. How will I target my audience?
  5. Will I use a blogging platform, or start my own site?

Most blogs focus on one or two topics, but you can have as many as you want. My blog talks about life, business, food, fitness, bath bombs, and features small businesses and will soon feature guest articles. Not everyone will come to my blog to read about food, or fitness, and that is okay. For me, being successful is just having a medium to expand my thoughts, and share my businesses. Getting engagement, is another success on it’s own. Continuing to write is also another success. What is a successful blog to you?

She Is…

“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:21

During one of our latest Monday Morning Motivations, Vone and I talked about this Proverbs verse. You can watch it here! Each day comes its own sets of challenges. A new blank chapter, ready for anything. This reminds me that no matter how low my valleys get, or how high my mountains, I always have a reason to laugh.

With God by my side, I don’t have to fear my future. Even though I struggle because I am human, and worry. I try to give that worry up to God. Let him guide me. His guidance is what keeps me going. He sets me on the right path. There are so many things that I would not have been able to accomplish without the strength He gives me, and my countless blessings. Those blessings clothe me. They give me strength, dignity and laughs. I know my future is bright.

When I think of this verse in terms of our small businesses I think of when we go through the tough times. When someone comes in to your space, and messes it up. When you’re in the valleys and you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, know there is light. There will always be situations that we have to overcome. I believe that when we overcome these obstacles, and climb those mountains, our strength grows stronger. We come out bigger, and better with even more blessings that we had before we entered the valley. When we finally find our right path we become unstoppable!! Most of the time, when you get out of the tunnel and see where you came from, and where you are at now, you are okay to move on.

It takes a strong person to be their own boss. We often are toughest on ourselves than we are any other person, but we can also be lax. We are our biggest competitors, and the biggest nit pickers of our products we produce, but allow ourselves to procrastinate. It takes a lot to reach our standards. We run our businesses with strength. We do it with dignity. It is said that a small business owner would rather put in 70 hours of work a week with little monetary gain than work an unfulfilling 9-5 job. We will all have our highs and lows. Whether in business, or life in general. As long as we remain faithful, honest, and stick to our true selves everything will fall into place. You will overcome, you will grow in strength, and dignity. Laugh, for your future is bright. Use your challenges as lessons, and one day when you reach the top of the mountain, you will laugh and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.

I hope your blessings clothe you, and give you strength. When the fear gets big, pray. Find a reason to laugh, and look forward to the future. It is shining bright.

5 Ways to Become more Spiritually Fit

When someone says fitness, the first thing that comes to mind is the physical fitness of ourselves or another person, but this is only one aspect in the world of fitness.

Often times in school, they say we need to be well rounded, and this is the same in our fitness life too. We may not only need or want to be physically fit, but should also focus on being mentally and spiritually fit as well. Here are some ways to become more fit in your spiritual life, if you feel like you need something more in this area.

  1. Pray more! Praying can be just telling God about your day, asking for help, thanking for your blessings. Start a journal for your prayers. Date them! When you look back and see what blessings you have gotten since then, it creates wonderful memories.
  2. Read more! Pick up the Bible, find a spiritual book in a subject that interests you. Maybe its about Mary, The Saints, Jesus. Finding yourself. If it’s uplifting, put it on the list.
  3. Surround yourself with like minded people! Whether you join a group in church, online, or just follow accounts, being with other people that feel the same way as you will help grow in your faith. Sometimes it is easier to do it with others than it is by yourself.
  4. Find a church! Church is only a small part of being spiritually fit, but search until you find a place that feels like home. To me a church that feels like home has an awesome choir, and good homily’s that make you think. Whatever it is for you, find it, and when you do don’t let go!
  5. Put it into practice! If your goal of being more spiritually fit is wanting to pray more, start with daily devotions and pray the Rosary. As you go to bed, make it a habit to go through your day and recall moments that were blessings, answered prayers, and hardships. Set time aside to read the Bible, write down a prayer, or your favorite verses. Donate to food pantries, or even help out…. there are lots of ways to live out loud to put your faith to practice.

What are ways that help you feel more connected with God? Going to church helps me feel connected, as well as praying and listening to music. I often pull up my favorite church songs on YouTube, and sing them throughout the day. I also just chat with Jesus as if he’s sitting on the couch. You are never alone, even when you feel like it. When I’m really feeling spiritually unwell I break out my Bible, and open it to a page. Then I read that page. More often than not, something is on that page that is relating to my issue and it brings me peace. Prayers to you all. ♥