Wouldn't it be great to take on a hobby, something you really love, and make some extra money? Or better yet, will you turn this passion into your own business?
By Sean Tinney October 12, 2020
This is the dream of many aspiring entrepreneurs. In the US alone, over 627,000 new businesses open each year.
Maybe you are one of those lucky small business owners, or maybe you are trying to figure out your own path from the Passion Project, to Start, and Fortune 500. Okay, with the Fortune 500 I might be a little ahead of myself, but why not dream big!
So how can you get from point A to point B (or even point C)? You learn from successful entrepreneurs who have found a way to run their business.
Meet Frankie Croker, who turned her hobby of making handcrafted bows for children into a thriving business.
Turn a hobby into a business
Frankie Croker always enjoyed tinkering, but was particularly interested in designing hair accessories. When she started making them, it was because she was enjoying it, not because she had an ambition to start her own business.
However, it wasn't long before Frankie realized that this was becoming an expensive hobby. At this point, she started thinking about selling her accessories. But she didn't know where to start.
The answer turned out to be Etsy.
Beginnings of Etsy
There are over 39.4 million active Etsy buyers in the world, so this seemed like the best place to start selling their products. In November 2016, Frankie started her littleWshop on Etsy.
Early on, she relied on traffic from Etsy and the extra work she put into promoting her store through social media channels. Frankie's business was a success and she soon began to build a loyal customer base.
But Frankie really didn't know anything about running a business. She thought you just got your product on the market and sold it. She admitted there were missed opportunities along the way.
Her business grew, but to take the next big step in her journey, Frankie had to focus on marketing her small business.
Marketing your small business
Running a small business has to be more than just selling a product or service. To be successful, Frankie knew she needed to build relationships with her existing customers. She had to take that prospect or new customer and turn them into a loyal customer. With a loyal following, she expected more sales and new business through referrals.
This approach is known as a marketing funnel. The marketing funnel is a tool that allows you to visualize the customer journey, or the path a prospect takes as they become familiar with your business, from inception to conversion (and hopefully beyond).
Email marketing is a great way to build a relationship with your existing customers. Unfortunately, Frankie didn't take advantage of email marketing right away.
"In retrospect, I wish I had started my email list from the very beginning because I've found that the people on my email list are very loyal, they buy, and it's easy to promote my product . "
Frankie didn't start collecting email addresses and communicating with her customers via email until nearly two years after starting her business. At this time, Frankie admits she didn't fully understand how to run a real business and admits that she missed opportunities during her study journey.
According to her own account, she was intimidated by email marketing.
"I was really intimidated because I didn't know what to do or how to start. So I avoided it for a long time."
New to email marketing
Frankie was new to email marketing and didn't know where to start. So she chose Mailchimp because it was free and because she recognized the brand. But she quickly found out that it was difficult to use.
"I come from a point of view where I'm tech savvy. So it's not that I have a learning curve when it comes to technology. I can learn it pretty quickly or read a blog post. And I think OK, I got it, you know? So I don't know how those who aren't really tech savvy find out about Mailchimp. "
It's important to find an email service provider that is easy to use and has the features your business needs to excel. Frankie learned this lesson the hard way by choosing Mailchimp.
“Mailchimp is a very clunky platform. It's really hard. It's not very intuitive. The setup process was very difficult. It didn't make a lot of sense. And that's why I left. "
In addition to the capabilities an email service provider offers, you need a partner. A company that really cares about your success. An email service provider that treats you like you are the only customer. A company that can do more than just email.
Why AWeber was the perfect email partner
Since Etsy was the primary source for her business, Frankie knew she had to find an email marketing platform that would easily integrate with Etsy in order to be successful. And then she discovered AWeber.
Not only was she able to connect to Etsy, but she also found AWeber's platform easy. If she had any questions, she knew that AWeber's customer service team was available 24/7. The ability to connect to AWeber 24/7 was relatively new to email marketing.
Integration of landing pages and registration forms
In addition to sending email messages frequently, Frankie also uses the AWeber landing page builder to create amazing looking landing pages for her new product launches.
She uses these pages to inspire her existing and potential customers for new product launches. And it has a registration form (also part of AWeber's features) that customers fill out to be informed when a new product is available. These registration forms are automatically filtered into a new list. This makes it easy for Frankie to send targeted email notifications to this group about the product launch.
Frankie's business was so successful that she eventually created her own website www.littlewondersandco.com to sell her products.
Expand email list
It was easier for Frankie to sell her products to her existing customer via email. To add to her email list, Frankie created a login form using her AWeber account and simply embedded it on her website. The popup offers customers a discount for specifying their email address. This is considered a lead magnet and is a fantastic way to grow your customer base.
With the help of the AWeber registration form, the email addresses of Frankie's new potential customers are automatically added to a list in her AWeber account. Now she can market specific offers for this group.
Build relationships with email marketing automation
Frankie set up email marketing automation in the form of a welcome campaign. A welcome email campaign is a series of automated emails that your new subscribers receive as soon as they sign up for your email list. This automated series is important as it is the first time you communicate with new customers. These types of series of emails can set the tone for your future relationship with your customers.
Frankie created a greeting series with three emails. She doesn't use these series to sell her products, but to introduce her brand. In the first e-mail you and your company are introduced and a discount is granted as a thank you. The following three emails are used to educate their customers and give them a little more information about their business and expectations.
"I'm very proud of my series of greetings. It's very detailed and a good welcome to my business. And I think people are getting a lot of feedback from it."
Helping Small Business Owners Start a Business with Etsy
I mentioned earlier that in order to start a business from scratch, you learn from those who started the journey before you. This is exactly what Frankie Croker was looking for when he founded Hello Frankie + Co. She wants to use her knowledge and experience to help people turn their hobby into a profitable business on Etsy.
She gives tips, tricks, and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs to be successful. Frankie teaches young entrepreneurs how to start a business without money, how to start email marketing, and the tools and resources that have made them successful on their journey.
"… just helping other Etsy sellers by teaching them and helping them avoid some of the ups and downs that come with growing your business."