What Do I Do?

July 7, 2014

“I have no business acumen.”

It’s one of my favorite excuses.

With a full-time job and persistently empty pockets, taking classes on entrepreneurialism has been out of the question. What’s a gal to do? Turn to the Internet. Flourish and Thrive Academy has regular free resources. Etsy forums answer most of my small questions (even if the answer seems to be: ask a professional). Most recently I have begun to work my way through Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin. This book has been thought-provoking and informative: visualization techniques to help guide the direction of one’s business, questions to help determine if turning a hobby into a business is really worth one’s time and effort, and time management practices to maximize efficiency for anyone who has to be his or her own boss. That’s just the first few chapters! (I’m not getting paid to plug this book, for the record.)

Admittedly, a lot of the questions I’m supposed to answer confound me. Where do I see myself in five years? That changes every six months or so. Should I narrow my focus? You tell me. What does failure look like to me? Success? Sometimes these questions make me go blegh. Introspection is for the birds! Then, in Chapter 10, the reader was asked to complete this exercise: Write a job description for yourself. 

At first I rolled my eyes. I make the jewelry, duh. Those of you out there who are your own bosses know that it can’t be so simple, however. Especially for startup companies, everything that the founders can do by themselves, they’ll do. There’s no money to outsource marketing or accounting. There’s no one else to respond to inquiries or apply for permits. If I were to hire someone to take on my role in Petunkalunka, how would I describe the role? Probably like this:

Position: Owner/Designer/Marketer/Agent/Office Administrator

Seeking self-motivated, ambitious, creative problem-solver with a knack for multitasking. Employee should be able to work on one’s own to design and create products for both the Petunkalunka and Grumpy Skunk brands. Employee must also be able to collaborate with graphic designers, shop and gallery owners/buyers, and to effectively communicate with contract workers and customers. Employee should be willing to invest personal time to seek out new venues and wholesale opportunities for the brand, and to create displays for craft shows and fairs. Must have ten or more years’ experience as a jewelry designer and in the fabrication thereof. Must have studied Japanese calligraphy for two or more years, and be experienced working with mobile drawing apps to create artwork. Must be willing to work long hours for weekend events.

Work duties include but are not limited to:

  • Jewelry design
  • Jewelry fabrication
  • Greeting card design
  • Calligraphic artwork
  • Digital artwork
  • Brand & logo design
  • Redesigning and implementing store-worthy packaging
  • Acquisition of materials/supplies
  • Writing effective product descriptions
  • Management of online storefronts
  • Brand and product marketing
  • Inventory
  • Networking
  • Contacting and maintaining relations with storefronts/galleries that carry Petunkalunka and/or Grumpy Skunk products
  • Seeking new wholesale opportunities
  • Staffing company booth during events, including set-up and tear-down
  • Design and fabrication of booth displays
  • Maintaining social media presence (Facebook page, Instagram, etcetera)
  • Writing PR statements
  • Supervising website design
  • Outsourcing graphic design and website maintenance
  • Payroll management for contract workers
  • Customer service
  • Creating invoices
  • Packing and shipping products
  • Maintaining the workspace and storage areas for materials and inventory
  • Creating and updating wholesale line sheets/catalogues
  • Accounting/bookkeeping
  • Maintaining production and event calendar
  • Blog writing
  • Supervising product photography sessions

I didn’t even put anything about the myriad of entry-level software that I regularly use. Or that due to time constraints I end up doing most of my product photography by myself. Nevertheless, for once I can look back on the list of duties I perform to keep Petunkalunka & Grumpy Skunk running, and be proud of myself. I’ll start shutting up about that “no business acumen” bit.