Season 1 Ep 41: Q&A with Jess, your questions answered! Part 2

This week on the xoxo, jess Podcast I am responding to commonly asked questions that I have received from all of you on Instagram. We are talking all about your minimum viable product (MVP) and keeping costs low at the beginning, communicating with your spouse or partner about your business, home printing vs. outsourcing, and more! Listen to the episode above, on iTunes HERE, or read the transcription below.

Episode Transcription:

Jessica Walker

Welcome back to xo xo jest where we dive deep into the world of greeting cards, the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, and the mindset tools needed to start creating the business of your dreams. Today, I am your host, Jessica Walker, here with another Wednesday episode. And today's episode is going to be part two of our q&a series, I'm unsure exactly how many they're going to be a might be up to four. But for now, this is going to be part two. So like I did last week, I got your questions off of Instagram and stories. If you have questions for me for a potential, Part Three or part four episode, head over to my stories, give me a follow over on at five dot post. And I share that fairly often over there. So we got some pretty good feedback after part one. So that's why I decided to answer a few more of your questions. And I picked a like three or four today that I want to cover.

So I'm just going to dive right in. And at the end of the episode, I'm going to share a little bit about what's coming up in five post because there's some really cool stuff happening in the next couple weeks. So let's just get started. So our first question is, how do I keep my expenses low at the beginning. And I assume this means like as you're like keeping your startup costs low, keeping your expenses low before you're making a profit. And just keeping a lean business model is how I read this question. So I would say several things one test, before you put a lot of money and time into selling. So what does this mean specifically. So if you are thinking that you need to create this big, expensive, beautiful website that takes a really long time to set up, and you're going to treat your business as this kind of secret thing until the day it launches, and you picture it like, I'm going to click Launch, I'm going to click live on my website, and then it's just going to take off, that would be amazing. But we have learned through I mean, I've learned this through personal experience. And I know that this through many of my clients and students that that's how it works most of the time. Creating a business is something that it takes a little bit of a given take from testing things out with your customers, seeing what vibes with them, staying true to yourself, making sure that you're providing a product that is good quality, getting response back, getting reviews back, taking that feedback in and seeing how you can adjust to make your product better. And this is why I recommend starting as small as possible with what we call a minimum viable product. So what I would recommend to keep your starting your expenses low, your startup costs low so that you can recoup as quickly as possible. Which your startup costs might be your home printer, your cardstock, your envelopes your packing, packing envelopes, or shipping envelopes. But like if you're looking at it from like, what exactly do I need, minimally? What is the bare minimum I need to start this business, it's a lot less than you think it really is just a way to print your cards away to ship your cards away to communicate to your customers that you have a product. So start there. And before you pay for that expensive website before you spend hours and hours and hours setting up hundreds of listings in your Etsy shop, see if what you're doing is working. Test your product with your customers get their feedback. So I would say do that by first just trying to sell on social media, I would say I would promote your products on social media, share pictures of your cards, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, see what people are liking? Are you getting feedback on what what cards are getting the most likes, and comments. And of course, like those can be vanity metrics. But they can also be important data that you're collecting from your potential future customers. So I would say start small in that way. First. Also, I would say start with free platforms. If you are just starting out, I recommend Etsy it's free they take a small commission but it is free to start super, super user friendly to get going on. And keep that expense low. So you can sell essentially for free if you use one of these platforms like Etsy

What else um, I would say order in small quantities. So when I was first ordering envelopes I was ordering by like 25 or 50. Now I order by about 5000. But it is something that grew and grew and grew. But it took a long time to get to the point that I'm at now, a couple years. So I would say start out by saying what can I get and of course, like at some point, once you get your up and going you want to make sure that your profit margins make sense, you will start looking for supplies in a larger bulk so that they're a lower per class per item cost so that your profit margins are higher but this is when you're first started and you're like I want to start a business but I don't want it to sink me. I don't want it to lose money on it. Absolutely not. And I think that that's why one of the reasons why greeting cards are such a great entry point into entrepreneurship kind of like a gateway drug into entrepreneurship. Because it really is can be such low startup costs, it can be affordable printers like I printed on an at home printer that was less than $200. For the first year and a half of my business, I still don't print on a printer that's over $300. And I do outsource printing now. But regardless, you can order supplies on Amazon, that can be the absolute basics. But that being said, your minimum viable product needs to be good quality. So I would say get the paperweight that you want, get the cardstock that you want, that you know is going to be what your customers expect. But buy in smaller quantities at first. So you don't have tons and tons of inventory that you cannot sell or end up needing to shift or change in order to sell. Why do I recommend at home printing first, this is something that it can look different for every business, this