*Guest post by Tina Martin

**I know a lot of crafters–people who make things, and are actually good at it. In fact one of my friends just rented a space to showcase her handy work. This article will assist you in hosting a successful craft fair and put you on the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Are you a maker or an artisan who is gearing up for your very first market or craft show? Then you should know that making your booth a hit with customers can take some planning and effort, especially if you want to increase your sales. So, before you begin setting up your table, take note of these simple ways that you can attract customers and sales for your new business. 

Streamline Management and Operations 

If you were building a house, you wouldn’t dream of getting started without the proper tools. Before you take your arts and crafts business to the next level, make sure you have the right tools to help build yourself up to success. For instance, getting your operations under control is crucial when you need to focus on setting up at your first craft show, and doing so can be effortless when you have business management tools, such as software to make point-of-sale operations more efficient, in your small business toolbox. Another way to enhance your operations and reduce your stress is to download productivity apps to keep yourself on track. You will need a solid smartphone to use those apps, so be sure to complete the next step. 

Upgrade to a More Powerful Mobile Device

If you don’t have a fast, efficient smartphone, you could be missing out on a lucrative revenue stream: mobile credit card processing. If you need a smartphone to handle all of those swipes as well as other essential business tasks, consider a next generation model. Phones like the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10+ can help increase sales and even help promote your business. Contact your wireless provider to see if they offer any trade-in deals where you can swap your older model phone for a discounted new model. 

Create and Post Engaging Social Media Content 

How do you get people excited about your products when you don’t have an actual storefront? By using social media, of course. Start by selecting the best platform to showcase your products and connect with your target audience. Many makers opt for Instagram since photos and videos are at the heart of this popular social media platform. You also need followers to boost your business, so don’t be shy about asking folks to like, share, and follow your account, or even printing business cards featuring your social media info. 

Promote Products with Organized, Attractive Displays 

Now that you have all the right ingredients to get folks to visit your booth or table, you need to make sure they are really “wowed” by what they see. That means taking some time to educate yourself around a few visual merchandising basics. First, find ways to showcase your products, including large-scale photos and clever signage. Next, try to set up your displays so that shoppers can easily browse and even touch your products. Touch can be especially important since people are more likely to buy items when they can touch them first. 

Connect With Customers Through Quality Service 

Your displays and products will entice shoppers to visit your booth or table, but your personality is what will drive people to actually make purchases. So, before you set up at your first market, show, or event, be sure to refresh yourself on some ways to offer excellent customer service. Showing up to your booth with a friendly attitude and a genuine smile can go a long way in helping shoppers connect with your business, so try to get a positive start to each day you will be working your booth so that you can attract loyal customers to help boost your business. 

Your first craft show can be a success so long as you take the time to plan out some key strategies. Planning is always essential for ensuring these events are as stress-free as possible, but know that keeping a positive attitude is crucial as well. So, be mindful of the way you present your products, and always be mindful of the way you present yourself. Good luck!  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

*Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

**Check out the crafts of friend to the blog Steffany Villalobos. You can find her creations–Freestylecraft at the Mercantile #313, 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116.

Research, Review–Then Buy New Smart Phone

Thank you guys and my friends on Facebook for your input on which smart phone I should get.  I loved my HTC Inspire, but it got sick and was about to die–I had it for over 2 years, and still did not use all of the features.  I had, however, gotten to where I could do  “thisisyourbestyear” on it. It took me a while before I decided to buy the HTC Inspire, it fit my needs at the time.

HTC Inspire

That’s how I am; I don’t just go out and get something because it is  new.  I try to make purchases that make sense because I know I will keep whatever it is  for a while.

Cell phone 3Once upon a time we purchased phones because of the way they looked, since they basically did the same things.  I had to have Motorola Razr in red of course.  I really didn’t care what it could do–it looked good.  It still looks good to me.

Now purchasing a smart phone is like purchasing a car (Big White, my car has over 180,000 miles and I’m praying for another 20,000).   You must make an informed choice.  Phones today do this and that, but what are you going to use the phone for?

I’m going to use my phone for everything. I wanted something that was a cross between a tablet, laptop and cell phone. Since just about everything can be done electronically, I know I must keep up-to-date.  I still have my Dell PC which sits on my desk with my comfy chair, and my cute Dell XPS 13 laptop which I truly love. 

I decided after much research on the Samsung Galaxy Note II.  It has everything and way more than I want–I love the keyboard.  I haven’t had it long enough to tell you all the bells and whistles that it has, but the ones that I have played with are just great.

Galaxy Note 2--4As time goes on I will keep you informed on how well the Galaxy Note II and I are doing.  I know that real soon there will be a Galaxy Note III, IV and even V and beyond.   This does not matter to me because I purchase for the long run; just because they make it, I don’t have to be the first on the block to have it. 

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Make informed decisions–as stated before as women of a certain age, we must watch our finances.