7 tips for professionalism

Turning a hobby into a viable and profitable business is a dream for many crafters and artists. The reality is that only a small percentage are successfully able to make the conversion.  You can be an expert in your respective discipline, but if you fail to present yourself in a professional manner, others will not see the value in your work and may pass on your products/services.  So, how do you create a professional image? Here are a few suggestions that have been proven to work.

If you sell online, invest in and build a professional website.

It’s easy to build a site with your own domain name on a platform such as WordPress.  When customers see you have a real website, it conveys a sense of stability and permanence. Now more than ever, it’s essential to have a home base online given the number of algorithm changes on social media that can adversely impact your social presence.

Use the best quality photos.

By nature, we humans are visual creatures.  We gravitate to pretty things.  If customers can’t clearly see your product, they will continue searching until they find what they are looking for. Products with great images have historically outsold products with blurry or grainy pictures. Remember, when customers are shopping online, they are not able to see your products in person. By using clear, focused photos customers have a greater understanding of your work.

Create a dedicated business email address.

Never use your personal email address for work. Customers will not trust you if you use a silly or spammy looking email address. Most businesses will use info@domainname but if you want to project a larger appearance consider using something like sales@domainname or yourname@domainname.  When using the name option, it implies that you are a part of a larger organization that is ready and willing to answer all emails and accept new customers. If you aren’t ready to build and maintain a website, consider using an email address such as yourbusinessname@gmail.com.

Create a business logo.

Use it on all of your social media channels, websites, and company papers such as invoices, brochures, and business cards. This establishes your brand’s identity and allows customers to identify you from your competition. Your logo should reflect who you are as an artist and business.  If you are not a graphic designer, consider hiring an expert from a site such as Fiverr or Upwork.  There are many talented artists who can provide great looking logos at fair and reasonable pricing.

Maintain a dedicated business phone number.

If you have a limited budget or receive only a few phone calls per month, consider a distinctive ring option on your landline, or buying a separate cell phone reserved exclusively for your business.  When customers can call and speak to you, it builds confidence and repeat sales. If customers can’t reach you to discuss a problem, it scares them away.

Buy and use professionally printed business cards.

Sometimes a business card is the only personal interaction a potential customer has with you, so it is important to present your best you!  Sure, it’s easy to buy blank business cards and print on an as needed basis, but those cards don’t possess the same appearance as professional cards.  Be sure to always carry business cards with you in a protective case.  You never know when a business opportunity will present itself!

Always conduct yourself in a professional manner.

This may sound like common sense, but I cannot count the number of times I’ve dealt with small business owners who’ve acted in a less than professional manner.  It is often the little things that will stick with a customer and influence their future purchases.  This includes dressing appropriately, speaking clearly on the phone, and resolving problems with grace. Try to avoid using slang words and shorthand when communicating with customers and vendors.


Christine Warren is a successful, self-employed designer and artist.  For the last 23 years, she has designed and created many works of art including one-of-a-kind costumes, pageant, and bridal gowns, and pageant sashes.   Last year, she recognized the need for a blog that focuses on creative sewing techniques, sewing products and business issues facing small business owners.  She recently launched her blog, The Creative Sewist,  www.thecreativesewist.com.  Christine can be reached via email at info at thecreativesewist.com

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