As a big fan of the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it,” I definitely know the feeling of diving into something without knowing exactly how it’ll work. And for anyone starting up a brand new business, every day probably feels a lot like this! To help you navigate the great unknown of a new venture AND figure out if your business idea has legs, we’re offering three excellent pieces of advice from Jess Ekstrom, creator of Headbands of Hope and teacher of our Start Your First Creative Business Online Class. Even better, our friends at FedEx are sponsoring this class so you can take it FOR FREE through December 31, 2016! Scroll down to see the three questions every new business owner should ask themselves, and more importantly — how to find the answers!



“Before you get started, you have to determine what makes you different from the rest. What’s your special sauce? Why would customers go to you and not a competitor? Your answer will be the focus of all of your marketing and communication. What makes you different is your lifeline in business; you have to be able to stand behind it and believe in your approach, concept, product and mission in order to attract customers.”



“One simple way to see if there’s a demand for your idea is to use the Google Keyword Search tool to see how many people are searching for your product or industry. But the best way is to test it out in the wild by getting it in front of people and seeing how they respond. What do they reach for first? How do they respond to the price? Do they understand your mission? You’ll get all of these important answers much quicker when you can set up a test run at a farmers’ market, pop-up shop or anywhere with high foot traffic.”



“Take into account all of your costs (product costs, labor, rent, website costs, etc.), and figure out how much you need to sell to at least break even. Then, once you have your break-even point, determine if you can sell above that in order to make a profit. Give yourself the opportunity from the beginning to be able to scale. For example, if you’re personally sewing a label onto each product, and then you get an order for 1,000 that need a quick turnaround, could you do it? If your answer is no, try to adjust your operations so you’re able to fulfill high numbers (even if you’re not receiving high numbers yet). You always want to be ready for the opportunity!”


Photo via Kathy Howard Photography.

Take a second to think about how these questions can relate to YOUR specific ideas and goals and then check out our FREE Start Your First Creative Business Online Class through December 31, 2016, and learn much much more from Jess on building a successful business!

Sponsored by FedEx.

Author: Lee Schellenberger
 Photography: Brittany Griffin