When talking to people I find it interesting to see where they have come from and their journey to selling their goods.
An astounding number of those people tell me they started beading, metal work, lapidary as a hobby and in an effort to improve sought the assistance of people with a little more experience. Some went searching on Magazine Forums, but the majority that I talk to come from Yahoo Groups. For those of you who didn't come by that route - a quick overview.
Yahoo Groups is a no frills, easy to use system of Forums...it doesn't matter what you are into, there is probably a Yahoo Group (or 20) for it! ...and if not, then it is easy to start one!
These tend to be very supportive and encouraging groups - in fact lots of folks decide to move from hobbiest to seller based on the responses to their work on these groups.
What I Like:
We all want to try new techniques - but the expense of tools and availability of workshops can be prohibitive. On these groups people are generous and offer free tutorials, money saving hints and most of all their expertise.
Most groups have extensive Files with tutorials, helpful hint, important links to suppliers, etc.
You can cut costs for a start up business by participating in one of the Bulk Buy Groups. If you don't yet have the buying power to make a resale license worth the effort, pool your purchases with 20 - 50 other small purchasers. (most of these groups are invite only)
Overall most groups are filled with generous, giving and talented people.
Some Groups are a little too supportive - it doesn't help anyone to encourage them to put out mediocre work.
People reading an attitude into your posts...as with anything on the internet you have to consider that sometimes people are busy and may leave a quick response...that doesn't mean they are snippy. OMG - you have no idea how much this happens to me ;D
Photos are in a separate Gallery - so you are always following links.
It is a closed system and if you build a fabulous gallery of your work it can't be shared anywhere else - not even another Yahoo Group.
SPAM - it seems that no matter how strictly monitored a group is some sneaks through or someone's account is hijacked. While this is a pain in the ___ it is expected and in a well moderated group dealt with swiftly.
Five Quick "Get Started" Tips!
1. Go to the Yahoo Groups home page at http://groups.yahoo.com/
2. In the Search Box (under Find A Yahoo! Group) type in your major interest - narrow it down a little, "jewelry" brings up way too much. Beading, Bead Weaving, Bead Stringing, Silversmithing, Wire Wrapping, Lapidary, Faceting - would all bring up options.
3. Click through the various options - you are looking for an active group so check for number of members, date of the last post and the topic of their most recent activity.
4. Once you have decided which group to join - you have two delivery options, individual or digest...if you choose individual you might want to start a separate email account just for group activities or choose digest which is a once a day email of that day's activity (digest is what I suggest). BTW - please write more than "I want to join your group" in the application.
5. OK - Your membership has been approved...you will receive a welcome note (please read the rules before posting) that asks you to check out the various parts of the group - DO IT. On the group home page click through the Menu Headers on the left - find out what resources are in the "File" section, what kind of "Links" do they list, flip through the "Photos" this will tell you if you are in the right group....you want a group that is a little further along in your craft than you are...unless you are a workshop instructor, then you may want beginners.
Some of the Groups I am in are in the right hand column of this blog. Are you in a Yahoo! Group that you love? Are you looking for a group like this? Let Me Know in the comments.
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