2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. I look forward to adding more content, providing downloadable media and offering many more services to my readers.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks for joining me through this journey and don’t forget to check out my other online business (WoodyThings.com). Here’s to a prosperous and healthy New Year!


How to Get Hired as a Federal Employee: Tips for Veterans

The transition from the Military and into the civilian sector can offer many challenges for returning veterans. As such, nonprofits such as Devil Dog USA, Inc. (DDUSAINC), Disabled American Veterans, and Recruit Military help veterans with one of the biggest transitional challenges, starting a new career.

As the Connecticut Liaison for DDUSAINC, I thought it’d be beneficial to share some tips based on my own experience in an effort to help fellow veterans land a job within the Federal Government.

Continue reading “How to Get Hired as a Federal Employee: Tips for Veterans”

Handmade Business in 31 Days


Pricing for Success

A few months ago I read a very interesting article written by Maggie Whittey from GusseySews,com. The article, titled “Handmade Business in 31 days” covers a few great points business owners may sometimes neglect.  Specifically, the author poses a few key factors we need to know to accurately price handmade items (or services for that matter):

What is the cost per material item? {calculated down to the exact amount of material you use}

How much time does it take to make a finished item? {account for each step of the process}

What is the rate of pay to make a finished item? {include all positions/process steps; will you pay per hour worked or per finished task/piece}

What kind of profit* % must you make to remain a sustainable business?

What kind of overhead costs do you have? {your salary, accounting costs, newsletter subscriber fees, site hosting fees, basic office supplies, travel costs, site design fees, giveaways/donations, rent/utilities + more}

I have highlighted the last bullet point, overhead, as this expense is often neglected by many small business owners. Overhead accounts for many of the day to day expenses our business incurs directly or indirectly. For example, home business owners running online stores at marketplaces such as Etsy.com or ebay have to update their pictures, post listings, share content on social media, write blogs, etc. Most ‘typical’ businesses typically charge this activity to overhead. It is my experience, gathered through networking with other vendors, business owners, and artisans, that truly small home-based business owners often neglect to include this expense into their pricing model.

An article titled “How To Price Product Overhead” written by Michael Baton Kapput discusses some steps for pricing overhead adequately. While Maggie’s article specifically aims at home businesses, Michael’s article discusses your typical brick and mortar businesses. But please make no mistake about it, both articles share information vital and relatable in most businesses.

The following sample calculation should help you grasp the concept of cost-plus pricing:

Cost of materials $50.00
+ Cost of labor 30.00
+ Overhead
= Total cost $120.00
+ Desired profit (20% on sales) 30.00
= Required sale price $150.00


Source: Entrepreneur.com, Pricing a Product

Failing to account for overhead costs leads to misidentifying the true costs of doing business. Failing to understand one’s true expenses can lead to a miscounting of profits. As such, a business venture may prove to be non-sustainable and unprofitable.

I invite you to read Maggie’s article as it will provide you insightful information and formulas you can incorporate into your own pricing strategy. Additionally, check out my Pricing How-To Series for some more tools and tips.

I’d love to hear your comments and tips. Please comment below or contact me through twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

Etsy Shop Owner’s Guide: How to run a profitable business

Etsy.com is a marketplace for handcrafted products. Here you will find a host of varying products and services. Many of the wonderful shop owners are artists that create custom orders, as well as offer their own original designs. Etsy charges a small percentage of each sale, and a few cents (about $.20) to list each item. One neat feature that differs etsy from other marketplaces is that shop owners have an online shop where they can list their products, gather reviews, favorite items, and network with sellers directly.

As Etsy shop owners (www.WoodyWoodWorks.Etsy.com), Raquel and I have learned the ropes and run a profitable business through Etsy. In an effort to assist other owners (or those aspiring to open their own shop) in remaining profitable, we have written this article as part of a detailed series showcasing some of the industry leading practices to help you achieve continued success.

Lets get down to brass tacks!

1. Begin Planning

2. Make Draft

3. Draft Assign Responsibilities and Policies

4. Complete planning*

5. Execute the plan!

Get Organized
– Develop a plan (business plan is helpful), who, what, when, where, how, measurable goals, and phaselines

Marketing Research
– secondary data vs. primary data

Define your market
who are you selling to? what are the demographics, who is your customer?

– Positioning
how do you want your product to be viewed?
“positioning is the place the product or service will occupy in the hearts or minds f the customers in relation to your competitors.”
i.e. lowest price, uniqueness, all-natural

Developing Products and Services
– develop new products or services based on
* continuous innovations
* dynomically continuous innovations
* discontinuous innovations

Building and Sustaining your Brand
1. Effectively communicates the distinctive value you wish to offer the customer
2. is “relevant” to the customer
3. “Resonates” with the customer
4. Reinforces the company’s intended positioning in the marketplace
5. Is consistent and unifying
6. Serves as an umbrella/future brands in the company’s portfolio
7. Enables you to command premium pricing
8. Can be sustained over time

Develop a Sustainable Pricing Strategy
– Cost based
– Competition based
– Customer based

– definition
– role
– promotional mix