When I created Cleveland Flea, my goal was to give creative side-hustlers the ability to quickly move from day dream to dream job by delivering them more than enough (of the right) customers at each event that would give them encouragement, practical business skills and sales.
The goal was simple - $1000 per market. Enough to help people say YES to their dream job for good by showing them that the finances could, in fact, happen. $1000 meant that they could pay rent and bills. It meant that they’d be talking to A LOT of customers and making A LOT of sales.
This is still our goal, though many vendors have surpassed it. And others who aren’t at $1000 per market are still doing great. Because either they’re learning so many of the other skills necessary to successfully grow a small business or their target number doesn’t need to be $1000.
Our number was about giving a creative community the fire they needed to say YES.
Your number is about your own financial goals.
But it’s not only about numbers. It’s about practicing all the things that come along with running a creative business, like:
understanding your niche market + how your customers are different based on the products they buy
learning how to effectively communicate who you are to strangers that you want to turn into customers
learning more about your specific customers
setting goals and tracking their progress
creating organizational structures that support your business
testing new products in the market
finding out more about how the world perceives you
experimenting with new ways of making, selling, setting up, merchandising, etc.
connecting to a creative business community
immersing yourself in the creativity of all the other vendors
studying the Cleveland Flea customers
setting your own personal growth goals per market
setting up and managing a newsletter
photographing yourself / your booth for future events
figuring out your best pricing structure
training your team in your brand
In other words - there is an almost endless amount of growth that can happen at each market day. You’ve got a very large (between 7,500 - 10,000) group of eager shoppers who are looking to invest in creative experiences and products and they can’t wait to support you.
If you find yourself not taking advantage of all of this and considering end-of-day sales as the only predictor of your success on market day, you’re missing a whole lot of value. And your business will suffer for that.
If you find yourself going into any of these modes on event day, you know you’ve got to shift back into a more successful mindset:
jealousy or annoyance at other vendors
worrying too much about the weather
passive selling (ie, sitting in your booth just waiting for customers)
looking for all the ways that the day isn’t perfect
deciding that your booth spot is not good
self-critique in a nonproductive way
thinking too much about what you should have brought rather than what you did
feeling like the entire situation is just ‘too hard’
Those are all thoughts that you’re thinking that are not helpful for big sales on the day of the event. Those are all thoughts that WILL detract from your sales and your experience. And guess who can tell when you’re in those moods? Shoppers.
So, what are shoppers attracted to?
a business owner who presents as an expert
a business owner who looks as though they LOVE what they do
When you’re beginning to plan your booth, your inventory and your financial goals you need to have these mindsets, too. Because EVERY decision you make- about inventory or flavor or booth setup will be determined by how you’re approaching it.
Every shopper at Cleveland Flea is looking for you to sell them joy. They see you as a BIG part of why they love their lives in Cleveland. Whether you’re selling jewelry or sorbet or art or vintage, each of your dream customers is just hoping to enjoy their experience with you and exchange money for an experience or an object that will bring them joy.
That is what you’re selling.
What an amazing job that is. And it’s all yours.
So, get on to the planning. Decide what you want to make on event day. Prepare yourself to get all the rest of the value from that day, too. Set up your newsletter. List your 4 dreamiest customers. Decide that you’re going to find out more about them at each event. Dream up that booth design. We know it takes courage to do what you’re doing.
But remember there are only 200 of you and 10,000 shoppers. You are the 2% of the population who is making this dream happen. If it was easier than it is, more people would be doing it.
Give yourself some credit - you’re doing an amazing thing.
And what you’re really doing is bringing happiness to a whole bunch of people.
You’ve got this.