The Do’s & Don’ts of Small Business (with @WheelsOverMatter)

We’ve talked before about taking your time when it comes to starting a business and developing a brand.  It’s still advice we repeat to ourselves and something we’d advise every content creator and small business owner to do.  But now we want to expand on that and talk specifically about opening a shop and starting to sell your work.  And even if we make it sound easy, we promise that it’s not.  There’s a lot to keep in mind when starting a business, and a lot of uncertainties you’ll have to overcome.  There’s nothing insurmountable and nothing you can’t do (we’ll repeat that if we need to) but it doesn’t always feel that way when you’re in the thick of trying to sell your passion projects.  

Luckily, Clapper is full of small business owners – and we snagged one of the best for this article.  @WheelsOverMatter has been selling her products for years and is a Clapper Shops staple.  But to fully appreciate her advice, we have to understand how her business got to be what it is today. 

The Evolution of @WheelsOverMatter

If you haven’t met @WheelsOverMatter yet, we are so excited to introduce you!  Ana has been posting on Clapper for years.  While she recently started sharing more of her music with the Clapper community, Ana is best known for her incredible shop.  She sells a variety of body care products, from candles to soaps, lip balm to beard oil – and more.  She is one of our better known shops and had Clapper team members scrambling to purchase from her during the Holiday Bazaar.

But she didn’t always sell body care goodies.  In fact, her entire account started with a completely different theme: skateboarding.  

It stems from the quote “mind over matter”. Right before the pandemic I was getting into activities that would get me out of bed, out of the house. I decided to do something that I’ve never done before: skateboarding. And I decided to share my journey on social media. Then, winter came and I started immersing myself more into crafts that could be done indoors.


As I got more comfortable on social media, I slowly started going live and talking with other people online. At the time I was doing resin art and a lot of people were asking if I was selling those items. So that’s how the business started.

Ana fell into both content creation and running her own online shop.  This is the story for a lot of creators we’ve talked to, and yields some incredible insights.  In this article, we’ll be sharing the do’s and don’ts of owning your own small business – all with Ana’s help! 

DO Start Because You’re Passionate

The road to success is a very long, very hard one.  Getting through it will be much easier if you can follow an interest.  You’ll see this come up quite a bit in Ana’s points, but it bears mentioning right at the start.  

Because when you’re stressed, when you aren’t meeting goals, when you’re struggling to make time for everything, you’ll need a reason to keep going.  Money is a good motivator, sure, but it can be hard to connect to something if you don’t love it.  Starting your small business based around something you create will make that work more fun.  And will have you coming bak to it even when you’re getting overwhelmed.  

DO Experiment, Try New Things

Every brand and business has to keep things fresh and exciting.  You want to give your customers ample reason to come back and buy from you again.  Always be on the lookout for things you could incorporate – even if it’s just a new method you could test out!  

Ana’s always trying new things.  Not only because she loves creating her products and figuring out what she can do, but because she wants to make them special. 

I like to experiment a lot.  With resin I was experimenting a lot – and that happens, all of a sudden you want to resin everything! So, I’m doing the same with my current products. I’ve been incorporating little details to my candles like spices or gemstones.

If you get an idea, try it out.  It might be simple, like adding glitter to a candle, or huge, like introducing a whole new product.  Your curiosity likely led you to this passion, so don’t be afraid to follow it again.  

DON’T Ignore Your Safety

It’s easy to think we can overcome everything or that the things we love most can’t really hurt us.  But making products and opening a business are a whole new ballpark.  Sometimes in ways we don’t realize at first. 

Resin art is very fun and I can be very creative with it, however, it also has its dangers. I wanted to be considerate with my daughter, and working in a small apartment with resin is not ideal.

Ana couldn’t just throw out her daughter (affectionately called Baby Wheels).  If she wanted to continue creating, she’d need to look for a craft besides resin.

I started immersing myself into other things that I could possibly do that would be safer but allow me to be creative. Slowly I started making the candles and I found that it was very rewarding to me, the candle process. The process of mixing scents and playing around with different waxes.

DO Work in Family Time

No matter how much you love your business or how much money it brings in, you’ll need time away to recharge. And if you have a family, we promise that nothing is more important (and probably more refreshing than) spending time with your family.  Or loved ones!  Whoever you care about most, don’t let your business take away from your time with them. 

It was taking a toll on family time as well. So for example, my events that I participate in during the summer months.  Instead of going every single weekend as before, I’m doing every other weekend so I can spend some time with my family.

Prioritize yourself and your loved ones.  You can still grow your business and spend time with the people that matter most.  Maybe it won’t be exactly the way you want, but finding that balance is important. 

DON’T Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

We’ll be brutally honest for a second: you’ll make a lot of mistakes.  It’s part of trying new things, of growing, and of being human.  Not everything you try is going to be a success and that’s okay.  And if you’re doing it all on your own – like a lot of people have to – you should get comfortable with that idea.  Why?

If you’re doing it by yourself and you don’t have a lot of resources, you will have to figure out things by yourself.  It’s a lot of trial and error.

Ana had to teach herself a lot along the way.  She had to become a photographer, a writer, an entrepreneur – everything.  You’re learning and teaching yourself so much so quickly.  It would be odd if there weren’t a few hiccups or setbacks.  The main thing is what you do after: do you throw in the towel, or pick yourself back up and keep trying?   

DO Be Open to Inspiration – Everywhere

Whether it’s inspiration for promoting your products, a new item to test out, or even a way to step up your packaging, always be looking for something new. You don’t need to think “I’m going to find inspiration today” or do things specifically to generate ideas.  Live your life, do what you love, and that little spark will strike again. 

I get inspiration from everyday life. Just last week I went to a concert and the opening band was this Dark Wave band with a witchy vibe.  And it inspired me, like maybe I should make some soaps with more of a witchy vibe.

DON’T Stick with Something That’s Not Working

It can be easy to get stuck in a pattern and continue using a process or system that just doesn’t work anymore.  It’s comfortable, it’s familiar, and you already know how to use it.  And you probably picked what looked like the best option at the time, so you aren’t sure where to start again.  All of that is challenging and at times overwhelming, but we promise that staying with a system that’s not working will hurt you more in the long run. 

Take Ana for example.  When she first started her shop, she was using a popular platform to sell her items.  She quickly realized that this service wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. 

You have to pay for every single item you post before you even sell it.  If you have a lot of different items or variations, it becomes a lot.  So, I had to pay before I even sold the item, then I had to pay a percentage when it did sell.  Then if you want to be visible to more people, you have to pay for ads and pay them to push your stores.  

DO Look for Resources in Your Area

No matter where you live, there’s likely something in your area that can help you grow your business.  Ana goes to local markets and fairs, but she also found an incredible resource that helped her build her business. 

Then I found in my area, there’s this association that’s composed of women that own businesses, that are lawyers, and they help you to set up your business legally and tell you everything you need, for free. They helped me with the paperwork necessary to form an LLC.

Take some time to research the options in your area.  You may find a local business that offers free lectures, lawyers that have a bank of resources, or even local events you can set up at.  If all else fails, go into the community and look for ways small businesses are highlighted.   

DON’T Lose What You Love

If there’s something specific you love about your business, don’t let the pressure of trying to grow or meet certain expectations take it from you.  Specifically, don’t let social media take it from you. There are so many tactics and tricks to promoting your business on social media.  One that we mention often is showing the process.  How do you make a product, what goes into creating it?  It’s fun for viewers, and it’s something you’ll already be doing.  Why not set up a camera and speed-up the footage?  

For Ana, there’s good reason not to.  

I like the process of when I’m making the product. And I feel like if I’m recording it, it kind of takes away from it a little bit. And so, unfortunately, I don’t record as much as I know I should about the process of making my things. If I have a camera right there, pointing at my things, I feel like I’m more focused on the camera. Is it recording? Should I stop recording now because I’m wasting too much time and this will be a headache to edit?

As we said up top, you started this business because you have a passion for your products.  They bring you joy – and if you’re a crafter, making them is probably your favorite part of the process.  Sometimes recording yourself distracts you or zaps the fun out of the process.  Does this angle look good?  Do I look dumb?  Will this actually be entertaining?  Suddenly you’re stressed or focusing on filming instead of making the best product possible.  

Can you avoid everything that sucks the fun out of selling?  Sadly, no.  But there are things within your control that are easy to work around.  Instead of posting process videos, Ana shares the products when they’re done.  She’s still posting on social, still getting the word out and showing off her products, but she’s keeping the process sacred. 

DO Give an Incentive

No matter what you’re selling, you have to find a way to get those buyers to, well, click “buy”.  Some bigger companies offer discounts or reduce shipping costs, others throw in an extra gift.  And if you catch people at the right time, all you need is the product!  But that’s unreliable.  You’ll need to figure out ways to make your buyers more eager to buy. 

Sometimes it’s as easy as looking at their patterns.  

I would say people are more attracted if you have the option to get it right now. If you’re trying to sell something while you’re Live or through a post on Instagram or whatever, if it doesn’t have a thing that says “Buy It Now”, it’s harder to get the customer to actually finalize the purchase. So that was a huge plus for me with Clapper: the ability to go Live and sell my item right there.

You may find your customers purchase more if you run a certain promotion or use a certain hook.  The solution might be offering a discount code for customers to use on a second purchase!  Or you can offer to pack their order on camera and post it on social media.  Find that thing that gets people excited to purchase and put it to use. 

One of Ana’s candles, currently listed on her website. Until someone snags it, that is!

Final Thoughts From Ana

We talked with Ana for a while – and, to be honest, we could have talked for longer.  She’s an incredible shop owner and creator, and we loved hearing her insight into owning a business and content creation.  When we were done, Ana left us with one final piece of advice.  

If you have funds for it, go all out there. Hire people to help you with social media, pay for advertising, because if you can afford it, yes it will work. You’ll probably be able to make it your full-time job within a year. If you don’t have the funding, I would say start slow, be mindful of what you pay for, do your own research, and try to do as much as you can by yourself before hiring other people to do it for you. And have fun, most importantly!

And Her Husband

At the end of the interview, Ana also told us about how her husband has helped to ground her.  He’s given her some words of advice or encouragement that she shared with us – and they were too good for us not to repeat.  Because they really tie together everything we’ve been talking about.  So if you’ve skipped to the end, don’t remember the rest of the article, or only take away one thing, let it be this.  

When I’m going through that down spiral he says “Look, listen, this did not start as a business. You started this because you enjoy it. So please, stop thinking about numbers and sales and goals and posts and just go make some soap and candles. Just go be creative because that’s why you started this.” That was really important to me to hear that, especially when I returned to working a nine to five. It was like, “It’s okay, I still have my small business, I won’t be working on it as much or dedicating as much time as I did before, but I can still do it.” I can still take time to do it.

We don’t know Mr. Wheels Over Matter, but we completely agree with him.

To learn more about @WheelsOverMatter and see her products, check out her Clapper profile.  She has a Shop set up, so you can snag any item that you’re interested in.  And to get some more words of wisdom from her husband, you can follow him on Clapper @coolcatwilly

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