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[68] The Future of Online Selling with Jonathan Peacock of Zibbet

In this Episode I discuss all things SEO, website creation, and online marketplaces with Jonathan Peacock of Zibbet.

In the beginning, Jonathan developed Zibbet as an online sales platform for friends of his who were fine artists, as there wasn’t really an appropriate online sales platform for them at the time.

Over time, Zibbet has grown in scope. and now focuses on helping makers get their work into the world. They also offer their own website builder and have been working on some other pretty exciting things, which we discuss in this podcast.

We also chat about the future of social selling and the benefits of selling on an online venue as well as your own website – and how to best make these venues work for you.

This podcast includes some really great tips for both beginners and those with a little more experience. Jonathan has a great mind for business while keeping the particular needs of creative entrepreneurs squarely in his sights, and he and I are definitely on the same wavelength regarding how to be successful in business, as you’ll hear at the end of the ep!.

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • ‘If you do the work you WILL be competitive’ {Jess}
  • If you have a hobby you can sell in any online marketplace that is easy and works.
  • If you are creating a brand then you need to have your own website and domain name.
  • ‘If you are trying to build a real business and you don’t have your own website then you are doing it wrong’ {Jonathan}
  • You need to make sure that all links lead to your website not an online marketplace.
  • Sending traffic to an online marketplace could ultimately end up with you losing the sale to another maker.
  • Online markets should be used for extra sales and extra exposure.
  • You need to be competitive online, everything should be top notch.
  • Zibbet have their own website builder which is also integrated with their online marketplace.
  • Currently Zibbet are developing a platform that integrates a whole range of channels to make sales and inventory control even easier for sellers.
  • SEO is super important and stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
  • There is on-page SEO which includes title tag and meta description (your welcome message).
  • Fill these on-page SEO tools with great keywords and word it in a way that is enticing to people.
  • There is also off-page SEO which is all about creating back links to your website for example being a guest blogger.
  • Make sure all online appearances such as guest blogging link back to your website and keep creating these external link backs.
  • Google yourself to see what comes up. This are what you need to work on. It has to be good stuff.
  • Do your research with website builders as features and cost can vary greatly.
  • Jonathan notes three things that are really important for building a business.
  • 1. Consume a lot of great content because that is how you learn and grow.
  • 2. You need to work really hard, there are no short-cuts.
  • 3. You need to have lots of patience as this journey takes time.
  • ‘Constantly learn, work very hard, and be patient’ {Jonathan}
  • You can find and explore Zibbet here or head over to the Create & Thrive facebook page to enter our giveaway!

 

Download or Listen to This Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

[39] Daisy Forster on Facebook and Thinking Inside the Box

Daisy Forster runs a creative business selling her hand-dyed yarns.

She started her business selling online via Facebook, and has since grown to offer yarn club subscriptions, and also run dyeing workshops and retreats as well as business retreats to assist other creatives.

I invited Daisy on the show after a comment she made in the Thriver Circle, about how she has used social media – primarily Facebook – to grow her business to a very profitable level over the last few years. With all the talk out there about how Facebook ‘doesn’t work’ any more for small business, I thought it was worthwhile to pick her brain about it – to find out why it worked for her, and how you can use that knowledge in your own business.

We also discuss the huge leap forward her business made when she decided to start offering a ‘yarn club’ subscription – members get a box with a new skein/skeins of her hand-dyed yarn every month that they are subscribed. This is been so successful that Daisy currently has 4 different clubs, and it is a huge part of her business model.

If you’ve ever thought about offering a subscription club for your own handmade goods, don’t miss this one!

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Daisy Forster runs Devon Sun Yarns, hosts luxury yarn retreats, is a knitter, and a creative business mentor.
  • Daisy found that using Facebook worked naturally to grow her business, as she was already involved in many groups as an active member.
  • ‘You need to build a community with the people who like your page’. {Daisy}
  • Daisy created a yarn club to help her organise, supply to her committed customers, and streamline her business.
  • ‘Make sure your business is working for you’. {Daisy}
  • It is important to work smart in the small amount of time that you have.
  • Daisy likes to work with what is inspiring her at the time which keeps her business flexible.
  • When it comes to social media you should check in with your business multiple times a day.
  • ‘The best marketing moves I have made are to be consistent’. {Daisy}
  • Always be present on social media as people love to know you will be there.
  • Learn and know when your peak times are to post so you show up on peoples feeds every day.
  • ‘Positive systems and habits can be the difference between sanity and insanity’. {Jess}
  • Don’t wait. The real learning comes from doing.
  • You can find Daisy at her website, Instagram or Facebook.
  • The book Daisy is featured in: The Business of Being Social

Download/Listen to this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

 

[24] Blogging, Content, and Design Essentials with Arianne Foulks of Aeolidia

Today I am talking with the amazing Arianne Foulks from Aeolidia, with whom I discuss the essential website design and content elements that will ensure your site invites people in and encourages them to want to shop with you.

Arianne has a wildly successful web and graphic design studio, and directs a team of people who craft gorgeous websites for creatives. I invited her on the show because she knows what works! In this episode we talk about logo design, photography, content, and more – all the things which a great website needs to get right.

It’s so important to have your own home on the internet – somewhere that represents your business to the world and tells your business story. But it can be hard to know what to focus on when creating a website, as there are so many possibilities!

Listen in for Arianne’s top tips for making sure your business’s online home is the best it can be.

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • “Have your own domain name even if you have other web presences.” {Arianne}
  • Get your domain name and point it to your primary online presence (e.g. Etsy)
  • Having your own domain belongs to you and nobody else unlike Facebook and Etsy when your shopfront belongs to those companies.
  • People want to go at their leisure and find out about you online before getting in contact.
  • It’s like having a menu in a restaurant, it’s a way to see what’s on offer before you sit down to eat.
  • Your about page is the most important thing to get done first on your website.
  • “People want to know who made it, why they made it and what their story is.” {Arianne}
  • Big beautiful photos are so important.
  • Tell a story with your products through styling.
  • “Learn a little bit about what makes good photography. Less of the technical stuff and more of what makes a great photo.” {Arianne}
  • Make sure you tell people your name so they feel they know you a little more.
  • Contact information is vital.
  • “It’s an important for searchability to keep your website up to date and relevant” {Jess}
  • It can be important to have both their own website and other online stores if possible.
  • It’s not enough to rely on Etsy or another platform to send them buyers.
  • “Relying solely on a company who is not under your control to send you customers is not ideal.” {Arianne}
  • Build up an audience on your own website.
  • “I can sell in Australian Dollars on my own website but in American Dollars on Etsy.” {Jess}
  • StitchLabs: A way to keep your inventory up to date on multiple platforms without having to do it manually.
  • It’s still very important to blog even when you have an ecommerce site.
  • “Those who have been in the blogging world for ages think it’s a no-brainer. But for newbies I understand the confusion about why you would blog.” {Jess}
  • You need to enjoy blogging to want to blog.
  • Blogging brings traffic to your site – partly through Google and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
  • Blogging gives you keywords which will eventually list on Google and traffic will come to you over the years.
  • “Having a blog can really humanise your brand.” {Arianne}
  • Establish yourself as an expert in something.
  • Once you start blogging it makes all your other marketing efforts easier.
  • Your social media is made much easier when you have your blog written and you can borrow content.
  • “Get yourself on a schedule and find something that you like and you enjoy doing with your blog.” {Arianne}
  • Make sure you’re keeping your target market in mind.
  • Video can be a great way to get more people interested in your website.
  • Make sure you have some keywords associated with your video so it’s searchable.
  • “There’s a lot of writing that goes into marketing.” {Arianne}
  • “When we say keywords, we don’t just mean individual words.” {Jess}
  • Think about it more like a ‘keyphrase’.
  • What are your customers going to be typing in?
  • Try not to use jargon and lingo that your customers may not know.
  • Keep working on your website as long as it doesn’t take you away from other aspects of your business that also may need work.

 

Download/Listen to this Episode

 

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

Success Stories – Boo and Boo Factory

 

Christina is a powerhouse of imagination and creation. Her Etsy store literally stopped my in my tracks with my mouth open as I gawked at her beautiful (and bright!) jewellery and purses. I like bold, statement stuff and so I was pretty excited when she graciously agreed to be interviewed. I am so excited to share Christina’s rise to self-made business woman as she transitioned from architectural graduate to style icon.

 

Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?

 I began Boo and Boo Factory as a way to make some extra money to pay for architecture school. 

Supplies, models and computers can get expensive so any extra income was welcome.  I continued to craft on the side all throughout architecture graduate school.

I began to notice that my shop was growing very quickly and due to my heavy school schedule, had to start declining work and projects for Boo in order to keep me focused on my studies.

After I had completed my thesis in 2012, I decided to pursue Boo and Boo Factory full time instead of going back to work in architecture

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?

The largest challenge for me is how to find balance between designing, making and many of the other tasks of running a business.

Since I am a one woman shop I tackle many elements daily that a larger business would outsource.

I source my own supplies, work with retail shops as well as manage wholesale, I do my own taxes, accounting and book keeping, inventory, design and upkeep my website, answer emails, network, market and all of this on top of designing and hand making each piece.

It can be really tricky trying to do it all and it never seems like there’s enough time in the day

What has been the biggest ‘fist-pump’/successful moment for you so far?

My biggest successful moment was when Etsy had their first pop up shop in Soho during the holidays and they asked me to be a featured maker there.

They flew me out to New York and set up a work area for me to meet customers and sell my goods.

It really was one of the most amazing experiences.

Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?

I don’t have any doubts as to my future creative direction. 

Every day I learn something new in regards to business and I’m constantly trying to learn new techniques to help me push my product lines and experiment with new designs.

As I had mentioned previously, time is always an issue. 

I always feel like I don’t have enough time for one thing or another, I just try to do my best.

Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?

Every now and then I go through creative slumps.

I think that’s something that all creatives can relate to.  If I feel stuck, I go outside for a walk, go to a different part of the city I don’t usually go to or sit at Lake Michigan.

I find that ruts hit me when I’m swamped with work and tired. So taking a break and seeing something new usually does the trick to spark creativity.

You have to learn to take time for yourself and your well-being because if you don’t your business can suffer. 

 

How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?

Every day is a little bit different and depends on how many open orders I have. If I have a rush of orders I spend the whole day making and then try to package and ship at night.

If I don’t have too many orders, I use that time to make new products, photograph and list them in my shop.  Usual business tasks are also spread out depending on my work load.

Working for your self is way more work than working for someone else.

I work 7 days a week sometime from 8 to 14 hours a day. 

I love it and don’t mind putting in those hours.

I am so grateful that I am able to do something I truly love for a living. It is really one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced.

What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?

Instagram has been the best marketing tool for my shop!

I started it only a year ago and love it! I meet other creatives and network with people all around the world on a daily basis.  I also receive most of my wholesale orders as well as fun custom orders through Instagram.

The other thing I like about Instagram is the instant feedback you receive on products.

Whenever I’m working on a new design I’ll put up progress shots all the way up to the finished design and receive feedback on all stages of the work.

It’s so helpful and is a really fun way to try something new that you maybe wouldn’t have done before.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?

I think that a lot of creatives try to learn everything there is about business before they open their shops.

The truth is you won’t be able to learn everything and it doesn’t have to be perfect when you open.

You’ll learn as you go through experience and you never stop learning.

Of course it is very important to research before you begin but it’s also very important to take the leap and get your products out there for the world to see.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself in 5 years in a dedicated studio space outside of my home with employees!

It would be so amazing to hire help for the business side so I can spend more time designing and making pieces.

Shop/Website

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Success Stories – Core.

I’ve known Damara for some time and I always admire her incredible artworks and range of jewellery which is unique and thoughtful. Core. is a blend of artisan work and crafting through design and construction of beautiful wearables and wall hangings. Read on to see how a little craft market stall turned into a burgeoning creative business.

Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?

Art has been a major part of my life since I was little.

After floundering at university briefly studying anthropology, I decided to follow my true passion, and became a Graphic Designer.

I worked in graphics and (at the time) the newly developing world of digital photography until my first child came along.

After focusing on family for a number of years I found my passion to create was itching just below the surface, so I started my own business. After learning on the run and a few changes here and there I settled into Core.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?

The biggest was definitely a small legal battle last year.

Someone was trying to copyright my business name even though my business was established and they already knew of me.

I had been naïve when starting the business not copyrighting the name, only registering it. I had no idea of how my venture would go and had little money to put towards such measures.

It ended up costing me A LOT more in the end, but thankfully with the help of a great IP lawyer my name is safely trademarked now.

It was a taxing time both emotionally as well as financially.

Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?

Yes, all the time (for both questions).

I think a lot of artists can relate to the fear involved in running your creativity as a ‘business’.

As an artist I just want to create what I love, but as a business it needs to be viable as a ‘product’.

I am constantly wondering if what I’m doing is what I should be doing.

Will it work?

Will people like it?

Even more so, will people part with their hard earned money to buy it?

And there are always a thousand more ideas in my head I do not either have time to get to or get pushed aside to make way for other things. I also have a problem with the word ‘success’.

I honestly don’t feel like a ‘success’.

It’s all a process rather than a definitive end and I am still within it, trying to keep moving forward and be happy.

Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?

I just have to work through it.

I find that by going through other processes, getting things done, that it comes back.

Even if I have to spend days just gluing or sanding or doing paper work, eventually I will be struck by a moment of inspiration.

How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?

My family comes first. That will always be the case. And that sometimes makes things very hard, but I am fortunate that this business is a ‘choice’ for me.

Yes it is a necessity for me as an artist to be creative, but I get to do that with my 3 children as well. As my youngest is getting older it is becoming easier to fit more focus time into Core.

Each day begins with getting everybody up and off to school, then my business time begins after that.

After school hours is quite tricky, and Core. just has to fit in around soccer and hockey and cello and holidays etc.

What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?

In one word – Instagram.

By far the best and easiest marketing tool, and I love it.

Everything goes on IG, all my processes and finished products, plus it is a visual tool, which as a creative person really appeals to me aesthetically.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?

Don’t worry about anyone else. Just do what makes you happy.

You can’t compare apples and oranges, just like you can’t compare your life to what you perceive is how someone else’s life is. Stick with your reality, and produce what you love.

That authenticity will shine through your work and people will believe in it… and in you.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still on this creative journey.

I hope that my little business moves forwards and upwards.

Website: etsy.com/au/shop/corejewellery

Facebook: facebook.com/core.jewellery

Instagram: instagram.com/littlecore

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