I’m running not one, but two Facebook Live events this week, and you’re invited 🙂
1. 5 Mistakes You’re Making with your Etsy Shop… and How to Fix Them
After working with hundreds of makers over the last few years, I regularly see people making the same mistakes in their Etsy shops over and over again.
In this live video, I’ll be sharing the top 5 mistakes I see people making with their online shops. I’m focusing on Etsy today, but honestly, these issues crop up no matter what online venue you are using – so even if you’re selling somewhere other than Etsy, you will benefit from this.
I’ll share some really vital things which you can quickly and easily change right now to make your online shop more professional and encourage customers to purchase from you.
Other issues I touch on might take some time to get it right, but it’s important to start on these now so you can add to your skills.
I hope you don’t recognise these mistakes in your shop – but if you do, at least you now know what you need to work on to make it better!
Your shop will never be perfect: but you can always improve and be the best you can be.
Are you making any of these 5 mistakes with your Etsy shop?
I hope you can join me live and ask questions! If not, don’t miss the replay.
Brisbane, Australia time: Friday, Feb 16 at 12 noon (this is not daylight savings time)
Can you make a living selling OOAK handmade items online?
This is a question I’ve been asked many times over the years, and now that I’ve been in the handmade industry for almost 10 years, I can confirm that my stance on this remains the same.
In short: no, you can’t.
Of course, there are exceptions, and good reasons why this is the case.
In this episode, I outline the reasons why it is extremely difficult to make a living from selling OOAK items online (and I am specifically talking about online selling, not markets, wholesale etc.).
If you happen to make a living selling OOAK items online, I want to hear from you! I’ve been trying to interview someone who does on the podcast from the beginning, but I am yet to find someone. If you are that someone, or know of someone who fits the bill (makes a full-time living from their handmade business, and 90% or more of their sales online exclusively from OOAK items) then I want to hear from you!
Do you ever wonder what digital tools and software other people use to run their businesses?
I do – and I get asked about various and sundry software solutions a lot, too. So, this week, I decided to do a big round-up of all the digital tools & software I use to run my own handmade business – and Create & Thrive, as well.
I discuss what I use and why in detail in this episode – covering social media tools, website design, shopping carts, time management, photo editing and graphic design, file storage, audio & video recording and editing, outsourcing, book-keeping… and more!
Take a peek behind the scenes of my businesses, and see how I keep everything running (mostly) smoothly!
P.S. While finishing these shownotes, I realised I left one or two things out of the ep. I’m sure more will come to mind, so I’ll update the links below if that happens!
Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.
Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:
FYI if I have (R) next to a link, this means it is a referral or affiliate link. This means that if you click that link and sign up to the service, I get some form of reward. If you’d prefer to avoid that, just google it.) I am only listing and recommending tools and software that I use myself and would recommend to others wholeheartedly.
Digital Tools/Software I use to run all my online businesses:
My main social media are Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I used to love and use Twitter a lot (not so active on there now) and I have a Google Plus account. I’m also starting to use YouTube more.
I use Trello to keep track of my work and life, and I also use the Cal app on my android phone as my appointment-keeper (as well as some paper in my office – a whole-year wall planner and a weekly desk planner).
I use focusbooster on my computer when I really need to get stuff done – it’s a pomodoro-style app. I schedule work periods of 45 min and rest periods of 15 min each hour.
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.