Heartfire ..and April 2010
Ooooooooooooooh La! La! I thought I was going to start a ‘little business’ that would keep me slightly busy but not so much as to interfere with my golf, lunching with friends, actual revenue earning employment, reading, chat-time with my husband, yoga stretching, walking, gardening, visits with my mother and father, hostessing High Tea parties, house cleaning…well, maybe not so much the house cleaning part…one can always use a good excuse to avoid toilets when at all possible, but I find avoiding cleaning toilets for more than a week UNBEARABLE, so there you go….toilet cleaning in MY house can begin around midnight if a week goes by and I realise I forgot to clean one of them!
Vertical Learning Curve
Am I learning???!!! Basically I am living on Mars most of the time, I am learning at such a rate that ‘curve’ does NOT apply! It’s more like a flight of an arrow aimed straight to the sky!
I once watched an interview of an elderly lady who lived with her 80 yr. old brother and 96 yr. old mother and when asked the question, “why don’t you move to the old folks home?” she replied, “DIS IS AN OL’ FOLKS HOME!” Well, about all the learning I’ve been doing, I point out, “THIS IS A MASTER’S CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
May I introduce you to Life on Mars? Here is what I have learned since April 2009.
$$$$–where to find the $$$ to begin. Domain name—where to find the $$ for pinning down the domain name, email, webpage hosting, shopping cart, credit cards or PayPal??????
Trademark—where to find the $$$ to trademark. Web master—where to find the $$$ for a web designer. Product development–where to find the $$$ to purchase the supplies…which actually begins with one thing and MORPHS into others at an alarming rate! $$$$$ for Packaging! Presentation! Promotion! Absolutely NO TIME for procrastination! ….and then you have to find a place in your abode where you can create, store and assemble for shipping these lovely, charming, exquisite and ORIGINAL creative little treasures! (a good argument for keeping your products SMALL)
Lesson 1: Do NOT bother to hire a webmaster out of the blocks. Etsy.com is a life and $$ saver…go there first to set up your shop! Here is where you have control of your own edits, upload, alter, edit, add, etc. etc. ect. and NOT be charged at $30-$50 an hour for each change because YOU are gonna change things sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much it will make your head swim as you learn. Of course you will already have to know how to download photos onto your computer; write grammatically correct and no misspelled text that describes your product with some enthusiastic and seductive enough language that SOMEONE will be intrigued enough to want to take a closer look.
I saw this great tip to share: Pretend you are describing something to an unsighted person….and that’s just the beginning. FYI: There is a school of thought that says one must list things on Amazon.com because if one does, one is viewed to have credibility….however, be aware that to list on Amazon.com you have to have: 1. A Seller’s Account for $39.+ per month; 2. A bank account into which Amazon.com deposits any sales $$ & a credit card onto which Amazon.com charges the $39.+ monthly fee; 3. SKU’s on all products listed—which cost $$$ too. Pesky thing $$$$!
A. You’ll need to figure out how to take a great photo of your products. I live in Oregon and light is NOT always the best, so I invested in an Ott Lite–good investment too! But then, you have to ‘compose the photo’ shoot and do not shake (may be the upshot of being part of the ‘chic-aged’….ahhhh yes….living in the Right Brain of Mars is a perpetual state of BEING.
B. Then it takes a bit to discover how to price your products and you are gonna need more than TWO products. So far, time is not figured into the part about ‘profitability’, but hope springs eternal!
C. Figuring out to whom to market your products is a clever way of saying, “Where’s the Customers?”…a little like the former ad campaign, “Where’s the Beef?!” Keeping in mind the WORLD is in one of the biggest recessions since the Great Depression, selling even ONE thing seems HUGE but will NOT buy the groceries or pay the rent…yet. (Can be considered as part of a diet program and downsizing, but probably NOT an advisable plan if one expects to SURVIVE!)
D. Be ready to spend a fair amount of time on learning how to create an Avatar–I had to figure out what an Avatar was before I could Make one! Then there’s the Banner–now there’s a challenge. It needs to ‘grab like an eye candy hook’ the ‘hunting customer’, so spend some time looking at LOTS of other Etsy Shop Banners BEFORE you begin, unlike your’s truly who IS the personafication of the RHINOCEROS PRINCIPAL multiplied by a factor of at least 1000—you know the type…Gotta an idea? Just CHARGE! Beware! The banner has to fit a certain size and you spend a lot of time trying to figure out which program to use to create it….Adobe Photoshop? Snipping Tool? Publisher? Word? PowerPoint? I learned too late that there are actually BANNER MAKING programs on the web (I cannot recall the name of one right now, but maybe later)…some of those programs are free…but also there are PEOPLE on Etsy who are willing to make a banner for you at a very nominal cost. So if TIME is valuable to YOU, give careful consideration to enlisting the help of a banner making expert! Etc. etc. etc. (You will learn I use Etc. etc. etc. a lot…sort of like the King of Siam!)
Lesson 2: Once on Etsy, be sure to visit the community tab and make comments where ever you can find a place to make a ‘relative comment’ because it enhances your visibility…otherwise, being just one among the number of Etsy shops, visibility is virtually (no pun) IMPOSSIBLE! I still can’t figure out how to get into a TREASURY…it’s a time clock thing from what I can gather…so does one ‘perch’ oneself in front of the Etsy clock and POUNCE when the hour strikes the hour of ‘NOW!’? Very similar to trying to time ovulation.
Lesson 3: Create a Facebook Fan Page; Practice Link Love (this requires that you figure out the http:// address of your Etsy shop ( including the listing for products—go to one of your listings on Etsy and look up in the browser window for the address, then copy & paste it onto a word.doc) , along with the addresses of a blog, facebook fan page, ArtFire, MySpace, etc. etc.etc This allows for copy/pasting into the Link Love Discussion Tab of other Fan Pages…it’s cheap promoting that can pay off very well, but NOT cheap in time spent. However, when one does NOT have an advertising budget, one learns to LOVE LINK LOVE!)
Visit blogs–Follow and post appropriate comments on blogs to Begin to create a ‘community’ of artisians….now FYI: most artisians are looking for customers but not necessarily becoming a customer because we are all pinching our pennies too, however, getting ‘brand visibility’ is IMPERATIVE and you never know, one of those artisans might tell a ‘non artisan friend’ about your product who, in fact, may become a treasured customer! FINGERS CROSSED!
Lesson 4: Learn from others and subscribe to blogs that TEACH! To start: 3 Valuable blogs:
- Fine Tooth Comb http://onthedotcreations.typepad.com/fine_tooth_comb/2010/04/use-gravatar-to-build-your-business-brand.html
- Mommy the Marketer http://www.mommythemarketer.com/
- By Your Side http://michele-byyourside.blogspot.com/
Lesson 5: If you want someone to find your blog, you are going to have to let them KNOW you exist….good luck! I figure this blog is going to be for my own amusement and a good way to make notes so that, IF in the future I want to write a book, I’ll have some kind of referrence materials on hand! Good luck to me on finding the time for that idea!