Wed, 30 July 2014
If you build it, no one will come, because there are 1 billion other people who are also building “its”. Their “its” are really unique and fabulous. Their "its" come with bonuses and amazing customer service.
If you are building "its" without a marketing or SEO plan, please stop building.
No, seriously. Put that hammer down.
You may just end up with a pile of dusty "its" in your garage that your grandkids will inspect and wonder about. For your sanity, stop your building and start your marketing.
If you build it, your mom might come, but then again, there are a lot of "its" in the world, and she's a busy lady.
How does SEO Help my Marketing?
This intro on Off-page SEO could also be called an Intro to Marketing your Etsy shop, because the beautiful thing is, these two concepts go hand-in-hand.
The more you get the word out about your shop, the more Google acknowledges all of those beautiful links and clicks back to your site.
The more you share about your shop and brand on social media, the more Yahoo stands up and takes notice.
So what are we waiting for? With hammers safely stowed for the moment, let's get started.
5 ways to dominate Off-page SEO for your Etsy shop or Website
- Partner with blogs to do giveaways or product round-ups and reviews
- Be sure the blog has plenty of traffic so you won't waste your time and money (I suggest 20,000 visitors/month minimum)
- Ensure that the blog's audience will be a good fit for your products. Do their interests/passions/problems line up with what you're selling?
Websites to get you Started on Finding the Right Blogs
Search within the relevant categories, and you can find the most popular blogs within that category (such as DIY & Crafts or Art). Once you click over to a blog, it will suggest other similar blogs to follow.
Within the blog's page, you can get a really quick, thumbnail glimpse of all of their most recent blog posts. Figure out if they do giveaways or talk about products they love. Get a sense for what they blog about. What’s the focus of their blog?
Feedly makes it easy to search for popular websites that discuss a given topic, such as "nature crafts". Unlike bloglovin, feedly's search engine is more targeted.
Quick Pointers for Reaching out to Bloggers
Using the same blogs you found above, hunt for that blog’s media kit. Many blogs require you to email to request a PDF of their media kit, but they will generally get back to you quickly and let you know what the sizes, locations, and pricing of their ads or sponsored posts will be.
Start with at least one form of social media, get familiar with it, then build additional social media channels from there.
Social Media Channels that Seem to Generate the Most Views and Sales for Etsy Shops
You can add your shop to these etsy shop directories within the appropriate categories.
Only other Etsy Shop Owners are on these Directory Sites, why should I care?
Google views relevant, non-spammy links as a vote for your shop. So a valid crafting site with high traffic would be a vote for your shop. (And many times, adding your shop is free.)
Even if you have no intention of starting a blog or becoming a blogger, there is still so much you can do as an Etsy Shop owner to get the word out about your shop.
You can submit a great DIY project with step by step photos or a video.
Share photos of your workspace or inside info on life as an Etsy seller.
Write about secrets of the trade, ex. take one of your more simple items to make and turn that into a step-by-step tutorial with photos on another blog
The benefits of guest posting
These posts written by you let others get to know you, position you as an expert within your field, and, let's face it, DIY projects make for amazing, pinnable, viral-able, content!
There are also Crafter DIY sites where you can upload your projects, ex. Craftster.org
So what are you going to do once you've set that hammer down?
Ready? Count ‘em!
Bonus SEO Tip
Ubersuggest simplifies the process of finding suggestions for keyword phrases that you may want to target. Google's keyword planner does the same thing, but you have to toggle through multiple categories and see many repeat suggestions. Ubersuggest shows everything on one page and lists the most popularly searched terms.
So what are you going to do this week while your hammer goes on vacation? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
~ Beth Anne
Tue, 29 July 2014
It was so fun (and a little intimidating!) to inteview Amanda Archer. She's a wedding dress designer who hails from Chicago, and she's clearly way too cool and creative for Sarah and I! It was fun getting some of the inside scoop on the design business. Plus there are tons of brilliant business moms out there dreaming of starting or growing their own clothing lines. So listen on, friends!
The Archer Collection is about the modern woman; classic and easy to wear with a twist of retro and a bit of vintage romance. Fabrics in the collection are always made from natural or eco-friendly fabrics. Amanda searches far and wide to find the best quality of new, organic and vintage fabric and trims.
Most dresses are available made-to-order, customized or standard sized. Amanda’s dresses can be found on Etsy, or customers can come to her office studio located in Chicago's West Loop. Her wedding gowns are also available at Mignonette Bridal on Belmont Street in Chicago.
Taking the Leap
Amanda graduated from the fashion institute in San Francisco with a degree in Fashion Design. She worked for 5 years for other design companies, then started her own business in 2008.
“Etsy is what really helped me launch my business,” Amanda says.
Amanda was working full-time and doing dresses on the side for customers. Her business was essentially a weekend job. She also designed and made clothes at home for practice after learning something new at work. Amanda worked hard to hone her craft and gain as much expertise as possible.
Amanda continued in this way for a few years. Once her side dress design company became fairly busy, she took the leap and became a full-time entrepreneur. We love the way Amanda hustled on the side to get her business going!
Business was slow at first, but 9 months after she started, Amanda says things got really busy. She saw a big increase in volume of sales and she had to figure out how to handle that influx in business.
Solopreneur or Outsource?
When the orders starting pouring in, Amanda chose to push back her timelines rather than hire on help. She works with a lot of bridal groups who have many orders within one wedding. Brides understand that there’s a longer timeline for multiple dresses and orders, so remaining a one-woman show hasn’t been a problem. Amanda's timeline is 3-6 months for bridal party orders..
What does a Typical Day Look Like for a Wedding Dress Designer?
Amanda goes to work in the morning for about 6 hours. Her husband works night shifts, so her daughter is home with her husband while she’s at work. In the afternoons she takes her lunch break with her daughter and puts her down for a nap. After nap-time, they head back to the office for an hour or two so she can wrap things up. Then she takes her daughter to the park on the way home when the weather's nice (which we understand is a bit of a rarity in Chicago!) Amanda is able to work 8 hours a day and also have 8 hours a day with her daughter.
Low point in her business
Amanda really cares about her customers and how people receive the dresses that she makes. So if she has an unhappy customer, that’s a low point for her. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, she works really hard to resolve the problem and keep her customers happy.
It’s a learning experience. In the wedding industry, it’s inevitable to run across issues, but you have to learn from those issues, do your best, and move forward.
How her dress design business helps to support her family
Amanda and her husband support the family 50/50. Amanda points out the added benefit of having her own business -- she can work around her husband’s schedule. She can be flexible and make family a priority.
Accomplishment She’s Most Proud of
Being able to open up a studio space was a big deal for Amanda. (Sarah and I are drooling as we think about it! A place all our own to work and create?)
Amanda still has many more goals, hopes, and dreams, but she’s very happy with what she’s done with her business so far.
Her biggest goal is to open a bridal boutique. She’d like to work with other artists and designers and have a space where she can produce items in the back. Her boutique space may also host wedding and baby showers.
Amanda has decided that her boutique will open within the next five years. We love that she's setting a timeline to make her dreams happen. Amanda is picking herself, and we can't wait to see what happens as a result!
Finding a Studio Space
It took a few years for Amanda to find the right space. She’s moved twice so far. When she found the space she wanted, there was a tenant already working there. She found out when they were moving and then took over. Patience and persistence paid off!
Favorite Online Tool
-Etsy for Shipping with Ship n Click functionality
- Instagram to post photos of what she’s working on and pics of her baby
Amanda uses a hands-on system that she learned from another designer. Once or twice a month she goes through and makes sure she has the threads, zippers, and fabrics that she needs for that month’s workload. She doesn’t type things into her computer but instead has all of her orders in front of her along with a checklist.
Single Biggest Factor that Helped to Grow her Business
Etsy! It’s a great community. It reaches people all over the world. Without Etsy it would have been a lot more challenging to grow her business.
Happiness is success. Being able to support herself and time with her family rank high on Amanda's list. Before her daughter was born, her life wasn’t as balanced. Sixteen-hour days and very little vacation time were not all that uncommon for Amanda.
"Having a child has forced me to balance my life. I feel a lot happier, and to me that feels like success."
Right now is Amanda's busy season and she can often feel underwater. Even though it's very stressful, she keeps perspective by having a checklist for each day. As long as she gets through that list each day, she is doing ok.
Amanda keeps perspective during her slow season as well. She's thankful that she still has business.
Photography is one of Amanda's hobbies, so for the past couple of years she has taken the pictures for her own photo shoots. She does her own photo shoot of her new designs at least once per year. Wow, we are so impressed! Amanda hires models, make-up and hair artists.
Working with Models
Amanda often finds her models through contacts in the industry. She’s worked on large photo shoots with multiple photographers and many models as well as participated in fashion shows. These opportunities generate many leads.
Amanda also uses a site called Model Mayhem. The site allows users to search for a variety of parameters such as hair color or height. From there, Amanda contacts the models to see who will be the best fit.
As a dress designer and photographer, Amanda clearly has a vision for how she wants her shoots to go. Amanda tells her models to pretend like they’re getting married. They're happy. It’s a positive thing.
Sometimes models can glare at the camera. Telling them how to feel helps to give them direction. "They don’t have to smile the whole time," Amanda says, "but they should try not to look angry." (Sarah has her own theory for why models look so sullen all of the time!)
Funny Mom Moment
Amanda’s daughter is a CEO-in-training! They were walking down a busy Chicago sidewalk, and she was shouting into her play phone for several blocks. Business people on their phones were walking by just laughing at the baby yelling into her phone. (Clearly, she had important business to discuss!)
See Amanda's gorgeous designs for yourself!
Do you have a 5-year plan for your business? Is there a big dream that you absolutely know you'll achieve? We want to hear about it in the comments.
~ Beth Anne
Fri, 25 July 2014
How to Win Friends and Influence People: When I first heard about this book I was a bit taken aback. The whole idea of a book written about this topic seemed a little skeezy and manipulative. "Is the book going to teach me weird mind games?" I wondered.
After you read How the World Sees You by Sally Hogshead, grab this one next so you can learn how to take the best of you and create genuine, meaningful relationships with others.
To see this book in action, let's take a look at the scenario below.
There she goes again. You're left staring at the back of your employee's head as she walks away. You've become all too familiar with the wave of her hair, the casual way it's tossed back, her lack of attention or care regarding anything you say. How can you get through to her?
It's not that she's done anything worthy of letting her go, but at the same time, does she ever care about anything either? You can't seem to get through to her. She nods blankly when you talk with her -- her mind clearly somewhere else. She does her tasks half-heartedly, and they are often incomplete unless she is given multiple reminders and firm deadlines.
This is not what you were hoping for when you hired your first employee. You thought your passion and excitement for your business would immediately transfer to her too.
All you need to do is tell her what to do, be excited about it, and she'll handle the rest, right?
Isn't this how things work between a boss and employee?
There is a whole lot more involved in being a great leader or influencer. How to Win Friends and Influence People is an incredibly rich resource that shares the basics of human psychology (without feeling like a psych 101 class!) that will change the way you see others and approach the world.
Rather than leave the pages feeling like a Jedi mind-master, you'll leave them feeling more equipped to treat others the way they should be treated. There are no power plays here - no dramatic special effects - just plain old solid advice on how to put others first and be less demanding and selfish.
The coolest thing?
When you give more than you receive, you end up receiving more in the end.
As I listened to this book, I found myself agreeing with all of the principles mentioned, but realized how often I miss the mark in my own life. It's easy to know what the right to do is, but it's another thing to apply it. The best part about the book are all the case studies and real-life examples. When I find myself slipping back into selfish jerk mode, (Yep, that's right, I have a selfish jerk mode and it switches on far more often than I'd like to admit!) I'll return to the pages of this book to stay on track. As a Christian, I found this book even more refreshing because I realized that being successful doesn't mean abandoning any of the principles that I hold dear.
Let's dive into the main points discussed in How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
Six Ways to Make People Like You
"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
“Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”
“Emerson said: “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving."
"The chronic kicker, even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener— a listener who will be silent while the irate fault-finder dilates like a king cobra and spews the poison out of his system.”
“By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.”
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,” said Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. “There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors.”
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”
“The secret of his success? “I will speak ill of no man,” he said, “. . and speak all the good I know of everybody.”
In the podcast, I dive into some of the details of the points above and give some examples. You'll also hear about my first-hand experience as a nurse dealing with some difficult people (did someone say surgeons? who me?! naaaah! They're all teddy bears.) and contrast that with others who approached their interactions with more intention and care.
If you're debating whether this book will be useful for you, let me give a few examples.
You're a brand new photographer in town. You know that networking with others and getting the word out about your business is vitally important. Do you simply need to shout the loudest to accomplish this? Nope! This book will teach you how to form those important relationships to get your business off the ground.
You're an Etsy shop owner, and last year's busy Christmas season has convinced you to hire some help. You wouldn't describe yourself as a people-person. You prefer the solitary artist's life - working quietly in your studio. Is it possible for you to form a successful working relationship with an employee? Absolutely! How to Win Friends and Influence People will point you in the right direction.
You're a blogger, and although your site gets some decent traffic one year after starting it, you're finding it tough to create a genuine community amongst your readers. You know that community is important to keep people coming back and to create loyal customers who will be the first to buy your information products. How can you accomplish this? How to Win Friends and Influence People will spark some ideas for you on this front and help you get back to the basics of connecting with your audience.
I hope you will give this book a try. I personally listened to the audiobook format while folding laundry and cleaning the house.
Grab your free Audible Trial here. *
Wed, 23 July 2014
Beth Anne had a great episode on pricing that talked a lot about the psychology involved in pricing and the ways in which you can potentially increase sales. My spreadsheet-loving accountant personality just had to follow up with an episode on the nuts and bolts of pricing your products. So get out your excel spreadsheet, and lets get started!
There are 4 components to determine a price for your product: Direct Costs, Indirect Costs, Time Value, and Profit.
Direct costs are anything directly attributable to the creation of your product. All the materials that go into your masterpiece are direct costs. Direct costs also include special packaging you might use, a business card you include in each box, or an Etsy Listing Fee. These are just a few ideas of the direct costs you may have. Write down all the direct costs that go into each product you sell, and determine the cost of each of these elements. Be as accurate as you can and make sure you do not leave anything out.
Indirect costs cannot be directly assigned to any one item. These are the costs of running your business that are not part of production. An example of these costs are accounting software, rent, utilities, web hosting, or training. Make a list of all of these costs by month. Then divide that number by the average number of products your expect to sell that month. The result is the indirect cost that should be assigned to each product. If your indirect costs change over time, or if your average number of products changes, come back and re-evaluate your numbers.
The value of your time to create your product is the third component. What is your time worth as an artist, designer, or crafter? What is your skill level worth? Once you have an idea of what you believe your hourly rate should be, you need to determine how much time it takes to make each item. If you make each item one at a time, this is easy--just time yourself! The most efficient way to make items is in an assembly-line fashion, if possible. Here is an example: lets say it takes 3 steps to make your product. You can do Step 1 to 10 of your items in 1 hour, for Step 2, you can process 20 of your items in 1 hour, and in Step 3 you can only get through 5 items in an hour. If we break everything down into 10 unit increments than Step 1 is 1 hour, Step 2 is .5 hour, and Step 3 is 2 hours. So a total of 3.5 hours to get 10 of your items completed. If you want to get paid $20 per hour, then 3.5 x $20= $70 divided by the 10 products you made in that time means that for each item your time should be valued at $7. The point is, time yourself, what is the best way to get through your work? Determine exactly how long it takes to make one item, and how much you think your hourly rate should be.
The profit you want to make on each item can either be a percentage, or a dollar amount you add right in to the formula. Make sure you have room in your pricing for profit, otherwise your business will never be able to grow and expand. Without profits you will not have the cash flow to experiment with new products, buy in bulk, etc.
Here is an example of two formulas that might work for you:
(Time Value + Direct Costs + Indirect Costs)x1.1 = Wholesale x 2 = Retail
Time Value + Direct Costs + Indirect Costs + Profit = Wholesale x 2= Retail
Use these formulas to determine a fair price for your products, but also to determine how viable your business model is. When you add up all your costs, is the price you should charge according to the formulas astronomical? If so, maybe you should look into some cost cutting measures. You might want to rethink how you create your products. Or you may reevaluate your hourly rate.
Although these formulas are extremely helpful, they don't have to be followed to a T. Compare your suggested pricing to your competition and evaluate in light of what you bring to the table. Play around with your pricing a little, but watch and see how your changes affect sales. Maybe reducing a product from $41 to $39 will result in a much higher rate of sales and therefore, the $2 cut makes sense. Treat your pricing like an experiment by making small changes and then observing the results of your price tweaking.
Please leave me a comment and let me know if this made sense or if you have further questions!
Direct download: Episode202220The20details20of20pricing20products20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST
Tue, 22 July 2014
Ariel Holcomb is a newborn, infant, and family photographer who has also added military homecomings and weddings to her repertoire. Her focus in each photo is on using natural light to create beautiful effects. As a military spouse, it became difficult for Ariel to have a successful teaching career with multiple re-locations, and thus her photography business was born. Her husband Matt bought her a camera as a gift, and she taught herself everything she possibly could about photography.
Ariel began doing photography sessions for fun and practice, but then people started asking her to take their photos. She grew from charging a small amount per session to being a professional photographer. Ariel shares some great tips for those of us who may be amateur photographers on how to get great pictures. She also dishes on starting a business from scratch after a move.
(The secret's out! Ariel is the talented photographer behind all of the beautiful outdoor photos in our Etsy shop, The Amateur Naturalist.)
Tips for the novice photographer:
Tips on how to grow your business after a move:
How she manages her business and motherhood:
How her income helps her family:
Funny and Adorable Mom moments:
Advice on Pricing:
Business Tools and Resources:
Did you learn any new tips and tricks to improve your photography? We'd love to hear about it in the comments!
~ Sarah and Beth Anne
Thu, 17 July 2014
Pricing Your Products can be one of the most difficult task any mom entrepreneur faces. We may often undervalue our work and our time. Whether you are an etsy shop owner, photographer, legal consultant, or solopreneur, you must determine how to price your products. Beth Anne Schwamberger, with resources such as Quicksprout, Influence, and Kissmetrics gives 5 Tips to change your mindset around pricing and increase sales and revenue. Beth Anne covers tips such as focusing on Time in your sales pitch instead of money because it invokes more positive feelings about a product. Make your appeal personal because customers respond and connect much more to individuals, artisans, and bloggers than they do to brands. Context matters for your pricing. Increasing the price leads to a perceived increase in value of the product. In addition, you can use a higher-priced anchor to make a lesser-priced product seem like a better deal. The fourth pricing tip is that you should choose to add value rather than reduce your price. Think about what you as a photographer, artist, designer, etsy seller, or blogger could offer that is unique for your customer. How can you provide them with incredible service and an experience that they will be talking about with all of their friends? Do not discount yourself. The last tip is to avoid option overload or the analysis paralysis phenomenon. Try to package your products into three to five groups or packages. This example is seen most clearly with photographers, but the same principle can apply to products offered in an etsy shop, graphic design prints grouped by category, or information products. Overall the advice is to use psychology to stop undervaluing and underselling. Instead sell more, make more money and in turn provide even better products and services to your customers.
Wed, 16 July 2014
Sarah Korhnak went from over 1600 emails to Inbox Zero in just 90 minutes! How did she do it? She'll share her best tips and advice for staying at Inbox Zero in this episode. For starters, search for your highest frequency senders, add emails that require a response to your real To-Do List rather than leave them unread and unmanaged in your inbox. Do not skimp on folders or labels. Be as specific and organized as you can. Check your email only 3 times per day, and only at times when you actually have the ability to respond to and deal with each item. You can get to inbox zero and maintain this state of bliss too!
Tue, 15 July 2014
018: Dana Kalatsky of AppleWhite Handmade Talks Consistency on Social Media and Partnering with Bloggers
Etsy shop owner Dana Kalatsky sells handmade pillows, purses, and other items for women and kids in her shop, AppleWhite Handmade. Dana's pillow was recently featured in Country Living Magazine! Dana shares her simple routines on social media to make sure her new products reach as many eyes as possible. She also talks pricing formulas, partnering with bloggers to do giveaways, and connecting on Etsy teams. Dana shares insider info by revealing the top 5 traffic sources for her Etsy shop. These are sites that every mompreneur should be paying attention to! Stay tuned, this episode is filled with practical business advice for moms in the online business space.
Thu, 10 July 2014
How the World Sees You by Sally Hogshead is a unique take on the traditional personality test. Rather than focus on how you see the world, Sally teaches you how you can fascinate others. She discusses the seven advantages and how they can combine to form forty-nine archetypes. Sally teaches entrepreneurs how to create teams where individuals complement each other rather than work against one another. Sally helps you to create your own anthem so that you can put your best foot forward and be fully YOU in every situation.
Wed, 9 July 2014
Sarah will teach you how to use Open Site Explorer, a search engine for links, to spy on your competition and improve your own game. Open Site Explorer will generate a report with the places your competitor comments, contributes, guest posts, and niche forums they participate on. You can also discover which websites are linking to you and form valuable relationships with those sites. Overall, Open Site Explorer is an Invaluable tool to improve your Off-Site SEO and Spy on the Competition too!
Tue, 8 July 2014
Mimika Cooney is an award-winning photographer who focuses on fashion photography and newborn portraiture. She has started her business over several times as her family has moved around the globe. Mimika is open and honest about the struggles she has faced as a mom entrepreneur, but she also shares excellent advice and tips for pushing past the hard times. You won't want to miss all her great app recommendations and books she's reading. Recently, Mimika launched an internet show called MimikaTV where she interviews photographers who are successful in varied facets of photography. She is launching Capture School, and online business school for photographers, Fall 2014.
Thu, 3 July 2014
In this episode of "What I'm Learning this Week", Sarah reviews Purple Cow by Seth Godin. In it he describes how you can stand out in a crowded marketplace not by being weird, but by being remarkable. He teaches that mass-marketing is no longer effective. Instead, you must find that small number of people who will be your "sneezers" -- your brand ambassadors who will share your message with everyone they know. Tune in to hear Sarah's take on the book and get ideas for how you can become a purple cow.
Wed, 2 July 2014
In this episode of "What I'm Learning this Week" Beth Anne shares tips for reaching out to brands to monetize your website. Ad space, partnering witih etsy shops, and working with larger brands to create sponsored posts are discussed. By the end of the episode, you will feel equipped to begin reaching out to brands, both big and small, to create lucrative and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Tue, 1 July 2014
Mary Larsen and her husband created ParentCast - a podcast for new parents, new babies, and their new lives together. Mary also has a blog for moms and is a Rhode Island TV personality. Listen to learn her best tips for scoring sponsored posts and ad spots on her blog. She also shares great advice on becoming a better public speaker and communicator.