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Showing posts from July, 2018

a woman with a buisness podcast launch - Conversation with Christen Strang of Letterhappy

To view the podcast - Part A:   Part B: Christen Strang: I'm so happy to bring you this first podcast!  Christen is an amazing friend and talented artist and amazingly successful Etsy seller!  Listen to our conversation about business, side gigs, and Etsy! 

Slowdowns and Slumps - When to freakout, When to take action, and What to do about it - Etsy Stats

This week I am talking about Slumps and Slowdowns ... how to know if you are really in a slump or slowdown, when to freak out, and what to do about it! Today is all about analyzing stats.  Over and over I have witnessed people freaking out about slowdowns because their stats are down from a day ago, a week ago, and a month ago ... but just this is not enough information to know if you are really experiencing a slowdown.  Retail sales are cyclical, and you need to know your cycles.  If you cannot deal with the natural cycles in your business, then you need to develop a new product line that will work opposite those cycles in your current business.  Trying to even out cycles in your current business is much harder than creating a product line that you market to a different market to fill in slow cycles.  Also note, that cycles in business will fluctuate year to year, and your sales should be increasing during these cycles year to year.  Although as your business grows, you may also fin

Slowdowns and Slumps - When to freakout, When to take action, and What to do about it.

Steady sales ... it is the goal ... it is the dream ... and it is also somewhat of a fairy tale!  If you look hard, sometimes you don't have to look hard, you can consistently find a business person complaining that they are experiencing a slowdown, that their shop is dead, they wonder if it is the end ... Seasonal ups and downs are normal, should be expected, and your season may not be Christmas! First, every business throughout the year, experiences ups and downs.  Those ups and downs do not occur at the same times for all shops ... even shops selling almost identical things don't always experience ups and downs at the same time.  Your competitors may be reaching a different market than you or have brought a previous customer base with them.  Do not kill your shop comparing it to other similar shops.  Base your fluctuations on your own shop visits, not another shop's visits. All businesses should keep track of their sales and visits to their shops.  It is up to you

Managing your expectations - part 4

Managing the expectations of you and your business is a tricky thing ... I would say that this is more of a problem when you are new and just starting and have a list of things a mile long.  However, after 13 years, I can tell you that I still have days when I feel completely overwhelmed and have to wrangle in the expectations of myself. Do one thing at a time.  The idea of being able to work at home for yourself is very romantic ... you can have laundry going, the dishwasher going, the kids playing a board game in the other room, all while working away on your business like a boss!  What really happens is, you throw in a load of laundry, and it sits in the washing machine wet for 6 hours because you forgot it, requiring it to be washed again.  You start loading the dishwasher, but the phone rings and the kids drop the board game, causing 250,000 cards and dice and pieces to scatter down the stairway.  The dog throws up, the power goes out, and you realize that you don't have a c

Managing your Expectations - Part 3 - Where are you going and how will you get there

When starting a business, a lot of people will tell you that you need a business plan.  However, a lot of people starting a business simply start with an idea or just simply wanting to supplement their current income.  A business plan isn't something that they think is necessary.  Business plans are thought of as something that only large businesses trying to get funding need.  However, business plans can provide an important road map for even the smallest of businesses. In a lot of cases, people spend more effort planning a dinner or lunch date, than they do on planning their business.  It starts with an invite to eat, should you invite others, what time will you meet, what restaurant will you eat at, where is the restaurant, map the location on your GPS, do you need to make reservations, how long will it take you to drive there, do you need to make arrangements for parking, how expensive is the menu, what will you wear, and how long will it take you to get ready if the dress is

Managing your expectations - part 2

What are your expectations of yourself?  What are your expectations of your business?  Do these expectations match?  Do you have the skills needed to meet your expectations?  I saw a very lofty post yesterday.  From someone that has zero social media experience.  Admittedly, they just set up a social media account a week prior and they are looking for information and advice on how to be a social media manager.  They do not know anything about social media platforms and are asking for any advice.  They want to become a social media manager and, in 6 months from now, be making $10,000 per month running social media accounts for businesses. They have high expectations of themselves, high expectations of their business, and no current skills to meet those expectations.  They do, however, have the guts to admit all of this and start seeking information.  Do you think that their expectations can become a reality?  I answer, maybe.  The outcome completely depends on their determinatio

Managing your expectations as an Entrepreneur - Part 1

Expectations in entrepreneurship are big, bold, lofty, and the pressure to succeed is huge.  You may feel pressure to perform, sell, grow, and do do do.  Managing those expectations look different for each entrepreneur and it is important to manage your own.  What are your expectations of yourself? Social media burst onto the scene in a big way, and the pressures on businesses to have a social media presence are huge for entrepreneurs.  We are expected to be available, post great content, post fabulous pictures, grow, interact, and be available. As an entrepreneur, you are in control of managing those expectations of yourself. Set limits and times to post on your social media accounts.  If you find yourself going over those time limits, consider a timer that beeps at you.   Monitor what content you are reading, and if it is content that is meaningful in your life.  If you find that you are reading a lot of content that is not having a positive impact on your life and relationships,

So, You want to be an Entrepreneur - Turning your Idea into a Business - Part 5 Advertising and promoting

Today is the last post in the "So, you want to be an Entrepreneur" series, although really this is the tip of this iceberg!  This entire blog is about being an entrepreneur, but since I must break things up into topics and weekly focuses, we are wrapping this one up!  Today is Part 5, and in case you missed Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , and Part 4 follow the links! So, now, hopefully you have narrowed down products and product lines, and thought about at least one target market for each one.  When you start doing the things I am talking about in this post, you may find that you must go back and redo each of those.  I cannot stress enough that product lines and target markets need to be narrow for this step or else your advertising dollars or your hunts on where to advertise are going to be impossibly large!  Please remember again, you are not excluding shoppers, and you really don't have to exclude products, but you do need to have a target market that is find-able, an

So, You want to be an Entrepreneur - Turning your Idea into a Business - Part 4 Targeting Markets

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's post!  Thanks for following along with the "So, you want to be an Entrepreneur" series!  Today is Part 4, and in case you missed Part 1 , Part 2 , and Part 3 follow the links! Yesterday we talked about narrowing down your target market, and today we are talking about marketing to the target markets you already know of and/or the target markets you can easily find. Perhaps you are a teacher, and already know a large network of teachers, and provide a product or service that can be useful for teachers.  Adjust your pictures and text to target those markets you already have. Think about the similarities that you have with existing friends.  Perhaps some of them would generously provide you with feedback on your items to give you new ideas or descriptive words that you can use to promote your product or service. Think about your hobbies and other groups of people that you are already interacting with.  Is there a product or service

So, You want to be an Entrepreneur - Turning your Idea into a Business - Part 3 Target Markets

Thanks for following along with the "So, you want to be an Entrepreneur" series!  Today is Part 3, and in case you missed Part 1 and Part 2 follow the links! Target markets are probably the number one thing that I see entrepreneurs struggle with.  Most entrepreneurs are so afraid that they will finally get a visitor to their shop, but they won't have something for that single person, so they frantically try to come up with something that appeals to everyone.  This type of broad net hopeful marketing may work if you have millions of dollars for television ads that are shown on tv shows where you have millions of viewers from different walks of life.  Unfortunately, most of us, don't have that sort of marketing budget. Knowing your target market will allow you to speak directly to your target customer in your listings, titles, and the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your site.  It also allows you to easily find places to advertise where those people hang out.

So, You want to be an Entrepreneur - Turning your Idea into a Business - Part 2 - Defining your product lines

Thanks so much for reading along with this "So, you want to be an entrepreneur" series!  Yesterday, I told you what you needed to be a successful Entrepreneur.  You can find that post here.   You may be saying out loud ... "But you didn't say you needed a great product, service or idea!" Over my years of being self employed, I have seen thousands of great products and services never attain success.  I have also seen products and services become wildly successful despite them not being the best of the best.  The most common reason for these failures was the unwillingness to fully embrace the elements needed for successful entrepreneurship that I talked about yesterday, and not being able to fully define great product line.  A well-defined product line allows you the opportunity, to present yourself as an expert in your field, and to cross promote your goods and services. You will want to start your entrepreneurial quest by having 1 to 3 product or service li

So, You want to be an Entrepreneur - Turning your Idea into a Business - Part 1

So, you want to be an entrepreneur.  It's intriguing, it's sexy, it's the dream to be the captain of your ship!  At least that is what they say ... Now, how to take that little idea and turn it into a viable business.  This is part 1 in this series, and please know that these are my ideas, suggestions, but this is the real world, and this is not a guarantee that you will be successful in your entrepreneurial quest. Being an entrepreneur was not my childhood dream, it was not something I even expected to be doing when I was 18, 21, 25 or even 28 when I became self employed.  I became an entrepreneur over time, and I didn't even realize that I was carefully planning and laying my foundation for success. If I told you the product lines that I started thinking of initially, versus what my product lines are now, you may be surprised that they are much different.  Although one of those products became my focus, not all of them stood the test of time.  Be open to letting