The Simplest Way to Earn Trust

The Simplest Way to Earn Trust

You’ll find plenty of tips for how to earn trust with your audience in the blogoshpere of the “how-run-a-business” realm. And there’s good reason for that. T4rust is imperative, especially with an online business, where we’re asking people to buy something that they can’t see for themselves, let alone pick up and touch to examine with their own eyes and senses. Our potential customers need to be able to trust that our products will be what we say they are, and that you will follow through on your end of the bargain and ship what was requested immediately following payment.

Among the plethora of tips and how-tos, you’ll be told to have good, close-up images (this is good advice), include reviews from previous buyers on your site and in your product descriptions (also good advice) and more.

But there is one, main, simple thing that you must do in order to earn and maintain trust with your audience.

Consistency.

Consistency is why so many people will opt for Starbucks instead of taking a chance on a coffee shop they’ve never been to before.

Consistency is why we buy new books from our favorite authors without even reading the back cover, because we trust it will be just as satisfying as all of the ones we’ve devoured in the past from this same source.

Trust is why we buy concert tickets to the bands we’ve sung along to over and over again through our car stereo’s streaming. We trust they will sound just as good (if not better) than their studio-recorded selves.

Consistency for you means having a strong brand that stretches across all aspects of your business, including all of your marketing and messaging. It means delivering the same quality products in the same way every time a repeat customer places a re-order, or a new customer gives you a first chance.

Consistency means that your audience will come to trust you to deliver what they expect from you, or better.

Consistency doesn’t mean you have to blog every Tuesday and Saturday at 10:00 a.m. It could, but it could also mean that you blog consistently inconsistently.

Consistency doesn’t mean doing only the bare minimum, but it does mean that if you are excellent once you need to be excellent every time thereafter or you will deliver disappointment.

Consistency doesn’t mean you have to be a franchise, but it does mean borrowing the systematizing of franchises and applying it to your business, as a means of ensuring and documenting your processes in order to maintain the consistency you and your customers desire.

An general way to start systematizing your business for consistency is to map out your basic process from the start of customer outreach, to order placement, to product shipment and, finally, customer follow up. Look at all of the touch points that occur between you and your customers, and documents all of the things you can do consistently at each step to create a memorable experience with your business and brand, resulting in lasting trust between you and your customer.

Getting off the Hamster Wheel and Finding Freedom in Your Jewelry Business

What do you think of when I mention the common phrase, “the daily grind”?

Does your mind make a mental GROAN as you think about all of the work you push and shove into every waking hour as you try as hard as you possible can to get your business off the ground?

I get it. The hamster wheel syndrome is an easy place for those of us on the handmade-side of business to get stuck in. It consists of the frantic day-to-day ritual of checking messages, fulfilling orders, frantically creating marketing so that the orders keep coming in (or start coming in), and feeling like we’ve accomplished NOTHING other than the bare minimum to keep things running by the end of the day.

The good news is, running a jewelry business, or any handmade business, doesn’t have to be this way. It only takes a little work on your behind-the-scenes, mainly working on your systems and overall structure, to can set your business up for exponential growth without having to increase your personal work load by exponential (and humanly impossible) amounts.

What to learn more? You can attend the free webinar Tracy Matthews and Robin Kramer of Flourish and Thrive Academy are hosting tomorrow at noon Eastern time by clicking here.

Side note: If you register for the webinar, but can’t make it live, Tracy and Robin are always good about recording it and sending you the link to listen later. So I’d sign up even if you can’t be present during the actual webinar.

There will lots of immediately applicable information on how to run your business form the standpoint of a CVO (Chief Visionary Officer) rather than a grunt – even if you are the one doing all of the work – and how to leverage more bang for time you put into your business.

Free Webinar Training

Tracy and Robin will also be opening the doors for their Multiply Your Profits Course at the end of the webinar. This is the course that will teach you all about systematizing, outsourcing, and legality details of running your business and taking it to the next level. Aka: the level beyond the hamster wheel.

I personally took Multiply Your Profits last year and I can attest to the huge impact it made on my business. I went from spending too much time on unnecessary tasks (such as finding a pair of earring in my unorganized inventory when it sold, to figuring out what to make next without any clear revenue projections), to a more solid business with a working, nearly automatic infrastructure that runs smoothly, even if I want to take a couple weeks off for vacation, or don’t feel like doing any new marketing for awhile.

After taking Multiply Your Profits I was able to confidently set up an accounting system for my business, an inventory system, a production system, a marketing system, a packaging and shipping system, a wholesale and press outreach system, hired my first employee, and learned new ideas for liquidating old inventory to keep my businesses cash flow in the positive.

Interested in learning more? Click here to register for the free webinar today.

Even if you don’t have a jewelry-specific business, I am sure there will be lots of good information to help you learn to leverage your handmade business for better success and more freedom of your own time. See you there!

10 Ways to Procrastinate

Feel like procrastinating instead of doing that thing you know you should probably be working on for your business? Here are 10 of my top tips for accomplishing just that! (Because who wants to accomplish anything worth-while, amiright!?)

10 Ways to Procrastinate

(1)    I think I’m going to prepare myself for this dreaded task by taking a moment to “read up a little bit” on how to do it, at which point I will inevitably get distracted by another article on how to do something else, and then something else, and then, oh, my goodness, there’s just so many articles I have to read! Of course, before I know it, I will have spent 2 hours reading some very helpful and entertaining information on the interwebs, and yet… it won’t do me any good. Because  while I may have learned some pretty cool facts and theories, I wouldn’t have implemented a single thing (including the task I set out trying to accomplish.)

(2)    I’m just going to check my e-mail one more time…

(3)    I feel like I could be missing out on something exciting on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram… better check them again, “real quick” … (I think we ALL know how this ends up!)

(4)    I’m not sure how to start, so I’m just going to do something that feels more productive, like building up my Pinterest boards!

(5)    Man, I’m hungry. I should get myself some food before I take on this big project.

(6)    I’d probably perform better caffeinated. To the coffee shop!

(7)    Hmm, now, where was I? Ah yes. Well. I should probably get the dirty dishes taken care of before I get caught up in such a large task.

(8)    Plus, the bathroom needs to be cleaned, and the floors need to be vacuumed, and I don’t even remember the last time I did laundry…

(9)    Alright, back and ready to work! Oh, is that really the time? It’s been awhile since I’ve check e-mail/Facebook/twitter/etc… better do that again real quick…

(10)*Yawn* I’m feeling pretty beat. I guess I’ll just write this project down onto tomorrow’s to-do list. But first I’ll have to read up on how to do it right, as I’m still not 100% on how to start….

 Sound familiar? That’s what I thought. So I figured I ought to also include the following:

 Bonus! 10 ways to get going and get your important projects FINISHED:

(1)    Plan by reverse engineering. This means envisioning what you hope the end result to look like, and jotting down the steps it would take to get there, from the final actions to the beginning steps.

(2)    Break down monstrous, overwhelming tasks into tiny baby steps you can feel better about accomplishing at least something on a daily basis.

(3)    Get started. Even if you don’t feel “ready” – the best way to learn is through action, trial, and error.

(4)    Block off sections of intense “focus time” in your daily schedule to work on your Big Important Projects. That means 1-2 hours of uninterrupted, direct work on your project and your project only.

(5)    Eat. Go to the bathroom. Get your tea or coffee cup filled, THEN sit down to work.

(6)    If you don’t have enough time for an intense focus block, set a stop-watch, and work on your project for 15 minutes. See how much you can get done in such a small time (you might surprise yourself.)

(7)    Do your most important work first thing in the morning. Make e-mail and social media WAIT until later.

(8)    Think of an awesome reward to give yourself when you complete your Big Important Project. A dangling carrot always helps.

(9)    Tell an accountability partner about your Big Important Project, and when you are planning on having it done. Check in with him or her as you progress.

(10)    Remember WHY you are working on this project in the first place. Write your reasons down. Tape them up somewhere you will have to look at them every day.

 And… what are your tips for avoiding the procrastination demon and getting your most important projects done? Share them in the comments below!

How to Get Raving Fans for Your Business

In my last post, I talked about 2 different restaurant experiences I had during a promotional week in my my local city. As you might recall, one was a terrible experience and the other was fantastic.

While I told several people about the bad experience I had with the first restaurant, I also told just as many people (if not more) about the GOOD experience I had with the second one.

I was not motivated to talk about this business because of any sort of reward either. Spreading the word regarding the delicious meal my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed was not because I got any sort of commission, promise of free food, or anything else that directly benefited me.

I just wanted people to know because it’s an AWESOME restaurant.

Like everyone else, I like to share cool things I’ve discovered.

Which brings me to you, and your business.

Is your business awesome?

Let me answer that for you:

Of course it is! That’s why you have a business!

But you YOU really BELIEVE it’s awesome?

(Hint: you should!)

Now if you really, truly believe your business is as awesome as it is, then let me ask you this next question: Why are you so hesitant to talk about it?

The reason is probably because you don’t want to come off as that slick, sleazy salesman who will turn people off by being so promotional all of the time.

However, talking about your business doesn’t necessarily mean being sales-y.

Get Raving Fans for Your Business

This is why it’s so important to consider separating your relationship with your business from owner/maker, into #1 biggest fan.

Take some time to evaluate your business as if you were a frequent consumer of the products you make or services you provide. Isn’t it AWESOME?

Think of all the reasons you keep coming back for more. Consider all of the reasons you love your brand and how it reflects back on you every time you use it or let others in on the secret of its existence.

Don’t you just want to share this great business with the WORLD?

That’s what being a fan of a great product or service means: TELLING ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHO WILL LISTEN ABOUT IT.

If you make and sell wearable product, this means rocking your own goods every time you step out your front door. And when you get those “that’s cute!” compliments, don’t just say “thanks.” Instead, respond with an enthusiastic, “I know right?!? And it goes so perfectly with t-shirts / office apparel / etc.” (Bonus points if you hand out a business card and/or get the person’s contact information.)

Because a raving fan is never hesitant to proclaim his or her love for a new favorite thing.

If you want to make it easier to talk about your business, forget for a moment that you are the owner behind the business. You need to become your own walking, talking, raving fan. Because fandom is contagious, it just needs to start with you.

 

Even Your Discount Buyers Deserve a Reason to Come Back

Even Your Discount Customers Deserve a Reason to Come Back

Once a year several restaurants in my city participate in what is known as “Restaurant Week.” Essentially, restaurants form all over the city sign up to be on a list of places offering a 3-course meal for the ticket price of $18 or $28.

This is a pretty steep discount for some of the places that sign up, but in exchange they get coverage in the local newspaper that promotes the event, and the chance to lure in several new customers who may not have ever tried them out before.

As a lover of all thing edible – I LOVE Restaurant Week.

(Seriously, I’m already counting down the days until it comes back next year.)

For this last round my husband and I were able to try out 2 different restaurants, both of which we had never been to before.

The first one had good (enough) food, but the service was TERRIBLE.

We gave ourselves what should have been plenty of time to eat before the Broadway show we had tickets to see afterwards, but weren’t counting on having to wait over 30 minutes before our waiter even bothered to take our order.

And then when he brought us our 2nd course entrees, he brought my husband THE WRONG THING.

“Well,” my husband told the waiter, “This isn’t what I ordered, but I don’t have time now so I guess I’ll just eat this.”

No apology. No additional discount. Nothing. This guy didn’t even pretend like he was the least bit sorry for the mix-up.

Granted, we were already discount customers, because of the Restaurant Week special, but STILL.

Treating your customers – even your customers with a coupon- poorly is only going to guarantee that (1) we will never go back, and (2) we will tell everyone we know about our negative experience. I can already name several people who we’ve convinced to never try the place out, based on our story alone.

Which brings me to the second restaurant we tried.

This place, I could seriously eat at every day.

The food was AMAZING. But even better: the service was FANTASTIC.

Even the owner/chef came out to give us his recommendations on which courses to choose, told us the back story of why he and his wife started the restaurant, and gave us an additional discount on a bottle of wine to enjoy with our meal.

You can be sure that I was Facebooking/Instagramming that experience in real time while we were there, and have been recommending the place to everyone we know since.

Often times, to get customers to come back for another purchase or experience with your business, you don’t need to mail them coupons, or offer a referral commission, or pass out punch cards with the promise of a freebie. Really, you only need to offer a great product, and a great experience to go with it.

 

Business Lessons From The Walking Dead

Business Lessons from the Walking Dead

The hubby and I have been on a major Walking Dead catchup-binge lately, and, as with everything that one experiences in life as an entrepreneur, I cannot help but draw connections from the show that can be applied to the business realm.

It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but a fun concept to play around with nonetheless.

Here are a few business lessons I’ve gleaned from The Walking Dead:

-> Don’t lose your soul.

Maybe it’s not at the same level of magnitude as living in post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies trying to eat your face off, but it’s hard running a business. There will be people who aren’t as trust-worthy as others, but most people are good and have the best intentions. Even when you are starving for the first sale, first profitable month, or desperately want to get a hold of a limited opportunity that many are clamoring for: remember to keep in mind that every action you take will be something that you’ll have to look back on later. You’ll want to feel proud of yourself and how you got your business to where it is, not uneasy about some of the choices you made in order for it to happen.

-> Team up.

In a world filled with the walking dead, and, not to mention, groups of not-so-savory humans, the chances of survival while going it alone are slim to none. The same can be true of running a business. What can be accomplished as an individual can be exponentially increased with a team. This might mean hiring employees, networking with fellow business owners, or outsourcing parts of your work that you aren’t as good at or don’t have as much time for.

Most of us in the handmade-realm begin as solo-preneruers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start setting things up for expansion and reaping the benefits of it now.

-> Create a solid structure.

The characters in The Walking Dead are at constant risk of being infiltrated by zombies from all sides, and at any time of day or night. This makes camping out in the middle of the woods a dangerous risk, and findings secure shelter a top priority. Beyond simply obtaining a place to sleep, they work to build up a solid structure for their community, to move beyond day-to-day survival to that of an increase in their quality of life. A solid structure of where to live, who is in charge, and what the ground rules are keeps everyone in their group safer and more prepared.

If you plan on being in business for the long-haul, that means hunkering down to ensure that there aren’t any cracks or broken windows that the “zombies” can come through. In business this might mean creating a list of e-mail address that you own (not something subject to a single social media site and its passing whims), your own branded website (instead of relying on a third-party marketplace such as Etsy or Ebay), a solid system for how you manage your time, and a high quality product that you can expand on over time.

love-walking-dead

-> Keep learning.

In order to survive and thrive in a world full of zombies and other dangerous threats, the characters in The Walking Dead have to learn plenty of new self-defense and fighting skills, along with softer skills such as farming, tracking, and teaching.

As artists, many of us just want to work on our craft. It’s why we got into this business in the first place, right? But being in business also means getting accustomed to doing things that we don’t always like. This could include marketing and selling, bookkeeping and accounting, and dealing with outside vendors. While you may eventually be able to outsource a lot of these things, you will still need to come at your business from a CEO-standpoint, and it’s always helpful to learn how to do these things before passing them on, especially when they contribute such a vital part to your business.

What are YOU hoping to learn how to do, or get better at? Tell me in the comments below!

 

5 Ways to Jump-Start Your Inspiration

Jump Start your Creative Inspiiration

Even the most brilliant among us runs out of ideas or stops “feeling” like creating once in awhile. However, when you are in the business of creativity you don’t always have the luxury of waiting around for your inspiration to come back.

You need it, and you need it now for the custom order due on Tuesday, or in time to make enough inventory for next month’s craft fair.

So, rather than stressing over your lack of motivation and drive, here are a few simple things you can do to get those creative energy juices flowing again:

1. Go for a walk, preferably out of doors and somewhere less routine.

The distraction of an out-of-place environment will allow the create part of your brain the space it needs to relax and grab onto new ideas. Coincidentally, that’s why so many people think of things in the shower or while exercising. Sometimes you need to stop deliberately trying in order for it to happen.

2. Visit an art gallery, boutique shop, or museum.

Not with the intention of copying other people’s ideas, of course, but rather to be immersed in the artistic atmosphere of creativity and the appreciation of its labors.

3. Experience a new culture.

As much as I love traveling, this doesn’t always require that you grab a ticket to the other side of the world, but it could involve eating out at an authentic restaurant, reading and learning about somewhere intriguing, or watching a documentary film on another time or place.

4. Reflect on your own experiences.

You’ve gone through a lot, and grown a lot from it. Take a quick moment to consider all of the moments in your life that you can take ideas and draw inspiration from, be they uplifting or the harder times you have overcome. Often times, expressing your triumphs and turmoils through your art is one of the best ways you can help other people who are struggling through some of the same things cope, learn, and grow along with you.

5. Put artificial limits on yourself. As I explained in this post on how to never run out of jewelry making ideas, sometimes having too many options can be overwhelming, and giving yourself a sort of “homework assignment” with artificial limits can jump start your creativity. For example, limiting your next project to only using the color blue, or assigning yourself to create a piece inspired by the last book you read. This is also why periodically signing up for challenges and competitions with a theme in your field of craft can keep things moving and keep your work fresh.

 

Your turn: share your best tips for keeping the creative ideas coming in the comments below!

 

 

10 Blogging Mistakes

As I’ve mentioned before, blogging for your business is a good idea for several reasons. It gives you the long-form space to really connect with your audience, provides a container for content you can share on social media sites such as Pinterest and Facebook, boosts your search engine optimization, and more.

10 Typical Blogging Mistakes

If you’ve resolved to start a blog this year, or would like to put more effort towards the one you’ve already got, here’s a list of 10 typical mistakes you will want to avoid:

1. You forget to do it or keep pushing it off.

This seems silly, but it happens. You don’t need to blog everyday (and you probably shouldn’t, unless you WANT to burn yourself out), but a blog that’s been sitting un-updated for several consecutive months looks abandoned and even untrustworthy. Potential customers who stumble across your old blog before they see the rest of your shop may think you aren’t even in business anymore. Plus, a stale blog starts to lose all of its search engine “juice” and likelihood of making new audience connections–of which were probably your whole reason for having a blog in the first place.

At minimum, plan on posting new content once a month. If you’re nervous about that appearing too stale, go ahead and take the dates off of your posts and refer to them as “articles” instead of “blog posts” – which give readers a lower expectation of frequency than they are used to with blogs.

2. You don’t promote your posts.

If Google analytics is telling you that your traffic numbers are low and you feel like no one except your mom is actually reading your blog, it’s probably because you aren’t promoting your posts enough, or not promoting them effectively enough. Even older posts, if their content is still relevant, can be promoted again through your social media platforms and via other marketing channels . YOU may be aware of that one great post you wrote last May, but chances are there are a lot of people who would enjoy reading it don’t.

To be more effective with your promotion efforts, entice people to click through to get the full scoop of each post. For example a tweet along these lines: “Hate household chores? Here’s a list of 10 ways to make them more fun [link],” which is far more enticing than “Today’s blog post [link]”.

3. Your blog design is a pain.

If your fonts are too small, hard to read, or a light color against a dark background, most people aren’t going to stick around long enough to absorb the awesome content you’ve conjured up. It’s simply too irritating.

Also, be sure to check to make sure your blog reads well on mobile and tablet devices, as more and more of us prefer consuming digital content with our handhelds than via our desktops monitors.

4. Yours posts don’t contain images.

If you’re a handmade seller, then you have plenty of beautiful products you can post images of in your blog posts, or, if you don’t feel that they fit with the content of a particular piece, you can always create a “quote graphic” in a photo editing program utilizing a chunk of text from your post highlighted with an image.

With social media becoming more and more visual, it’s especially important to include images so your post can be promoted through channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and beyond.

5. You don’t have share buttons.

Speaking of social media, it’s everybody’s preference these days to click a button and share through their favorite stream instead of( or in addition to) commenting. Without these buttons, it’s significantly less likely that your readers will be sharing your posts with their networks, reducing the reach and viral opportunity of your blog.

6. You aren’t blogging for your audience.

The main purpose of your blog is to build up a connection with your target audience. If you are sporadically changing tone, direction, and subject matter suited to widely different audiences, it can be confusing to your readers and cause them to feel unsure if your content is for them or not. For example, my audience for this blog consists of mostly handmade business owners, so I generate content and tailor my blog topics for them. The blog on my website, however, is tailored for customers interested in my jewelry and hair accessories, so the posts tend to be shorter, lighter, and more fashion-oriented.

7. Your headlines aren’t search-engine friendly.

Just like with your product titles, the headlines of your blog posts are the most important element of each post for generating search-engine traffic. That means that if you want to use something clever and mysterious (such as “Midnight Dreams” instead of “New Collection of Evening Wear Necklaces,” it helps to adjust the URL to the more search-engine-friendly title, and/or add a subtitle with the matching keywords.)

8. Your readers don’t know what to do next.

With each post, consider what action you would like your readers to take once they have finished reading it. This could be anything from sharing the post on social media, clicking over to your shop to buy something, leaving a comment, signing up for your e-mail newsletter, or reading another related post to stay on your site longer. The more obvious you can make this actions for them, the more likely they are to take it.

9. You don’t proof-read.

(Full disclosure: I’m more guilty of this than ANYONE. But I’m working on it.)

If you are on-top of your blogging schedule, then you should be able to write out a draft of an upcoming post and let it sit for a day before coming at it again with fresh eyes to check for errors and tune up your overall writing and/or included images.

10. You don’t respond to blog comments.

No, you don’t have to reply to each and every comment, particularly if you have an active blog and there are a lot of them. However, when someone asks a questions and you just let it hang there, it can sometimes look like you don’t care about your readers. Or, alternatively, if someone contributes a really helpful, thoughtful comment, it’s always nice to thank them for doing so.

If you don’t like responding to comments, or don’t like that you blog doesn’t get very many of them (except, maybe, from your mom), it’s okay to turn your comments off altogether. Nowadays people like to share blog content anyway, and forcing your audience to share as the only way they can put their two cents on the subject can even encourage more of them to do it.


Want more information on starting and running a blog for your handmade business? Then you may want to check out my e-book, Blogging for Your Craft Biz here, where you can nab it for just $8.99.

(See how I ended this post with instructions on how you can take the action I want you to take? That’s what it’s all about folks. ;-))

 

Why I Haven’t Purchased New Kitchen Laminate, Or: How to Get Customers to Buy Now

The hubby and I moved into our house almost 5 years ago now, and we still haven’t gotten the new kitchen laminate flooring we desperately need. What currently decorates the floor of what is really the centerpiece of our entire home is scratched, stained, torn, and downright hideous.

So why haven’t I bought new laminate yet?

Pushing aside the fact that I’ve been a terrible procrastinator, I’m going to shift the blame to a third party. (Because this is my blog and I get to do that.)

I haven’t bought new laminate for my kitchen floor because the store that sells the laminate I want to get is having a sale.

(Wait… what!?!)

Hear me out now. I’m not completely nuts, and neither are you.

You read that right. I haven’t made the purchase because the store is having a sale.

Just like they did last week.

And the week before that.

And the week before the week before that.

I’m just guessing here, but I’m thinking they’ll still be having a sale come next week.

And the week after that.

I’ve been driving by this place for years now and every day there is some kind of “We’re having a blowout sale!” message on the sign outside their store.

This doesn’t get me excited and motivated to shop, because they are ALWAYS HAVING A SALE.

Getting Customers to Buy NOW Instead of Later

My inner procrastinator gets to tell me, “Nah, go ahead and wait until next week.”

(And it continues to tell me this every week, of course, even after years have gone by.)

People are procrastinators. It’s ingrained into our nature.

Sometimes we don’t buy because we don’t like or want the thing you are selling.

But sometimes we don’t buy because we aren’t pushed for a reason to buy NOW instead of LATER.

Our inner procrastinator will always opt for later. Even when it’s something we really want or even need.

(Waiting until there is no food in the house before going grocery shopping is not unheard of, despite the distinct possibility of a zombie apocalypse and the chance that we could be boarded up in our house for MONTHS until we are rescued or eaten alive.)

Having a sale or offering a limited-time discount is a tried-and-true incentive to get people to stop procrastinating and finally get a jump on their purchase. However, it loses its steam when it’s something that your customers can grow to expect on a frequent basis. Even more so if it’s something that happens all the time.

So, rather than running a sale every time you want to push your audience to hit the buy button, here are a few other tactics you can try instead:

  • Offer a limited-time, free gift with purchase
  • Create a line of exclusive products, in a limited amount that only the first to buy will get dibs on
  • Offer a reward for referral sales (as in, both you AND your friend will get a free gift)
  • Offer free gift-wrapping during special holiday periods
  • Reward purchases with time-sensitive coupons for a close, follow-up purchase
  • Offer free personalization or customization, for a limited time only
  • Launch time-sensitive, seasonal lines
  • Host “secret” sales that only people in your e-mail list will know about (less damaging to your brand, but still an effective way to get rid of inventory)
  • Have a Facebook trunk sale instead of a sale on your website or Etsy shop
  • Move excess inventory to local consignment shops so it’s not sitting in your web store, tempting you to have to sale to get rid of it

Now I want to hear from YOU! What do you do to get the sales rolling in? Also, fess-up: what do you know you need to buy but are procrastinating on? I can’t possibly be the only one here!

Was your first time embarrassing too?

Was your first time embarrassing? I know mine was.

And noooo, I’m not talking about that.

(Though, admittedly, I am doing a little bit of the *wink* *wink* nudge* *nudge* thing with a post title like this one.)

(At least you get to be in on the joke.)

Screen caption image credit Monty Python

Screen caption image credit Monty Python

What I AM talking about is the first time you wrote a blog post.

Or the first time you posted up pictures of your handmade products.

Or sent out an e-mail newsletter.

Or e-mailed a magazine editor or shop owner.

Or posted on Twitter.

If even just thinking about these things makes you cringe, please know this: you are not alone.

First times are embarrassing for everyone. We can’t all expect to be amazing right from the get-go. There has to be a learning process.

Olympic gymnasts aren’t able to do triple back-flips the first time they try. Just like a professional football player wouldn’t be expected to make a touchdown without ever having played the sport before.

You have to learn how first, and the most effective way to learn is through taking action.

So if you’re lizard brain is keeping you from sending out that first e-mail newsletter, starting the blog you know you should be working on, or putting your hand-crafted goods out into the market place, maybe this post will make you feel better about it.

BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO SUCK.

But that’s okay, because we all have to suck before we can get better.

If you look at some of the first items under my sold transactions from my Etsy Shop you’ll see how terrible my images were.

(They’re still not great, but they’re getting better.)

Or if you go through the archives in my original WordPress.com blog there are some doozy posts, for sure.

(Again, they’re still not novel-worthy, but they continue to get better.)

My point is this: start.

You don’t have to be afraid you’re going to be terrible, because you can go in with the confidence that you FOR SURE are going to be. Everyone is.

Best to get the embarrassing part over with.