Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What do you want to learn more about?

Last Spring, I started blogging weekly for the BEST (Bookbinding Etsy Street Team) Blog. My weekly posts were only done for about 2 months. I could give excuses as to why they stopped but the truth of it comes down to...I'm not sure what I need to write about. There's a lot I can say and I'm just not sure where to focus my posts. Here are My Past Blog Posts on Selling Your Handmade Books if you want to check them out.

So...Today, I'm asking for feedback. I'd love a list of topics that you'd like me to write about. I'll take them one by one and research and write as much I know each Tuesday which will be posted here on my blog as well as the team blog. Let me know what you'd like to learn about most!

I would love specific questions as well as general ideas of what you'd like to know more about to help boost your business.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are you prepared for success?

Two years ago, I really wanted to be Etsy’s featured seller. I thought “if only I could be picked, then my business would soar!”
Then, I had a rush of sales for one week. I was frantically putting things together, ordering supplies, trying to rush last minute to the post office and getting too little sleep. I was stressed!
I realized that I was not prepared for any big sales, let alone the opportunity to become a featured seller on Etsy!
I decided I needed to organize my business and prepare myself so that one day, if the opportunity came, I would actually be ready. 
Two years later, not only do I feel prepared, but my business is doing so well that I’m not in desperate need of that featured seller position (although I would still love the opportunity and the boost it would give my business!)
By becoming prepared for that opportunity, I prepared my business for success and it has become a success. How did I do this? 
1- Inventory became priority! If realized that if I expected to sell X number of items a day, then I should be listing that many per day. You can’t expect to earn thousands of dollars from your online sales if you only have $100 worth of product in your shop. I now have shelves and shelves of product waiting to be sold.
2- I set up shop the right way. I filled in every bit of information in my shop policies, profile, announcement and descriptions. I used all the features Etsy sets up for me right in my shop including alchemy. Believe it or not, I started selling better when my shop policies were set. This not only helped the seller to feel better buying an item from my shop but it helped me to be organized with the questions that arose with shipping, returns, and custom orders.
3- I kept up with Etsy. I followed announcements in forums, read the Storque, subscribed to all the emails and I found that there were many promotional opportunities I could be a part of. If Etsy was promoting a certain holiday (Veteran’s Day for example) through email or a Storque article, then I made a Veteran’s Book and listed it in my shop at least a few weeks before the holiday. I also tried to comment often on the forums and kept up with other online opportunities to increase traffic to my shop, mainly free blog advertising from other etsy sellers or promotional opportunities like the yearly yart sale.   
4- I organized my time and space. I have a shipping station that is filled to the max with bubble mailers, boxes, packing tape and craft paper. When I first started, it took me about 20-30 minutes to wrap up one book. It now takes me all of five minutes to wrap a package, write a thank you note, label and address the mailer and tape it all up. Organizing takes time but by being organized, I cut down on my work time drastically, which means more time to be able to create or promote instead of being frustrated that I can’t find the packing tape. 
5- I joined an Etsy team, the bookbinding etsy street team (BEST). We share information with each other and help boost each other’s sales and boost our motivation to keep at it. I didn’t know it would help my business so much. Joining a team has really helped me prepare my business for success.
My sales are steady as well as my custom orders. Two years ago, I was only selling a few items per month. Currently, I’m selling a few items per day. I now feel prepared for any opportunity that comes my way. I’ve worked for those opportunities that will boost my business further. I’m no longer stressed. I am prepared. 
Is your business prepared for success?