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500 Etsy Sales. Cheers~

From a post I wrote on Etsy today:

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I reached 500 sales a little while ago, and I felt like I should probably post about it, but I didn’t really know what to write about. I remember when I reached 100 sales and wrote this lengthy post with advice and such. And then at 300, I wrote a lengthy post about how I honestly had NO idea what the heck I was doing, really! So I have no idea what to write at 500, and now I’m just focusing on the next 100, or even the next 500.

I’ve learned a great deal from these forums, and everything you could possibly hope to learn, all that information is at your fingertips with a simple search here. I kind of know what to do and where to go from here – sort of, but at the same time I still have no real clue what I’m doing, haha. My real goal is to make this dream a full time job, and I hope to reach that point some day.

Should I throw in some tips for newer sellers? I guess I could add a few things that usually cross my mind when I look at sellers looking for advice.

– Add more listings. Keep adding them. You can never really have enough. I never feel like I have enough. I’ll probably have enough when (if) I sell enough to make a living off of this shop. When you’re too busy putting together orders to add a new product, then you might just have enough in your shop. Until then, keep adding.
– Your pictures are most likely too dark. Lots of natural light is your friend. Picture editing software is also your friend. Macro setting is also your friend. Nice clean backgrounds are also your friend. Also, please don’t take pictures of your items lying on the floor. I can tell when they’re lying on the floor, and I don’t really want them now.
– SEO. So important. So, so so important. Did I mention that it’s very important? The titles, the description, the tags. Seriously. Those tags. Important. Fix them.
– Here. The seller’s handbook. So awesome: www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/the-seller-handbook-archive/
– Policies. Add them.
– Respond to inquiries as soon as possible. Be considerate. Be polite. Be nice. People appreciate it, even if they don’t end up buying. I remember when I worked in the food industry, one of the important things I took away from it was that even if the customer goes away not liking your product, they can at least say that they had excellent customer service. Make those customers happy.
– Sometimes when things are slow, the best thing to do is step away from the computer. I usually joke that I would only get a sale when I’m not at home. But in reality, I’m not really joking at all. That usually happens! Like today I stepped out for a little bit and came home to a sale. It works. Those sale fairies are cruel like that. So take a break. Step outside. Get a little bit of sun. But not too much. It’s freaking hot out there. Oh okay, don’t go out; just at least go downstairs for a snack. I wouldn’t go outside if I had the choice either.
– Blogging is a good thing. That could be just a few sentences on tumblr, or twitter, or full, fleshed out blog posts on blogspot or wordpress. Even if you don’t know what to write, and this is coming from a person that is terrible at writing, it’s worth the effort. It’s crazy the kind of connections you can create from just putting a few thoughts out there. Go out into the blogging world. Find blogs that interest you. Respond to them. Share the love.
– Pay close attention to any requests. That can bring a world of inspiration or even lead to a whole new product line that you never even thought of before. Try new things. Don’t turn requests down unless you absolutely have to. Opportunity is everywhere.
– I think everyone should draw, even if it’s a few random scribbles. A few blank pages and a pencil or pen is all you need. You don’t necessarily need any artistic talent. A few scribbles or a few random words and it can all suddenly lead to a whole new idea or a whole new product. It happens!
– Be a little weird. It keeps things interesting.

I wanted to write more, but I’ve had two glasses of wine, and am now feeling the effects of those two glasses of wine. So I’ll just stop here. I could probably think of more advice. But yeah. Two glasses. It’s weird. I could have beer after beer after beer or hard liquor and feel nothing. But wine? Wine instantly gets your groove on, if ya know what I mean. Oh yeah, here’s one more advice:

– When it doubt, drink wine.*

 

* only if you’re of age, people.

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300 Etsy sales and I still don’t know what I’m doing!

Via my thread  on Etsy…

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Joanna from rainbowofcrazy says

I wrote one of those “things I learned at 100 sales!” posts back in the day. But now at 300, I don’t know how helpful I’m going to be here because I can proudly say that I still have NO idea what I’m doing!

I’m still trying to improve on pictures. I’m still trying to work on titles, tags and descriptions. I’m terribly unsuccessful with social media. I’m still trying to see what’s selling and what’s not worth working on anymore. I’m still figuring out trends: internet trends, what people are looking for, what might be trending in my shop, what trends to follow, what direction to go in. I’m still trying to find my niche. My views are still all over the place and I still stare at my shop stats religiously and still try to make sense of the data. I’m not quite sure how to be more efficient. I still don’t really have a proper pricing formula. Some days I stare at my shop and have no clue what to work on next. I’m definitely not making a living off of Etsy!

But I think I’m doing something right so far.. I just have to figure out what that is. lol. I guess at this point, my best advice is to keep on trying and listen to advice when given. I see so many shop owners complaining about lack of sales, and then completely ignore all of the amazingly helpful advice that is given. Listen, learn, and improve.

And seriously. Keep working on that SEO. Because that is definitely one thing that’s been helping me get found. That, and probably a lot of luck. lol.

A Better Rainbow of Crazy. Plus Letting Go: White Rabbit Painting

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where I wanted to go with my Etsy shop for a few weeks now. I wasn’t really satisfied with what was there and it wasn’t really me. I mean, yeah, the love for cute, colourful animals is a part of me but I’ve felt like I could always do so much more than that.

Under the Skin

I’ve learned that I’ve really wanted to put more of myself into my paintings and into the shop. I guess you could say that I want to bring a bit more “crazy” into Rainbow of Crazy. I’ve gone through a lot emotionally over the last several years and struggled through a lot of physical pain with my fibromyalgia, the brain fogs and the mental ups and downs. I want to bring some of that into my paintings.

A little while ago, Shawn had brought up a great point that I didn’t really think about before: over the past few months, I would talk to him about how I didn’t really know what to paint and how I’d be stuck for ideas, but back when I first started to paint, I created imagery like this painting that dealt with my fibromyalgia, and he said that I never had to tell him about the paintings.. I would just paint them. I didn’t have to hesitate, I didn’t struggle with it. I simply painted what I knew.

I want to explore this emotional side more and see what comes out. I really do want to look at my shop, at a portfolio that I created and be like, “you know what? I’m really proud of everything there. Because it’s totally me.

Let Go

This painting is a glimpse of that “crazy” of Rainbow of Crazy. One of the things people with fibromyalgia talk about is something called “fibro fog”, where your brain just feels really foggy or fuzzy. Though not exactly like that, something that can be a little similar is the feeling of being  disconnected. Quite a while ago, I had read about Dissociation and specifically Depersonalization disorder, and it’s this feeling of detachment from your surroundings, or even from your physical body. Ever feel like you’re in a movie? Floating around aimlessly? Where mentally, your brain actually feels like it’s miles away from your body, like you can see yourself from above. I can’t actually say that I truly have this disorder, but I’ve felt this way before. It was one of the strangest feelings ever, and this painting is kind of my way of touching on that subject and that feeling of just.. floating.

Hitting that Etsy Wall.. Plus Project 365: Day 59.. Horses, Puzzles, and Photographs

I have totally and completely hit that wall.

No shop sales in about 2 weeks!

And I know, I know. I’m sure that may not seem bad at all; some shops probably dream of a sale every two weeks, or a sale every month. Sometimes sellers make sales, and sometimes they don’t. I understand, and I know the importance of a little patience when it comes to Etsy.

But man, oh man, even with all the work that can be done in 2 weeks, it has been the longest 2 weeks I’ve ever had in a long, long time. Gotta keep on truckin, right?

Day 59 - Horse!

Day 59b - Puzzle Progress

 

I got this cute little horse charm on Day 58 for my mom that she likes to wear as a necklace. (I definitely take after her when it comes to sparkly things.) I also made a bit more progress with this puzzle I bought on Day 38.. but man, past putting together the easy parts like the eyes, the yarn and the border.. this puzzle is brutal! So much gray. And those pieces that make up the basket.. oh man. What was I thinking? It seemed like such a good idea at the time..

I also worked on another photo session.. not one of my favourite things to do. The definite bonus is that the warmer weather is bringing in more hours of wonderful, magical, much needed sunlight. Whew.

 

Day 59c - Getting ready for their beauty shots.

 

I think even despite the slow few weeks, I’ve actually been pretty fortunate the last little while. My raven print was actually featured in an Etsy Find newsletter [insert me spazzing here] and today my autumn swing pendant was made a Daily Deviation on deviantart. I feel pretty gosh darn lucky! I hope this is all a sign of good things to come (:

Etsy Sellers: Do you stay with a very specific style?

I posted on the Etsy forums earlier today, hoping for a little bit of insight as I think I’ve been struggling over the last while with my shop..

Joanna from rainbowofcrazy says

Lately I feel like I’ve been struggling a lot more with what direction to go in with my shop. My ultimate goal would be to do this completely full time, or to even just be able to get a decent part time profit, and while I actually do try to work as much as I can, I don’t feel like I’ve found the right kind of style or that I haven’t found the right focus yet.

Is it wise to experiment and to try all sorts of things to find that sweet spot, or to really concentrate on one or two very specific styles? I know a lot of successful art shops tend to stay with a very specific style or theme with their content but I still feel like I’m struggling to find mine. Sometimes I feel like my own shop is just kinda randomness thrown together and I don’t know if there is quite a proper direction with it. Would it be too overwhelming to create as much of everything as you can, or would a shop just feel like too unfocused? On the other hand, when you really want to achieve more success with a shop and want to do even better, is it wise to stay with just one style, when you don’t know for sure if that is what people will want?

[…]Sometimes I feel like when I create a new painting that I’m really just rolling the dice and hoping to get that right number.

Here’s the thread I had started, and I’m so grateful for fellow Etsy sellers because they’re always full of lots of insight.

Amanda Dezenosky from admeaz0123 says

I had a similar issue. While I was pregnant I did a lot of experimental work. I knew I wanted to decorate jewelry boxes but I kept running out of ideas. Then my daughter was born and ideas flooded me. Being on maternity leave, I do a lot of magazine reading haha! So what I would suggest to you is to take a few days at least and just focus your thoughts on things that you like. Look at magazines, go on websites you like and book mark/tear out pages of anything and everything you like. When you have a decent collection, look it over and see what you find. I did the same and I noticed the commonalities in the things I liked and it helped me to identify my taste and style. Plus, focusing on how you find your shop to be kind of random sort of traps you. Put your shop aside and don’t even think about your items for a day or 2 and instead turn that energy into looking into new ideas and when you go back you’ll have clarity. At least I hope so because it worked for me! Good luck.

 

Alona from MoonlightDesigns2 says

I understand exactly where you are coming from. I spent the first year here trying to sell all different kinds of styles that I had been selling at craft fairs and not much sold. So I concentrated on the items people were buying and listening to their comments and feedback which put me in the right direction.

It is trial and error for some of us as I found what sells in my Etsy shop is different than what mainly sells in person. I also quit thinking I only had to sell one of a kind pieces, once I started repeating certain styles, maybe in different colors too, I started selling more. I am in this business full time, it’s my job so this has worked great for me. I also do custom pieces which can be fun and gets me somewhat out of a “style” rut.

 

 

There was a lot of really helpful input but I’ll try not to make this miles long (: I definitely don’t feel like I’m the only one struggling with this but I do feel like I need to refocus and re-evaluate where I want to go and how I want to go about it. I want to really figure out what I want to create, and to really focus on branding. I’m leaning towards creating a second shop to shift some things over (particularly the black and white skull work) but I think this may take more time and thought to figure out. I feel like I’m a lot more than what’s in that shop right now and I really want to express that in my art.

Project 365: Day 54-56: The Big 1-0-0, Life in a Day, and the Night

Day 54c The Big 100!

I forgot about this photo for Day 55: my Etsy shop made it to 100 sales. I did a very happy dance that day! Now I’m hoping to eventually hit 200 sales, but faster and getting there more efficiently. This month has been particularly slooow though; so fingers crossed that things will pick up. This month is probably a good sign to work harder and to try new things.

Day 55 - Life in a Day

Day 56, I watched Life in a Day. I don’t think I’ve seen any trailers for this but I’m glad I didn’t because I think trailers tend to ruin a lot of movies and I really enjoyed this film. People all over the world filmed one day of their lives, all on July 24, 2010, and film from all different cultures and classes were pieced together to create this really touching piece. You can’t walk away from this one without at least a few really moving memories playing over in your mind.

Day 56 - Days Get Shorter

 

 

 

My family and I went out for dinner this night.. or rather, day that was quickly turning into night. For some reason this was my favourite photo of the day: sitting in the car, watching the world pass you by, the sprinkling of snow on the mild ground, the sunlight disappearing in the distance. It was a good day.

100 Etsy sales! What the heck did I learn..

This was a post I wrote recently on the Etsy forums that I thought I’d share for any sellers that may be new to Etsy:

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Joanna from rainbowofcrazy says

I started selling since the summer and I’ve spent so much time learning the ropes on this forum. I had my fingers crossed this month that I’d finally make my hundredth sale and I finally did it! I’m so excited. I’m always excited with every single sale, but this, next to my very first sale, is making me do an extra special happy dance!

Honestly, I don’t really think there are any tips I can really give that hasn’t already been shared over and over on the forums.. I still feel like a novice seller. Now I feel like I need to work that much harder to make the next hundred sales.. but now to make them more quickly and efficiently.

But some of the most helpful things I’ve learned so far..

* Don’t give up. Seriously. Keep trying. No one usually finds success after a week or a month or even several months. You NEED to be patient. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen with people asking why they haven’t sold any items.. and they’ve been opened for less than a week. These things can take time.

* Don’t expect to list a few items and expect everyone to flock to you. I am not the greatest at advertising offsite but I do have a facebook page, a twitter account, I’m on deviantart, tumblr, pinterest, etc. Social marketing is not my forte though but they are helpful. I remember one time I listed one of my prints on tumblr and found that someone reblogged it, saying that they just bought it and how happy they were! I was BEAMING that day!

* You need more items. Period. Keep listing new items as often as you can. Have as many listings as you can possibly manage. This is vital. You can’t be seen if you aren’t listing. I don’t tend to renew, but I have tried to list new items every day, and now that I’ve been opened X number of months, I also have a steady stream of items that expire daily. This way if I don’t have any brand new listings, I still have about-to-expire items that I can relist. See what works for you.

* if you’re not listing new items, constantly tweak those old listings. Tweak titles, descriptions, tags. Brush up on your SEO, and if you don’t know what that means, learn as much as you can about it. Take more photographs. Then retake them. Use up all of those 5 photo slots. Take photographs from different angles. From all angles. I’m in the process of redoing photos right now and it can be such a mindless task but it’s important. And please use lots of natural light, turn on that macro button, and don’t use flash unless you really know how to use it well.

* Be polite and prompt with messages and inquiries. Stay professional. If you don’t take your shop and service seriously, no one else will. This also means quick shipment. These things get noticed! Try to be a little personable with your shipments too. Something as small as a little ‘thank you’ note can be greatly appreciated.

* Be as informative as you can in your descriptions. Describe as much as you can about the item you’re trying to sell. How it looks, how it feels, the colours, the size, the weight, how the items are packaged, how they’ll be shipped. Your customers want to know all this and more.

* Get a scale to weigh your packages. You don’t want to come up with shipping charges off the top of your head because you’re more than likely undercharging. Don’t fall into that trap.

* Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t price your items so that you’re making $2 an hour. Your time and your craft is worth much more than that and great customers know this.

* It doesn’t hurt to ask for help. One of the best things I did was to look for critique teams. Fellow Etsians are so helpful and they can catch things that you can work on that you may have never thought of before.

* Always keep trying to learn. If you think you know all there is to know about selling on Etsy, then you are wrong. There is ALWAYS more to learn and do; that’s what makes this site so great.

Lastly.. have fun! If you’re passionate about your craft, it really does show. Have a little fun, relax, breathe and maybe have a cup of tea. It helps.

Simplify Your Life? Yeah Right.

New Nerd - The Yorkshire Puppy

It’s already August! How the heck did that happen? It feels like I’ve just blinked a few times and summer’s already half over. I barely just got into July!

While looking for inspiration, I realized that the first week of August (again, how did August sneak up like that?) is ‘Simplify Your Life Week’. This is a time where we should really just pause and re-evaluate your priorities and figure out how to leave clutter out and simplify everything around you.

.. this is a hell of a lot easier said than done, of course.

Read the rest of this entry

Don’t just sit there. Do something!

Sad Wombat

Starting up a new shop is rough, really rough. You’re a new seller; you’ve listed a couple of great items.. then you sit at the computer and wonder why no one is looking at your shiny new shop. Back before I even opened, I had spent months and months preparing, getting the right equipment, working on paintings, learning as much as I could about the ins and outs of having a shop on Etsy. I knew as a beginner shop, it could very well take a long time to get a sale, let alone regular sales.

I’m not here to sit about and whine about the slow start of having a new shop or wanting to quit or any of that. I’ve already seen so much of that on the Etsy forums. At this point, I feel like it should be quite the opposite. Having a slow few weeks has made me even more determined to keep going. There’s always something to do, always, always, always. Here’s just part of my to-do list right now..

– prep all of my ACEOs to list as 5×7 prints.

– turning that around – prep all of my 5x7s to list as ACEO prints.

– prep listings for all of my original ACEO paintings.

– start planning on how I’m going to sell all of my other canvas paintings.

– planning different ways to display my artwork so I can take new photographs.

– rework all of my item descriptions, varying wording, titles, and brushing up tags.

– create new artwork, come up with new ideas.

– promoting on twitter, facebook, tumblr, etsy teams, etc, etc.

The last goes on, and on.

So don’t just sit there wondering why views or sales may be low. Don’t just sit there and whine. Sit, whine, then do something about it! There should ALWAYS be something on that to-do list, stuff to work on, things to improve.

And don’t forget to update that blog.

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