tag: advice

Posted by in indie biz

3 Easy Steps to Turn Your Dreams into Reality

It happens every New Year: at some point, we start to feel more stuck in the mud than motivated about our goals.

I’m facing the energy lull in my own business right now. The excitement of a new project has worn off, and it now requires dedicated effort. When I say effort, I mean I am trudging through the uncomfortable stages, fighting off procrastination, and using determined force to keep the momentum going on this thing. It’s not easy!

Good old resistance is rearing her ugly head, and I have no choice but to face her. In fact, having the courage to persevere when the going gets tough is what builds long-lasting success.

Today, I have a three-step formula that you can follow to achieve all that you desire:

Step 1: Act as if. Act as if you are already where you want to be. Imagine your biggest dream came true last week: all that you’ve been wishing on is now yours! Does that change anything about your day? Would you be wearing what you have on? Would you be doing what you had planned? Would your mood be the same?

To change your present attitude and act as if you already have what you want, think of the positive role models in your life, the people whom you admire. When you find yourself in a funk or you’re struggling to get a project completed, ask yourself:

  • What would my role model do if faced with a similar obstacle?
  • How would my role model be dressed today?
  • How would my role model manage the project I’m working on?
  • Would I be proud to show my role model this project/space/idea and the progress I’ve made toward building it?

Acting as if you’re already the success you wish to achieve will change your mindset and propel you toward becoming it.

Step 2: Create a Plan B and be stoked about it. I am working on a life-changing Plan A this year. I want Plan A so badly I can taste it! I visualize how it will unfold. I get carried away in daydreams, and I practice my reaction to Plan A coming true in the mirror. I love Plan A.

So that my desire for Plan A doesn’t turn into desperation, I have carefully drafted a second place prize: Plan B. In Plan B, I still achieve the feelings I desire, I just have to practice more patience to reach the ultimate goal (Plan A).

For example, let’s say you want to learn to speak French. You go and buy a course that will teach you the language, and then you set a rewarding Plan A. “If I get to third level French by the end of the year, I will travel to my dream destination of Paris, France for one week. I will become affluent in the French language using the week to practice speaking with Parisians.”

That’s a pretty lofty goal, but just imagine it! Picture yourself on the streets of Paris in the springtime speaking French. Allow daydreams galore in which Plan A unfolds in all its glory.

As you envision Plan A, you might realize some obstacles. It’s an expensive vacation and a long flight. How will you save the money and take that much time off work? Maybe you’ve never traveled so far, and the idea of leaving for Europe begins to overwhelm you.

So that Plan A doesn’t become desperate or hopeless, you need a hearty Plan B. In Plan B, you still learn French; that life-long goal still comes true. In case Plan A falls through (Paris for the week), you could go to Quebec for the weekend. You still get to practice French with native speakers, and it’s still a pretty romantic vacation. In fact, following through with Plan B will get you closer to Plan A. You’ll practice leaving the country, finding your way in a foreign city, and using the French language. I’d bet that once you conquer the Quebec trip, Paris will feel more doable than ever before!

Step 3: Keep your vision front and center. The things I’m working toward (new deck, family car for travel, tickets to Wicked the Musical, etc.) are plastered all over my office walls and Pinterest boards. Remembering what I’m working so hard for keeps me grounded and focused on my tasks.

I’m grateful for every luxury and reward that my creative business adds to my life, and I try to surround myself with reminders of the comforts it brings. Create a vision board for yourself to collect these desires and reflections. Appreciating them will only bring more of what you want into your life.

Best of luck in making your dreams a reality!

Photo by: lovefromginger.com

marketing creativity (1)
Lisa Jacobs is creative biz wiz who teaches online sellers how to get more sales and professional recognition. She owns the Energy Shop on Etsy and writes the blog, Marketing Creativity.

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Posted by in indie biz

**UPDATE: psst.. this workbook, video and ebook are now included in the welcome packet when you sign up for the roost tribe!

today i am so excited to share with you a project that has been long in the works. we all know that it’s important to accurately describe the items we sell online, but did you know that it’s also important to tell a story through your product descriptions? it engages your customers, draws them in and helps them connect with both you and your product. here to help us write killer product descriptions that support our brand story is brittany campbell.

if you happen to recall the interview i did with etsy a while back on how to pitch to bloggers, you might remember that i talked a lot about how much i admired brittany campbell’s ability to write amazing product descriptions for her shop, the home ground.

i”m so happy that brittany agreed to come share with us about how to write amazing product descriptions through this engaging interview, printable and thought provoking workbook. to begin, check out the interview above (it’s about 25 minutes) to get an in depth look at why it’s important to engage with your customers, how to tell a story through your products and how to go about getting started.

video & printable: making product descriptions part of your brand story (1)

to accompany this interview, we’ve also put together a little checklist for you! just click on the image above to download the pdf. it’s the perfect size to keep at your workspace and will serve as a great reminder as you sit down to write your descriptions.

want to learn even more?

video & printable: making product descriptions part of your brand story (2)

finally, for those of you who’d like a more in depth look at this topic, i’m thrilled to be offering this 14 page interactive e-book to the roost tribe! it takes an in depth look at how to write engaging product descriptions and provides a 10 step fail-proof process to mastering the art of telling your brand story through your descriptions. with writing prompts and a place to jot down your ideas and thoughts, it’s a must have for any seller, regardless of whether it’s on etsy, big cartel or an independent website.

this e-book will be sent out this friday, october 26th to the roost tribe. you can find out more information and learn how to join here!

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Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

excellent customer service is the number one way to ensure happy customers, repeat business and a profitable business.  as small business owners, we’re lucky to be able to make all the customer service decisions ourselves! it’s solely up to us how we want to deal with certain situations and what kind of relationships we want to build with our clients.  how lucky we are!  today, i’ll share my 5 suggestions on how to be a customer service whiz.

dreaming

1. think like the customer. reflect on you own buying experiences.  what made them wonderful, or maybe less than desirable?  after you’ve decided what other businesses have done that make you feel really happy and satisfied (or the opposite), visit your shop like a customer.  can you switch the roleplay?  how does browsing your shop make you feel?  do you feel welcome, at ease, and satisfied with the information provided?  if not, make sure to edit the necessary areas.

forest.

2. provide thorough information. your shop welcome, item descriptions and policies page are the perfect place to provide your shoppers with all relevant info.  make sure to outline exactly what the customer can expect in the policies section (shipping info, payment methods accepted, return policy etc.).  in your item descriptions, give them more info than the bare minimum. things you can add to the essentials (i.e. dimensions, weight etc) are the feel of it, the texture, what inspired you and ideas of how they might use the item.  get creative and make sure that the shopper has fun reading your descriptions.  the best rule of thumb, is try to answer as many potential questions as you can, right in your shop.

BIG SMOKE

3. go the extra mile.  adding little ‘extras’ to your buyer’s shopping experience goes further than you might expect.  treat them with special care and show them that you’ve thought things through.  special packaging will let them know you took the extra time to make their ‘opening’ experience special, and adding a little freebie and thank you note will send them over the top.  if you make shopping with your business fun, you can bet they’ll spread the word, and likely be back!

grunge typewriter

4. communication. having a conversation with each buyer will help their shopping experience become personable.  be prompt in replying to convos and help each customer feel like you have all the time in the world to dedicate to them.  make sure to send an immediate thank you for items purchased and include all relevant info, especially the estimated ship date.  checking in with them after they should have recieved the item will let them know that you truly care and that you’re there for them.  also, be careful to maintain an upbeat, friendly tone no matter what you’re discussing with your buyer, it will make all the difference!

the playing bird original drawing

5. learn to appreciate a complaint. occasionally, you may get a complaint or two.  now’s your opportunity to really excel at providing excellent customer service!  remember, to always use positive language and go the extra mile to ensure they have a happy experience.  you may end up losing a buck or two or maybe the entire sale, but statistics show a dissatisfied consumer will share their lament with 8-10 people and some will push that number to twenty.  the good news is 8 out of 10 customers will shop again with a business if their complaint is resolved in their favor relatively quickly (stats from how stuff works).  to me, that’s worth considering doing everything you can to send them away with a positive experience.  after it’s resolved, take what you can from the complaint as a positive learning experience, and move on!

do you have any customer service tips?  share in the comment section!


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Posted by in handmade, indie biz

etsy shop help

do you have a new line of work coming out? celebrate it! rather than just start listing your new line that you’ve spent countless hours on, build up some suspense to it.  people will be just excited about your work as you are- so start making a fuss!

friendly forest bundle

it’s best to start talking about new items early on.  if you blog, give your readers some teasers to let them know that you’re working on something new.  and what about all those social networking sites? twitter, facebook, youtube, flickr- (you do use those, right?) start posting hints of what you’re working on, maybe some pictures of your work space or a video of your design process.  if you blog, you could even take a poll for some outsider advice.

goldsboro jacket

don’t give your line away, but post enough to get readers interested in your ‘coming soon’ line.  also, don’t forget about your shop announcement.  announcing big news and a check back on ‘this date’ will surely get your customers excited- you can believe they will be back on the date you specified (so, make sure to stick to it!).

floral coptic stitch journal

no time for a blog? etsy also has some great resources you can use.  their promotions area allow you to post any self-promoting material!  announce your new line, or maybe even a discount or sale.  their are lots of people scouring the forums all day long, so it’s important not to miss out on all these potential customers.

autumn dress up dolls :: fabric wall decal

remember us? bloggers? are you there?  put together a press release!  e-mail your favorite bloggers!  i think most of us love to hear from you and like to help promote the handmade world any way we can (why would we be doing this if we didn’t?)

triptych spring circles

would you like some guidelines? i remember when i first started out, i thought it was really nerve-racking to compose an email and approach a blogger- but as long as you know a little etiquette and approach honestly- it’s always going to be ok.  what’s the worse they’ll say? no? oh well- move on to the next one!

thank you card

would you like some guidelines? first of all, try to never mass email.  no one likes to be another blogger on a big long send list. we want to know you care, you read our blog, and you know our name (should be easy to find!).  so, try to take the time and email one blogger at a time. we like to feel that we have in-sider info- and we try to bring fresh new material every day.  if you don’t hear back, maybe send a second follow up e-mail the next week.  if still no response move on to the next blogger (i always try to respond!).  it might take a little while to land a feature, but when you do- it should be well worth the wait.  put together a quick, honest email about you, your shop, and your product.  don’t forget your release date, your shop url (yes, people forget!), and 3-4 small jpeg images.  just try to be yourself and everyone will see it come through. here’s a few more articles that should help you!

design sponge’s advice from bloggers

the ultimate press list from modish biz tips

weathered gray hook board

taking some of my own advice? check my shop on wednesday, sept. 16 for *lots of new items- including a brand new line of funky christmas aprons!

birds go green

extra reading :: {pimp your shop},{broaden your target audience} & {etsy promotion forums} from etsy and the storque :: {advice from bloggers} from design*sponge :: {build your own ultimate press list} from modish biz tips

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