Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New shop. New zine.

I finished my first zine. It has super short stories - all with a family theme (about kids, parents, husbands, family memories, etc.)
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6084172



I was afraid people might assume that my zines were children's stories if I put them in my Karabu shop (everthing else there is for kids) so I opened a second Etsy store: Paper and Words - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5162914
I plan to add other paper items - more zines, greeting cards, blank books, and so forth, in future.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Focus

One piece of advice has been coming at me from every direction this week. Despite my best efforts, I can't ignore it anymore. With our WWDB mentors, we have been listening to and reading a training program from John C. Maxwell based on his book, "Talent is Never Enough"



This week's lesson was about focus - something I'm lacking in. I like to do a million things at once. And I frequently move on to new and exciting things before I've finished what I started. So I have half-finished projects all over the place, a half-cleaned house, and the feeling that there is never enough time in a day. Now knowing I have a focus problem and doing something about i may be two very different things. But I'm learning the tools to try.

The last few chapter's in "Duct Tape Marketing"



have been about making sure you know why your in business. Having a narrow market that you're targeting, and getting as specialized as you can. This helps make your marketing efforts more effective, and gives your business more prestige. I can't explain it like the book does - so I guess I just highly recommend reading the book. It helped me come to the decision not to add other types of product lines to my Etsy shop (http://karabu.etsy.com). I wanted to make pet stuff, some zines,and note cards, just to name a few. My zine is what I'm most excited about, and it's almost done. I have two more in the planning stages too. But I think I've done a decent job of creating an image and theme for Karabu's Patchwork Creations and I don't want to muddy it up. So I'm going to open a second shop for my zine, and I'll add other paper products later on. It's called Paper and Words (http://paperandwords.etsy.com). Nothing there yet, but my zine and some cards will show up soon.

I'm also taking an online writing class (did I mention my focus problem?) and the teacher stressed in the last lesson about how much easier it is to be successful if you fine a nitch and specialize versus being a generalist. They recommended that I focus on Pets and Parenting because of my strong knowledge and experience in these areas.

Now, my problem is that I love all the different things I do. I don't want to give anything up to focus on just one thing. As a compromise to start with, I'm trying to work on just one thing at a time and finish it before moving on. May not sound like much - but it's huge for me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Slow learner

I've been involved with the online direct marketing group World Wide Dreambuilders for a few years now. We make a little bit of money, but we really haven't been trying very hard to do much with our business. As evidence of that - here I've been talking about my writing, and my Etsy business in this blog, and have never mentioned it before. Yet they teach us that we should talk about it all the time - to anyone we can get to listen. I didn't listen.

So, why am I bringing it up now? Well, the more I learn and research about marketing in my efforts to grow my Etsy business, the more I see I should have been paying better attention to all the free guidance, lessons and mentorship I've gotten over the years from our online business. The marketing book that I'm reading now sounds almost like a script from the many speakers I've gone to hear. It never occurred to me that the knowledge they were sharing was good for anything other than expanding that one business. Turns out they really know what they're talking about for marketing and business in general - if I'd bothered to pay better attention. I've had a business available to me all this time that I've ignored because I just thought I wasn't good at "that type of thing". Now I see that if I want to be successful at any business of my own, I'd better learn to love "that type of thing". As it happens, "that" is self promotion. It's uncomfortable, feels pushy, and doesn't come naturally to a lot of people (me included), but it is essential to having your own business. No one else cares if my business grows - only I do. SO waiting for others to promote me isn't a great way to go about this thing. *smacks head*

It's easy to work for someone else. We don't have to put ourselves out there and risk failure the way we do when working for our self. When things don't work out, we get to gripe about our boss or co-workers. If things get really bad, and we don't know how, or don't want to fix them, we can quit and get another job. Not so for owning our own business. If we give up - that's it. I'm learning (albeit slowly) that if I want this - if I REALLY want this - I need to be much more serious. I need to do the things I've been scared or uncomfortable doing. And I need to listen better.

As a first step - I'll urge you to check out our online business at http://www.seriousenergy.com and contact me if you'd like more info. If nothing else, I've figured out that they have awesome business training advice. Just wish it hadn't taken me so long to learn.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

7 Random Things

Happy House Quilts (see blog links) "tagged" me. So, as I understand the game, I'm supposed to tell seven random things about myself and "tag" someone else to do the same. Here goes:

1. I hate cleaning.

2. I love to do so many things that most of the time I never do any of it. I just can't pick what to do when I have the time.

3. I'm also a wimp who is scared to really do most of what I want to do.

4. I love deep male singing voices.

5. My favorite flower is the daisy

6. I hope one day to own llamas

7. I usually read more than one book at a time - I think I have four going right now.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

To-Do list

Always more to do than I can really keep up with - but I enjoy trying! (Well, at least I enjoy it more that I would giving something up.)
I sold four items in my Etsy shop in one day. That's a big day for me. Since I tend to produce things slowly, they super excitement I get with a sale is tempered by a "Wow - I'd better get busy making more" kick-in-the-pants kind of feeling. So today I worked a little on some new soft books, on a new I-Spy Security Blanket, and I worked a little on binding the quilt I made for my own daughter. It may not sound like much, but it was a very productive day for me.

I'm afraid that I may not get as much done tomorrow as I have to go into my 'real' job for a few hours. I also set myself a writing goal of 1000 words a week. If any other writers are reading that, they're probably thinking, "You mean 1000 words a DAY - right?" Alas, no. Just every week. The thinking is, I haven't been writing much at all. I was hoping a small goal would get me back into daily writing without being overwhelming. However - I am considering add a small zine of some of my "family" themed short stories to my shop. What do you think about that?

By the way, I'm not done with the marketing book yet, but here's a good quote:
"As you've probably observed, price is a terrible place to compete. There's always someone willing to go out of business faster than you."
(That may not be word for word, but it's close.)