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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Benign Neglect

Here I am, pontificating about how to run a small crafts business and my Etsy shop looks like *&^$#.  I've been neglecting it, but you will soon discover, it's impossible to stay totally on top of all aspects of your business.  So, choices have to be made, and you have to stop and step back often to assess where you are spending your time.  Early on, I think you have to spend your time establishing your presence in your field.  Ironically, that means a lot of time on the computer (for us creative types, that hurts; but, think of it as just another aspect of being creative).  People need to know you exist before they can even think of buying your rhinestone widgets!  As that starts to fall into place, then you need to start making strategic choices about how you spend your time.  Of course, time needs to be spent actually making your product, but then, back to the computer to let others know your latest designs, etc.  For me, I've been concentrating on coming up with crochet patterns (as opposed to the actual items themselves, but I'm glad to make custom orders ;-)  Thus, I've been spending more time on Ravelry (a community of knitters, crocheters, and designers) posting patterns than on Etsy posting real products.  And, I probably need to step back and think about whether that's a good use of my time or not (I think so, but I do need to think about how to optimize my Etsy shop presence -- any suggestions more than welcome!)

In conjunction with figuring out how to optimize your time spent on your business and establishing your presence on the web, you need to figure out "who you are", "what's your message" and how best to express these answers.  Most business mavens will tell you that you need to formulate a mission statement, tag line, etc.  Don't get caught up in the jargon or formula -- just think about what it is you are trying to do -- "Rhinestones for a shinier world", "My mission is to create the shiniest rhinestone widgets to brighten your day" -- just try to say whatever it is that motivates you to create what you create. Believe me, it will resonate with your customers and yourself much more if you just let it come from your heart.  You will be more motivated to keep creating and getting your message out, and your potential customers will feel your vibe and energy!

Speaking of vibe and energy (or lack thereof), time to go to the day job ;-)

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