5.3.10

small business, small steps

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Wow!!! The response to this small business, small steps post was amazing, overwhelming and so very much appreciated. As I write this, there are 59 (!) of you wonderful readers who left comments, and although I could not respond to all of them, I certainly did enjoy reading them. One of the most frequently mentioned ideas from that post, was the idea of being patient. It seems like we are all struggling with this concept and I've done a lot of thinking about why that might be during this last week. So I'd like to carry on talking about patience this week, and ask the question, what can we do in the down time while we're waiting for our businesses to take off?

Being Patient ≠ Being Lazy

I think that patience is such a tricky quality to master because as entrepreneurs we are doers, creative hands-on people, perfectionists and (ahem...) perhaps a wee bit controlling. We are determined and demand a lot of ourselves, our goals and expectations are high, and when we do not see the results we hoped for our minds quickly turn on us, raising doubts and questions about our skills, abilities and talents. I've heard it said that even your greatest strength can be your biggest weakness when it is not properly harnessed. So let's not allow our ambition and ideals get the better of us while we're laying the ground work for our future success.

What to do in the down time?

So you've just launched your business and you're patiently waiting for that first sale. Or, you're like me, and you're patiently waiting for business to pick up again after the Holiday rush. While you're practicing patience, is there anything else you could be doing? Heck, yes! Making your business even more 'awesomer' than it already is.

be creative
Your creativity is at the heart of your business, it is your business. Spending most of your time trying to will yourself a sale will only use up your precious energy and creative juices. Why not put that energy and drive into expanding your product line, developing new ideas, planning for the coming months? Things will begin to pick up in Spring/Summer, but that's when you should be gearing up for Back to School, Halloween, and even the Holidays. So, do it now. Calendars, Christmas cards, Holiday gifts, Winter accessories, etc... always be a few months ahead. You will not only be giving yourself a productive task to do, but will be prepared when those customers come a knockin'.

be curious
It's time to do some research. Who are your product peers (or some may call them the competition)? What are they selling? How is it selling? Do you see areas in your market where a need is not being met? Are you the gal/guy to meet that need? Who in your market is selling successfully and what can you learn from them?
The internet is a great tool to scope out other designers who are selling similar products to you. You have access to the whole spectrum, from those who have just begun to those who are pros. Go to their sites, read their bios, search for interviews, be a sponge! Of course you are not looking to steal, knock-off or copy, just for inspiration, for little nuggets of information that you can use as jumping off points in your own business.
Another great research resource are books and blogs. Again, the internet is a gold mine, there are so many e-books and blogs about how to run a successful small business. While things are a little slow this would be a great time to check them out.

be social
Many of you mentioned in the comments how alone you felt now that you were working for yourselves. Although blogs and social media are great ways to connect with like minded individuals, I still think nothing beats a nice chat over a cup of tea or coffee with someone who really understands what you're going through. I'm jealous of all of you who are living in Canada and the US, your countries are full of Etsians (and English speakers!) so why not connect with a few of them. Perhaps you could even start a monthly meet-up to discuss work, your questions, successes, failures, etc..., something your friends and family may not completely "get". Finding a like minded buddy goes a long way to lessening some of those lonely small biz feelings.

be supportive
Support your business by making sure it's ready to respond when you need it to.
Have you made business cards? How's your website looking? Do you have clear policies for your customers? Are there ways to improve your customer service? How do your product photos look, and your product descriptions sound? Have you contacted any blogs about your products? Have you started your own blog? Do you have a Twitter, Facebook or other social media account?
I know you've heard all this a million times, because I have too, but supporting your business by making sure you've dotted all your i's and crossed all your t's is what will set you apart from your competition and give you a professional feel.

Of course, there are many more things to add to this list and, as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts... So, "What do you do in the downtime?"

Bess

(photo: nataliecreates)

89 comments:

  1. I get lazy. I'll admit. But I don't have all day to work on it, and I think thats the problem. When I get home from work I want to chillax a little. Although I really want my new etsy shop to take off, I need to open it first...
    I need someone to give me a kick in the bum.
    Bess, can you kick me in the bum?

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  2. I will absolutely give you a kick in the bum!! it might have to be delivered through my sister though ;)
    but seriously, don't get down on yourself. you have an extremely demanding and busy job. I find for myself, even though I work 3 days a week and have the other 4 to work on English Muffin I still am only just keeping up. I haven't designed anything new for the shop in ages, and have so many new ideas but I just don't have the time to do them.
    Start small. Set aside a couple hours on the weekend and don't try to do everything at once - quality over quantity my friend :)
    hope that helps,
    bess

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  3. This was great to read since one day in the future I hope to be a small business owner myself:) Great advice Bess!! Look forward to more.

    Have a great weekend!

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  4. This is a very insightful post. I'm a new writer for Handmade Spark (http://www.handmadespark.com) and I would love to collaborate with you for a few short articles. I generally cover ways for fine artists to sell their work online, which is sometimes different than selling crafts.

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  5. Thank you! It IS so easy to get caught up in the next sale. I've learned to create, do paperwork, spend time with family or doing other chores to get past the *not doing anything* feeling you get when your shop is dead. Excellent post - I appreciate it!

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  6. Thank you so much for the wonderful advice! What I am wondering is if there is anyone out there than can give any advise on keeping your mind on track. When I have down time, my mind is just reeling with things that I would like to work on. It is hard to stay focused, and often find myself so overwhelmed, that I don't really get anything done. Am I the only one out there like this?

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  7. When its very busy, I don't have time to design new pieces so I keep a small notebook. Once the rush subsides a bit, then I've got a whole book of wonderful ideas.

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  8. I'm using this time to make sure I'm catching up on reading and applying valuable information such as this, retaking pictures, getting all of my supplies together, and not trying to do everything in one day. Take my time don't try to do to much all in one day because that's when I get to tired and mess up. I've learned that whatever I do for my business that it is making it better from cleaning my studio area, getting paperwork organized or whatever it's all good.

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  9. Thanks for such a reassuring article, Bess! It's so nice to hear from other people who also understand the insanity of juggling multiple jobs and obligations while trying to keep a shop afloat!
    I opened my Etsy shop in October, the holidays were fantastic, and then...nothing. I've had one sale since the new year. It was well into February before I realized that the amount of traffic in my shop was directly related to how much I made myself visible: renewing items, buying a showcase spot, making treasuries (and getting them on the front page!), cruising the forums. I'm going to bet that traffic - and hopefully sales, too - will boost when I finally get around to reserving a table at a craft fair, locking down a business card design, and purchasing some advertising space that my finances can handle ($54/month on craftopolis, anyone?).
    Of course, finding time between my 9-5 day job and planning my July wedding leaves surprisingly little time for Etsy, but I've found that 3-4 hours on a Sunday afternoon can be extremely productive...and making jewelry while watching a movie with my fiance is so relaxing after a long day at work.

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  10. In my downtime, I create more items, so I sew a ton. I also create so new items and search out fabric for my next quilt. I'm trying to do some promotional items too.

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  11. I am still in the process of opening my Etsy shop, so I am more in Linda and Ashley's boat. I get totally overwhelmed and impatient by the amount of work I need to do before I can open my shop. I think I'm going to write down some concrete, realistic goals for each day to help keep me focussed. Does anyone have any other advice?

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  12. In my downtime I write down new ideas, make new items, read about new-to-me business ideas, and try to plan out work for the weeks ahead so that I don't realize that two weeks have gone by and I've got nothing to show for it.

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  13. thank you for a'kick in the pants!!

    great advice, again!

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  14. Create, create, create! And work on my photos.

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  15. Ashley, I carry my design notebook with me everywhere I go. I always have ideas swirling around in my head, and find new inspiration in things I see/hear/etc. I also keep a pad and pen in the car, plus one in the bathroom (shower ideas are frequent and awesome!), and by the bed.

    I've also been known to write ideas down on napkins, junk mail, scrap paper, food boxes, and my hand.

    i also keep a running to-do list for projects in progress, and one for business-related things (marketing, networking, blog, etc)

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  16. You hit all the important elements! I take photos again, read the newest books and magazines on crafting, work on my fiber bead dolls (not sold) as a creative outlet, and this year, created a line of mini fiber beads. Also, organizing the space, my personal favorite.

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  17. Bess - Thanks so much for your blog. Very timely! I started out in October with my Etsy shop in the middle of the holiday period, now I have my first quiet leg. First I got really depressed but then I somehow picked myself up and now I am designing, have set up two new shops and have just got my first wholesale order. I am stocking up with new fabrics etc in the hope that sales will pick up, but also in preparation so that I can focus on making and dispatching orders when they start increasing. At the same time I am trying to get a little rest here and there. Feeling lonely was one of my biggest fears when I first started out working for myself but I twitter everyday and just started a blog, slowly making friends. My biggest challenge is at the moment having enough time to do everything I want to do ;-).

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  18. In my "downtime" I'm applying for shows, digging through old sketchbooks and checking the notes to self that I forgot about during the busy season! Oh yes and I'm taking a little getaway to get amped up for sping!

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  19. This slow time is a huge opportunity to prepare - I learned the hard way my first year. When the summer and then the holiday rush came, I ran out of everything and couldn't keep up with demand. So now with the slow time, I'm revamping my shop and brand, stockpiling product for the summer and ordering the materials I'll need for the holidays. . . all without the stress of knowing it's not enough:-)

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  20. I am still new and making b. cards is my next thing to do. Thanks for reminding me

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  21. Hi Bess,

    This is a tremendous article. Small business owners do need a little inspiration, and you've certainly provided that.

    If you want to share your expertise with a small business community (and I know the Office Live folks would LOVE it if you did), there's a great community of people looking for important tips and tricks for making their business a success at the Office Live page on Facebook. You can join and share your wisdom here: http://www.facebook.com/officelive.

    Thanks so much and keep up the good work!
    Kim
    Microsoft Office Live Outreach

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  22. Thanks for the encouragement! I'm using this time to make more items and to make improvements in my shop.

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  23. Thank you for this article, im an indie artist, ive been workin on my brand for a few years now and ive been sellin my products and art here in my country but i just opened my etsy store in feb, and still have zero sales but blogs like this makes me stay positive.

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  24. Flickr is also a great tool! :) Most importantly networking with great teams and taking awesome pictures helps quite a bit!!!

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  25. i'm in a little backward position from most in that i can only do online work because of physical limitations...so my downtime is filled with reseaching other approaches for wholesale work as well as my online venues, spiffing up my shop & keeping my work relevant.

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  26. I just opened the doors to my shop in January and have been doing alright (at least from my p.o.v.), so I haven't yet felt the fall from the holiday season, but I also get a little off track and stop creating, which is what brings me the most happiness out of the whole process. It is nice to think that someone will love and purchase the piece that I am making. Thanks for posting this. I really needed a little perspective the last few days about what to do until my shop gets busier.

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  27. This article was great! Truly inspired and with found so many ideas and thoughts of what to do in my down time. I found myself reading and shaking my head in agreement. So thanks!

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  28. This is wonderfully helpful, especially as a new etsian! You just addressed so many of the questions I've been gathering over the past month. Thank you for helping keep the panic at bay and the creativity flowing!

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  29. I just read both your articles and loved them. I have to admit feeling a bit sorry for myself when all of a sudden my recently hit goal of an average one sale per day wound to a grinding halt. You do start to doubt your self and wonder if your work or selection is somehow not up to par. This is a mental thing that we need to let go of. I know it, and you guys do too I'll bet, but it's so good to read these posts and get back on track and get another perspective and fresh ideas. Thanks! Julia

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  30. Thank you for all of the wonderful advice. I focused all of my efforts last week giving my shop a face lift. I retook all of my pictures, checked tags, changed my banner. I did a blog post reaching out to get some ideas on how to make my business more successful. I want a business I can be proud of, something that represents me as an artist. Thank you again, Heather

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  31. Wonderful articles so encouraging.
    It can be very lonely owning your own online business.
    My biggest problem is finding the right balance between family and working full time with my etsy shops.
    I find I do not grant myself much time to relax and have fun, always on the go and my mind never seems to rest, ideas popping up all the time.
    The days seem to race by so fast!
    I need to focus on planning better and being ready earlier for the next seasonal products.
    Thank you Bess:)
    Wendy

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  32. Now that I have a bit of a break I am working on having some prints made and finishing a barn for my horses.
    I find that time outdoors away from the easel in this wonderful spring weather recharges my creative batteries.
    And there's nothing like physical labor to make me appreciate my day job. :)

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  33. Down time for me is when I am making treasures for my shop. That's when I relax and when the rest of the world and it's concerns disappear for a little while. I think all the things and more that you mentioned here, Bess, are "the business" and there should never be down time if you are constantly researching your target market and your "peers", marketing and advertising, staying on top of marketing trends and new materials.

    To stay successful, you must stay one step ahead at all times. If you are very successfully selling you current pattootie, one of 3 things is probably going to occur: That pattootie trend will fade, everyone else will follow your pattootie train and your competition will explode overnight, and some will make an equal or better and less expensive pattootie. So to stand still is absolutely a no-no in business. There is no such thing called down time. When sales are slow is when one should be working their butts off.

    And too add, when opening a business, really really define what success means to you. It's not always about numbers. I've redefined my etsy goals a couple of times over the last 1.5 years. And to those of you, like me, who have other heavy time obligations, like a job elsewhere and/or large family commitments at this time in your life, keep your goals realistic. I moved from goals of strictly income, to making a profit using up existing supplies and materials and repurposing. I find that extremely rewarding and successful. Success is not always defined by number of sales. If I ever had to depend on my shop for my sole income, believe me, my business plan would change drastically. Like---> I'd be making pattooties.

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  34. I'm like Linda...I've been promising and promising to open my shop. I set March 1st as a date, and now it's the "middle of March." So while you're kicking her bum, I need to be kicked out of the nest too.

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  35. Wow! Great article. I'm new to Etsy--only had my online shop for 3 weeks.
    You've given me some great ideas on planning for the coming year. I have a day job too---but making my cards and prints is what I truly love to do.
    Instead of being nervous (OK, I had one sleepless night), I'm reading everything I can about starting a small business and trying to stay creative. The Etsy community is so supportive and your blog is one of the best.

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  36. Great article! (And I LOVE Vienna, was just there for the first time in August!)
    In my downtime I work on new designs. In the past, I would just get sad and down on myself when things weren't selling, but now I know to kick it in gear and get the wheels turning so I can get more fresh ideas out there when things are slow.

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  37. Very inspiring article.. I've been working on a lot of what you have mentioned. One thing I do is write a "To Do" list for the day and do it, also a goal list for the week or month. There are many good comments in this blog.

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  38. For me the winter is always quiet, so over teh past few weeks I have concentrated on increasing the inventory in my Etsy store and researching new opportunities to sell via bricks and mortar venues.

    So far the first part has gone well - now up to over 150 items - but the second is much slower because of a string of unforeseen events not related to my business. Slowly getting back on track, but I've missed a local open studio event for example because I was ill when entries had to be made.

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  39. great post, i found this via That Vintage, now following, I am going to re-blog about this as well!

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  40. Great article...now I will read the first one. Thank you.

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  41. great idea, which I feel that way too. Build some more item and be ready for next holiday and many more. So far, got one sales this month which custom order. Hoping this month will be more costumer than last month, finger cross.^_^

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  42. Great post, full of wonderful ideas. In January-February, I took an online business class, designed my spring line, bought supplies,opened a business account and I'm working with a graphic designer on a business card. I still need to take an accounting class, but that's just scary!

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  43. Fantastic ideas- you have put a positive twist on how to feel about the quiet times.
    Like others I find it really helps to write down ideas and plans as they occur to me. I'm trying to think more about my branding too.

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  44. wonderful post, thanks!
    I love it when people feel free to share their experience for free - you may be amazed at how non-trivial this is ;-)

    I must admit I've only read a few comments (maybe 6, but not more than 8) and I may repeat some of what has been said - apologies.

    There are many blogs outthere, some starting from etsy (like tim adams handmadeology), but not all are free, and most are too general.

    One good advice I got from a blog whose link got lost to me, is: make lists! if you can't keep yourself on track, and, like me, your mind keep wondering to the next design idea, than make daily lists with what you want to acomplish on that very day. And keep coming back to read it and tick off things you've already done, of course! ;-)
    There's a book around, my hubby got it from a business course, called "7 habits of the highly efficient people" (or something to that effect). It is a very good book to get un-organized business-persons to admit and fix their shortcomings. It's worth the reading.

    and another good advise for down time: find more ways, not necessarily on-line ones, to market your creations.
    i.e. I live in a small town full of jewelry makers - metalsmiths, tinkering all day with heavy metals and precious stones: no one is even going to listen to me pitching my different aproach - there's just that many jewelry one town can take ;-)
    but my sister (who lives in a far, big city), and some of my hubby's cousins (again big city dwellers) urged me to use their locations for marketing. Problem was: I have a day job, 3 preschool kids, and I don't work on saturday (shabat): how am I to get my wears to those locations?
    I asked around, I got a profesional photographer to take shots of the more complicated pieces, and a professional printer to make a catalog for me! it took about 4 months to cook up this idea: find the best (and best value-for-money) professionals, calculate the costs, decide which designs should be in the catalog... even calculate the investment-to-returns ratio. I've no way to know how many items will realy sell this way, but it's a good use for my down time, and it's better than create more designs who everyone would admire, but no one would buy ;-) besides, the 5 printed catalogs will not deteriorate, and I may be able to use them for many years.

    Good luck to us!

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  45. Once again, thank you so much for your overwhelming response to this series.

    I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your comments, and watching a discussion unfold. It's great to hear what others are doing during their "downtime" and I hope to add a few more things to my own list. Speaking of lists, a lot of you have mentioned them. I use them as well and find them a valuable tool for keeping myself focused.

    Thanks again for your great comments everyone :) And I look forward to getting to work on next week's Small Business, Small Steps post.

    bess

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  46. Great article! Any advice for someone who is working a crappy job 40 to 50 hours a week and desperately trying to get things rolling so I can quit this day job. I read a lot of the articles and they are always great, I just wish there was a way for successful shops to critique other shops that are lost. Yes I know they offer that occasionally but when you work as much as I do these 5pm forums do not work. Sorry for the whining. I just really like this creative outlet for my goods and want it to work. Thanks for listening.

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  47. First of all thank you for writing this series - I've read all the posts and now I have tons of more stuff to read!

    I'm a new seller in Etsy and I haven't been breaking any sales records yet. Fortunately there's a huge amount of other stuff you can do (and keeping busy kind of helps with the feeling of panic that creeps in!). But I've also found that taking some time off and not thinking about your business at all for a while can be a really good thing! I've had a lot of good ideas that way.

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  48. Great reminder! It's so easy to let the winter blahs keep you from moving ahead. Opening my shop in Etsy just after the Christmas season inevitably meant slower sales but it's a really good time to build my inventory for the next (hopeful) rush!

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  49. To help make good use of a down time, maybe do a raffle for a free items, or have a special. I know thats what draws people to what I make. And although I don't have my etsy shop up yet, I do a drawing or throw specials and advertise with fliers and by mouth. Another good thing to do is get a skype account and show your items one day in a video conference. Have online parties and give aways etc. You can also use your skype account this way as well.

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  50. Thank you Bess! Just reading your post did give me that kick I need right now! I need to revamp my shop and renew my stock. Tanking time to use my Creativity... isn't it what I'm complaininig about the rest of the year??? Yes, indeed. Very much and everyday. I laughed when you said "... and a bit controlling" Hey! How did you guess?

    Thank you again, will make good use of your awesome sharing with us1

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  51. wow! as everyone has said...thank you for this article!! it is wonderful! and so nice to hear / read that others feel the same way!
    i too make tons of lists!! i think i have lists of my lists!! and i am waiting for my etsy shop to get some serious sales...but, in the mean time, i am telling myself that i'm doing the best i can and just make a great product...

    thank you again!
    :) Sarah
    www.monsterinthecloset.net
    www.monsterinthecloset.etsy.com

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  52. I'm brand new to etsy and haven't made any online sales yet, but my word of mouth sales give me hope. Also I like to think progressively so I'm working on more products, better photos, my blog, business cards, product hang tags,etc. Basically I spend most of my online time working on my new business. I even dream about crafting almost nightly, I guess being so obsessed keeps me happy.

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  53. Awesome insight. In my downtime I have been working on some new designs, improving my photos, and online networking. I have been utilizing Twitter quite a bit, and adding new followers everyday. I make sure to check out their work and support them in anyway I can. I has definitely brought more traffic to my shop, and I also get to see what others are doing. I am in the middle of developing my website as well. So the downtime has been really a blessing in some ways-it keeps me looking outside the box.

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  54. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way, I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

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  55. I've noticed that sales are like buses, you hang around for one for ages and then several come at once. It seems that my bus timetable peak times are the week after pay day and then it goes quiet again till the next one.

    Now I can see the pattern I can plan what needs to be done in the downtime to keep the cycle going. I have to admit though that procrastination is a very good friend of mine! :P

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  56. great post, in my down time i try really hard not to get lazy. it seems that crappy winter weather is not boosting my business or morale either. so, instead of making art i have been doing exciting things like taxes and getting financial things in order. this way, hopefully by the time spring comes i can run around outside.

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  57. What a super fab article!

    I love how so many people can stay positive during slow times. It just means you have more time to create!
    Like many have said here, I carry a notepad with me that I sketch out ideas of things I want to make.

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  58. Wonderful post!! Like Linda, I definitely crave down time after my 9-5, which can sometimes lead to major procrastination. I think its doubly hard to stay focused when sales are low. One of the best pieces of advice I've received recently is dont try to get more than 7 things done in a day or you will drive yourself crazy. I know that doesnt sound like a lot but you can decide what those 7 things are - ie email 3 bloggers about your products, look over product descriptions and make edits to at least 4 of them, begin designing/brainstorming new product. Specific tasks/goals help me stay a little more focused during down time (and busy times too).

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  59. I'm fairly new to Etsy and it's easy to become discouraged. I work full time as a teacher so I don't have a lot of time to create new items on a regular basis, but I am spending time researching how to take better photos, what items I might like to add during the coming months and learning how to promote. I will be creating new items to add to my shop to keep my creativity flowing and hopefully my self-doubt in check!

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  60. THANKS so much for this post!
    I tend to get lazy and just sew when I get a sale... NOT GOOD! I know I should be spending a couple hours a day in my sewing room, but lack of sales makes for lack of ambition! UGH!
    ANYWAYS, thanks so much for the kick in the butt!!!

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  61. What a fabulous informative series! I just clicked over from Craft Marketer. I would love to link to this post if you didn't mind.

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  62. Great article... thanks!

    Maejean Vintage Fashions

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  63. one thing i do in my downtime (besides make more jewelry) is to search out galleries and boutiques to sell through. I feel this way i can support them, and they reach people that i could never reach. plus, i view it as passive income.
    i start each gallery with 24 pieces and my goal is to have 12 galleries over 6 or more states. it may take a while to tweak them, adding galleries that sell and changing those that dont...add that to my etsy shop and that covers a lot of area. if each shop sells only 6 items a month--really not too much to ask--plus my own shop, i will do just fine plus, its not too much to restock if i make so many items a week.

    Add to that the occasional shows or festivals i do and it should equal a nice income.

    it's all in the numbers.

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  64. Found this through etsy... how very, very helpful!!!!

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  65. I love your blog on this subject. I have my Etsy shop (that does well), but I use your ideas and critiques for my Artfire shop. Many thanks and keep em' coming - Toni, allearringsandsuppli.etsy.com

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  66. What a great reminder for all of us as we sit here patiently waiting for the sales to roll in!! Thank you! Great blog by the way! I am going to post it to my facebook fan page! http://www.facebook.com/lhconfections

    ♥♥♥ Brienne http://www.lhconfections.etsy.com

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  67. What a great post! I am really hoping to put these tips to use, as I have in the past. :)

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  68. Thanks for sharing these great and inspiring ideas!
    I must admit that I'm a bit disappointed because I hardly get a sale on etsy and just do not understand what's wrong with my shop...

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  69. Thanks for posting this! Its nice to know that I am not alone :) It is definitely a learning process and takes lots of time and effort to get it going. I just opened my shop recently and have been working on improvements everyday. I try to read blogs and posts and get ideas of how to promote my Shop. I also have a notebook that I write new ideas down and spend time on creating since that is what makes me the happiest :) Cant wait till all my hard work pays off! Thanks again!

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  70. Awesome article, Bess, thank you!

    My sales did spike before Dec. 31, and slowed considerably after Jan. 1. Unfortunately, my muse went into hiding as a result. While trying to discover her hiding place, I decided to stop creating and start writing tutorials on one of the techniques I use to create my image transfer pendants, after much nagging to do so from everyone and their mother.

    Sales of the tuts have filled the void AND jump started my muse. Sales of my pendants have also been more consistent in the last month. Yay!

    Thanks again!
    Lynda

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  71. Thank you I thought it was just me

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  72. I just opened my etsy shop today and I'm really grateful to have found your blog. A "sponge" is exactly how I feel right now. So much to learn. Thank you for sharing your experience and encouraging words.
    -tinypeepers

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  73. I don't go to Etsy as much as I use to, but today I had a need to check and see what I've missed, I don't seem to have a lot of quiet time. I have to agree whole-heartedly with you, down time spent wisely is a plus. The community college in my area is offering a course 'Starting and Running a Small Craft Business', I thought now is the time, plus it's an online class, I'm in there. Reading, taking classes, and socializing with other in your field can be a big boost and helps to get and keep those juices flowing during slow times.

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  74. It's nice to see others are going through exactly what I am ! I work full time and spend 3 hours a day travelling as well. I'm having trouble balancing work/spending time with my husband/Etsy/everything else!!!
    I think the idea others have put forth of not trying to get too much done at once is great -so as not to get frustrated with it all. I tend to get annoyed because I want to do too many things and end up doing nothing. And lists! Must start writing lists...

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  75. Great post! I love your idea about being social and starting a meet up club with other local crafters. I am going to try to organize that.

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  76. I like so many of you are new at Etsy and have been doing a-lot of reading and trying to soak up every little piece of advise. I have been pondering how helpful twitter, flickr or any other venue would be. Thank you for the much needed tips. We have had down time since starting site after Christmas. I decided to view my our down time, like planting a seed. You plant (do some creating, post creation), Water it with praise (In my case I thank the Lord He will provide the buyer) for the sale, and last don't worry about it let the Sun produce the fruit of the sale!! Hope this is some kind of encouragement. We just had two sale and have been expect and thanking for it in advance.

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  77. Thank you for this post! What perfect timing. I was beginning to feel the post-holiday no sales blues, but you've given me the tools to reframe this time and focus on fall (knit hats are a hard sell in the summer :-) Thanks again!

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  78. Thank you for reminding us to do what we "preach to others".... be patient! I enjoy the time to rework my creations in my mind, to try out the ideas that have been rolling around in my head. This is the time to do just that. Thank you for helping me give myself permission to do just that!

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  79. thanks for the great tips. reading this encouraged me to hang in there.

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  80. Great info! Thanks for posting

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  81. Great inspiration thank you! I've felt the 'slow down' in the past few months with my jewelry business, http://www.janewear.com, and it's been getting me low! I can't wait til things pick back up again! We're expecting our little bundle of joy this summer, so I'm hoping to be slammed with orders by then!!

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  82. Lot's of great ideas here - it is nice not to feel like it's only me. I am also working on my displays. Obviously I need to display when I do my retail shows but I have also found that my wholesale customers need help with display as well so I am trying to get some examples and ideas together for them.

    Thanks again!

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  83. Good tips. Thank you!

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  84. Great article! My problem though that my wardrobe is already full and I can´t really put my new creations anywhere. I ought to sell some, but no one is really popping into my shop to look around, let alone buy something.
    Does it mean that I can´t avoid having to have facebook or twitter? I´ve been trying to avoid it (don´t really like sitting in front of the PC that much, and I really don´t writing). Hmmmm. Any advice?

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  85. @BHB Kidstyle: Your shop looks great! Lots of clear pictures and listed items. I think the next step would be to get more people into your shop to see what you are doing. You can do this like you mentioned by joining twitter or starting a facebook page (I see you already have a blog and that's great!), however you also said that you don't really want to spend more time in front of the computer. How about contacting shops in your area to see if they'd be interested in carrying some of your designs? Are there any craft shows in your area? Perhaps you'd enjoy more face to face meetings to sell your wares than connecting with customers only over the internet.
    Hope that helps :)
    bess

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  86. Great post! And a great blog! I frequent your site often but this is my first comment.

    The small business articles are helpful!

    I have a store site selling my photography and I recently started a small Etsy store as well. The slow times are hard and I usually try working on my keywords and SEO material to try and get more traffic. And just recently I am learning how to blog and leave comments on other blogs... There is always a lot to do but the slow times can still drag on.

    Please keep these helpful small business posts coming! Thanks for the advice!

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  87. great post!
    i believe that blogging and advertising are the most important things
    for any e-shop, etsy, bigcartel etc. But it takes a lot of time,
    and for the most of us who have a daily and very stressful 9hour job in front of a mac, is just too hard some days. (not to talk about friends who run a shop, a daily job AND a family). So slow business can get somedays
    so frustrating..


    http://anmarkdesign.blogspot.com/

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  88. Nice article! :) I definitly think it's hard to keep up motivation but I consider myself a "shameless self-promoter!" When you love what you do and are good at it, why not be proud?
    Don't worry about critics at first, it takes time to build your empire :)

    Buddy @ EcoDog Pet Treats

    http://ecodog.etsy.com

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  89. Really fine post.
    As a painter,I'm more
    worried about not able
    to create more new works
    while I try to run the
    shop,it takes discipline
    and patience.
    Any sugestions on alternative
    ways of promoting art?
    Best Wishes
    Lancerika.etsy.com

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