Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Economy is Bad ... Really?

I did a craft show yesterday that is usually one of the best in this part of the state. One of those ones where you pray you can even get on the waiting list. This show, typically a $3800 show for me cashed in at $2600 (ugh). I wasn’t alone. Several people reported barely making their booth fee. The reason according to most…”the economy.”

Every time I heard those words, I tried to hide my cringing and started my dissertation as to what really occurred. Why you ask? With a lot of hard work, I am doing just fine in this supposedly horrible economy. As a former English and Education major, I had many things drilled into my brain, one of which being to dig in and look at things from all different angles. I stepped back and looked at the realities of the day to put things into perspective.

1. Number one and most important of all, they changed the location of the show due to construction. Now add to that the fact that the only signage they put up on the old location was something saying “located across the street” – it really was not across the street – and you have your first recipe for disaster. Now throw in a parking lot one quarter of the size of the usual lot and you have people (many elderly) having to walk for several blocks in 30 degree weather – many wouldn’t bother.

2. The annual Santa Clause parade (pretty big deal here) got scheduled on the same day – ouch!

3. Two major college football games were televised that day – we Michiganians love our Spartans and our Wolverines (and also Ohio State for some reasonJ).

So with that, there really wasn’t much chance at record sales that day.

Now, looking at the big picture as a whole, is the economy really that bad? For those with investments and stocks, sure it looks bleak. I can’t imagine losing $20,000 per quarter in my pension (which I am seeing as an HR professional with my employees). While there are reports that unemployment soars well over 9% in Michigan, we forget that means there is 91% EMPLOYMENT! Those people are still buying. And as an Etsian, we have the opportunity to sell to the rest of the country as well – hooray!

So what does it take? It takes hard work. We can’t sit back and wait for the orders to come any more. As someone who works full-time and whose business is booming, I understand “busy.” Here are the things I do that I can fit into my busy schedule that you may consider:

1. List Three Times Per Day – Yep. That’s right. Budget 60 cents per day for your listings. Post one in the AM before you go to work, post another at lunch time, and one more before you go to bed. Those of us on the east coast often forget that when we are heading off to get some zzz’s, the west coast is getting home from work and they want to spend! After you do this for a while, you will find out what your busy days are and you can scale down to listing just on those days. Be patient! You need to get some sales and some feedback before the orders will start rolling in. It will happen.

2. Create Your Own Blog – No I am not able to post daily. However, I blog at least every 3-4 days but usually more frequently than that. I feature other Etsy Artists. I send a set of questions which they answer and then I format it for the blog. Total time commitment – about 15 minutes. Schedule that time in and it will be a breeze for you. I am also getting into doing what I am doing right now – help and advice. Not everyone will be able to do this but I guarantee it is worth it!

3. Blog Comments – Read and comment on other people’s blogs. Don’t make it time consuming. Make yourself a goal of reading two per week and commenting. That is more than manageable.

4. Twitter – I will admit I think Twitter is a little different..probably because of my lack of time. However, it is a fabulous marketing tool. You can go to Twitterfeed.com and have your Etsy listings go up on Twitter and your blog posts! That way people who follow you can see what you are up to. Timothy Adam Designs has great tips and thoughts on Twitter on his blog – http://timothyadamdesigns.blogspot.com/.

5. Join Teams – I know some people don’t believe in joining teams but the value I have seen is tremendous. My teams are all incredibly helpful and “nurturing.” Not to mention their promo is out of this world! Find someone who fits your interests. Once accepted, participate at least once every couple of weeks in their forums or on their ING site.

6. Chat it Up in the Forums! - Wow does this make a difference!! Again, make a goal and try not to get addicted. Go in three times per week and make legitimate contributions. Only post all of your links when appropriate. I only add my blog address when I feel there is some value to the readers.

7. Treasuries – Make a treasury or set a goal for commenting. If you only have time to throw a few comments out there, make that goal and stick to it. This gets your avatar out there. I always try to comment on those that are brand new and they have two to three days to go.

8. Follow Timothy Adam Designs’ Blog – This guy is fabulous! He is so tech savvy and has such awesome advice. Make the time where you can to read what he has to offer - http://timothyadamdesigns.blogspot.com/ Once you are rolling in the dough, buy something from him:)

There is much more to cover but these are the things that are somewhat quick and easy. You don’t have to take a beating from this supposedly bad economy. Just fight back!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Please do me a favor and post a reply to this Forum thread (http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5923350)to keep my thread alive. I think a lot of people will find this info beneficial and I am afraid it will get buried. Thank you!

-Suzanne
Bliss Soybean Candles and Gifts
http://blisscandles.etsy.com/
http://www.blisscandles.com/

36 comments:

steven wilson said...

The timothy adams design blog comes up as does not exsist on blogger.

capitolagirl said...

These are all great tips! Thanks for sharing them :-)

Meekiyu said...

wow really awesome take on the craft show.. extremely insightful! I also read timothy's blog.. that guy is always on top of the tech ballgame... thanks for taking the time to write all this down! =D

Bliss Soybean Candles said...

That link works now. I have trouble spelling his name for some reason:)

Linda said...

These are great tips and most I am already doing. It is just good to be encouraged today.

mompotter on Etsy

Ronalyn said...

Looking at the "big picture" is a good idea and I applaud your ability to do so. A lot depends on what caliber of craft show you are in, too.

Stir Designs said...

Thanks for the tips! I've been feeling overwhelmed lately, and it helps to see a list of what has worked for others...fabulous of you to share!

Michelle Brunner said...

These are great tips! Thanks for posting them! Your candles are amazing by the way! I need to order more:)

Grace said...

I always try to comment on treasuries, but I'm not really sure if it works or not...Also, I need to go check out Twitterfeed! Sounds interesting.

Kreated by Kelly said...

Great tips! Very common sense approach to being successful -- love it!! *smiles*

Mary said...

i agree that there's more than the economy at fault--but don't downplay the economy too much, either. there is definitely a constriction going on, even with people with money. i just finished a 2 day home holiday sale, a 30 year tradition, with about 50% of normal sales. all the same people, new people, and all spent. just a lot less than usual and even those with a lot of money mentioned they were tightening their belts this year. even the church sales are not doing their normal business for the holidays around here.

all your points are great and i believe in 'keeping on' no matter what else is going on--i've survived economic downturns before by not getting caught up in the panic. but i am also realistic and am preparing for a winter that may be much quieter in sales than usual. doesn't mean i won't be out there working my tail off but i'll also be prepared to hunker down in my own budget.

TiLT said...

Great write up Bliss. The other factors you pointed out with the show are biggies. People do foget to look beyond the economy.
I would still keep economy on the list, just not first. Also in MI & employment here at home has not changed (not until GM goes under anyway)...but still cut groceries in half to keep the price the same as 1 year ago & no bonuses or raises to come for at least 2 more years...so extra spending is a no-no...hard to do with all the great stuff on etsy!

Best of luck with any more shows you have coming...you help keep me optimistic :) love your positive attitude!

And you are right, Timothy's blog is a definite must!

nicaeli said...

great tips, thanks so much for sharing:)

bunnybeadsboutique said...

This was just what I needed! Such great words of incouragemnet! Than k you so much for taking the time out of your busy life to share your knowlege. Now I'm on my way to Timothy's blog....

Happy Thanksgiving!
Sue

Sophie said...

Interesting thoughs and yes, we all have to keep trying, and trying harder. Just today I heard someone who was bragging just a few months ago about living in a million dollar home say that her kids wear hand-me-downs. And it's not because they believe strongly in reuse and recyle. My point is, even families with good jobs are cutting back.

Sara at Soap Rehab said...

These are great tips, thanks for sharing! I, too, get tired of the endless economy scare tactics especially here in Michigan. Thanks for the bit of optimism. :)
Sara
SoapRehab

Becky said...

Thanks for the great tips!

aliceinparis said...

These are all wonderful tips and I agree wholeheartedly. Best of luck with your business:))

tscrapper said...

Great advice! Thanks so much!

Nicki Leigh said...

A wonderful article and one that I could not agree more with. I do not blame the economy. My sales are actually rising over the past week and I know it has a lot to do with my outside promoting ;)

Nicely done.

Licia said...

I can honestly say that I agree with this post wholeheartedly!

I have been putting lots of eggs in several baskets and it has been slowly paying off. Initially I had to reach for every view, every blog comment, every tweet. As it grew I found the comments building on their own, kind of like a snowball effect.

Granted my snowball is rather small, but it's a great feeling that word is being passed along with less effort on my part.

I make sure to support others as well, and it seems to work for both parties that way.

I liken it to building a fire. There is no spontaneous combustion, and you need to keep feeding it. It starts with finding small bits of kindling. :)

I have been vociferous. :) Have a nice day all.

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Fantastic blog post!

Twisted said...

this was very helpful!

Bethany said...

That was full of wonderful tips. Thank you so much!

lyptis said...

Very helpful tips! i shud really run and implement some!

Sun2Create said...

All great tips. Thanks for posting.

earlybird said...

Fantastic advice! Thankyou for sharing it!

Kristen said...

Great advice, thanks!

Hilaria Galleries said...

what a great blog post! very well said...I've found myself gritting my teeth at all the "economy" comments as well; if the economy sucks so bad why are other artists selling? thanks for all the tips..I'll be sure to check out that guy's blog!

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Great tips and great attitude! Thanks, I needed that :o)
Smiles, Karen

Fighter of the Night Man said...

Thanks so much for a positive spin! It's too easy to let it bring you down. I love hearing a great attitude!

Valerie said...

Great advice and a wonderfully positive spin on what the world views as gloom. We definately need to reevaluate every now and then!

Thanks for sharing

meme said...

Thanks for giving us some pointers! I will start some of them..time is a HUGE factor with me...xoxo meme

cozycoleman said...

Thanks for that. Good advice and positive attitude. You forgot to mention that as etsy sellers we aren't limited to the USA, but have the whole world as our customer base!

Gingham and Flowers said...

Thanks so much for this fab advice. I'm already doing some of the things that you suggest and my sales are increasing slowly which is encouraging as a fairly new Etsian. I'm adding yours and Timothy's blogs to my favourites. Just found your blog via lollishops by the way. Fiona UK

Bliss Soybean Candles said...

Lovin' all of the great comments!