Well, first of all: I did it. I made a January sale. I have sold something from my etsy store each month for over a year of consecutive months! THAT's a big deal, when I think about last year and my dry January and how generally, Q1 you're always going to see a sales dip. It's very exciting.
Secondly, I don't know if or where or when I may have mentioned this around the hub, but one of my new year's resolutions was to foster a more structured approach to my shop. Because goals don't happen if they aren't SMART, I knew I wanted more consistency in how and when I made both shop updates and social media posts. I felt that through consistency I would ultimately increase volume, while wanting my new goal to feel surmountable, sustainable, and not overwhelming in any way because if it did, I know me -- this is my spare time, and if it's something too overwhelming and big and uninteresting and scary, I ain't gonna do it. I ain't.
So I made the goal tangible with these two requirements:
- I would post a new IG post every week on Friday (could be any art content I wanted)
- I would put up a new listing on Etsy every week on Sunday (giving myself the weekend to finalize, figuring it was likely the IG post and new product would be the same most weeks but leaving myself the latitude that they didn't need to be if I didn't want)
I'm psyched to report I've made the goal every week. One week I missed putting up a new listing (the more onerous of the two tasks), and I convinced myself to make it up the next week after I put up my first new listing and realized, I dislike this task way more than it deserves to be disliked. And this past week, I was one day late with my new listing. I just kinda forgot.
My new desktop is helping me with putting up listings, too. It's just a better tool for this kind of task, where I need to be in and out of about 3 different applications (photos, etsy, drive) and possibly look at a few other things online for reference as well.
Next....a 2nd monitor the size of a TV :D (I kid)
I've been having fun churning out different stickers and sticker sheets.
I need to start mixing it up, though, soon, I think. sticker sheets are fun, very sellable, and a definite do-able achievement for the weekly grind I'm pursuing. But they're not all I do and they're not all I want my shop to do either.
I did start a gentle foray, barely an experiment, with creating iron-on shirts/fabric stuff out of images I'd drawn. While my attempt did work, I'm glad I got sauce on the shirt when I was cooking and had to wash it. The iron-on bled preettttty badly in the wash. I don't know why -- that's the next thing I need to figure out -- because if I want to sell clothes merch, I can't be selling stuff that looks like crap once you wash it.
Iron ons or some other way to get my digital drawings onto fabric is important, because patches are both really cool and punk as fuck and I know some people would be interested in them. People who are definitely part of my kind of target attitudinal audience.
I also have a rather massive commission project from OftenBen, which I think we recognize is just as much a thought experiment and like, a year long project as much as it is an actual commission. He's asked me to create my own tarot deck! It's an idea I've had many many times and gone down the road of drafting concepts a few times before. Naturally I was completely excited and stoked to take on the mission.
Ben likes my linocuts and I think wanted to see what tarot cards in that style I might come up with. At the same time, that was when I was heavy into my American Traditional kick. I came up with one fully drawn concept image:
I think there is a lot of potential for some very interesting things here.
Also, I clearly haven't decided if I want to carve the cards or draw them, or explore some combination thereof, because I've carved this outline for the major arcana cards as well:
I want to spend more time creating art, but I think part of the problem is not how much time I have, but how organized I am with it. And hmm. That feels like a little bit of a harder problem. There are several "big block" habit activities I'd like to sink 30 min or an hour into every day -- reading BOOKS, not internet articles; creating art; walking; exploring and discovering. I do spend a lot of time reading and on the computer but it's just not very focused time I think.
I have books about this that I could read -- well, once I finish the THREE D: books I'm currently reading -- all is not lost.
I did think about drawing some The Hobbit or LOTR art, but I'll be honest: the movies have so cemented, visually, to me, that that's what the characters look like -- also a hobbit is just a half a man and I don't know what there is that could be very visually interesting about that after once or twice.
I DID consider what pieces of those books I might be able to have fun drawing, and I thought: Smaug. So maybe, in my next update, I will have a very fine Smaug for you. It's a hard maybe, though.
OTHER BORING STUFF/SHOP UPDATES:
My stats continue to improve compared to last year, in terms of views, listings, etc. It's really nice and awesome. SEO continues to be a big opportunity for me. You know how it goes with big opportunities. You can still only work on them a little bit at a time. A new goal I am trying for Q2 is to spend an hour or so on the shop on Saturdays. I'm calling it the "Saturday Strategy Session" and it'll be for the non-art side of things, looking at keywords, tags, my photos, rankings etc and just trying to make the shop better in that area. I'm using eRank as a tool for this.
I honestly think I have so much room for improvement with SEO that anything I do will help :)
This experiment running a small business has really changed my view of other small business owners now, especially those selling creative things like I am. I spend a lot of time buying similar items from other businesses on etsy (there's a lot of good reasons). And so many of the shop owners seem like me: they really are touched when people buy from them, they love that someone loves their creations, they care about every single order. I like that.
And the freebies. Buy art from a small business owner and you're gonna get freebies. :D
OH also I have taken a big step! There is a small business owner friend of mine whom I have known since high school, K. She started her business a few years before mine and was always an inspiration for me. She's been killing it with her shop for a few years now! I've always wanted to see if I could talk with her and get her advice on some things. Truthfully, for me to get the most value out of that kind of conversation, though, my shop needed to mature a bit first. I think I'm finally there; I have ironed out the stupid kinks (the "I don't know how to do this") parts, and now I am looking somewhat bigger picture. I reached out to her on IG asking if I could pay her for an hour of her time as a kind of consultation. This was scary! I'd never asked her before in part because I also feared she wouldn't want to do it. Or that it was unfair for me to try to gain from her expertise, riding on her momentum. (See? My business had to mature enough first that I knew it had some legs on it. I'm confident in my base products and ability now. No worries that I am trying to suck knowledge out of K that she did the hard work to earn and I didn't!)
Well she messaged me back, was totally about it, and we are going to meet this week via Zoom! :) I am drafting questions.
I can say that this post is evidence that I have achieved my first Saturday Strategy session as planned. Now --- to keep it going...
PS. thanks for reading my shop updates! one day i hope to roll out a newsletter but that's still beyond me yet. because hubski has always been so supportive of my artistic endeavors, i appreciate this opportunity to give updates to y'all. thank you for continually being interested.
Obligatory shop link:
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