Life is CRAZY Sometimes!

I’ve been on ‘vacation’ for the past week and I go back to work tomorrow. This is the first chance I’ve had to actually post something here! That makes me sad. However, I’ve spent a lot of time reading some books that I want to talk about on here. One in particular on the book of Ruth, but also a couple others that are intended to help with blogging for Christians and inspirational writing. We’ll see how all that goes! On my list of things I wanted to get done this week was to write several posts and schedule them out some. Yeah, nope. Didn’t happen. I did, you may notice, if you’ve been here before, upgrade my site and change the theme.

As I mentioned in my last post, some cool things have been happening as far as teaching. My small group leader has asked me to teach at our retreat in the fall! That is a big honor for me and I’m very excited! So, if you’re a praying person…keep that in your prayers!

Also, Alpha will be starting at church next week and I’m going to be a table leader again! I haven’t for a while because of work and location. It has always been on a weeknight and that’s just too much for me these days, with work being exhausting. It was also downtown for one session so that would have put me home pretty late. They’ve moved it to Saturday afternoons at the church (5 minutes away) so I’m totally available and really excited!

Back to life being crazy…yeah. What can I say? I’ve felt so out of control lately. Like everyone else is running my life-and I don’t mean God. He’s allowed. People pull me in this direction or that and I haven’t any time to get things done that I want to do (such as this). I’ve battled depression my whole life and I swear it’s felt like it’s been winning lately. As I type that, I stop and think about the things God is doing in my life and wonder how I can feel depressed. But honestly, I know as well as anyone that depression doesn’t always make sense, nor does it always coincide with life events-although they do tend to have some baring on it. I believe Satan tries to use depression/anxiety to derail me from God’s cause. I’m holding dearly to that fact while I wade through this current storm.

We’ll talk more about that later! Just glad to be back on here and I’m PLANNING on being here a lot more!

(oh-and for my craft and Silhouette friends-my next post is going to be related to that!)

Love to all of you!

~ Nancy

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Reasons to set up shop on Etsy

Etsy shop screen grab

 

As promised, we’re going to talk about Etsy today. I love Etsy. I have since the moment I heard of it. I’m pretty sure my daughter-in-law is the one who told me about it. She’s very crafty! She has an ongoing list of ‘favorite items’ so I always have somewhere to find gifts for her. I love that! What a cool idea! Well, I got on there and started looking around. Wow! You can find just about anything you want on there! It’s awesome! That’s just from a buyer’s perspective. But, from a SELLER’S perspective…it’s possibly even better!

How could it be better? Well, in 2014 Etsy had a revenue of $195.6 million. That means it’s a HUGE draw. That’s just what Etsy made. They charge us as sellers 20 cents per listing and 3.5% of the sales price. To  me, that’s a small price to pay to sit at home and sell my crafts (or vintage items or supplies…all three are ok on Etsy) to people from all around the world. I don’t have to lug them to craft shows if I don’t want to. Etsy handles the transaction. I just make the items and ship them. But if Etsy made that much, stop and think (and do the math if you like) about how much sellers made! Wowzers! The sky truly is the limit. You’ll need to do the marketing, of course, but just being on there gives you a better chance than going it alone. At least until you get established.

I’m just going to tick off a few facts about selling on Etsy:

  • It’s a very large, successful marketplace, as I mentioned above.
  • Etsy provides a lot of support to their sellers in the way of a seller’s handbook, ‘steps to success’, email updates and tips, forums to connect with other sellers.
  • They encourage sellers to support one another, it’s a community (one of my favorite things)
  • A very easy to use mobile app “Sell on Etsy” which they now have for the iPad as well.
  • Intuitive, user friendly seller interface that walks you all the way through shipping.
  • Oh, did I mention shipping? Discounted shipping!

Those are just a few things to help you make up your mind if you’re on the fence. If you do start a shop, or have one now, please let me know! I’d love to ‘favorite’ your shop!

Note: This blog may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. I will always only have links to products/companies I use and would recommend to you!

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to visit my shop and my Facebook page as well as hang out with me on Pinterest!

Nancy

It doesn’t have to be perfect!

I read the most freeing thing the other day about starting an Etsy shop! It doesn’t have to be perfect! Things don’t have to start out perfect. Nor will they ever get to ‘perfect’. At least not in your own eyes.

I tell you, when I read that I was just dumbfounded! I look at my shop and I see room for improvement. I look at my items for sale and I see room for improvement. I’m not trying to discourage you from visiting and buying, I’m just saying it was a huge weight off when I realized that’s ok.

I love the onesie I have for sale on there. I really do. It’s actually the second one I made. The first didn’t go well. But, even though I love it, I know I can improve on it. And I will. You see, if you’re completely satisfied with a craft that you made, are you going to try to stretch and make things better? Or are you just going to reproduce the same thing over and over (yawn…)? I love my site itself, but, I have more plans. It will always be growing and evolving! This blog is the same. It’ll change, too! I don’t want you to get bored!

Life itself is the same way. Am I happy? Oh, heck yes, I am!  Is my life perfect? No, no, no, no, no. Because of that, I’m always looking at ways to grow and change. That’s the fun of life, don’t you think? Finding new ways to do things and relate to people. Meeting new people, going new places. Part of my  growing is what you’re reading right now! I’m enjoying the crafting and blogging and even the marketing end of this!

If you’re just starting a blog or shop, or even if you’ve been at it a while, it’s good to step back and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be alive! Keep improving and plugging away. And enjoy it!

I want to share a little milestone with you today! My 7 week old Etsy shop hit 100 views today!! It’s not huge, but it’s growing! Visit me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest!

100 views

What’s your passion?

So you’re thinking of starting a blog or a business. That’s awesome! The first thing you need to decide is what you’re going to do. What’s your main topic? What can you make a business out of? Continuing in the vein of the last post, let’s talk about your passion!  You would be completely amazed at the things you can do as a business; let alone things you can talk about. The best way to start is look inside you.

What do you love to talk about? I didn’t ask what you know a lot about because that’s not my point here. What do you enjoy having conversations about? Write that down. That’s #1. Make a short list of things that could be your answers to that question. I like helping people achieve their goals. And I like crafts. So my blog is about getting started with blogging / running a small business online, with some crafting thrown in to encourage you to visit my Etsy shop as well!

The reason I said it doesn’t have to be what you know a lot about is because half the fun I’m having with this blog is the learning along the way. Think about it, the internet is a vast wealth of information. As long as you’re getting your information from reliable sources (and not plagiarizing!), you’re learning while you’re blogging! What I mean by that is do your research. Cite your sources (I’ll write about that in the next several days or so), and don’t just copy.

What can you make a business out of? Stop and think of something you like to do that might fulfill a need. Business services, education, handmade goods, all good possibilities. It’s best to go with something you really enjoy doing. If you’re going to be doing this full time, and that’s a good possibility, then you want it to be something you really enjoy! You may already know right away what it is you want to do, or maybe you need to take some time to think about it. Either way, you’re on your way!

Off to a good start!

So, yesterday was my ‘grand opening’ as such on my Etsy site! Today I had my first sale! I had a rough day at my ‘day job’ yesterday so I didn’t have a chance to post here. This has been a fun but busy week. I’ve been busy crafting and planning and as you know, designing my new logo!

Vase logo

Here’s what I’ve learned this week: Starting an online business is a LOT of work! I have a lot more crafting to do to get more items uploaded to the shop. Oh! I almost forgot to tell you! I’m on Facebook here and on Twitter here! Join me! Like, and follow and all that stuff!

As I said, I’m up to my ears in crafts so check the Etsy site often! I’ll be back here tomorrow with just some random blogging tips!

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment and let me know what you’d like me to talk about! Blogging, Etsy, marketing yourself…anything that has to do with starting and running an online business!

Pretty it up a bit!

Well, I’ve had this blog and Etsy shop  for a month now. Time to make them fancy. I signed up and got them going before I did all the research I wanted. I’m still doing some but I want to get everything ready for a big Grand Opening of the shop! I have big plans and I’m crafting like crazy to get it all ready.

To that end, I’ve decided to do my own branding. I’m so excited about this! I want it to look professional! I really can’t wait for you to see it. I’ll let you know a few days in advance of when I do the grand opening. I’m also on Facebook but there is nothing there yet. I’m waiting to get the graphics package done. I’ve actually done a few logos, etc in the past and considered doing it for a living but it’s kind of stressful for me so I put that aside

This has been such a fun process.I think when I have my first sale in the shop or advertising on here I may lose my flippin’ mind!

Everything I’ve read suggests a professional designer for  your branding. I was hesitant to to spend the money but I did seriously consider it and even contacted a designer. I really want the shop and blog to be successful so I vacillated on this a lot. I finally decided to give it a try and came up with one I liked. But not enough. So, I tried again. I came up with this: Vase logo

I love it. I think it’s perfect! It’s exactly what I wanted!

Now, I have to say, I wouldn’t suggest trying it on your own if you’re not comfortable with the idea. There are a lot of great designers on Etsy who would be happy to help you create your branding package!

***I have to say as a disclaimer, I wrote this on Monday and scheduled it to post today. At that time I was sure I was going to go with a designer and that’s what this post said when it went live today. This is the edited version! ***

I’m glad you’re here following along on my adventure. Please subscribe or follow me to keep up!

Happy blogging!

~Nancy

Let’s Talk About Disclosures

I’m sure you’ve seen disclosures on blogs. They tell you that there are affiliate links, or if it’s a sponsored post, things like that. They’re very important to have and can help keep you out of legal trouble. Bottom line is you always want to be open and upfront with your followers.

In the spirit of disclosures, I have to tell you that I’m not a legal expert in any way. All that you’ll see here has come from various places, including here. I give that blogger credit for the title of this as well.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees consumer affairs and has laws in place to protect us from false, unfair, or misleading advertizing. With the explosion of blogging, YouTube, etc, they want to make sure everyone is playing on a level playing field. That means you want to be sure you’re not doing anything wrong, or that anyone could assume you have more authority than you do. That’s just part of it, but it’s a start.

Since many people actually do  make money blogging now, the FTC released .com Disclosures. How Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising in 2013 and endorsement guidelines in 2009.

B

You always need to use disclosures if for no other reason than it’s the law. I think that’s a pretty good reason, don’t you? You need to let your readers know That you’ve gotten paid or have some vested interest in a product. That you’re not just excited to tell them about something you’ve tried.

Put your disclosure near the ad or at the beginning of your post. Especially if it’s a sponsored post. You want people knowing right up front. If you have affiliate links in your post, make sure you mention that somewhere near the link.

This is a very brief discussion of disclosures. For a more in depth view, visit the link in the second paragraph. Jackie does a great job of explaining it all!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Big things are coming very soon!

~Nancy