Take a pause

 

I’ve not posted a lot, I know. I was working on some projects, work has been insane, and well, the shipping fun. More important than that is that I started to question how much I wanted to do this business.

I suppose everyone who starts a business has that feeling at one time or another, especially near the beginning. It gets frustrating. Things aren’t selling like you were sure they would. Customers have complaints or ‘suggestions’ with no regard to the fact that you look at your crafts as art, not  just ‘stuff’ you make. It sucks the wind right out of you. Trust me.

Time to pause

I decided to take some time and really give this some thought. Was it worth it to me to feel the stress I’d been feeling? Was I putting the stress on myself? Yes, I believe it’s worth it, with some change in my perspective. Yes, I’m putting some of the stress on myself.

forest-for-the-trees

I think most of my crafts from here on out probably won’t be ‘custom’ and if they are, there will be very little that can be customized. I want to create and if people like it and buy it, then that’s awesome!

Sometimes  you just have to make the decision to make your business the way it makes YOU happy. I’m not doing this for a living. Just for fun! I need to keep it that way.

Thanks for visiting with me today! I’ll have a few more things up on the shop soon!

Have a great week!

~Nancy

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Shipping Snafu

Or….best laid plans of mice and men. I’m not sure which is a better title. Hold on for a story of frustration and ridiculousness!

As I mentioned before, I’m in the process of making t-shirts for my great nephew’s team for a JDRF walk that happens to be this Sunday. (The shirts are for sale in my shop if you’re interested. 50% of the proceeds from that shirt will always go to JDRF.) The closeness of the date of the walk is a very important part of this story. On September 6 my niece placed the order for the shirts for her family. I placed the order with the blank t-shirt distributor the following day. I got the confirmation of the order and the next day I got 3 shipping notices.

One shipping notice was for 2 XL shirts and the walker of honor’s (great nephew) shirt. Another was for all of the medium and large shirts. The last notice was for my adorable 3 year old great-niece’s shirt. Shipped all by itself. The latest ‘deliver by’ date was the 15th. That was for the XL shirts and the youth shirt. Little A’s shirt had an expected delivery by the 13th.

A day or two later I ordered the shirts for others that had ordered and all were expected to arrive by the 16th. I planned to get all of them done and delivered to my brother and sister-in-law’s house by the 18th. All of the shirts arrived ahead of schedule. Except one.

This is where the story turns ridiculous. I called UPS (and was, of course, connected with who knows where) and told them that the shirt had shipped and was 5 days late. Granted, I probably shouldn’t have waited that long but it’s status was “we’ll be in your area so we will deliver to you instead of transferring to the USPS.” It was sent UPS Sure Post. So, the young lady on the phone was very nice and took my complaint. She told me to contact the seller as well, blah, blah, blah, but they’ve opened an investigation.

My plan became ‘run to Hobby Lobby after work on Monday and get a gray shirt’. Much to my surprise and delight, while I was eating lunch on Monday, the UPS man delivered a package! Yay! I won’t have to go buy another one! Wrong again.

The package was a box, which seemed odd since all of the other shirts came in shipping envelopes. It also made a ‘clunk’ sound if I shook it. On the outside of the little suspicious box was what was obviously the original label from the shipping envelope-and pieces of the envelope itself,  complete with the correct tracking number. Inside the box, however, was a 60 yard roll of industrial grade duct tape. Yep, duct tape. Oh, and the packing list that said ‘XS youth t-shirt, Charcoal gray’.  Now, to the credit of whoever did that (obviously someone at UPS), the tape is gray. That’s the only similarity.

Needless to say I called UPS right away. They returned my call about 3 hours later and I’m waiting for them to ‘make this right’. She said she was going to call the shirt company and have a new one sent out. So, I wait. We’re down to the wire and 2 days past the date I planned to deliver the shirts. I did get a shirt at Hobby Lobby, but it’s a lighter gray.

Anyway, the point of this story is….yeah…you can’t make this stuff up.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget, sign up for the newsletter and follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

~Nancy

t-shirt-tape

Labor Day

This weekend is Labor Day weekend and I’ve mostly been taking it easy. How about you? I had lunch today with my kids and then went swimming at my brother’s house. Lots of fun! Tomorrow it’s back to work.

Aside from taking it easy, I’ve been working on my next little endeavor. I’m going to start making t-shirts. Some of them will be for charity. The first one I have on my shop is for the JDRF One Walk. 50% of the proceeds will go to JDRF. My great-nephew has Type 1 and they do this walk every year. I’m doing the shirts for them this year! I’m so excited about it, plus, I had been considering getting into making t-shirts to sell as well. We’ll see how it goes!

My sister, and I are trying to come up with something to put on a shirt to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Our mother had early onset Alzheimer’s and passed away when I was 21. Obviously, that’s a cause close to our hearts. Another one on my list is the Adult Congenital Heart Association.

Anyway, the heat press is on order, the space is ready for it. I’ll place the order for the shirts and vinyl as soon as they place their orders on Etsy. This is the ‘small business’ lesson for this post. Always get money up front. Even if it’s family that you’re doing the work for. Not to be mean, of course, but when you’re in business for yourself, you can’t take a risk by putting out money ahead of time. When I get to the point where I have money in the bank from the business, then I’ll keep some inventory of shirts and vinyl on hand. I’m not there yet.

Well, this is a short post, I know, but it’s been a busy weekend, for sure! I’ll be back in the swing of things tomorrow and hopefully posting in the next day or so!

Have a great week! I hope it’s a short week for you, too!

~Nancy20160607_143753656_iOS

 

Time flies when you’re having the time of your life!

Warning…sappy post ahead…

As I said in my last post, I’m on vacation from my ‘day job’ this week. It’s only Tuesday and I have my whole house cleaned and 4 new products to list on the shop! Tomorrow is my day with my grandson so I doubt I’ll get a lot else done. He’s 5. He takes all of my attention.

He’s growing too fast

My boy starts kindergarten next week and I swear it seems like he was just born. I know, that was nearly 6 years ago, grandma. It’s like I blinked and he’s off to school. I have to say, I’m the luckiest grandma on earth. Seriously. His parents have always made a point to include us grandparents in every aspect of his life. I’ve seen him at least once a week, if not more, ever since he was born, unless they were on vacation. But they always made it up to me with a sleepover or an extra day if I miss a day with him.

G and I are very close. I hope and pray we always are. I’ve always had so much fun with him! In the past 5 years I’ve been a Power Ranger, a Superhero, a Paw Patrol pup, Super Why, a princess, a villian, an innocent victim in Joker’s evil schemes, a construction worker with Bob the Builder, etc. You get the idea! I’ve watched TV shows that I watched when his dad and uncle Alex were little. Great memories to share with him!

He loves to do crafts with me. We’re going to a craft store tomorrow and I told his mommy to remind me to get glitter. She warned he’d want to help. I advised her we’d do the glitter clear out in the back of my back yard. I’m not sure that’ll work tomorrow though. The yard is pretty wet right now. Oh well, a little glitter in the living room. I’m ok with that. More memories for grandma.

Cherishing every second

I know he’s not going off to college. He’s just starting kindergarten for heaven’s sake. But this is the first part of going off on his own. Know what I mean? I’m tearing up typing this. It just seems to go quickly.

I’ve always cherished every second I have with him. I really have. I’m grandma so I know how fast kids grow up. I know what an incredible gift it is to get to be a grandma who lives nearby and is a part of his life.

While I told you guys some of the fun games we play, role playing and such, he also is really into video games. No surprise. Most kids his age are! My boys both were from the time they were little. He likes to play a fairly new game I got for him, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of course he likes me to play with him. It’s fun to have him telling me what to do next. I think I laugh more than anything!

Of all those things we love to do, do you want to know what might be my favorite? He plays on the iPad and I mess around on the computer or my phone while we lay on my bed and talk. Yep. Just hanging out with him. Just talking. Being together.

I know the games and role playing will fade as he ages. The crafts will, too. But I sure hope he knows he can always come to Mucka’s house and just hang out and talk. I’m always here!

Thanks for walking with me today!

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!