Hey followers! I know I’ve not been here in forever and a day, but I’m starting up a new blog that is more faith based. It’s called His Thumbprint and it’s right here. I sure would love for you to stop by, and give me a follow over there! I also have a women’s bible study on Facebook. That’s right here. Click ‘visit group’ to join!

I hope you come along for the ride!

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Subscribe to the newsletter!

Subscribe

So, today we’re going to talk about building an email list for your blog! I’m sure you’ve seen the pop-up inviting you to subscribe to my newsletter when you come to my site. This is one (and the best) way to build your email list! Why do you want one? Well, I’ll tell you!

Having a list of subscribers gives you a list of people who are interested in what you have to say or sell. You can direct sales right to them, keep them up to date on what’s going on, and give sneak previews of what’s to come! In turn, that will increase your sales or site traffic! Any good tutorial or blog on ‘how to grow your blog’ will tell you, contact is everything. EVERY. THING.And the best way to do that is to build an email list and keep in CONTACT with your followers…but never ever spam them or overwhelm them.(I’ll talk about that in a minute)  I know many of you get my blog in your email everytime I post and I thank you for that! But, just like me, you want your followers to be engaged with you.

Part of blogging…a big part, actually, is building community around a common interest. The blogging community is generally a fun and welcoming place. I’ve gotten to know a few bloggers that I follow and I feel like I know a few that follow me. One good way is through commenting, of course. I love getting comments on here, so don’t be shy! The more you get to know your followers, the more likely they are to share your blog or shop with their friends! That sounds good to me! And even better is that through commenting, your followers can get to know each other. Community!

Part of community is staying in touch through a newsletter. Mine comes out once a month. Around the first of the month. Included are tutorials for some of the crafts in my Etsy shop, blogging and small business tips, answers to questions you may have, as well as a coupon code from time to time! Also, in the September and October newsletters there will be sneak peeks of my fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas items! AND….a chance to pre-order some of them….PLUS…the only chance to get some of them personalized!

See what I did there? I’m giving you, my followers, perks for signing up! That helps get subscribers, which builds community, which is what we want in the first place. I will let you know right here that the FASTEST way to lose subscribers is to spam them or constantly send nonsense. I promise you that my newsletter is all you’re signing up for UNLESS there is a major product release or a special sale. Those won’t happen often. Most of your email from me will be the newsletter, unless of course you ask me something 😉

We’ll talk more about email lists and newsletters again in future posts. In the meantime…..

Refresh this page and sign up in the pop up! If that doesn’t work, use the contact me form!

Thanks!

~ Nancy

Reasons To Blog

You need a reason to blog? Of course you do! I bet you have a lot of reasons. We’ll talk about a few here. Just as a side note, my next post will be reasons to sell on Etsy. I haven’t touched on that topic for a while. I don’t want to lose my small business followers! But, for today, we’re talking about your reasons to blog!

I started this blog to go hand in hand with my Etsy shop. To promote it, to boost its impact. It’s already become much more than that to me, though. But, I started with one reason. You probably will or did, too. Maybe you just had something you wanted to say. Sometimes that’s the case. A blog is a great place to just tell it like it is. Get things off your chest. Influence people on a subject that’s important to you.

You may just love to write. About anything. Blogs like that can be so much fun. Just to see what’s on someone’s mind. You can learn a lot that way, for sure. Photographers use blogs a lot to show off their work and promote it. If you’re an expert on something, sharing your expertise is good, too.

So, you’ve got your first reason. What are others? And the perks? Here’s what I’ve found;

  • Blogging involves discipline. We talked some about that on the last post. You need to schedule and plan. It’s a good way to grow your discipline skills
  • You get to know other people. You don’t have to go anywhere to blog so if you’re shy, it’s the perfect vehicle to meet people with similar interests.
  • You can earn money. Sometimes really good money. There are a lot of people who earn a living solely by blogging. How cool is that? As a matter of fact, I just became a member of an affiliate program, which you’ll be seeing on here in the next day or so. (I won’t forget my disclaimers) This is part of my business. It’s part of mgthumbprints. It will earn money for me just like the shop. Cool, huh? I’ll do a post on affiliate programs at some point soon.
  • Product development. If you are a crafter or other manufacturer, your blog audience is a good place to find ideas or get opinions on what you’re up to. You don’t want to give away too much info but you sure can pick your readers brains on your ideas!

No matter your reasons for blogging, the best thing to do is keep it up! There are many benefits to you and your readers. Even if you have a small audience, you could touch one of them and change their lives. Seriously! Happy blogging!

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On Being Productive

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If you happen to follow me on Facebook then you’re laughing about now. I had one of the most unproductive days ever today. Of course, I posted about that. That gave me the idea to write about being productive.

Today was totally out of my control. Days like that happen. You just have to shake those off and move on. You can’t control other people or many situations, no matter how much we try. (Can you say control freak?) We learn from things like this. What did I learn? Here are a few things:

  • First of all, relax. If you have a plan laid out and something derails it, take a deep breath. Start tomorrow with what you were going to do today…as much as you can. I mean, if you have appointments tomorrow then you’ll need to adjust. But mentally realize things can and will wait.
  • As I mentioned in a previous post, write out your plan. If you’re blogging, keep a calendar of blog topics and plan ahead. If you have an idea for a post, write it down that day on the calendar (so you don’t forget), then, when you decide to schedule it, check it off so you know you’ve scheduled that one.

Actually, you can write ahead if you want. WordPress allows you to schedule your                    posts ahead of time. Most, if not all, blogging software allows that. It’s great! You can         plan your Pins on Pinterest ahead of time using the Tailwind app, Twitter use                           Hootsuite and Facebook also has a scheduler. Apparently they all know how busy we             are!

  • If you’re running a shop or another small business, you need to plan ahead as well. I keep track of what crafts I want to do on my calendar as well. I make a list in the right side of calendar of the ideas I have during the day. Then, I’ll schedule them further out. I have several lists running, of course, but when I schedule one, I check it off so I know it’s coming up.
  • Don’t forget to plan your administrative work. If you have a business, you need to keep track of the finances and paperwork as well. That goes for Etsy and monetized blogs, too. You don’t want to get caught with no records of anything at tax time!
  • Set aside specific time blocks during the day for everything. This is going to look different for everyone. We all live different lives. Just make sure you block out time and stick to it as much as humanly possible. It’s important! Treat it like you would your job. To be successful and productive, you need to commit to specific times and really stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how much this helps!

I hope some of my tips have helped! I would love to hear from you! What are ways you stay productive? Ways you struggle with this? We’re here to help each other! Leave me a comment and let’s learn from each other!

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!

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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!

Fishing for ideas for your blog or shop

If you’re going to write a blog and/or start an Etsy or some other creative shop,  you’re going to need ideas galore! There are lots of places to find them, of course, not the least of which is your own creative mind! But, if you need a little help from time to time, and you will, I have some thoughts on the subject!

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The best places to come up with ideas are with your ‘competitors’. Not that you should think of them that way really. In the blogosphere, people tend to be much more collaborative than competitive. Anyway, that’s a story for another post!

Follow bloggers who blog about the same things you do. Not to steal from them, of course, but to prompt ideas and to learn. If you’re just starting out you have a lot to learn about blogging and blogs are the best source of information.

Also, read books on your subject of interest. Become an expert on your subject. If you’re a DIYer or crafter, walk people through your process of making something.

Need ideas for what you want to sell? Peruse Etsy and other handmade websites. Again, not to steal ideas, but to prompt your own. I’ve seen so many things that have given me ideas. I haven’t had time to make them all! (You’ll eventually see some on my Etsy shop. Hopefully soon!)

The last idea I have for you is shopping. Yep, shopping. I see things all the time that I know I can make. I even have my sister doing it! The best thing is to go home and make them! They look even better when you make them yourself!

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back in a day or so! In the meantime, visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as well!