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

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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

 

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

Blogging, planning…oh, and crafting

Sunday was such a fun day! I was busy all day long. I worked on the blog, I spent hours on Pinterest, I signed up for Mail Chimp (I’m sure you saw that…please subscribe! There are benefits!) and planned out the week. I did a lot to help my business grow. It was a day well spent.

Monday I worked at my full time job then added a coupon code to my Etsy shop. From there I set up an email campaign with Mail Chimp. Subscribers now get the coupon code. I did some research and some reading. I read about ways to grow my blog, get traffic to my shop, get more followers on Pinterest, how to make money on Twitter. I even scheduled pins with Tailwind. I was putting in some time to be sure my new little business was going to succeed! I was tired when I went to bed last night. Then it hit me.

I was doing all of these things. All good things. All necessary to grow the business. But I hadn’t created anything in days! I had lost sight of why I was doing all of this! Yes, I want to blog. I love blogging. I love doing all the business stuff. But, a couple of months ago my 5 year old grandson asked me what my dream was. What I really wanted to do. “Sell my crafts on Etsy. That’s what I’d like to do” is how I answered him. He said “Then do it, Mucka! You can do it! All you need is confidence!” Out of the mouths of babes, right?

Today after work I went to the grocery and came home and sat at my computer designing some stencils. I took those stencils and etched some vases. You’ll see those on my Etsy shop in the next couple days!

I feel so much better. I learned that I need to stay focused on my main goal. All the other things were created to support the first. If I don’t do the thing I love, “make pretty things” then there will be nothing to sell on Etsy, will there??

So, added to my calendar each week will be big blocks of crafting time. It’s all about focus and balance. Make sure when you’re working on your blog, or shop, or whatever it may be, that you take time to do what got you into that in the first place! Keep a firm grasp on the roots. You have to have those to grow your business, too!

Happily crafty,

Nancy

Focus

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!

Random blogging tips

Blog

Just some random thoughts…..

As I promised, today’s blog is just some random things I’ve learned over the past month or so. Nothing heavy, just stuff! Let’s dig in!

  • Get organized! Download a planner or, better yet, use an old fashioned paper one! That’s what I use. I can write down thoughts at random. More importantly, it’s a place to plan out your blogs so you’re not just filling in. You can plan what you’re going to say.
  • Check into affiliate programs if you’re looking to make money with your blog. If you search ‘affiliate programs’ on Pinterest you will find a plethora of ideas!
  • Take a break every now and then! Don’t let blogging consume your life! I mean even when you lay down to sleep (I struggle with this one…). Put it out of your mind. Don’t let your blog be the last thing you think of before you go to bed. Blogging won’t be any fun if it eats up your life. And it could.
  • If you’re looking to make money…don’t start on a free blogging site. Seriously. Look back to one of my first posts. I’m paying for that as we speak. Yes, I own my domain name, but until it’s been up for 60 days, I can’t move it to another host and I can’t have affiliate programs on it. Know the difference between wordpress.com (free) and wordpress.org (self hosted). You want .org in this case!
  • Don’t ignore social media. Make a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram…etc site for your blog. It’ll help pull in readers.
  • If you’re making money on your blog or even if your blog is a DIY themed site, save your receipts. This is a small business and you deserve to take every tax benefit you can!
  • Include pictures on your blog. This is crucial when sharing posts. A picture attracts attention!
  • Do your research on SEO. What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is the fancy term for keyword searches. Google SEO (see what I did there??) and  you’ll find a lot of great info to help you choose the best words to get your blog high up on the search returns!
  • Last, but far from least…don’t give up! Growth may seem slow. Actually, I’m sure it will be at first. Hang in there! If you’re getting a couple new followers a week, or even just one, you’re growing! And even if you go a few weeks with no growth…still hang in there! It’ll happen. Just go back over SEO and make sure you’re using the best keywords. Stay the course!

Thanks for following me! I’ll see you in the next couple days! Don’t forget,my shop is growing, so stop on by! And of course…check out the social media sites! You’ll see me there, too!