Good Monday Morning to you all.
I have had several conversations with people over the weekend about on line shops, new careers, the failing economy, and what we as entrepreneurial individuals can do to supplement the income or make ends meet. A lot of people now turn to the internet for this and think that because one shop is doing well, so will they.
I do not wish to discourage or dash the hopes the those just venturing forth, I think many believe that they will open an On Line Store or Shop of their own through one of the venues, and that the money will just come rolling in.
Like any business it is A LOT of hard work, time and effort on the part of you, the seller. There is merchandise and merchandising, most sellers have items or an inventory available for sale before they "open" their shops. Merchandise is the items you make, merchandising is keeping those items you make yours and "branding" them specifically for you shop. No, I don't mean get out the Branding Iron and start marking things with your initials, I mean learning and recognizing what makes your items unique and different from an others. Do you use specific items, colors, natural or man made materials? What makes your items special, desirable, wearable, printable, buy-able?
Then there is marketing. How do people find you? Do they know you exist? Where are you located? How do you accept payment? How do you drive customers to your shop or site? Do you have a physical address or venue where people can shop with you? How do you increase traffic to your shop or site? How do you get people to buy things? Why should a shopper buy your item instead of purchasing from someone else? All that has to come from your brain to the page or site.
Advertising is how people find you, and it is expensive. Whether on the web or elsewhere, advertising is key. It is also important to let people know you have opened a shop and have things for sale. Social Networking is great for this, but can only take you so far.
Currently Facebook and Etsy rule the on line world. There are something like 1,265,543 shops on Etsy, I saw this number some time ago, and can not find it again. This venue connects sellers and shoppers WORLD WIDE, and it continues to grow daily! That's a lot of competition. How does one stand out in a sea of people? That is an individual trick I have yet to learn.
Facebook has lots of widgets to get your shop or site connected to a fan page via their site. Etsy also has several free widgets by third party developers that can help promote you shop on blogs, Facebook, Google Plus, and your own site. Of course the work is up to you, finding these things, getting the links and connecting it all falls to the Shop Owner, no one will do it for you.
Wow, Alix, that's a lot of work. When do you find time to actually make anything? Scheduling my time has always been something I have always done well. I find a groove with a flow, and I stick with it. One has to discipline themselves. Yes, I'd love to go play in the park, but I have to finish this first! Diligence is just a quarter of the battle!
The reality of The Alchemists Vessel
On average, I make about two (2) sales a month from Etsy, and nothing from any of the the other sites I use or have a presence on. THAT SUCKS! Because I have other ways to supplement the income, I can live with that, but in reality that is terrible! I should be making two or more sales a day! How does one accomplish that with hundreds of thousands of other jewelry makers vying for those same shoppers dollars? I haven't the foggiest idea.
Below is a list of what I do to keep up my skills, my traffic flow, customer base and new items when I have them.
Currently enrolled in Jewelry Design and Repair Classes: Certification for repair will be given after course completion.
Jo-Ann Fabrics, Contracted Instructor: Currently teaching Jo-Ann's Brochure Projects
Treasure Valley Flea Market: This is a once a month venue open to the public, and it exactly what it sounds like an open market venue to hawk your wares.
The Offical Website
Wise Stamp (E-mail signatures)
Word of Mouth
Tutorial Videos on Youtube (once a month)
I think I have forgotten one or two, but that's about it, and I do that every day!
Thank you for stopping by and having a look. In hope that discouragement is not the main theme of this post. The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant week.