Saturday , 27 May 2017
What I’ve Learned about Attitude after 2 Years of Business and Thousands of Etsy Sales

What I’ve Learned about Attitude after 2 Years of Business and Thousands of Etsy Sales

energy shop - lisa jacobs

 

What I’ve Learned about Attitude after 2 Years of Business and Thousands of Sales

It’s the Energy Shop‘s second anniversary, and I love to write a big post every year to celebrate how far it’s come and what I’ve learned. It started with:

450 Sales on Etsy in the First 3 Months and 1,000 Sales and Counting in Year 1

As I began to gather together what I’ve learned in the last two years of business, it became clear that the post was going to be epic. Before I knew it, there were 7 pages of ideas, marketing strategy, and tips that had poured out of me onto the page. As author of the blog, Marketing Creativity,  it’s no secret that I love the business side of my shop as much as I love making the products I sell.

To organize this information, I have decided to break the post up into 3 stages. This seemed fitting, as new shops tend to go through varied stages of growth. Stage 1 is about the foundation: the attitude you bring to your handmade business. Stage 2 is about the building: the marketing of your products. Stage 3 is about the details: those daily highs and lows and long-term goals.

So, without further ado, here’s what I know for sure about attitude after 2 years of business and thousands of sales.

Stage 1: Set your attitude, and settle in for the long haul. 

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”–Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Expect that your business will take 3 years just to get off the ground. Expect that it will require 10,000 hours of your time to become a bona-fide success (approximately 10 years). And remember, slow and steady wins the race. The work you are putting in now is going to make for a great story someday. Your greatest success awaits.

Forfeit your comfort zone. Unless you’re completely comfortable and satisfied there, and in that case, continue on. However, we all dream for more, bigger, better, and greater. Who doesn’t? What separates the successful from the unsuccessful is that the successful are willing to tackle their fears, outwit their old thinking patterns, and break their unproductive habits.

Here’s a technique we often use in my Marketing Creativity group program: Imagine yourself 10 years from now, sitting atop the success you’re striving to accomplish today. What advice would you give to the person you are right now? I could publish an inspirational book from the responses I get to this question. Everybody always gives amazing advice to the person they were 10 years ago. Offer yourself that gentle encouragement right now, and allow yourself to grow beyond the limitations of your comfort zone.

Gain exposure. I talk to too many sellers who tell me, “I want my own successful business, but [friends/family members/work/organizations] can’t find out about it!”

Listen, I get this. The Rescue You Program: How to Improve Your Life and Reinvent Your Love after an Affair is a self-help book about healing from infidelity that I wrote after my husband had an affair. I wanted everyone to read my book, but I didn’t want anybody to know about it. Trust me, that strategy just doesn’t work! :)

To have a thriving small business, you have to own it! You have to tell all of your friends about it, and let your passion escape and surround you everywhere you go. It’s a mistake to think that you can limit and expand yourself at the same time.

At least have a plan to tell the world your plans. I didn’t start telling people about the Energy Shop until it was about 3 months old, with a decent amount of sales and revenue to back my announcement. Now, the Energy Shop is what I do. It’s my career, and I respect it as well as anyone respects the traditional career positions they’ve earned.

Always make it about the customer. Too often handmade sellers are advised to tell their story, but I believe this is overdone to a fault. As a paying customer, I want everything to be about me! This is true for most as we are narcissistic creatures; it’s our nature. When you go food shopping, do you buy for the groceries you want to bring home, or do you spend money because the grocer tells nice stories about his life?

You want the customers to feel like they’re treating themselves when they shop with you, not like they’re donating a sale to the cause of you. If your story was so good that it did compel someone to buy, chances are that was their good deed for the day rather than the beginning of repeat business.

Because I have always made my shop about serving the customer, most of my business is repeat. I turn every sale into a personal experience, and I strive to build a relationship with each buyer.

I was recently discussing this in my group program with a shop owner who had a large brand stamp on a very nice closet organizer she made. I loved what she was making, but when considering a purchase, I was completely put off by the huge brand stamped on the piece. I explained to her that I couldn’t buy the item because it would feel like hanging a billboard for her business in my closet. I want everything about my closet to be about ME. And that’s the way your customers think too.

Forget the stories you read, check the facts. None of the top sellers on Etsy are using their retail space to talk about themselves. Talk about your customer. Don’t talk about how you felt making the piece, talk about how they’ll feel when they’re using it.

Ready for more? Next up is: What I’ve Learned about Marketing after 2 Years of Business. In it, I list the single most valuable (but free) marketing tool that you absolutely must have in place for your handmade business. I also have an awesome free report on budgeting your business that’s going to change the way you spend your shop dollars. Coming soon! Until next time, Lisa Jacobs

 

  

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36 comments

  1. Very well said, I m looking forward to the other installments.

  2. “talk about how they’ll feel when they are using it.” That’s my favorite piece of advice here. Thank you and congratulations!

  3. I too have noticed that lately we are being advised to tell our story when trying to sell, and I agree with you that it’s not necessarily the right way to go,

    I believe that good sales come by using the word ‘you’ rather than ‘I’ or ‘me’. It’s all about the customer as far as I am concerned.

    I love your articles. Can’t wait for the next. Thank you.

    Sue

  4. I like the idea of “talk about how they’ll feel about it” I get lots of feedback from people who have bought and used my pottery–that it makes them happy. I need to work that thought into my descriptions. I have been working slowly but surely with my Etsy shop and on my 3rd year….I’ve decided my next task is to write articles about my experiences.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Karen

    • Oh yes, Karen! I have a great mug I got on Etsy that I love waking up to every morning. As a potter, that feeling you’re offering would do well across the top of your listing! This is going to be discussed in much greater detail in the next installment–coming soon ;)

  5. I think the key is to make a personal and emotional connection between your product and a buyer. Sometimes the best way is to tell your story; sometimes not. A lot depends on the item for sale.

    I agree that a seller’s story shouldn’t sound like they are begging for business! Ugh!

  6. Great post! Yes, I do agree it has to be a personal experience for customer,I have a lot of custom orders so a lot of times I learn stories about my buyers , and I know that they really enjoy talking about it. And besides that they need to feel that by buying handmade items from independent artists THEY make a difference.

  7. This is a great post. Another aspect of attitude for me is being positive with the whole process and handling yourself with grace. You’ll come across as genuine because you are. Your points are spot on. I look forward to the next two!

  8. Hi Lisa,

    More than anything else, you write powerfully! Yes, you’re successful, and yes, you have things you’re going to share with us that we’re going to find useful, but your writing captured my attention and then it spoke to me. I want to listed to you.

    My favorite lines: I wanted everyone to read my book, but I didn’t want anybody to know about it.

    and: It’s a mistake to think that you can limit and expand yourself at the same time.

    I look forward to more!!!

    Thank you!

  9. Love this advice, especially ‘making it about the customer’
    Congrats on all your success!

  10. What wonderful advice, can’t wait until the next install. I feel better already!

    Carol Joy

  11. Great piece. Great advice.

  12. THank you so much, this is a great pick me up in the middle of our life long career and it really was needed today!! great job!

  13. I love your story, Lisa. Looking forward to the next installment. I am in search of articles that talk about how to give the customer that great experience when they visit my shop. How can I translate my attitude into sales? If you have any thoughts or links on this, I would really appreciate them!

  14. Lisa, I’m a huge fan of your shop and your writing. This is a terrific post.

    My niche market is a little different, and I’m not getting many repeat customers. Have any ideas?

    • Yes! If you have a niche market, you’ve identified your gold mine and now all you have to do is some digging :) Read more about this in the next article: What I’ve Learned about Marketing … coming soon!

  15. I knew it!!!! lol. I always felt that my ‘story’ wasn’t going to sell my products, although it’s a pretty good one -raised by a stripper- but besides that, people really do buy to lift themselves and explaining how your products fits into their world is really a better way to go. It’s more personal this way too : ) I’m going to put this into action more! THanks for posting!

  16. Thank you so much for this good, commonsense advice. I was particularly encouraged by the first paragraph on perseverance. It has taken me five years to achieve regular sales in my Etsy store, so now I can look forward to achieving greater things in the next five years.

  17. You are spot on! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. Lets face it, the customer doesn’t really give a damn about what we’ve been through. They want to know how their lives will improve if they buy our product!
    I’m going to have to make some changes now. Thanks for the wake up call!

  18. I never thought I would be the guy that had a problem with getting over that comfort zone barrier. Was I ever way wrong on that one. I’ve been having a hard time selling myself and my product. I know I don’t need to go all gung-ho when speaking to potential customers. I just feel like I am no matter how softball I am pitching myself. I’m thinking I’ve learned a bit and am trying to be more proactive in connecting with people. Well written and a very salient article.

    BY the way, I love the way you’ve matched the imagery with each stage. Weell done. I haven’t read 2 and 3 yet but certainly plan on it.

    All the best,
    Keith

  19. I am preparing for my first Meet The Buyer event with my friend and PR adviser, Nicky. I agree with much of what you’ve said. I had been thinking of having a video of myself working for potential buyers to see. She also said that they will not necessarily be interested in my story. It is about the customer…you are right. Look forward to reading the next installments. Thank you.

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