THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, BUT I DO NOT RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES THAT I DO NOT USE AND LOVE MYSELF. READ MORE ABOUT THIS IN OUR DISCLOSURE POLICY.

This is a question I see pop up A LOT. We all want to start our business out on the right foot. We want to know that we know what we know… before we ever take that leap. While I can’t exactly answer what is the perfect direction for your business, I will absolutely share what I have learned and what has worked for mine.

I know people switched to groups because of how Facebook algorithms made it harder for your page posts to be seen, but while that is a factor to consider… the same is still happening with groups as well. If people do not interact with your group, they will not see your posts. So once again you’re hitting that “I’m invisible again” wall.

I know your whole goal is to be seen. I think that is a lot of crafters’ goals. But I think another goal is to be seen without having to spend loads of valuable supply shopping money!

So what works the best? Here’s my take on it. Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s just like any professionally confused person would do.

Pros: Facebook Page

  1. Public. Meaning anyone can see your posts even if they don’t “like” your page. If they’re searching around and stumble on your page, they’re much more likely to be ready to browse. If they have to push “join” and then wait for approval. They may move on before they’re accepted.
  2. Sharable. I can’t tell you how many times I want to share posts that are in groups and I can’t! We know the phrase “sharing is caring,” right? A share by a fan will go a super long way for your exposure. Do we want to beg for shares? No. But if you put out good content that your audience WANTS to share, we want to make it as easy as possible to do so.
  3. Found On Google. If someone is going to google searching for a “red ruffle raglan for toddlers” and that happens to be something your business sells, you have a good chance in showing up in those search results. Obviously other SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes into play here. But since pages show up on Google, that’s a huge plus for the page vote.

Pros: Facebook Group

  1. Control. Since you manually have to “accept” each request, you have full control over the people in your group. Don’t want competitors seeing your stuff? Don’t let them in. Now you CAN ban people from your Facebook Page… but they have to “like” your page first. If they don’t ever push that “like” button, then they can just keep trolling along and you can’t do anything about it. So if you want control over who sees your posts, then a group is a great option.
  2. Community. Groups make it easier for people to post and ask questions. This builds a community that is AMAZING for your business growth. When you look at the “selling” aspect of your small business, people don’t like to buy from businesses. They like to buy from people. Building relationships, showing your personality and ability to connect, is very important in small business. If people don’t/can’t connect with you. They will move on to the person they feel they can.
  3. Comfort. Some people are very careful of what things they post on. I am one of those people. With closed groups, the public can’t see posts or members, but things like the member list is available for every joined member to review. This comes into play if your customers may have customers or competitors of their own in your group. Original Olivia may not want to comment on things if she can see that Copycat Carla is also in your group. But if Olivia can easily check the member list to make sure Carla’s not around, she may feel more comfortable to declare “I WANT 8 OF THESE!!” on your posts. If you sell finished items, you may also see that people want to feel comfortable in the fact that family members can’t see what gifts they’re getting for Christmas, etc. Or ya know, that their husbands can’t see what they’re googly eyeing in your shop.

 

Cons: Facebook Page

  1. Visibility. This is the scary one that turned people away from pages to begin with. It is a little harder to be seen on Facebook pages because the way Facebook looks at it, you’re a business and businesses need to pay for advertising. There definitely are ways to be seen without paying for exposure, such as content that your audience reacts to in the form of a like, comment or share (without begging them to, of course.) Videos & Facebook Live are the #1 way to get your posts seen the most. Too many salesy type ads and your customers will just move on. You must get them engaged without looking needy. Build that relationship with them with great content and they’ll give you the responses you’re looking for.
  2. Consistency. Consistency is another key with Facebook pages. If you aren’t posting regularly, and I mean daily (if not multiple times a day,) you’ll get swallowed back up in the irrelevant category again and it’ll be harder for people to see your posts. But if you’re posting consistent and relevant posts, you can overcome this con with no problem.
  3. Algorithm Changes. This is one that will always be a con and there is no sugar-coating or overcoming it. Facebook is constantly revising and updating algorithm changes to make things more efficient. Sometimes what works for you one day, will not work the next. However, this isn’t something to be mad about, it’s just something we have to accept and know that when something changes, we may have to spend some time in the library learning how we need to evolve along with it.

Cons: Facebook Group

  1. Not Public. We mentioned this before but one thing to think about is the fact that not only are your posts non-sharable, but your chance of going viral on a post goes down to nil. You also have to do triple the work when you have a new item for sale because not only do you have to post in your group, but you have to go post in all the other relevant groups or on your personal page. When you have a new product with a page, it’s much easier to target a marketing ad to hit an area of your market that may not have seen your page before.
  2. Notifications. Ever see the dreaded “f” on Facebook comments on a page? They put the “f” because they want updates on the post. (PSA, some phones have the ability to click the top right arrow on the post and choose “turn on notifications” and it’ll keep you updated when someone posts.) But these types of notifications can be a huge turn off for a lot of people. Say someone just wanted to say, “this is pretty” now, every time someone else posts, they’ll get a pop-up in their notifications that someone else has commented on that post unless they turn off notifications. This can steer people away from commenting because they don’t want their feed clogged with updates. It’s a quick fix, I know. But it can still lead to people unfollowing your group completely because they don’t like the unnecessary updates when they didn’t really want to be a part of the conversation.
  3. Time Consuming. I say time consuming because it IS more of a community rather than a business platform. Since people can post directly to your page, there are more questions and comments that you need to be ready to answer. For me personally, this has been hard as my group has grown. So take into account if you have the time to devote to one-on-one conversations as well as running the ins and outs of your business.

In Summary:

I do not think a Facebook Group is BAD. In fact, I think it is very good and I know my business wouldn’t be where it is without it. But I would never say to JUST have a Group. I believe that with only a group, you are drastically limiting your reach.

The first year of my business, I only focused on my group and I grew it to just over 3,500 people. My page had only 1,000 or so. By the end of year two, the group had grown to 11,000 and the page to 7,000, Now, this year, my third year, my group is at 25,000 but my page is over 45,000! The page definitely stayed smaller for quite some time, but once I became regular about posting and giving content people WANT to engage in and share… it started to explode.

Don’t limit yourself and your potential. Constantly look for ways to grow. If you started with a group, it’s not too late to start a page and get that growing. You may find that you post less on the group, or post to the page and share it with the group. Or you may find that you end up writing different posts for each and sharing posts from the page here and there. There’s no right or wrong way.

CraftMama University opens back up this Fall and we go over creating Facebook Ads and targeting your market. Sign-up here if you want to be notified for when the doors open up!

We’re all in this small business thing together. My goal is to help you grow so that you can accomplish your goals. Whether those goals are being home with the kids, or just creating an extra income for your family. I know how it feels to want to succeed, and I’m so glad I can share my experience with you.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, BUT I DO NOT RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES THAT I DO NOT USE AND LOVE MYSELF. READ MORE ABOUT THIS IN OUR DISCLOSURE POLICY.

Okay so you may or may not have seen that as of 9/19/17, PicMonkey no longer has a “free” option. I know that this may totally throw a wrench in your product photography editing. So I wanted to suggest a few other options for you to explore!

Before I move away from PicMonkey, though. I do want to say that it is a FABULOUS site! So that is why I’m starting with it as the first of the six sites we’re going to look at today!

1. PicMonkey has been the go to for many crafters. It has great features and it’s super easy to use. They did do away with their free option but you can click here to get a Free 7-Day Trial to see if it works for you before purchasing. Pricing is $3.99/mo when paid in full for the year, so $47.88 for 12 months,  and $7.99 if you pay monthly. In the grand scheme of things, if you use and love PicMonkey, you have to weigh the pros and cons of sticking with something you know and love, or going through learning a new product/software. At the end of the day, it’s a write off for your business and if it keeps you moving at a better speed… you may think about sticking with it. It’s super powerful and arguably the closest equivalent to Adobe Photoshop in terms of “final result” of your images, but with a much simpler user interface.

2. Adobe Photoshop. Speaking of Photoshop. This is the top of the line with photo editing. There is a steep learning curve, but the possibilities are endless! If you purchase through the website you can do month to month for $9.99/mo. That may not be in the budget for everyone, which I understand. Photoshop is very powerful. But if you don’t have time to learn it, take that into consideration because there is a learning curve… but it’s worth it!

3. Pixlr Editor is a free cloud based editor similar to PicMonkey with a little bit of a different feel. It is pretty powerful but does also have a little bit of a learning curve with it. One cool thing about it is that it has a mobile app as well if you were use to PicMonkeys mobile experience. If you use BigCommerce as your webhost, then this is the built in editor they use! So you may already be familiar with it! If you’re looking for a new photo editor as well as a website host. I do love BigCommerce! And if you click here, you can get a 2-week trial for free!

4.Fotor has free and paid options. Their paid options are similar to PicMonkey but their monthly is more expensive at $8.99/mo and their yearly being a little cheaper at $39.99/yr ($3.33/mo.)  Their free option has the same feel as Pixlr’s cloud interface. If you’re looking for collages, you can easily do them with Fotor! They also have a lot of design templates if you’re looking for blog or social media branding.

5. Canva. Canva isn’t so much for photo editing as the others, but it is a great thing to mention nevertheless! It’s database is growing exponentially! You can do so so so many things with Canva, easily! You can create social media text images, or Facebook page banners, or even brochures and greeting cards. There are many different options and layouts. It is just super, super simple to use. There are many free items, but some do require a small payment of $1 or so for the “nicer” things. But they’re free library is great! It’s super easy to look like a pro with Canva! You can even upload your own images if you have images, logos, or backgrounds you want to use. Again, it doesn’t have the same photo editing options as the others, but it is a fun thing to play with!

6. Befunky is new to me and I haven’t played with it too much yet. But many people use and love it! They also have free and paid options but they are lower than PicMonkey. Monthly being $4.95 and yearly paid in full being $34.92 ($2.91/mo). Like I said, I haven’t played with this one much… but it seems… funky! If you try it out, let me know if you like it!

 

 

 

I hope this is helpful to some of you. I know there are other sites out there so if you use one that you absolutely love, feel free to share it in the comments!

What it all comes down to, is that you have to be efficient when you own your own business. If you were using PicMonkey and loved it, I suggest to just bite the bullet and pay the yearly amount and just keep on going. No reason to stop everything to learn another program. If you are looking for a heavy duty photo editor, and have time to learn it, no doubt go with Photoshop.

Most of the time, your pictures are the ONLY thing your customers see before having the item in their hand. That means your pictures are WORTH investing in. <3

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, BUT I DO NOT RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES THAT I DO NOT USE AND LOVE MYSELF. READ MORE ABOUT THIS IN OUR DISCLOSURE POLICY.

You may have seen the posts running around talking about theft in the digital world. Many designers, like myself, constantly fight against people tracing, copying, and even flat out reselling our designs for their own profit. I brought this to attention the other day in my HoopMama Facebook group by posting this:

“I got tagged in a post a little while ago by a sweet friend. The post asked “am I the only one who googles images to trace?”

Y’all.

My heart hurt reading SO MANY responses saying they did it too and didn’t see a reason to pay for images.

I seriously felt sick. Not just because I work MANY hours a week designing. Not just because my images are stolen. Not just because I feel like designing is a part of WHO I am and not just WHAT I do…But because this doesn’t just happen to me! It happens to my dear designer friends who also support their families with the income their designing brings in.

One of the responses said something to the effect of “if you don’t want it traced don’t put it on google.”

I wanted to share my response to the thread here in case anyone has any questions about if it’s okay to trace images off google.

“As a designer, and someone who feeds a family from designing, this thread hurts my heart to see.

Many of you are in my group. (That will change)

Many of you also support your family with your craft. Or at least help contribute to the family income in some way.

Many would also be very frustrated if your product images were stolen and others were selling based on your pictures.

We are a small, small, community of people in this world. Crafters are NOT corporations. We’re moms and wives usually. When we steal an image (yes, tracing a file is illegal and is considered theft) we’re stealing from other MOMS. If you trace an image with any type of watermark, or use a personal use file for commercial use… you are stealing.

I believe things come back around full circle.

I won’t sit here and tell you you’re going to hell for doing it, but I will say that I hope you would consider the person you’re stealing it from. Because they are just like you. And I know you wouldn’t want someone to steal from you.

Trust me, if I could hide my images off of Google so people can’t trace, I gladly would. But I’m also glad that enough honest people find me on Google and click through to my website to purchase.

For those of you who support ANY designer or small business… you’re very, very appreciated.”

Thank you all for supporting me as a designer. I may have a “large” group… but I’m still a mom… sitting here watching tv in her pj’s with her husband and kid.. planning out next week and how I can help you guys in some way.

And now I’m also praying for a hedge of protection around my business. I pray that for yours also”

Shortly after posting, I saw many comments that asked “how do we know if we’re buying from a legit seller?” So I wanted to answer that for you today. These steps of vetting are based on personal experience from Shady Shops that I’ve come across, and there seems to be a “pattern” with them.

 

Here are 10 Ways To Find A Trustworthy SVG Seller On Etsy.

1. Copyrights and Trademarks. I feel that is the most important and a HUGE red flag if they sell copyright protected or trademarked items. Disney, NFL (or.. any professional sport,) Minecraft, Star Wars, Nickelodeon, Jeep, etc., are all a huge red sign screaming DANGER, DANNNNNGER!!!! Licenses to sell items with brand names are VERY costly. The chances of them having rights to distribute these files, is very unlikely. Not saying it’s not possible, but it is highly unlikely. I know if I had millions of dollars to spend on licensing… I would be on a beach somewhere… not making SVG designs. Just sayin’.

2. Number Of Files: This isn’t a deal maker or breaker all the time, but it’s worth noting. If you come across a shop that sells a variety of items in different “niches,” and then suddenly, they have 9 SVG files available in the same shop? That tells me one of two things. It either tells me that they just started adding files to their shop and have been so busy with their other products that they haven’t been able to add more files. OR it tells me that these are files that they’ve traced/copied/purchased that they’ve used on their other items but now want to resell for a quick buck. Again, that isn’t always the case… just something to note and continue with the vetting process to the next step.

3. Style Consistency: This is another red flag for me. Every designer has a “style.” From the fonts and phrases they use to the way they set up their product images. Obviously, some elements of a designer will evolve over time, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but there should still be a “oh yeah, this fits in with this person’s style” kind of feel to their shop. HoopMama Designs style is typically kids, humorous, with some adult and Jesus mixed in. If I started designing skulls on fire and girls in bikinis on model cars in my SVG’s… there may be some question as to what is going on, right? I see this a lot with the Shady Shelly’s. They’ll have a “I love my mommy” design, right next to a “GO POLITICS!” and a “I love pig farming” design. All of which have different fonts/layouts/and overall style and feel. Again, obviously you will have a variation in a designers style, but if they only have a few files AND they’re all over the board… I’d dig in a little further.

4. Watermark Consistency: Now this one is another “case by case” area. HoopMama Designs’ watermark has changed 3 times over it’s business life (growing pains.) So it’s not necessarily the “style” that I’m referencing here. Zoom in and look at the watermark and make sure it actually reflects the name of the shop you’re in and that it doesn’t belong to someone else. As “duh” as that sounds like… you would be amazed at how many No-Shame Natalie’s just copy and paste other designers’ images with no remorse. Excuse me while I throw up.

5. Reviews: This past week I had someone reselling my designs. A customer of mine messaged me saying she made a huge mistake and that the file she had just purchased from someone else was one of mine. She didn’t realize it was mine until after she got the file, opened it up, and found a horrible trace job. She proceeded to leave a 1-star review on the shop to warn others. The seller responded to the review quite rudely and said she could sell whatever she wanted to, basically. If a customer… calling the seller a THIEF…. doesn’t make people run, then her quite rude response should be a red flag warning to others. Don’t worry, I’ve reported her to Etsy and it has since been taken down. But there will always be more people out there looking to make a dollar the easy way. Read reviews. They’ll tell you a lot about the seller.

6. Facebook Group: Now, what if they’re not on Etsy and they’re on Facebook Only? That’s fishy to me. If they’re only selling in a Facebook group… why don’t they have another platform they’re selling on? Are they hiding? Did they have a Etsy shop but it got closed? Are they selling their “Google Drives” which are usually full of purchased and copyrighted designs? Actually, let me touch on Google drives for just a second. Google does not allow drives to be sold in exchange for access. There. That’s all I need to say on that.

But back to if they only have a Facebook group. Any legit business knows the value of having real estate online. Etsy is a marketplace and while it does have fees, it also reaches a HUGE market therefore making the fees justified. I mean you can get started on Etsy with 40 FREE LISTINGS to see if it’s right for you, so there’s really no excuse not to try it out. My question to the seller would be, “why wouldn’t you want to SHOW OFF your designs… unless you had something to hide?” I get sellers of physical products only having groups because they want to control workflow. But digital sellers don’t have the same restraints as physical sellers. So what gives? Facebook only? To me it’s “buyer beware.”

7. Website: Speaking of websites, typically designers will get started on Etsy and then will gradually move over to a standalone site once they can justify costs. A website says that they’ve established themselves, they have a following and the trust of their customers, and it also says they can afford the costs of marketing a website. If a designer has a website like Shopify or BigCommerce, that passes all the above criteria as well… you’re probably in a good place.

8. Google It: If there’s still cause for concern or if you have a tingling in your gut saying something doesn’t feel right, you can always type in the design name plus “SVG” on Google and search through the images. If there’s someone else with the same design… you may need to dig a bit deeper to find out who the original holder is. This may take a quick scan back through at both shops to see who really designed it. USUALLY you can tell pretty quickly though. I would love to say that established designers know better than to copy someone’s work. Obviously, that’s not always the case, but I would like to say that established and trusted designers had mama’s that taught them a little better. I have links below for trusted SVG sellers on Etsy if you need to know where to go!

9. Other Areas To Review If You Have Questions: Read shop announcements, note how long they’ve been in business, also see if they include .studio files. Silhouette does not allow .studio format to be resold. This may be lack of knowledge on the sellers part, but I personally would like to do business with someone who knows the scope of what is allowed in their market. Looking into their shop announcement and policies will give you a better understanding on how they run their business.

10. Private Convo: If you’re still concerned of have areas that are questionable, shoot them a quick convo and get a feel for how they treat you. No matter how rushed a seller is, you should always be treated with respect. I make it a point to try to be personable, kind, and real with every conversation even if I’m in a rush and can only get a few words out. If someone doesn’t appreciate you, find a business to support that does.

Remember it is ultimately up to YOU to keep yourself and your business safe. Checking phrases in the US Trademark Database, and vetting the person you’re purchasing from, are just a couple of ways you can ensure that you can sleep at night knowing you did everything right on your end.

 

Here is a list of trusted designers on Etsy! I will be updating the list as well!

Many of them have their own website, too! If you have someone you swear by, please let me know and I will update the list! I’m giving the owners names as they are found on Facebook <3

HoopMama Designs: This is my SVG shop! Though, I don’t post much on there anymore. All new designs and sales go to my HoopMama website <3

Whimsicality Graphics: Owned by Julie Houston Childress! She has a website AND she has a 20% off coupon code on anything! Code is: JUSTCAUSE

My Designs In The Chaos: Owned By Michelle Lea Brooks. She has a website that she’s building!

One Oak Designs: Owned by Lisa McKew. She also has a website!

Digitail Designs: Owned by Clare Wallis Dewhurst. She has a website and 25% off with no minimum purchase! Code is: SUMMERBLAST

Sweet Kate Designs: Owned by Amber Shock. She too, has a website 🙂

The Blu Hummingbird: Owned by Jennifer Pyron Doyal. Yep, she has a website!

Kut That Out: Owned by Cristy Kellum Hageman. Website, check!

So Cute Appliques: Owned By Melisa Parker. She has a website, too!

SDIVADesigns: Owned By Karin Adamczyk.

Nutsy And Me: Owned by Kelly Cramer… and I really need to know the story behind her business name, haha!

 

 

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If you're wondering if Etsy is a smart move for your craft business, I do believe it is! But I believe that Etsy has a place in your business and it is NOT to be the only thing you do! Here are my reasons why.

The HoopMama Facebook group has had a lot of talk about Etsy and their fun little trademark bullies lately. So I just wanted to explain what I think Etsy’s roll should be in your business. Some people avoid Etsy like the plague, which I completely understand. It is frustrating when you’re running your business the right way and then someone comes along crying and yelling that you’re infringing on their trademark that they just APPLIED for yesterday. Trust me, I’ve been there, too. With rolling eyes and gritted teeth, I’ve been there.

Etsy is a platform that is owned by someone much larger than us. Therefore, they get to call the shots. Period. Their house, their rules. One of their rules is that they do not mediate trademark allegations. That means any Betsy on Etsy can cry trademark wolf, and get your listing taken down. Etsy does this because they are not lawyers and if they said they would mediate, then they would legally be responsible for their actions. So they take a hands-off approach and sadly, trademark bullies end up running the show sometimes. But again, their house, their rules.There isn’t much we can do to change that.

However, their house…. is a big one….. and it gets LOTS of visitors. Visitors that you wouldn’t ever get on your own. For that reason, I think Etsy can have a good place in your business if you are not relying on it completely as your entire income.

But before we dive in, I want to say this before I say anything else…. YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Not just a Facebook page. If you want to grow a brand and appear as a professional… you need a website. Whether it’s an entirely free one from Weebly, a $30 plan from Shopify or BigCommerce, or a self-hosted site through WordPress, you NEED a website! (I said it three times, which means I mean it!)

I personally have BigCommerce currently for my HoopMama website, and WordPress with Bluehost hosting for CraftMama. HoopMama will be moving over to WordPress as soon as I have time to devote to it because the freedom of it can’t be beat. But there is A LOT to learn. And there’s ZERO support like you have on the other platforms. I mean, if you’re a YouTube ninja you can definitely work your way around your site. But if it breaks… good luck, Chuck! You have to figure it out or hire someone. Over time you do learn what breaks your site and you do get comfortable with it, but there isn’t a “help” button to push. So if you want to do it this way, just know that it is very hands on! But with hands-on…. it means you learn SO much in the process!!

You can get a FREE 2 week trial for Shopify or BigCommerce if you use my links! If you’re thinking of going the WordPress route, if you use my link for BlueHost, you can get your hosting at $3.95 a month instead of the normal $7.99!

But back to Etsy and Trademark trolls.

Here are 3 reasons you SHOULD be on Etsy.

  1. Shoppers! As mentioned before. Etsy has a large audience that you will most likely never reach on your own. Etsy has over 25 million active shoppers! People know Etsy. They are comfortable buying from Etsy. They go to Etsy probably before pulling out their list of small websites. Since Etsy is a marketplace, shoppers know they can look at LOTS of items on one site and not have to go to a million websites.
  2. Competitors. Wait… what? Yep! I’m saying you SHOULD be around your competitors! If your competitors are on Etsy, then they will get 100% of the sales from Etsy-only shoppers. YES, you want to draw your customers to be loyal ones, but that is why once you get your customer through Etsy, you entice them to sign up on your newsletter through inserts in their packaging, and then draw them to your website! OR entice them before they ever make a purchase! For example, my SVG shop on Etsy’s banner looks like this:Then in the shop announcements, I have the link to my Mailchimp newsletter. Mailchimp is completely FREE for up to 2,000 subscribers! I have a blog post about why you need a newsletter that I will be adding onto shortly about how to build your list. But if you have an Etsy shop, having an offer like this in your banner is one great way to help!
  3. Get Experience.. and Some Tough Skin. Etsy shoppers are ruthless sometimes. They are brutally honest and live in a Amazon Prime “get it to me in 2-days” world. Don’t get me wrong I LOVVVVE my Amazon Prime, I did the 30 day trial a few years ago and I now use it for everything. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, click here and you can get a 30 day FREE trial, too! But as handmade shops, we just simply AREN’T able to pump out items AND have them delivered in 2 days. I mean, I don’t know about you but my magical delivery fairy is out partying with my cleaning fairy and it just isn’t going to happen. But since these customers are so honest, they will provide a LOT of valuable feedback that you can consider and then make adjustments to your business. Some things may be a little hard to hear, but I read a the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz many years ago and I the one agreement that has always stuck with me was “don’t take anything personally.” Learning to do that, has really helped me so much in my business. Etsy shoppers will challenge you, but will make you stronger.

Here are 3 reason why Etsy should NOT be your focus.

  1. Fees. Etsy has a lot of fees. They have 20 cents per listing, plus 3.5% of the total sale. Not to mention the other fees like PayPal fees and direct checkout fees. HOWEVER, you will have PayPal and credit card fees regardless of where you go. So it’s really just the additional .20 per listing and 3.5% of total sale that is the big difference. That is actually a small price to pay for the reach that Etsy provides. On a $20 item, your Etsy fees will be $.90 cents. Not too bad when you consider that the sale may have come from an Etsy-only shopper that you may not have been able to reach on your own. But when you start building your e-mail lists, and start growing your brand, those fees really add up fast! So you don’t want your customers to STAY shopping on Etsy! You want to get them… and then move them over to your website for future purchases!
  2. Not Yours. This one is the scariest one to me. It’s not mine. If Etsy goes under, or if they decide to close me down… I have no say in the matter. It’s completely theirs. Which is one reason why if you do have an Etsy account, you should be backing up your data every so often. You can do this by going to: Your Shop – Shop Settings – Options – Download Data. Then downloading your current items for sale as well as your orders. This way, if your shop does get closed or suspended, you can still have access to all your item descriptions and details. You items SHOULD already be on your website *ahem* but in case you don’t have that fully operational yet, it’s helpful to have all of this information just in case you need to reference it in the future.
  3. Trademark Tolls. Sigh. I know many of you just rolled your eyes. I have nothing bad to say about people who go through the steps to trademark something the right way. It’s the people who put in an application on Monday and come out guns-a-blazing on Tuesday! It takes 3 months to be reviewed by an attorney, and that’s just to be reviewed! No promise of if it actually is going to go through or not. Many of these bullies are known for trying to enforce things that they don’t really have full rights to at all, which can be very frustrating and confusing to those of us who are trying to play our cards right. It is very important to understand your legal rights. As a mompreneur, sometimes it is hard finding the correct information and resources but thank goodness there are people like Joey Vitale in the world! He is an attorney for creatives and he is focused on businesses like us! His firm, Indie Creative Law, has a WEALTH of information listed on the website. His blog is full of trademark and copyright guidance that will leave you feeling empowered. He is truly an answer to the “small-business” world!

In Summary:

I personally believe that Etsy does have it’s place. But I also believe that you will and SHOULD grow out of Etsy. You should one day get to a point where you say “I don’t need it.” Which is where I got to last year with HoopMama. It’s such an awesome feeling to own your own website and not fear a huge company shutting you down for a reason that you’re not even clear of.

I know it said it three times at the beginning of this post, but YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Etsy cannot, and should not be your only revenue source. But if you look at with knowing that it could be gone at any moment, then that is when I believe that it is okay to have a shop because it can be a great extra income source as well as a way to grow your customer base if done properly.

If you don’t have an Etsy shop, but want to try it out. You can get 40 FREE LISTINGS by using my link. However, if you’re doing just fine on Facebook and still have zero interest in Etsy, I HIGHLY recommend trying out the free trials of Shopify or BigCommerce and getting your website up and going.

If you go the website route, and find that you need a little more freedom than what the Shopify or BigCommerce templates provide, then going to WordPress with BlueHost hosting will be a great move! No matter what you do though, I do recommend to purchase your domain name from somewhere like GoDaddy because if you do the “free domain” that the other’s offer, sometimes they hold on to your domain and you have to wait until a year is up to point it to another host. Meaning, if you start with Shopify, then later want to go to WordPress. Shopify will hold on to that domain until your year is up, regardless of if you cancelled your website plan with them.

The more people you have coming to your website, the more chances you have of them not going anywhere else! If you give your Etsy shop, they may be distracted by a competitors item and even though they went to visit your item… you lost them to your competitor. I always say to let Etsy customers find you on Etsy. You should promote your website only.

Building your business is hard and expensive, I get it. But the ultimate goal is to be able to hold your own. If you rely on Etsy for your businesses success… you will only be as successful as Etsy algorithms allow you to be.

So one more time, just for fun, GET A WEBSITE!

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THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. BUT THESE ARE ALL PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND AND USE MYSELF.

So you have your Etsy, you have your Facebook and Instagram, you may even have a website… but do you have a newsletter? If not, you’re just leaving money on the table!

The idea of “the build it and they will come” just isn’t a reality for crafters. There’s too many people doing what you’re doing. You need something that makes you stand out!

That’s why promotion of your business is so important. You could make 100 items but if you keep them in a closet, no one will ever know about them, right? You have to let people know about your business so they know who you are and where to find you! A newsletter… is one of the best ways to do that!

I use MailChimp for my newsletters and LOVE it! Plus, it’s FREE for up to 2,000 subscribers!

Newsletter With MailChimp

 3 Reasons Your Craft Business Needs A Newsletter

  1. Can’t Be Missed. Unlike Facebook and Instagram where things can be scrolled by, an e-mail is there until the recipient reads or deletes. No worrying about algorithm changes or hoping your customers are online at the right time. Many people don’t use social media. And MANY MANY people don’t join groups or like pages. I personally have many websites that I go to regularly but don’t follow them on any social media outlets. Even though I’m on Facebook A LOT for my HoopMama group! If I weren’t getting newsletters from the places like: My Vinyl Direct, Craftsy, or Happy Crafters, I probably wouldn’t know about any of the deals they have going on at all!
  2. Efficient Use Time And Space.  If they open your newsletter then obviously you have their attention! You can put more information in a newsletter than you can on an Instagram post or Facebook. You can promote sales, categories of items, giveaways, blog posts and new items all in one e-mail!
  3. Drive Traffic To Your Website. Obviously this one is pretty much a “duh” point. But think about this viewpoint of a newsletter. If someone is checking their e-mail, they probably aren’t in shopping mode necessarily. If you can get their attention and get them to open up your newsletter, chances are they’ll visit your site. Even if they don’t make a direct purchase right now, they may hang on to your newsletter for future reference. On social media… if you don’t get them RIGHT THEN… they close out and forget about you. But their e-mail is there to stay and refer back to when they’re ready to shop.

 

MailChimp is easy to use and hey, you can’t beat free! If you’re lost with ideas for content, or how to get people to sign up for your newsletter, stay tuned because I have a whole list of ideas I’ll be posting soon!

 

In the meantime, want to be challenged? Check out the CraftMama 30 day Crafter’s Challenge here!

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS WHERE I MAY RECEIVE A SMALL PROFIT FOR USING MY LINKS. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOUR PRICE IS HIGHER, IT JUST ENABLES ME TO KEEP WRITING THIS BLOG AND STAY HOME WITH MY SON. BUT I PROMISE THAT THESE ARE ALL PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND AND USE MYSELF.

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THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. BUT THESE ARE ALL PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND AND USE MYSELF.

Hi. I’m Jeanna Hooper, and I am a fontaholic. I am not in recovery, nor am I seeking help. I didn’t choose this life. It chose me. And for that… I am forever grateful. Because part of being a fontaholic means that I can recognize great deals when I see them, and guess what… I have another one to share with you!

Creative Fabrica has been one of my best kept secrets for way too long and I feel like I’m being a hog.

This. Site. Is. AWESOME!!!!!! Let me tell you why. Click any image in this post to be taken to their site when you’re ready!

  1. Membership Subscription Options: For $19 a month you can download ALL of their fonts for COMMERCIAL use!!! No restrictions! You can make and sell anything with their fonts as long as you don’t sell the font itself or include it in your product (obviously.) Don’t sell? They thought of that, too! Their personal use subscription is only $9 a month!

BUT WAIT… there’s more

2. They also have CRAFT Membership Subscriptions for $12 for THREE MONTHS! Whaaaaat??? Yes! Cut files in SVG, PNG, EPS and DXF! Compatible with Silhouette and Design Space!

3. Don’t need a subscription? No worries! You can purchase licenses for individual fonts directly from them as well! Like this UH-MAZE-ING new font from On The Spot Studio. *I need all the heart eye emojis*

4. Yes, another reason! They also have a tool that will search the fonts installed in YOUR computer so you can see them all in one place. Kind of like wordmark.it but they also have a tool that will show the glyphs that the font has and allow you to make lists of your favorites for easy management!

5. If I haven’t convinced you by now… maybe FREEBIES will do the trick? Yeah…. freebies! Currently they have over 100! Well… 101 to be exact!

So seriously. Creative Fabrica is probably one of the coolest sites out there for crafters right now and it’s growing constantly! If you are a fontaholic like me, just embrace it. Know that this is who you are and that it’s okay. Especially now that you can download THOUSANDS OF FONTS for $19. $19!!! Don’t do it because I said to… do it because your soul does.

*MIC DROP*

Let that little font hoarder inside you live a little.

Click here or any image in the post to visit them today!

 

This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something using the above links… CraftMama will get credit and love you forever!

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Hey you,

I just wanted to let you know that I see you. I see your efforts and I see your dreams. I see how big you want to grow and I see the footprint you want to leave on this place.

I see how you can’t sleep at night because your mind just rattles with possibilities that don’t even seem like they could ever happen, but somehow you know you could find a way to do it.

I see how your passion and focus grows every time you hit your goals. I see you say “when I’m at this level, I’ll be happy” but then once that level is unlocked… you find a new level that eludes to happiness.

I see you think to yourself “oh I can do this” and “oh I can do that.” And I also slowly watch those can do’s take over every part of your life.

Those “can’s” turn into “have to’s” and start to steal your time from your family, your friends, your home, and your joy.

I know you.

I know your heart because it sits right next to mine. I know dreams that have no limits, and the feeling of boundless time and energy. I know how you feel every time you find success doing something you love. I know that your mind doesn’t ever stop because it’s so busy dreaming up the next thing you want to do.

I understand your passion… and I understand your dreams… but here’s the thing… and it is the big thing….

You don’t have to do it all.

Take a big breath and say that again… you don’t have to do it all.

Isn’t that freeing?

Did you know that you DO have a calling in this world but that calling probably isn’t to do everything?

I know that’s a challenging though because obviously, the dreams you have aren’t forced so there must be a reason for them, right? And you WANT to do it all!  But maybe consider this… what if those dreams are just meant to be reminders of what you’re capable of?  What if they’re meant to be the motivation that keeps you moving when you get tired, or a fountain of fresh ideas to be there for you when you hit a block? Or what if.. what if those dreams are there to remind you that you will always find a way to overcome any obstacles that get in your way?

Please don’t be scared.

Sure things may level out and settle. But when you release that feeling of “I have to do this” and “I have to do that…” you will be free. You will be the tree that moves out from the planter pot and is planted in the ground. And you know what planted trees do? They take root. They evolve with the changing of the seasons. They provide shade and shelter for others. They grow and they produce fruit.

Don’t think that the small planter is all you can have in this area of your life and that you need to plant another tree and another tree and another tree. Those pots… are not permanent. In fact, the pots will restrict growth and the trees will only grow within the boundaries of the walls that hold it. Those trees… were meant to be planted. YOU were meant to be planted.

So plant yourself. Take root. Grow and produce fruit.

The fruit you produce is most likely your calling.

 

 

EtsyRank.com is a free and awesome tool to help you with your Etsy shop! It will analyze your tags, identity spelling errors and areas that may be missing from your shop profile! You can even compare your shop to other shops in your field.

In addition to all the tools, it also shows all kinds of stats for each product you have! Listing date, views, visibility, SEO grade and several more options! Here is one of my products in my SVG shop on Etsy so you can get an idea of some of the areas it takes into consideration before it gives suggestions on areas to fix.

Obviously this is one of my most profitable products… here’s how a not-so-great one looks…

Eek! I liked this one 🙁 I better get to work to change some things on the listing!

If you have some time to spare, play around and look at your listing scores! I bet you’ll see several suggestions you never thought of!

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#CraftMamaTryThisChallenge

Many times when people are shopping for a gift or a product for a special occasion… they need more than one item. For example, when shopping for a Valentine’s shirt, they may also need a matching bow or leggings. Or if they are buying a newborn gift, they may need a bodysuit, blanket, & burp cloth to make a complete set and ready-to-go gift. Most people like to one-stop shop when they aren’t buying for themselves, so this may be a market you’re missing out on if you only offer single products!

TRY THIS

Try putting together 2 or 3 different “gift set” options for your shop! If you sell home decor signs, try pairing it with potpourri or a small faux houseplant. Or If you sell coffee mugs, try pairing with coffee and chocolate, or tea and bath salts. Water bottles? Pair with a gym towel and headbands. These little extra things may only add a few dollars to your cost, but will add a lot in perceived value and you can market that value in your pricing!

Here’s some ideas for themes that are hot areas:

Wedding

Bachelorette Party

Newborn/Coming-Home Sets

Big/Little Brother/Sister Sets

1st Birthday

30th/40th/50th/60th Birthday

Retirement

Make sure to use key word terms like “gift set,” and “bundle” when appropriate. Also don’t forget to top off gift sets with gift wrap and personalized notes options! Possibly offer this as a free service and work the costs into your overall price. If someone is buying as a gift, the less work on their end is more incentive to buy!

Remember, it’s a “TRY IT” challenge. If you hate it, you can always take the listing down 🙂

If you post your items on social media, use the hashtag #CraftMamaTryThisChallenge !

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When you have a creative mind, sometimes it’s hard to keep things organized in your life. And not just if you have a crafting business. Sometimes our personal lives can become a little messy too because we’re just simply overwhelmed with being our own boss! No one is telling us what to do and when to do it, so we’re just winging this thing! And it can be… messy.

So to help organize the clutter and realign your focus, I’ve created this challenge. Skip what doesn’t pertain to you and spend extra time on things that do. I bet you though that no matter if you do 5 days or all 30… you will feel better overall!

Here’s the overview! Below this, we’ll break it down day by day!

Day 1 Clean Workspace
Day 2 Clean Up Computer Desktop
Day 3 Clear Out & Organize Email Account
Day 4 Delete Unused Apps On Phone
Day 5 Donate or Sell Craft Supplies That Aren’t Being Used
Day 6 Delete & Retake Pictures of Items That Don’t Fit Your Current Branding.
Day 7 Take A Nap
Day 8 Delete Files From Your Computer That Are Not Being Used.
Day 9 Organize Your Design Files
Day 10 Update Your Social Media Profiles
Day 11 Update Your Social Media Banners
Day 12 Gather Customers Email Addresses For Your Newsletter
Day 13 Unsubscribe From Email Newsletters That You Don’t Read
Day 14 Take A Walk
Day 15 Review & Amend Your Business Mission Statement
Day 16 Update Your Pinned Post In Your FB Page and Group
Day 17 Create A Financial Plan To Save For Your Next Purchase
Day 18 Place Your Favorite Motivational Quote Somewhere You Can See Everyday
Day 19 Organize Product Pictures to One Folder On Desktop/Laptop
Day 20 Ask A Friend For Honest Feedback On Your Website/Etsy/Facebook
Day 21 Drink Hot Tea
Day 22 Create A Schedule For Social Media Posts This Week
Day 23 Look At 3 Of Your Favorite Shops to Buy From & Notice What They Have In Common
Day 24 Explore Avenues for Your Business To Grow Into
Day 25 Create A Daily Schedule That Is Realistic For Your Lifestyle.
Day 26 Deep Clean Work Space
Day 27 Take New Pictures Of Products
Day 28 Pray or Meditate for 15 Minutes.
Day 29 Create Something Completely New
Day 30 Make A Goal List Of Where You Want Your Business To Be This Time Next Year

  Day 1 – Clean Workspace:

Usually creatives get more work done with their space is a little messy. But too much mess can cause a cluttered mind. Take some time today to clean up your desk/actual work area.

Day 2 – Clean Up Computer Desktop:

If your computer takes a while to boot up after being restarting, or runs slow throughout the day, try to delete unused desktop icons or at least move them to a folder. This will help speed things up a bit for you!

Day 3 – Clear Out & Organize Email Account:

Creating folders, archiving, color coding, whatever you need to do to get that inbox number down. Also take some time to check your junk/spam folder just in case you’re missing something important!

Day 4 – Delete Unused Apps On Phone:

You know you have at least 3 you could dump but you’re scared to pull the trigger because you MAY need them one day. Just do it. Push delete. You can always reload it if you need it in the future. But you haven’t used it in months, so the chances of you needing it are slim. But if you do, that app store isn’t going anywhere!

Day 5 – Donate or Sell Craft Supplies That Aren’t Being Used:

See, I suffer from “I can make that disease.” It causes me to walk into a craft store and not leave until my bill is over $300. It’s all on sale, so I must have it!! This disease caused me to buy 7 yards of fleece because I was so sure I was going to build a baby bib empire. *Insert… eye roll.* It was 70% off so it was a great deal! Know how many bibs I’ve made with it? Two. Know how many looked semi decent? One. Know how much fabric I have left? Over 6.75 yards. It needs to go. See what you can round up from your piles to clear out some space today!

Day 6 – Delete & Retake Pictures That Don’t Fit Your Current Branding:

This one may be tricky if you don’t have the same products around the office. However, even if you can’t replace them all today, start taking notes of the ones that need to see their way out and replace them as you can. You may notice a product or two that hasn’t sold in a long time and it may need to also need to head on over to the retirement house.

Day 7 – Take A Nap:

Naps are proven to make you more creative! Go on… take one!

Day 8 – Delete Files On Your Computer That Are Not Being Used:

You may have noticed when you opened up some folders on your desktop that they are full of files that you haven’t used in a very long time. Take some time to dig deep and delete some of those today!

Day 9: Organize Your Design Files

You may have noticed when you opened some folders on your desktop that they were full of files that you haven’t used in a very long time. Take some time to dig deep and delete some of those today!

Day 10 – Update Your Social Media Profiles:

If your Facebook business page “about” section says “I make stuff.” It’s time for an update! Go into detail about what you specialize in, when you opened your business, and any business hours, contact info or other pertinent information that your potential customers would need to know.

Day 11 – Update Your Social Media Banners:

No need to hire someone to do this for you. Online tools like Canva.com, will make this a breeze! You can even do your Etsy shop banner and logo here is well!

Day 12 – Gather Customers Email Addresses For Your Newsletter:

If you are in business, a newsletter is necessary! Even if you don’t have a newsletter set up just yet, start gathering customer’s emails for your list. CraftMama University will break down how to do a newsletter with MailChimp, which is FREE for your first 2,000 subscribers!

Day 13 – Unsubscribe from Newsletters You Don’t Read:

If you get a lot of e-mails every day for newsletters you subscribed to, or even if you didn’t, take time to delete the ones that have no value to you.

Day 14 – Take A Walk:

Go outside and just let your mind wander with no limitations and no set rules.

Day 15 – Review & Amend Your Business Mission Statement:

When people purchase from a small business, they want to know their story. What is the vision for your business? Here is a perfect opportunity to connect with people on a personal level. Be honest and express who you are and what you ultimately want your business to accomplish.

Day 16 – Update Your Pinned Post In Your Facebook Page & Group:

Keeping the pinned post fresh will teach your customers to look their first for the most recent information. Post hours of operation, sales/discount codes, or any other relevant information that your customers need to know!

Day 17 – Create A Financial Plan To Save For Your Next Purchase:

If you have an “Oh, I would love to have that” item that stays on your mind constantly, sit down and write out a plan to purchase it! It can be as simple as having a set amount each week going to the fund, or you can even run a special sale and all profits go directly towards it. Too many times we look at business purchases as personal purchases, and that’s just not the case. If there is a product that will help your business run more efficiently, get a goal in motion!

Day 18 – Place Your Favorite Motivational Quote Somewhere You Can See Everyday:

It’s been proven that if we surround ourselves with positive thoughts and repeat them over and over like a mantra, the negative cycles in our life will begin to disappear. It’s like a magnet. What you put out, you will attract. So if you put out good, you will attract good. A few  of my personal favorite motivational quotes are “I believe in the good things coming” and “she took a leap of faith, and grew wings on the way down.” If you don’t have a quote off the top of your head, spend some time searching for one that speaks to you today.

Day 19 – Organize Product Pictures to One Folder On Desktop/Laptop:

If your product pictures are all over the place, take some time to organize them for easy reference.

Day 20 – Ask A Friend For Honest Feedback On Your Website/Etsy/Facebook:

You’ve put a lot of work into your business pages, and you should be proud! Sometimes though, we may miss little things that stand out greatly to others. Having a second eye glance over our sites for ease of use, will be very beneficial to our success! You can even give them a list of tasks to complete such as, find your e-mail address, find sale pricing, find sizing info on certain items, etc. You want your sites to be easy to use for customers, and who better to help than a friend!

Day 21 – Drink Hot Tea:

Hot tea or hot lemon water is a great detox and relax! Try taking deep cleansing breaths while you enjoy some much needed relaxation time!

Day 22 – Create A Schedule for Social Media Posts For The Week:

Social media advertising doesn’t have to be hard if we set time aside to plan it all out for the week. Using a tool like HootSuite will help scheduling out posts on Facebook and Instagram a breeze!

Day 23 – Look At 3 Of Your Favorite Shops to Buy From & Notice What They Have In Common:

Whether you shop from handmade shops or from big retailers, take a look at three websites and see what you notice about all of them and what entices you to buy. Pictures? Pricing? Product placement? Mission statement of the company? What is it that makes them stand out for you personally above their competition? After you analyze those areas, take some time to look for those elements in your shop. See if there’s any ways you can improve if you were trying to reach YOU as a customer.

Day 24 – Explore Avenues for Your Business To Grow Into:

If you’re primarily selling on Facebook, maybe Etsy is your next venture. Maybe you have those venues down so then maybe a personal website, Amazon handmade, or even a storefront is on your horizon. Whatever you feel is next for you, spend some time today to explore your options.

Day 25 – Create A Daily Schedule That Is Realistic For Your Lifestyle:

Okay, if you’re anything like me, the “dust the baseboards and sweep the chimney on Thursday” schedule does not work. But a schedule that is basic, simple, and realistic does help tremendously with productivity. Even a check list of things that need to be done daily helps with the brain fog that sometimes comes alongside a busy schedule. If you find that it’s hard to blend work and household chores, spend some time today to look for or to create a schedule that works for you.

Day 26 – Deep Clean Work Space:

Yep, it’s time. Yep, sweep/vacuum under there… yeah… there too. Get out the duster, the window cleaner, trash bags… and probably some goo remover. Clean up, clean up! Everybody, everywhere! I won’t keep you… you have some cleaning to do.

Day 27 – Take New Pictures Of Products:

With a fresh clean space, you should be able to get some great new pictures in today! Remember that natural lighting is the best!

Day 28 – Pray or Meditate for 15 Minutes:

Whether you have a daily devotional that you read or a trail you walk on. Spend some time in silence today.

Day 29 – Create Something Completely New:

Now that you have a clean work space, calm mind, and an organized mission, take a leap of faith and create something completely new. Maybe there’s something you’ve been wanting to try but it’s just been on the back-burner for a while.Take time today to jump out of the box and let your creative mind lead you.

Day 30 – Make A Goal List Of Where You Want Your Business To Be This Time Next Year:

Look at how far you’ve come in these past 30 days! Imagine where you can be in a year! Set your goals and then DO THE WORK to get there! Things don’t just happen on their own. Every day is a chance to set your future in motion.

 

I hope you enjoyed this challenge! Stay turned for the March edition for another fun challenge and feel free to leave your comments and

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small portion from the products you purchase.

 

 

 

 

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