We all do it, whether you realize it or not. That voice in your head that either pushes your forward or holds you back.
What is self-talk?
Having positive self talk is essential to your well being and success. Think about the words you’re using in your own head.
Is the system unfair?
Are you getting your share of sales?
Are you grateful for the customers you do have?
Are you excited about the opportunity to grow your business?
It’s such a simple idea it’s easy to overlook and write off. Can you think of a time someone burst your bubble and you felt deflated? Can you think of a time someone encouraged you to keep going despite your own doubts about success?
I bet one felt a lot better. It doesn’t always have to be someone else saying these things. You have your own inner voice and it doesn’t always say things that help. You can change that! I want you to consciously be positive. Praise yourself because you deserve it.
Have we talked about self-affirmations? Probably at some point. Well here it goes again. Look in the mirror, say something positive about yourself and your future.
For example, “I’m a successful Etsy shop owner.”Don’t say in the future I will be. Say it affirmatively and in the present, “I am”.
Your subconscious only understands the affirmative by the way. So stick the with “I am going to succeed” vs the “I’m not going to fail”. The “not” part is ignored and you’re reinforcing the wrong message.
Does this feel awkward?
Yeah, Gordon thought so too. Think of how many people will give up because it feels uncomfortable at first. Now be one of the few that pushes through and meets success head on. Growth = change = discomfort. Learn to appreciate the discomfort that comes with stepping out of your comfort zone and growing.
The cost of free is typically privacy and time. Kevin recently discovered how much info his Android phone is collecting from him. It not only tracks his every movement on a map, it also lovingly saves voice recordings of everything he says to Google Now.
IBM disabled and banned the use of Apple’s Siri on company issued devices. Siri didn’t meet corporate policy guidelines. It was feared company secrets could be recorded and sent outside of the company. Siri sends audio recordings to an Apple server for processing. Is Apple a good steward of information? Probably. They’re a hardware company and it’s transparent where they get their money. It’s not advertising and data mining.
Time is so undervalued it’s sad. Spend 10 hours to save $20 and you’ve made yourself $2/hr. You’ll have to decide if that’s a good return or not. Your situation will dictate the value of your time. Could you have spent 10 hours on something worth more? Could you have spent 10 hours designing a product that will keep making you money month after month?
Enter Real Life
I’m no saint. I fall into this trap too. Most of it is pride getting in the way. Do I want to pay more than the next guy? Of course not. I want to be the deal king. The question then is what will that title cost me.
We’re always keeping an eye on the budget at Marmalead and it’s tempting to jump through hoops to save money. This is especially when it involves building something ourselves. It’s really tempting to tinker with stuff. When you’re running a business though, it’s really important to spend your time where it’s most valuable.
A Plea For Change
If what you’re working on doesn’t add value to the customer, then it’s probably not worth doing. Even if it saves you money, it has a limit on how much can be saved. Adding customer value is unlimited. There’s no ceiling in sight.
This mentality will change you. Choose the one you want to live because it has far reaching consequences. You must either live in a world of abundance or one of scarcity. They can’t coexist.
In this episode, we talk with Dalia from The Handmade Mastermind – formerly known as Etsy Seller Mastermind. She covers a TON of great topics like how she handles planning, how she feels about Amazon Handmade, important lessons she’s learned from her previous life in retail, how she uses social media and Periscope – and more!
Hey everyone, Dalia here. I’m also actually an Etsy seller. I started selling on Etsy and over time, I felt like I could teach other people to sell as well! I also wanted to help people build a really good business such as what I did. I have two kids, and I do this full time.
How long have you been doing Etsy full time?
A little over two years. I used to work as a full-time retail store manager.
What’s your favorite part about being full time on Etsy?
That I don’t have to work for somebody. I think people might have different reasons but I think I did really well in the outside world. My bosses loved me, I was getting promoted – I was doing well. The issue stands that I have ADD and sometimes it could be difficult for me to finish projects. When I have many things going on in retail management, it was really frustrating and very frustrating for my boss to see that I wasn’t completing things.
So having to do things on my own terms is one of the reasons why I love working for myself. Eventually when you got used to it and realize that it is now your own money in your pocket, you know you gotta shape up and figure out how you focus more. And I have come a long way.
What systems did you find to work well for you?
The biggest thing that I always talked to my group about is planning. So I tend to plan out my whole year (this is intense so when people first begin I tell them to do it a bit less). I talk about big goals I want to accomplish and then I break them down into smaller tasks. Because what I find is that I have this huge project that is so hard to attack and I get frustrated because I don’t know where to start. By breaking it down to smaller tasks, you can then refocus and go back to your list. If I’m not in the mood to do one of those things, I move on to the next. Planning has been one of the biggest things I have done to help me with that.
I always tell people that sometimes you completely feel like a big flop. You don’t want to do anything no matter what is on that list. What I then do is go to my no-brainer list. These are simple things like restocking envelopes. If I don’t feel like doing work, I still find myself productive by doing something that I can never find time to do because it’s not as important.
What are the top challenges you have in your business right now?
I find that one of my biggest challenges is time. I wish I had more of it. It’s not because I don’t get a lot done (I do) but because my goal list is so awesome I wanna do it all tomorrow! I want to finish it all tomorrow! However because time does not allow it; I find myself upset and frustrated.
But some things do need time. SEO, retaking photos, etc.. it takes time. If you understand the importance of it, you know it will take a lot of time. So that’s one of the challenges I have.
Another one is that I handle my ecommerce business as well as the coaching. Some days, one takes a lot more time than the other and a big challenge for me is how do I give enough time to both so they both can grow on a good path. Right now, I’m heavily focusing on certain big projects for The Handmade Mastermind and that’s great but then my Etsy and Amazon shops take a little backseat. It does fine on autopilot but there’s no staggering growth that’s happening.
I love it! My feedback on it is that it’s doing fantastic for me. I tell people that if they are able to sell on there, why not. I was able to more than double my revenue because of Amazon. So I think to myself what people are missing because they’re so scared of a few things.
What are the big differences between Amazon and Etsy?
The differences I see across platforms is people that shop for wedding, baby items etc.. are of course gonna go straight to Etsy. People in those markets might find that they do better on Etsy than Amazon.
If you sell something that is better for the older customers and more professional ones, you might find that Amazon might be better for you. I rarely get the older customers on Etsy. Usually it’s in the range of 25 – 40 year olds for me.
The biggest things that helped you get sales online
The biggest thing that helped me sell online is customer service. Customer service is one of those things that can and will set you apart from your competition. I’ve taken that so much from the places I’ve worked at. Treat your customer with respect and treat them like they are your first customers.
I’ve learned how to build relationships from the places I’ve worked before. I took that with me and applied it online. I know I’m always behind the scenes and my customers can’t see me but I make sure they could always feel my customer service.
What are the most common things that you find people doing that you correct when you’re helping them with shop critiques?
The most common things I’ve seen are SEO, photos, and descriptions.
SEO – It’s a very popular topic. It’s unfortunate that they don’t know that their SEO is bad or not as great as it can be. When somebody just genuinely wants to find something, they are going to search for it and hopefully they run into your product and hopefully they purchase it because then you’ve converted them. That is why you take SEO very seriously.
Photos – People are having trouble with lighting often. They buy those light boxes but they are still having trouble with exposure. I tell people to not underestimate a good photo editing program. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in these type of things. Photoshop Elements for example. It is decently priced in my opinion but of course there are other free platforms that you can use to help you edit photos.
Descriptions – Describe your item, make it enticing, and connect with your target customer. What you want to do is you wanna tap into their reason of why they are buying it and use it in that description. The next thing you want to also be careful with your descriptions is formatting. People are on their mobile; people are on a hurry nowadays so format your descriptions so people could see what the listing includes, the features, and what’s important to the customer. Formatting is a very big deal as well.
Those are couple of tips to help people out because sometimes they don’t know the importance of it.
I still use Periscope but I use it as a platform for my coaching business only. I’ve used it and it was really great. I’ve actually gained a lot of members this way. They found me through Periscope – I don’t exactly know how but I use it because I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy sharing my knowledge; it was simple as that. When I first started, I did it twice a day. I just love sharing my knowledge and what I love mostly was that people got value out of my knowledge and I kept doing it.
What are your thoughts on “Sales fix everything”? Do you agree on that?
Sales are not always king if you’re not making good profit. If you have a good profit margin, then sales are important. But what I learned in my retail position is that customers are always first, and then sales.
In this episode, we talk with Phil from Shoplo about promotion and content marketing. Phil discusses a lot of great topics from growing a fan base to maintaining your brand image, using social media and more!
In Australia I had a small operation on Etsy making and selling little pieces of jewelry from recycled tools. Spanners, and other hand tools reshaped and remodeled into jewelry mostly for men. Then, I met my girlfriend and decided to move overseas to Poland.
I got in contact with an e-commerce brand called Shoplo and they are quite big and very well known here. Their goal is that they wanted to spread worldwide and part of going global is to get outside of Poland. To do that, they needed a native speaker.
I had some history with Etsy, I had some history in e-commerce and quite a bit of history in writing as well. I guess it was a natural match! I was lucky to find them by the time when they needed someone to do what I do. Since then, I’ve been with Shoplo for about 6 months now and I’m learning a lot everyday!
What tips do you have for Etsy sellers in growing their own fan base?
A good place to find people to join that are interested in your brand are also the kind of people that have a problem to solve. When you’re looking to grow, it’s very very easy to reach towards social media to try and find more people. But remember, there are a lot out there too that aren’t on social media.
Not everyone has a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account and those kinds of people usually look for quality over quantity. So if you’re putting all your time and effort into promoting yourself and trying to grow on social media, you are missing out on all these people offline.
That said, it’s a good habit to have a routine of actively finding people that have problems that your products can solve. Being creative in ways to grow is essential. Finding forums for certain activities that match your brand is a good one. Another very potent way that we found to organically grow your fan base is to find Facebook Groups. A lot of people do not capitalize or realize the potential of Facebook Groups.
How would you as an Etsy seller figure out what problems your products are solving?
It’s a bit of a cliche but try and approach your product or your brand like you aren’t in control of it. Try and approach it like a customer.
For an Etsy seller, how would you recommend getting started with social media?
In 2016, social media is super important in a brand. But like I said earlier, not everyone is on social media. But for the 99.99% of your customers that are on social media, finding out which medium works best for you is important. To be brutally honest, I’m not a big fan of Twitter. It moves way too fast for me and I often lose track of what’s going on. Facebook on the other hand, I consider myself to be rather in touch with.
The best advice I have for an Etsy seller that is just starting out and wants to have a presence in social media – is to take it slow, don’t be afraid to make mistakes (because you will make them), and do a lot of research as well. Find some quality sources to learn from like Marmalead and the Shoplo Blog.
There are some other great sources too like Social Media Examiner; they have some great information and they cover everything in such minute details. The whole blog is based exactly on that – social media examination.
As well as those other tips, I’d say start off with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They are probably the 3 biggest players in marketing. Slowly learn about them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because you will make them. But also, don’t be afraid to walk away from something when it’s not working for you.
What’s the best way to identify when a social media platform isn’t working for you?
Social media is great for promoting a campaign. Promoting a give away or a voucher code or anything like that. If you’ve gone to all these hard work of finding X amount of followers on Twitter and no one’s buying into your discount code – that’s a sure sign that it’s not working for you. Walk away from it for a bit. Don’t give up on it completely, don’t throw your arms up and say it’s over. Yes, it’s difficult. Mastering social media is difficult even for Mark Zuckerberg. Give it some time. You cannot be a master of anything overnight. If Facebook is what works for you, then stick with Facebook; but over time, learn more about your weakness.
Brand image in Content Marketing
First thing’s first. Carrying your brand image over is literally an image as well. If you’ve got your Etsy store laid out a certain way, like if you have a certain color or theme running through your store; you want to carry that over to your blog. If your Etsy store has got a nice lavender feel around it, and then if I go to your blog and see that your blog has got an electric blue theme to it; I’d think I am in the wrong place. It’s about physically carrying your image over.
What other ways could Etsy sellers do to learn more about their customer base?
I read really interesting blog posts from Nathan Collier. He explained that there’s no need to waste money on Facebook Ads. Instead, find a Facebook Group where your customers are already hanging out. Personally add them with your personal Facebook profile. Get to know them, find what they are and what they do. That way you can learn who these people are. Everyone faces the same problem but you can learn more about the specific problem they may have.
Like I said, different forums for different problems are incredible. I heard a story a while ago about a guy who makes handmade guitars. He had a problem with his left-handed guitars; he figured it wasn’t as simple as reversing the plan around. But he found a left-handed community and got in contact with other people who make products that are left-hand right-hand bias. He spoke to those people of what problems they have in helping their left-handed market. Through teaming up – not as competitors; but with your products that complement their products – he was able to identify issues.
Tips for starting on Social Media
Don’t forget that every form of social media platform started to engage with people. Social media isn’t an advertising platform. It’s a way to engage with people. If you’ve got a Facebook page that’s just constantly promoting your own page, who’s gonna follow you? No one. If you’ve got a Twitter handle that’s just constantly promoting your own Etsy links, no one’s going to follow you.
I use Buffer to build up Shoplo’s Twitter feed, but then I also use Tweetdeck to find other conversations about people on Etsy. That’s what social media is all about! No one’s going to follow a brand that is just on constant promotion. Keep it 50% promotion and 50% personal engagement. That is a good starting ratio to find what works for you.
Don’t forget to engage and talk to people, and not just promote on social media.
Promoting on social media: You can’t look at social media as a return on your investment. You describe it as a return on relationship.
In this episode, Richie and I talk about being self reliant – especially when it’s easier to fall into the trap of being negative. We talk about not playing the blame game but instead taking matters into your own hands and pushing forward to a solution. And feeding wolves. Just…make sure you feed the right one.
Our topic is about self-reliance, and a culture of helplessness and self-imposed limiting beliefs that smother your happiness.
Self-reliance is you being accountable and responsible for where you end up in life, or in business. You are what you make of it. You are your own decisions and it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you deal with what happens to you.
The Culture of Helplessness
I was watching Tony Robbins (Salesforce) streaming from Facebook Live the other day. He is somebody that’s all about busting through your limiting beliefs; and understanding that your attitude is 80% of success.
A lot of times, it’s a matter of what happens to us. There are things that happen to us throughout the day and that’s what is holding us back. But it’s not! That’s not what’s holding us back. They are challenges that you have to overcome.
It’s easy to get in that frame of mind. When things are going wrong, it’s easy to fall into this trap of putting the blame on things and then not taking the time to reflect back on it.
Way too many people feel helpless when these things happen – that is why it is called the culture of helplessness. But hopefully our readers don’t feel that way because guess what, life has been full of challenges! Whether or not we’re talking about Google SEO, or Etsy SEO, or any market changes in general. The market and technology is changing constantly – you have no control over that. But, for every 100 people that says “Google changed their algorithm and now there’s no point!” or “Etsy changed their algorithm, they’re just gonna do it again so there’s no point.” For every 100, there’s one person out there that would say “Alright, this is just a challenge. It happened before. Let’s figure this out and see what can I do.”
The lesson, get resourceful.
How your Etsy shop can help people help you?
Don’t feel stuck. Because if you come at a problem as if you’re just completely stuck, it’s going to be really hard for someone to help you. It’s really hard to get someone unstuck when they are coming at you with a mentality of being super stuck. So, continue being resourceful and continue being positive.
To help someone help you effectively, one of the things I personally struggle with when I’m helping people is I need to know to know what you’ve tried. I need to know what directions you’ve already come at a problem with, and what you’ve already tested because I don’t want to suggest doing something that you’ve already tried.
The other thing I really like when I’m helping people, is if I come to someone and they say:
“This is the problem, these are the things I’ve tried, I’ve been working really hard at it and I have 3 more ideas that I can come to them with. I’m thinking one of these is the path to go down next but I’m not really sure. What do you think I should do?”
Now if you present people with that approach, it’s so much easier and more effective.
Whenever people are showing effort, that’s a big part. When somebody comes to you showing that they’ve put in a whole lot of effort, you’re going to be a lot more likely to be more giving with your energy and effort because you’re seeing how much that person really wants this and how much energy they are putting behind that. It’s not like they are just taking the time to type a question and hit send.
If someone doesn’t put in the effort up front to help themselves, chances are when you help them, there’s a good chance they are not going to follow through with your advice because it’s going to seem too hard for them.
A lot of times, it seems like this helplessness culture, when you’re stuck in that rut; you are not looking for help. You’re looking for commiseration. You’re looking for someone else to verify for you that life is unfair – that you have been dealt an unfair hand.
Don’t look for the things that aren’t working
It’s so easy to get negative. It’s so easy to get into a negative space and say to yourself that “I did this and it didn’t work!” Your list of things that didn’t work will always going to be bigger than the list that does. That’s how you learn.
"A master has failed more times than you've ever attempted."
Maybe you have a list of a hundred things that didn’t work, ignore them. What two things have you done that DID work? Focus on those. Find the bright spots. Even just a little bit of success, focus on those. Because you can feel good, and you can make progress forward from there.
Maybe you’ve tried 10 things and none of them worked. That’s fine too but start looking back at those and try to really figure out why it didn’t work. What are the reasons why it might not work and try if you could test those. That’s how you can learn from the failures and keep moving forward.
It’s normal to have periods where you feel helpless. Everyone is going to get through these and you’re gonna feel overwhelmed. But it’s not about staying there – it’s about getting out. Whenever you feel stuck – it’s about keeping momentum. I guess that’s really the game, to constantly keep moving forward. There will be times where you’re going to end up slowing down and you’re going to feel like you’re stuck but just keep inching forward and you’ll get back out of it.
Look for the bright spots. Look for the positives and when you ask for help, make sure you give the person trying to help you every opportunity to help you the most effective way possible – which is to show them that you’ve really done your homework and you have come up a bunch of solutions. People will help the person that seems most ready to receive that help.
The Story of Two Wolves
This is a story of an old man talking to his grandson. The grandfather says that there are two wolves inside of us. The one is a good and caring wolf and the other one is a vile, destructive, angry wolf. He said that these two wolves are always fighting, and the fight is going inside each and every person.
The boy paused for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Grandpa, which wolf wins?”
To which the old man replied, “The one you feed.”
Whatever emotions and feelings you acknowledge and lean into are the ones that are going to perpetuate. You are gonna keep seeing those. So if you keep feeding negativity in your life, that’s all you are going to get – because that’s the one you feed.
In this episode we put some meat behind Richie’s claim that free is a big lie and paid is honest. Why? Because prenatal vitamins from Target, privacy, motivation behind ads, and reasons. Up next is part 2 of our 2 part series on greed.
Free is a Lie. Paid is Honest.
Like any rule, there are some exceptions. But there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Now I’m not saying be skeptical about everything that’s free; because you can get free sometimes. But, if there is no paid offer in sight; if there’s nothing that shows you why this is being supported or why you are deserving of this free thing, then you might want to be a little skeptical.
For example, there are a lot of people – many of which I follow – that offer free things (whether it’d be coaching programs, blog help, etc…) but they also have paid offers out there that support what they do.
Disclaimer: If you are somebody listening that provides your audience something for free, I’m not villainizing you. I think what you’re doing is good – as long as you’re being honest about it.
The Problem with Free
The real problem I have with free is that there’s a lot of online stuff that we take for granted. Facebook is one of them. It sometimes slips under the radar because everyone’s on it and it is kind of like a big necessary evil. There’s a lot of nice things about Facebook. But, I don’t think people realize how much privacy they give up when they do certain things.
Facebook is free because they sell your information to Ad companies. They sell a lot more information than most people probably realize. People put a lot of very personal stuff on Facebook. All that data gets passed around the Web and it’s kinda scary. I don’t think many people care about that type of stuff – until it matters.
The Problem with Ads
People have mentioned to us why don’t we do Ad-based. Well, we have taken pretty strong stance on Ads. Worst part about ads is when you’re scrolling through stuff and a lot of them are distracting. Some of them are even animated now and those are really annoying because I’m trying to do something and they’re wasting my time. I don’t like things wasting my time because I’m being greedy for my time.
We also did a whole episode on security. You can actually get computer viruses from ads that exploit vulnerabilities. The person serving up the ads wouldn’t have any knowledge of that happening at all – and I would feel terrible if I’m running a website that serves up ads that happens to have malicious content because my Ad provider who is paying me to put ads on my website doesn’t care about the quality or the content of the ads that they’re serving up. It would be terrible if a bunch of people that I care about who are using my site got infected by some malware that does nasty stuff.
It’s really about Privacy. You don’t realize how much information you might actually be giving up.
Who remembers this story about Target?
Target was marketing prenatal vitamins to a teenager. Her father then got these ads and went to the store and yelled at the manager for doing so.
Father:"How could you possibly be targeting my daughter with prenatal vitamins? This is awful!"
Turns out the daughter was pregnant. Target knew it because of all the different data that they collected.
I have read that same type of thing long before this happened. I have read that based on the data that these stores have, they know it’s you. So when you change your habits a little bit, they can pick up on things through data analysis. They can tell you might be pregnant, for example. They pick up on that stuff and they will market you as such.
That’s the type of thing that you don’t realize that’s happening until it smacks you in the face.
Why Marmalead is Ad-free
If we went Ad-based, and serve up ads within the app where we get paid when you click them or view them – all of a sudden the incentive changes. It changes from making sure you get the most effective and efficient use of your time (even if you come by very briefly) – as long as you’re getting everything you need, that should be the goal. Problem is, if we start serving ads, all of a sudden we have a built-in incentive to waste your time all day.
Have you ever been on articles on the web where they have a slideshow-like format? They present it to you and after a paragraph into it you see something like “click here for page 2” only to realize it’s like 8 pages long?
They do that for ads. They do that because they can put more ads on the page. You’re going to a separate page and that is a whole lot of opportunity to throw more ad impressions out there. They are sacrificing a good pleasant reading experience for their interest of getting you to see more ads and getting you into more opportunities into clicking those ads.
It drives me insane. They are stealing your time. You think it’s free, but think about it again because that time you spent on Facebook – and all it’s engineerings to keep you engaged and the next thing you know, half of your day is gone. What ends up happening is that you still have stuff to do. So what you end up doing is you end up missing dinner with your family, you end up missing the little league games, you end up with that kind of stuff. It’s not free, they stole the amount of money that keeps you away from doing those things you actually love.
The takeaway is people need to be more cognizant of their time. Be more aware of where their time is going and what is in it for the person who has you spending this time.
So why is Etsy Jam free?
Etsy Jam is supported by Marmalead. That is how we’re able to do this. The podcast actually costs money and it takes our time. What pays for that? Subscriptions to Marmalead.
It’s very transparent. It’s very clear. The offer is simply paying subscription to Marmalead because IT makes it possible.
The takeaway in everything that's free is transparency, privacy and knowing the cost. There's always cost to everything, so know the real cost.
The Original Intent of Etsy Jam
I talked to people who feel the same way as I do about this too. But I would love to listen to audiobooks while I work. The problem is, I can’t focus on both things. I’m either ignoring my audiobook or I’m ignoring my work. I can’t do both but I still wanna listen to something while I work. Sometimes it’s not music you want to listen to but more of a feeling that someone else is around. This is especially true when you work at home.
The original intent of Etsy Jam is that what if we create a podcast that people just put on and don’t have to necessary worry about missing out on anything? You might zone out for 10 minutes straight but you don’t have to worry about missing anything important. Sometimes maybe what you need is a companion, or some background noise while you carry on with your work.
Along those same lines, if you are looking for something to listen to that isn’t us, we want you to meet Coffitivity. Coffitivity is a sweet online tool that you’d use if you want some background noise. It’s a website you can go to and they have these different environments that you can pick from; like a coffee shop, a restaurant, a college campus etc… and it’s just background noise. It just loops and you can listen to it at whatever volume you want or what I like to do is mix it with Pandora so it feels more like I am in a coffee shop.