Buffer Helped Increase My Etsy Views

Whoa! Okay, that title is quite a statement and giving Buffer some props but stay with me.  In addition to reworking the SEO for my Etsy listings, I've stepped up promoting my listing on Twitter. 

BufferThe mistake I made in the past was not sharing the same tweets enough. Maybe a couple of tweets throughout the same day the item was posted and that's it.  I thought anything more would be spammy. That was foolish.  

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I wasn't adding enough of my personality in my item tweets,  just "NEW! Beaded Red Jade Earrings in the shop! http://blahblahblah" - that's kind of lame.

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It is fun trying to come up with new wording to make my items more interesting. When I do, I got to make sure people actually see it.  My tweet activity is maybe 50 views on average, which is not much.

Buffer is my new favorite tool for scheduling my Etsy/Storenvy shop item tweets.  I can still do this on Hootsuite but I visually like how Buffer lays out up to 10 tweets (I always include an image), or you can "Upgrade To Awesome" - which I'm considering, and add up to 100 posts and tweets and add more accounts including Pinterest.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.34.36 AMEtsy sellers (myself included) complained about the drop in shop views.  Retagging items and rewording titles and description helped, but I really saw a jump when I began scheduling tweets on Buffer between midnight and 6:00 am as well as throughout the day.  Comparing Etsy views from January through April 2014 to this year, my views have doubled!  

Twitter is still my favorite Social Media platform and I'm seeing "buff.ly" referrals surpassing Pinterest as my top referrer for 2015.  That's the other thing, "Twitter" does not show up in Etsy stats as a referrer.  The links you share on Twitter show up as Direct Traffic so you don't know for sure if people are clicking those links.  At least with Buffer, you get a better idea.  

You can schedule your tweets manually or add them to a queue with designated times you set up so your updates go out around the same time.  

Have I mentioned the Analytics feature? While I'm not as concerned about "Follower" numbers, I do like looking at performance statistics for different things. For someone who hates math, I have a thing for numbers!

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.52.22 AMThe Analytics tab in Buffer shows the recent updates that went out and how much interaction it had.  It gives you a better idea of what's working and what doesn't.   IFTTT, Hootsuite, and now Buffer are all included in my toolbox of time-management greatness.  What do you like to use? 


Working From Home - One Year Later

Working From Home

NOTE: I have a new layout!  If you're viewing this in a reader, visit www.pulpsushi.com to see the new look!

It was a year ago this month that I said goodbye to my long, grueling commute and quit my full-time job. The year went by fast! I can't say the transition has been easy but I welcome not having to commute anymore, especially after the winter we've had with this much snow.  

The downside has been that I'm making way less money and I've had moments where I've wondered if I made the right decision.  I was hoping Pulp Sushi would bring in just a little bit more money since I had more time now to promote it.  Pulp Sushi profited for the first time in 2014 but I don't have anything to show for it yet and am hardly in a position to say Pulp Sushi is supporting me enough to make up for the pay difference.  I had many depressing bouts and questioned just what the hell I was doing.  I'm lucky to have Mike supporting me and continues to be very encouraging. While those doubts still pop-up, I'm glad I made the decision I did.

I still "get dressed" every day. Even if it's not business casual clothes, I still need to get out of my pajamas or else I'll feel like a bum.  I keep my routine of eating my meals at regular schedules and not get thrown off.  Some days the TV doesn't even go on until after 1:00 pm because I don't want to get distracted. I don't check my iPhone until after I've at least eaten breakfast.  I am most productive and motivated in the morning and start to slow things down in the early afternoon.  I've been exercising more too which is something I really needed to do.

Another thing that helped me get out of my funk was listening to podcasts while exercising and working. It's been a great help. I listen to a mix of wrestling podcasts and business-related podcasts. Some of my favorite business podcasts to listen to are: 

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I love being home, but sometimes miss going outside. I try to go out at least once a day but you know how that goes, some days you're just not feeling it.  We're limited to one car and while I have a drivers license, I have some serious anxiety about driving I need to get over.  I can walk down to Starbucks or Panera Bread and work from there for an hour or two. I really need to do that more just so I can be outside and around people even if I'm not socializing. 

It would be nice to have company once a month, whether it's just one other person or ten, doesn't matter. Just something to look forward to where I can meet with other people in person and just talk about what we're working on, struggling with in our business, etc.  Connecting with people on the internet isn't an issue, I've joined a few groups on Facebook which have been pretty cool.  I also joined One Woman Show this month so this year looks to be about reaching out and networking. I can only do SO much promoting and hustling on my own and what I'm starting to learn is that I just can't do alone, I don't think anyone can.

Are you still juggling more than one job while pursing your ideal career? Do you work from home too? How do you feel when you're not socializing as much as you used to?


Let's Get To Work: Auditing Your Etsy Shop

Audit_etsy

And when I say "Your" Etsy shop, I really mean mine ha ha!  During one of my recent "oh whoa is me" phases, I decided to listen Dave's interview with digital artist John Golden for his Fresh Rag Podcast.  The subject was how John was able to increase his Etsy sales 400% by reworking his SEO strategy.  That is not a typo, that's four hundred.  I was taking notes. With Etsy AND Google changing their algorithms, it can be a daunting task.

I know it's not a matter of my work sucking, because it doesn't, it's just not being seen by enough people.  I'm tired of complaining about lack of sales. I've heard from many Etsy sellers saying their business was at an all time low last year so I can't take this personal anymore.  We're all hustling!

It's been a long time since I've sat down and audited my Etsy shop. It's time to put some work in again, and not just tweeting and pinning things out there. It's a big job so it's got to approach this with small steps. 

Edit Title, Tags Descriptions

Every day I've been going through my listings and reworking a couple of items at a time with titles, descriptions and tags.  This will help not only in Etsy searches (which has switched to relevancy) but search engines too.  Giving items pretty names aren't as relevant anymore.  You really need to think like a customer and what they would be looking for and just stick with that. Keep it simple, don't over think it.

More Listings

I duplicated some items and moderated the tags and listings a little.  Maybe 13 tags aren't enough for an item, here's 13 more!  I've seen jewelry shops with 500+ listings.  Maybe I won't add that many but I have seen other shops practice this so I'm trying it out with some items. I don't plan on listing two of everything but my goal to have at least 100 listings posted at all times.

Add__, Favorite ___

If you're on any Etsy teams, you see these threads pop up so I've gotten in on them.  You share a certain number of items from your shop and in exchange you favorite a certain number of other items from the thread previously.  This is purely just to get your item posted on front pages for others to see.  It's quick and easy to do and it has helped with my pageview stats.

Photography

Other than updating some of my backgrounds to my older items to match my more recent items, I'm happy overall with the look of my product images.  Scrapbook paper stock and natural light are still my friend.

Have you reworked your shop recently?


Business Inspiration: You *ARE* A Designer!

I make jewelry, I'm a jewelry maker. Whether I am putting a charm on a chain, or intricately making a chainmail bracelet or hand-wiring a necklace, I'm still "making" jewelry. Crafter, Maker, Designer - I'm only comfortable with two of these words.

Designer

"Crafter" because yeah I like to be crafty and do things with my hands (knit, crochet, make jewelry, do handmade "stuff").  "Maker" because like I said, I make jewelry.  Some people use the word "Maker" because they don't like saying "Crafter", I embrace both.

"Designer", now that is a word that has been a little harder to swallow.  I don't know why, I see a lot of people describe themselves as a "Jewelry Designer", why can't I? What classifies one as a "Designer" anyway?

A person who devises or executes designsespecially one who creates forms, structures, and patterns, as for works of art or machines.

Okay. Check! I can't draw to save my life but that doesn't stop me from sketching ideas in my notebook.  I would stop whatever I am doing just to get a sketch down before I lose it. I get an idea and bring it to life.  Sometimes it works out, other times it's better left an idea but it's the process that matters I think.

Lately I've been reading a lot of blog posts and listening to podcasts gearing towards empowerment, motivation  and building confidence with your business and other aspects of your life. I love reading blogs like Galadarling, Kyla Roma, and The Nectar Collective. I also recently downloaded Ashley Wilhite's free e-book from Your Super Awesome Life, highly recommended. 

I'm my biggest critic, I think we all are but I have allowed that critic to hold me back for too long.  It's all about how you handle your own criticism - either believe it or prove it wrong, just like any other critic!  I need to stop playing down what I do as nothing to be taken seriously.  And stop with the comparisons!  Everyone chooses their own path and direction so I can't measure my own success based on what others have done.

So today I start anew, no more downplaying who I am and what I do.  Jewelry Designer!  How do you title yourself and your work?


Small Business Tip: Sometimes You Have To Say 'No'

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As a small business, it can be hard to turn down a custom order especially if a nice chunk of change can be made.  But just like we shouldn't price our items for less just to make a quick a buck, the same applies to potential custom orders. 

This week I got a convo where someone asked if I can do 20 (that's TWENTY) of a particular necklace in my shop. While I'm good with bulk chains and general jewelry supplies, charms are a different story and the charms I like to use come from a specific shop that presses these here, not "Made In China". Naturally, this costs a little more which also means I can only purchase so many at once. 

I am also not in the position where my items are just flying out of the shop so I constantly need to restock.  So asking for 20 of anything from me is a tall order.   Of course it can be done, but with some time and a deposit.  Overall I was asked for $500 with a $150 deposit.  I don't think this is unreasonable especially if this is to be done in the next couple of weeks.  

Instead I get a response saying that they had "another seller who can guarentee a quick delivery...".  They didn't exactly turn me down, but they didn't say "ok" either.  I had a bad feeling this would turn into a back and forth bullshit so I had to end this quick and tell them that they probably should go with the other person.  

The person wasn't rude or anything but I still got annoyed. If this person just said "Ok, I'll send the deposit right away!" then I wouldn't be writing this post.  I wish I had a nice studio where I was so organized and had nice little compartments and shelving for my supplies and inventory but I don't.  I have a messy corner in my lliving room and it's been this way for years. 

It is just frustrating that we still need to justify wanting to get PAID for our craft. Have you experienced a similar situation where you had to turn an offer down because it just seemed unreasonable? 


Favorite Instagrams To Follow

Favorite InstagramsTo Follow

Out of all the super hot social media platforms, Instagram continues to grow and has beat out Facebook and Twitter in popularity amongst the young folk. I love it! I didn't know what I was doing with it at first but it's now something I look at several times a day.  Today I wanted to show off some of my favorite Instagram accounts, not to say I don't enjoy them all, otherwise I wouldn't follow them.

Before I do that, I wanted to share some thoughts I had while preparing this post.  One of those thoughts was: 

I need to step up my Instagram game!!

Seriously!  It's great to promote your items and share your life but whoa, it can get a little bit crazy. At least it did for me. I got a little bit of everything going on with a link to my Etsy shop and a mention that I  make jewelry in my profile.  Sure, I want to gain more followers on Instagram because you're instantly in everyone's pocket (on their phone) and people check their phones more than their computers. 

One thing that these IG favorties have in common is consistency with their images which may be why I'm so drawn to them.  I can go through my feed and identify who the image is from without looking at the name.   If Instagram is not a good test on branding, I don't know what is!  Let's take a closer look....

Favorite Instagram Picks - Part 1I love Everyday Is A Holiday and their throwback art catering to the sweet tooth when people didn't care about organic, gluten-free bullshit.  Their overall color scheme has always been soft pink and teal or super light blue - all the way down to Jenny's hair! You can see more @jennyeveryday

Favorite Instagram Picks - Part 1I don't follow any big box companies on Instagram except for Lowe's, yeah that's right - a store I hardly ever go in to, not because I have beef with Lowe's, it's just because there's a Home Depot just 5 minutes away. Anyway, I first noticed Lowe's cool promotion on Pinterest and discovered that their Instagram was just as pretty after Victoria from SF Girl By Bay was guest Instagrammer for them not too long ago.  Take a look at their pretties @loweshomeimprovement

Favorite Instagram Picks - Part 1I first met Rebecca Peacock when I was doing the Bazaar-on-Hudson market in Cold Spring.  Her jewelry is so elegant, classy, and "casually luxurious" (her words) and her images reflect that in tone and setting.  You can see more @rebecca_peacock

Favorite Instagram Picks - Part 1One of my favorite shirts to wear is from The Stay Home Club.  Funny enough, I learned about their business through a Instagram giveaway (I didn't win).  Great product and customer appreciation photos, plus regular giveaways.  Follow them @stayhomeclubofficial

Favorite Instagram Picks - Part 1Yay Nguyen! From her needle-felt eyeball ornaments to embroidered animal pendants, this girl's work is flawless.   Her IG is a perfect mix of promotion, behind the scenes and just living life to the fullest.  Follow along @knitknitetsy.

Do you have an Instagram account? Do you use it to promote your business/blog? Or is just for personal amusement? 


Blog Changes: No More Sponsorships

Sponsor

My sidebar is looking a little different. That's because I'm got rid of most swaps and sponsor ads (except one).  I still like to share links to the blogs I follow so I made it simple by adding a link to my Bloglovin' follows page.   I remember a LONG time ago when people use to have a page on their blog for the "Blog Roll" and it would be a long list of links of blogs they followed. I had one too, but I think this is easier.   My sidebar was starting to look a little "busy". 

I still accept ads but only in one size and only for a feature or host a giveaway.  That's it, no small, medium, large and what perks you get with each size.  Keeping it simple - that's my motto for the year!  So if there's anyone I was swapping ads with, you are welcome to take down my ad from your blog.  I follow many of you on Bloglovin' anyway so you may find youself included in that link.  If you're not listed, let me know and I will add you asap!

I also moved my social media buttons to the Navigation Bar, again - simple, less clutter in my sidebar.  These changes should tie me over for now.  Have you made any changes or would like to make changes to your blog this year?


Looking Ahead 2015

Hope everyone rang in the New Year safely!  This post is totally an excuse to show off my new planner from Sarah Pinto. :)

Looking Ahead 2015

Seriously though, like many people, I don't bother with resolutions but a new year is a good time to set intensions for yourself.  My intensions are usually the same:

Lose weight. How original. I'm happy to say this is on track. After several previous attempts and failing miserably, I finally found my groove that keeps me motivated daily.  If I don't go for my walk/jog at least five times a week, I feel thrown off. And the earlier in the day I go, the better.  I'll talk about this more next week.

Develop Blog. This is something I do throughout the year but now I'm thinking about simplifying my blog and streamline it a little. I have some ideas in my head but still need to map it out.  I'm not going in a different direction, just going to rework some things a little.  

Build Shop. I hope to find more offline selling opportunities too - markets, craft fairs, stores.  If you know of any shops that would be interested in carrying my jewelry, shoot me at email at marilyn@pulpsushi.com. Selling on Etsy kind of sucked in 2014 as it did for many sellers but I don't plan on leaving Etsy and will still keep it as my main online presence.  I will keep the Storenvy shop for now but like previous attempts, I've fallen off keeping it updated.  When will I learn?  I might get rid of that too.

GETTING RID OF STUFF seems to be the theme here.  Looking at my work/craft space (corner of my livingroom) and it's looking super cluttered.  There are things piled up that I have not touched in years so I think I need to address this too. When I look at this space, I don't even want to go near it.

I really want to try to make the most out of 2015 so that when December comes and I put my recap posts together again, I can think "Man, 2015 was AWESOME!". I hope so.  


Holiday Craft Fair in Beacon Recap

Ok here's my last Craft Fair recap of the year and it ended on a great note.  I was back at The Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY with The Hudson Valley Etsy Team this past Saturday and it was a blast!  And I took pictures!  I'll share just a few, you can see the rest of them on our team's Facebook page.

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Space is *very* limited, down to four feet so here's my little table. I made it work!

Photo Dec 13, 10 06 32 AM

My neighbor was Kokma Toys, look how fun! 


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I picked up some Hudson Naturals soap at the Hullabaloo a few weeks back but it was nice to see them again. I did leave with new beer soap from Beyond The Picket Fence.


Photo Dec 13, 10 27 42 AM
I took this shot early in the day before it got really busy. I love love love spending the day in this space. The Christmas decorations makes it all the more lovely.  


New Bracelets At Pulp Sushi

I'm happy to share the new bracelets added to the shop this week.  I recently talked about trying out chainmaille jewelry and I am officially hooked.  It's also nice to offer some jewelry for men now.  Click on the images to visit their Etsy listing.

You've heard me talk about the store Galaxie 13 a couple of times. I'm happy to share that my Lady Skeleton Cameo necklaces are now for sale in their shop.  I think they will fit in their oddities motif very well. 

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I made the conscious decision to remove these from the shop because they're just sitting there and not getting to many views. I think they have a better chance of being seen and selling in a b&m store than in my online shop. It may sound backwards but that has been the case with other stores so we'll see how this works.  

There's still time to purchase an ad space for November and December.  Your shop will be included in my special Holiday Gift Guide series with ad purchase.