Crickets to Cha-Chings Episode 008
What is the #1 most important thing for your creative business?
Hey again and welcome back to another episode of Crickets to Cha-chings. I’m so thankful that you’re back for another week of Etsy talk.
If you are just tuning in to the podcast and this is your first time listening, my name is Lauren and I teach Etsy entrepreneurs to scale their businesses from a side gig or hobby income to a consistent income. I’ve been selling on Etsy for almost 7 years, with six figure sales and have learned so much over that time about online sales and building a business that I love to share now with newer sellers.
So welcome back to the podcast, and in this episode we are going to talk about having a plan for your Etsy shop and how that can dramatically help you as your build your business and scale your shop.
I want to be completely transparent with you, because I don’t believe in slimy sales techniques or blindsiding you with a sales pitch when you aren’t expecting it. So I want to just come out and say it at the beginning of the episode, and then we’ll dive into the meat.
The doors to my signature course, Etsy Roadmap to Success are opening in one week, and I am super pumped to share it with you. I am having a totally free master class, Crickets to Cha-Chings, The 3 step Framework to Building a Profitable Etsy Shop in 2019 and Beyond next week, and I’d love to have you join.
In that class, we’ll have about 45 minutes of learning very similar to these podcasts, where I will talk you through the three step framework that I believe you must follow to build a profitable Etsy shop in 2019.
Then at the end, I’ll introduce you to my course and show you how I can walk you through the step by step process of building a shop that can bring in consistent sales and income, and we’ll have a live Q&A all about the information that I talked about in the masterclass and any questions you have about the course.
If you’re interested in signing up for the masterclass, head on over to www.cricketstochachings.com
So what is a roadmap for your shop, and how does it help you?
When I’m talking about a roadmap, I’m talking about having a step by step plan for your shop that allows you to work on one thing, and then the next thing, and then the next thing in a conscious order. A roadmap brings you from point A to point B without making you feel like you’re running around like a crazy person or like you are just randomly working on things.
How does having a roadmap for your shop help you?
Well, today we’re going to look at 5 ways that it can make or break your shop, and why I think that having a roadmap for your shop is the best thing you can do as a business owner.
Number one -- it helps you to focus.
One of the biggest things that I see Etsy shop owners struggle with is a lack of focus.
As creatives, I think it is super easy for us to get distracted by the next big thing or the next creative idea. I’m totally including myself in that category, because as I’ve talked about in the past with my shop, I wanted to have a lifestyle brand. I basically wanted to build an online magazine of products - anywhere from baby to adult to home goods.
And because I am a one woman show and am running this shop out of my basement without a gazillion dollars to invest in inventory, what I ended up with was a huge piecemeal variety of random things in each category, but without a real flow of inventory or collections that went together.
AND I ended up with such a huge amount of inventory that it was eating up all of my profits.
In fact, prior to really jumping in with making a plan for my business, there were years that I had significant sales, but my profits ended up to be barely worth the time I was spending on my shop.
And that is NOT the goal -- big revenue means nothing if you have tiny profits, and revenue doesn’t pay the bills if there’s no profit left over. Having that roadmap allows you to really focus in on your shop as a business - not a creative hobby that funds your fabric shopping endeavor or breaks even on your craft supplies, but a business that allows you to do all of those things and ALSO take out a paycheck that can actually pay your real, adult bills.
That feels good.
The second reason that having a roadmap for your business is essential is that
it helps you to use your time efficiently
I talked about time management a lot in the previous episode, Episode #7 about planning for the summer, but time management is huge as a shop owner.
It really doesn’t matter if you are just getting started or you’ve been selling on Etsy for years, time management is something that is always going to be important and probably always going to be something that is being adjusted and readjusted.
In this day and age of social media and the internet and constant distractions at every single turn, being focused and efficient is hard.
And it becomes even harder when you don’t have a plan.
It has been a long time since I was a brand new Etsy shop owner, so I tend to forget what those very early days look like because my shop is humming along now without a huge amount of stress on my end, but when I started to build Creative Mom Boss a few years ago I really saw how having that roadmap and plan of action can help to use that time better.
In the past, I’ve used the excuse that I am just so busy as a reason to not be getting things done that I needed to get done, or as a reason that I’m feeling so overwhelmed and overloaded.
But the truth was, I wasn’t so busy as I was unfocused.
I’d sit down at the computer to work, but then I’d just from one thing to the next to the next and I’d look up from the screen a couple hours later and feel like I hadn’t really accomplished any one thing very well.
Now, I have a roadmap for my business, both my Etsy shop and my coaching business, and it helps me to focus in on what needs to be done, use my time effectively, and move on to the next thing. And that gives me mental clarity and freedom to feel like I’m accomplishing things when I’m working and then I’m stepping away to rest without it hanging over my head.
Which brings me to my next point-
Having a roadmap in your business helps you to get over the mindset block of feeling like you don’t know what the next thing you need to be working on is.
Have you ever been in that position? You feel like you have all these things jumbling around in your head mentally weighing you down?
Maybe it’s just me because I kind of have anxiety, so jumbled up thoughts that mentally weigh me down is kind of anxiety in a nutshell, but I find that something that really helps with that and to calm those feeling of running in a million different directions is to have that roadmap.
When I sit down to work, or when I go into my workshop to knock out some orders, I have to have a plan. If I don’t have a plan, I just spin my wheels and don’t really get anything done.
And if I don’t have a plan about what to do next or what my next step is, I end up feeling like there’s this mental block where I’m getting stuck.
Do I need to update my listings? Or should I schedule out some instagram posts? Or maybe I should look at Pinterest...oooh that’s a pretty picture of a living room...maybe I should email back my decorator lady and let her know what kind of couch I’d like to get….and there goes an hour without moving the needle in my business and without overcoming that mental block of not knowing where to focus.
Having a roadmap gets rid of that.
I sit down at the computer to work on one thing, I get it done, I move on.
It’s allowed me to build a business where I work about 15 hours a week in my shop and bring home an income that more than triples my income when I was working full time….and that’s an awesome feeling.
But if I didn’t have a plan, that 15 hours would probably look more like a full time job, and that full time income wouldn’t look like it does.
The fourth reason that I think you need a roadmap in your shop is
that there are just so many voices on the internet telling you so many things, often conflicting with each other, that you need to have once person that you can trust to help you along the way in building your shop.
Do you need to focus on Etsy or build your own ecommerce website? Do you need to blog to drive traffic, or focus on Pinterest, or optimize your SEO, or build an email list or work with Instagram influencers, or get in a local magazine?
There’s a lot of different ways to build a business, and every person is going to give you a slightly different approach to what works for them.
So having a voice that you trust, who has gotten to and is where you want to be with your shop, and who has a plan with proven results is key.
And I’d love to be that person for you, but even if I’m not I think it is important that you find a person that does those things for you.
We each connect with different kinds of personalities or different tones and ways of presenting information, so maybe I am not that one for you, but finding that person can really help you to stop jumping from free blog article to pinterest post with Etsy tips, and to finally have a plan for how to move forward with your shop.
Finally, having a roadmap for your shop makes you in control.
How many times have you felt like you don’t have any idea what to work on, or you feel totally overwhelmed, or you feel like you don’t know where to start?
My guess is plenty.
And we’ve all been there. I wish that I had a plan for my shop when I first got started, because I think I could have built it into a six figure business a lot faster. But I didn’t have a mentor that went before me or a coach that showed me a path to go down -- I spent years with trial and error and going wayyyy down a random path in one direction, only to turnaround and totally scratch that idea and move toward another direction.
I totally had shiny object syndrome - jumping from one cool thing to the next interested idea and the next cute product that I saw advertised somewhere.
If I really and truly could change anything about building my business over the past 7 years, that is what I would change.
I wish I had had better focus when I started.
Because I look back now and I think of all the time I spent working, all the weekends where I would work all day long while my husband watched the kids so that we could avoid paying for childcare, and all the nights I spent working until 1am while my kids slept and my husband was deployed only to get up the next day and do it all over again, and I think that I would have been so much less burned out over the years if I had had a better roadmap plan to follow and more focus on where to head next with my business.
There were times where I almost quit completely, and I’ll talk about that more in an upcoming episode, but I was just so burnt out. I was tired of working on things that weren’t selling, tired of feeling like I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be, and tired of filing taxes at the end of the year with very little actual profits to show for all the hours upon hours I spent working.
Now I don’t want to discount the trial and error.
It is an important time, and I tell my students often that there is a lot of trial and error that just has to happen as you build your shop and really hone in on the niche you want to focus on, but there are also lots of trial and error that can be avoided.
And I think that something that I didn’t recognize when I was first starting out is that time is really one of the only non renewable resources in our lives.
I can remember when I was first working in my shop, and I would drive across town to pick up something at a shop that I needed to fill an order.
My husband would mention the value of my time and how was this making sense with my profits?
And I remember thinking that my time didn’t really have any value - I mean it’s not like I was making money as a stay at home mom, so even if it took me three hours to do an order that gave me $15 in profit, that was $15 that I didn’t have before.
While that is true that it was $15 that I didn’t have before, it also added a lot of stress to my life. So even though my time wasn’t making money in any other venture, there is still a value to it -- and I still think that is true.
A practical example of this for me right now would be starting this podcast.
I’m sure I probably could have started a podcast without any guidance eventually. I could have looked up articles and pieced together random information and tried to keep track of all the things I needed to do and all the podcasting best practices.
And maybe eventually down the road I would have figured out how to do it, and I could have made it better over time, and a few years from now I would have a podcast that was actually decent.
But rather than doing all that and spending a huge amount of TIME trying to figure it out on my own, I went to a podcasting expert, I paid $800 to take a podcasting course, which is a lot of money...I don’t want you to think I’m saying that flippantly, and I launched this podcast within a few weeks of signing up for that course.
I don’t have everything perfect and I’m sure there are ways that I’ll improve it over the next few months and years, but it’s out into the world, I feel good about it, and I can move forward.
I had a plan for how to do it, what to do, what to work on next, and a plan that moved me forward into action.
And I think that is the absolute best part of having a roadmap in any business.
As I said at the beginning, I’m not trying to convince you that my course is the only way to be successful on Etsy, or that you have to sign up for it or you’re never going to get to where you want to be without it.
I don’t think that’s true.
But if you are looking for a faster way, a way to cut through all the noise of the voices on the internet, and all the Etsy “experts” telling you conflicting information, and the overload of ideas and checklists of things to work on, and you want to have a roadmap that helps you to focus on one step at a time, one thing to work on before moving to the next, and a sequence that will get your shop in a place where you are ready to scale, set up for success, and have a business you are proud of, I’d love for your to join my masterclass Crickets to Cha-Chings, the three step framework for building a profitable business in 2019 and beyond.
We’ll talk about what you need to focus on first in building your shop, how to drive traffic to your shop and what the Etsy search engine is looking for, how to convert window shoppers to paying buyers, and how to scale your business.
I’ll also introduce you to my paid coaching program, Etsy Roadmap to Success, and all the bonuses that you get as a masterclass participant. I’m pretty stinkin’ excited about the next group of students that will be coming through the program and the opportunity that awaits them, and I hope you’ll join us. That website again is www.cricketstochachings.com and there are multiple times to sign up for the masterclass.
Once again, I hope that this episode has given you some things to think about in terms of building your own roadmap for your shop, how you build out a plan for action, and how to best focus your time and mental energy for success.
I’ll see you in the masterclass this week, and until then I hope you have a wonderful week of Etsy success. Bye for now!