Monday, February 28, 2011
So I did a little experiment and these are my findings:
EXPERIMENT: To find out where I have spent most of my time during the day, I have recorded every detail of my day. Including but not limited to: how long I spent eating breakfast, getting ready in the morning, time spent on the phone, time spent on the computer, drinking coffee, where I had gone to that day, time spent in traffic, time spent driving, grocery shopping, etc...
I made a chart (with rows and columns). On the rows, I wrote the day and then I wrote the activities I did under here too. On the columns, I wrote the time and how long it took me to do each activity.
So long story short, by keeping a written record of where I have been, what I have done, and my activities throughout the day, I have resulted in the following findings (these are the average calculation from my findings, used to give you an idea):
Time getting ready: 8-8:45am (45 min.)
Breakfast: 8:45-9am (15 minutes)
Coffee time: 9am-10:30am (1 hours & 30 min.)
Phone Calls: 10:30-11:30am (1 hour)
Computer time: 11:30-3:30pm (5 hours)
Errands: 3:30-7:30pm (4 hours (including drive time)
Coffee Break: 7:30-8:00pm (30 min.)
Dinner: 8-9pm (1 hour)
Computer time: 9-11pm (2 hours)
Getting ready for bed: 11-11:30pm (30 min)
Computer time: 11:30-12:30pm (1 hour)
CONCLUSION: So according to my data, I have found that I spent most of my day either on the phone or on my computer. It is the time spent on the computer that has been eating away the minutes of my day. But even though when I am on the computer to do my business (blogging, FB, forums, etsy shop), I think that I do get side track. Even though I keep telling myself that I am not to spend anymore than 1 hour a day blogging and on Facebook; I still end up hours online. It is because I get easily carried away with the topics in the forums or emails from people. The conclusion is that I need some kind of a system or method to better manage my time. But the most important thing is that I have to keep to it, stick to my schedule,and not get side track. This is going to be a BIG challenge.
1. Set a schedule
2. Have a daily and weekly planner
3. Set your calendar on your phone
4. Google has a really good calendar online for free.
5. Have an egg timer for smaller tasks.
6. Don't go to websites that are NOT on your schedule.
7. Do not go shopping on Etsy when you are suppose to list items in your shop.
8. Do not have wondering eyes and check out items in other people's shop (I am so guilty of this).
9. Most importantly, stick to your schedule.
10. Have a buddy system. Have your friends, husband, or kids check up on you, and remind you when you have to get off the computer and on to the next task.
I would love to hear of the different things that you try to do to stay on schedule. Please write to me or comment on my blog.
- Network with people that you know and spread the word slowly.
- Remember, nothing happens overnight. Building a business means you have to start with a good foundation.
- Keep your word...if you say that you are going to do something, then make sure that you do it. There is nothing people in business dislike more than a flaky person or business that they are dealing with. You want others to know that you are reliable, otherwise you will loose business so fast.
- Make sure all of your public images (Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Shop, Logo, Brand, Labels) have the same company message and theme. You want everything to look cohesive as one company and not having a bunch of confusing and conflicting themes and messages. You want to articulate a CLEAR company message and product offering.
- Organization and simplicity in your idea and images are key.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
I wanted to change things up a bit and not talk about business today. As we all know, food prices is going through the roof. With the cold front that went through Mexico last week, it has killed off 99% of the food crops in Mexico that was planning to make its way up to the US and Canada. Walmart shelves all over the country are getting thinner and thinner on fresh fruits and vegetables due to the unforeseen changes in the weather patterns.
Why am I writing this article? Well, I believe that all of us should have a small reserve of food in our home for our family. We may never know what is going to happen in the coming months. Many of my readers may be skeptical and not believe me when I am telling them of all of the natural disasters that are happening around the world. But I have seen the news, headline stories, and of course talking to my friends and family from overseas have lead me to write this post.
Below is a list of foods that will lasts for a very long time (even after they have been opened). As long as you store them in a dry cool place and out of the sun, rain, extreme heat, and extreme cold, these foods should last forever (according to experts).
Regardless of whether your sugar is white, brown, or powdered, it will never spoil because it doesn't support bacterial growth.
The challenge with sugar is to keep it from hardening into chunks. To keep sugar fresh, store it in an airtight container or seal it in a plastic bag. If your brown sugar is more like a brown rock, you can revive it with just a minute in the microwave on low heat.
2. Pure vanilla extract
If you have pure vanilla extract in the back of the cupboard, there's no need to throw it out because it lasts forever. It may be more expensive than its imitation counterpart, but its shelf life certainly outweighs the extra cost.
Keep that vanilla flavor at its best by sealing the botttle after each use and storing it in a cool, dark place.
White, wild, jasmine, arborio and basmati rice all keep forever so there's no need to throw them out. Brown rice is the one exception because it has a higher oil content so store it in the refrigerator or freeze it to maximize its shelf life. Once you've opened a bag or box of rice, move it to an airtight container or resealable freezer bag to keep it fresh.
4. Corn starch
You can thicken gravies and sauces for years with just one box of corn starch because it keeps indefinitely. Store this kitchen staple in a cool, dry area and be sure to reseal it tightly after each use.
Whether you use it in your tea, on your toast or as an alternative sweetener, that jar of pure honey is good forever. It may get grainy or change color, but it's still safe to eat — and delicious — because its antibiotic properties keep it from spoiling.
You can help keep it fresh by storing it in a cool area, and you can improve the quality of crystallized honey by placing the jar in warm water and stirring it until the grainy parts dissolve.6. Salt
The contents of your salt shaker will never spoil, regardless of whether it's basic table salt or sea salt. Simply store it in a cool, dry place and salt will keep indefinitely.
7. Corn syrup
If you come across a years-old bottle of corn syrup in your pantry, don't throw it out. This sweetener keeps indefinitely as long as you keep it sealed and store it in a cool, dry area.
8. Maple syrup
What good are pancakes or waffles without maple syrup? Luckily, this flavorful syrup will never spoil if you refrigerate it or freeze it. For long-term storage, seal it in an airtight plastic container and freeze it.
"The freezer is such a useful tool that can really save you money because there are very few foods that don't freeze well,"
9. Distilled white vinegar
This wonder product can be used for everything, from making marinades and salad dressings to cleaning house and doing laundry. But the best thing about distilled white vinegar is that it lasts for years. Simply close it tightly after each use and store the bottle in a cool, dark place.
Monday, February 21, 2011
This blog post was inspired by a post in a team forum (Etsy Entrepreneurs Team). One team member today had a thought of when she can expect to start to quit her day job and be able to run her shop full time. And then I had a question that came up..."When can we expect to turn a profit?"
It takes an average of 3-5 years for a physical store to turn a profit. There is a lot of costs associated with start-up costs. Equipments purchases, materials costs, and inventory costs.
I have a lot of items in my shop, so I have to hold a good quantities of inventory on hand. That means, my inventory cost is pretty high. My start up cost is pretty high too because I had to buy in materials and equipments to start my shop.
In the beginning, these are my start up costs:
- I bought a brand new camera to take good pictures with.
- I bought a brand new apple computer to run my shop with because my PC keeps getting viruses and crashing.
- I bought new lighting for pictures taking.
- I bought new equipments and tools to hand make my crafts.
- I had to have enough samples to start a shop.
- Office supplies
- packaging materials
Advantages of having an online shop:
- No monthly rent (saves thousands $$$)
- tax write off (everything above)
- No landlord that you have to answer to
- No employees to pay yet (in the beginning)
- You are your own boss
- Doing what you love (priceless)
When can I expect to earn a profit?
Here is a simple way to measure how long it will take you to make a profit:
(Start up cost + inventory cost) divide by your average monthly profit (subtract your costs from the total sales)= the number of months it will take you to break-even...and then after that, you will start to turn a profit. **but this is an estimate because it does not take into consideration marketing costs (relisting fees, etc...)
But it should give you an idea.
It is faster to turn a profit with an online store than it is if you have a physical store. But that is not always the case. Some online shops rents out warehouses to house their inventory; but most of the smaller shop owners use their house or an extra spare bedroom to house their craft business.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I have had a few readers who have asked me to write a tutorial on the benefits of having a Business License and taxes.
****I am not a CPA or an Accountant. Any tax or legal advice that I share here are from my own experiences doing business and dealing with these issues. You should ALWAYS consult a CPA or an Accountant for taxes and other business licenses advice. I hold no legal responsibilities.****
You should research your City, Town, and State Business License tax info on the IRS website or go to the chamber of commerce. Some states you can even file for a business license online. Go to your state website, usually there is a link there for the IRS department in your state.
Getting a Business License usually only costs anywhere from $18 to $50 (depending on the state) to file (it might be a little bit more now, since I have filed a few years ago). But you have so much more tax benefits, which means that you will get more money back on your income tax returns.
Having a business license means that EVERYTHING that you buy, spend, cost you, and use on your business is a tax write-off.
Here is a small list of what you purchase that can be written off on your taxes as a business expense:
Part of your home rent/mortgage (because you are using your home as a studio or an office)
Craft fair cost/fees/expense
Your internet bill
Employees salary (if you have employees)
...you should have a trusted CPA (accountant) to talk to and consult you more on this matter.
***Also, if your business do not make any money or if you break even, then you do not owe any taxes, you most likely will get money back at the end of the year.
An easy way to keep your business expenses organized is to have a separate Bank Account dedicated just for your all of your business expenses and use. And you should have a credit card or a bank card that is to be used ONLY for business expenses and use. This way, you can just go online, and see all of your expenses in one place. This makes tax time a whole lot easier and less stressful. Having your business expenses separated from your personal expenses means that you save a lot of time when tax time comes around. You do not have to dig through and sort out your business expenses from your personal expenses.
The BEST way of getting a license is to contact your CPA/ Accountant. They can do all of the paperwork for you...all of you have to do is Sign! Isn't that awesome. Now, for all of you "do-it-self" girls out there, you can go to the IRS department building in your state/city (look it up on google by typing in your state, city, and the "IRS department building"), and pay for the license and fill out the forms there. However, I absolutely advice that you get a CPA/Accountant to do the paperwork for you. Either way, you are going to have to tell your CPA/Accountant because they have to know to do your taxes at the end of the year. Now, Your CPA/Accountant may or may not charge you a fee for the paperwork filing.
Just between you and me: My CPA did NOT charge me for the paperwork filing. It was a 1 page form that he electronically filled out for me. And all I had to do was sign on the dotted line.
Oh, another business tip: Make sure you know how to file your business license.
What??? there are more than one way to file????
Yes, there is!
Okay, here is a quick Summary...
choice 1: File as a sole proprietorship (owner, doing business as yourself).
Filing as a Partnership is the same as a sole proprietorship (except with more than 1 owner).
Choice 2: File as an LLC (Limited Liability Company)
Choice 3: File as a S Corporation or a Corporation
I am sure there are other ways as well, but these are the 3 most popular ways that people file for businesses.
Pros and Cons for Each type:
sole proprietorship: YOU are liable for EVERYTHING. So I don't really recommend this. But it is the easiest form of business filing. Filing as a Partnership is the same thing. Except there are more than 1 owners to go after if something goes wrong. Lawyers loves this, because there are more assets involved. yikes! Plus, if things don't work out, you have to sever the business partnership by dividing business liabilities and assets that are involved. This can get very very tricky if you have a lot of business assets and liabilities.
Filing as an LLC (Limited Liability Company): This is my FAVORITE. You get so much more protection for your personal and professional assets. **I will explain more indepth in a different thread since this can get very very long). However, it will require a little bit of money. It costs about $250 to file for an LLC. you can do it on Legal Zoom for about $70. I don't recommend doing it on Legal Zoom because they DO NOT do everything for you. Okay, here is how the LLC process works: You have to reserve your LLC name (cost money). Then after that you fill out a form. Mail the form. After your LLC has been accepted, you then have to declare your existence by publishing ads in a few State/Local, and National Trade Publications (newspapers/magazines)....I know, this can get confusing! Pay the ads fees to the media publications. (Fees varies per publications). This is why I recommend finding someone to do it for you. Hint: your CPA can do all of this for you! After a few weeks (usually 3 weeks), your LLC is official!
Filing as an S-Corporation or a Corporation:
Great protection for your personal and business assets. But it does require a lot more work than an LLC. You are required to declare tax filings per quarter/semi annual/ect...(Talk to your CPA for more detail). Unless you have more than 50 employees, this is not really recommended for small home base businesses like ours.
***If I am incorrect on any of the above topics, please let me know and correct me***
****All of the info here-in are based on my own personal experience doing business and what I have heard from my CPA and other business individuals. Before you do anything, you must consult with your CPA/Accountant for YOUR specific business needs. I take no responsibility for these information.****
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
So Martha Stewart Claims that she spends 5 minutes a day on twitter. Of course she has an assistant who does the typing for her, but when she can't type the message herself, she dictates it over the phone. Gosh, I wish I had someone who I can dictate the blogging and Facebooking stuff for me. But to this day, Martha has accumulated about 2 millions loyal fans and she has about 72,000 facebook friends.
In New York City, during an interview/marketing event, Martha shared her business advice (specifically social media marketing). Here are her advice (the following are taken verbatum from another source, because I didn't want to distort the message coming from Martha herself):
- Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. At its core, Stewart said, social marketing is about finding your own voice and communicating your brand’s personality. “Authenticity is extremely important in all social media,” she explained. That means no ghost-writing, but it also means that you shouldn’t feel pressured to comply with other people’s ideas about how you should express yourself. An example: Stewart likes to write in unpunctuated streams, and sometimes even in block capitals, though some tell her it’s against the rules. “Who the heck made these rules?” Stewart said. “That’s the way I type. It’s charming.”
- Find yourself a good co-pilot. Throughout her keynote, Martha Stewart tossed questions and remind-me-later asides at Eliad Laskin, her all-purpose technical guru. Laskin helps Stewart with everything from captioning photos to using technical tricks to grow her following on Twitter, and Stewart has even been known to dictate tweets over the phone when she’s unable to reach her iPad. That streamlines the process and leaves Martha with her hands free to focus on the really important stuff — like figuring out how to simmer a complicated recipe down to 140 characters.
- Go where your customers are — and remember that everyone’s a customer. Different social platforms attract different crowds, and they’ve all got something to offer your business. Instead of picking one platform, Stewart advises finding ways to adjust your pitch to reach the different communities that form online. Stewart has found that her Facebook fans tend to be most interested in fashion, while Twitter users love recipes and the sense that they’re having a real conversation with her. The most important thing, Stewart said, is to be responsive and respectful, and not to sneer at groups you’re not actively involved with. “You have to say that everyone’s fabulous,” Stewart said.
- Let the tail wag the dog. A good social strategy involves a willingness to experiment and an openness to letting your business follow wherever those experiments lead. Stewart points to the Daily Wag, a blog she runs that features photos and first-person updates from her beloved French bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey. The apparently frivolous site’s reception led Stewart to run sponsored webisodes featuring the pups, and eventually, to develop a pet-products line in partnership with PetSmart. “That all started with a blog,” Stewart says. “If it’s there, try it — that’s my motto.”
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Make a daily schedule: Divide up your day by the hour. Write out your daily schedule, including the chores that you must do everyday or every week. For example, My day starts at 8am. I would get a cup of coffee and browse my emails, facebook, blog, and check out my etsy shop for about 1 hour. Then I would check to see if I have any orders from the night before, and package those. At noon, I have to go to the post office. And my day job takes over from noon to about 8pm at night. So I have to make sure to write down my routine and cross off the hours that are taken out for me to do my routines every day.
Now the little extra minutes or hours that I have free in between my schedule, I would fill it up with things that I could be doing/should be doing for my business. Example, pick up postage supplies on my way to work or on my lunch break. Answer emails and blog while I wait at the doctor's office (and usually you sit in the lobby for a really long time, so make use of your time).
Organize your list of things to do according to priority. So Chores and tasks that are the most important and have the earliest deadline, you would make those at the top of your list. Chores that could wait a while, will be towards the bottom of your list.
And of course to cut distractions while you get your business done, do not have the TV on. Studies show that people who have the T.V. turn on while they work or while they are at home, on average ended up wasting at least 3 hours of their day watching whatever was on the TV. So you could use an extra 3 hours to finish up a lot of very important things that you should be doing for your business...like Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Etsy forums, ect....
Make sure no matter how busy you are, that you schedule at least 1 day out of your schedule for you! On your Off Day, you can use it to do the things that have put aside for too long, spend time with your kids (family). If you put 100% of your time into your business and nothing else...you will end up very drained. And at the end of the day, you will have nothing left to give to yourself. Before you can take care of your business or other people, you must take the time first to take care of yourself. If you are not well, then you cannot be the most efficient as you can be. And if you cannot be there for you, then you will not be able to be there for your business, friends, and family.
One of the most important thing that I have to stress is that you MUST take time to tend to your health. My mother works a 14+ hours work day for the last 21 years as a chef. And she feels that she cannot take time away from her business because she thinks that it will fall apart without her being there all of the time. And she failed to make time to see a doctor for her annual checkup and mamograms...and sadly to say, that one day, when she was doing a self examination (in the shower), she felt something abnormal in one of her breast. Went to get it checked out and to make a long story short, she had to have surgery. Lucky for her it was not malignant, it was benign. So ladies, please please please no matter how busy you are, you must make time for yourself and put yourself first.
Women are giving naturally and we are selfless by nature. We give so much of ourselves to our business, our customers, our family, our friends, but not to ourselves. And I know that it is very difficult to juggle being a mom, running a business, being a wife, and having a day job. But if we have an organized schedule, organized list of things to do, and cross it off as you finish each tasks, prioritize your list, allot a specific amount of time and deadline to finish each task, then you will get it done in a timely manner. Now don't stress out...take a deep breathe...and take one thing at a time.
The most important thing is to be organized. I don't know how you are, but for me (and most other women that I know and have talked to) if my workspace is disorganized, I cannot function until it is somewhat under control. Organize your inventory, work area, desk, and schedule. Have a set place for everything, especially your everyday tools that you use the most. I label everything. And I also put everything back in the same place each and every time that I use something. I have trained my brain to get used to where everything is. That way I can save time when I am not spending my valuable time searching for things. I also hate loosing things because it frustrates me when I can't find something that I need, and it is usually when I have a very close deadline when I can't find what I need to finish my project...sounds like you? Then you need to get organized.
Organizing your workspace: start in one corner and work your way to the other side of the room. I always start with the small chores first before I attack the big stuff. If you attack the small stuff first, you will finish off things rather quickly. This will get you motivated to finish organizing the rest of the area. Some people make the mistake of attacking the bigger task first (thinking that it will make them more efficient), and after many hours of spending their time on it, they will get discourage, because they see very little results or no difference at all. This is why I like to start with the smaller things first. Get it out of the way, and you will feel good when you are able to cross things off your "to do" list.
If you are so busy with your business that you cannot keep up with the orders...that is telling you that you need to bump up your prices. And don't worry if you notice the number of sales decreasing; you will make up for it because you will make more money per sale, so you will end up making the same amount of money but doing less work.
Procrastination: many of us, fall into this category. Don't feel bad, you are NOT the only one. I have struggle with procrastination for years. It is so hard not to procrastinate when you feel overwhelmed and out of control. We procrastinate because when we feel a lot of anxiety and pressure to do something, our fears start to take over. When you fear or dislike to do something, you either don't do it, or you procrastinate. Most of the time we choose to procrastinate because we can't just escape the task at hand completely...so we let it linger on and on...But there is really no escape from the task, so why don't we just finish the task first and get it over with? Don't you agree with me that most of the time when you procrastinate on something, when you are done with the task, feel that it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be. Sounds familiar? The fears that we create for ourselves is the worst, it is not the task.
Work Smarter, not Harder. Remember that. Just do it! Nike got this one right! The longer you wait to get something done, chances are it will not get done. So just get the things that you can get done out of the way first and then you move on to the next task. Making a list of things in the order of priority, will help you tremendously. These are tools and tips that most people already know and it is mostly common sense. But how many of us know something and don't do it? Yes, you see my point. I know that there are a lot more tips and tricks out there to help you stay organized, more efficient, and not to procrastinate. And if you want to share any of your tips and tricks with me so that I can add to this blog, please feel free to email me or send me a comment. Thank you!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Nonsense, all of us are interesting people. That being said, we all have friends who think that we are pretty awesome to hang out with. And I know that each and everyone of us holds a special gift that God has given us, just ready to be shared with to the world. Plus, I bet that you are one of those types of people that others run to for advice all of the time...am I right? How many times a day do you do something that no one else knows how to do or can do? Do you see my point? We all have a lot of interesting things to share, so never discount yourself..EVER!!!
Here we go...let's start. I will break it down to you in easy segments and steps so that you will not be intimidated by the world of blogging anymore. After this small lesson, you should feel confident enough to venture out and at least start a blog (if you don't have one yet), or brush up your existing blog.
LESSON ONE: What do I write about?
Oh, the million dollar question. I think that most people when confronted with whether to have a blog or not get stuck on this question. And most of us think that we have nothing interesting to share and that who would want to read our blog. I want you to erase ALL of that negative thinking out of your mind. Know (not just think or believe), you must Know that you do have many interesting and unique experiences that you can share with the rest of the world.
Ask yourself these questions:
What are my interest? What do I find interesting?
What am I good at? What do I do that I am an expert at?
What makes me happy? What gets me so excited?
What do you do for a living? If you are a stay at home mom...that is even better. Write about your experiences as a mom. Give mommy advice. Gosh, do you know how many people out there needs mommy advice? Or people who needs parenting advice, or how to take care of a baby?
If you juggle being a mom and working a full time job, write about that. You have so much in common with most women in America, so why don't you let your voices be heard.
Write about specific events that has happened in your day, week, month. Life experiences, these are priceless.
If you are a professional like me in your day job, write about that. If you are a lawyer, give legal advice. If you are an accountant, give tax advice. If you are financial expert, give financing advice. If you are a marketing and consulting exec like me, then give business advice.
Share what you know.
Talk about your hobbies. Do you like to cook? paint? do pottery? sew? knit? play music? etc...
Share techniques about anything: craft technique, how-to, d-i-y, how to fix-it. It can be as simple as decorating your room/house and writing about the processes that you had to go through to get that look...go into detail...talk about your experiences of going through the paint isle picking out the paint color...which materials did you decide to use and why?
Many people would share an idea or technique but never go into the the break-down of the processes that they went through to achieve A to Z...this is so important.
Write about what interests you?
I love shoes and handbags and anything bling bling...so if I see a cute pair of shoes, I might snap a picture of it (when no one is looking, of course, so I won't get into trouble..(wink, wink) and post about my delicious pair of shoes that I have been eyeing forever and why it is so great.
Treat your blog like a friend...talk to it. Because your audience should feel like they are having a conversation with you and not just reading something. Make it personal and relatable.
Write about something that you want to know about. Research it and write about. Think about how many articles or how much information your brain takes in, in 1 day...hundreds and thousands. Our brain are silent thinkers. Think like your brain when you are writing your blog.
Write about what your brain came across that day/each day/week/month/etc.. What did you read/hear/see about that was interesting? share that. Write about your lifestyle and what is important to you. If you are a vegetarian, write about that. If you are an expert on organic foods and farming, write about that. Think about the topics of things that attracts your attention that day/week/month, and write about that. Did you go somewhere cool? an exotic destination, or some crazy adventure...OMG...you have to write about that. I can go on and on...but you get the idea. If you or someone you know is struggling with a life challenge, write about that. There are so many people who can relate to that.
Okay, now go through this list and I have already highlighted the important points for you. So now you have NO more excuses. If you go through my list of topics to write about everyday, you will NEVER run out of topics because it is all already stored in your brain. And each person is born with (on average) 9-13 Trillions of Brain cells, in which we don't even use 90% of our brain capacity. So refer to this list everyday for ideas and inspirations to get you going.
LESSON 2: WHAT BLOGGING PROGRAM SHOULD I USE?
There are so many blogging programs out there...you should do a Google search for "free blogs."
I use Blogspot from Google because I find it convenient and easy to use. But if you prefer to use something else, that is up to you. I have no bad or good reviews to give you on the many different blogging programs because I have only had experience with Blogspot. And it has a pretty darn good experience (so far).
A really great source for blogging is www.shabbyblog.com
This website is great. They have video tutorials, free backgrounds, templates, icons, buttons, graphics. Have your website looking professional in NO time! and they are FREE. The creator of the website shares the same theory in life as I do...provide free knowledge and share with others.
LESSON 3: WHAT ARE THE RULES OF BLOGGING?
There isn't any rule to blogging, except don't use profanity or bad languages. Don't be rude to others, and never use your blog to bully someone or sully their reputation. If you are unhappy with a service or product and you don't want others to be ripped off, then you can write about your bad experience with the product/service...but you don't have to be unprofessional about it. Do you get my point? Ok, good.
How Long Should My Post Be?
It should be as long as you want it to be. There is no set rule on how long a post should be. But people don't have a lot of time to read and weed out the important info from the non-important ones. So it is your job as a blogger to do that for them. That is why most people read blogs and not pick up a huge book about 1 topic. So be to the point and don't wonder off the topic too much, unless it helps to paint a picture for your readers. I always try to paint a picture for my readers because I am a more visual person. Plus, your eyes pick up the information faster than it takes for your brain to read the info and then try to process and understand the info. If you can, always provide a good picture or diagram of what you are trying to explain.
The etiquettes of blogging:
NEVER plagerize, or claim someone else's work as your own. If you see or read something that you like from someone else's blog and would like to add that to your own blog...here is how you should go around doing that:
1. When in doubt, ask the author/blog owner.
2. summarize the idea of the article/post and ALWAYS give credit to the original author.
I have seen this done alot: Copy/paste what you like from the original author. And at the end of the post, make sure you site your source. Meaning that you should always indicate the author, website, original ownership of the materials. Most bloggers online usually have no problem with you reposting their stuff as long as you give them, their website, and/or blog the credit for the content. Most bloggers would appreciate a link back to their blog/website because it gives them a higher ranking on the google scale. ***When in doubt, always ask permission from the original content owner/s.
How Often Should You Post?
You should have Fresh content daily. And at the minimum weekly. The more content that you have and the more often you keep your content fresh, the more readers you will get coming back to check out your wonderful blog. Plus, Google really likes pages that are up to date and are relevant to the topic. So the answer to this question is to post whenever you have a good idea for a post and as often as possible. It can't hurt you having 10 posts a day. But having 1 post every month or every other week is really going to hurt you. Your readers will get bored and will go elsewhere for their information.
Does Blogging really work? Does it bring traffic to my Facebook, website, shops, and other blogs?
Of course blogging works! It might seem like an elephant of a task to manage a successful blog, but it will be well worth it in the long run. You might not see any instant success or sales/traffic/clicks resulting from your blog when you first start out. But give it a month of everyday blogging and I promise you, you will see a difference. It might be just a small difference in the beginning but success does takes time. So hang in there my friend.
When you have a blog with good content that other people would want to read, it builds trust in the online community. Your readers will see you as an expert in your field of craft or business. And that is HUGE. Who will they go to the next time they have a burning need for something...you of course! Make sure you make yourself easily accessible. Some blogger makes it hard for their readers to reach them...and that is not good. Make it easy for your readers and customers to reach you. Provide links, buttons, and icons on your site to lead them to where they can reach you, see your shop, and check out your website. Help them help you.
Make time for your blog:
Treat your blog like a daily chore that you must do. But I don't mean a bad kind of chore. I think that eating breakfast every morning feels like a daily chore, but I must do it. Set out a few minutes each day for your blogging. You can even write your blog in advance when you feel inspired about a topic and post it later. Every morning, when I wake up, with my cup of hot coffee in hand, I would spend at least 15 minutes to write my blog while I enjoy my morning coffee. This is my daily routine. What is your daily routine?
And I also have a smart phone, which there is a blog app for that. So google your brand of smart phone and see if there is a blog app available for your phone. I spend the time it takes me to wait in line to blog. Or while I am in between meetings, I blog. On a long road trip, I blog. Waiting at the airport, I blog. So instead of wasting a few minutes here and a few minutes there doing nothing but waiting, I blog. And every little seconds adds up. I hate wasting time and not being productive.
I also keep a calendar of topics that I want to talk about each day. I like to keep my blog organize. My blog is designed to help people become successful in their business ventures, so it is designed to be user friendly in mind. I want my readers to be able to follow my blog smoothly and one lesson at a time. I have spent many years privately tutoring and volunteer teaching, so that skill has come very handy to me when I designed my blog.
The BEST part about blogging:
The best part about blogging is that I get to write about whatever my brain fancy. I have many interests and hobbies that I would love to share to the world. And this is a great way of doing that. It's like I have my very own stage to perform on and a blank canvas to paint on it whatever I want to paint. If you read my blog and find that the information here-in are helpful to you, please write me some comments to let me know how some of my tips, tricks, and how-tos have helped you. It makes me really happy to know that I am able to be of help and service to my fellow readers, fans, and friends.
Creative Ways To Promote Your Blog:
A great resource for blogging: http://www.adorigraphics.com/2008/07/tutorials.html
**Thank you to Waterrose on Etsy for her advice**
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
It is 100% legitimate and you can donate safely through paypal. Thank you!
I have had a few friends who have asked me if they should purchase a Success Kit or Guide on Etsy and Ebay. And here is my own experience with these paid Kits and Guides. I am not going to name any specific sellers or guides...But here is the general idea and review. Hopefully this will give you a better idea if you are planning on purchasing one.
So a little bit of background on my personal experiences purchasing these Success Kits and Guides on Etsy and Ebay. I have spent around $200+ (easy, if not more) on purchasing Success Kits and Guides on Etsy and Ebay hoping to see what I can do and learn to grow my business. The guides that I have purchased have range in price from $6 to $50+.
They are all advertised and packaged in some form of a KIT with many chapters, separate e-books, and series of e-books. These are some of the things that are promised to come included in the guide and kits: networking how tos, social media tips and tricks, business planner or calendar, Etsy Success guides, Ebay Success guides, Publicity kit, press kit, Internet marketing kits, tips, and how tos, twitter guide, seo guide, wholesale guides, Lists of boutiques, websites, and stores you can solicit for sales, and many more.
I will give you a synopsis of what each kit entails without exposing the names of the people that are trying to sell you these kits. Heck, Etsy had a notice on their website about a seller who was trying to sell an exact copy (pretty much copy/paste) of the Etsy Seller Handbook, that is available on Etsy by Etsy for FREE. And this one seller was selling it for like $5-10 a piece and have sold over 1000 copies. They got shut down, but Etsy did nothing to punish them besides deactivating their account. But they can always create a new account and start the SCAM all over again...Do you see my point! These information are out there for FREE. You do not have to pay for them. It just takes a little bit of digging and asking around. Save yourself lots of money just by Googling what you need answered.
Networking How tos: Pretty much tell your friends and family and everyone you know. Always carry around business cards and talk your shop like crazy. Carry samples and pictures of your stuff at all times. Always include your shop URL and Facebook in all of your emails, convos, and forums, and blogs. Have a twitter, facebook, and blog account. Chat it up in the forums. Write reviews of products/ services.
Social Media tips and tricks: There is really no secret to this, just that you have to blog and post everyday. Spend at least 30 minutes each day to post updates on all of your social media networks and blogs. Keep it current and interesting. Write about things that you are an expert in. Write about things that are important to you and that you care about.
Business Planners/ Calendars: This is just a simple monthly and yearly calendar that have all of the holidays listed in it...you can get this at a Dollar Store for $1 or online for FREE. And then they tell you that you should have certain goals written in your calendar and get it done by the date you would want your goals accomplished.
Etsy Success Guide: News Flash...this is FREE on the Etsy website. You should never have to pay for this. Basically it's always the same things: Take good photos, write detailed descriptions, use correct tags, list your location, fast shipping, good customer service, make treasuries, get involved in forums, be apart of an Etsy team.
Ebay Success Guide: News Flash...this is also FREE on the Ebay website. They even have how-to video guides. Never Never Never pay for these! I made this mistake when I was new on Ebay years ago...and I was so angry when I found out that it was for FREE....I felt like a sucker who just got ripped off!
Publicity Kit & Press Kit: The guides mentions that you should put a press kit together, but they NEVER tell you in detail how to put it together and what to include in it, and how to mail it off, and who to mail it off to....so this is no help at all! Plus, they don't talk about the $$$ costs that it will cost you to do all of this. One of my very best friend use to put together press kits together for a living and send it off the proper place...she knows all of the juicy details...and yes, I will be sharing this info with you soon.
Internet Marketing Kit, tips, tricks, and how tos:
Twitter Guide: Another FREE guide! Go to www.twitter.com and get the guide for FREE. Please don't pay for this.
SEO guide: Search Engine Optimization, just google it...this information is also FREE. I will also cover this topic in more detail later...stay tune.
Wholesaler guide: How to sell to wholesalers, how to price your items for wholesaling. These guides don't even tell you in detail how to approach wholesalers and the processes that you would have to go through for a wholesale account. Pricing for wholesaling is available in the Etsy Guide to Pricing online for FREE. But here is a quick summary:
(Material cost + utility cost + labor cost) x 2 = wholesale price
Wholesale price x 2 = sale price
*Material cost: the total costs of all of the materials the you used to make your product.
*Utility cost: Electricity, water, gas, ect...
*Labor cost: What are you paying yourself and base it on how long it took you to make the item. This is where most people are not being fair to themselves. They either don't consider this cost or pay themselves less than minimum wage.
I will cover more of the techniques to wholesaling in details later...so keep checking back to my blog for updates.
Lists of boutiques, websites, and stores: It is a list of names of boutiques around the country (and sometimes overseas), retail websites, and retail stores. But I have seen more than 10 different lists, and it is almost always the same names of websites and stores that are on these lists. Think about it, these lists have been purchased by at least 10,000+ people on Etsy and Ebay and who knows where else...so these websites and stores have had A LOT of solicitation for their business. You don't want to compete with that. So go local! That is the BEST way. Plus, there are so many small local shops that would love to support their local talented artists. And think about all of the money that you will be saving not having to send all of these shops and websites samples of your stuff...that costs a lot of $$$.
If you are contemplating on purchasing any of these types of guides about internet home businesses, selling online, Etsy Guides, or Ebay Guides...please, please, please do your research first before you decide to waste your money. I'm NOT saying that all of these guides sucks, I am just saying that there is nothing new in these guides. I have read so many different types of guides from many different sellers and they area always just the same stuff. These guides are definitely made for extreme newbies (but all of the info for newbies are available online for FREE). And if you are an intermediate or an advance who just wants some effective tips and tricks that can help you bump up your sales and exposures...these guides won't do that much for you. I know because I have read a lot of these types of guides and have applied all of the tips, tricks, how-tos. I'm not saying that these tips and tricks don't work, I'm just saying that the information that I paid for are always the same repeated advice and they can be found for FREE.
So my conclusion for these guides is that , buy it if you want, but the one or two tips that you will get out of it might not be worth the money that you paid for it. Plus, all of the info are out there for Free. It's just a matter of applying the principles. And the principles are simple...just get off your butt and do it! No Excuses! If you want to be successful then you should be doing everything and anything that you know you should be doing. Come-on, be honest with yourself! Are you doing Everything that the Etsy Guide or the Ebay Guide is telling you to do? If you follow the simple Basic Guide, you should be getting some sales. And if you need some extra boost in sales...follow some simple social media networking tips in the Etsy forums or gosh...I've given you plenty of tips and tricks already too...get out there and DO IT!
***There are just sooooooooo much stuff available out there for FREE. You just have to look for it....or you can check back to my blog often and I will be posting all of those important information on here for you.***
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Anyways, don't just venture into a business because you fancy something. I like metal smithing (gold and silver) jewelry. But I'm not going to open a shop and try to sell gold and metal jewelry made by hand, because I am not an expert at it. I know nothing about the skills required, materials, costs involved, and other good stuff about it. So I will stick to what I do know. I also mix media collaging but that is not what I am good at. Other people can do it better than me. Don't focus on things that you are not good at. Only focus on what you are good at and build your shop from there. What I am good at is setting up businesses. Wheewww....I got one difficult thing out of the way. And I am pretty good at being ahead of the trends before it hits mainstream...another good thing. And I do like pretty, girly, and sparkly things. I know that I have always had a passion for anything creative. And I absolutely love jewelry. Not just any jewelry, I love Big, Bold, Loud, Look-at-me, Statement, and Vintage jewelry. So here I am. Now that I know what I am good at and I know what product/service that I am passionate about...I have myself a business idea!
WHO IS BIZ 101 DESIGNED FOR?
Biz 101 is designed for Beginners with no experience in business, Intermediates who have some experience but need a little bit more help and advice, and Advance Entrepreneurs who can use some tips here and there and stay on top of our ever changing market and world.
Most of our advices, Tutorials, and How-Tos are for women and businesses catered to women products and services. Sorry...but no boys stuff here!
As a Business Major in college, I really feel that there have been a lack of female support in the business market. Boys will always have their "boys club" and as a woman myself, I do feel left out. Plus, with the growing population of female business owners and female oriented products and services, I feel that business experts sometimes ignore to give female entrepreneurs the correct advice.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
ONE OF MY FAVORITE TREASURY...I think that this is one of my favorite featured because it is so dear to my heart...KEYS...yes, the Keys to My Heart! I love love love Keys. That is why I have so many different types of keys in my shop.
Vintage Inspired Copper Finish Key with the word, "Love" inscribed/stamped on it. This key is great quality. You can tell because it is solid metal and it is heavy. You can use this for anything, jewelry making, scrapbooking, steampunk art, altered art...the possibilities are endless.
To purchase this item:
**Thank you Etsy Member Bloomprint for Featuring my Shop! Please show her some and Love and visit her lovely shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/bloomprint
To purchase the featured item, please click on the picture or this link:
Listing is for 5 Cloisonne Beads (1 set).
Measures about 17mm (approximately 5/8 inches).
White Flower shaped Cloisonne Beads. Handmade and painted one by one. No two are alike, very unique. Because they are each handmade individually, they are not 100% perfect. Add this to any necklace, bracelets, rings, and more. You can use it as a charm, pendant, or simply use them as beads. There are so many ways to use these beautiful beads. Add a unique vintage touch to every handmade creations with these cloisonne beads.
I do have them in other colors, please check my shop for more colors. I have these in limited quantities, so get them before they sell out.
Thank you to Wired by Dee on Etsy for featuring my shop. Please show her some Love by visiting her shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/Wdee
To check out the feature treasury, please click on the picture or the link below:
To Purchase the featured item, please click on the picture or follow this link:
Pewter Finish Metal Clock Face, 1 Spinner, 1 fastener/pin. This is great for Steampunk art, Jewelry Craft, Watch art, Scrapbooking, and much more. The possibilities are endless.
Thank you to FunFancifulFlowers on Etsy for featuring my item!
Here is a link to her shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/FunFancifulFlowers
Saturday, February 5, 2011
My beautiful Bee Rhinestone Encrusted Pendant have been Featured Again! Hurray! It such a beautiful pendant!
Check out the Featured Treasury Here:
To purchase the item Featured, please click on the picture or follow this link:
Thank you Floofies for featuring my shop and item! Please check out her shop. Just click on the link below. She has some awesome stuff!
Anyways, lots of updates coming soon!
Lots of new arrivals and new products rolling out!
Working on a lot of custom orders and a few large orders as well.
Was nominated to be a leader for Team AZ. Hurray!
Got featured in a few New Treasuries...so I will be posting those and thanking the respected members that are kind enough to feature me! :)
A little about me:
I just love to make stuff, and I'm a little ADD and OCD so I can get a little outta control with my crafting for days w/ little sleep (I have chronic insomnia as well). Can't sleep at night, cause I think too much! I guess College really did messed me up. I took way too many classes and was an over-achiever. But it wasn't until I graduated college that I realized that crafting and art is what I want to do for the rest of my life...so here I am.
I am married to a wonderful hubby who lets me do whatever I want and is very supportive to my ventures...haahaa. No kids yet, unless you wanna count my cute little Maltese. He is so smart, sometimes I feel like he is like a 3 year old, and not a pup at all.
Anyways I'm just rambling on...
I like many things and hate very few things, so it would be easier for me to list things that I dislike. I dislike mean, rude, ill-mannered people. Don't like to eat pork or much meat, but not a vegetarian. Hate the cold. Not an outdoors type of person. Don't really do any sports...hence this is why I craft.
Love books, anything old and unique, love to travel, love food (all types especially junk food), love to dance, love to hang around nice people, oh yes, I love hot beverages
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
It is the first day of the month of LOVE...aka February. And I certainly feel a lot of L-O-V-E today!
I got FEATURED today. The item that was picked for the feature are my beautiful faux ruby red gems with prongs set. I love these gems because they remind me of Twilight. I LOVE them. For all of you Twilight or vampire's diary fans out there...these look so "bloody delicious." If you are not into vampire, you can still use these in your craft. These are so lovely and elegant that you can use it in steampunk, Victorian, Gothic, and pretty much anything else. I just happen to like my art more on the dramatic side. But you can definitely soften it by adding flowers and pearls to these gems.
But you should use your imagination with these, take it and run with it! I would LOVE to see what you guys would make with these beautiful gems...send me pictures or write me with your ideas. Enjoy!
Check it out!
To purchase the featured item:
**Thank you to FunFancifulFlowers for featuring me. She has really awesome original artwork that she painted by hand. You guys should show her some love and visit her shop: