Posted on August 1, 2012 in Build Your Brand by Katie Oskin
Have you ever sat and listened to a child’s dream? They often are very much out of touch with reality, include many impossible scenarios, and involve imaginary friends you didn’t know existed. Do you know why children dream this well? Because they can! It’s a way of looking at life. Rarely do children see their world through the tarnished and disappointed eyes of an adult who has spent several years in the ebbs and tides of life. This is one of the things that makes children so special, their ability to have dreams that are bigger than reality. So what does this have to do with Etsy, your small business, and building your brand? Everything.
This entire post today is to stretch yourself, your mind, the idea of your business and to make it better. Have you ever wanted, really wanted, to do that one thing with your store that is just out of touch? Perhaps your a photographer and you’ve always wanted to travel to Africa to go on a Safari and photograph real wild life…not the “wild” life in zoos. Perhaps your a clay artist and you really want to travel to IPCA but you’ve never allowed yourself to do it. Maybe your dream is just to have 1oo things listed in your Etsy store. Whever your dream, I ask you today to write that dream down, post it somewhere prominent, and make it a reality.
Recently I labored hours, days, & weeks over a major overhaul to my online store. After being overwhelmed with orders and realizing that even though I had tons of orders & was behind, after everything was said and done, I made less than $20 that month. Ouch. I was frustrated, mostly with myself. So, my husband asked me a hard question: what do you want from your Etsy store?
Ultimately for me and Parker the answer was simple: to send Parker all over the world, make enough money with my creations that I can save for my new studio, and not have to borrow money from our family budget to run my store…In other words, I wanted real success measured in terms of using Parker’s money to sustain Parker. Have I achieved that, slowly, over two years. This month my new studio will start to become a reality.
Have you ever sat down and thought about what you really want from your Etsy store. I have a friend who has a goal every month to sell enough and turn enough profit to make her car payment. That’s a dream and goal. But that goal for her was huge and almost attainable as she has a huge supply shop. Maybe your goal is to have your photography noticed and land your shots in a locally curated photograph gallery. Maybe your goal is to be noticed and published for a book on your craft. The dream doesn’t matter, so long as you have one.
So, I ask you. Do you have an “impossible dream?” If you don’t have an impossible dream for your Etsy store, it’s time to get one.
One of the hardest things to do is to sustain your dream. Let me give you an example: One of my challenges to myself this year was to create 52 new Parker StoryBook scenes, that’s ONE new scene release a week. All of last year I created only 35 scenes, so for me, this was a big increase in work, ideas, and clay (I mean let’s be honest, I would have to buy more storage boxes for my clay, right?). We’re only into August and I’ve already created over 30 new scenes. Did I expect that? No. Did I plan it that way? No. But what I found was that I was so excited by my dream that I now keep a list with me at all times of ideas for Parker scenes. That way no matter where I am, my list is too. Will I take this same challenge next year? Maybe, maybe not.
For my friend who has the goal to pay for her car from her Etsy store every month, her dream requires a very heavy work load and sales load for the next 3 years until her car is paid off. For her, she didn’t think this would be a problem, but for you it might be. Whatever your dream is, it can not be so big that it isn’t sustainable. Why? Because you will get tired, things will come up, and you may even struggle with encouraging yourself just to do it in the first place.
For me, I knew that one look at the estimated cost to build my new studio would send me in a panic! I also knew that thinking that I had 52 scenes to create in one year would be hugely overwhelming to me. So I created a plan to help break down my big dreams into manageable chunks. I decided for the studio that I would set aside $5 at a time. When I had $5, I set it aside. After all $5 doesn’t seem like a lot. After 3 months I had over $200, just by breaking my savings into smaller portions.
I did the same with my StoryBook scenes. I told myself that when I sit down to clay for more than 1 hour, I will NOT get up until I have successfully created 1 Parker scene. Well…that trick has worked, and it’s worked like a charm. It’s because of this that I am able to make the StoryBook scenes and because of this I have never felt overwhelmed or burdened by the task at hand.
So here’s the bottom line. You need to come up with a solid strategy that will WORK for attaining your hopes, dreams, visions and goals. You need to be realistic. You need to be honest with yourself. Only you know how fast you can work, how much you can get done, and how long it will take you. But the bottom line here is that you need to do whatever you need to do to make your big dream, easier. But be realistic. You will set yourself up for disappointment if your dream isn’t realistic enough to be able for you to achieve it.
Dreams are a healthy part of life. Dreams allow a person to think outside the box. Dreams allow a person to explore something that may have been out of reach. You need to have a dream for your store. If you don’t have a dream, how will you know when you have achieved it, when it’s time to close your store, or when it’s time to go bigger & better? You won’t. Why? Because you didn’t have a dream in the first place. If you’ve never had a dream before, you need to get one. Write it down on a piece of paper and post it near your studio, work table, or wherever your “craft space” is. Seeing this dream in writing will remind you that you can achieve it and that you need to work on it as well.
If you have not already challenged yourself to a huge dream this year, there are still 4 months left this year and that is plenty of time to begin, start, and finish something. Here’s what I want each of you to do to help to Build Your Brand: