Just some lovely quotes I found over the weekend to keep me/us plodding on!
“I didn’t start a blog because I had something to say, I started a blog to find something to say.”
– Austin Kleon
“Anybody with artistic ambitions is always trying to reconnect with the way they saw things as a child.“
– Tim Burton
“Playing and fun are not the same thing, though when we grow up we may forget that and find ourselves mixing up playing with happiness. There can be a kind of amnesia about the seriousness of playing, especially when we played by ourselves.”
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I stumbled across this video on YouTube the other day and felt the need to share it. It really resonated with me at this time. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I followed a trail through his channel and website and also saw his partners’ work and her Instagram feed. It was an inspiring and interesting little rabbit hole. Especially if you feel a bit stuck creatively or even in life generally.
September. Now to be known as the month of Dithering. Procrastination and indecision were definitely the Boss of Me this month.
I have used every trick in the book to not work. I’ve dithered over every aspect of my own work. I’ve created a new “working space” every other day, sorted out my clothes, did most of my Christmas shopping, and watched way too much TV (Come on Bake Off! Mak?! Seriously..?!)
I thought a lot about not posting this today. No one will be waiting for this post and I could just start it in October and no one will question me on it…
But, I’ll know so here goes nothing.
TLDR: No work = no sales
So, I did approx 10 hours of creative work over September. Most of that time was spent sourcing vintage images, the technical term for this I believe is “Arseing about on the internet.”
Realistically I did about an hour a day on my social media – ie watching cat videos, getting angry at strangers on Twitter, and watching videos of people being given those glasses that lets them see colours for the first time 😭
<Now going to attempt to make this post useful>
The stats on some sites though were quite interesting. I spent no time on Etsy but got 8 visitors, 12 views, and 2 items were favourited. 62% of these views came from Etsy. 38% were classed as “direct”, that is to say bought in by me. It didn’t say where those views had come from which I’m sure it did before.
Instagram. Ugh, I’m still trying to remember to post more on Instagram and less on Twitter. September’s stats look like it might be worth making an effort. I did 3 posts, reached 34 accounts, had 7 interactions, and 24 likes. I also had 4 profile visits.
I only did 4 blog posts but I had 29 views from 13 visitors..but I think Pinterest was the most interesting. Pinterest was the one site where I made an effort. Mostly because I noticed my monthly viewers had gone up dramatically from a couple of days where I posted a lot. So I spent at least 10 minutes a day pinning. I also created 7 of my own pins. It’s easy to do this – I’m not claiming it was “work”, lol. But in the last month my monthly viewers went from 11k to 26.5k. My most popular pin was one I had created which had 4.3k views. Sounds amazing but then it only had 2 click throughs to my site. My board which featured my own work is in the top 3 of my most popular boards, which made my day! It was only beaten by my knitting and cats boards.
It didn’t take much to get larger numbers on my Pinterest stats but they didn’t really translate to anything concrete for me. No sales or visits to my site or shop but I’m going to keep an eye on the numbers and see what volume it takes to get people moving to your shop. It may take massive numbers of views but it doesn’t seem to take a massive amount of time to build up.
Hopefully this post is useless enough to shame me into making more of an effort this month!
It’s been a low-key miserable couple of weeks for everyone it seems. So, instead of moaning and boring everyone, I’m going to take stock of some good stuff from the last couple of weeks!
I’ve bought myself a new coat – the first one in several years. And it means I can stop wearing my daughters’ old school coat!
While this weeks food shop has been a nightmare (no delivery slots with usual supermarket and no toilet roll…seriously, again people?) I do have food in the house.
Not done a lot of creative work but I have managed to do some forward planning with budgets and meal plans.
I’ve done some drawing and found an evening class I fancy doing next year!
Watched a couple of great films, The Devil All the Time and Enola Holmes. Both live up to their hype 🙂
Started (and almost finished) my Christmas shopping…..taking stock or counting your blessing if you like, is a mood booster. I think for the next few weeks at least I’m going to do a bit more of that and spend less time on Twitter where there is so much negativity and nastiness at the minute.
Last week I got completely lost in planning, overthinking, and seeing way beyond the big picture. I was surrounded by spreadsheets, business plans, and post it notes. My Facebook feed was full of ads for making money with a single FB post, branding coaches, Instagram coaches, easy money coaches, how to sell anything quickly coaches. It was exhausting to look at and I realised I’d let my imagination run away with me but down a different path than I wanted to go. It’s so easy to get caught up in what these ads promise you. But then I remembered the only people getting rich from The Secret are the people selling it to you. Some of these ads felt like The Secret hysteria was happening all over again!
So this week I’m reining it all in. Going to stop planning the big stuff and crack on with the little stuff – the bread and butter stuff. Have a simpler week. That’s my intention this week.
I’ve been struggling this week to get any creative work done. While not making excuses, it has been quite busy. Did a couple of covering shifts at work though still not sure when I’m going to be properly back, college enrollment for my daughter, and vets trips for the cat. The cat finally had stitches out from his op, cone off and so looks (and probably feels) like a real cat again. No more trips till his annual health next year. Yay!
When sat at the computer to work I was faced with a block. Working with Photoshop feels a bit restrictive compared to having 100 cut outs on the floor that you can play with. I seem to be constantly opening and closing files. Things often look different on the PC than they did in my head! So I spent a fair bit of time looking for images and discovered sites for old pictures and fun PNG’s. I rearranged Pinterest boards and made a definite/more streamlined plan for posting on social media. Lots of procrastinating…
In the end I tried to get out of my head and create just for the sake of it. Starting is the hardest bit but once you start the ideas begin to flow. Sometimes you need to create things without a purpose or plan. Just get stuff out there. You can always edit later if need be. So maybe not a lot of work was done last week but I shifted out of a slump I think.
These images can be downloaded from my Flickr profile and are free to use.
Last week I just felt really flat and the thought of concentrating on Etsy/blogging/social media was too taxing. On top of that it was a busy(ish) week. My teen had enrollment for college, I’m looking after a neighbours’ cats, and my cat had a few trips to the vets. He’s had an op and got the dreaded cone of shame on him. I think he’s found it all a bit too much so I’m following him around the house making sure he’s happy and comfortable (Crazy cat lady skill level up!)
So, I was a bit gentle on myself. My thinking was to just get a couple of little bits done on the blog. Instead of setting aside all morning to start that, I decided to just do little bits of housekeeping on it. I exported my first few posts from Blogger. Then I pootled about around the house. While I stopped for a cuppa I tweaked the layout and added a couple of widgets.
That’s the pattern I followed all last week. Several little jobs done over a week suddenly turned into – launching the blog. I was quite impressed as on Monday I wasn’t sure where I would be blogging or even if I was going to blog at all.
So this week. Tomorrow is September. I feel the chill in the air, which I love but I don’t feel the usual rush of excitement I usually get at this time of the year. Maybe it’s Covid. Maybe it’s because I’m not back at work yet or that my daughters new course maybe mostly online and we’ve not bought anything new for her yet. Maybe that’s it. I’ve not bought any new stationary! I think I just need a new notebook 🙂
The plan this week is to do some collage, put a few more listings on Etsy and steadily work on the old socials. Baby steps are powerful little things and while they may not feel like the big strides you want, they’re still moving you forward.
On my last (failed) blog I started an Etsy diary. The idea behind it was to give some form of measurement to the time spent on Etsy. How your time translated into sales and stats. I still think it’s a good idea. Bloggers will always tell you “tricks and tips” – we get advice on tagging, photos, and networking. And we know the more time you spend on Etsy the better. There’s also a lot of unrealistic posts out there, I think. E books and strategies are everywhere and while some tips are great it mostly comes down to grafting.
Obviously some sellers have that “X Factor” a great product/story that just takes off, but the rest of us need to work bloody hard. I’ve never properly applied myself and fully committed to my shop which is why I’ve had thirteen sales in six years!
So, if I put the work in and measure it on a monthly basis, it’s a realistic snapshot of an average store. Someone could read the posts, see the time = sales and see if it’s something they can commit to or not. It’s a real time experiment and not a retrospective “how I gained x amount of sales in x months” interesting though as they can be…I am sure I will blog tips and tricks as well though!
I also need to be realistic about the time I can commit. I won’t be able to build this up quickly. If you’re looking for zero to hero in four months, you need to find another post to read. This will be a slow burn my friend. I’m still on furlough. In a few weeks I’ll (hopefully) be back at work. I need to make sure I can run my shop in my spare time when I go back. I’m part time but circumstances mean I may need to go full time next year – cutting back my hours online even further. Add to that, single mum, ageing cat, house in need of TLC, and menopause – it’s going to get messy. Put the kettle on…
Just as a side note, while I’m writing about Etsy, this might be helpful for any online shop or business I think.
Why Etsy? I’ve had an Etsy account for many years and seen it develop in ways I’ve liked and some ways I haven’t but it’s still my “go to” corner of the internet. I miss circles and treasuries but I still go back for shopping, advice, networking, and inspiration. All the time.
So, to start, August is just a baseline. Shop established in 2014, thirteen sales. Time spent on Etsy this month is none = no sales…lol. No surprise there. I have had a handful of browsers though but nothing worth writing about at the moment.
Once I have a few posts I’m going to list them in chronological order which I’ve seen on a few bloggers/artists do and it’s fascinating to turn up to a well established blog and be able to read through it’s growth.
***This post was written on/about Blogger before I moved back to WordPress. ThemeXposure only make themes for Blogger***
Getting serious autumn vibes this morning in my little corner of the world. Coming up for September gives us the old “new school year” feelings. That curious mix of new beginnings and anxiety/melancholy. (The melancholy, I think, comes from watching endless moody 80’s music videos as a teen!)
Last week I wanted to play about with my blog and upload some items to Etsy. The blog took up all of my “me” time. The layout is from ThemeXpose.com and I picked the free option* – so no support and no lovely tech person doing it for me. The layout download came with the code and instructions but it was tricky to install and then came all the tweaking…two days later and it was up and running with a few test posts.
Enter Overthinking. Did I really want a blog? Do I really need one? I did zero creative work last week, I just faffed about with the blog. Over the last several years I have started (and abandoned) twelve blogs! The longest ran for a year. I could make a post about them 😂
It doesn’t help that I want to up my Instagram game. I’m loving Instagram at the moment. So this week I’m going to focus on “creating” and investigating Instagram and see where the day takes us.
*I’m trying to do as much as possible for free to see how far you can get, and because I have no money, lol!