Beat Those Winter Doldrums!

Oh, winter. Business is SLOW and I, for one, am having a hard time fighting the tendency for that to turn me into a big lazy slug. There are so many things to enhance my business that I never have time to do during the rest of the year that I could be using this time to do but I just don't feel like it. This may be because it won't be clear whether doing them is having the desired effect without the regular contact with customers that heavier selling activity brings. Maybe. But that's no excuse. No! Spring will be here before we know it (it really will; I should know this by now)
and I'll be so very annoyed with myself if I haven't knocked at least a few things off my list.

So, going forward, here's what I am going to get off my butt and do. Maybe you have a similar list. If so, get going! Sluggishness be damned!

1. Turn my Gmail list into a real mailing list with Mail Chimp (or some other such email marketing application/provider). I started this project a while ago but got hung up on formatting the addresses. What more satisfying way to spend a quiet winter's eve than curling up on the couch with the laptop and slaying that dragon?

2. Replenish stock, specifically, of paper-mache birds. I never thought I'd see the day but all the members of my longstanding flock have flown away. I actually also started this project a few weeks ago and was pleased to find several bird bodies already well under way. Time to take them out of the oven (where I put them to dry) and get them chirping. 

3. Create new designs. In particular, I've had lots of requests for giraffe and squirrel magnets/pendants. I did take a crack at a giraffe not too long ago. It was just a sketch, but still, it was a start. The squirrel still daunts me, but success begets success (right?) so, if I get that giraffe done the squirrel is sure to follow (I'm not completely convinced of this but I think it's a good, positive idea to carry into the task).

Making this list has been therapeutic. I now have a clear, manageable set of things that I'm confident I can accomplish (my doubts about the squirrel design notwithstanding), and I've discovered that I've already started all of them. I don't have to motivate myself to start anything new, but rather just to pick up where I left off. Yay. 

So, beat your winter slug with a list! 

Until next time -


Money – It’s not a Dirty Word!

Wallet by LolaFalkDesigns

Last week, I was speaking to a crafter who sells on Etsy. I asked her how she manages her money. Her response may sound familiar: “Oh, yuck! I’m not a corporate type – I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”

In my job working with Etsy sellers at, I see this happening again and again – many crafters don’t want to think or worry about money. It is scary to them and is something they avoid.

Yet, knowing where you are spending and making money in your business is critical to making a crafting business work. By keeping an eye on your finances, you can make decisions about what expenses to cut, how much to charge customers, when you can afford to invest more in your business, and what products you should be selling.

It doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be avoided. In fact, paying attention to your business’ money situation can be rewarding and helpful. If you simply pay attention to two things: 1. Where is your business spending money and 2. Where is your business making money, it can mean the difference between a great business that supports your lifestyle versus needing to close down shop to take a “corporate” job. (And, who wants to do that?)

So, don’t avoid your money situation – take a small amount of time each week to take a quick look how you are doing financially. Your business will thank you.

About the Author:
Laura Messerschmitt is the Vice President of Marketing at Outright, a free online accounting software for small businesses. She loves helping the self-employed and small businesses to be more successful and grow their businesses.