Friday, March 21, 2014

Taking Money to Make Money in Business

Taking Money to Make Money in Business

Welcome to LilacsNDreams! Today is about that good old saying we all know only so well "It takes money to make money" 

Your business start up account can be a stressful thing when starting your business. Many of us pull from our own personal accounts to do so. In doing this we have the feel of guilt, and not to mention the worries too. You will often ask yourself if you are doing the right thing, is this business worth it, am I being selfish using this money because I am doing what I want to do, and so on. 

Often we will ask ourselves if we are plan for our futures. Many of us will answer with a yes! With this thought we have personal goals, we have dreams, and we plan ahead too. How many of us actual visualize, and focus with our business future?

There had been article with an inspiring question of "if you were given $20,000 to invest with your business, what would you do with this?" Wow! How does one start with a list of things. It would help to think long-term. It helps to have a detailed picture of what you want your business to become one day. Savings doesn't just happen for people. It comes to those with careful planning, and with some budgeting too. 

Sit down, and spend some time with the thought of what you would do with a $20,000 investment. You will find it will be a list of not only what the wants are, but what you are needing for your business to grow and expand. Once you have your list prioritize it. You know which item do you need first, second, third, and so on. 

Since income can be unpredictable you might find yourself holding back with your goal setting. In order to better help you consider "what if you had $20,000 to invest, and a guaranteed salary of maybe $50,000" That might open the doors, and clear away some fear and hesitation with your thinking. Redesign a website, find a substantial location to house inventory, maybe use same location for shipping from, and notice how your thinking starts to change right? When you look back over some of your ideas you might also realize that some of them are doable within your current situation now too. It is important for you to think past your current limitations. By doing this you can open up your plans for the future. 

There are plenty of ways to get some money if you wanted to. Getting a personal loan, maybe take out a small business loan, and there is Kabbage which is a lending service to specifically fund small businesses. For Kabbage you have to have a proven income of $1000 a month to be approved. 

A saying by Grandpa in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is: 

     "There's plenty of money out there. There print more every day. But this ticket-There are only 5 of them in the whole world, and that's all there's ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?" 

This makes you think about business, and how often times we hesitate to invest in ourselves. Money is considered common, and the chance of creating something out of nothing and building your own career. Well, there is nothing common about that. 

This series regarding business will soon be over with. Remember to visit with Lisa a Market Your Creativity. There she shares things in full, and shares experiences she has had along with things she has learned to help her.  

As some of you may have noticed my posts are just a bit off of schedule, and I deeply apologize for that. I want to note to all of you that I am dealing with an internet issue. Hopefully it will be resolved in full soon so that I can get back to things fully. Having my posts here for you all to visit at LilacsNDreams, and to get back to work fully with my listings in my shops with Etsy, Ecrater, and over at Ebay too. Links for those can be found on the right column that you can just click. 

Thanks so much for sharing time with LilacsNDreams! I wish you all a wonderful day with all you do. See you again soon!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Your Passion, Your Business With Time Management

Your Passion, Your Business With Time Management

Welcome to LilacsNDreams! Your passions should be treated like your business, and your time should be managed accordingly with it. You don't want to just let it grow like weeds, and going everywhere uncontrolibly. You should give it some boundaries, and tend to it like a garden. It will take a little bit of planning, but it will be worth it too. 

Start with setting a goal. Calculate what you would like to achieve, and set it for like a 6 month goal. Make sure to ask yourself a few questions in setting your goals. Like what is it you would like from your business within 6 months, What do you need to make happen in the next 6 months that you feel it is becoming successful, What actions should I be taking to make these goals happen, and so on. 

Make sure you have these questions noted, or recorded some where. Then, you would like to work on the steps of action that can get you there. Your steps, your actions need to be steps that you know will work for your business. If you are just starting try to do what you know has worked for others. 

You will find on average days for you that you will want to take some time to knock some of those items off your to do list. Then, you will have times when you maybe just want to sit online, and chat. This I am guilty of myself, and I do lose track of time! At the time it is fun, but frustration soon hits afterwards too. You need to find your when your levels of tendencies, and and energy so that you can set a rythmn for them of productivity. 

For example, I generally post date my blogs late night, or late night the evening before I want everyone to be able to read them. In the mornings it takes me time to wake, get around, and generally I like to read emails. I respond to emails, and I will also visit with forums at different places too. Then, I feel the urge later morning that I need to get away from the computer, stretch, grab a sandwich, and roam around the house. By the time 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock comes around for me I am more into the mood of doing listings with shops, maybe creating things, doing pictures for listings, etc. 

When, and if you find yourself saying your time is too busy to do this or that. You need to evaluate your schedule. Consider that if this particular moment were a dollar, are you investing it wisely, or are you burning it? So, you need to find where you are wasting your time. 

Maybe it's with tv, with some games at home or on the computer, Candy Crush...I know this is popular, YouTube, and so on. Once you figure out your time waster, then ask yourself when are you mostly wasting your time. 

To turn some of that time into a pleasure make note of where you seem to apply your attention. Things can't all happen at the same time. So, you need to actively choose one, or the other. 

In life every week we have items on our to-do list that we just do not want to do. We all get this feeling. Rememeber, you wear many hats. When some of those tasks come up you can just feel your energy go into the zap it mode, right? Leaving piles of some unfinished projects, maybe calling a friend in the middle of you doing a task, of course clicking around on the internet, are all ways of pushing off to do something else. If helps you if you can acknowledge this. 

In order to get some of this stuff done you need to create a time of uninterruption. Think of a time in your day when you will work on nothing else but your task, and work on putting it into short sessions. Use a timer, and an alarm clock so that you will work to stay focused on your task at hand. Do this for maybe some where around 25 minutes. Then, take about a 10 minute break. After your break set your timer again, and go back to your task for about another 25 minutes. 

Try it once, and see the results that you can produce. Keep going with this, and you can also increase your time with each work period. Try not to go over 50 minutes at one time, or your focus can then suffer. Make sure to always schedule that 10 minute break in between your sessions to help you refresh your attention, and to take a breather too.  

Remember when you spend your minutes wisely your efforts will generally be rewarded. 

Make sure to visit with Lisa at Market Your Creativity who shares these topics, and has had more experience then me with selling too.  

Thanks so much for sharing your time with LilacsNDreams everyone! Until the next time I wish you all a wonderful day, and hope to see you again soon. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Business Owner Wears Many Hats

A Business Owner Wears Many Hats in their own small business.

Welcome to LilacsNDreams! Today's topic will cover how many hats we wear as business owners in creating our careers for ourselves.

Stop and think about your day for just a moment. When you wake up you probably go over your days schedule. You might consider all that needs to be done, who you need to reply to, and what customers maybe need to be served. You are your own assistant.  

You might have a list you are looking at, hoping you can at least get one thing crossed over, and maybe be able to do this over a couple cups of coffee. Ok, maybe another cup is needed too. You would like to do this before anyone else in the home wakes up like the kids, your furry little children, etc. Now, it's time to make some donuts, or something for breakfast. You are the manufacturer.  

Now that has been done, and completed the rest of the world is now probably waking up as well, and they too are logging on. So, now it is time for you to start getting busy with spreading the word about your business, and making sure that customers will have something new for them to look at. Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Blog, Wordpress, Twitter, Instagram here you come! You are the PR Agent.   

Ok, now that you have that out of the way it really is time to get down to business. Maybe prepare your orders for shipments, maybe dealing with some custom requests for the creative people, and also answer to some questions too. You are the customer service representative.

Wow! Phew! What a long morning it has been for you so far, right? By now it might be time for you to take a lunch break, get up and spread your legs a bit, and then consider maybe doing some planning for the next week, 2 weeks, or the month. Maybe now is a good time to consider your books, or maybe your budget too. New designs to plan, inventory to fulfill and maintain, supplies to consider, etc. Yes, you are also the office manager.

Then, all of a sudden you realize that the new inventory, or your new designs will not be marketing themselves. So, you should consider your advertising strategy, and some kind of plan to spread the word about those things. Let's see, who will be interested in what you are offering? Where might these people be hanging out at? You are the VP of marketing and sales.  

Look it here, the day has gone by, and maybe family is gathering at home for the evening. This would probably be a good time to consider quitting. First take a few minutes to look over that to-do list. You might then be asking yourself if you are doing a good job? Is this working? Am I wasting time, and resources? Is what I am doing going to succeed? Have I done enough, or do I need to maybe do more? Am I getting the results I want from the things I have been doing? You have to look at this thing you love, your business with a wider vision because You are the CEO.  

Start up isn't easy, and pointing out some of these things is to help you realize what you all do in a day with your business. Yes, it will be hard for some of your family, and some of your friends to realize what it is you do. You get lost in your online storefront, revolve around you products, and they come and go. As mentioned at other times, Start Up is not easy. 

You might find yourself struggling, find yourself in a rut, or as many have felt the feeling of being overwhelmed. So, keep digging. 

Think of your next step. What should you be doing to grow? Most of us probably know what the answer is, but it is hard to know what to do as this is all new to us. You don't need to have that next step accomplished right away, but you should know the next action that you should be taking to accomplish your goal. It helps to break those big goals down into some small goals to work on, and achieve. By doing this you make it a bit more comfortable for you. So, write down your goal. As the pen, and paper hit generally you start to brainstorm with some ideas that will come together for you. These ideas will start falling into place for you as you write them. You will want to then start putting this into a to-do list by prioritizing them. Be persistent. 

Do something you will thank yourself for tomorrow.  Maybe it's a mess you haven't cleaned up, that one thing you wanted to do and have pushed off, some unfinished business that you have been pushing off. Go to it now, and finish it. When you wake up tomorrow you will feel relief that is was done. Stop procrastinating. You will thank yourself in the morning for this. 

Is what I am doing working?  Many times we will find ourselves getting caught in an ineffective way of how we are doing things. We go with a "that's just the way things are" We can let this slow us down, and over think the common sense of things. If you are happy with the results of what you are doing, and it's working then do more of it. Now, if you are not happy with the results then you need to change it, and do it differently. If you weren't already doing your shipping, scheduling, branding, customer service, mailing lists, and etc this way, consider is this how you would start? If it isn't then change it the way you would do things in order to get the results that you want. 

Be realistic. Remember, it is a fact that a business can take up to 3 years to get off the ground. With a start-up nothing happens unless you make it happen. Making it big can take even more years. It can take up to 10 years which is a fact. What you get out of your small business is what you have put into it. Be realistic about the time, and the energy it will take to become a success at what you do. 

Protect Your Dream, and keep up the good work everyone! Don't forget to visit with Lisa at Market Your Creativity where these topics come from. She has many more things that she shares there with everyone to help them with their businesses, and to make them successful.  

I thank all of you for sharing your time with LilacsNDreams. Until the next time I wish you all a fabulous day! See you again soon. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Branding For Your Business Shop Online

Branding For Your Business Shop Online

Welcome to LilacsNDreams everyone! Today I will discuss a little bit about branding, and what it can do for your Etsy, hobby, craft, or online business. 

Branding can revolve around different things depending where, and how you sell. It can include your shop banner, your logo, the profile, and just the over all professionalism of the website being used. A strong brand will help assure your customers of any doubts. When visiting your online business the first impression should communicate your brand confidentially.  

Plan on building a strategy brand that will revolve around what your company is about, who you are, and etc. So, everything that you have been doing with any advertising, social networking, and communicating with customers should be matching up, and now making sense for your brand. 

With Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Networks you should now be talking about business. Items you sell, how you make them, other things of interest that relate to the products you offer, and etc. You might have interests in a lot of different things with animals, the gardening, and etc. But, those interest do not fit in with your marketing of your brand, and would be confusing to those who visit with you. 

Getting a logo can be done with a graphic designer that you would pay. You can also create your own logo. Doesn't have to be fancy. Simple is good too. Your logo will help with your brand identity. Consider when you see apple for Mac computers, the swish for nike, and etc. Doing this helps your customers to recognize your brand.   

A tag line should be created as well. A tag line would show what the purpose of your business is, and sends your message as well too. This is something that you can have fun with. Play around with different words, different phrases, and you will find something that truly represents your business.   

Be Authentic when you are branding your business. If your brand, or your shop is not attracted customers interest, there is a chance you may not have tapped into your genuine interest yet. Hey, that's okay. Just keep digging, and remember to have fun with it too.  

As always, remember to visit with Lisa over at Market Your Creativity to see what she all shares with these topics, what more she has to offer, and to follow with some of the things she is sharing. 

I appreciate you taking time to visit with LilacsNDreams today. Until the next time I wish you all well, and to have a wonderful day. See you all again soon!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Identify Customers With Target Marketing

Identify Customers With Some Target Marketing

Welcome to LilacsNDreams! Today is a little bit about identifying your customers with target marketing. As sellers you provide customers with a special feeling that items made from passion can produce, and treasures found that they have been looking for. Targeted Marketing simply means finding those customers who desire your work, and what you have to offer. 

It is time for you to share with everyone what it is you have to offer. It's time that you introduce yourself to people so that you may find some of those paying customers for your business. Replace some of that old fashioned marketing with that warm, and inviting smile with today's socially acceptable advertising. Permission marketing (customers sign up, request more, voluntarily follow you) is some of what is happening in today's marketing. Keeping customers up to date, and informing them about your work can help make them into paying customers. 

When you add value to the world, the world will value what you offer. The question is how to find those that value what you have to offer. Many look for fans, followers, likes, and favorites. The bottom line is that your audience will compose of those who become your paying customers. Your audience will be composed of people who "get you" and they truly want what you have to offer. 

You will have to find these people by identifying them. Are they male, or female. What is their age. Are they single, or maybe married. From which genre do they do most of their shopping. Are they a crafter, artist, collector, etc. Are they maybe a blog reader, or not. How will your products of handmade, or collectibles make them feel. Many many questions to keep in mind as you approach your marketing for your business. 

You can generate a list of where these people hang out at by identifying them. This in turn will help you to identify your niche market. These people will pretty much be doing the same in that niche market. Give it a little time, and let the answers be put onto paper. You might be amazed at the ideas that you will come up with. 

Remember to visit Lisa at Market Your Creativity as she shares these things into a little more depth of what I am sharing from there to here.

Thanks so much for sharing some time at LilacsNDreams. Until the next time I wish you all well, and have a wonderful day. See you again soon! Toodles . . . . . 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Your Shop and Presentation For Your Online Storefront

Your Shop and Presentation For Your Online Storefront.

Welcome to LilacsNDreams everyone!  Today we will lightly discuss your shop unity, and the presentation with your online shops, or storefronts. 

When visitors come to your online shops, land on your blogs or websites, visit your pages they draw a first impression when they land there. Most people do not realize they are doing this analyzing of your shop. They like to consider if they can make sense of anything they see there. Does this style go with anything I own? Is anything catching my eye? Having an overall united presence will keep people interested longer. This is how you will pull customers in, and how they will then become a paying customer to you. 

In some ways when customers buy from you they want something that will reflect their own styles that they have. Most times they are shopping personally for themselves, but they also will shop for others at various times too. 

Many customers will roam through the internet by floating through different searches. Your pictures, keywords, titles, and etc will help catch the attention of the prospective buyer who will then visit your shop. They are intrigued with what they seen in search, and sometimes when they get to your shop they realize it is not completely the style they are looking for. They see nothing else that interests them. You then could lose business from this person. 

It is important to realize that many people that will visit your online shop are looking for a proof of a style that will match their own. 

Pinterest is a great place to see what styles, interest, and images would appeal to customers.  Here is where you would pin pictures, quotes, and etc for items that appeal to you. Pin items that appeal to your brand. Not only can these people get to know you here, but you can also get a sense of understanding their style as well.

When a new pinner follows you an email is sent from Pinterest to you. In that email there will be a list of pins recently done. If it looks interesting to you that is when you can further visit, and check out their profile. If things look good you can then follow them back. Great way for you to connect with people, and their insights as well. Customers will often pin products, interests, websites, and so on. This in return can spark some new leads for you too. 

Remember that your product is not for everybody. It is for a select few of people who share the same interest, taste, and who have an eye for the same quality products. 

When visitors come to your online shop it's because you have a style that appeals to them. So, you want to make sure to showcase your products for appeal, to catch their eye, spark a desire with them, and make them want what you have to offer. Keep some of this in mind as you prepare your shops for people to view. 

Remember to visit with Lisa at Market Your Creativity for more extensive discussions about building your business. 

Thanks so much for sharing your time with LilacsNDreams! Until the next time I wish you all well, and hope to see you again soon. Toodles......

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Creating and Building Email Lists For Your Business

Creating and Building Email Lists For Your Business

Welcome to LilacsNDreams! Today is about creating and building your email lists for your businesses. I often see this issue mentioned, suggested, discussed, and etc. This is something I have not done myself. I often think about it, and know that there are pros to doing this. 

It is often mentioned that we should be building an email list. Doing this will help you to engage with your customer base, and this is noted to be one of the most important marketing tools for us to use. 

In order to organize, and have a place for your customers to sign up for this email list it is best to have an email service. You can google email marketing services, and see some of them that are being offered. Some are free, and some will be a paid service too. I often see mentioned, and used is Mail Chimp and Constant Contact

There are some benefits to using an email marketing service. They can provide you with tracking information, web pages where your customers can join, website forms, they handle the "unsubscribes" which does comply with the Spam laws. This is also a cheap, sometimes free way for you to connect with your customers directly. 

These services might seem overwhelming at first. You have to give it a chance. With a few clicks, and some practice you will be handling your list. 

The friendliest way to advertise is to call it "opt-in" Or "permission. Using this customers are asking for more information, to be updated, and to keep in touch with your business. 

You can announce at different places about signing up for your email. You can politely remind your customers that they can keep an eye out for some new things by signing up for your newsletter. You can share you email sign up link with different places such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blogs, on your websites, etc. 

Don't just ask your customers to sign up, but give them some reasons to do this. People are protective of their email accounts, and they need to know what is in it for them in order to be inviting you in. Specials, promotions, new listings, maybe some item that is hot/popular, and so on. 

When done correctly email marketing works in making a relationship between you, and the customers. Over time the customers will come to know you, trust you, and this will let you show them that you care too. 

Remember that the customers who are on your list will be the biggest fans of your business. They would like to be the first ones to know what is going on in your business. Maybe you are going to run a sale on Saturday. Well, send out coupons to them on Friday night to use for Saturday. This gives them first dibs on your sale. Maybe you would like to host a special private sale. You could offer such a deal to only your customer email list. Makes them feel special, and appreciative towards you as well. 

The customers on your list can be a big contributor to the success of your business too. Think of them first, and treat them with respect by offering special things to them through your email list. 

Remember, Lisa at Market Your Creativity offers these topics being shared with you, and you can read a little more about them by visiting her too. 

Hope you enjoyed this Email List For Your Business Topic today. Thanks for sharing your time with LilacsNDreams everyone. Until the next time I wish you all a wonderful day. See you again soon!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Keyword Use and Using Traffic Boosting Descriptions

Keyword Use and Using Traffic Boosting Descriptions

Welcome to LilacsNDreams! Today I am gonna talk a little bit about your keyword usage, and how to effectively use some traffic boosting descriptions. Doing some of this will help your customers to find you. 

I see many times people asking on Etsy "How do I get found through an Etsy Search" Honestly there is no complete effective method at Etsy because they change their algorithmns, and their codes regularly. 

I know some don't agree with me when I slightly mention it, but I do not rely on Etsy for my traffic. When I share something, or advise of something I like to offer what can be done "outside the box" In other words being found with search engines, and bringing people to your shops, sites, blogs, and etc. Yes, you should use your keywords in tags, and in materials. At the same time it is also important, and very helpful for you to learn to not rely on Etsy, or the platform that you are using to sell on. 

It helps if you can learn some of the language that your customers would speak with their searches. What you consider using for words of your product names can be different than what customers are using when they are searching. This is where you consider altering some of the keywords in your shops to help more customers to find you. 

For instance a word that is often used at Etsy is the word "convo" I know what it means myself. The word is used frequently around Etsy. When you step outside of Etsy with someone new to the shops there they might not speak the same language, and understand what it is. So, in some of the listings there when a seller tells customers to "convo" them for something, it could confuse them. It would be a little more appropriate if they would tell them to "message" them with any questions, or to maybe click on the contact button to ask their questions, and etc. Something simple like this can really make a difference in the eyes of customers. 

So, to maybe improve your language a little further consider visiting Google's Keyword Tools which has changed to Google Keyword Ads I think it is.  What you want to do is be able to punch in a word, or phrase that you might call your product (it's a good start for this) You should then get a page of some suggested similar words, or phrases. Next to each of the similar terms Google's Keyword Tool displays a number of global monthly searches that have been received for it. Now, the higher you see the number of searches this lets you know the more popular the term is too. 

This not only helps you in assisting the finding of new keywords, but it will also help you with the language we discussed to attract more customers, and buyers to you shops. 

Keep it Simple when using keywords. We have all seen keyword filled titles. I mean titles that are completely filled from different ones telling us to do this in helping us to be found by customers, and to rank with Google and search engines too. However, when customers visit your online shops all of those keywords could confuse the mind of them too. If you are not sure what you are selling how can the customer know for sure what they should be looking for? 

By mixing, and matching keywords throughout your titles you can still get a great number of search results. You just don't want to use every keyword in each of your listings. This will have your shop full of keywords that customers are using to find products. It also helps your titles to be a bit more clear for customers who are looking to shop.  

Customers will not notice that all the keywords are there within your shops, and this is how it should be too. Use your keywords effectively. Spread your keywords throughout your shop while also keeping the message clear for the buyers.   

You can test your keyword effectiveness to get an idea of how you are doing. You can Google search your exact product title. See where you come up in the results when you do this. You will see your title, and then you will also see a portion of your description. So, your first 2-3 sentences for sure should have some keywords in them too. This helps with searches that people will do. 

So, you want to use your keywords wisely. Don't over do it, but use them that it is effective for you to be found with search engine searches. Make sure to visit Lisa with Market Your Creativity to see what details she shares, and to learn from her as well. 

Thanks for sharing time with LilacsNDreams today. Hope you all had a great weekend, and stayed warm in areas that again had snow. Until the next time I wish you all a wonderful day. See you again soon.