I am usually pretty optimistic, but I have to tell you my enthusiasm is flagging today. Not a single woo has passed these lips! I think I am suffering from internet burn out. Trying to run a business on the web is exhausting. It's very competitive because every creative person has an outlet now to display and sell their items. While I think that's great, and wish we had that option decades ago...trying to stand out from the crowd is time consuming.
The self promotion is never ending. If you are on Etsy you need to chat in the forums so that people see you, include you in treasuries and get to know you. Twitter is another good tool, but you need to find a balance between personal tweets and posting links so as to maintain good etiquette and not turn people off by posting nothing but links. I remove people from my following list who do that because I like a little personal interaction along with the sales pitches.
I currently have items for sale on my website, Etsy, Dawanda, Bearpile and very soon... Lollishops. All those shops have to be maintained. On top of that The Lollishops Guild, Mohair Divas, Toy Collector, my blog, Plumdrop and Flickr have to be updated every time I have new pictures of items...*collapses on the floor*
On top of the time and cost of supplies to make my pieces, I have to spend hours setting up displays to take photos, take the photos themselves, crop the photos and adjust the color to display the item as close as possible to real life, upload the photos to the endless sites I am on, announce the photos and then if the item sells I have to package it up safely, drive to the post office and usually wait an hour in line to mail it. (And people wonder why artists charge so much for shipping.)
The end result of all this extra work is that I have quite a few less hours a a week to devote to making new things, spending time with my loved ones, reading, cleaning and workin the flab off my backside from sitting in the computer chair.
IT'S MADNESS I TELL YOU! *giggles* The truth is all this effort isn't producing satisfying returns like shows used to. So in order to maintain my sanity and be able to fit in my chair, I have made a very big decision. I think I am going to start spending the money to advertise in magazines after the first of the year. I am getting a new snazzy camera for Christmas so I will be able to take even better pictures! Advertising is very expensive, but it reaches a huge audience and I think in the long run it will save my sanity.
Every time that I have advertised in the past I have generated really great sales. I should have just kept doing it. This time however, I am going to invest in some main stream publications as well as the bear publications. So watch for those ads, I will keep you updated on when they will be coming out and where. And keep in mind that when I start to do this, it may become difficult to get my work. So if you have been thinking about getting one of my things for yourself as a little present, now might be the time.