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HANDMADE + CREATIVE BUSINESS

New Look and A New Direction Around Here!

shopsmallnewGood morning creatives! Notice anything different around here? The look of Handmade Success has changed for the first time in years and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

Here is a little update about what is happening:

New look

– this site was long over due for a little refresh of the logo and I am so excited about this new look. You will see this carried over in social media as well.

New Instagram account

– our Instagram account had been part my life and part Handmade Success. I have decided to make it specifically geared towards creative entrepreneurs by making it a separate account. Come follow us here: https://instagram.com/handmadesuccess/

New help

– I have decided to bring on some of the contributors here in a larger role so Handmade Success can become more of a collaborative site. I believe this will be a tremendous benefit to all of you. I can’t wait to see how this evolves!

I would love to know your thoughts and feel free to let us know in the comments what you would like to see happening here on the site and on social media!

Stranded Treasures: Wearable Hand Sculpted Blossoms

strandedcollageWhether or not is feels like spring outside where you are today I want it to feel like spring on your computer! I am so happy to introduce you to Stranded Treasures designed by artist Sharlene Maher. I think her colorful work will definitely brighten your day! I have absolutely fallen in love with the beauty of her designs!

Purple-Iris-Necklacepurple iris necklace

Sharlene started sculpting flowers from clay 12 years ago and is now making a living from what she once considered just an enjoyable pastime. She has taken her passion that was inspired by memories of flowers and scents from living in New Jersey, San Francisco and Florida full-time and is loving discovering new ways to grow and share her work with the world.

Pink-Lily-Studspink lily earrings

She does not use any molds to create her flowers – can you believe that?! She loves to focus on the art of sculpting and mixing colors to bring her visions to life. Her attention to detail comes to life in each photo of her jewelry and also in all of the options she offers. Customers can have the flowers in different sizes, on rings, on lockets, as clip-on earrings (perfect for my mom!) and she even has a scented variation!

Red-Rose-Studsred rose earrings

A big reason she has such a diverse selection is due to balancing her creative nature with listening to her customers. As her business has grown she has learned a lot about her customers and that they are similar to that of a florist – people shopping for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, romantic gestures and more. She has now created a site full of gorgeous designs that she loves creating because she know her customers will love them too.

Red-Poppy-Sterling-Silver-Braceletred poppy bracelet

I encourage you to spend some time on Stranded Treasures today. Allow yourself to be whisked away as if in a meadow of every flower you have ever seen. Did I mention there will be butterflies there too? Be sure to follow Sharlene on her Facebook page too. I hope you enjoyed starting spring with these gorgeous creations and be sure so share this post with a friend who might enjoy a little bouquet today!

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This post was kindly sponsored by Stranded TreasuresAll views and ideas here are my own.

The Reason You Simply Must Proofread Your Handmade Product Listings

Vintage-ErasersVintage Eraser Tops from The Newton Label

Want to know how to make your handmade product listings more attractive, persuasive, and easy-to-understand? Brush up on your proofreading skills.

Before you head for the hills screaming, “Oh no! Not a grammar lesson!” – hear me out.

You already know that a fabulous product description is crucial to selling your product. You’ve spent time thinking of descriptive nouns, persuasive adjectives, and vivid verbs to describe your product. You might have even completed a product descriptions course and used the tips to improve your copywriting.

You’re not finished yet. Your product listing needs one extra layer of tender loving care before you send it out into the world to help sell your product: proofreading.

Want to know why proofreading your product listing is so important? Here’s why:

A product listing with errors could cause potential customers to doubt the quality of your product.

What in the world does a spelling or grammar error have to do with the quality of my product, you ask? I know, I know. It doesn’t seem fair that people would think less of your handmade product because of a wording error, does it? But they might.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a grammar whiz to be a good proofreader. Read on for the areas you should check.

Basic Proofreading for Handmade Sellers:

  • Spelling
    • Remember that spell check doesn’t always catch errors such as their/they’re or its/it’s.
  • Punctuation
  • Grammatical Structure
    • Are you familiar with the Grammar Girl website and/or podcast? She approaches English grammar in a fun, easy-to-understand way.
  • Conciseness
    • Say just what needs to be said; don’t be too wordy.
  • Spacing
    • Look for extra spaces between words, sentences, and paragraphs. Keep it consistent.
  • Jargon
    • Remember that just because your wording is free of grammatical errors doesn’t mean that it is clear to the customer. Do you use jargon (terms that apply to your niche but that your average customer won’t understand)?

Your product description isn’t the only shop wording to proofread. Here are some others:

  • Shop announcement
  • Seller profile
  • Shop categories
  • Tags
  • Message to buyer (automatically sent after customer makes an Etsy purchase)

So what is a non-grammar whiz handmade seller to do? The following reminders will help you improve your proofreading skills:

  • Read your product listing (title, description, tags, etc.) for errors and then leave it for a while.  Come back to it later when you have “fresh eyes” to spot errors.
  • Copy and paste your wording into a text editor of some sort. Fix any errors that you find.
  • If you know someone who is a grammar whiz, beg, plead, or bribe (☺) them to read your wording and point out any errors or unclear wording.
  • Take your time when checking your product wording. Product descriptions that are written hastily are more likely to contain errors.

Okay, confession time. Which of the following proofreading styles best describes you?

(a) I carefully proofread all of my product listings and feel comfortable correcting the errors myself. I’m pretty good at proofreading.
(b) I struggle with proofreading my product listings. Customers sometimes point out mistakes that they find in my wording. I need to work on this skill.
(c) Proofread? I’m supposed to proofread my product listings? ☺

Tell us in the comments, will you?

Juliebio

Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

12 Social Media Management Apps to Save You Hours Every Day

Right now you’ve got a pile of to-do lists that get longer instead of shorter as the day goes on, emails filling up your inbox, and your next creative project still marinating in your brain just itching to be completed, am I right?

Then you’ve got all your different social media sites that you’ve been told are totally crucial to stay on top of if you want to market your business right.

And yes, social media marketing is crucial, and you do need to stay on top of it. But social media management can be a full-time job in and of itself.

As it is, we spend an average of 3.6 hours a day on social media! That’s over 10 hours a week juggling Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+…

That’s 10 hours you could be using to come up with your next awesome handmade masterpiece!

So stop interrupting your day and wasting more time posting on social media. You don’t have to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram all day long to get the awesome results of all-day engagement. The answer is social media managing tools!

If you can’t spare a few minutes to read the descriptions of each tool right now, click the button under here to instantly download your Free Social Media Management App Resource Guide.

Click Here to Instantly Download Your Free Social Media Scheduling Guide

The 12 awesome tools explained below make it easy to gather all your content and schedule it up for days, or weeks at a time – and let your social media work for you.

Tools for Managing Facebook AND Twitter Accounts Like a Boss:

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Buffer

Buffer helps you set that sweet spot posting schedule between silence and oversaturating your followers’ feeds. Set up a scheduling pattern you want to follow, and let Buffer do all the work of posting. Whenever you find post-able content, Buffer will automatically set the post for the next available time slot. Updates can be posted on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

Buffer is totally free for one Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account and up to ten posts scheduled at a time. The Pro plan for $10 a month lets you include up to six social media accounts and 50 scheduled updates, while Premium offers unlimited accounts and updates for $99 a month.

Hootsuite

This popular social media tool manages your updates across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace, and Foursquare accounts with easy-to-use scheduling tools. Plus, Hootsuite incorporates an RSS feed, so you can update your accounts with your own articles and posts from other blogs.

Use Hootsuite for free with up to five social media accounts. Upgrade to the Pro plan for $5.99 a month to incorporate unlimited social media profiles, RSS feeds and more.

IFTTT

“IF This, THEN That.” Set up recipes linked to all your social media profiles that give you alerts when specific things happen. This helps you organize what social media interactions you see and de-clutters your inboxes.

For example, you can choose “IF: A comment is left on my FB post, THEN: Send me a text“ or “IF: I’m tagged in a photo on Instagram, THEN: Add the URL to my Dropbox folder.”

IFTTT complements Hootsuite or Buffer to give you complete control of your social media.

Keep It Simple and Organized on Facebook

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Facebook offers a handy built-in feature for planning posts called the Facebook Scheduler.

The above tools are excellent for juggling multiple profiles at once, but there are benefits to logging directly into your Facebook account every once in a while.

Facebook incorporates EdgeRank software, meaning direct content is often prioritized in feeds over posts sent from third party apps (like Buffer or Hootsuite). Plus, Facebook users have the option to hide all content posted by third parties. Check out Econsultancy’s guide to EdgeRank if you want to learn more.

Facebook Scheduler avoids the snags of EdgeRank. This built-in feature is available for any post you prepare on Facebook – look for the little clock icon in the bottom left corner of the text box. Pick the date and time you want to post (you can even select past dates to pad an empty timeline!) View or edit your scheduled posts in your Activity Log.

Tools to Tidy Up Your Twitter Reach

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Tweepi

Tweepi is like a Twitter detox. Flush away unfollowers, cleanup inactives, reciprocate those who are following you, and even find new followers! It’s a great way to reorganize and drop off dead weight.

The Pro version lets you do bulk follow/unfollow actions up to 200 users at a time – this is the weapon of choice for a total Twitter account overhaul.

TweetDeck

This management tool was recently purchased by Twitter and allows filters on what matters (so you don’t let any crucial Tweets pass you by!). You can schedule upcoming tweets and remain up-to-date on notifications from fellow Tweeters. Use this program on your chrome browser or download the tool to your Windows or Mac desktop.

Become an Insta-Managing Guru – Three Helpful Instagram Tools

instagram double tap

Latergram.me

This is an easy-to-use tool that lets you schedule your upcoming posts for the ideal time. Upload photos from the web or your phone. Plus, you can edit and view your scheduled posts from the mobile app, or online, and get push notifications (alerts on your locked phone screen) once your scheduled posts go out. Nothin’ gets by you!

Takeoff

This app helps you schedule just like Latergram.me, but also claims to increase your comments and likes. TakeOff crunches numbers to suggest the best time to post and offers hashtag suggestions to reach new followers.

Schedule up to ten posts per day on one Instagram account with the free version.

Schedugram

Another scheduling tool for controlling upcoming posts on Instagram, you can edit images with filters and other Instagram features. You can also request an email confirmation once your scheduled posts go out.

Pin On Schedule with Pinterest Tools

MFblog_RichPins

Tailwind

Tailwind analyzes your Pinterest account and gives you a graph of your statistics right when you log in. Analyze the growth of your fans, followers and pins, audience engagement and find the best time to post your pins. Follow Pinterest clicks through to sales using Google Analytics and benchmark your performance against competitors. All your research is instantly done for you!

Viral Tag

A total time-saver for finding and posting visual content over Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Viral Tag lets you add a Bookmarklet to your browser – drag photos you may want to post into your Bookmarklet and come back to them to add captions, links and schedule a posting time. You can also enhance and edit images before posting.

Piqora

Piqora is a useful enterprise tool for both Pinterest and Instagram that lets you schedule upcoming posts as well as access analytics. Plus there’s the option to create promotions and sweepstakes schemes to grow your Pinterest following.

Doing More with Social Media in Less Time

With the help of these organizational tools, some useful analytics and a direct focus, you’ll start wondering when they added more hours in the day, and your social media profiles will never go empty.

So start experiment with these tools and the ones that work best with your social media profiles and level of engagement.

Are you using any social media scheduling tools right now? Which ones do you like the best?

rachelwashi

Rachel Daley – MadeFreshly

Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the online store platform that actually helps you succeed. Click here to get her creative marketing tips for entrepreneurs free, every week!

Successful Selling on Etsy at MADE Boutique

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I am so excited to announce that I am teaming up with local jewelry designer Cassie Ulh of Zenned Out Jewelry for a workshop to help you improve your Etsy shop! You can check out all of the details below:

Your Etsy shop looks great and you are making sales but are still wondering how to take it to the next level. Join Cassie of Zenned Out and Kerry of Handmade Success for an afternoon at MADE Boutique to discuss steps and strategies to grow your business online. You will also learn some self-care techniques to help with the stress and fatigue that can come with owning your own business.

During this workshop we will cover:

  • Social Media Tactics
  • Blogging for Your Business
  • Product Photography
  • Customer Service
  • Branding
  • Pricing
  • Self-care Techniques
  • Snacks
  • and more!

Saturday, March 28th from 1 to 4pm. Reserve your spot today by clicking here!

If you are not local and love the idea of something similar online then leave a comment below or shoot me an email at kerry@handmadesuccess.com. If you are local then I hope to see you there!