Sign up for our newsletter + get your Using Positive Affirmations in your Business mini-kit!!!

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:

fb_twitter
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

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.46.39 AM

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

twitter_birds

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

download

 

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!

How Do You Define Handmade Success?

DSC_0497Notebook from HEMA

Come share how you view handmade success in your life, in your business and in your projects. Get ready to inspire and be inspired!

Being successful is something we know other people are capable of but it is rarely a fact we apply to ourselves. It is a qualification we give from the image they reflect. Mostly online, the impression other craftsellers and entrepreneurs send is really made by us. From what we see and read, we think they are successful. We actually make them successful: by offering them our trust in their work (if we buy it or even just recommend it to our friends) or by considering their followers on social media as an indicator of success. Mainly we consider figures as a proof of success. Social media is therefore playing a huge role in this consideration: the number of followers, likes and comments one business shows can only be a sign of success and popularity. Audience statistics for a blog/website, sales figures or even favorites (for a shop on Etsy) are also other elements we tend to use to measure success.

Measuring success with numbers is a rational way to define it but as we all know: figures can be cheated and life can’t be summed up by it. Success should be approached with emotions and feelings. It is the result of continuous efforts and hard work. It is above all PERSONAL. Every body should therefore have their own definition of the word. What is success about for me? The answer won’t come with numbers but with hope. Running your own business is actually a huge success: you are achieving something other people are not capable of. Without trying to compare yourself with others, look at what makes you successful: what did you manage to achieve? All of that is your success!

We tend to think that others give success: music lovers will make singers successful by buying their albums, but without the artist, his work and creativity, his success couldn’t happen. So we could see the success as a combo of both: the meeting between the entrepreneur’s work and her/his audience. Sharing with others, exposing ourselves to the world, trying and failing with them could actually be the key to success.

This whole (and small) explanation could be seen as very philosophical, and really yes it is. Success is an idea and not a fact after all. But bear in mind that success won’t make you happy. Happiness is on the other hand what success should be about. So now what is happiness according to you?

sophiebio

Sophie Chapman — Ma Petite Valisette

Sophie Chapman lives in Normandy and has graduated 10 years ago from business school. As a mother of 3 franco-english kids (8y, 6y & 2 months old) and with a husband that travels a lot, Sophie decided to work from home by launching her online business. She worked at a famous Parisian ad agency before she became a professional trainer.

She now offers online courses for female entrepreneurs and craft sellers. You can find different downloads in her shop and you can also subscribe for online trainings and online entrepreneurship workshops. Most recently she also co-published a business book for french craft sellers. It was the first book in the french market that covered this topic.

BLOGINSTAGRAM

Breaking Bad: A Digital Addiction

P1020284

A recent study revealed that the average American checks their smart phone over 100 times a day.  While that number may seem shocking, if the pool was limited to entrepreneurs, I am sure that number would double or triple in size. Since launching my own business, my cell phone has become my lifeline. It is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at before going to bed. I check to see how many likes my last Instagram post received. A little ding and I swiftly pick up my phone to see who favorited my Etsy shop. I refresh my email what feels like every ten minutes to see if an order came in.

While staying on top of my business, analyzing what’s working and what’s not, is important, my attachment to my phone had started to become a problem.  Many conversations with my boyfriend or friends happened while also scrolling through my Twitter feed or updating Faceboo. My phone is prominently displayed on my jewelry bench, so I can see every notification and alert that comes in, sometimes stopping mid-creation to check it. Because I am so anxious to see how the business is doing, I have stopped immersing myself in the creative process and it has affected the authenticity of my relationships. Without these two key components, my business is a failure no matter how many times one of my pins has been re-pinned or how many comments a Facebook post receives.

In an attempt to get a handle on my addiction, last week I experimented with a week long digital detox. For practical reasons, because my business really is reliant on email, social media and websites, I began the detox at 7 pm every evening. I promised that I would not look at my phone, except if a call came in, and would not open the computer. While I was somewhat intimidated by this prospect, I also felt that for just a week this would be a no brainer. Day one, I didn’t even make it a half hour before checking my phone. Day two, I had to put it on silent so I wouldn’t be tempted by notifications. By day three, I had to physically put the phone away to resist the temptation.  Although each evening was filled with that physical itch to grab my phone, just to see what was going on, I slowly began to appreciate the freedom of putting the phone away. It was a pleasure to awake the following morning to discover what I missed the evening before. Moments of inspiration happened more often, where I would grab my little notebook to jot down a new marketing idea or a new design. I began to feel liberated from the pressure of having to see how my business was doing at all times. I felt more engaged in whatever I was doing, even if it was catching up on the latest shows with my boyfriend.

Now that I am back on the wagon, my phone has resumed its position on the coffee table next to my laptop. But the temptation to check it is reduced to maybe one or two times a night. I may now see an email roll in around 9 or 10 pm, but I don’t feel obligated to respond and I usually don’t until the following morning. I feel re-invigorated creatively. I feel less attached to the happenings to the digital world and more connected to what’s happening in real life, in that moment. While it may seem like a daunting challenge, I invite all small business owners to explore what happens when they put the phone and computer away, even if for just a moment.

mayabiowashi

Maya Ahluwalia – Crusoe Jewelry

Maya Ahluwalia is the designer behind Crusoe Jewelry, a fashion jewelry line inspired by nautical motifs, but interpreted into stylish designs. Crusoe Jewelry is created for the fashion-forward consumer with an appreciation for quality with an artisanal approach. Each design is hand-crafted in her Brooklyn-based studio.

In addition to creating Crusoe Jewelry, Maya is a marketing consultant with expertise in jewelry, fashion and luxury. Clients include Michael Aram Jewelry, Shawn Ames Fine Jewelry, Wells House Bed & Breakfast, and the LOU Lookbook App.