Focus on the top right

Etsy Jam Episode 43: The Magic Quadrantilizer of Answers

Have you ever felt like you’re trying to do a billion things at once and more new things are showing up faster than you can get things done? Don’t fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and letting each new task rock your boat. Instead, use the Magic Quadrantilizer of Answers to find the MOST important thing for you to spend your time on.

I realize that sounded like the beginning of an infomercial but in all seriousness, this process works really well. We are going to start with a massive list of tasks/ideas and boil it down to the key activities that will help you make the most progress toward a goal. To help keep things straightforward, we’ve broken the process down into 5 easy payments of $19.95. Wait no…sorry…that was for the infomercial. We’re using 5 easy STEPS:

Step 1: Have a goal

In order to know if the stuff we’re working on is valuable, we need to know where we’re trying to go. For our example we’ll keep things simple and use the goal “I want to double the sales of my shop.” Pick your number one goal right now. Maybe one of your New Year’s resolutions or just a really solid personal goal that you want to reach. Extra bonus points if you create a S.M.A.R.T. goal – but don’t get caught up on that if you just want some quick answers!

Step 2: Have some tasks or ideas

If you’re like me, step 2 is easier than step 1. There seems to be an endless flow of things I can spend my time on. Take a moment to brain dump and write everything down that’s been weighing you down. Richie and I love to use sticky notes for this but if it’s easier to start by just grabbing a sheet of college ruled paper (to save trees, obviously) and writing one activity per line, go for it.

Step 3: Ask yourself “Can I do it?”

Go through your list of tasks and for EACH one ask yourself “can I do this?” Score them on a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 means “this would be super difficult” and 5 means “this is a total piece of cake.” Don’t worry too much about scoring things perfectly – we can always adjust the scores later. As you go through your list, it helps to compare things with one another too. Ask yourself “is this harder or easier than that?” As you do more, they’ll get easier. We have some examples coming if you feel like you need a little more guidance.

Step 4: Ask yourself “Will it help?”

Go back through your list and for each task ask yourself if it will help you get to your goal. Make sure you’re using the same goal for each task! Just like your first score, use a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 means “nope this probably won’t help” and 5 means “heck yeah this will really help.” You may find that some activities don’t really help you reach your goal or they may be more in line with a different goal. That’s okay! Rate them low or set them aside for now.

Step 5: Graph it up!

This is the really fun part (I think). Grab some wall space or table space or window space or floor space. Just a big 5 foot by 5 foot open area will work perfectly. Now we need to make a big chart with a horizontal axis and vertical axis.

The vertical line measures how well you scored each task for “can I do it?”

The vertical "can I do it" axis

The horizontal line measures how well you scored each task for “will it help?”

The horizontal "will it help" axis

For this, Richie and I like to use painters tape. It will stick well to walls, tables, floors and windows and doesn’t leave a bunch of sticky residue after you take it down. After you’ve got your lines set up, your space should look like this:

The Magic Quadrantilizer Chart

Some Examples

Okay so you may see where we’re going already and be comfortable putting your tasks up on your chart, but if not, here are some examples of how we’d score tasks related to our goal of doubling our shop’s sales. Keep in mind that everyone’s scores will be different. Something that’s easy for one person may be difficult for someone else. Something that worked really well for one person may not have worked out very well for someone else. This is purely our fictional world of scoring (scary, right?)

Start a Blog

Can I do it?

SCORE: 0

Yeah I can do this but it will take a ton of time. I’m going to need to find a hosting provider, register a domain name, make sure I have an SSL cert to help with Google’s SEO, find good blogging software, write and publicize my posts. I’ve never done this before so it will take a lot of research time too.

Will it help?

Score: 0

If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think it will help much. I’ve heard from other sellers that they had a tough time knowing what to blog about and they never really got a whole lot of traffic to their blog….much less traffic that turns into SALES in my Etsy shop. So I’m not super optimistic about this one.

Start a Blog 0 / 0 goes here:

Guest Blog

Can I do it?

SCORE: 4

This one seems much more do-able than creating my own blog. I basically just need to search out blogs that I can guest post on and spend the time to write content for them. Not the easiest thing in the world but pretty straightforward.

Will it help?

Score: 1

Again I don’t think this will be a treasure trove for new sales BUT if I’m guest blogging on an established site, they already have an audience built up. This is something I wouldn’t have if I were starting my own site so for that I’ll give it a 1 instead of a 0.

Guest Blog 4 / 1 goes here:

Promoted Listings

Can I do it?

SCORE: 5

Totally. These seem really easy to set up from everything I’ve seen. I just need to figure a budget and decide which listings I want to feature.

Will it help?

Score: 4

Hard to say but I’ve heard of other sellers getting good returns on their investment with promoted listings. I know that in order for promoted listings to work well, I need to be targeting solid keywords on my items first. Fortunately, because I use Marmalead my SEO is in a really good spot. See what I did there? 😉

Promoted Listings 5 / 4 goes here:

Google Ads

Can I do it?

SCORE: 2

Eh this seems like more work than promoted listings. I don’t know as much about Google or how to set up Google Ads for a good return on my investment. It will take some research time.

Will it help?

Score: 3

Hard to say again but I’ve heard mixed things from other Etsy sellers. It seems like it may not do as well as promoted listings on Etsy – because when a shopper is on Etsy, they are already there with the intention of making a purchase. Showing them my ad will have a higher chance of making a sale than showing it to somebody just searching on Google. Again, not completely sure but my gut says slightly worse performance than Etsy promoted Listings.

Google Ads 2 / 3 goes here:

Social Media

Can I do it?

SCORE: 3

Can I sign up for a Twitter and Facebook account and start blasting out photos and links? Sure. That’d be a 5. But can I do Social Media RIGHT? That’s harder. I’ll need to do some digging and learn about which platforms have the best engagement for shoppers. I’ll also need to learn the best way to share content on each platform because they’re all different from each other. If I blast the same message out to each channel, I shouldn’t expect much success.

Will it help?

Score: 0

Kind of along the lines of the blog, I think a lot of people on social media aren’t there to shop. My posts will be attracting more window shoppers than serious buyers. It may help with sales a little bit but will it get me on my way to doubling my sales? Probably not.

Social Media 3 / 0 goes here:

Pattern Site

Can I do it?

SCORE: 3

I’ve never made a site before but I’ve heard and seen videos that make this seem pretty straightforward. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

Will it help?

Score: 2

I am responsible for driving my own traffic to my pattern site so for that I give this a 0. BUT if I slip a card in my packaging or a sticker on the bottom of my items, this could be a great way to attract repeat customers. It could also help when friends ask where one of my customers got something. They can see the URL and send them my way. So because of the opportunity for repeat sales, I’ll give this a 2.

Pattern Site 5 / 4 goes here:

 

Improve Photos

Can I do it?

SCORE: 3

I’ve done all my own photography and I’m pretty comfortable with my DSLR and editing the photos. It’s just a matter of time to go through each one of my listings, take 20 or so photos of each one, pick the 5 best, and upload those to Etsy.

Will it help?

Score: 5

Yeah. This will definitely help. I know shoppers are visual (especially on Etsy) and I know that better photos will really increase my chances of getting customers to click my listings in search. The 4 other photos will help build their desire to buy and help my shop look consistent across all my listings. Big win towards my goal.

Improve Photos 3 / 5 goes here:

Focus on the Top Right

Now take a look at your top right quadrant and make sure you’re focusing on the things there. Hopefully you’ve gone through a decent number of tasks/ideas and arrived at a much smaller list! The card closest to the top right in our example is “Promoted Listings” so that’s what we’d want to focus on. Then once that’s done, start working on the next closest card to the top right (“Improve Photos”).

Focus on the top right

 

Rinse and Repeat

Do this activity as often as you want! I like to go through this exercise whenever I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Richie and I like to do it together to help make sure we’re focusing on the next best thing with Marmalead. As a bonus, here are some tips for things you might encounter when you do this on your own (or in a small group!)

Bonus Tip 1: Use Your Gut

Don’t overthink the scores you give cards. Don’t get caught up on being super accurate. It really helps to start trying to make things relative to one another. Will this help MORE than that? Will this be harder to do than that?

Bonus Tip 2: Make sure you MEASURE

As you’re working, measure how well things are working and how long it took you to finish them. This will make you better at estimating scores on future activities and will help you know what’s working and what’s not.

Bonus Tip 3: Stuff Clumped Up? Change your Scale!

Check out this example:

Cards are clumped up

This happens. Don’t worry if it happens to you. Just take the card that’s farthest to the left – in this case, it’s “Social Media.” Looks like it was scored a 2 for how much it will help. Well guess what? Now it’s a 0. “Improve Photos” over on the right was scored about 3.5 – now it’s a 5. Spread those cards out and adjust your scores accordingly.

Bonus Tip 4: Take a Picture

Sticky notes have a tendency to fall off of walls overnight. Make sure you snag a picture with your phone as soon as you finish organizing things so you can remember where things were in case of a catastrophic event…like toddlers who can reach all your difficult ideas.

Try it out!

We’d love to hear how this activity went for you. Share your pictures with us at success at marmalead dot com or in our Facebook group!

Have you ever felt like you're trying to do a billion things at once and more new things are showing up faster than you can get things done? Don't fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and letting each new task rock your boat. Instead, use the Magic Quadrantilizer of Answers to find the MOST important thing for you to spend your time on. I realize that sounded like the beginning of an infomercial but in all seriousness, this process works really well. Click me to know all about it!

 

 

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