In this episode, the guys have the pleasure of talking with Monica from Crystal Relics. Monica shares some great stories from her motorcycle racing days, and lessons she learned which apply to selling on Etsy. We also chat about taxes, accounting, the power of positive thinking, positive energy and avoiding making decisions based on fear. Did we mention she used to race motorcycles?!
Monica has quite the story! Over the last several years her life has changed dramatically. From the time she was seventeen, Monica’s life was all about racing motorcycles. In fact she basically worked to fund her racing, which she was super passionate about. Eventually, Monica was a sponsored rider, but always felt the catch twenty-two of her passion colliding with her work. She had to work in order to race. And when she was working she felt every minute that was being taken away from racing. Eventually, with only one scary incident to her racing career, she felt like she should take her stellar record and bow out while she was ahead. After her daughter came along, her priorities quickly shifted. Slowing down and being a mom were now more important than anything else. Now her days are filled with raising her daughter and running her Etsy shop (Crystal Relics) full time!
How she got started
Her passion for crystals and healing stones came from a gift given to her by a friend. It was a simple crystal, but she was immediately taken with it. After searching for wearable crystal jewelry, she decided that making what she really wanted was the way to go. Out of this simple interaction and search, Crystal Relics was born!
Energy and what you envision
Monica has had a great journey with Marmalead. We absolutely love that she found us early on and has been a customer for a while now! This has allowed her to get to know us and eventually to be part of our Jam! Monica is a huge believer that the kind of energy and attitude you put out into the universe is exactly what will come back to you. Your attitude makes a definite difference in your success. She is doing her absolute best to not allow any doubt into her mind concerning the success of her shop. Basically, whatever you envision in your mind, whatever it is you focus on and see, that is where you’ll head. If you look down, you’ll fall down. What you focus on expands, so if you focus on negative things, that’s exactly what will manifest in your life and work.
Lessons from her racing days
Monica has learned a few things from all those motorcycles ridden and races run. First off, what you focus on really does happen. If you’re coming up on a curve in a race and you’re not looking through the entire curve, you’ll definitely go off the edge. And she has experienced this first hand. You have to look at the end of the curve, focusing on the other side of it in order to navigate your way through it successfully. This is exactly what she’s doing with her Etsy shop. If it’s slow, don’t focus on that, don’t think only of the hypothetical negative outcome. Instead, focus on the end, envisioning what you want and navigating successfully through the end of the “curve.” Secondly, just like in racing, you shouldn’t follow other people’s lines. As Monica says in her interview: “You can follow other people’s lines, and they may be great lines, but you’re only ever going to be behind if you do. So at some point, you just have to change that line in order to make a pass and get around your opponent. It truly is about finding your niche, not focusing on what other people might be doing, and just looking ahead to the goals you’ve got in front of you.”
2 a.m. taxes and lessons learned
One area that Monica has been relearning a lot about recently is taxes. A few nights ago, she stayed up until 2 a.m. doing her taxes for the past year. She said a huge lesson for her about this has been, stay. on. top. of. your. book. keeping. You might feel like you’re not making a ton of money right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming soon! Good book keeping is essential to less stress and time saved along the way. Making sure you’re on top of how much you’ve spent in supplies for your shop, the miles you’ve driven, anything like that, will help SO much in bringing down your taxable income. If you do this as you go along instead of waiting until the last minute and scrambling to find receipts, you’ll really thank yourself!
A great tool for this that Etsy offers is Quick Books. Monica says to be careful, however, as Quick Books with Etsy can double up your income and show you’ve actually made more than you have. What she means is, Quick Books with Etsy keeps track of each transaction made individually. It will also take into account how much is deposited every Monday (if this is the option you’ve chosen) into your bank account. Both of these things together mean that it can look like you’ve made twice what you actually have. But despite this, Monica does love how helpful Quick Books is for keeping track of everything as the year progresses.
Focus for sales
For Monica, focus is a big deal. The months she’s seen her sales go down are the months she’s been distracted and not focused on her shop. Again, you only get out of it what you put into it. Crystal Relics is always on Monica’s mind. She’s always brain storming new things she can do and how she can improve her shop. When she doesn’t allocate the time to implement these ideas however, she begins to think of what she’s “not” doing. And for her, this is where the negative energy can slip back in. This makes her concentrate on what she isn’t doing, instead of where she wants to be. She feels this kind of negative thinking definitely reflects back on her shop. Keeping a positive attitude, staying focused and taking the time to apply what she knows she should all has an impact on the incline or decline of everything she does in her shop and life.
Transitioning to full time with Etsy
Monica says she’s easily distracted, so time management is her number one struggle. Things always seems to end up in the “same spot” for her. Along with running her own shop, she’s also a full time mom to a nineteen month old daughter! So, the struggle to actually stay focused and use her time wisely can be difficult. Monica is also a do it herself kind of woman. But she’s learning this isn’t always the best approach when you’re a small business owner. Taking help when it’s offered can be a wonderful thing.Outsourcing does not mean you’re not capable, it means you know what you can handle and what needs to be delegated. That’s an important lesson to learn early on!
Under promise, over deliver
Monica’s customers truly are important to her and she is deeply grateful for each sell. The awesome thing about what she’s selling is that it allows for deeper conversations with her buyers. Many people search Monica out for her bracelets and crystals because of issues going on in their personal lives. Whether it’s a need for anxiety relief or calm before a medical treatment, Monica’s knowledge and care for each individual she comes into contact with really shines through. Monica also sends a small gift with the purchase of one of her products. This also leads to her customers reaching back out to ask about the gift. All of this helps to solidify relationships with her buyers which is an invaluable practice as a seller. Over delivering in customer care is a great practice all the way around, but especially in the area of repeat customers.
Communication is key
Monica genuinely loves communicating with her customers. This takes a good portion of her time, but that’s just fine with her. She’s made some great professional relationships with many of her customers and she definitely reaps the benefits from her fantastic communication skills. By taking the time to do this she knows that many of her customers will let her know if they need anything and will return to her shop for gifts in the future! A perfect example of this would be recently when a customer, whom had previously bought one bracelet from Monica’s shop, returned to purchase fourteen bracelets for all of her children and grandchildren! That one sale turned into more than Monica could have imagined and she says this has happened multiple times over the course of her shop.
If you go to Crystal Relics, you’ll really get a feel for how detailed and precise Monica is in all she does. Her photos are beautiful, natural, and taken with a soft flash. For Monica, truly representing what her products look like is very important. When she’s purchasing crystals for her shop, she says she really loves to handle and hold them to see what they really look like. She doesn’t like buying bulk crystals or purchasing from places that offer to send you one or two crystals out of a large bowl. So, as a seller herself, she wants her customers to feel like they can reach out and hold the piece they’re interested in. Representing colors, feel and look are all high on her priority list. This also ensures that customers are happy with what they’re receiving. She also stays very consistent with the background of her photos. She’s found this works beautifully for what she’s selling and the feel of her shop. However, she does mention that she’s browsed through other shops that break all kinds of “staying consistent” rules, and yet their photos are also incredible! It’s all about finding what works for what you’re selling. Do you, do your own thing, most importantly be who you are, and let this shine through your shop and photos!
Descriptions and reviews
She does this with her descriptions as well. Though her descriptions might be a bit longer than is normal, Monica would rather give more information and have someone decide a product really isn’t for them, than to give less information and have something returned. This helps with retention as well as ensuring her customers truly understand and are happy with what they’re purchasing. Her advice on writing descriptions is first off, keep them simple at the beginning. The first couple paragraphs should encompass a short intro on what the product is about, why it would be great for the buyer, what size it might be and dimensions if necessary. After that, you can get more detailed in the following paragraphs if you have more info available. Often times, buyers like skimming and just reading the first couple paragraphs, but seeing there’s more info tends to make people more confident in their purchase.
All of this is a great help with Monica’s reviews! She never specifically asks her customers for reviews. When they are written, however, she is quick to send a thank you with a coupon or discount code. Her policy is to always give gratitude where it’s due.
Selecting your words
Monica’s positive energy and mindfulness truly permeates all she does, even the words she chooses to use. She’s very careful about selecting her words, which she believes (and so do we) is a much broader thing than just Etsy. She has seen many people complaining about different topics on forums and social media and for her, it’s not worth reading or being a part of that kind of negative energy. She truly believes the energy you put out into the world comes back, often in the form of illness or mental fatigue. If you’re stressing and complaining, sickness can often follow, and for Monica it’s just simply not worth it. She has personally decided to step away from all forums and any form of social media. Focusing on the things that matter, the positive side of everything, bettering yourself and others, this is what is most important. Letting go of the little things that you can’t control, releasing stress, and staying positive is worth so much.
Don’t beat yourself up
Of course, the most enlightened of people will at times put out negative energy. Monica does her best not to, but you know, sometimes it’s raining and cold and just all around a crummy day. Maybe you stepped in a puddle and soaked your shoe or your package wasn’t delivered when expected. Whatever the case may be, everyone has those moments when you’re just frustrated and aggravated! However, checking that, being aware of it and trying your best to get your mind back in a good place is SO helpful! Also, as Monica says, don’t beat yourself up about your bad moments. We ALL have them, but the best thing to do is just keep moving and leave those bad moments in the dust. No one else has more potential than you. You have all you need to make your life, your Etsy shop, whatever it might be, a success!
Do your research and use your tools (hey Marmalead!)
If you aren’t experiencing the success you want on Etsy, Monica suggests really doing your research and using Marmalead! (Hey thanks Monica!) For her, Marmalead has streamlined a lot of the research she’d otherwise have to do on her own. It takes a lot of the guess work out on keywords, tags, placement for these, what is being used else where and what is being searched. Monica says feels confident in the results she gets when she searches SEO through Marmalead. She guarantees that once you get going with your shop and you can afford the entrepreneur package with Marmalead (hey look, she’s doing a plug for us without us asking!) it will be more than worth it. Until then, the dabbler package is also fantastic. Seriously guys, this is what we hope to hear! We love knowing our customers are finding more success and peace of mind through what Marmalead has to offer!
Do it because you just never know
Taking the leap to running your own store on Etsy can be scary at times. Monica is passionate, however, on encouraging others to just do it! Do it because, you truly never know when your last day might be in your current job or at this current place in your life. Do it because you’re passionate about it and because, honestly, life is just too short to not do what you love. Do it with a positive attitude and with the conscious thought to leave the negativity behind. Do it, not out of fear of what might happen, but out of the belief that you can! Because if you believe it, you absolutely can achieve it. Refuse doubt, don’t allow it in, and if it does creep back, release it as soon as possible. You truly attract what you put out.
When asked about the challenges she’s had in starting up her shop, Monica said at first she thought, “Where do I start?” But, she really doesn’t like to focus on the challenges. She told us she’d rather talk about keeping a good attitude and having great energy, than about all that did and could go wrong. Don’t compare yourself to others or to someone else’s shop. Simply do what is right for you. Envision where you want to be, where you want to go, what you actually want, and believe it will all be yours. If you believe it enough and focus on it, it will come into fruition in the future.
Also, I promise you, you’ll want to listen to Monica’s Jam this week! I wish I could capture all the fantastic stories and hilarious moments she and the guys talked about, but I simply can’t capture it all in one blog post! Go listen to it! You’ll be so glad you did:)
Where to find Monica
Monica can be found at CrystalRelics on Etsy! She is totally open to possibly collaborating with other sellers and artists, so if you feel like reaching out to her, message her directly through her shop.