How would you like to reach your business goals FASTER by doing LESS? This is exactly what we are talking about today. We’re going to help you make sure your business isn’t flying in circles but instead heading straight for the sweet destination you intend to reach. We want your Etsy shop success to be the ultimate destination and goal! If your interest is piqued and you’re ready to take a closer look at your daily to-do list, stick around and read on!
Saying no to almost everything
This sounds empowering, right? This concept actually comes from another Etsy success blog post from our friends over at Farnam Street. We did this previously with Etsy Jam 60 where we chatted about being an amateur or a professional in your business. If you enjoyed that, you’ll probably like how we do this current Etsy Jam. And if you like this Etsy Jam and haven’t listened to it, you can read about being a professional Etsy seller here on Etsy Jam 60.
Inspiration and an example
Farnam Street’s article that inspired us to do our own take on saying no is called Understanding Speed and Velocity: Saying “NO” to the Non-Essential. We’re also going to use that same comparison of speed and velocity before we jump into everything.
So what is speed exactly? Speed is measuring how fast something is moving. In the example given in Farnam Street’s blog post, they give an example of an airplane flying. It has a certain speed and is going pretty dang fast. Then, they explain what velocity is. Using that same example of the airplane, velocity is usually associated with a vector and a vector has a direction. So, we’re not simply talking about how fast something is going, we’re talking about where it’s going when we talk about velocity.
What’s the same between these two things? Let’s say we’ve got two airplanes up in the air. Airplane 1 is flying circles around Atlanta. Airplane 2 is flying from Atlanta to Chicago. Now, let’s say they’re both going 500 miles per hour. Airplane 1 and Airplane 2 are both burning fuel. They’re both in the air flying around, not landing. Crucially, what’s the difference between these two planes? Airplane 1 will never get to Chicago. It’s flying circles around Atlanta literally going nowhere. Airplane 2 obviously will arrive in Chicago because it’s making steady progress in that direction.
How does this relate to your business??
Like Airplane 1, if your business is circling around and not going in the direction you’d like, chances are without making a change, it will never get to where you want to be. This is really the whole concept that we want to talk about today. How do you get your business to where you want it to be? And at the core of this is saying no to more things than you’re probably saying no to right now.
The world is basically designed to encourage you to work a bunch and spin your wheels. There’s a lot of things that keep goading us in this direction of going nowhere. Some great examples of this are apps and social media. The apps on our phones are designed to send us notifications. If we haven’t weighed in for our exercise program, or checked the weather, or looked at our email, or a number of other things, BAM! A reminder to do just that! Meanwhile, Facebook is happy to alert you every time your Aunt’s cousin’s niece’s best friend’s sister likes a post or comments on something…and how are you friends with her anyway?!
All of this is designed to distract you. Often it will distract you from doing the things you should be doing and from moving in the direction you’d like to be going in your own life. Instead, you’re being sucked into engaging with programs a designer came up with. Why? Because the more time you spend in their “world” the more money they’ll make.
The distraction of advertising
The entire goal of ads is to distract you from what you’re trying to do and call your attention to something you probably didn’t know about before. We see ads on television, YouTube, on different websites and through our daily lives. Every time an ad pops up if you click on that ad, the advertiser has won! How? By taking you away from what you were focused on doing to then doing what they want you to do. This is all designed to once again encourage that distraction we have throughout our lives.
The distraction of sales
Sales tend to work the same way. A great example of this is the countdown timer mentality of “There’s only so much time left and so many of this particular item! You’re gonna miss out! Act NOW!” The countdown timer tries to defeat your refocusing on what you were doing. That sense of urgency that you could miss out on something awesome if you don’t take action is designed to distract you. It draws your attention from what you’re currently doing, which is probably more important than that particular sale.
There are also things that aren’t devised that will distract us from what’s important. These things might not even intend to be distracting, but they are the ones you need to be aware of. If you’re aware that there are things that can naturally distract you, this will help you to refocus and know that you don’t need to pay attention to whatever that distracting thing is. Instead stay on task in order to take your business to the place you want it to ultimately go.
How Marmalead handles it all
We spend a lot of our time trying to figure out exactly what we can put in Marmalead’s application that will allow you, our users, to stay focused and not be distracted. We don’t want to throw a bunch of numbers, graphs, or “pretty things” into Marmalead that are distracting and ultimately not helpful to you. This can be challenging as designers and programmers when we’re trying to make decisions on what to keep in Marmalead, what to let go of, what makes sense, and what really shouldn’t be a focal point anymore for our customers.
It would be easy for us to just keep adding things into Marmalead and never cut anything. But that’s not serving you very well when you’re trying to get somewhere with your business. Our ultimate goal is to aid you in getting where you need to be with your business. The last thing we want is for your business to circle around, burning gas, while going nowhere. We are always going to try to respect your velocity and give you the best application possible with minimal distractions. Your Etsy shop success is the ultimate goal!
A fun activity
Wherever you are right now, grab a piece of paper and a pen…or ya know, your computer notes/phone works too if you’re super high tech;) If you’re reading this first thing in the morning, do this exercise for yesterday. If it’s later in your day, you can definitely do this for today. We want you to write down/type five things that you have completed/accomplished today (or for yesterday if it’s still early in the morning for you). These don’t have to be huge things, they can definitely be small. Once you have your five things written down, go back and circle the ones that you really think are driving your business forward.
Give this some thought. Often it can get somewhat gray when you’re thinking about it this way. There will obviously be things that we have to do that aren’t related to our businesses. Things will come up that simply have to be done and might not be directly related to driving your business forward. That’s just the way life is. Other times, there will be very clear-cut, black and white things that you will see are obviously helping or not helping your business.
The gray areas can be…confusing
It’s often the gray areas that won’t be apparent right away on whether that thing you did or worked on is really helping move your business forward. A great question to ask yourself concerning these more gray areas is this: would you pay someone else the amount you value your time, to do this if it wasn’t you?
If the answer is absolutely not, then you’ve just found something you’ve tricked yourself into thinking is super important but in fact is actually distracting. It’s easy to justify activities when you’re doing them yourself, often thinking well, once you accomplish this and this, it will lead to better success. BUT, if you honestly think about it and wouldn’t pay someone to do whatever this might be, it isn’t a good use of your time.
Another helpful test
Another test to use is thinking this: if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Are there things on your list that you’re trying to rush through to just get them over with? Are you glossing over them because you don’t really want to spend that much time on them? Do you need to spend more time on these things and do them correctly? OR are these things really important and worth spending time on at all? Would your time be better used doing something else? Something you can do right and spend more time on rather than spending it on these things you’re half doing and rushing through? Often times, the value comes from doing things really well. Only completing tasks half way can often have more of a negative than not doing them at all.
Do it right because it matters on Etsy
This idea of doing it right and not rushing through and throwing something together definitely applies to Etsy. If you throw together a listing that doesn’t do well because your pictures were too dark or your SEO was way off, Etsy will eventually have a score for you. Those listings that did poorly will affect it. More than likely in a negative way. Make sure that what you’re doing, what you’re spending your time on, is done well and completed. Don’t throw things together and then wonder why your Etsy shop success isn’t moving in the direction you desire.
Where are you going and what are your goals?
This circles us back around to focusing on what your goals are for your business. Be sure you’re measuring the right things in order to know where you’re making progress towards those goals you’ve set. It can be easy to fall into a trap of measuring the wrong things and looking at the wrong numbers. This goes back to Marmalead, we’re always trying to show you what you should be measuring and what the most important things to measure are. However, there are a whole lot of other things you could be measuring that really aren’t going to help get you where you want to be with your business.
Don’t spin your wheels
Some examples of this are: Measuring how many Facebook posts you’ve done over the course of the day. Tracking how many Etsy forum posts you’ve made over the course of the day or week. How much time you spent this week looking at your Pinterest stats. How many likes you have on your Facebook page. These are all things you can measure and track, but these aren’t necessarily going to get your business where you want it to be. Could you spend all day doing these things? Sure! Can you spend time tracking that your Facebook likes are going up? Of course! But likes on Facebook don’t always translate into sales on Etsy. Now, Facebook posts that lead to sales are definitely something to watch so you can replicate what you did right. But receiving simple “like” isn’t what you want to be spending your time on.
So what should you measure?
What things should you be measuring that will help you get where you want to go? It totally depends on the goals you’ve set. A pretty universal goal for Etsy sellers is to increase sales. Obviously, this is a great goal to have! So, measuring your number of sales is a great place to start. Now, this is a more finish line type of goal. There are a lot of things that will happen before you have sales and measuring them.
Engagement/views are also something you want to measure and keep track of. This is something to track before a sale is ever made. Maybe you’ve started pinning more on Pinterest. Keeping an eye on your views is a great way to see if this is making a difference. If you’re getting views and the traffic is coming, that awesome! But if you’re making changes and your engagement/views aren’t increasing, well, there are going to be other things you’ll need to work on and change.
Etsy’s helping hand
Etsy stats is another helpful way to track and measure exactly how many views you’re getting from different search terms and keywords. From an SEO perspective, this is fantastic! One way to do this is to go into your overall shop stats and see what keywords are working for your entire shop. What we suggest you do, even more, is to go into individual listings and see what the keyword breakdown looks like for those listings and where exactly those views are coming from. Seeing what keywords are specifically working for you gives you a great starting place to understand where you should begin brainstorming. You can also use the Etsy stats to observe if your newly added keywords are working well for you or not. These are definitely things to measure and track!
Something to remember
It’s important to remember that simply adding listings and items to your shop isn’t always helpful. If you’ve currently got fifty items in your shop that aren’t doing well, adding another hundred will equal one hundred and fifty listings that aren’t selling. Instead, take the fifty you have and begin to tweak them. If you have a particular listing that’s done really well, break it apart and figure out what made it convert so well. Experiment with your listings, slowly make changes to your SEO and once things start moving with the listings you already have, THEN add in new listings. Adding in new listings when the ones you’ve already posted aren’t doing well will simply equal you spinning wheels and not getting your shop where it needs to go.
Changing SEO and what not do to
Another thing to remember along the SEO topic is NOT to change everything at once. Instead, pick a handful of listings and focus on tweaking your SEO on those. Get those dialed in, track that the new keywords you’re using are getting you views, and once the wheel starts turning and converting with those handful of listings, then go make changes to your other listings. What you absolutely DO NOT want to do is go through your entire shop and change all of your SEO at once. This will at best ensure you’ll have to rework a lot of listings and at worst it could negatively impact your shop because you may have chosen bad keywords.
So, how do you really know what is and isn’t worth spending your time on? Sometimes it isn’t super obvious. It can definitely be tricky to figure this out. We had a Jam a while back, that deals with exactly how to figure out what is and isn’t worth doing. The name of this Jam is The Magic Quandrantilizer of Answers (which we should have named something easier). If you’re struggling with how to figure out what you should and shouldn’t be spending time on concerning your business, you’ll definitely want to check this Jam out. It goes much more in-depth with this topic and gives you a helpful method to help you figure out what’s worth spending your time on.
Be honest with yourself. Really. This is the best and sometimes the hardest thing you’ll do in figuring out what to say no to and what to say yes to. It’s easy to fool ourselves into justifying where we’re doing such and such, but at the end of the day, you don’t want to justify yourself into spinning wheels and not getting where you need to go with your business.
As always, be sure and check out this week’s Etsy Jam with the guys. Remember you can catch up on all of our Etsy podcast Jams right here! Also, this is your first Jam of April so make sure you’re on the lookout for your first Easter Egg in this week’s Jam:)
Happy selling, everyone!
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