Shipping

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Over the years I have read several how to articles learning the ins and outs of what works for different businesses and hand-made companies. I kept seeing a shipping station repeatedly in blogs and articles and thought it was something worth investigating a little deeper. When the Holiday Season hits for most makers it’s as if you are struggling to stay above water, especially for a one man show.

An ultimate goal of every maker is to stay organized, have fun, and love what you do. I created a shipping station OUTSIDE of my office in the garage so it was out of sight and out of mind when I was creating. When I finish an item I simply place it on the table and at the end of the day I go out and package everything up. Packaging is a job within it self (if you’re doing it properly.) It’s crucial to have something visually stimulating and exciting for your customer to open up. Often times I will go with seasons and add little trinkets, ribbons, shred, etc. This is also a branding trick and customers are more likely to remember all the extra effort you put into their order. You took the time to make it special. That is why the shipping station is so crucial it gives you time to focus on one thing….SHIPPING….

It’s a known fact most creative people are “squirrelly” type personalities, so having focus, direction, and guidance is crucial. I wish I would have started this years ago, so here I am screaming it from the ROOF TOPS – create a damn shipping station! Have all your bubble wrap, ribbons, boxes, tape, and goodies to add in all in ONE SPOT! (Also toddlers can’t steal your trinkets this way! hehe)

Now let’s get to shipping!!!!

No really…

Go Now….5.4.3.2.1.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Store run: 

  • Stalk of Celery
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1/3 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 onion thinly chopped
  • 1 pound of wide egg noodles
  • 5  cups milk
  • 1 can of drained artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

Lets get cooking ladies and gents……

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Start boiling water in a large pot and add noodles for about 2 minutes or until al dente, drain the noodles and return to the same pot.

In a separate pan heat oil in a heavy pan on medium heat. Add onions and 3 stalks of chopped celery with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-6 minutes than add in flour stirring for about a minute. Add milk until a smooth texture and let simmer for one minute.

Add mixture and noodles together. Add in tuna, artichoke hearts, and salt and pepper. Mix it up well. Place in baking dish and sprinkle over the top with parmesan! (I also added mozzarella for some extra zing!)

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling on top!

Enjoy~

It’s not how much. It’s what.

When I was a little girl I remember my grandma always telling me “It’s not how much you have, it’s what you have.” When it comes to home, decorating, life, material things, I am finding this simple statement more and more true.

We can have a million shitty things, and guess what, we are still going to feel shitty. You can have one thing of something so special and meaningful that it makes every thing else not matter. When starting in this room to room organizing series were doing, I want to challenge you to throw away anything you have not touched, brings a not so fawn memory, or you have no worn in 6 months. You don’t need it and for some reason are holding on to some materialistic “thing” which is holding you down.

When I first did this step in the purge I decided to sell on FB and donate the rest to Goodwill…..You’ll be amazed how something you have never touched is another’s treasure.

With decor for Holidays I try to remember this same moto as a little goes a long way. Have a few special pieces or additions you add to the mantle not clutter of a million bats you will have globs of dust on come Halloween.

I am super excited because come this week we are starting at the kitchen and working our way through living room, bedrooms, and bathrooms! First though…..First we must de clutter and simplify to the important things.

Lets Get Started….

  • Throw away anything you have not used in 6 months. (pots, pans, clothing, decor, silverware, bathroom supplies, etc.) Go piece by piece through your house. If it is not useful, or make you smile….TOSS IT.
  • If you can’t sell it in 7 days off it goes…… To the Goodwill or Dump. You can pick!
  • Clean. Like deep ass clean. The walls should have a twinkle. After you are completely purged and we are diving into the next step! It makes it far more simple!!!!

Ok. Ok. Ok….. Get your booty off the computer. Grab a garbage bag. Get to working!

“Nothing in your life will ever change, if you don’t change something in your daily routine. To get the end destination of your goal, you must do something differently.” 

Simplicity.

We as humans always want “more”. If I only had this I would be happy. If I only got this promotion I would be satisfied. If only I made this income I would be excited.

Stop.

Just Stop.

Be Happy Right Now. Right Where Your Life Has Brought You. Keep it Simple.

Do you want something different? Do Something Different. 

I made it a life, mom, and wife goal this year to straight up simplify. To be blunt. We had too much shit. 20 pots & pans (4 of which we used), clothing of littles I was saving as memories, clothing my booty has not fit into in 4 years, sippy cups with no lids, towels which did not match, I hated it….Literally the little things were driving me to a breaking point. After we remodeled I knew it was the perfect moment to get rid of every thing but what we needed. (I still had hand me downs from my first apartment okayyyy?!) So I said these simple words. 

I AM TAKING CHARGE OF MY LIFE.

I found hacks for organizing every single aspect of every single room and square foot of our home.

It’s important to ask yourself these simple questions before you begin this giant purge…..

  • Have I touched it in 6 months.
  • Is it useful?
  • Does this need to be replaced?
  • Does this match the end result I’m dreaming of?

If no to any of these questions! Toss it! Start fresh.  Get minimal. Become Thankful.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

pst……(Organizing hacks for EACH ROOM OF YOUR HOME is our next series) eeeeeekkkkk!!! ok get excited hit that little share button, because good stuff is coming your way~

The Moment it Happened.

December to August in my house was Chaotic, Hectic, Busy, Non Stop, and Confusing. We all hit these times in our Mommy or Career Lives where we have to sit back and pull the reigns. In my case I needed to completely halt them! I have always had goals and ways to reach them, but when you are on the move non stop with no time to be in the moment because you are consistently planning or running it makes life fly by and messy.  While running late which had become a new usual for me, on my way to football practice (which my son was begging after day 4 to not do), with the baby crying in the back from being over tired, listening to “Little Sprigs” podcast on conscious parenting and being in the moment it hit me like a TON OF BRICKS…. Not like a pillow case blow, but literally made my head hurt to the point I turned the car around. I have been running so fast for so long I am missing what is important in my life. Lets rewind a little….About 3 weeks ago, I started to get some serious anxiety just around life in general. I was like the 2-year-old that still hears back round noise and feels the ‘missing out” so can’t sleep. I had my hands in way to many jars with absolutely no direction or focus. I needed to get clarity and focus. I knew a few things so I began to write…..

  1. My children needed me to be present and not always stressed out about what was to come next. Children feed off our feelings and absolutely need us to be present and in the moment with them.
  2. I was so stressed out over work and never getting any thing done I had become in a habit of being in ‘catch up’ mode.
  3. My health and taking care of myself had become non existent and on the back burner. (I even went to the doctor thinking I was sick and got informed that stress can be hidden and sneak up on you with out you realizing it, thus showing signs your “sick.”)
  4. I was trying to be supermom, super woman, super wife, super career with no strategy or organization.

Now lets fast forward…..I started this blog over 30 days ago and have since made some serious dedication to organize and re strategize my entire existence. I failed a few times but here is a list of things that so far, have been serious game changers in balance, freedom, simplicity and over all happiness.

  • I laid out my children and I’s clothing in outfits on hangers for the entire month. No more out fit arguments in the morning, no more sweats and a tank top for me everyday. The best part…. all we do is grab a hanger and the entire outfit is ready for the day.
  • DO THE DISHES….No matter how tired you are. Do the dishes and a quick clean on your kitchen the night before. There is nothing more stressful than waking up and the first thing you think is “oh shit I have cleaning to do from yesterday.”
  • Stay on top of laundry. I have one basket in our entire house that holds exactly 1 load of laundry. When that basket is full, I take it to the washing machine, wash it, dry it, and put it on “out fit hangers” immediately.
  • Write everything down immediately. I have major mom brain and commit to a hundred different things and then forget deadlines. I have two things I write in, my planner for events and scheduling, and then a little notebook of daily to do’s in accomplishing my small and big goals. Every day I work towards something.
  • Handle it. Once. If something needs to be done, do not procrastinate just get up and handle it. Pick up the phone and handle it. Than its done and not lingering on to your next day. Something that once would take you 2 minutes turns into an hour of finding things, sorting things out, making it right. Handle it.
  • Meditate. Pray. Breathe. Repeat. – several times throughout the day.
  • Throw it away. If you havent used it in over 6 months, get rid of it. Having too much stuff makes it impossible to feel de cluttered and free.
  • Plan. Far far far in advance. I’m a dive head first type of girl so this is my biggest struggle. I had on my to do list to plan my September Palette & Paint class. Instead….I planned the dates and booked the location through January. This creates more room and freedom with 1 phone call and a contract.
  • Check List. I Framed cute little Morning and Evening to do’s for my littles so they know whats happening and when it’s happening. Children thrive on STRUCTURE.

These few little things have helped me in a big way over the past month and I hope you can take just one thing that helps you too live more balanced and happy!

#momminainteasy

 

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When I first started Etsy & Instagram Marketing in 2014, I was an owner of a failing business, in the negative, drowning in debt, and completely miserable with no passion, confidence or direction! Today my Etsy business made $40,000 last year and my Instagram just hit 10,000 followers! I’m not saying this to brag by any way, shape, or form. Being humble and thankful is everything to me.

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I do, however, want to offer some inspiration and motivation to the person who is down on themselves thinking they can never follow their passion. You can!!!!! Once you find your nitch, follow it! From the beginning I knew I loved art. I attempted being a make up artist because this is what every women in my family does, so naturally I followed steps…. However I knew traveling and working with high maintenance clients was not my cup of tea. I still do makeup and love certain events and styles, however my two passions in life are being a mother and HomeDesign – Art.

I knew somehow in this lifetime I needed to follow this path. For me, it was Etsy that was my starting point. I began to meet these amazing clients who I grew relationships with and they came back! I started truly connecting with each and every one of my instagram followers and not treating them like strangers but truly trying to connect with them as a wife, as a mom, as an artist. I want to help people succeed from the bottom of my heart.

Enough of my sappy story…. Lets get in to what you really want to hear….How did I do it? Etsy is for another post but tonight I want to focus on what I wish I knew about Instagram Marketing years ago….

Instagram-strategies

  • Connect : Do not just post what you do… Post who you are.. We are human. We need human connection. Give people sneak peeks into your life. What are your hobbies? Who are you? Who is your family? Whats your office look like? Include people in the day-to-day.
  • Timing….Is everything yo! I used to post at these random times, than I learned that there are prime posting times! WHHHAATTTTTTT…Ok ready for the crazy part…There all at night.(Normally past my bedtime!) Prime time for posting is between 7-10 p.m. when people are winding down scrolling on IG.
  • Hash Tags: ######hashtags for days….. On a serious note. If you hit for example #mom and look in the top right hand corner the most popular used hash tags will pop up under mom. (Click on the first 5 than move to the next word.)
  • Don’t be Snooty: ALWAYS REPLY….. If someone gives you a compliment or ask a question, REPLY! If there is no connection, no one will want to follow you. People need that “online connection” to feel like your noticing them.
  • Follow people to get follows: This one confused me at first, but REALLY is a genuine way to get organic followers. Type in people who interest you in the search button on instagram. The most followers….FOLLOW. People will than start to follow you back. I try to follow at least 10 new people a day who inspire me. (Not to mention when scrolling instagram you than have a feed full of motivation and inspirational people.)
  • Be Authentic: This goes back to Dr. Suess…*yes that happened* “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er then you!” Just be yourself, and the right followers and collabs just all fall into place.

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I hope these tid bits help you a tad on your journey to success! A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who is along this dream chasing ride with me! Life is too short to do anything but what your heart calls. Never let fear stand in your way!

Love Yourself

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Moms!?! How often are you so busy getting your kids ready in the morning you completely let your morning routine go by the wayside?  The constant fights, the struggle, the BRUSH YOUR TEETHE NOW moments? I used to shave my legs at least every other day….Now its once a week and I’m feeling like a super mom when that happens! Or putting on makeup? Like a full face, HELLO WORLD, makeup? ummmm like never? I look in the mirror many days and think what happened? I have purple under my eyes? I have wrinkles in between my forehead? Am I grumpy? What the actual hell? Than I get gratitude…. I have these awesome little people who not only make my heart burst at the seams but make my face look 10 years older….

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I have come up with a 5 minute make up routine that WORKS! On the days your rushing, which lets be real, is 99.9% of the time, these are my GO TO cosmetics that make me look alive and together! I had a beautiful soul, and teacher approach me on her lip products, which normally I would push to way side but I tried this, and Oh Em GEE, I literally was super mom and felt GOOD about myself ALL DAY! So Lets Dive Right In……

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  • Bad Gal Mascara – Volumize lashes in literally 2 seconds. (Ipsy)
  • Tarte Face Powder – Eliminates all wrinkles and darks circles immidiately. (Ulta)
  • Lip Sense – Neutral Tone LAST ALL DAY!!!! (Susan Heath) sheath@centurylink.net, this woman is amazing. I love meeting people through social media marketing that are just Kick Ass Women! IG @mslipboss FB Lips and Lashes that Last

I literally feel like me again when I follow these three super simple quick hacks! I have searched high and low for products that actually WORK and last til dusk and these my friends are the WINNER! I hope this helps the mommy routine be a little smoother for you! Remember in order to fill cups, your cup must be full! Ladies…We have some cup filling to accomplish…Treat Yourself!

Made with Love Market 7-30

Social Media Marketing

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Social Media in today’s day and age is EVERYTHING. Yellow pages have gone by the way side and Social Media is a free and easy way to reach your target audience with grace and truly connect to people about your hand crafted business. We are going to go over some key points in reaching your target audience and how to launch your hand crafted business to the next level!

  • Instagram – 1-2 post per day MAX. Include tags. You can use these in several different ways. Example: I absolutely #love the #lavender details of these #diecuts I just posted on #etsy. Example 2: I absolutely love the lavendar details of these diecuts I just posted on Etsy. *In the comment section add #lavendar #diecuts #etsy. This is where you want to keep close attention to whats trending….For example type #etsy and look to see what pops up and how many people have “posted” this. Hash tag what is being posted the most and this is a “trend”. Time of posting is EVERYTHING on Instagram. Here is a basic time to get the maximum amount of likes on your Instagram.  Monday 5-6 pm, Tuesday 7-8 pm, Wednesday 10-11 pm, Thursday 5-6 pm, Friday 5-6 pm, Saturday 8-9 pm, Sunday 7-8 pm. Make sure to explore other brands and people who inspire you and follow them. Watch what they are doing and follow the example.

 

  • Facebook – 2-5 post per day about what you’re doing, how it looks, what you’re creating, your life. People want glimpses of not only your business but WHO YOU ARE. Create sharable content with a broad target audience, DIY Videos can help you attract a larger network of followers and potential new customers.

 

  • Pinterest – SHARE EVERYTHING! There is a link on your Etsy page for every item you add where you can share. One of the links is Pinterest. Every single listing needs to be shared to Pinterest for more visualization of what you are making and doing.

 

  • Twitter – “Twitter allows for instant conversation,” explains Michelle Reaney of Toronto-based shop Thunderpeep Designs, who uses her handle, @thunderpeep, to share short updates with her followers in 140 characters or less.One of the most useful Twitter features for a business owner looking to make connections and promote her shop is the hashtag, a word or phrase marked with the # symbol, such as #handmade or #EtsySeller. “On Twitter, hashtags are used to categorize posts by topic or keyword,” explains Jessica Ulrich, a social media manager at Etsy, “clicking a hashtag will display every tweet that includes that tag.”

    To get started developing content, jot down a list of the types of posts you would like to share over the next month, suggests Jessica. This can include general categories, like inspiration or behind-the-scenes, or more specific items like the launch of a new product or holiday promotions. Once your list of ideas is complete, plot your posts on a calendar. – Kathy Svehaug

  • Little Tid Bits –  You do have a handmade business so get creative with just that…MARKETING….Create coupon codes and fun giveaways that you do when you reach different milestones or months. Be precise and unique with your packaging so people remember you and want more. Plan at least 45-50 days in advance for the next holiday so you can get ahead of the game and not feel pressured when the holiday arises!
  • What is Working and What is Not?

    Every like, comment or click could give you amazing insight for your social media marketing. Think about how you can effect your target audience and read all the “analysis” opportunities that each outlet provides you. Ask engaging questions and make your audience feel a part of your experience and life. Play with different words and phrases to see what works and what doesn’t. Use all the tools in your tool belt such as Facebook Insightsbit.ly and Iconosquare to figure out what is working and what is not!

Week 7 Challenge – Create 2 social media outlets SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS. Start posting daily and using the reccomended settings and watch how much your following grows!!!!! Happy Mediaing!images (1)

Made With Love Market 6-30

The Secrets of Editing and Flatlays….From an I Phone.

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Pictures are absolutely EVERYTHING my friends…Everything! I want to share with you all my secret tips, tricks, and fails to avoid! Pictures display your work in the most important way. Photos are the only way a client can reach, touch, see your product before it is in their hands! You have to make your product appear to be something they can not live without! So lets get started at square one….

When I first started Etsy my pictures looked a little something like this.

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Now that same listing looks like this….

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We will go ahead and start at square one! LIGHTING IS EVERRRRRYYYYTTTHHHHING! Natural lighting is the BEST! I take anything I can outside to photograph before editing, for the simple reason you just cant beat natural light! Shadows and wrinkles are a huge NO NO NO!!!!

I’m a fire wife with 2 busy little ones and so where ever and when ever I can get work helpers I do! SelfMade is my secret to SUCCESS! When I first began Etsy, I knew nothing of business, let alone running a hand crafted business while balancing mommyhood! Selfmade has saved me hundreds of hours with their picture editing program they offer! I take natural, bright, fun, flat lays and they edit and return to me! You do have to be at a certain “volume” business wise for them to accept you, but when you get to this volume I highly suggest this company as it has been a LIFE SAVER for me.

When shooting on your I PHONE make sure that you are outside or in great light, think about wrinkles, angles, props you can use to boost your products necessity to your customer.

Happy Snapping My Friends!

Week 6 Challenge – Change 4 of your listings to higher quality photos with props, lighting, and angles to make it more interesting! Submit your before and afters to courtney@thesweetestlittlelife.com and the most dramatic difference will receive some goodies and be announced on the blog in week 7! 

Made With Love Market 5-30

SEO….That sounds scary. Like a never-ending coding maze right? This was my thought when I kept seeing the necessity of using it popping up in all the articles I follow! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization….In lamen terms…Your goods pop up and say HELLO in search engines (i.e. google, Facebook, instagram) before anyone elses! For your business, especially a handcrafted business, this is CRUCIAL….Did I say that? IMPORTANT…BUSINESS DEPENDENT….Your Main Marketing Channel Yo! Want SEO in a book form that breaks it all down? This site is amazing…https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.what-do-the-business-numbers-say-about-seo_50c59a85309db_w1500

  • Write fantastic, useful content that uses words and phrases used by people who search for your products and services.
  • Make it easy for people to share and link to it.
  • Keep doing it! Over, and over, and over again!

Step by Step to get started if using Etsy! USE THE VARIATIONS AND KEYWORDS YOUR ALLOWED! Every chance you get to promote learn about it and dive in!

Download Google Keyword Planner – This will allow you to see what people are searching and trending.

Have someone you admire doing the exact same thing you want to do? Follow them, learn from them, watch their tags and keywords used often. What works for them that you might be missing?

Pay Attention to trends. Example: Slime. I would have never thought slime would be selling, yet here I am having my littles test if mom failed or not on slime levels to add to my Etsy! Go with what is trending! Etsy even sends out monthly emails on “trending now” so you can follow and see what the biggest sellers are for the month.

WordStream is Uh-Mah-Zingggggggg for being able to quickly and easily find out where you stand with your ad words on google. http://www.wordstream.com

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#Yourgoingtohaveakickasshandmadebusiness

A hash tag is anything on social media with # in front of it! Hash tags are so important because it really helps to tune in on your target audience! When I first started Etsy I had no idea how to hash tag….(Lets be real! Its a good day if I get an email to send through properly!) When on instagram if you type in a word you can see how many people are searching for it and using it and then click the one that is used most! Also there are always tags trending in the handcrafted business. Currently #makersmovement #makersgonnamake #flatlays #momboss #momlife are all very popular! You want to really be specific with your tag to make sure the RIGHT people follow you and learn about what you do!

Say, for example, your business sells Diapers. Instead of using #parents (Resulting in parents of thirty year olds) Use #newmommy. The hashtag #newmommy is directed to mothers of babies—your target audience.

Most importantly, never lose site of the Mountain you are climbing. This does not all happen over night! It has taken me nearly 3 years to take a teeny tiny step in the SEO and Hashtag world, but know if you can make 30 minutes a week to do some marketing research, your business will benefit greatly!

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Weekly Challenge: Do some research and see where you fall in the SEO! Make a list of 5 things you can complete by the end of the week to move your business one step closer to that first search page.