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3 Keys to Keep Motivated During Slow Sales

I remember my first summer as a handmade seller. I was coming off of the high I experienced during the holiday season and figured that was how the sales were going to continue from now on. I was doing everything right, my SEO was in order, and this was how things were going to remain. 

I was sure of it! 

And then crickets. It seemed like overnight, no one was buying anything. I was so depressed and figured it was something I was doing (or not doing!) that was causing a slump in sales.

(It totally wasn’t, but it’s hard to shake that feeling!)  

Summer can be an extremely frustrating time for sales as a handmade seller. The weather is great, the kids are out of school, and most people are traveling or exploring their summer bucket lists. Very few people’s minds are actually on buying products, and even worse yet when they do, it’s not a handmade product that they’re after. 

So how do you keep motivated during slow sales, when it feels like no one is interested? 

Friend, I’ve been there! 

You feel like giving up, closing up shop and heading out to join the mass of people enjoying the summer weather. The sales aren’t coming in regularly, and so your motivation withers and dies. 

You ask yourself questions like:

“Why should I continue doing this if no one is buying anything” and “What’s the point?” 

Sometimes slow sales can be a blessing in disguise. You know all those things that you never have the time to do while you’re so busy filling orders? Now is the perfect time to attack them! 

Keep Motivated During Slow Sales

3 Ways to Keep Motivated During Slow Sales

#1. Use Downtime to Spruce Up Your Shop

Having slow sales is not the end of the world. In fact, this is a great time to attack those long-forgotten tasks on your to-do list. Go into your Etsy store and see what you can do to make it better. Who knows, maybe this will get your listings seen more often in the search results!

All those listings that aren’t performing very well? Now is the time to fix them! Check out your SEO and see if there’s something you could be doing better. It’s a great way to stay motivated during slow sales!

Do you need to change up some keyword phrases?
Maybe it’s time to take some new pictures of your products!
How about editing your descriptions to make them more concise? 

Whatever those tasks are that you need to do, this is the perfect opportunity to give them your full attention.

#2. Work on New Product Lines

If you’re like me, then you have about a million product ideas floating through your brain. You want to create so many new things, but you just don’t feel like you have the time. Well, my friend now is the time! What better way is there to stay motivated during slow sales than to let your creativity out to play!?

Do some sketches of new ideas you want to create. Check out some new patterns, or browse Pinterest for inspiration. Is there someone you follow who has an awesome new product out? What can you do to make that into something of your own?

All those new awesome products will never see the light of day if you don’t devote some time to creating them. And while sales are slow seems like the best time to work on some of them, doesn’t it?

#3. Connect with Your Audience

When we get so busy filling orders and doing our day-to-day tasks, we often forget that our fans are out there. While sales are slow is a perfect time to post more on social media, or check in with people that you follow.

A better idea would be to combine #2 and this step together and do some audience research.

What do they think of the new fabric that you’re using?
Do they prefer solids or stripes?
What about this color, are you leaning more towards red or yellow?

All of these are great things you can use to connect with your audience and make them feel more part of your process. Plus, it will help keep you motivated during slow sales times. People are buying from you because they want to buy from a real person. What better way to showcase your real person than to take them behind the scenes of your business and include them in the creative process?

Whatever you do to connect with them, take the slow sales slump as a blessing and reach out to your fans. Make some friends and connect with them on a more personal level. You never know what opportunities could come from it!

***Bonus Tip***
Another way to stay motivated during slow sales could be to finally buckle down and look for that virtual assistant you know you need to hire! You can get a good working relationship established with her right now so that you’re working like a well-oiled machine come the crazy-busy holiday rush!

Staying motivated during slow sales is tough, I’m not going to lie. 

But if you can take the downtime to work on some other projects that excite you, or get your Etsy shop in the best shape possible, slow sales can really be awesome.

If you want to take your downtime to check out virtual assistants, I would love the opportunity to chat with you about your business goals and how I can help crush them for you!

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation, 20-minute video chat with me and we can talk and see if we’d be a good fit working together! 

6 Ways Pinterest Can Grow Your Handmade Business

Did you know that Pinterest is one the fastest growing social media platforms out there? That’s why it’s so easy to grow a handmade business with Pinterest! It’s a fun place to kick back and brainstorm ideas, to get a feel for new products, and trends. There are tons of helpful articles, recipes, blog topics and so much more!  I love getting lost in the images and great ideas that show up there.

Pinterest is classified as a social media platform, but honestly, it’s just a visual search engine. It’s like Google with magazine cutouts. The benefits of using Pinterest in your Etsy business cannot be overstated! 

The question for handmade sellers though, has always been how to tap into this power for their own business? Well in this article, I’m going to cover six ways Pinterest can grow your handmade business and help you bring more traffic to your shop. So here we go! 

6 Ways Pinterest Can Grow Your Handmade Business-offyourplate.services

Grow With Pinterest

1. Increased Brand Awareness

As a small business owner, you know the struggle all too well of competing with the “big guys”. You say something like “Target” or “JcPenny” and everyone knows what you’re talking about. As a small business owner, you don’t have that name recognition for your biz.

While Pinterest isn’t the “be-all/end-all” to get your brand noticed, it can seriously make a dent in that for you. The more you use it, the more the pins start to get out there, and the more eyeballs are on your brand.

2. Additional Traffic to Your Shop

The more you use Pinterest, the more potential you have for additional traffic. This traffic could lead to increased sales, which is kind of the point, right? Everyone on Pinterest is searching for something, and when they find a pin they like, it gets pinned. Then someone else pins that pin, and two more pin it, and on it goes.

Eventually, someone will click on that pin because they adore what they see and cannot live without it. (Obviously, because you have the cutest stuff!) If only two or three people out of 100 clicks to your shop, and they turn into sales, I’d call that a success!

3. Pinterest Ties in With All Your Social Media

​What’s the big deal about this? The big deal is that if someone sees an image that you’ve posted on Instagram and wants to save it for later for reference, Pinterest is a great way to do that! They even have a browser extension that you can install to pin images directly from the webpage that you’re viewing. (Which is super cool!)

This makes it so much easier for people who love your content to click and save to their boards right away. Once they do that, #2 comes into play, and that’s what we want!

4. Staying on Trend for Business is So Easy!

​One of the easiest and fastest ways to stay on trend these days is to check out what people on Pinterest are pinning. I love following people that inspire me and seeing what kinds of things they’re pinning. This gives me a great idea of what kinds of things are trending.

I’ve also found this to be a great way to come up with new product ideas for my own business. I can best serve my audience when I know what it is that they’re looking for, and Pinterest affords me this opportunity.

5. Cross-Promote Locally

Pinterest Place Pins are a special type of pins that allow certain pins to have metadata included such as location, and phone number. If you do in-person sales, or even doing a craft fair or event, these kinds of pins could come in super handy!

Get your pins out there circulating a few weeks before your event, and watch as the traffic to your shop comes in. (It might even be a good way to promote the show or shop for other vendors!)

6. Investing in Pinterest Pays Off Long-Term

Your pins on Pinterest last forever. And as a result of that, your quality content has a longer shelf life than any other social media add or boost. Feeds drive other digital channels, which means recency reigns supreme.

Since discovery and search are what Pinterest is made of, the content has evergreen value. So when you create high quality, relevant Pins and optimize your Etsy shop or standalone website, you’ll see results.

Pinterest is Waiting for Your Business!​

If you’re excited to get your handmade business up on Pinterest, but you’re overwhelmed with where to start, then you’re in luck! I offer Pinterest setup and management to my clients, and they are loving it!

Are you unsure of whether we’d be a good team? Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation discovery call with me, and we’ll talk about your business goals, and how I can help you crush them using Pinterest!

20 Tasks to Give Your Virtual Assistant

You’re too busy to do all the tasks alone!

20 Tasks to Give Your Virtual Assistant--offyourplate.services

Have you thought about all the extra tasks you have to accomplish in a single day while running your handmade biz? Not only do you have to create your products, but you’re posting to social media, answering emails, and creating graphics. Not to mention all the things you have to do to keep the small humans alive. (And once in a while seeing the other half…)

When you hire a virtual assistant they are there to help ease some of your day-to-day tasks. You’ve heard that VA’s can be helpful but you’re not sure what tasks you can outsource to them. Well, below I’ve given you a few things that you can outsource to your VA and get them off your to-do list! 

  1. Email Management
  2. Creating Listings on Etsy/Shopify    
  3. Booking appointments with clients
  4. Answering customer messages on Etsy/Emails etc
  5. Pinterest Management
  6. Simple Graphic Creation
  7. SEO Research on Etsy/Shopify
  8. Writing Descriptions for Listings    
  9. Calendar Management
  10. File Management (organizing files using Dropbox etc)
  11. Database building (eg. updating email or contact lists)
  12. Research on certain topics for blogposts, newsletters or others
  13. Set-up Social Media Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube)
  14. Manage and update Social Media Accounts
  15. Manage your Blog (Basic WordPress Skills)
  16. Publish posts on your Blog (content you provided)
  17. Filter  and reply to comments on your blog
  18. Blog commenting (to increase links to your site)
  19. Hashtag Research for Social Media
  20. Misc Tasks 

​I hope this list has helped give you some ideas about the tasks you can get rid of! It will free up your time, and save your sanity! The whole purpose of hiring some help with a virtual assistant was to get those tasks off your plate. (No pun intended!) But that won’t work out so well if you can’t figure out what tasks to delegate and which ones to keep for yourself. 

Tell me what tasks you might add to this list? 

Are You Using The Right Social Media Platform for Your Handmade Biz?

As a handmade seller, you get to do so many different things all at once for your business. Being on social media is no exception. And with the ever-changing landscape of social media, (and new platforms cropping up all the time!) it’s sometimes hard to avoid the overwhelm and chose the right path for your business.

How do you tell which ones will work best for you? Should you be on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or all of them? You’re a small handmade seller! You don’t have the time, energy or resources to manage all the things!

Luckily I’m here, your trusty Virtual Assistant, to give you the skinny on what I think are the best platforms to be on for your handmade business! The good news is that you don’t have to be on all of them! You can chose one or two to get started and still reach a ton of people. In fact, sometimes you will reach a more focused engaged crowd because you’re zeroing in on your target market and not spreading yourself too thin.

​Keep reading for my top three recommendations!

Are You Using The Right Social Media Platform for Your Handmade Biz?--offyourplate.services

1. Pinterest

As handmade sellers, we are very visual creatures. (At least I am!) When we go to look for new ideas, or inspiration for a new product, where’s the first place you head? Pinterest!

It’s classified as social media, but it’s technically a visual search engine. Everyone goes to Pinterest these days (even celebrities!) to look at the pretty pictures and get inspired. Putting your products out on Pinterest is probably the best first step in breaking into the social media realm for your business.

With great images and a great description filled with awesome keywords, your products will be out in the Pinterest world for all to see. The best part? Pins on Pinterest are literally there forever. So if you put a lot of quality images out there, you will see a ton of return on that effort.

*Pro Tip: Get your virtual assistant to start scheduling your pins on Pinterest ahead of time. This is a game-changing business hack that will save you literally hundreds of hours a year and still have your marketing strategy going on in the background!

2. Instagram

Just like Pinterest, Instagram is a very visual platform. The part I think is great about Instagram that Pinterest doesn’t have, is the community. On Instagram, you are able to connect with your audience and relate to their lives in a much more personal way than you ever could through your website, shop or search engine.

Studies have shown that a person has to interact with your brand at least seven times before they’re ready to make a purchase. Well, what better way to get in front of them than to be on Instagram? (All the cool kids are doing it!) Instagram is a place to build that know, like, and trust factor in a much more laid back way when it comes to social media platforms.

With an abundance of programs and apps that allow for scheduling your social media posts, your Virtual Assistant can get a month of posts ready to go in a couple of hours and it will save you so much time that maybe you can spare a few minutes to watch that silly dog video that Ellen just posted…

3. Facebook

Facebook is probably the top site in the world right now and especially among social media platforms. Facebook is usually the first place people go to research a company these days. Being on Facebook gives your handmade biz a little more credibility. Added bonus, is the community building that you can do on Instagram can be done here as well.

A lot of your content can be similar on these two platforms, just make sure to format it correctly for the platform that you’re on. (Or let your VA do it for you!)

Which social media platforms are you on for your handmade biz? Are you excited to try any of these three suggestions? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

What Kinds of Tasks Should You Give to Your Virtual Assistant?

Handmade Sellers Most Requested VA Tasks!

So let’s say you read this blog post. And then let’s imagine that you’ve decided that hiring a V.A. is right for you and your handmade biz. Go you! You’re all fired up, you’ve made the decision on who to hire, (It wasn’t me, but whatever, I’m over it…) and now you sit trying to make a list of what you feel like handing off to her.

The problem is, you can’t figure out what to delegate and what to tackle yourself. Some parts of your handmade biz are things you need to be on top of yourself, such as creating the products you sell, taking photos and being the face of your brand. Other things, however, can be given to someone else to do. They do need to be done, but not necessarily by you! Below I’ve collected a list of nine things you can outsource to your VA right away and get back to creating your products!

What Kinds of Tasks Should You Give to Your Virtual Assistant?

What Kinds of Tasks Should You Give to Your Virtual Assistant Handmade--off your plate

Social Media

This is perhaps the most herculean task that handmade sellers face. You know you should be on social media, but there are so many of them out there, you’re not sure where to start focusing your efforts. Beyond that, you’re not sure what to even share, let alone how to format and promote it. What are hashtags and why should I use them? Why am I supposed to even be doing this instead of focusing on making my handmade products? How many characters go in a Tweet? Is it even called Tweeting?

In my experience, handmade clients are the most frustrated and fastest to hand off their social media projects to their VA. You and your VA can sit down and brainstorm some topics, and come up with some pictures that will fit into those topics together. Then you can turn it over to your awesome assistant! She will edit the pictures (if needed) write captions, and get the posts scheduled. Viola! You are now free to just respond to the comments and interact with your fans! (AKA the fun part!)

Handmade Sellers on Pinterest

Next to social media, Pinterest is one of the most often handed off tasks to a VA for handmade sellers. You know you need to be on Pinterest because your products are awesome (just like the person who made them!) and the world needs to see them. But where do you even start? The energy required to create beautiful images ready for Pinterest, not to mention taking the time to pin 10-12 times a day is just too much! What should you be pinning? Should you be using your own images? What kinds of boards should you be creating? All questions that circle in your mind.

Once again your awesome VA is coming to the rescue! She will go over your current Pinterest account with you (if you haven’t set one up yet, you should get started here for free!) and come up with some ideas on what boards would fit best into what you already have going. She will curate the perfect combo of pins and products that fit seamlessly into your brand but are still a little outside your comfort zone to bring in more customers. Which makes Pinterest more enjoyable for you, because you can now just sit back and relax with your phone and look at all the pretty pictures.

Copywriting (Blog Posts, Emails, etc.)

You are a boss babe when it comes to running your biz. You have definitely got a handle on listing your products on Etsy, Shopify, and Handmade at Amazon. You’re the shiz when it comes to creating those products, and taking amazing photos. But when it comes to writing blog posts, or emails to customers, you start to stress out.

Your VA can help you write blog posts, format them, get the marketing going out to the various places to promote it. She can write amazing emails announcing your new product launch, or a monthly newsletter detailing your month. This will free you up to do what you love, create your products!

Graphic Creation for Your Handmade Products

You’ve seen all those beautiful images on Pinterest but you’re never quite sure how to create them. Or maybe you know how, but can’t find the time to get to it. Say you need an image or a quote for social media, but you just can’t get the creative juices flowing to come up with one. Maybe you are coming out with a new giveaway or a product launch and you want to showcase this awesomeness to the world. But what to put on the graphic?

Your VA can take this task and work her magic on it. She can make up your graphics in no time, and get them ready to go out into the world. Working with graphic programs and creating simple images is one of the myriads of tasks that she is able to do in a very short time, which will make everyone in your life happier!

Calendar & Scheduling

You have a crazy busy life. You have to run your biz, keep the small humans alive, remember you have a better half that needs to see you every once in a while, volunteer at church, and try to take time for self-care. How is one woman supposed to keep everything straight?

Your VA can help take over your scheduling and keeping your calendar up to date. From business appointments, client requests, and the dentist appointment at two tomorrow because they can finally fit you in, your VA can take all of that off your plate. And then you can just show up for things and feel like a badass because you’re doing it all!

 

I hope you have found some good ideas about what tasks you could give to your VA. And if you can’t find anything on this list of things that you’d feel comfortable outsourcing to your VA, then talk to her about the areas of your life and your biz that you feel you’re struggling with, and she can help suggest some things she can help out with.

It really is just about good communication. If you talk to her and let her know what you expect, you can rest easy knowing that she will get stuff done. And in return, you will be less stressed and happier because your time has been freed up. What tasks do you love doing for your biz? Which ones are a huge time suck and you just loathe doing them? Let’s talk about them below!

3 Ways to Tell if You’re Ready to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistant. You’ve heard the term before, but what exactly do they do, and how can they help you with your business? If you’re a handmade seller, then you understand the unique challenges that the phrase brings with it. While being in the handmade community is amazing, and so fulfilling, it is also very time-consuming. Creating new products, photo editing, listing them on various selling platforms, posting to social media, not to mention all the other little things that you have to take care of. It’s all just too much some days! 

As a handmade seller myself for many years, I know all too well how this can quickly become overwhelming. But what is the solution to the overwhelm? How do you free up your time to do more enjoyable things? (Like creating your products!)

You’ve heard of virtual assistants before, but you’re not quite sure what they even do. Your fellow makers swear by outsourcing some help but you’re just not sure if that’s the right move for you right now, or worse yet, if you can afford it! 

But you need someone in your life who can: 

  • Do all the menial tasks you find yourself dreading, that are a huge time suck
  • Anticipate all your needs and wants
  • Takes care of them before you know you need it done​

​Maybe you’ve been doing the handmade thing for a while, or maybe you just started this as a side hustle. While it seems like a great idea, you’re just not entirely sure it’s your thing. (At least for right now)

Guess what? Hiring a virtual assistant can free up your time, relieve some stress, and is cheaper in the long run than bringing on full time in house help!

If you’ve been reading this and nodding your head, then I’d venture a guess that it’s time for you to hire your very own VA! 

3 Ways to Tell if You're Ready to Hire a Virtual Assistant--Off Your Plate.services

1. You Spend a Minimum of Two Hours Each Day on Social Media

This is assuming of course that you’re on social media for your business. (Pro-tip, you really should be!) You find yourself staring at the computer screen struggling with what to say, what to post, what pictures to share, and wondering why you have no one commenting on your posts.

​Maybe you smell, I don’t know. But I highly doubt that’s the issue. 

More than likely, it’s because up until now you’ve been wearing all the “hats” in your company. While you may have been making things work, or doing okay, it’s time to take your marketing and social media to the next level. A little more professionally polished level if you will. 

Did you know that each virtual assistant has a specialized area, or “niche”? It’s true! Some are great with email, some focus on graphic creations, some do only Facebook.(BTW, I do all these things!) Each person has a unique set of skills that they bring to the table. You can find a virtual assistant with an awesome background in social media and marketing, and free up 10-12 hours a week that could be better spent somewhere else.

​(Ahem, maybe those small humans or lonely spouse that’s missed you while you’ve been busy!?)

2. You Start Crying Just a Little When Your Email Alert Goes Off

Seriously, who wants to deal with all 100+ email messages you receive daily as a small business owner? OKay, it might not be that many, but it can add up. And while you want to respond personally to every single email, sometimes this is just not humanly possible. Enter your whiz-bang-awesome virtual assistant! She can respond to all your emails, with scripted responses, or free-styling it, however, your little heart desires. 

This again will free up your time, but more importantly, you won’t cringe or put your phone on silent when the emails start flooding. The little notifications can hum quietly in the background and you can get back to creating your brand new paper plate candle holder with macrame hot dog tongs. (I don’t know what you sell, but this sounds awesome, and I think I need it in my life!)

3. Your Blog Misses You!

Writing and running a blog can be a super powerful tool to have in your arsenal as a handmade seller. What better way to introduce people to your craft, than through a beautifully crafted, visual blog post? But who has time for writing a blog post twice a week? You’re too busy responding to emails and scheduling social media posts to even come up with a topic, let alone dedicate the time and energy to writing the darn thing. 

Fear not, for the virtual assistant once again has your back! You can tell her the direction you’d like to go on the blog, and even brainstorm some ideas together, and then relax! She will now take over writing the posts, creating the graphics (You know the ones you want to add to Pinterest but can never figure out how to make them? Yeah…those!) and sending out an email letting your followers know there’s new content available. 

If any of these reasons above sound like you, or you can relate in a small part to any of it, then it might be time to take the plunge and find yourself a virtual assistant. I know the process is scary, and a little overwhelming, but in the long run you will end up wondering how you ever did without her. Just check out what others are saying about having a VA working with them! 

​I hope you found some of these reasons helpful in your search to lighten your workload. And overall, I hope that you can find some time to get back to what really inspires and drives you; creating your products!

​It is, after all, the reason you got into this business in the first place isn’t it?