Tuesday, December 14, 2010

getting the word out

So working on promoting a website on your own can be a difficult thing to learn. I am a photographer. I am an artist. I am not a marketing guru! I am not a social networking queen either. But as a sole proprietor of my own business I have to find ways to learn to wear all these hats & more. Having to learn all these aspects of business is one of the many reasons we turn to others for guidance along the way. This is the reason we seek out other artisans, crafters, & small business people. By joining together, we can all learn from each other & feel not quite so alone in our creative ventures.

One of the places recently pointed out to me was a site called Inspire Handmade. I posted my link ot my new Zibbet shop. I also signed the Handmade Pledge they have. Kind of a neat little site.

My daughter, her boyfriend & myself have joined together to create a local artist/crafter group on Yahoo. We are all artisans who want to help each other grow as well as build a better/bigger community here where we live.

Small steps will just lead to more steps which will lead to more exposure & in the end, more sales. As I go along the promotional marketing & networking journey, I will share here my findings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Zibbet shop

I previously mentioned something about new beginnings. The first of those visible to the world is a new shop on Zibbet. Making this move away from Etsy & toward Zibbet was not done in haste. It took a bit of reading, research & lots of talking to my daughter & her boyfriend. A blog post he made recently cemented the idea for me to choose Zibbet for my new online storefront. The way he put things in his post, just made sense.

I opened my new shop on December 6th. For financial reasons I will begin with a free shop. This is something Etsy did not offer. The only way your shop is free there, is if its empty. they charged you both to list each item, and to sell it. The structure of Zibbet is much better in that respect.

But what about my website? it's still there. Always will be. Yes, over the last year & a half I had added a whole product section complete with Paypal buttons for your shopping ease. But promoting your own website is hard. you have no help & must learn the ropes all on your own. With a shop on a site such as Zibbet (or the others out there) you have the power of the main site to help drive traffic to your small (or large!) shop within the site. As for my main site, I am hoping ot make some changes there soon as well.

Etsy has all that so why move? Yes, Etsy does have size on its side. And it is building a name for itself too. and it has gotten really big. So big that small people get lost in the shuffle on there. And unless you can afford to constantly pay to list & re-list your items to stay seen, its very overwhelming to be there. From a cost perspective, it was not for me.

I am happy to be at Zibbet now. I will be listing a variety of items over the next few weeks & into the new year. So far I have listed a couple bookmarks & holiday magnets. It will be a process to get things listed, but I believe everyone will be happy in the end.

New Beginnings

It has been a long time since I have felt like any progress has happened with Nicole's Visions. This has been a super rough year on a personal level that brought many changes.

The year began with my husband being flown away to Florida for the first 3 weeks of the year. His father was in the hospital & no one really knew how that would turn out. When he returned home, we felt that since he had no job keeping us here that perhaps it would be a good idea to move down there for the sake of being there for his father as well as hopes of a better life. He had gotten laid off from his job last December. We had hopes of finding better work for him & the thought of more art opportunities for me. After all, we had lots of family there, & several friends. Surely connections would help us both start over.

I say start over because we have spent the past 4.5 years here in Washington state. We had enjoyed the life we built here very much. At this point, we let a huge emotional upset rule our minds. That was a mistake me made, & learned from.

So we decided to move & left Washington for what we thought would be the last time in early March of 2010. After arriving in Florida & trying to settle in, I knew it was all wrong. We had tried to come home, & found out that what people say, is true. You cant go home again. We were both different people. We had grown & changed.

It was soon evident that his father would make a full recovery & be back to almost his old self in a short time. We were not needed for his recovery to last. Yes, having his son home made him happy. But his son was not happy being there. Neither was I.

We tried finding work. We tried reconnecting with family & friends. some of it was nice. Most of it didn't work. We were both now miserable. We needed to find a way to come home & fast. Without the generosity of 2 friends here in Washington giving us a place to stay, it would not have come together like it did.

Thankfully, an opportunity came that allowed him to return to the job he was laid off from last year. Finally, it seemed something was going right. This news of us returning home to the Northwest was met with huge disappointment from a few family members. Some understood, some did not. We had to follow our hearts & do what would make us happy. We left Florida just before Labor Day. He started back at work the day after the holiday.

The next obstacle was to find a place of our own again. It took a month. Here we are in our own place, back where we feel at home. It is finally time to get back to life. I am finally getting back to my Visions too.

For the past year my website, web stores, blogs & everything creative have suffered. Our lives have been turned upside-down & inside-out.

I wish to end this year on a positive note. I am working now on promoting my work again so i can sell some stock & make room for new things in the new year. I am thinking of other creative avenues to follow & need to just jump in & try them. They may not always be centered on photography, but I know they will always be creative & mean something to me personally.