Friday, May 7, 2010

10 Things Not to Repeat as an Artist......

125-Year-Old Butterfly Illustrations One -- piddix digital collage
 sheet no. 124
125-Year-Old Butterfly Illustrations One -- piddix digital collage sheet no. 124

With over 18,000 sales on Etsy, Corrina of Piddix really knows her stuff when it comes to digital prints.  We ran across her post in the Etsy forums where she gives her top ten tips she learned during her first year of full time crafting and we had to rewind it!

piddix says:
Just over a year ago I left my job at a lovely non-profit to run my etsy shop full-time. After several years of selling collage sheets on etsy, I had reached a point where I couldn’t do both etsy and another job; I had to choose. I thought it would be fun, challenging, and relatively secure and easy to focus only on full-time crafting. I had taken a small business class, saved up a nest egg, and made lots of lists and plans.
What a difference a year makes.
In general, full-time crafting has been harder and more tiring, and also more rewarding, than I imagined. I’ve worked longer hours and made less money than planned. It’s also been a ton of fun. In looking back, I thought I’d share ten of the most surprising lessons that I’ve learned during the past year.
1. I Don’t Miss My Day Job
I was one of those lucky people who actually loved my “day job.” I worked at a lovely non-profit that does good, rewarding work. I was respected and had amazing supervisors and co-workers. So one of my biggest worries of leaving it was that I would immediately regret my decision. I seriously doubted whether working for myself would be all that others had built it up to be. And guess what? It’s totally great. Sure, I miss my co-workers. But it feels so good to be able to do everything myself. If I want to make a change, I just do it. There are no committees to go through or paperwork to complete. If something is wrong I can fix it immediately. I am solely responsible for the success or failure of piddix and that’s a challenge I enjoy.
2. Sales Will Fluctuate
From the beginning, piddix sales on etsy speedily climbed every single month. Then I quit my day job, and piddix sales plummeted. Scary. Turns out, sales of my collage sheets are seasonal. Summer and winter are my busiest seasons, while spring is the slowest. So during this second full-time spring I’m prepared. I saved money from the busy winter to get through the slower months. I also planned a couple of special promotions and new items to debut this spring to bring in more customers. But perhaps most importantly, I’m wasn’t taken by surprise when sales slowed down, but rather took it as part of the yearly cycle. I don’t handle ups and downs of sales well, so knowing what to expect helped quite a bit.
3. I Need to Treat it Like a Business
The first two months of full-time selling I didn’t work much more on piddix than I had previously. I spent too much time on work that was somewhat related to piddix, but not the most pressing tasks: visiting thrift stores, cleaning and rearranging my archives. I even spent an entire day hand-letterpressing 100 thank you notes to go with my packages. At a certain point I realized something wasn’t working. My parents agreed to help out with more days of childcare and I re-focused my efforts on tasks that were directly related to sales and growth. I now have specific hours where I work and try to keep them separate from my time off. I only get paid if sales come in, so I try to make every work moment count.
4. Throw the To-Do Lists Our the Window
After many years of working for others, I had fallen into the trap of checking off my to-do list. It was always good to show someone else all the things I had done, whether or not they were effective in the long run. Frankly, I can check off all the tasks in the world, but if they don’t lead to sales, it doesn’t matter a whole lot. I’ve learned instead to go with my gut. I look at everything I have to do and then pick those items that I feel will have the most positive impact on piddix. It sometimes changes every day. If a new opportunity comes up I jump on it right away rather than putting it behind something else. I’ve also learned to choose those items I’m most excited about at the time. For example, if I’m feeling especially creative and want to work on new collage sheets and graphic design, I’ll work on it right away. I find I’m much more productive if I’m excited about something, rather than working in the order of a random check-list.
5. You Have to Love it
I had always assumed it was a myth that to do a business well you have to love it. After all, as long as you like whatever you’re doing (jewelry, kitting, etc.) better than your other job, won’t you be just fine? Do I really have to LOVE it to do it well? Now I finally understand why it matters. I eat, sleep, dream, play and travel piddix. I spend my “free” time in bookstores and antique stores looking for items for my work. We even schedule vacation around what archives are nearby. If I didn’t absolutely love scanning, researching, graphic design and all the other aspects of running piddix there’s no way I could stay motivated.

Read More Here:  The last half of Corrina’s tips are even better than the first, so be sure to visit the Etsy forums for the rest.



Snugglebug Blessings said...

Hi Sue,

Thanks for sharing that info. I plan to go read the rest now. God bless. Cathy

Prim's by Kim said...


RabbitHollowPrims said...

Thanks Guys :)

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