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Group of brilliance

Friday, January 13, 2012

I signed up for this workshop with some people from the Hello Etsy conference. A group of artisans and crafters trying to make some changes to their business. We decided to continue meeting after the workshop just to touch base and be accountable to someone or something for our progress. I think we all needed the support and we were all at the same level and all makers/shakers/changers. We met at the Slow Bar and began discussing the changes we had made over the last two months and when you are sitting in front of seriously active people talking about the things that you have done it over the last 60 days you become propelled to do more, think bigger, define and follow your visions. I like this quote from Jenelle Isaacson newsletter this month, (principal for Living Room Realtors).
Psychologist Richard Wiserman studied 400 people over the course of 10 years and watched for lucky breaks or chance encounters, both good and bad. This is what he found.
"My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good."
And, for me, even with the economic downturn, having to lay off my employee, having to start going into production myself, I can only see the opportunities here. There are so many. It feels good. Not bad.
We went around in a circle talking about changes and each and every one of us over the last 30-60 days had made some enormous ones. We questioned each other. We critiqued. We were not afraid to voice our true opinions. This is a good group of ACTIVE makers. I am glad to be part of it.

the holidays!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I just went through a most difficult transition but I think I am beginning to see the light. With the holidays being slow for my site I recognized fairly quickly into December that my website was no longer going to be able to support even one employee. The lost traffic still not regained and all the $ I had borrowed to carry the site up through xmas made the choice obvious even to Rebecca. The second week in December on a day when we received only two orders to the website, (and December is historically for me as busy as all of September, October and November put together) Rebecca asked me if I wanted her to go to part-time. I said YES.
The third week of December I laid off the woman who had been my compadre and employee for 5 years. But for only one employee I was paying a hefty wage, payroll taxes, payroll fees, workman's comp, full health, dental, vision, paid vacation etc. The choice was obvious. It was a sad day. Plus, it meant I had to come back into the shop and do all the production, ordering and customer service on top of all the website, marketing, programming and product development.
I am not sad that I have come back to this point. The same point where I started 8 years ago when I first built the business. I honestly feel reinvigorated and challenged for the first time in many years. Excited. I mean, I don't really like making shirts or emailing customers but I am challenged with regrowing my business. So, I've come up with some new direction. I've talked about it a bit in some past posts but I really want to focus my store on US made products and showcase the designers who make the products.
My drop ship program is gaining some interest.
And slowly I think my traffic is coming back. Every other week I get an email from google saying my traffic to my site has increased by 5% from the previous day and no alerts to that it is dropping. I am hopeful.
The holidays have been difficult. My ex and I stagger our weeks with the kids and I have somehow managed to get all the weeks with no school. But, I have set up a monitoring system and, while I work in the garage my kids play with one another. It devolves into squabbling every once in awhile but for the most part what I hear through the monitor is some very imaginative barbie/plushie play.
Plus, my wonderful 70 year old mom is sitting in Mississippi praying for me and also entering image tags and testing the upgrade on my cart. Thanks mom! I will pay you back all the $ I owe you and I'll do it this year by selling the coolest baby clothes on the web.