2019

Harry Potter, funny cat videos, and your Etsy shop on autopilot

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It happened again…

*facepalm*

Man, I always have the BEST of intentions. 

I opened up my Macbook to get working on fine-tuning the Simplify Your Sales challenge when I heard that distracting *ding* of my inbox. 

(pre-ps- have you joined the free challenge yet?! It’s 5-days of LASER-FOCUSED strategy designed to help you start growing your sales and automating your revenue— but you’ve got to register for the challenge to participate! Sign up here! I’d hate for you to miss out! on all the fun!)

Okay, but back to that inbox ding…

Of course I pop in to check (because some days I have the attention span of a small puppy), see an email from another biz owner and open it up. Inside she’s compiled an incredible list of list-building growing tips from big name influencers in the industry. 

It looks like it’d be something worth checking out, so I click on it and take a peek to see if I can glean any useful information. 

Next thing I know, it’s been 45 minutes, I’m on Jenna Kutchers PERSONAL blog (not business-- PERSONAL) and filled with this BURNING desire to buy silicone pacifier feeders for my baby off of Amazon because they’re LIFE CHANGING, apparently (I’ll let you know).

I can’t make this stuff up.

I honestly feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode-- like, what the heck just happened?!?! How did I get here?!

…and more importantly, am I the only one this happens to?!?!

Okay, okay, so maybe your scenario looks a *little* different (most likely sans silicone pacifier feeders, you lucky duck)…

The kids are finally (FINALLY) in bed and you’ve cleaned up dinner/tidied the house/made yourself a snack (why do cookies always taste better at 9:00 pm?!?! Probably because I don’t have to share them with grubby fingers at that point, haha!), you’ve got 2 glorious, uninterrupted hours to work on your Etsy shop tonight, which feels like nothing short of pure LUXURY. 

You can get a TON done in 2 hours when you’re motivated-- and tonight? You totally are. You’re ready to GET STUFF DONE. 

Fast-forward about 1 ½ hours later, and for some INEXPLICABLE reason…

...you’re now binge-watching funny cat videos on Youtube. 

Can you say goodbye, motivation?!

Question of the day:

How did you get from point A (incredibly motivated, ready to go, can-do attitude)…

…to point B (hitting “watch next” over and over and over again to see what crazy mishap Fluffy got into this time). 

It totally can seem like you’re living an episode of the Twilight Zone when you stop and try to figure out how the heck your motivation turned into this. 

Well, let me give you two good reasons why it may have happened to you: 

  1. You’ve gotten into a habit of breaking promises to yourself— in this case, working on your Etsy business (Rachel Hollis talked about this in her book, Girl, Wash your Face and it rang hardcore TRUE with me). Basically, this means that when you make a promise to yourself to DO something, you can’t count on yourself to follow through.

    OUCH.

    OR…. 

  2. You didn’t go into this 2-hour work time with FOCUS and INTENTION of what you were actually going to accomplish.

    Basically, you went into this 2-hour time block without a PLAN.


Today, we’re going to talk about reason #2 (Rachel Hollis already covered #1 pretty well in her book ;).

You went into tonight with ZERO intention on what you were actually going to get done. 

Sure, you might have had a casual train of thought about how you need to update your product photography or Tailwind or keywords (tangent: how do we always end up back researching keywords?! Surely that has to end at SOME point…)…”

But the bottom line?

It was easier to just say, “You know what? I’m going to work on my Etsy shop tonight!” and leave your intention at that (because that’s still a good thing to do, right?!). 

It was EASY to say that and hope for the best.

But it’s A HECKUVA LOT harder to say, “I’m going to create a master document of my most FAQ from customers + their responses.”

The former statement leaves lots of room for possibilities and changes to the plan-- if it turns out that you don’t feel like working on FAQ’s tonight, you don’t have to because you never promised yourself you would! #winning (or is it?)

No wonder it’s tempting to leave your “goals” open ended!

But let’s get real:

When you sit down to work and find that 2 hours have passed and you have --literally-- NOTHING to show for it because you couldn’t actually decide WHAT to work on when that two hours came…

...it all boils down to lacking FOCUS and INTENTION. 

What do I mean by that?

I mean that you NEED to know— and have a plan of—what you’re going to accomplish (aka what you’re setting out to do) BEFORE it becomes go-time.  


A personal (non-business) example of what lack of focus + intention looks like:

Ready to dive into a REALLY personal example of what this looks like? If so, keep reading…

The post-partum phase is ROUGH.

Usually I talk about this in regards to emotions and mental health, but I’m going to step OFF of that soapbox today to talk about something a little different.

I want to talk about MY experience trying to lose the pregnancy weight.

Now, there are a lot of women in this world that are blessed to have the baby weight melt off of them after a pregnancy . By month 3, they look like like they did back in high school, just with a bubbly bouncing perfectly coiffed baby in tow (if that’s you, know that I not only think you are amazing, but now I am GREEN WITH ENVY).

Currently, I live on a street full of these women.

And they are AMAZING at making post-partum weight loss look effortless and easy. Some have 3+ kids and don’t look a pound over 120.

Now, as I write this post, I am 8 1/2 months postpartum, and I still have about 20lbs to lose before I am back to my pre-baby weight (and that was after throwing up my entire last pregnancy—everyday, multiple times— for 9 months. Ask me about how effective my metabolism is at this point…NOT).

Based strictly off of where I live and the people I am surrounded by, when it comes to wanting to lose the weight, I am DANG MOTIVATED. Like I said, I am surrounded by women who make it look effortless, and I would LOVE to be able to look like them (whether that’s for better or worse).

No matter what we say, no one wants to be the sole post-partum woman in her neighborhood that can’t lose the weight by 6 months (as COMPLETELY unrealistic of an expectation as that is— trust me, I know that’s not “normal”). But when you’re surrounded by people who do it, it’s easy to become discouraged.

So my motivation to work out and eat right? It’s pretty dang high at this point.

And yet there are two ENTIRELY different outcomes that occur based on how I set the stage to wake up in the morning:

  • Outcome #1: If I take the time the night before to set out my mat, grab my neon-colored weights, lay out my clothes, and choose what workout training I’m going to follow the next morning, I’m about 95% likely to follow-through and make it happen (EVEN if it’s core work. My core is non-existent btw, thank you emergency c-sections!).

    This isn’t a hard task— prepping the night before— it literally takes a grand total of about 3 minutes to do— so super quick and easy.

  • Outcome #2: Sometimes, though, it’s been a stressful evening and I jump straight into bed telling myself that I’ll wake up just a little bit earlier tomorrow and I’ll handle everything then— with 0 prep work done the night before. Nothing is ready to go and I have NO idea what kind of workout I’m going to jump into (ha!).

    The results? You guessed it: my follow-through rate for those mornings drops to about 10% (IF THAT, I’m embarrassed to admit).

And no matter HOW good my intentions are for the next morning, if I don’t go into things knowing EXACTLY what I’m going to focus on and what my intentions are, it just doesn’t happen.

Now back to selling on Etsy…


And now a Harry Potter tangent…

Continuing in the spirit of #allthingsrandom (but not really— there’s a point to all of this, I promise!), it’s worth mentioning that I listen to the Harry Potter audio books in my car when I drive about 90% of the time (barring any screeching children). 

This is not a new thing: it’s something that I’ve been doing since I was 24 years old and my husband and I found the entire boxed CD sets at a garage sale (fun fact: I was one of the ones that “grew up” with Harry Potter-- similar ages throughout the whole series release). 

So yes, I’ve been listening to Harry Potter nearly daily for over 6 years now (although I DID upgrade to the digital 21st century NON-CD version a couple years ago ;). Don’t ask me why— I don’t honestly know— but music just really isn’t my jam. I can’t stand the car radio and I couldn’t care less about owning a subscription to Pandora or Spotify (I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor-- I know it’s basically blasphemy to say that). 

So I listen to gold old HP instead.

Right now I’m on The Half-Blood Prince (book 6) and the sixth years’ are JUST heading into their first apparation lesson in the Great Hall.

This lesson goes TERRIBLY, btw, and no one manages to make it happen. There’s a lot of humorous attempts that go on, but no one (not even Hermione!) actually accomplishes what they set out to do: to apparate.

The reason?

Wilkie Twycross, the aged apparation instructor, hits it right on the head with the phrase that he stresses throughout the entire training session:

“Destination, determination, deliberation.”

Now, I can’t teach you to apparate (or at least, not without some major splinching), but I can honestly say that at this moment in time?

Harry Potter is 100% applicable to YOU and YOUR ETSY SHOP. 

(Holy crap, did I just relate Harry Potter to selling on Etsy?! Keep reading, my friend)

If you don’t know where you’re headed…. (destination)

“I’m going to work on automating my Etsy shop tonight”

If you don’t know EXACTLY what you’re doing... (determination)

“I’m going to create my FAQ’s tonight and import them into my Etsy shop’s snippets”

If you don’t know HOW you’re going to get there.... (deliberation)

I’m going to open a Google doc and the Etsy site and start copying + pasting over the questions I get over and over again and then type out succinct answers and import them into the Etsy snippets area”

Then you are going to miss the mark (or fail to apparate, depending on YOUR unique situation ;) 100% of the time.

From one #shinyobjectsyndrome squirrel to another,  I think we BOTH need a healthy dose of focus + accountability!

That’s why I am SO excited to invite you to join me for my FREE Simplify Your Sales 5-day challenge, going down August 19-23. 

Here’s the deal: If you give me 5 days (JUST 5!) of 100% dedicated DESTINATION, DETERMINATION, and DELIBERATION towards growing your Etsy shop sales…

...I promise I’ll give you 5 days of INCREDIBLE challenge content that will bring you CLARITY, FOCUS, and the beginning of AUTOMATED GROWTH for your Etsy shop. 

Now, this isn’t your typical “Take better photos!” or “Test your SEO!” advice that you can get just anywhere. 

If that advice was working for you, you wouldn’t be here reading this blog post right now.

No, this is 100% laser-focused strategy designed to help you start growing your sales and automating your revenue...in just 5 days.  

My goal is to get you to the point where you’ll be able to take that 2 hour “work on my Etsy shop” window of time and LEGITIMATELY watch funny cat videos on Youtube...and still make sales because #automation. 

(still not saying that’s the best use of your time [although some days…], but this will at least allow you to do it in a way that’s guilt-free ;)

Here’s how it works:

On Monday, August 19th, our Simplify Your Sales challenge will officially kick off. You MUST be registered for the event to participate + receive your daily challenges. Save your spot here!

Each day for the next 5 days will be broken down into 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: You will receive an email in the morning with that day’s lesson overview + daily assignment. It will also include a link to join us during the daily livestream.

  • Phase 2: You’ll be invited to join us for a daily livestream that goes over that day’s topic, but more in-depth— kind of like the 2.0 version of the email we sent you earlier in the day :) During the livestream I’ll walk you through EXACTLY what to do for the challenge and answer any questions you may have so you can hit the ground running

  • Phase 3: After the livestream, it’s your job to DO THE WORK. The assignments (delivered via email) are designed to be completed in 30 minutes or less, and once you’ve completed them, you’ll be invited to share them under a specific post thread in our private challengers FB group for feedback and accountability (<— SO important!). I’ll be popping in to help answer any questions that come up as well :)

…and then we’ll repeat those phases every day for 5 days.

By the end of the week, you’ll be well on your way to simplifying your ENTIRE sales process— and finally feeling confident about your Etsy strategy

Sound like something you want to be a part of?

Click HERE to sign up for the FREE challenge!


(and even if you can’t join us LIVE, if you sign up, you’ll STILL get lifetime access to all the challenge content!)

Will I see you there?!

xo, Morgan

Boostrapping your Etsy shop: How to know WHEN it's time to invest in your business (or if you even should!)

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*bangs head against desk*

(It’s never a good sign when a post starts out like that, #amiright?!)

But OOOOH, we’re going to talk about a good one today-- and it involves busting the HECK out of the ever-popular MYTH that “You can build an online business for “free” as long as you hustle your buns off like crazy.”

Now, I’m not referring to inventory or equipment or envelopes or anything like that. You and I both know there’s no way around those sort of business costs. 

No, I’m talking about the market-y, business side of things. You know—the actual “business” part of your Etsy shop where your right-brain creative side tends to go into instant freeze mode :P 

So let’s talk about it and hopefully I can guide you through it :)

There’s this super-popular myth out there that floats around various Etsy conversation circles that as long as you’re willing to hustle SUPER hard, spend MONTHS researching your butt off, and test and tweak every single detail of your shop, you can become wildly profitable with $0 investment, because #hardwork and #googlesavestheday. 

Can I just be the first to say it? That is RIDICULOUS :P

Now, I’m not saying the hustle mentality is ridiculous-- seriously-- I admire the HECK out of all you hustlers out there-- I KNOW it’s not easy.

No, the ridiculous part is this teensy, tiny detail that everyone seems to forget when talking about how they built their businesses “for free.”

Searching for answers and strategy on Google (or the Etsy forums, heaven forbid) is NOT actually “free.”

(wait...what?!?!)

Now, I will fully acknowledge that it may not cost you MONEY to use Google as your business mentor...

It IS costing you something else. 

TIME.  

Yep, we’re going there today :)

The “time” investment myth

Now, initially, investing in time may seem to save you money. 

And it’s definitely the “safety net” option for a lot of us (myself included when I started!) because let’s face it: there’s this (however irrational) fear that if we invest real-deal MONEY into our business, we *might* not actually get it back. 

And when you’ve worked your buns off for that profit (and yes, I KNOW how many Instagram posts it took to make that sale!), it’s dang HARD to throw it back into your business for something that only “might” pay off. 

Over the years (and I’ve been at this “selling online” thing for over 8 years now!), I’ve come to realize just how backwards that way of thinking is. 

It’s time to stop looking at business investments as “risky” and instead look at it as the most straightforward way to GROW your business. 

Because guess what?

Investing time in your business? That’s risky, too.

You don’t know if the strategies that you spent HOURS researching for the past week will even pay off.

And you’re definitely NOT going to get that time back.

In my experience (below!), investing $$$ in my business has been the FASTEST and most STRAIGHTFORWARD way of growing my business.

My history in investing in my biz. 

If you’ve followed along with me at all, you know that one of my first “business” investments was a $500 60-minute business coaching call back in 2013. 

This call was the SCARIEST thing I had done in my business up to this point. 

Before this initial investment, I had boot-strapped my way through my first online shop-- picking up as many free “tips” and “tricks” as I could along the way and spending a ton of TIME (see-- there it pops up again!) in that “two steps forward, one step back” phase. 

Because I had NO clue what I was doing and was relying on a bunch of free articles from around the web to fashion a makeshift “strategy,” I’ll be the first to admit it was far from glamorous and definitely NOT smooth sailing. 

I like to think of it as my “smeared mascara” business phase ;)

So I invested a lot of TIME during this phase.

And yes, it was technically “free” in terms of money. I didn’t actually have to spend a dime figuring this stuff out via Google.

But it was costing me in other ways.

TIME.

PROFIT.

MY FREAKIN’ SANITY.

So in September 2013, I booked that business call and made a non-refundable $250. 

(and then proceeded to almost lose my lunch because $250!!!!!). 

That business call changed EVERYTHING for me. 

And no, I’m not just talking about the crystal clarity I got from actually being handed a STRATEGY and not just a bunch of random tips and tricks….

...I’m talking about the fact that instead of wasting 100+ hours (ps- that’s MONTHS in stay-at-home-mom standard time) like I did last time trying to hodge-podge together a makeshift “plan” on my own (that revolved around nearly 100% SEO if you’re wondering) ....

...I had one CUSTOMIZED and COMPLETED in just 60 minutes with an actual e-commerce marketing strategist (and not some random website ghostwriter). 

Now, that’s not to say that it didn’t take time to implement said plan. 

I still had to do the work. Yes, it was laid out for me, but I still had to IMPLEMENT it. 

But because I had already created and outlined my entire marketing system plan on that 60-minute $500 phone call, I was able to jump into that IMPLEMENTATION phase right away. 

(you know-- the part of the strategy where you actually make money. Aka, NOT the “research + development” phase that we all get so comfortable in but earns us $0 ;)

And here are the results of my FIRST month being open with shop #2 on Etsy:

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Now, just for fun, let’s just contrast that with month #1 over in my first shop:

(Real-life, unedited screenshot of my first shop. I’ve never shared this with anyone before, so you’re welcome.)

(Real-life, unedited screenshot of my first shop. I’ve never shared this with anyone before, so you’re welcome.)

[Also- if you’re wondering about the actual timeline because #detailsareawesome: I didn’t even have an Etsy shop opened yet when I scheduled this call (I had closed down my original shop, Highbury Place, in July 2013, scheduled this call for September 2013, and opened my new shop, Little Highbury, in late Nov/early Dec 2013). Proof that it’s NEVER too early to invest in your biz ;)]

Okay, back to the investment situation:

Now, up front, it seems glaringly obvious which one cost me more money…

The $500 marketing call, right?!

Actually, no. 

Because when you look at the cold, hard data, both of those options cost me something:

  • Shop #1: I invested $0 and earned $0, which resulted in…(wait for it).... $0. 

  • Shop #2: I invested $500 and earned $1252.40, which resulted in +$752.40 just in month one!

See where I’m going with this?!

Shop #1 breakdown:

Shop #1 cost me in TIME. I spent MONTHS researching the heck out of my SEO strategy and having nightmares about keywords. And that was BEFORE I even implemented them. Now, were those keywords “free” to implement in terms of money? But they cost me in lost revenue. 

How? Because there were shops in the same niche as me who were busy making sales and filling orders while I was too busy researching and re-researching keywords behind-the-scenes to have the time to ACTIVELY do something with my shop that would actually result in sales.

Shop #2 breakdown:

Now shop #2 cost me in MONEY. I spent $500 and 60 minutes with a business coach. Day one of opening my shop, I was in the negative by -$500. By day 30, I had made a gross profit of $752.40 (which actually netted around $675.00-- I had a high markup on my product ;)

So the bottom line?

Investing that $500 actually made me MORE money.

As counter-intuitive as it seems, investing MONEY in your business is the fastest way to grow your revenue. 

I need you to understand this: NOTHING in business is free. 

(dang it!)

You’re either going to have to invest TIME or MONEY in growing your Etsy shop. 

For me, I’ve always found money to be the better investment overall. Yes, there are definitely things I still Google to quickly figure out, and you can find a lot of incredible content out there for “free.”

But for other things (ie- like adding custom CSS to my site, designing promo graphics, or creating landing pages), spending the $1,000 to my graphic designer is MORE THAN WORTH THE COST of trying to figure it out on my own and losing valuable hours (let’s be honest: DAYS) that *could* be spent on strategies that actually make me money.

And give me more time with my family :)

(fun fact: at this point in 8+ years selling online, I’ve invested over $75,000 in business investments and I can count on one hand the number of times they DIDN’T pay off.)

So where do you recommend I invest money in my business first, Morgan?

Great question! There’s honestly no “one-size-fits-all” answer for everyone, because everyone is at different stages in their Etsy shop experience:

For the “I’m-just-getting-started-and-what-in-the-heck-am-I-doing?!” Etsy seller:

Right now, your main focus should be on FIGURING OUT YOUR MARKETING. 

Our goal is to make you profitable, but if you have NO idea what you’re doing with your marketing, it’s going to be a hard sell (ha!) to make that happen. Whether you like it or not, as a just-getting-started-Etsy-seller, you ARE the marketing expert of your shop (yes, you right-brain creative person!). So treat yourself like one!

Whether you decide to spend months down the rabbit hole piecing together your own strategy (again, costing you TIME), or joining us in my signature done-for-you marketing automation system program, Mastermind Your Marketing, you NEED to get your marketing figured out STAT-- before you invest in that fancy-schmany logo designer or throw tons of money (down the toilet) on ads.

Understanding your marketing is the FIRST step to a profitable Etsy shop-- it shouldn’t be something you “figure out later.”

For the “Alright-my-marketing-is-starting-to-work-and-I’m-doing-okay-for-myself” Etsy seller:

It’s time to introduce some additional AUTOMATING YOUR BUSINESS. 

Now if you joined us back in Mastermind Your Marketing, you’ve already got a system implemented that is almost entirely automated. So your marketing? It’s already automated #heckyes :) (and if you haven’t automated your marketing, what are you waiting for?!)

Your automation should include scheduling your social media strategy, automating your sales funnel sequences, importing canned responses for your customer service inquiries.

Basically anything that CAN be duplicated and repeated to save you time should be done-- because things are on their way to CRAZY anytime now-- so let’s get ahead of the curve :)

For the “I’ve-got-the-marketing-down-but-I-can’t-keep-up-with-orders” Etsy seller:

Right now, your main focus should be on GROWING YOUR TEAM. 

Up to this point, you’ve worked IN your business. When you get to this (insanely awesome) stage, it’s time to start working ON your business. 

And that means letting things go...to someone else, that is ;) 

It should come as no surprise that things take off QUICKLY with a marketing system in place (seriously-- I hit my first five-figure month [$11K] just 10 months after opening my shop and implementing one!), and you’re going to feel those growing pains something fierce-- so let’s tackle them head-on!

Now is the time where you look at hiring out contract workers and streamlining your systems. Hire your first VA to manage your bookkeeping and order your supplies. Contract out with a few local people (or even an order fulfillment center!) to help fulfill your orders. Hire a marketing VA on retainer so you don’t have to handle the scheduling yourself. You DON’T have to hire actual real-deal employees-- contracting is just fine for now-- but you DO need to get some help or you’re going to burnout in about 1 ½ weeks (not that I’m speaking from experience…)

You need HELP-- so don’t be afraid to take that leap and bring some support on board. 

Your family (and your sanity) will thank me later ;)


Whew-- and that is IT. That is my two cents (or 2 bajillion...I mean, who’s counting anyways?!) on investing in your business. 

Here’s what I need you to take away from this: NOTHING IN BUSINESS IS FREE. 

You’re either going to have to invest your TIME or your MONEY. 

It’s up to you which makes the most sense for your business and what is going to bring you the results that you want in the timeframe you’re looking for.

What do you think? Do you completely agree/disagree? Let me know in the comments below :)

xo, Morgan


Ready to get your hands on a done-for-you marketing system for YOUR Etsy shop (and save yourself some TIME ;)?

The doors to my signature program, Mastermind Your Marketing, are opening Friday, August 23.

 
 

Is Your PRODUCT What’s Costing You Sales on Etsy?

We spend A LOT of time talking about marketing here on this blog.

And for good reason-- if you don’t know how to market your product, you’re never going to get found.

However.

One thing we don’t talk about a lot is the fact that sometimes you’re doing #alltherightthings with marketing your Etsy shop…

...but you’re STILL not making sales.

Yep, that can happen, too.

*Sigh*

Luckily, there is a fail-proof way to fix that problem, and it begins with your actual PRODUCT.

Repeat after me: No amount of killer marketing can sell a crappy product line.

Lousy product line = Kiss your dreams of a full-time income buh-bye.

So what constitutes a crappy product line?

I’m glad you asked :) Let’s dive right in!

Big mistake #1

One of the biggest mistakes I see brand-new Etsy shops make is that they create a product for themselves.

What does that mean?

It means that instead of thinking of the customer, they’re thinking of whatever hobby/skill they have and creating product that matches that skill-- WITHOUT thinking about whether someone will be interested in buying it or not.

And that is a sure-fire way to create a shop that FAILS.

Now don’t get in a tizzy-- I KNOW you created your Etsy shop because you genuinely enjoy creating. That’s awesome!

BUT.

You CAN’T go into product creation WITHOUT thinking about your customer-- that’s a completely backwards way of thinking.

If you’re trying to sell to a customer, wouldn’t it make sense to think about them through every step of the way?

You need to be thinking about the customer in the research & development phase, the materials sourcing phase, the product creation phase, the marketing phase…

Basically, you need to be thinking about the customer ALL. THE. TIME.


Ummm...I don’t even have customers, Morgan….

And this is where product validation comes into play ;)

Product validation is simply the way you prove (read: validate) that your product is good enough to sell and that there is a demand in the marketplace for it.

There are TONS of benefits to validating your products, but one of my favorite aspects is that it allows you to “test” your product on an audience before you pour hundreds of dollars into creating inventory that won’t sell.

(Like the time I invested $2,000 in a crib sheet line that completely BOMBED with my audience. Ask me about it sometime ;)

You should be validating your products EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. you introduce a new product line to your shop.

Getting started with product validation

Chances are, if you have been around on Etsy for a while, you have probably already completed the product validation stage.

How do you know if this step is already completed?

  • You already have an Etsy sales history; or

  • You do well at in-person events (think: craft fairs) and customers (read: not family members) have purchased your items in the past and been happy with their purchase.

If either one of those scenarios describes your situation, then congratulations-- your product is already validated! You've got the stats to back you up that there is a market for your product-- so I want you to feel confident moving forward.

HOWEVER.

If you’re just getting started and have NO CLUE what actually sells, or if you’re gearing to switch up product lines but are worried about buyer interest levels, it’s probably time to do a little product validation research.

So let's take a look at what it takes to validate a product idea...

Step-by-Step Product Validation

Step #1 - Research the competition

Most of us have been conditioned to believe that competition is a bad thing-- that if someone has already created something, there won’t be any sales left for us.

The opposite is true!

Competition in the marketplace is not only a GOOD thing, it’s actually something you should feel encouraged by.

Why? Because if multiple shops have already created a product like yours, it tells us two things:

  • There is a market for your product-- hooray!

(note - this brings up the whole “do you mean my state-of-the-art invention has no market?” Of course not, but if you’re introducing something completely new to the table, you had better be willing to do the grassroots legwork to actually EDUCATE people about your product-- because the awareness isn’t there.)

  • Your marketing just got a heckuva lot easier. You now have prices, materials, marketing strategy, and more to reference when creating your killer product line (note- I said "to reference," NOT "to copy" ;)

So competition? That’s a good sign and it means that there is definitely potential for your product in the marketplace.

Again, if there isn’t any competition, this doesn’t mean your product idea will bomb-- but it does mean you have a lot of work ahead of you to educate your audience on your product + why they need it.

I want you to ask yourself honestly: Are you willing to put in that extra work?

If not, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

Step #2 - Reach out to your dream customer

Once you’ve got that product-line concept (and samples created, if at all possible!), it’s time for the hard part: You need to start talking to people.  

And no, I don’t mean your mom and your sister-- I mean people that would be ideal matches for your product. (Fun Fact: I actually pitched my product to my mom before anyone else, and she thought I was crazy and told me to go back to the drawing board. Spoiler alert: I didn’t).

This step is broken down into 2 parts:

2.1 - Reach out to people you already know who match your dream customer profile (read: the person you want to buy your product)

  • If you're in the baby industry, reach out to friends/family who have recently had a baby or are going to soon.

  • If you’re in the health and beauty industry, reach out to friends/family who are obsessed with organic products and see what they think.

  • If you’re in the planner industry, create some prototypes and test them out on your organized friends.

What kind of questions should you ask? Use the following as suggestions (but feel free to substitute in your own!):

  • What do you like best about this product?

  • What don’t you like about this product?

  • Is there room for improvement with this product?

  • What is the biggest struggle you face with using a product like this?

  • What would you be willing to pay?

Bottom line?

Ask for feedback on your product(s).

Be willing to take the good (and the bad!) and act on those suggestions (<-- SO important).  

This is NOT a time to let personal bias get in the way. While you may think you know what will sell, you’ll never actually know until you ask.

Remember- you’re not creating a product for YOU-- you’re creating it for THEM.

2.2 - Reach out to people you DON’T know, but would be a good fit for your dream customer criteria.  

Now that you’ve gotten some good feedback from people you know (and have hopefully made some tweaks based on their feedback), it’s time to pitch your product to an audience of people you don’t know.

Now, if you’ve got an existing fan-base, this is a GREAT time to reach out to them. However, if you’re just getting started, chances are you don’t have a pool of people to pull from.

So where can you find people to get feedback from?

  • Reddit threads

  • Facebook groups

  • Niche blog forums

Again, you're going to want to ask the following questions:

  • What do you like best about this product?

  • What don’t you like about this product?

  • Is there room for improvement with this product?

  • What is the biggest struggle you face with using a product like this?

  • What would you be willing to pay?

Yes, I know these are hard questions to ask-- but they NEED to be asked. There is nothing worse than blowing cash on a huge inventory of product that no one will be interested in buying.

Save yourself the headache (and the financial stress!) and do a bit of research before you dive in-- you'll thank me later, I promise ;)

That sounds super overwhelming. I sell 10 different products--how on earth do I get each of those validated without losing my sanity?!

Alright, it’s time to take a step back.

Part of your problem here is that you’re trying (literally) to go 10 different directions at once.

Lack of focus = Major problems.

Because when you’re starting an Etsy shop, you’re trying to wrap your head around a million different things-- photography, copywriting, marketing, etc.

It’s hard enough figuring all of those things out for ONE product, let alone 10.

If you’re trying to market 10 different things to “see which one sells”, you’re going to put out disjointed marketing messaging, and confuse your customers on what you’re trying to sell and what they should buy.

Believe it or not, customers like being told what to do.

They LIKE having limited choices (too many choices = decision fatigue).

So make things easier (and much more clear!) for them and yourself (and your bank account!) by simplifying your product line down to ONE flagship product.

I don’t care that you can make tea cozies and baby blankets and slippers and scarves (well, I do care-- I mean, you sound really talented!). But that doesn’t mean you should.

Did you get that?

Just because you CAN make it, it doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.

I am SO serious about that.

Instead, I want you to pick ONE product to focus on.

(I can already see you asking, “But, but, but how will I know which one to pick? I’m just going to make and list them all to see what sells!”)

No. Just stop right now.

One of the biggest keys to successful marketing (no matter what industry you’re in) is to go ALL IN with ONE thing.

Yes, you can always add additional income streams later with complimentary product lines and such, but right now I need you to focus on ONE and validate that ONE product.

No need to introduce an entire shopping center before you even get started ;)

Alrighty, I’ve followed your steps and validated my product...now what?

Congratulations! You now know that you have a product line that is going to sell...but what’s next?

Your next steps involve listing your product (hooray-- progress!) and then honing in on shop optimization-- make sure it’s an easy “yes” for people to purchase your product!


(If you’re curious on exactly how you can optimize your shop to become a conversion machine, make sure you join the VIP waitlist for my signature program, Mastermind Your Marketing. There are 12 weeks’ (!!!) worth of shop optimization implementation to hold you accountable + make sure that you’re making as many sales as possible with the traffic you drive!)


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Marketing your Etsy shop just got a whole lot easier! Grab your FREE Etsy Marketing Roadmap below!

How Ditching Social Media (!!!) Can Make You More Sales on Etsy

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If you feel like you are hustling nonstop week after week to market and sell your products, it's time to reevaluate your "strategy."

Social media is NOT the best (or most efficient!) way to promote your Etsy shop.

(wait...wha?!?!)

Here's the deal: I KNOW you're busy and I KNOW you have so much to do every. single. day.

So what if I told you that you could DITCH the social media and STILL MAKE SALES??

Yep-- I'm completely serious.

(cue the hallelujah chorus!)

It all begins with a MARKETING SYSTEM.

And in this post I'm going to be introducing you to EXACTLY what that is + why it's the SMARTEST thing you'll ever implement for your Etsy shop (hey-- it’s what I used for LittleHighbury to the tune of over 23,000 sales and $600K+ in revenue!)

So…what the heck is a marketing system?

It’s basically your new BFF ;)

But in all seriousness, a marketing system is simply a way to funnel potential customers into your door, familiarize them with your brand, and turn them into paying customers.

What this means for you: Instead of hustling every single day for every single sale, a marketing system AUTOMATES a large part of that and works 24/7 to drive you consistent sales on autopilot.

Meaning that you don’t have to play that e-commerce “feast or famine” sales game any longer (which is honestly the worst!).

Inside my signature program, Mastermind Your Marketing, you’ll learn that there are 4 must-have phases you’ll implement to create a profitable marketing system:

  • Phase 1: Optimize
    Make sure your shop is set up for conversions BEFORE you start driving traffic.

  • Phase 2: Attract
    Begin funneling the RIGHT type of traffic into your shop using effective traffic-driving strategy.

  • Phase 3: Convert
    Have a sales sequence in place that warms potential customers up to your brand and secures the sale.

  • Phase 4: Scale
    Set up multiple touch points for your shop so that your sales can maintain consistency on a day-to-day basis.

Learn more about each of these phases by grabbing your FREE Etsy Marketing Roadmap below!

Okay, so where does social media fit into this plan?

Wait for itttttttttt….

IT DOESN’T

Unpopular opinion of the day: Social media is NOT the most effective way to bring sales to your Etsy shop.

Whew--so glad to get that off my chest ;)

Let’s face it: Up to this point, you’ve been beat over the head with the notion that:

…social media is THE only way to make sales online without ads.

…that the more social media platforms you use and more frequently you post, the better.

…that every single caption needs to be witty and clever and that your photos….oh, don’t even get me started on photos (if you’re not a pro photographer, you might as well throw in the towel).

Aint nobody got time for that!

(but seriously!)

If your social media is stressing you out (and I’m 99% sure that if you’re reading this article, it probably is ;), it’s time to take a step AWAY from social media and start focusing your efforts on more efficient and profitable marketing activities.

Like implementing a marketing system ;)

Giving up social media sounds too good to be true…

It almost does, doesn’t it?!

I hear your skepticism loud and clear ;)

So let me set the record straight-- you aren’t just going to wave a wand and magically have a marketing system implemented in your Etsy shop.

That would be too good to be true.

Implementing a marketing system is going to take some work.

In fact, it’s going to take quite a bit of work in the beginning-- especially if you’ve never done anything like this before.

But we’re going to front-load that work so that we can minimize your work later.

Meaning: Work hard now, reap the rewards later.

Because once you’ve got it set up correctly, your marketing system is going to do the heavy lifting for you.

And it’s going to do it BRILLIANTLY.

(And allow you to finally stop thinking of “marketing” as a nasty four-letter word ;)

So where’s the “secret sauce” in all of this?

I’m guessing if you’ve stumbled upon this article, you’ve probably fallen down the rabbit hole at least once with researching how to market your Etsy shop.

And you’ve probably learned a lot of “tips” and “tricks” along the way that you’re implementing left and right but aren’t seeing any results.

In fact, at this point you might even be second guessing your products and ability to be an online business owner because none of those tips you’ve implemented are actually working.

(I call this the “throwing-spaghetti-at-the-wall” phase that most Etsy shop owners start out at ;)

Can I let you in on a secret?

It’s not you, it’s them.

Seriously.

The reason all of your hustling isn’t working is because those “tips” and “tricks” you’re trying to implement?

They’re not designed to work together.

Because while you’re pulling this bit of advice from Expert A and that piece of advice from Expert B, you’re only seeing a *small* portion of a much BIGGER picture.

Kind of like the whole iceberg philosophy where you can only see a little bit at a time ;)

And without a change in mentality, you’re never going to be as successful as you deserve because you don’t really understand the “big picture” of what you’re doing (and the steps you’re missing in the process).

So the “secret sauce” (that I’m about to tell you-- *gasp*!) of a marketing system is that you can see the ENTIRE PICTURE from start to finish.

You’ll understand how every piece of the puzzle you implement fits into your overall strategy-- and how they work TOGETHER to turn a casual browser into a lifelong customer.

No more creating social media posts and online content just for the sake of creating them.

You’ll understand EXACTLY why each piece of the puzzle matters and how it contributes to the customer sales journey.

The whole sales automation aspect? That’s honestly just the icing on the cake ;)

So….where do I even begin, Morgan?!

Here are two take-action steps for you today:

1. Sign up for the Mastermind Your Marketing VIP waitlist so that I can walk you through this entire process (and tell you exactly what to do and when to do it) in the fastest and easiest way possible (because every day you wait to implement your marketing system is a day you’re leaving serious $$$ on the table).  


2. Download the Etsy Marketing Roadmap. It will give you a more complete roadmap of how to get started implementing your marketing system + prevent you from making some CRUCIAL mistakes that I see over and over again.

 
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