Moment of honesty here...
It's hard for me to talk about all this but this blog is all about being brave and doing uncomfortable things right?
Sometimes I get kind of down on myself for not being more successful with my instagram and my etsy shop. I see all these beautiful ladies with incredible shops and instagram feeds and I can't help but think things like, "Why didn't I think of that?" or "How the heck do they post so much?" or "Man I wish I could make sales like that."
The comparison game is a terrible one. And it really hurts the soul. So I gotta stop.
Because I'm me and I do things a little differently.
And sometimes I move at a snails pace in the creative process...
But that's okay right? Right.
Besides, if I step back and take a second to reflect on how far I've come in less than a year I'm like, "Holy crap you are doing awesome Megan! Woohoo high five!"
Because last August I was just a naïve little girl who may or may not have cried more than I care to think about, wondering if I could ever get this etsy business to work.
My journey with etsy actually started earlier than that though. Officially, my shop opened October 12, 2013 with the absolute random name LittleBugSeven. At the time, my husband was calling me Little Bug and I thought it was cute and seven is my lucky number so I was like bam that's my shop name.
Basically, I opened a shop without any idea of what I wanted to sell.
Bad idea...if I could go back and do things different, I would.
I had stumbled across etsy's website and was amazed that such a thing existed! A website/community of people all selling handmade goods? Awesome sauce! Sign me up!
I was facing getting laid off from my job and was toying with the idea of not finding another one, instead, figuring out how to make money from home.
My mom makes the most beautiful Christmas ornaments and she didn't know what to do with the extra ones she was making at the time and I was like, "Hello let's sell them on my etsy shop!!" So that was pretty much all my shop had for months. Just my mom's Christmas ornaments. When I did add a few things of my own, they didn't sell. They didn't even really get looked at. However, my mom's ornaments did sell and I just thought that was the coolest thing in the world.
Once I got a clearer focus of what I eventually wanted my shop to be (and what I actually enjoyed making) I was like, "I need a new shop name. LittleBugSeven makes no sense. Especially if it's going to be a crochet shop." My husband and I brainstormed our guts out and we came up with the cute but kind of long shop name, One Loop at a Time (which I'm kind of starting to miss (I'm maybe the most indecisive person on the planet)) and that's when I feel like my shop truly was born.
We bought our house last May and with that I had beautiful lighting and nice white walls so I got bit by the bug to pursue this thing full force. I bought a ton of yarn (an unnecessary amount that is still sitting in my closet) and started looking up new stitches and making baby blankets and I was in heaven.
Crocheting really is my favorite thing to do in the world. Well that and eat candy.
I was making a blanket, taking photos, and posting to etsy every Wednesday.
Nothing sold though. And I wasn't really getting any views. And the doubt was starting to creep in.
I stumbled across a few instagram accounts of successful etsy shops. Me being the nerd I am, I got hooked and looked through entire feeds, absorbing all the information I could of what I could maybe do differently to make things more successful. Feeling all sorts of inspired, I was like, "Okay I'm going to try something totally new. It's gonna be winter soon, let's try making winter wear." I opened a separate business instagram account from my personal one and got to creating things I had never made before.
Now you guys, I live in the desert. It does get cold here (sometimes too cold for my liking) but it stays warm for a pretty long time. So it was like late August or early September, still sunny beautiful warm days, and I was just hoping and praying it would get cold soon so I could maybe start making sales to people I know.
Which didn't really happen.
To make matters worse, it didn't even snow here last year. I was starting to definitely think winter wear was an incredibly dumb idea even though working with chunky yarn is my absolute favorite and creating cozy things soothes the heart.
So I started to feel really depressed. I had just poured all this money that I didn't have into my business, devoted months to crocheting and creating and learning new things. Etsy was what I breathed and all I talked about and all I did (my poor husband). And it wasn't paying off.
And since I didn't have any income besides a couple oddball cleaning jobs (well at the time I only had one cleaning job), I didn't have a steady amount of money coming in. I had always had an amazing credit card history so being in debt was really starting to freak me out.
To make matters worse, I felt like very few people besides my husband believed that I could be successful with etsy. Everyone I talked to thought it was just a hobby or a way to maybe make a few extra bucks every now and again. I'm probably over exaggerating here and my judgment was definitely most likely clouded, but I felt like people were just waiting for me to fail, to give up.
Part of me still thinks people don't take my work seriously...but that's okay.
Now I'm pretty dang stubborn person. Sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. Especially if people doubt that I'm capable of doing something.
So I kept trying.
Even when all signs said to quit, to just give up, I refused.
I had seen others be successful.
I knew it was possible.
Why couldn't I be one of the successful shops?
If I worked and tried hard enough, why not me?
Then came November and things suddenly started to change.
I had made a few local sales by this time (when I say a few I mean three and two of those sales were to the same sweet person) but that was it and I was starting to doubt that I'd ever make any of my money back that I had invested.
Then out of the blue a complete stranger bought one of my ear warmers.
I about peed my pants I was so excited. Someone I didn't know actually wanted to buy my stuff!!
Then the most adorable woman in the whole world named Lisa (check out her awesome instagram and etsy shop @yellowsunlisa) bought one of my beanies and became such a big supporter and encourager! I don't know if she'll read this or if she even realizes what an impact she made on me but thank you Lisa, from the bottom of my heart. She posted pictures to instagram, saying how much she loved the beanie I made for her. She even recommended my shop to a friend of hers (which helped me get a few more sales) and they joked about making a fan club for my shop in Massachusetts because they loved the pieces I created so much.
I was absolutely floored by people's kindness.
I am still constantly floored by people's kindness.
I started to realize how many good people there are in the world.
Through social media, how weird is that?
I've seriously met so so many sweet, incredible people through this journey and am so happy to be a part of this magic that is the etsy/instagram community.
After that, sales somehow started catching on like wildfire. Well sort of. I felt slammed and probably couldn't have handled any more sales than I received at the time. I was busy and my heart was so full and I was like, "I'm doing it! It's finally happening!"
And it seriously was the best feeling ever.
I sold a few international orders (which really made me feel like a big shot ha ha I don't even care if that sounds lame) and I went from like six sales to seventy by the end of the season.
If that ain't success, I don't know what is.
But I've been feeling bad lately since my shop is soooo slow right now which is probably my fault with the shop name change (again) and shutting things down for a bit and not preparing for a spring/summer season. I've started looking at how well everyone else seems to be doing and I've been feeling slightly bummed, feeling like I lost that spark.
I kind of disappeared off instagram for a bit if you guys haven't already noticed. I'm sorry about that.
With things being so slow, I've started to worry about silly things. I worry that posting pictures of knits with chunky yarn isn't appropriate when it's like a hundred degrees outside. I worry sometimes that I'm not creative enough. I worry that my instagram doesn't have enough variety or that all the pictures look the same. I worry that I worry (ha ha ha true story).
And I honestly just haven't really had much money to buy yarn. I'm still working on paying off my debt from last season but within the next month or two, I'll be one hundred percent debt free again (hallelujah).
Anyway I'm coming to terms with the fact that I worry about nonsense, about things totally not worth worrying about. People will follow me and buy from me if they like me and my creations and if they don't, that's okay too. Life will go on. I just gotta keep embracing being me and doing my own thing and people who want to join me on that journey are one hundred percent welcome.
I'm sharing all of this because I needed to take a moment to reflect and to remind myself how far I've come. And to maybe hopefully reach out to others who are struggling with similar thoughts/feelings and to let you know, you're not alone.
I've just got to keep reminding myself that I've done a freaking lot in less than a year. And when I look back I really do think it's amazing and sometimes unbelievable for a quiet little introvert like myself to have done the things I've done and to have accomplished the things that I have accomplished in such a short amount of time.
And most of all, the point of this post is to proudly say I'm back! I took a little break to be a recluse but I am back and feeling incredibly excited about my shop and all the possibilities it holds! I just bought some cute, bright, fun, happy yarn and I'm feeling all sorts of inspired to get going on new ideas :D
Before I go though I just wanted to take a second to ask ya'll if there is anything specific you'd like me to be blogging about? I've been toying with the idea of writing a post about etsy advice from a rookie's point of view. And my instagram following always shocks me every time I look at it so maybe I'll make a post about what I personally have been doing to grow the following that I have.
I just want to help anyone and everyone as much as I can and I want this blog to be fun for you all to read. So just go ahead and post in the comments below for suggestions on what you'd like to see more of on here. I've got lots of ideas for things to come but I'd love to know what you guys are thinking and wanting to see! Okay thanks guys! Have a fabulous week for me okay?