The handmade internet forums drive me crazy. Batshit crazy. I used to visit them to research new blog posts and product- and seller-issues, but I had to stop for my own sanity. Everybody has the same problems and, when they’re not viciously attacking one another, they seemingly chase their issues all day, every day. I could make a few of their issues go away easily, such as …
Q: How do I get everything done and manage it all?
A: Get out of the forums.
Q: How do I earn more money?
A: Get out of the forums.
Q: How do I make more sales?
A: Get out of the forums.
“Get out of the forums” is the answer to most forum conundrums, but they’ll never listen. However, a few of their issues require a more detailed answer, such as …
How do I get found on Etsy?
The short answer is: you don’t. You’re one in a million shops, and that number grows bigger every day. In fact, Etsy stopped releasing statistics on how many active shops are in the marketplace, though they continue to report how much the website sells as a whole every month. I suspect this is because the numbers aren’t going to make any seller happy … if you divide the number of shops by the amount of sales, the average shop is making less than $1,000 per year.
Here’s another toughie:
How do I compete in a saturated market?
Other versions of this question:
- How do I compete with a shop selling at lower prices?
- How do I compete with resellers?
- How do I compete with the new Etsy regulations (that allow sellers to hire help)?
Here’s another short answer: you don’t. In my four years of business, I have never once competed with another jewelry designer or blogger. The concept doesn’t even make sense to me, but online sellers get stuck here.
I have a few questions: What makes you think your potential customers have ever even heard of your competition? And why are you focused on what they’re doing? If you put that same amount of thought and creative energy into your own business, you’d be soaring by now!
Let’s be honest, it’s quite easy to click around the internet and blame the competition because you’re not getting sales. It’s quite another thing to venture out into the world of marketing and advertising, take the reigns on your business and drive it toward success. Am I right?
You have to rewrite the story of your business.
Here’s one way to tell your story:
“My customers can’t find me because there are hundreds of resellers crowding up the marketplace. The competition hires cheap help, and who can compete with those prices? If it weren’t for all this danged competition and this saturated market, my business would take off!”
That sure is one way to look at it. So in other words, if every other seller got off the flipping internet, your business could finally get ahead? Hmmmm. Not likely.
Here’s another way you might tell your story:
“I have an amazing product that is of excellent quality. There’s definitely a market for it, as evidenced by all the other sellers in this niche! I know that if I could get my online storefront in front of the right customers, it would take off. How do I find my customers and point them to my shop?”
Seriously, how much better does that feel? It’s an active approach: one where you’re in control of your shop’s destiny rather than a victim of the marketplace.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
The more I actively try to help other sellers, the more I realize that many people insist on keeping their problems.
Did you ever have a friend who was going through a hard time, and you supported her, listened to her and tried to help her work it out? But the next day, she called back with the exact same problem still unresolved. She repeated the same questions and needed you to give her the same advice all over again.
Suddenly, you realize your friend is on a continuous loop with her problem because she doesn’t mind keeping it. We sometimes get very comfortable with our obstacles, for one reason or another:
- We like the nurturing attention it brings from the outside world;
- We’re addicted to the dramatics an unsolved problem adds to our life; or (most likely)
- We feel overwhelmed, uncertain and too scared to take the first step in the right direction.
Telling everyone else in the world your problems simply dissolves your productive energy. It’s a form of complaining. And while there’s definitely a time and place for complaining (it’s the prequel to change), you have to realize that some people complain for a living.
It’s what they’re doing today, because it’s what they did yesterday and what they’re going to do tomorrow. It’s the equivalent to chasing your tail or running on a hamster wheel. If you don’t use your complaints to learn what needs to change in your life, then you’re getting nowhere fast.
You’re more than that.
I’m telling you, it’s the secret to your success. Just start solving your own problems. Alleviate your own complaints. You don’t know how? Learn. Somebody’s done it before, and you can do it too.
I look around at my peers, my partners and my affiliates, and I realize that the one thing we all have in common is this: we stuck with it. We kept building. When we were faced with an issue, we too complained, but then we examined the obstacle and hurdled it.
Creating your own business is not easy. You have to do A LOT of things that you’ve never done before. And for many, as soon as the paved road ends, they stop traveling toward the destination. You have to want your destination SO HARD that you’re willing to carve your own path.
Are you willing to carve your own path?
No more passivity in business! Stick with me instead. I’m going to teach you how to go get what you want: more customers, more sales and more income. Sign up below and let’s keep in touch.