Building a Business, Creativity, Etsy, side hustles

Side Income for Moms: Why it is Possible to Run an Etsy store with Kids!

I am often asked if it is easy (or even possible) to run an Etsy store with kids and my answer is… absolutely, because YOU are in control of your schedule, and how much you want to do, and how much you want to make. Etsy has been my creative hobby for a while now and I’ve been experimenting extensively with SEO, Marmalead, Pinterest and other methods to create a side income. 

Why is Etsy a really good option for side income?

-You can run your store ENTIRELY on your iPhone, and you can do it in big chunks of time, or little chunks in time.  There’s two approaches you can take to your work on Etsy:

The first approach is what I call the “Start to Finish” and this is great when you have 2-3 hour chunks of time (perhaps the kids are in daycare, or you are working with naptime.) You can see in this example that you flow through your work, from creation of an item, to fulfillment of orders/customer service.

The second approach is what I find most effective with 3 small children and that is the “By Category” approach to work.  What I do is one day a week, I go on a creating binge.  I’ll time naps or have my husband or mother in law cover the kids, all I need is 1-2 hours to make 7-8 pieces.  That is the one thing I do prefer to have little people out of the room for, because it takes incredible patience when your kids are picking up gemstone beads and dropping them all over the floor!!

Then I strategically break up listing items during the week. After tons of research and experimenting, I’ve found that if I list on certain days at certain times, a few new listings will generate some orders, as Etsy’s search bot prefers new listings.  I’ve found lunchtimes during the week, and evenings during the weekend work really well.  As you gain experience on Etsy you’ll be able to look at your traffic to see when it spikes in your store.  

I made the conscious decision to scale my Etsy store down with little kiddos, because of the stage of life I am in with 3 under 5 – so shipping for me is a random trip down to the post office here and there.  However, if you are dealing with multiple orders a week, it is great to set aside a shipping day and your little helps will LOVE going to the post office with you. 

For social media strategy my advice is to make it a total habit.  With a listing you should automatically PIN + POST.   Get into the practice of listing an item, then making a pinterest graphic using the free program http://www.canva.com (they have a free pinterest layout) and pinnning it.  Also, create an Instagram graphic in the same moment.  Again, both can be done with your iphone.  The apps I use most frequently are:

Photoshop for iPhone – Editing images before listing on Etsy 

Typorama – Great for Instagram (can add text)

Canva – Great for Pinterest Graphics 

Hope you enjoyed this quick blog post and if you’d like more Etsy success guides, please let me know in the comments, I have so much experience and information to share in this area! 

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Building a Business, Creativity, Etsy, Life Hacks, side hustles, Technology, The Projects

Is It Possible to Start an Online Business With a Baby? YES! 15 Truths for Online Entrepreneur Success – With a Baby in Your Arms.

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I’ve taken online courses, I’ve studied online entrepreneurs, I’ve read books and listened to more than 200 hours of podcasts. Most importantly, I’ve started acting on these lessons and am entering the world of online business in 2016.

The foundation was slowly built over maternity leave, and continues to be developed.  But the revenue is beginning to trickle in.  The potential is there, and now I am going from building mode to testing and refining mode.  I’ve tested a few models and it’s time to sit down and clarify the goals, and intensify my focus.

Most online entrepreneurship classes hammer home the whole niche thing.  As a multi-passionate I really, really struggled with this question.  I did not find my niche.  I just started putting a few ideas and business products out there, to see a.) what I enjoyed and b.) what gained traction.  I actually think this is the best way.  Most entrepreneurs get stuck at the start line because they feel like they have to have this entire formula figured out. What is your niche? What problem are you solving? What are you going to charge to solve it?  And so it goes. 

The sweet spot is developing a product that catches hold with your audience, and catches hold with you.  A and B above.

A few products that I developed started returning a revenue.  But I realized in working on some of them, that I wasn’t passionate enough to invest most of my time and focus in that one area. So I redirected my focus to the few that made me come alive – where I had a deeper well to draw from.  The thing is, you won’t know this answer (and cannot possibly know this) till you try it out.

So jump into online business with the intent to discover one type of product you like, and one type of product you don’t like.  I mean it.  Your goal is to have one success and one failure, at least!  There really is nothing to lose other than the time you put into it.

1.) Building an online business is a lot of small tasks.  They can drive you crazy unless you think about them as steps that get you closer to your goal.  One day is going to be about getting mail chimp set up.  Another day is just sorting out some nice typography for your instagram.  One day is going to be setting up / learning about Facebook ads.  Another day may be organizing receipts in your inbox.  Another day may be buying more storage in iCloud.  Acknowledge and learn to enjoy the satisfaction in completing these tasks, even if they are overwhelming and there’s a steep learning curve.  There’s a lot of them, so get over it.  It’s quite satisfying crossing them off in a journal or on your note taking app.

2.) Remember, anything you do, is one step closer to your goal.  While others are quitting at 3 months in, you are just taking one step at a time and being strategic.  The tortoise wins the race.  Most successful online entrepreneurs will tell you they were working at it a while before things took off.  I’m a big fan of the blunt truth talker Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich – check out the infographic in his post showing his product development over six years!

You’ve got at least 40 years left on this earth. Don’t worry about it. Do it because you love it.  Don’t compare yourself to the entrepreneurs who have 70 hours a week, or even 20 to work on their projects and launches.  You are working very hard on a few precious hours per week.  Things will happen for you, but they will happen on your schedule.

4.) Ignorance is bliss, and it contributes to action.  Find some amazing people who are doing what you what to do.  Study how they do it, their webpage, their brand and learn from them.  But be cautious.  I do think that some over-confidence / ignorance is bliss.  Study others just enough to know how to do things well, but not too much.  As soon as you see how many people are doing what you are doi ng, you will become intimidated and discouraged.  When I started my successful Kickstarter campaign, I found two other campaigns I loved and made notes on their models. I focused only on a few successful ones and did not look at just how many children’s books are on Kickstarter.  I wouldn’t have started had I known how saturated Kickstarter is and how much better everyone else’s campaigns looked.  I’m so glad I ran a basic campaign (with much room to improve) and learnt from it, rather than never doing it because I was blocked by intimidation and the desire to do it perfectly. Block out the external noise and focus on what you need to do.

5.) Have a clear idea of what lifestyle you are working towards.  I use Pinterest to do some vision boarding. I have a board called “My goals // my life in progress” (yes, that’s my board right there!) and it is images of the lifestyle and rewards I want for myself and my family. Even as simple as pictures of someone standing in the window, sipping coffee – or a family photo of parents playing in the snow with the kids. I am constantly adding images to this board and it builds a powerful desire – deep within – to keep plugging away.

6.)  Make sure you enjoy your entrepreneurial journey and the project itself, as much as you’d enjoy the lifestyle that comes with it. Your project should be a “Hell yeah” project.  Actually, anything you do should be a “hell yeah or no” situation, as put forth by the fabulous writer Derek Sivers.  You cannot be an influencer in something you are not passionate about. People see straight through that. That’s why there is so much talk about #authenticity on the internet these days.

7.) You don’t necessarily have to take an online course. Most online entrepreneurs’ courses are simply repackaged and re-branded versions of content they have previously published. It is extra work to commit and dig through old content, but it is doable.  So really, we are talking about time vs. money.  If you want to spend less money, there’s more of a time investment on hunting down the information.  If you want to spend more money, you’ll cut some corners and avoid some mistakes other entrepreneurs made.  Eventually, both routes end up at the same destination.

8.)  That being said, the action of financially investing in a course and being part of a community is powerful.  Connecting with other students is a great framework if you are concerned about follow through and prefer team environments.  I also believe online courses are very helpful for those of us who are not skilled in the technical aspects of online business.  I’ve made wonderful connections in some entrepreneurs’ communities that I gained access through, as part of the course. The Smart Passive Income community, Kimra Luna’s #Freedomhackers and others.

9.)  Attend conferences and work outside of the house. Just get out there.  In the business world, networking, friendships, potential deals and closed deals happen outside of the office.  They don’t happen when you are sitting alone on a laptop in a room.  Get out there.  Attend a conference.  Yes, it’s $500 – $1000 to do, but trust me, that investment will pay itself off in a few years down the road with business that is generated as a result of the relationships you made at that conference, or as a result of the business improvements or renewed motivation you received from that event.  This one I have not done yet, and I have this conference on my bucket list.  I cannot wait to do this!  I’ve also added this one – Lewis Howes’ Summit of Greatness – to my pinterest board.

10.) Start saving receipts with the Wave app and creating a “receipts” category in your Gmail now.  There’s so many random little expenses with starting up online.  Cloud storage, random apps, Skype credits, Domain registration, etc.  It’s easy to forget about all of those expenses.

11.)  Don’t ever put too much weight on your total Instagram likes or comments.  80% of your Instagram activity will be hustlers.  Focus on the 5 or less people who you authentically connect on there.  And get unique with your hashtags.  What hashtags would you look for?  Don’t use the “most popular” hashtags.  It’s like dangling bait in the water – the sharks will come circling in.  I onced used #fitfam and #fitspiration and #postpartumweightloss – The Beach Body coaches that came running…..

12.)  Have your product researched and developed before you launch it.  If you arrive in the online business arena with a developed product, you will give less of a shit when the haters or non-supporters rear their ugly heads.  I had a hater a few weeks ago on Kickstarter.  A really unpleasant message that felt like a kick to the gut, initially.

If my children’s book wasn’t 90% complete, I would have taken his comments to heart.  The completion gave me immunity and the ability to pen back a professional letter addressing his trolling.  He wound up apologizing and pledging to the campaign.

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13.)  Be mindful of phone time. If you want a great check in, have your partner take a photo of you holding the phone up in front of your face.  Look at that picture.  This is what your kids may see.  It’s really hard, I know, especially when you are excited about your work and are desparate to work on it!  I’ve realized that I have to be in a separate room or working during the kids’ sleep hours.  They don’t need or deserve the back of my phone in front of their face.

14.)  You are going to get up early or stay up late to work on your business.  My formula has been:  Nap when the baby and toddler nap at mid day, and then wake up super early a few days a week.  A great day is a 5-5:30 start so that I have 1.5 hours to get stuff done with a nice cup of coffee.  It sounds insane but I love what I do enough that it’s not hard to get up.  Wait.  That’s a great question!  Do you like it enough to get up at 5:30 am (or stay up until 2am) working on it?  It is shocking how much you can get done with 1.5 hours, trust me.

15.)  Filter all social media and read selectively.  Follow inspirational or helpful feeds.  Your time is precious as an entrepreneur.  If you are going to take a precious 30 minutes for an iPhone break, fill it with good things that inspire.  Also, stop reading all of those pages, blog posts, social media posts that talk about motherhood and “being too busy” “losing balance” blabllablablabla. You can get stuck in the travails of early motherhood and circle around in that loop, or you can climb above it.   Those are all legit opinions, and motherhood IS hard –  but will they serve your goals if you decide to take those opinions on and make them your own?  Or spend your time steeping in those messages?

Probably not.  Start hunting out and reading about success stories.

Crafts, Essays, Etsy, Happiness, Life Hacks, Nature and Forest Play, Physical Wellness, The Projects, Trail running, weight loss

How to Have a Great Maternity Leave: The 70% Secret in Goal Setting + Running

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Goal setting and achievement is an area I thrive in.  It’s my jam.  I study the most successful people and apply their perspectives and mindsets.  It’s what I do in my career.  I help clients – especially athletes – with their goal setting.

You can get to a goal via a “tough” mindset but what I’ve observed over 3000 hours of coaching, is that it burns people out and drains willpower.

My focus with the high achiever types often isn’t getting things done, it comes down to longevity and sustainability for them and helping them reconnect with their “why.”

I know lots of high achiever types who use intense pressure, self criticism, and high expectations.  It works in the short run, but has longer term consequences. In high performance athletes, for example, I see a loss of life balance, strange injuries and illnesses come up, highs and lows in their performance, and other segments of their life fall out of balance.  There’s negative ripple effects all over the place.

I was fascinated, and started self-experimenting with goal setting approaches..

I write about all sorts of things on the GML with all sorts of approaches, including the one below, because I want you to be exposed to lots of ideas and different types of thinking. Some will work for you.  Some won’t. Here’s a fascinating alternative approach to goal setting and running.

** Slack off***

No human being hits 100% of their goals in all areas of their lives.  It’s not possible.  It would be a different world if everyone could achieve their goals.

Whenever I coach and work with my clients, my high achievers often have the most difficulty.  They get to their goals, but struggle with longevity, generating energy and willpower.  They’re quite tough on themselves. Shooting for 100% and expecting 100% the whole way.  Their mind is blown when I tell them they can get the same results with a 70% mindset.

I like 70%.  It’s a really nice number.

BUT.

But there’s such negative connotations with 70%.  In University my students are hard on themselves with a 70%.  It’s a B- or C+ in some classes.  It’s never good enough.  Everyone’s always going for the A+.  It’s always all or nothing with goal setting. To move into the 70% place is not all or nothing, it is good enough, but a fascinating thing happens, 70% seems to launch them into the stratosphere. 70% is about accumulating wins what makes it very easy to put the extra 30% in.

think about your own mindset around 70% in anything.   What were you taught to think about 70%?  For example, what was your family’s response if you bought home a 70% on something?  You got that score on some kind of assessment?

What would happen if you backed off from 100% to 70% in something you are working toward, and got away from your all-or-nothing mindset?

I tried this out with my running.  And guess what?

You experience a powerful shift in your drive.  You stop relying on willpower (not good,) and start using the power of memory and gratitude to drive your motivation because you have the time and space (since you’re only going at 70%) to engage in gratitude based practices.

I set a rather ridiculous goal for myself on 1st mat leave. Rather than run a 10k I decided to jump out of a helicopter and run 21k down a mountain.  That still makes me laugh.  That was the old all-or-nothing mindset.

I started training, knowing I had 12 weeks to do it.  I, motivated Carina, struggled like you wouldn’t believe those first few weeks.  My willpower started strong and drizzled away.  I started getting injuries, and was getting way too stressed out about the impending run.  I used all of the magical motivators I know of.

Struggling.

I was doing all of these amazing trail runs at my best effort with a rather ruthless mindset and coming back drained, sore, and unmotivated to go out for the next long run.

One day I was running down in our provincial park.  As I came through a thick forest, smacking branches out of the way, I stopped with my hear in my throat.  A HUGE creature stood up and looked right at me.

A FULL SIZED MOOSE.  Terrified, I ran as fast as I could in the other direction.  The feeling was mutual.  She ran away just as scared of me.

That very same run, a few minutes after my adrenals had recovered, I saw a gorgeous bald eagle soar overhead and land in a nearby tree.  I paused my GPS tracker and looked around.  I was running along this beautiful trail, rimmed with copses of birch trees, and my feet were cushioned by soft mossy ground.  It was spectacular.  The rest of that run was an easy, ambling adventure through Canadian forest.  I got the distance done but in a very slow time that wouldn’ t have met my standards at the start of the run.  I was too busy stopping and taking photos and simply enjoying the beauty of nature.  The funny thing is, at the end of that 12k run, I felt the best I have ever felt after a run. I felt profound grattitude, and a craving for more of whatever it was that just happened. 

The moment it all clicked.

The same day I did the same. I went in with an idea of my distance, but threw my time goals out of the window.  I decided to just see what I felt ilke doing.  You know what?  It gave me time to stop, absorb the moment I was in, and enjoy it.  It took my run from pain and suffering to immense enjoyment and immersion in nature. For the first time I was not stumbling on rocks because I was there, with the trail.  Instead of just running on it. I was out of my 100% perfectionist mindset inside of my head, listening to the GPS and relying on willpower.

Relying on the energy of the natural environment around me and enjoyment of the experience was a game changer.  The rest of those 12 weeks, I went into each run with this new mindset, this new perspective, and embraced the 70%.

 

THE 100% PERFECTIONIST MINDSET

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THE 70% RELAXED MINDSET

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And so, on September 21st, 2014 when I jumped out of a helicopter, onto the shores of a mountain lake, to run 21k DOWN a mountain, through the Canadian Rocky Mountain wilderness I was so ready for it.   I ripped through that run in a great time for someone who only trained at 70% and loved every moment of it.

With a 70% approach, I tapped into a deeper motivator than willpower. I was tapped into  the majesty of nature, the creation of memories.  The experience itself.  Being in the present moment.  The reason why people (including me) fall in love with trail running in the first place.  I almost lost it there, focusing on tech and time and benchmarks, but I found it one afternoon almost crashing into a moose!

 

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