Ever thought of making a video for your product or service? If you are at all involved in a small online or other business, you probably answered yes.
This fantastic blog has all the information and tips you will need to get you started like a pro!
TIP! Great content is critical if you want a video to go viral. Your video could go viral even if you do not own an expensive camera. While video marketing can be quite effective, it also requires resources like information, time and skill to get it up and running.The following advice in this piece ought […]
I can remember shopping for art supplies at a not-very-close Dick Blick Art Materials store with my best friend years ago back in college. There are approximately 65 such physical stores throughout the country, and you can order online at Blick Art Materials Online (of course).
My friend and I used to love browsing the store and picking out just the right shades of pencils and sketch pads in my case, and paints and canvas in hers. We would dream of being professional artists someday. It was a small but tightly packed store where the very smell of creativity seemed wrap around around you like a blanket. A place where the employees, who were artists themselves, were always friendly and knew their stuff. To us, it was Heavenly.
According to Wikipedia, “Blick Art Materials is a family-owned retail and catalog business that supplies professional and amateur artists, students, scholastic art programs, and to anyone else who requires art supplies for business or pleasure.”
In 1911, Dick Blick and his wife, Grace, worked from their kitchen to start the company with their first mail order product. It was called the Payzant Pen. 108 years later, Blick Art Materials offers over 90.000 products for artists and students. THAT is a small business success story!
Here is just a small list (with affiliate links) of some of the sections to browse when shopping with Blick :
Plus many other supplies you’ll love!
Hopefully you will find these links useful and if you choose to get supplies from Blick, I know that you will be very pleased with the quality.
After spending hours in chats and researching forums for the last four days, I am finally able to post again!! Did you miss me? Well of course not. But I can always hope!
All of the time spent attempting to correct an issue made me realize that only the big companies can get away with lousy customer service. Us ‘Little Guys’ have to be a thousand times better than they are just to be considered to have good customer service.
Word of mouth can make, or break, a small business with just a few small words.
For instance, when I purchase items from small business sellers online (whether it be from Etsy, Ebay, Mercari, wherever), if it’s an actual business (not just someone selling for a quick buck), the items arrived nicely packaged and usually wrapped in pretty packaging. When you purchase from a big business, you get a box with what you ordered and a packing slip. Maybe some packing peanuts, or those giant plastic bag bubbles.
If you have an issue with big business, you call a call center who knows where, with who knows how many people in it, and you will never get the same person twice. If you are lucky. Some places do not even have that, all you get is documents and forums to search. It can take weeks sometimes to solve a simple issue! If it ever does get solved! (I have discovered that banks are the WORST – they got your money already – they couldn’t care less.)
If you have an issue with a small business, you most likely will speak to one person – a manager or the actual owner. That person, in the interest of keeping a happy customer, will more than likely attend to the matter immediately and resolve the issue with you quickly to your satisfaction.
In my almost 50 years on this Earth, I have learned that customer service is a quality that is severely lacking in this world today. I have noticed many, many people, as well as myself, will go out of their way, and spend a bit more, to deal with people that are friendly, smiling, and genuinely care about their customers.
There’s a local convenience store/gas station that I go to regularly. It is owned and operated by a local woman and her daughter. Every time that I go in they say hello to me by name and ask about my husband and dogs, also by name. There are always a few old timers at the tables drinking coffee, or having a bite to eat while they read the morning paper (yes, people still do that!). I never buy a lot there, but gas, sodas, maybe a sandwich, jerky for the dogs, you know, little stuff. I go there for the human interaction as well as the convenience (it’s 3 miles away from home). The place may be small and out in the boonies, but it always has customers in it, and they are always smiling.
Do you have local businesses that you prefer for the customer service?
What is your customer service policy?
Have any customer service horror stories to share? Go ahead – vent to me! Hint: Businesses can have horror stories too!
Making money online takes time, effort, patience and finding the areas that work best for you. The key is finding the one that works best from you from an income, effort and risk perspective. There are many different online side hustles for college students. This goes through all of them in detail.
This has been such a busy week, that I really have nothing prepared for today, so I thought I would post some photos of the flowers in our yard. Some of the photos are of this Spring, but most are form last Summer. I adore our yard for the bright colors and constant active blooms all through the warmer months.
We actually have lots more, but I’m waiting for the new blooms to get updated pictures for you – they are much fuller plants this year and look lovely.
When we bought our house 10 years ago, it had exactly two trees in the yard and lots of weeds! (henbit! my yard is full of it!) All of the flowers, flower beds, rock beds, bushes and small trees (plus the actual grass that is now growing) are the direct result of all of my husband’s hard work.
Isn’t he amazing? (You can’t have him, but I will rent him out! LOL)
Have A Fabulous Day!!
Keep Smiling! They’re Contagious!!
Yup, here’s my affiliate link! Please click and check them out, I’m trying to get my hubby to retire!
Don’t Forget Your Bully Sticks Treats! These Chicken Jerky strips are sure to be a big hit!
I’m an Affiliate of Best Bully Sticks!! Which makes perfect sense since we have a huge ‘bully’ named Bear. Not to leave my little dog, Pnut, out, they have thin sticks too. I am so very excited I can hardly contain myself. LOL Afterall, they sell Bear’s favorite chew toy and the only one to last more than 2 minutes!
Do you have a dog that chews up absolutely everything you give him (and some things you don’t!) in what seems like mere seconds? We do!
Before finding the deer antler, Bear destroyed so many things, that it would take a book to tell you about them all! Softback maybe, but still a book. He has cost us a small fortune in CD’s, magazines, books, shoes (over 100 pair!), clothes, and furniture! Before you ask, YES hes IS worth every penny!
He would get terrible separation anxiety anytime we would leave the house and simply destroy anything he could. We did several things for him that helped, but one of the most important, I feel, was to give him an outlet for his anxiety, something to chew on that would last!
One day, years ago now, my husband came home from the woods with a deer antler that didn’t really fit into his collection (yes we are country people with country people collections – LOL), but he brought it home anyway. It didn’t fit in because it was only one antler and he prefers there to be two well-formed antlers still attached to a skull.
Anyway, he gave it to Bear, just to see if he would want it. We already knew that it wouldn’t hurt him, or make him sick or anything as we had friends whose dogs loved them. To say that he was excited would be an understatement.
He did not move from that spot for around 45 minutes. He sat and chewed, and chewed, and chewed some more! And the antler was still in one piece! That’s right, he kept that first antler for quite some time. Months even! They do slowly wear down, and you may have to pick some little pieces if they do get chunks, but that will take weeks, and possibly months!
We now make certain that we are NEVER without at least one antler for Bear to chew on during those moments that he feels anxious, or playful. He and my husband have game with them that involves hiding them. The crazy dog gets excited to play for a minute, but then doesn’t want to share it anymore and moves across the room with it! LOL
We did not start out by purchasing our first antler, but we don’t want our dogs to be without one anymore, and neither will you if you try them!
Here are my affiliate links, if you wouldn’t mind using these, I would be eternally grateful!
As a small business owner, it is important to keep track of what topics are important to your customer base, the things that they care deeply about. This enables you to identify with them on a personal level and the better you know your customer, the better your advertising results will be!
Twitter is the ideal place to form relationships with millions (and millions!) of potential customers, other small businesses, big businesses that offer small business services and solutions, as well as meet some fantastic new people!
In the last 5 years, I have gained 12.6K followers and had a fabulous time doing it! No I am not on Twitter 24/7, I try to schedule tweets ahead and use an app to send them at regular intervals (when I remember to set it up!), then I simply maintain the relationships I have and build new ones daily. I get tons of traffic in my Etsy shop from Twitter, plus a great deal of Brand Awareness out there as well.
Tops Tips for Twitter
Profile – Writing a good profile is essential. You have a very small space to tell people who you are, what you are about, and what you do. Make it short, but good. Include a picture of yourself, or your products if possible. If you have a website, make certain the address in your profile. How will people buy if they can’t find your site?
Posts – PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES!! Honestly, I rarely even look at a post without some sort of picture or graphic, and more than likely neither does anyone else. People are simply visual oriented, grab their attention with a great photo, short description, and a link directly to your product page. (You would be amazed how many people send out tweets with fabulous products, but no way to buy them!) Photos should be clean, crisp, and should represent your product or services well.
The maximum image size for Twitter expanded is 1024×512 pixels, and 506×263 pixels collapsed. The maximum file size is 5MB for photos and gifs on mobile, and 15MB on web.
There is no right or wrong number of tweets, or times to send them, that you should be sending each day. Just keep in mind your followers. Tweeting the exact same thing all day, every day will get tedious and boring, mix it up!
Hashtags – This is where lots of people just seem to lose it. Some use way out of whack tags that have nothing to do with their business, and others simply don’t use any, plus everything in between! Many people follow hashtags (yes, you can do this) instead of specific accounts because this shows anything at all tweeted using that tag. If one is looking specifically for antiques, or opals, or paintings, or web design, for instance, they would see yours, and your competitors for comparison. Without hashtags, you will NOT show up in those feeds.
Using the hashtags that are suggested by Twitter will get you the most attention. To see these, simply start typing a hashtag (with symbol) in your tweet, Twitter has an autofill feature that will suggest some, use them if they apply.
Pin A Tweet – Many people don’t realize that they can ‘pin’ a tweet to the top of their profile page so that it is the first that people see when they look at your profile – this is also the twee that will get re-tweeted for you the most. This tweet should lead directly to your desired location (website, blog, whatever), and it should be updated regularly. How often is up to you, I change mine daily.
To do this, simply send the tweet you want to pin and then view it. On the upper right hand corner there is a little downward arrow that allows the option of pinning it to your profile. It’s just that easy!
Strategy – Basically, Twitter is a ‘you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours’ type of place. You re-tweet others in the hopes that not only will your followers find the info useful, but also hoping that the original poster will then re-tweet your posts as well. This is how you get exposure. Following and re-tweeting the accounts that you find interesting, helpful, or useful to you and your followers is what helps you grow.
Get involved in conversations, comment on tweets, in essence, just engage people, and you will grow a following quickly.
Links to your other social media sites will also gain followers on those platforms as well!
Add new people that you follow every day – this will ensure your growth daily. Yes, you may also lose some as well, but you will see much more growth than loss if you choose accounts that have shared interests, goals, etc. just like you do on other social media.
An extremely informative blog by an amazing Etsy Seller with a very successful shop selling some hilarious doormats, coffee mugs, and shirts for all occasions! Check out her shop here MarilynKCreations on Etsy
You’ve got the dream…but what steps can you take to set yourself up for success? I’ve got some tips from personal experience that have helped keep me on track and set the pace for success.
We have all done or said things that had unintended consequences that we hadn’t considered. We mostly notice these consequences when they are negative in some way, such as causing emotional grief or hurt feelings, or something gets broken (you’ll put your eye out, kid!).
But, not all unintended consequences are bad, are they? Sometimes, the things that we do or say have a good effect on someone or something that we didn’t foresee.
This is my favorite of these instances going on in our life at the moment.
From Birdhouses to Feral Kittens
When we bought our house, ten years ago tomorrow, the yard had exactly 2 trees and that’s it. A medium Maple tree in front, and a HUGE Magnolia tree in the back – one of the reasons I feel in love with the yard. No bushes, flowers, vines, nothing. To see it now, you’d think we lived near a landscaper (oh yeah, my husband used to BE a landscaper! LOL).
Anyway, I asked my husband to build me a “couple” of birdhouses and feeders. HAHAHA We now keep around 12-15 houses at last count, and they stay full year round. Cardinals, sparrows, finches, bluebirds, blue jays, purple martins, hummingbirds, goldfinches, wrens, doves, you name it, it it’s a bird in Kentucky, it’s probably been in my yard, or roosted in our trees, and fed in our feeders or bathed in our two birdbaths!
Well, all of the new bird activity caused some undue attention from a local stray female cat about 4 years ago, I call her Mama Kitty. She is quite feral and, in those 4 years, I have only managed to get within 4 feet of her, never to touch her. She is very fleeting and difficult to even get pictures of because she is so mistrusting. She started going after my birds!
Being an animal lover, I couldn’t let her starve, but I didn’t want her to start killing my beautiful birds either, so I started feeding her, of course! Since then, she has had around 4 litters, we have been able to see and touch some of the kittens from only two of these litters.
I would love to be able to catch her and get her fixed, but she is just entirely too feral and frightened of people. I’m not sure what’s happened to her, but it must have been awful.
She waits for me now. Every morning she is in the carport under my husband’s old 1968 Mustang, waiting for me to come out and feed her and say hi. Most days she also has one of her grown kittens with her, it is solid silky black and I have no idea if it’s male or female. I am leaning towards female because Mama Kitty just had her Spring litter and the black one is still around. If it were a male, she would have chased it away like others in the past.
So, for all of the birdhouses, feeders, and baths, I ended up with stray cats and kittens.
At first, we tried to keep a few of the kittens as house cats, but our dog was not at all amused (to put it mildly!), so we stopped doing that. I adore cats, but I’m ok with having them outside, especially when it keeps them safe from our dog. Plus, no litter box!
When the kittens get big enough to come out, I will put in some time into trying to get them used to people so that they can be adopted out. Mama Kitty is a gorgeous white calico, and her kittens are usually beautiful and well taken care of (insert proud grin), so they are not too difficult to find homes for. There are many farms around where I live that like to keep cats around to help with rodents, and these kittens being mostly feral works well for them. Not to mention that ALL of my friends and family are animal lovers!
So, putting birdhouses in our yard, led us to rescuing kittens each new season. Some might consider this to be a bad thing, a nuisance even. Not me! After all, if I weren’t taking care of her, where might she be now? What about the kittens? They would all be running rampant in the little bitty, no stop light, no post office ‘town’ that I live in. Wreaking havoc each night with the local dogs and just generally being a nuisance.
This way, they are cared for, fed, sheltered, and taken and placed elsewhere to be loved as they grow and mature. What could be better? (besides catching her and fixing her).
Before anyone suggests it, traps won’t work – she won’t go near them. I’ve been slooooooowly gaining her trust and getting closer and closer to petting her. Hopefully this Summer will be the one!
Do you have an example like this? Where unintended consequences turned out to be a good thing?