The Benefits of OCD

1. blog  2. etsy  3. relist  4. seededbuzz  5. posterous

6. bloglovin  7. facebook  8. facebook fan page   9. follow blogs  10. explore

cottonfields

private collection Michel Stong

I have been a designer since 1983. I sold my first drawings to a screenprinter and began a freelance career as an illustrator. This occupation has taken me to incredible highs and incredible lows. I am now in what I like to describe as my ‘redefining period’. It has been a wonderful, hard, defeating, exhilarating experience and I am definitely still in it’s grip. Through this period I have made new friends who inspire me every day.

Alejandro Salazar created the piece ‘cottonfields’ in honor of my mother, who died this fall after a long ride with a nasty disease, Alzheimers. Thanks, Alejandro.

I love this piece, and I am grateful I met the artist who could do her character justice. There are many new and wonderful people in my life due to this ‘redefinition period’ and I feel like a newborn in some weird way; my eyes are wide open, I am seeing things in a brand new way.

OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. How to make it work for you.

Make a list and follow it, every day or two or three. (I really don’t have OCD, if I did, I would do this every day). I think another term to describe my list is ‘discipline’.

These are my tips on how to start a blog and turn an Etsy store into something that will satisfy your soul and bring in some income.  I still have my day job, I am a designer at the Clay Company, and we are extremely fortunate to begin another year in business. Hello 2011 and Hello New York City.

But this is my redefinition story, and it will of course influence my current day job. It will in many ways inspire us at the Clay Company.

I started to blog. I made several attempts, kind of knew that I really wanted to write about art, events, food, and travel, but my first sites were difficult to use, and I had no idea how to promote or even get someone to look at my blog. I stopped and started several times and finally hired someone to help me get a decent format, one that I could use, and one that would showcase my subjects ‘looking good’. Thanks Irene Rowley. I have had ‘Girlfromnorthcountry‘ since March of 2010 and I have loved every minute that I have spent writing. Imagery is like a drug, cannot get enough.

My career as an Etsy shop owner followed the same path. I am now on my third attempt. New store, new name and guess what! it is called Girl From North Country. I tied the blog and the store together. Ooooh that felt so good.

Now how to get noticed, both on Etsy and how to get someone, anyone to read my blog.

First, Etsy. I relist. It costs 20 cents, and I don’t do it every day, but often enough to have my image appear on Etsy’s site. It can be pounced, it can be discovered by someone making a Treasury List and oh in my wildest dreams, a finder might love my item and feature it on the main page.  It definitely brings more traffic to your site and it’s as easy as 1,2,3. First deactivate your specific item and then simply reactivate it. Viola, your item is now floating around in Etsy heaven for all those buyers to see. When I add a new item to my store, I also press that little blue type that says ‘promote on Facebook’. Instantly, my latest gem is being seen by my friends, maybe even shared and commented on. This means their friends are also seeing it.

To promote my blog I use seededbuzz. It is a site that helps you promote your blog and other blogs you may like. You can guest blog and request guest bloggers. You plant seeds, that hopefully will blossom into more buzz. But my favorite site is bloglovin.  I post my blog and immediately it is posted to bloglovin and available for all fellow bloggers to read. Am I diligently using these two tools? In all honesty, no, but they are great tools and if your are diligent they can pay off for new bloggers.

Now we come to the all mighty Facebook! Oh the debate rages on in my circle of friends. Is it a relevant way to do business? is social networking valuable for business, small and large, or is it just a place to exhibit oneself; kind of have your fifteen minutes of fame on a daily basis. I am going to plead the fifth and just say I use Facebook. I have a fan page Girl From North Country, and I would love,love,love more people to ‘like’ my page, read my blog and make comments. I post on my regular Facebook profile page as well and it immediately goes to bloglovin. Has is it been valuable? Yes, I think it has. I am now a guest writer for The Bay Citizen and I also write for Handemadeology.

And then there’s posterous. You can email them a link to your post and again, it goes to Facebook. I either do bloglovin or posterous or both, but you can overkill your Facebook ‘friends’ with too many posts and these days I am more inclined to do bloglovin.

But let’s get back to Facebook. I also post my listings on Etsy as soon as they go ‘live’ on my shop, Girl From North Country, to Facebook. This allows for ‘friends’, and if comments are made, ‘friends of friends’ to see my wares. This can be good.

So it becomes a process, I blog and I design, buy, repurpose, and then sell on Etsy, as Girl From North Country. I have a system and if I follow it, it works. I have sold two items in the last six weeks. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I am brand new. There are 87,000 Etsy shops, countless bloggers online and those two sales made my day. Comments on my blog that are not Facebook generated blow my mind, these people don’t know me, and they read my blog!

SOLD!

I love to read blogs, I have some stalwart favorites, but I am always open to new blogs and bloggers. I love the mainstream blogs and the indie blogs. Dangerous Minds is killer, and lately My Love for You is Like a Stampede of Horses has been delightful. One blog often links to another blog and that’s where exploration comes in. I explore by the thread created from blog to blog, designer to designer and usually I start that exploration with my favorite blog, sfgirlbybay. Victoria never lets her readers down, there is always something to whet your appetite, something to covet and something to make you drop your jaw.

So “step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back”, I don’t think so. I do think following the OCD list is a great way for novices to put their big toe in the warm waters of living la vida Etsy and starting your very own blog.

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