Ignoring My Garden- The Biggest Mistake I've Ever Made

Monday, January 07, 2013

my new watercolor floral print

Being the daughter of a farmer, you'd think I'd be better about growing things. I've given succulents, gerbera daisies, and basil plants a try... but to no avail. Whether it's too much water or maybe not enough,  I never really know. Last year, I decided a cactus might be my best bet. But, sadly, even this cute prickly little thing didn't stand a chance.  I resigned, and admitted to myself that the only thing I could possibly grow was actually my business. In fact, I sort of had that whole thing figured out and everything was going - growing- just wonderfully. 

And that, my dear friends, is quite possibly the biggest business mistake I've made. 

(Oh, and I've made plenty!) 

Thinking that I'd figured out enough that I could keep cruising along. So there for awhile, I kept rocking my shop on Etsy. I continued to celebrate a stellar wedding season. I even patted myself on the back a few times (and baked a couple dozen cupcakes) for taking the leap into textile design. 

And, then the party was over. 

Just like that. 

It was almost as quick as waking up to an impossibly dead cactus. My sales, my momentum, had eeeked to a near stand still. 

What happened?! 

Well, in short, I planted the garden (my shop) and enjoyed the harvest for a bit, but neglected some of the essentials. 

I missed an extremely important Etsy memo about search relevancy changes. I didn't follow up on my initial gut feeling that something had changed. I had written it off as a slow time of year. I let a few of my listings get a little rusty and outdated. Because of all this, my shop had sort of shriveled up in the realm of Etsy search universe. Sure, I had my lovely return customers but that could only last so long.....

I spun into a bit of a tizz. Freaked out over lost income and the potential that everything I had worked for was lost in my weeks long moment of blurry complacency. I stomped my feet a few times. I cried. Probably threw some lovely pleated fabric around the studio.  I thought perhaps I'd reached the end of my creative business journey.

And then. 

A few things happened: I read an amazing article on Aeolidia comparing social media presence to tending a garden. It hit me (even though it's oh-so-obvious it shouldn't have to be said, but in fact, it does) that running a shop, a site is like a garden as well. It needs watering and tending and loving and replanting and researching and tilling. And about the same time, my ever bright star, Jess from Oh My Handmade Goodness sent me the Invictus quote,  'I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.'   And,  it made me cry more. But it also gave me a jolt of confidence to clean up this mess. And finally, in the midst of all this chaos, my husband left a card on my desk expressing that he admired how I always manage to stay on the saddle. 

eva juliet

So that's what I did. I hopped back on the saddle.  I contacted a few search experts. Pulled a few near all nighters and tended my shop. Not only did I fix things. I made them better. I've learned my lesson and am sharing it with you. In the spirit of reflecting for the new year ahead and with the hope that others remain vigilant with their gardens. 

So here I am. Prepared to proudly walk into 2013 armed with a plow & pruning shears.