Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What Have You Done Right Lately?

I know the value of self-improvement. 

I strive for it every day. In fact, like a lot of people, I spend most of my days thinking about the things I need to do, fix, and improve about myself and the way I go about my life.

Sometimes the thoughts help me motivate and get to the next step, sometimes they just push me deeper into depression. On my darker days it saps my energy to the point where I can't even move.

But ask me what I've done right lately and you'll likely be met with a deer-in-the-headlights kind of blinking stare because more often than not, I don't stop to take the time to fully acknowledge the good things that I've made happen.

We all know that it takes courage to be vulnerable and to share the things that didn't work out, but I really think it takes a similar kind of courage to stand up for yourself and admit what went right!

There's a balance to be had in there somewhere, of course. It is all important, valid, and I think it's necessary for us to keep both sides in view.

So, I ask again - What have YOU done right lately?

Monday, May 16, 2016

On Catching Up

Does this process sound familiar to anyone?
  1. Start blog
  2. Post furiously for days / weeks / months / years
  3. Lose interest / burn out / life gets complicated
  4. Take a year or two (or three) off from posting
  5. Think about writing again but can't think of anything to say
  6. A few months later, try again and start your post with "Sorry I've been gone for so long...blah blah blah"
  7. Feel dumb and never post again (until next time)
Yeah. I've done all of that more times than I can remember. Every time I start on step number 6, I keep wondering - who the heck cares? Who's watching, anyway? Who in their right mind is waiting around hoping I'll post again after almost exactly a year of silence?

No one. That's who!

And you know what? I'm okay with that because starting over is just starting again. Nothing wrong with starting. In fact, starting is the thing that GETS THINGS DONE, amirite? :D

One thing I know for sure, my current biggest hurdle in life is hesitation and I'm tired of holding myself back until that mystical, magical time when things are "in place" or "ready" or whatever.

So, instead of stressing myself out and trying to come up with some sort of big plan or whatnot, I'm going to take the things I've long considered my failures (like this blog) and use them as opportunities to reconnect with myself! That's it, really.

My hope is that somehow through just posting SOMEthing, ANYthing - I'll start writing things that are meaningful to more than just me over time. That's how it usually happens, anyway.

So there it is. Another start. Another meaningless story out on the interwebs. And hey - if anyone is actually here in the ether-sphere with me, reading along and nodding with  agreement or empathy, then I want to say, "Hello! Hey! Thanks for being here! You are awesome!"

And if I'm just saying that to myself for a time, I'm okay with that too.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mind Your Own Business

Swimmy the Fish swims into deep water...
Remember "Swimmy"? Don't worry. No one else does either.
When I saw the title of a recent "I hate Etsy and here's why" themed blog post, I was so offended I almost didn't read any further. What's more, when the author was called out in the comments on the use of the particularly inappropriate word in her title, she vehemently defended her choice, siting semantics as her only defense...not that anyone should be surprised about that. (I'm choosing not to link to it out of respect to anyone who has endured violent trauma, but if you're curious, a Google search will help you find it quite easily)

I went ahead and read through the article hoping to see some sort of vital insight or new point of view to justify the use of such a shocking title. But unfortunately it just came off to me like sour grapes from a citizen of the privileged masses that seem to think that just because they spend time on something, they are somehow deserving of their every selfish desire to come to fruition.

"What about ME? What about MY shop? MY business?" That's pretty much all I hear from the people who are taking the time to complain about these things. Oh sure, some couch it between catch phrases like, "save our community" and "handmade is better" and "corporate greed", to make them seem like they have some altruistic intent. And that does get them followers. Good for them.

But when these same voices are asked, "So if you're quitting Etsy, where will you go?" and they respond with, "I haven't found another site that can touch Etsy's reach so I have to stay." Really? Hm. No. You don't have to do anything. Why not say, "I'm working hard to improve and grow my business every day so I can be less dependent on platforms I can't control." Why not, indeed.

While I agree that the low priced import sellers have increased the atmosphere of bargain shopping on Etsy, all of that really started with hobbyist sellers who are "just trying to make money for supplies" without a care for making a true profit or growing a business. There was a lot of complaining about that in the early days too. But eventually those sellers get tired of working so hard for nothing or they figure out how to run a business and make the move toward having a profitable shop. Lessons learned.

But does any of it truly matter? I find that most new Etsy customers simply don't care all that much about where their stuff is coming from. Sure, they should care. It would be nice if they did care. But they just don't. The bargain shoppers buy the cheap stuff and the quality shoppers buy based on reviews, photography, and listing copy. In the end, everyone (including myself), does a bit of both.

Change is hard, but the last time sellers were promised a "handmade marketplace" was just before the returned founder got canned for the second time in 2011. Like I said in a previous post: Etsy jumped the handmade shark years ago, and anyone who thinks they'll somehow wake up one day to see the error of their ways and go back to their founding ethics is living in a fantasy world. It just ain't gon' happen.

In the meantime, the truly successful Etsy seller is out there just doing their thing, promoting their business, using Etsy like the business tool it is, diversifying their online presence, building their following, and paying attention to what's going on but ultimately choosing not participate in the hype. You know, like a real business owner that takes responsibility for their own decisions and finds it distasteful to credit or blame another business for the rise and fall of their success.

We can scream and fight and argue and disagree and blame and point fingers all we like. But to what end? Businesses have to grow. Investors must be paid. And Handmade just isn't an inherently scalable business model. Yes, yes, it can be done, but only by the most determined of the bunch...and they're not getting involved in the debate. While we may not like it, they simply don't have the time because they're busy doing what is best for their business. Just like Etsy.

Just like you?

Huge thanks to the ever-awesome Betsy Greer for asking the questions that prompted me to share my honest truth today. Be sure to check out her excellent post "Why Etsy Owes You Nothing" and find out what the McRib is doing in a post about Etsy... <3
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...