Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mentoring

Such a dear moment happened between my grandchildren this morning. Micah (who is four and completely potty-trained) was walking Kyla (his two-year-old sister who is in potty-training mode) toward the bathroom saying, "come on Kyla....I will help you".

I couldn't help thinking.....yeah, it's kinda like that with life.

During my previous career as a leader with Creative Memories I sought out those individuals in the company who were successful in areas that I needed help. It was through their mentoring that I was able to achieve so much more than I could have done on my own. They showed me what was working for them and I followed in their footsteps.

I experienced the "launching" power of mentoring.

We all have life experiences that we've learning from. We all have friends and family who can glean from the things that we have learned. It can be as major as walking a friend through the maze of information to find the right home for their parent with Alzheimer or as simple as teaching someone  how to plant a summer vegetable garden. I've learned both of these lessons and have paid them forward many times.


I guess this is the driving force behind my words of encouragement. This is what Mama Bleu is all about. She is a mama who cares about the things that are in her nest and beyond.

Her sweet song is a mentoring song.
Her sweet song is an inspiring song.
Her sweet song is an uplifting song.

Her sweet song is for you!!






Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Keeping the Books

When I made the decision to turn my hobby into a business I knew I'd have to take the good with the bad.....the creative process with the bookkeeping. I like the idea of having all my paperwork in order but I don't like taking the time to do that part of my business.

I've been around Etsy long enough to be aware of some the tools that are available to help us take care of certain time consuming tasks. I tend to be leery of some things especially when it seems too good to be true.

I'm all about multitasking so when I'm working alone in my studio I tend to scroll through the Etsy success videos to see what tips I can pick up. I'd been hearing about this online service called Outright and was eager to get more information. Well after hearing a pretty detailed description of what this service offers and that it is free, I was convinced that it would be a valuable to tool for me.


I started using Outright before the end of 2012 and allowed it to import all of my income and expenses from Etsy, Paypal and my Mama Bleu Designs business banking account. Oh my goodness! This saved me hours of creating excel spread sheets!!

When I met with my accountant last month to go over our income tax paperwork she was very impressed with how clear and thorough my information was. All I did was download and print off the income and expense reports from Outright.


I hate paperwork but I love to be organized. If you are like me and want to simplify the bookkeeping part of your creative business I invite you to investigate this service for yourself.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Golden Etsy Words

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a mystery that I've been trying to wrap my mind around for a long time. It seems like an illusive thing out there that crawls around the internet plucking words and images from web pages to sort them in order according to a magical formula that only brainy people can understand. I don't claim to know the science of the world wide web but I think I have hit pay dirt in some areas.

During my research over the last couple of months I've been trying some experiments to see what kind of results I would get. It was an article that I read about finding "golden tag words" that got me really excited. Digging for these words, just like panning for gold, takes a lot of patience and a good chunk of time but I'm willing to invest in the future of Mama Bleu Designs. I like to grab a tall beverage and my business journal and sit at my patio table with my laptop for a couple of hours when I'm doing research like this.


 
I did my best to explain relevancy a few weeks ago. This information goes much deeper than that!

So....what are golden words and how can you find them?

Google has a keyword tool that help us find words that, when used on our website, can improve our visibility. Where it says "word or phrase" you can type in some of the words you are currently using in your titles or tags. After clicking "search" you'll see a whole list of words/phrases. If you don't want to dig any further than this you will at least another list of words that you can use to describe your items. When you have more than one of a certain item in your shop you will want to title and tag them all differently to increase your chances of being found.

If you want to take this information to the next level it can increase your SEO. This is what completely fascinated me! Included on the list of words is additional information.... competition and global monthly search

Competition is rated high, medium or low - referring to how many times this word/phrase is USED.
Global Monthly Search is the number of times this word/phrase was used to SEARCH for an item.

If you find a word/phrase in your list that has a high monthly search number AND a low competition rating you have found pure gold! This means they are descriptive words/phrases that aren't used much by your competition but they are very popular search terms being used by your potential customers. This is why you want to use them!

I told you I did some experimenting. I put one of these golden phrases on a couple of my listings to see what would happen. I didn't see any results immediately.  But, as I was checking my stats a few days later I saw that the exact phrase was used to find my item/shop. I now see it in my stats "keywords" almost every day. Just imagine if we used GOLDEN WORDS on all of our listings!!!!

It's time for you to pan for your own gold!!