Social Media & Marketing

follow-1277026_1920
Credit: Pixabay

Let me just start off by saying that I have no idea what I’m doing.  Well, I suppose that’s not strictly true.  I know what I want, I’m just not sure if what I’m doing is going to get me there.

I want to get my sticker business up and running, but I’m having a hard time taking that first leap of faith.  However, I do know that I need to get eyeballs on my stuff – hence this blog and my foray into social media and marketing.

I’m still vacillating about Etsy/Amazon and the sales tax headache, but while I’m vacillating, I’ve been working on my social media presence.  I’ve joined Ello, Twitter, and Pinterest, and I’ve got a page on Ko-Fi for any kind souls who would like to buy me a coffee to fuel this introvert on her entrepreneurial journey.

I do have some experience with social media, but none with marketing and so I’m learning as I go.  You all know how I hate stat tracking, but I do understand that it is necessary to get where I want to go.

This social media stuff is hard, ya’ll.

I mean, I want to grow my audience and I want to be authentic, but it’s harder than it looks.  Each platform has its own ins and outs, and trying to learn them all is hard work.  For most platforms, it’s all about your followers.  It’s been slow going, and I know part of it is because I’ve not been consistent enough with my posting.  I’ve used Twitter in the past, and I know I’ll get traction there eventually as I get more consistent with my tweeting.  Ello is an enigma – there’s not much information about how to get noticed there, so I’m trying to just let things grow organically.

Pinterest, though, is a complete mystery.  I’ve done some research, but I still have no idea how it works.  In just a few weeks, I’ve gone from 0 reach (something that Pinterest measures) to 7.8K.  Which sounds great!  Except I have no idea what it means.  I think it means people are looking at things I pin, which is awesome.  But I pin a lot of things that aren’t mine, so I’m not sure how those figure in, if they do.

I don’t even have any followers on Pinterest and I’ve yet to figure out how to find others to follow.  Trying to find people, for me anyway, has been like following a trail of breadcrumbs and never finding the end.  I see a pin I like, so I click, but it’s just a pin of a pin of a pin of a pin of a pin of a pin . . .  and I never seem to get to where the actual pin came from.  Or if I do, it’s a website, not a person I can follow on Pinterest.

Mostly it feels like I’m just screaming into a void and hoping someone hears me.  Hello?

Monday Mandala 26

Mandala_26This mandala is a departure from all the previous designs.  As I was experimenting with different mandalas, I was using a template as a guide while I drew.  After watching some other artists create their mandalas, I realized that the template, while a great tool, was in many ways constraining how I drew my mandalas.

So out went the templates.  I think the design of this one is an improvement – the circles in the design are cohesive and it has enough intricate pieces to be a nice piece to color.

Monday Mandala 25

Mandala_25More experimentation with this mandala.  Not a typical mandala, but I wanted to experiment with using more geometric shapes, reminiscent of Native American and/or Nazca art.

It definitely has a southwest feel to it, so I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out.  It would be interesting to digitally color this one and see how it turns out.

Bullet Journal Blues

hearts-1873486_1920
Credit: Pixabay

One of my goals for this year was to reduce the number of planners I was using.  I’m down from 6 to 4, so yay!  Unfortunately, one of the planners I’ve decided to abandon this year is my Bullet Journal.

I love the idea of the Bullet Journal – having everything all in one place is ideal for me, I thought.  What I’ve come to realize is that I’m a functional planner, not a decor or artistic planner.  I use my planner(s) to keep my life organized.  If they’re also pretty, that’s a bonus, but not a need.  Which is how Bullet Journals started – as a functional planner.

These days, all the Bullet Journals you see are the ones where amazingly artistic people have spent what must be hours slaving over gorgeous spreads.  I don’t want to spend that kind of time – writing the same calendar over and over and over, drawing (in my case, poorly) decorations, etc.

BuJo Movie Tracker Spread
Credit: Tealnotes.com

If I spent the time to draw this movie tracker, I wouldn’t have any time to watch the movies!  Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are chock-full of spread ideas like this for making your BuJo beautiful.

And that’s great.  Nothing wrong with decorating your BuJo, if that’s what makes you happy.  Me?  I’d rather buy a preprinted planner and create stickers to make it useful (and pretty).  I wanted to stick with the BuJo, I really did.

But after several months of gritting my teeth and forcing myself to use it, I decided it wasn’t worth the headache and guilt for me.  I spent more time avoiding it than I did using it, which defeated the whole purpose.

Someday maybe I’ll use it again.  But for now, I’m sticking with what works – and that is not using the Bullet Journal.  A lesson to remember – if it doesn’t work for you, leave it and move on.  Now I’m free to concentrate on other things.

Monday Mandala 24

Mandala_24I like the inner layers of this mandala.  It falls apart a bit as you move to the outer layers.  I was experimenting with different lines and weights, but the outer layers are too heavy next to the finer lines of the inner layers.

And the shape on the outer layer reminds me weirdly of puckering lips.  It makes the design a bit jarring.  Maybe if I just deleted the outermost layer, the overall design would be improved.

Epic Fail

img_0087-1It’s not too often that I have one of these, but when I do, it’s a doozy.  In my family, it’s referred to as a ‘Grammy moment.’  Why?  Because my older sister, while watching the Grammy’s on TV a few years ago, suddenly realized that the award is, in fact, in the shape of a gramophone.  “So that’s why they call it a Grammy,” she mused aloud.

My Grammy moment was years in the making.  A few years ago, I wanted to try a standing desk (another fail, but that’s a separate blog post).  I also wanted a manual treadmill to place underneath it, but couldn’t find one that worked.  Instead, I found a standing elliptical.  It looks something like this:

Stamina-InMotion-Elliptical-Trainer-1000x563
Image Credit: workwhilewalking.com

I could stand at my desk and walk at the same time.  Great, right?

Not really.

My balance is not always great and I would find myself leaning on the desk to keep my balance, which meant that working on the computer was difficult.  Using a mouse while using it?  Nope.

Now, I’m old, and I have bad knees.  So I prefer using an elliptical to a treadmill, because it’s easier on my joints.  But I spend a lot of time in front of the computer sitting and I wanted a way to get some activity at the same time.  I tried putting the machine under my desk, but I couldn’t use it, because my knees kept banging into the desk.  Sigh.  Another useless purchase.

So the machine sat in the floor of my office, near my analog work space, in the vain hopes that I could use it while doing analog work.  Just FYI – walking and writing don’t really mix well.

Fast forward a year or so.  A few days ago I saw an advertisement for an under-desk elliptical machine.  It mentioned that it’s a great way for people who spend a lot of time on their computers to get some activity in.  My husband had recently rearranged our living room and it left enough space that I thought I would drag the machine into the living room for use while watching TV.  I could use a kitchen chair or something, I thought, to get me high enough that it was comfortable to use.  I ended up on our large stepstool with a cushion.  It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but at least I felt I could get some use out of the machine.  My husband came home and saw it.  He had questions and I explained about the ad I saw and that I wanted to use this machine since it’s basically been a paperweight for several years.

I told him I really wanted to put it under my desk, but I couldn’t make it work because I kept banging my knees.  He looked at me and then said, “Why don’t you just turn it the other way?”

Umm, what?

He took the machine and rotated it 180 degrees.  Suddenly, it was the right height to use it with a chair, the couch, MY DESK.

Two years as a paperweight, because it never occurred to me to TURN. THE. MACHINE. AROUND.

That’s why they call it a Grammy, folks.

Monday Mandala 23

Mandala_23This mandala ended up being quite a bit smaller than previous ones.  Not sure why, I didn’t intend it to be.  I do like the middle of this one, with the four-leaf clover sort of flower in the inner layer.

I don’t think I put enough different elements in this one, but I do like the ones that are there.  Perhaps I’ll try this one in iColorama and see how it turns out.

Failure to Launch

img_0087-1Well, here it is, almost the end of 2019, and I have yet to launch my sticker business.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much, but I am frustrated with myself.  I’ve been so productive in many other ways this year, but for whatever reason, I find myself unable to pull the trigger on this.

Every time I get close to launching, I find an excuse why I shouldn’t.  The biggest issue for me is the whole stumbling block over the excessive tax paperwork if I sell on Etsy.  I’ve even looked into hiring a bookkeeper/tax professional to handle it for me, but it’s just too cost-prohibitive at this point.

Over the holidays, I’m going to do some number crunching and see if it makes more sense to use Etsy, or if I want to try having my products available here.  If I upgrade to the Premium WordPress plan, I can do simple PayPal orders – without the added headache of sales tax, because I wouldn’t need to collect any as a small business owner selling on my own website.

If I did that, however, I’m not sure how I would set it up here for that.  A separate page for products, I think, so that I could keep them separate from the blog posts, yet easily accessible.

I also need to do some experimenting with PayPal – I’ve never used it before, so I’m not fully comfortable with all the ins and outs of it.

I’ve set up some social media accounts to try and increase my exposure – if I’m not going to go the Etsy route, I need to work on bringing customers in myself.  Honestly, that’s the only appeal of Etsy – the built-in traffic.  I’ve set up a Twitter account and I was already on Ello.  I’ve added Pinterest, because the planners and stickers are so visual, but I need to spend some time researching how to use Pinterest.  It’s not at all intuitive and I’m finding it more difficult to use than I had anticipated.

I’d also like to add YouTube into the mix, but until I get a better recording set up, that isn’t an option.  I need to shoot from overhead and it’s more complicated than I thought.  I tried using my smartphone, but the quality just isn’t what I want it to be.  I really want to use my Canon camera to record, but I need the right equipment to shoot from overhead with it.

So, as usual, lots of plans.  Here’s hoping I can follow through with them, instead of continuing to procrastinate.  Fingers crossed!

Top 10 Christmas Songs

christmas-tree-1149619_1920
Credit: Pixabay

It’s Christmas Day!  If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you are spending quality time with your loved ones. 

In the spirit of the day, I thought I’d share a list of my top 10 favorite Christmas songs.  Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday and I can remember many years spent singing and dancing around in our living room to these songs.  Mom made a cassette tape of her favorites – I still have it, even though I no longer own a cassette player. 

So here they are, in no particular order:

  1. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
  2. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
  3. White Christmas by Bing Crosby
  4. Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters
  5. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
  6. Go Tell It On the Mountain by Jim Nabors
  7. We Three Kings by Ella Fitzgerald
  8. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Thurl Ravenscroft
  9. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams
  10. The Little Drummer Boy – tie between the Harry Simeone Chorale and the Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet

There are lots of other songs I’m partial to, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without these 10 on rotation.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. 🙂