Back to the Drawing Board

I’ve been working for the past week on figuring out how to sell items here on my WordPress site.  I upgraded to Premium for the Simple Payments options and started to slog through the process.

It’s been a long week.

man showing distress
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

You and me both, stock photo man.  :/

Things I’ve realized as I worked:

  • I didn’t need to upgrade to Premium – Simple Payments doesn’t let me provide automatic emails/links for downloading the digital products.
  • Inserting my own PayPal buttons on my site was waaaay more complicated than it should be.
  • iOS doesn’t play nice with anyone.
  • I do not like coding.  I can grasp the basics, but any more than that is just frustrating.
  • I still need to track buyer’s addresses for sales tax, in case I would go over any given state’s transaction limit for remote sellers.
  • No wonder people use Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, and the like – it’s sooo much easier.

So, after working diligently for a week and having little to show for it, I need to take a step back and rethink what I’m doing.

I’m going to give myself a mental break this weekend and have a good long think about how best to achieve what I want.  What advice would I give someone else in this situation?  And am I brave enough to take it?

Here’s hoping.

Money for Nothing

FailYesterday was frustrating.  Very frustrating.

I upgraded my site to premium so that I could use the simple payments option – something WordPress has been lauding as a way to use your site to make money.  Great! That was my eventual goal here – to start selling my mandalas and stickers, but on my own site, so that I wasn’t paying Amazon and Etsy lots of money in fees.

I’ve read so many people who say that they drive their own traffic to Etsy – so if I’m gonna do all that work, I might as well drive people to my own site, right?  Then I’m making the money off my hard work, instead of Etsy.

After upgrading to the Premium plan, I started researching how to use the Simple Payments buttons to sell my digital coloring mandalas.  Turns out, the Simple Payments just lets you collect payments for your products – there is no way to add a link or anything to the payment button.

So, essentially, a person would pay, then have to wait for me to receive the notification from PayPal that I’d been paid, and then wait for me to send an email with the link or file for what they purchased.  Which isn’t horrible, but isn’t at all what I was led to believe I could do with the simple payments.

After more research, I discovered a way to use Google Docs and PayPal to add things to my site for sale.  That was an experience in itself, because what I wanted was for buyers to be taken directly to a download link for the item after they paid.  Making a download link from a Google doc required even more research, because of course it’s not an option in Drive.

During the first test, I got to the document, but it didn’t appear that the file was downloading correctly.  (My husband was testing for me on his iPad.)  After getting the direct download link issue sorted, then I realized that for some reason (I’m assuming because he’s using his iPad and iOS never plays well with others), he isn’t being taken directly to the page with the download link from PayPal.  He has to ‘return to merchant’ inside PayPal and then he gets taken to the correct place for the download.

Soooo frustrating.  This is probably why so many people would rather just use Etsy or Amazon for this.  In fact, I’m debating if this is all worth it myself, particularly since I apparently upgraded my WordPress plan for nothing.  I could have inserted the PayPal buttons and configured it as it without upgrading, because all the payments take place on PayPal anyway.  I guess I could upgrade to the next tier on WordPress, where there are some actual e-commerce options, but after feeling like I’ve already spent some money for nothing, that doesn’t seem appealing.

Aaaaarrrrggghhh.  😦

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!

Brain Overload

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(Image Source: Pixabay) This is my brain on technology 😛

For the last several weeks, I’ve been dipping my digital toes into the (cess?)pool of social media.  I’ve blogged about joining Ello and I’ve also recently joined Ko-Fi.  I guess that Ko-Fi isn’t technically social media? Or maybe it is?  I don’t know.

If you’re not familiar with Ko-Fi, it’s a site where you sign up, create a page for yourself, and people can donate via PayPal to support you – i.e., buy you a cup of coffee.  It’s similar to Patreon, I suppose, although you have to pay a monthly fee for recurring payments from supporters.  So Patreon Lite, maybe?

In any event, I thought it looked like a cool way to provide an opportunity for those who don’t have tons of cash lying around (like me), but would like to send something small to those whose talents we appreciate.

So now I have a Ko-Fi page set up for myself.  If you’re interested, check it out here.  It’s still pretty bare bones, but I’ll be adding to it in the coming months.  Learning to navigate all these new (to me) sites has really taxed my poor brain.

Just setting up a PayPal account gave me a headache.  I set it up as a business account, but since I’m a sole proprietor, things can be tricky.  The state I live in doesn’t require me to register my business as a sole proprietor, so some of the questions either didn’t apply or didn’t make sense to me.

Also, their categories for type of business was disappointing.  I didn’t see anything that I thought applied to what I do, but I suppose it doesn’t matter.  I think it’s more for PayPal to send me marketing crap than it is to actually help me out.  We’ll see, I suppose.  I wonder if I can change the category later?  Now I just have to wait for PayPal to do their thing with the test deposits/withdrawals from my bank account so I can get down to business.

I still want to set up a YouTube channel, but I think I may wait and tackle that project another day.  My poor brain is on overload dealing with all these different sites.  Ain’t technology grand?!