Results of my Instagram Giveaway Contest

At the beginning of February, I ran my first Instagram giveaway for my Etsy with five other shops. I’ve seen a lot of small businesses do this to boost their engagement; so, I figured I’d try.

Why do a social media giveaway?

Social media giveaways incentivize people to follow you, increase engagement and followers, and may increase your sales. You can do this alone or with other businesses that complement your niche.

I chose to do a co-promotion giveaway. This way, we could multiply our audiences and promote each other’s small business. We chose a theme together and contributed something from our shops: there was a tie-dye bodysuit, a rose quartz necklace, a hula-hoop, a crystal choker necklace, and mine was an essential oil diffuser necklace and earring set with ylang-ylang essential oil.

 

Overall Gain

During the giveaway, I’ve netted 70 new followers. These were also real accounts that fall into my typical customer personas. I also noticed an influx of my likes on my photos. I was hoping for more followers, but I’m happy with the results for my first try.

What I learned

Everyone loves freebies, doing a giveaway challenge is a sweet way grow your business and support other businesses as well. I think there is potential to grow your businesses with these and maintain follower loyalty.

If I have the supplies and the time, I hope to do these bi-monthly.

What I would do differently next time

  • When doing a co-promotion, I would do 4, maybe 5 shops max. Given that there were 6 of us, I think people were less likely to enter.
  • I would promote it more: before, during, and after. I believe that we all could have done a better job.
  • Complimentary niches versus the same business: Given that there were 3 jewelry businesses, I think it was overkill. I would not do a giveaway with another jewelry business unless we had completely different styles.
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Just Think About Forward

In order to innovate, you have to think forward. Focus on today and what you can do to better yourself tomorrow; dwelling on the past will only halt your progress.  This article is inspired by a quote from Issac Morehouse, “Just think about forward”. He said this during one of our Praxis calls and it stuck with me.

The Praxis mindset is centered on constantly evolving and creating value. Improvement is the key to success — I like to wake up every day and think of 3 things I can do to better my situation. Today’s solutions are to:

  1. Spend 20 minutes on building my LinkedIn
  2. Watch one webinar on building Sales Skills
  3. Create one New Piece of Jewelry for my Etsy Shop

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Are you thinking forward? What are three things you are doing to better yourself today?

15 Motivational Mantras For Success

“What is a mantra? Mantra is two words: Man and tra. Man means mind. Tra means the heat of life. Ra means sun. So, mantra is a powerful combination of words which, if recited, takes the vibratory effect of each of your molecules into the Infinity of the Cosmos. That is called ‘Mantra.”

-Yogi Bhajan

Mantras have been used throughout history in meditation. They were introduced by Buddhist and Hindu religions and are associated with spiritual practices. The earliest known mantras were spoken in Sanskrit. However, your mantra may just be a positive affirmation. The following mantras are a collection I’ve thought, heard, or read.

Repeating the following mantras CAN make a difference:

  1. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try
  2. Don’t wish for it, work for it
  3. Always forward
  4. Opportunities don’t happen. You create them
  5. I appreciate the good
  6. No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist
  7. Great things never come from comfort zones
  8. I am open to receiving whatever the day may bring
  9. Persistence is vital
  10. The most satisfying time to take the next step is now
  11. I choose to see the possibilities
  12. Aim for the stars with your feet on the ground
  13. I believe in my future self
  14. I am always attracting abundance
  15. Everything I need is within me

Adopting the Habit:

Start with picking a few that you enjoy. Integrate the mantras by saying them while you drink your morning coffee, on the walk to your car, before bed, or anytime you have a few moments to yourself. Personally, I also keep one on my bathroom mirror and one my phone screen background to say every time I look them— it is easy to squeeze in meditation, it’s not about “having” time, it is about making time.

5 Things I’ve Learned as a Server 

Although my time in the restaurant industry is temporary, I learned so many valuable skills. I am a firm believer that every experience is a good experience,  it is up to you to perceive the value.

Finding Calm WITHIN the storm

It is Friday night, you have 18 heads currently. Table 56 needs a coke refill, the Manhattan to table 58, table 59 needs entrée orders, and oh, the check to 60. In the middle of the dinner rush, you are multi-tasking while under pressure AND keeping a smile on your face.

For me, it’s a few deep, conscious breaths, focusing on my intentions. This can be done anytime, anywhere. Now, I catch myself doing it habitually. It helps me focus and be more present; therefore, handling the task at hand with ease.

Conscious breathwork actually has many health benefits including increased clarity and focus, lower blood pressure, and may even benefit your immune system — researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina found that the group who performed breathing exercises had significantly lower levels of three cytokines that are associated with inflammation and stress in their saliva compared to the control group. Their findings are published here.

Communication

In order to work in customer service, you have to be personable; your people skills dictate your tips. I have always been more reserved but serving tables taught me the right balance. It is essential to be well-spoken and confident but also friendly and humorous.

Being a good communicator is essential for a lot of careers. It is a skillset worth focussing on and polishing as you grow in your career. Professionalism is always my priority but personality and a little wit can go a long way.

Patience

Patience is very important in any industry and in life in general.

Somedays are going to be slow days, the kitchen may have to re-fire your well-done steak, or your last table camps out an hour after they are finished. Things frequently don’t go as planned.

I like the phrase “good things come to those who wait”. One time, it was a slow winter night. I was just serving my second table. Then, randomly, I got a walk-in 8 top. They were incredibly friendly and left me the largest tip I have received to date. Sometimes we act like a dog with a bone; it is important to savor life and appreciate the journey. You never know what may come your way.

Smiling through the negativity

There are bitter customers and co-workers will have bad days or maybe someone spills orange juice all over you – Laugh it out and let it go.

I keep in mind that we are only responsible for our reactions, not other’s actions. Carrying positive energy with you is contagious and always prevails.

When it comes to a dispute, I always ask myself, will this actually matter tomorrow? What about in an hour? This exercise funnels how you are expending your energy.

Being early is always a good thing

Time is money, simple as that. So many times, I’ve come into work early and BOOM, three tables walk-in; boosting my sales and tips for that night. It also gives you time for a buffer – personally, I enjoy this time to prepare and get myself in the zone. I usually practice the specials for the evening and double check my section.

Taking the extra step is always worth it, plus it looks great to managers. Arriving early to work also sets a precedent for being timely in general. When it comes to growing in your long-term career, being a “Last-Minute Larry” can give you a negative reputation. When you are early, it proves that you are accountable; in turn, it proves that you have value.

The restaurant industry is fast paced and fun, yet it is rigorous and hard-as-nails. Everything I learned made my experience valuable and I’m grateful for everything I learned.

Feburary Blogging Challenge

For the next month, I am writing a blog post every day. This challenge will certainly push my boundaries, but will also help grow my value creation mindset.

Prioritizing is key to this challenge. That’s why I’m disciplining myself to sit down and write every single day—even on crazy, busy days like I had today. Between my day job, Etsy business, praxis boot camp curriculum, and my side hustles, I am always occupied. After it is all said and done, it is now 11:19 pm and I am still going!

With that being said, I’ve also become quite the night owl. Another goal for February 2018 is to regulate my sleep schedule. Month-long challenges are a great way to kick-start your mentality and build a habit. By the end of this challenge, I hope to improve my consistency and discipline. You can do anything that you set your mind to. However, it is up to you to follow- through.

 

Converting Browsers Into Buyers with a Sales Funnel

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is essentially a multi-step process that moves prospects into buyers. They are key to understanding your sales and marketing activity.

Most of the examples I found online are geared to multi-level, corporation companies; I decided to create my own for small eCommerce businesses. A lot occurs between the time that a potential customer enters your funnel, to completion of a purchase. Depending on your niche and sales model, they are typically 4-7 stages. My sales funnel is broken down into five levels:

1. Awareness:

This is when the visitor’s arrive at your shop or website. They typically arrive from ads, an enticing offer, or social media- anything that makes the visitor aware of your product. This is where strong branding and offers create leads. Now, your goal is to move them through the stages that will take them from visitor to buyer.

2. Interest:

Now that they are aware, you need to build their interest- At this stage, customers have looked through your website and favorited or bookmarked your shop, signed up for your mailing list, or followed your social media page.

3. Evaluation:

This is the “fence-sitting” stage where prospects debate following through. They will research your reviews and testimonials. This is also the stage where customers will discard options based on a considerations like price point, competition, shipping and quality – so, what makes your product stand out?

This is also a great stage to follow-up and implement an automated email sequence – you can include FAQ, testimonials, benefits of your products, or your current deals or promotions.

4. Decision:

At this stage, customer prospects decreases further, but the chances of closing a sale rise. This is the final choice to purchase or walk away.

With that being said, this is a great time for tactical moves – flash sales, bonus offers, free shipping, and promotions. The offers may entice the prospects to make the purchase

5. Action:

The final stage- the sale is completed. Although, you should always follow-up and practice customer retention tactics to create a return path.

My Sales Funnel Flow Chart:

Sales Funnel (1)

Now, time for a sales conversion. This can quickly give you valuable information on areas that need improvement versus areas that are succeeding. Across eCommerce industries, the average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. As of January 31st I had 6 sales and a total of 199 views on my Etsy- that is a 3% conversion rate.

total visits as of 1-31

Feel free to use my funnel tactics to create your own;  just keep in mind that its an evolving process, always modify and repeat!

 

Maximizing Revenue on Etsy

Now that you planted the seeds of your Etsy Shop, it is time to grow. You can also apply these tactics to other eCommerce businesses; simply adjust them to your niche. Here are some tactics I’ve found through trial and error and my own research:

 Customer Retention Tactics

Maintaining customer retention is integral for meeting your bottom line. Here are some tactics to earn repeat customers:

  1. Communication – Respond to questions and feedback, and kindly to any problems your customers may have within 24 hours. This is key to build trust with potential customers and building repeat business. Also, always follow-up the arrival of their product with an email to ensure satisfaction. This is a good time to ask them to review your product. Great customer service isn’t always easy, but it is key to a your business’s lasting success.
  2. Timely shipping and personal touches – I like to add a handwritten thank you note and sometimes include a small crystal with their order; hand-written notes are a quick way to go that extra mile for your customer.

3. Follow-up Within the first month of purchase, email them a coupon code to your shop. Coupons are a great way to build customer loyalty. You can offer free shipping, percentage off their next order, or a free item.

Up-Selling Tactics

  1. Suggestions and Bundling – Customers search with keywords on Etsy. When they search, all shops with items matching that agenda show up. They may look look at the item, but in order to get customer’s to explore the rest of your shop, put links to your other products in that collection, or matching pieces. Click the images to see the examples below:

JewelsFromMars
etsy hop 6
etsy shop 7

2. Freebies – Many savvy shoppers will add additional items to their shopping cart to receive something for free; especially free shipping. The question is how to affordably offer free shipping and balance the expense? First, factor the shipping into your expenses. Next, find a reasonable dollar amount that brings you more profit without taking a hit. Although, taking a short-term loss is a smart sacrifice if it brings loyal customers. Just make sure to follow up with customer-retention tactics!