Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Month's End Stats: January 2017

I made a goal at the beginning of the year to expand my efforts in 2017 and have a really prosperous, successful year for my little Etsy shop, KFPrints. Below are my January stats compared with the same time last year. 

It was not quite as profitable a month as the year before. While I had the same amount of sales, they were smaller, lower priced items in my shop. And while views don't necessarily mean sales, I had fewer views and favorites than in January 2016.

What I Focused on In January:
  • I listed or renewed at least one new item every single day, though often I listed several. 
  • I spent a lot of time setting up new social media accounts for KFPrints, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
  • I created this blog, Busy Mom Shenanikens. I focused on the technical and design aspects and set a launch date.

Because I focused on so many start ups, there wasn't a lot of full on marketing going on. But I mirrored the amount of orders I'd had last year, even if the profit was less. I will call that a win since so much of my energy was focused on new beginnings and new adventures. I still made a profit, and I'm happy with the first month of the year. It will only get better from here.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Red Watercolor Tree

Valentine's Day is upon us! Make your home look romance ready with this gorgeous "Red Watercolor Tree" print from KFPrints! And this week only, you can get this lovely print for only $2.50! That's HALF OFF of the original price of $5.00!

This print would be great for wedding decor or gifts for anniversaries, weddings, and engagements!

This SALE price is only available from January 30 to February 5, 2017. Don't miss out!

Here's a fun tip! My prints, especially this one, look fantastic when they are printed on canvas!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Pink Lips Silhouette


Valentine's Day is right around the corner! This "Pink Lips Silhouette" print is the perfect addition to your V-Day decor. It also makes a great Valentine's Day gift, or a gift for your special someone for an anniversary, wedding, or engagement! And for this week only, you can get this print for 50% OFF!

You don't want to miss the chance to get this cute kiss print for ONLY $2.50! That's HALF OFF from it's regular price of $5.00!

By the way, this print looks incredible printed on canvas! Like seriously! Totally kissable!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Balancing Mom Life and Running a Business


I started my little business, KFPrints, as a way to be able to stay home with my soon to be born little girl. I figured it would be simple to post a few items to Etsy, make some easy money doing something that I enjoyed and was good at producing, and spend the rest of the day taking care of my beautiful little lady.

That was over two years ago, and I now have two little people who can run around, open doors, and get into all sorts of mischief.

I've also come to realize in that time, and I'm sure you've figured this out too, that it's not as simple as posting a handful of listings and finding overnight small business success. Maybe there's a small number who have found that success, but it wasn't me.

Success for my small business requires a lot more time than I had ever anticipated. Not only is there the creation process, you need to spend time in your Etsy store listing those items, renewing, revamping, and redoing anything that doesn't seem to be working. Add in marketing on various social media platforms and in person, getting items ready for shipping, making custom orders, and corresponding with customers, both current and potential, running a little business is now a full time job with tons of overtime.

Toss in toddler messes, meals, and meltdowns, you can quickly have a recipe for disaster!

Honestly, Disaster was like an unwanted roommate in our home. He often brought his friends Impatience, Frustration, and Exhaustion along with him.

My house was out of control, with laundry and dishes piling up, children who acted out in an attempt to get my attention, and a business that wasn't doing as well as I wanted it to, in spite of the hours I was putting in.

So where did that ideal image of being able to be the super mom who ran a business, and still spent the entire day playing and educating her children go?

Out the window.

Or so it seemed.

Here's the trick that saved my sanity:

I learned to schedule.

Yeah, yeah. Schedules. We are constantly told the importance of schedules, especially as moms. Like. All. The. Time.

But you know what? It works. Not only does it help the littles stay a bit more calm throughout the day knowing there's a routine, it REALLY helped me to find the time I needed to create some of that ideal image I'd initially created.

Here's what my schedule looks like:

7:30-8:00 - I wake up and while I'm still in bed trying to shake the sleepies from my brain, I do a bit of social media. Add a picture to Instagram, tweet something, pin a little.
8:00-9:00 - The kids are up! We play with our toys, and then eat breakfast. While my kids are occupied with food, I get on my computer and I publish a new listing, or renew a listing in my shop while I munch on my own breakfast. Then I pin those new listings to Pinterest.
9:00-11:00 - I play with the kids. I do a load of dishes or wash some clothes. We do the fun stuff, like playing outside, going for walks, creating with art supplies. Somewhere in here we have a snack.
11:00-12:00 - I put on a movie to help the kids wind down a little before nap time. This is where I am able to get on my computer and start making my plans for the day. I start planning a blog post, or work on the list of prints I want to design. This time doesn't always go smoothly depending on how sleepy my kids are, but it's all a balance.
12:00-12:30 - Lunch time!
12:30-2:30 - The kids take naps! Yay! This is where I get most of my work done. I sit down, turn off distractions and really pound it out. I create, I blog, I market, I do whatever I can in this two hour period. It's usually a pretty productive time!
2:30-3:30 - I let the kids finish their movie so I am able to wrap up whatever project I'm working on while they eat a snack and play. And then daddy comes home!

The rest of the day is a little less scheduled. All bets are off once the man of the house walks in the door. Though I'm usually able to get a bit more work done while we're sitting on the couch, watching a movie after the kids go to bed.

This schedule really works for us, though I won't pretend that there are days that this schedule simply doesn't work. It's all about give and take. They are little, but they do pretty well at understanding that when mommy pulls out her laptop, she needs to focus. I love that I'm also able to give them that example of a hardworking mom.

But the balance is that I also spend a lot of down on the floor, interactive time with them. I help them learn and play and keep their minds busy.

I get to stay home and also run a business that I love. It IS possible to have the best of both worlds, you just have to make the time for both.

Give and take, my friends. Give and take.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Together Forever


Let your special someone know that they are the one that you picture eternity with with this romantic print. This print looks wonderful in bedrooms and living rooms. It makes a wonderful gift for an anniversary, engagement, or wedding! And for this week only, you can get it HALF OFF!

That's right! This gorgeous "Together Forever" print is only $2.50 this week, January 16-22, 2017! This deal is a total steal and won't last long, so be sure to get your copy of this print while this SALE lasts!

Here's a tip! This print looks gorgeous printed on canvas! Trust me!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Build a Brand New Instagram Account for Your Business


I love Instagram. It's by far my favorite of the social media platforms and I love sharing photos with others and seeing what others post. I spent a lot of time on my personal account, but after several years, I'd only gained a following of about 300.

For a small business owner with goals of success, this just wasn't going to cut it. As much as I enjoy posting slightly blurry and dimly lit photos of my beautiful, hilarious children, it just wasn't the appropriate place to promote my work legitimately.

It took me a lot of pros and cons lists before I made the plunge and opened up a separate Instagram account for my business. (Shameless plug alert!) You should follow my Instagram account!

Why should you open a business account?

An Instagram business account is a BIG step toward marketing yourself to others, especially because of it's visual nature. Humans are visual creatures! Shops with higher quality images tend to have more sales. Posts on Facebook and Twitter that have images have increased engagement. The same goes for Instagram. If you can get your product in front of someone's eyes, then you have an opportunity to sell that product or spark an interest in other products you might have.

But there is more to a business account than just a regular, standard account on Instagram.

What's different?
  • You have access to analytics, which is HUGELY helpful when trying to build a following. Analytics will give you tips such as when your followers are most active during the day and on which days, It helps you track your follower growth and engagement. It will tell you which of your posts are the most popular, so you can do a little research about which tags you used, what made the image special, when you posted it, and more so you can repeat that formula.
  • It also adds a "Contact" button to your account, so potential customers can contact you directly without having to leave Instagram to do so.
These are just two of the features that I find most helpful with my business account!

How do I get an Instagram business account?

1. Download the app. While you can check your account and adjust your profile from your web browser, Instagram is definitely a smart phone, app based platform. (Update, certain computers have the ability to download and use the app from your laptop or desktop!)

2. Create an account using your email address. I suggest having an email address specifically for all things business, but this isn't necessary.
3. Choose a username! Try to find something that matches your brand, but is also easy to remember. Super long names can get a bit tricky to remember, and trying to tag someone using a long name with lots of numbers of underscores can be a pain. For mine, I used my business name, @kfprints. It's simple, short, easy to remember, and spreads my brand across multiple sites.

4. Pick a profile photo. You can go back and do this later on your phone or your computer. Make sure you use a great, clean, clear image that matches your brand! My profile image matches the photos that I share in my feed, so my account has a cohesive look.

5. Fill out your profile. Take your time here. If you need to go back later and tweak it, please do so. This is where people will see who you are! They need to see your personality but also understand what it is you do and what your business offers! 

6. In the app, go into your settings and select "Switch to Business Account." You will now be able to add pertinent information to your account like how users can contact you, what category your business falls into, and you'll start receiving analytic data!

Here are a few other tips that I want to give you when it comes to your business account.
  • Your pictures NEED to be clean and formatted for Instagram. Below are examples of my personal Instagram account and my business account. My personal account is just a hodge podge of pictures and videos of my children which don't look professional by any means (though they are adorable.) But because it's just meant to share images with my family and friends, I'm okay with that. For business it has to be different. Do you see how I've made sure that all of my photos match my brand, giving the entire page a cohesive look? This is important. It looks clean and helps possible customers easily see all of my products without being distracted by virtual clutter. Even photos of myself are clear images that are in frames and match my display theme.

While all of my images have the same background, you don't have to go to that extreme. This is simply my style. You can focus on having similar color schemes, or setting up your products in a similar way. Try to be consistent. If a photo doesn't seem to match, or stands out in a bad way, it is absolutely okay to remove that image from your feed. 
  • Add your website! This is a big one! Be sure you have your website listed on your account! Instagram only allows one clickable site per user, and you can't post clickable links in your posts, so having a link to your site on your profile is a MUST if you want to get traffic from Instagram. Direct your followers to that link in every post. 
  • Instead of using my name, I used a description of what I sell in my shop. So instead of saying "Katie Flaniken" my account says "Decor Prints & Greeting Cards" when you search for @kfprints. This helps me promote my products by sharing plainly what I sell and what you can find on my account. 

How has setting up my business account helped me?

Instagram has become one of the top sources of traffic to my shop, KFPrints. In the first few months of 2017, I've doubled my sales month by month as my following grows thanks to my business account. It has taken some work to make it profitable, but it's definitely worth it!

Are you interested in some tips about how to gain followers on your Instagram account? Check out these posts:
Have you had success with your business account? I'd love to hear some of your tips for gaining followers in the comments!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Follow Your Arrow


Decorating is so much simpler with KFPrints! Just purchase, download, print, and display! Like this beautiful "Follow Your Arrow" print! Imagine this lovely piece hanging in your little's girls nursery, bedroom, bathroom, or playroom! Encourage her to follow her dreams with this gorgeous print that, for this week only, is 50% OFF!

This SALE runs January 9-15, 2017! You can get this print that is normally $5.00 for ONLY $2.50! Don't miss out on this awesome deal!

Have you thought about getting your prints printed on canvas? It looks absolutely amazing!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Starting Point for Success


What is the Starting Point of Success?

Do you know what the starting point to your future success is? Making a note of your past successes or failures. I want to encourage everyone to go make a list of your own past statistics. Whether they be blog stats, shop stats, or an estimation of your social media growth.

(Don't have a business or blog to track yet? That's not a problem! But keep this principle in mind in the future. Make a note of all of your stats, especially in those areas like certain social media platforms where they don't have a built in stats counter. It's important. Trust me.)

I want to share my Etsy shop stats* from 2016 with you. Please note that these are not the most impressive stats. But that's okay! It is a starting place. It's important to remember that everyone has a starting place. 

Why am I sharing my stats with you? It will help to hold me accountable to my own goals, give me a way to chart my success, and also give you an idea about what is working and what is not as we explore the many tips and tricks out there stating that they are sure fire ways to bring an increase of views, followers, and profit!

Stats for KFPrints on Etsy:

These 16 numbers are my very own starting point to the rest of my success. Each experiment and case study that I share in this blog will feature these or updated numbers as we figure out the ups and downs of business.

Homework for You:

I want you to go find your own statistics. It only takes a moment to gather all of the information that you need. Make a chart like mine, write them down in a personal notebook, or simply let the site's stat or analytics chart them for you (if you do this, be sure you are monitoring them frequently. At least once a month.)

As each month passes, I want you to look at your stats from the year before and the month before. Each time you do so, figure out where your successes and failures were. For example: You had an increase in views and favorites, but your sales were a bit lackluster. Now you can make a plan to figure out how to turn those views into sales. If the majority of your views are coming from your Instagram account, maybe offer a sale to those followers to not only boost your following, but encourage those views to turn into sales! You'd be amazed what a 15% off coupon code will do!

Your stats and site insights can be one of the biggest tools in your arsenal. Don't underestimate the simple knowledge a few numbers can provide.

*In the future, I will be posting my blog stats, and social media stats as well. But as this blog is launching in April 2017 and the corresponding social media accounts were opened as of January 2017, it will be a couple of months before I have an accurate status reading to share.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Snowflake Quartet


Winter is in full swing here in Northern Utah! It's a bit icy and cold, but I have to say, I love the freshly falling snow! This gorgeous snowflake print set is our Print of the Week and will be ON SALE for 50% OFF!

This sale runs January 2-8, 2017! Don't miss out on this getting this fantastic set for your home for only $5.00! (Normally $10.00!)

May I recommend getting this lovely print set printed on canvas? It looks incredible!