27 October 2010

Building a Biz: The highs and lows of social media, relisting and commissions

Hey all!  It's Wednesday and the weather is doing a massive shift here in Winnipeg.  My mood tends to flow with the weather patterns so I'm definitely feeling more reflective as we move into hibernation season.  Yes, our winters are that fierce!  I'm already a homebody, so add bad weather and you'll find me at home almost all the time. Which is okay, I just have to be careful not to avoid too many social outings.  That's part of keeping my spirits up during cold weather.

To make matters worse, my truck heater has stopped blowing hot air on the eve of our big snowstorm.  Can you believe it??  One of life's little curveballs I guess.

For now, I'm thinking about the business.  Things have slowed down a bit as we've come out of summer.  So I'm using this opportunity to do a check, a state of the union if you will!  Here's what's on my mind this week...

Relisting - Because I sell my furniture on Kijiji (free local online classifieds), I often list an item only to have it get lost after a few days of other listings being added.  Items are shown in chronological order of listing and because my pieces can take a while to sell, I regularly relist them.  This means they pop back up to the top of the searches and get more visibility.  Relisting is an emotional process - there's a high when I list, as I imagine my perfect buyer stumbling over my piece.  This is followed by a low after several days of no nibbles.  But after everything I've sold, I've had buyers tell me that they just found it and they love it.  So I have to remember that some items will sell quickly and some will sit for a while, but the more I relist - the better the odds of reaching that perfect buyer!

Social Media - I'm definitely finding it hard to keep up with all the different social mediums.  The blog gets priority, but now that I'm building a following on Facebook - I have to get better about updating my photo galleries and keeping my 'for sale' links up to date.  One thing that's fairly new to me is embracing Twitter.  I read an article about how to better utilize Twitter for small business and I'm taking their advice.  In the last few weeks, I've sought out women in Winnipeg to follow, in an attempt to broaden my local audience who don't shop on Kijiji.  I'm also trying to connect with the local crafting community in hopes of meeting some kindred spirits and becoming a part of that network.  I'm definitely starting to see Twitter's value as a place to get info quickly and reach those who wouldn't necessarily take the time to follow a blog or read long posts. 

Commissions - The word of mouth is spreading about commissions and I'm feeling grateful for that.  I'm finishing up a second piece for a client, which means she was happy with the first one.  I'm also starting a project for an old friend I used to work  and have had an inquiry from another friend. It gives me joy to know my friends would invest in me.  At first I was intimidated by commissions, could I make my clients happy?  But they've made it so easy that I'm really liking the blend of working on my own designs and creating for someone else. Word is also spreading that I love to collect free, solid wood furniture, so I'm happy to have had some offers to take furniture off people's hands! 

Business expenses - Okay, this one's eating away at me a bit.  I track all my projects and sales, but I have yet to enter my business expenses into the computer.  Yep, three and a half months later my receipts are still sitting stuffed in an envelope. This kind of thing is so not my strong suit but I know if I don't buckle down and do it I will have a big mess on my hands come tax time.  Please give me a guilt trip so I will finally do it!

So that's what's swirling around in my head these days.  Any words of wisdom to help me along?  What's on your mind when it comes to business these days? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts my friends.  Because you are the ones that keep me going, just knowing you're out there reading feels wonderful!


  1. NO great words of wisdom other than to nag you to do your accounting :) I get the whole relisting thing, I've been trying to sell my Mom's appliances and every time I relist on Kijiji I hope and do a little paryer in my head (she needs the cash). I'll send you data entry vibes, send me some selling ones, K? Love your stuff, Lady!

  2. Hey Twitter buddy, I love visiting your blog and I think you are wise to make it a priority. Do you know someone that can help out with the receipt pile? Em's hubster did our spreadsheet after we let 3 months of receipts pile up. What a load off...

  3. Let me tell you I can totally relate to what you're writing about here. My brain feels like a bowl of spaghetti some days with the social media process. If I let one day go buy without being glued to my laptop I'm afraid I haven't "advertised" enough. But then I get frustrated with not being able to "create" and craft my true talents. I'm envious of the folks who have friend and family support on one or more of the hats necessary to run a business. Right now I'm doing it all. I suppose I need to find a way to balance the act! Thanks for sharing!
    Good Memories Cafe Owner - Elizabeth

  4. As always, you've given me some things to think about. I've had to relist some pieces and usually it means waiting for that one right buyer who truly appreciates the piece!

  5. Is there a way to highlight yourself on Kiijiji, so that people look for your ads? You could have the best photos, or always include something in the photos to tell the scale. My favorite ebay seller always includes a can of Campbell Soup - not that you would do that. You could have a coke, a bottle of Molson, a can of hairspray, or something that people could use to identify you., like a flower. You could also phrase your listings the same way.
    Like: Carefully refurbished, or lovingly refinished, vintage special. Another of my favorite ebay sellers of silverplate flatware always puts her initial DC or something in the headline of the listing.
    I would skip the twitters. Over 70% are never read and it is a lot of pressure. I don't think Twitter reading converts to purchases. Expenses: write the totals on your calendar or pocket diary, every day. Throw the receipts in a bag. Set a date to get your current receipts organized, like Nov 5th. When you are done after an hour, you will wonder what took you so long. Good luck Ann

  6. Thank you all for your encouraging words and sympathetic ear!

    Corina - That's definitely something to think about, although it won't be my J (not his forte!). I do need to just get down to business and do it - like housecleaning, ha ha.

    Elizabeth - It's so great to hear that you're out there going through the same stuff, I think we all need to take the social media with a grain of salt. It's important but we can't let it bring us down!

    Ann - Thanks for all your suggestions, you've definitely given me lots to think about! I really like the idea of putting my name in the headers...


  7. You better get on the computer thing, you'll probably feel so much better when that is out of the way! It's been so fun to hear about your business and watch it grow =) I'm off to follow you on FB!


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore