IndieMade founder Jennifer Rapp Peterson recently interviewed handmade dynamo Tim Adam, owner of handmade craft business resource Handmadeology, and got some great IndieMade and Etsy tips. Read on for Tim's thoughts on blogging, promoting your craft business, and making your online store work for you.
To prepare to interview you, I went through everything you do. I am astounded by both your creativity and your productivity. You are not only a jack of all trades, but you are a master at all of them. Can you give us a list of everything you do? What irons do you have in the fire now for your businesses?
I do have irons in the fire! First are my metal Etsy and IndieMade shops. I am a certified mig welder, a self-taught artist that designs metal furniture, art, and jewelry. I am the owner of and chief editor of Handmadeology. Handmadeology has an Etsy shop where you can find ebooks, spreadsheets, and our best selling Handmade Bookkeeping System. I am super excited about Handmadeology's latest social media app for Etsy sellers. It allows craft business owners to schedule out their social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Promotesy.com is where you can find out all about the app!
How and why did you start Handmadeology?
When I started my Etsy shop in 2007, my wife said I needed to start a blog. At the time I had no idea what a blog even was, but I started one anyway. I blogged about my Etsy shop and all the new metal designs. I started to blog about Etsy tips and making quick screen capture videos. In late 2008, Etsy featured two of my blog posts in the top 10 business blog posts for Etsy sellers. My traffic went crazy, and I knew right then I wanted to keep helping craft business owners in the handmade community.
So, Handmadeology? I went to school for environmental engineering. I have always loved science and when "Handmadeology" came to mind, I knew it was a perfect fit! Handmadeology started because there was a need in the handmade community for Etsy sellers to learn the basics and beyond about running a successful craft business.
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Would you share your secrets to regular blogging? How do you come up with all of the great ideas for the blog?
First, you have to write about what you know and what you are passionate about. Your passion will naturally flow in to a regular consistent blogging pattern. Not only do readers like consistency, Google does too. The more of a pattern you develop, the more your readers are going to expect and look for blog posts from you. Google loves content, so the more quality articles you post, the more traffic and readers you will gain.
Coming up with topics to write about is not hard when you have a community looking for answers. The best way to find out what your readers want to read is to ask them! Handmadeology also has a great team of writers, most of whom are creative business owners themselves. They all have different areas of expertise that they bring to the blog.
What are your top five tips for someone just starting out in the handmade business?
- You have to realize that selling online is hard work. There is no magic button that you can push to get traffic and sales. You have to put the time in to reap the rewards.
- You have to have amazing product photography. You may not have great pics right away, but you have to improve every day. Driving traffic to a shop with below average pictures will not results in the sales numbers you are looking for.
- Managing your time is going to be a struggle. This is your passion, so you will want to work all the time.
- You have to have your business on the major social media sites. Your customers are there and you need your business to be there also.
- You have to ship internationally from day one. It seems scary, but do you research and offer it! I have sold my metal to buyers in over 20 different countries.
Not only are you a blogger, I know you have produced videos and have written books. Tell us about those. Which ones are best for IndieMade customers? What Etsy tips do you offer for shop owners there?
Etsy sellers can find all of the Handmadeology tools and ebooks in the Handmadeology Etsy shop. I also have three IndieMade ebooks covering SEO, social media, and Pinterest. You can find those in my IndieMade shop. You can find my book How To Make Money Using Etsy on Amazon, and also sign up for Handmadeology Pro for more videos, tools, spreadsheets, and ebooks .
Do you have any specific tips or tricks for IndieMade users?
For IndieMade users, you will have to promote your shop a bit more, but you also don't have to compete with the masses on sites like Etsy. Build your social media network and keep blogging on your blog and cross-post on your IndieMade blog. The SEO for your IndieMade shop is top notch, so make sure you are optimizing that to its max!