Sunday, January 11, 2015

Just a Few Business Tips I Have Learned Along the Way

Six years ago I was in a craft store buying a little bit of fabric to make a gift for someone and happened to strike up a conversation with the lady at the fabric cutting desk about what I was doing with it. Within 15 minutes she had mentioned her daughter selling and succeeding on Etsy and that started the ball rolling in my brain about the possibility of my starting my own business. I wasn't too secure enough to think I would be able to sell what I make, since all I had ever done with it is give my artwork out as a gift, but I decided to take the jump and much to my surprise, I have been pretty successful and love what I do even more than I did in the beginning!

Do I have a magic formula for success in this arena? No... sorry, I don' don't be too disappointed that I have no great revelations on how to have a successful business in 3 easy steps. What I can share with you is just a few basic observations that I think are absolute musts if you want to go in this direction with whatever it is you wish to here goes, Debbie's self
learned business tips that may or may not help you...

1. Sell something somebody wants

Yes, I know you are thinking , "Well everybody should want a crocheted nose warmer with a pom pom ball on the end... Or a rubber baby buggy bumper, or my handmade purple snow cone cup holder...right?"
Maybe, but my first tip is to think twice before you jump in and sell something you think every would want to buy and ask yourself how different will you stand out, and how crowded is the market with such things? If what you have in mind to sell is unique, or really useful, practical in some way, and not a saturated market, you may have something there!

2. Expect to work at it a loooooooooooong time and not expect overnight success. Yes, it would be wonderful to set up your shop, list everything and be swamped with people who have handfuls of cash, (or their credit card or PayPal account), begging for your items and listen to the merry sound of flowing cash coming in to your bank account at a rapid pace, but that seldom happens...really seldom. You have to take time to learn what you are doing, find customers who want what you have to sell, find people who have money to buy, and take time to learn what to do and what not to do in order for your business to build up. And unfortunately, that does take time, there is no easy route, and even the best of businesses have periods of feeling like they perhaps may have fallen off the face of the earth and no one knows where to find them...But expect that to feel like that sometimes and also expect that it could easily pick up again and in the meantime keep working at it.

(Kind of like a snail climbing a mountain-slow, steady, hard, and takes time to reach the top...sometimes a long. long time!)

3.Finally, I will add just one more tip, (and there may be a few more coming in the future), but I have learned that when you start a business, be the owner of it and take responsibility for it. Don't ask other people what you should charge for your the research and figure it out on your own. Look at the others out there, see what the going rate seems to be, and then look at what it costs you to make, the time involved to make it, and all the other expenses that will go into it. Don't "not charge" for something because you think your item will then be too expensive. Don't assume people won't pay you what you need to make a profit. The right customers always will, and if you aren't making a profit, there really is no point in being in keep that in mind when deciding on prices.

And there you have it folks, my three business tips I have learned and wish to pass on to you. I hope they help, more to come in the days ahead!

General Stonewall Jackson Civil War General- Found at Uneek Doll Designs

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Town Living or Country Living- Either is Good!

I love this scene- it is from a house we rented when we had to come down to Alabama and needed a place to stay until we could find a house we wanted to buy. The house still sits on 10 acres of land, partially wooded, and at one time, (though no more) was quite a showcase with flower beds, a well groomed lawn, blue martin houses, apple trees, and a catfish pond in front.

Since the owners have left, the house has just been sitting empty and needless to say, many things were not kept up and so the house really isn't up to par any more. The grounds have not been kept up like in its former glory days, which was about 30 years ago.

None the less, when we decided to rent the place for a short time, I found many things about that I liked, and that included getting to see a magnificent sunset view every night over the catfish pond. Does the pond still have fish? It was still full of them when we stayed there, but I never did feel inclined to fish them out, nor would I have wanted to skin one- let alone cook it! I would just go out some days and feed the fish with stale bread or cereal just to enjoy watching them eat.

Occasionally a long legged heron would stop in the pond and try his luck at catching a meal too. Many a day cows would often side up to the wire fence on the border line of the property and I would toss them a mushy apple from the old apple trees that really weren't producing too many apples any more.I even got brave enough to give them a scratch on the nose a time or two and think I made some lifelong friends that way!

On this property there was a group of three or four dogs that came over almost daily from a nearby farm and they would come up to our dog and just like a group of friends they would all go off on a jaunt in the woods for part of the afternoon. A motley crew consisting of a a medium plump old dog with just three legs, a tiny and shy terrier looking dog, a brown beagle looking mutt who would zip around the acreage like a Speedy Gonzales, and our own husky mix who seemed to enjoy his friends daily visits.

I am glad though that we finally have been able to find a house and are now moved in, there were some drawbacks about living in a place where no internet service existed... but from time to time I like to look at the pictures I have taken of the rental house while we stayed there. I like living in the middle of town where we now are, but there is also something to be said for the peacefulness of out of town rural living and being able to see a beautiful morning sunrise or evening sunset.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Weather or Not?

Winter in Alabama is an interesting thing since I am from the north, even though I now live in the south. I am very well used to the snow, the cold, the ice, and all that goes with it. And I miss it some days...sort of...ok, maybe not much but just a teen bit some days...I give myself away as a northerner all the time down here by my way of talking (although I don't think I have an accent!) and the way I dress in winter- I wear a sweater while everyone else is wearing a parka with gloves!

Now that I have moved to Alabama with my hubby, it is a totally different kind of weather- much warmer temps and if it snows down here,it does well to come down for one day and in 24 hours that 6 inches is already melted away as if it was never there! Every time there is even the slightest hint that it may snow even the teeniest bit, it is a most interesting event that wreaks havoc with the residents who have lived their whole lives down here. Just about everything, and I do mean everything, closes down when snow is even a remote possibility! And woe to you if you need milk or bread, you will be out of luck if you wait to see if the snow actually comes at all.

Our first winter down here -which was just two years ago- it snowed about 6 inches in just a couple of hours and in that time of us driving around the small town we live in, we counted over 21 cars that were slid into ditches . Being used to northern winters, it was nothing for me to drive in a blizzard to get groceries and not think twice about it- but I think if it were to happen down here (which I could never se a blizzard happening, I would be less likely to do so since the area around here is quite hill ridden and I am more used to driving in winter weather where the roads are much more level.

I guess all this came to mind today because the temperature outside is unusually cold for down here, and I even saw a few flakes of snow fall-made me glad that I had already gotten my regular groceries a day or two ago because I am sure the stores are full right now . I think a pot of chili is in order today, and later on a sit down book reading session with a cup of hot green tea and honey! What do you do when it is cold outside?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Samuel Adams American Patriot of the Revolutionary Era

Historical Figure of the Week:

Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722 in Boston, Massachusetts. A strong opponent of British taxation, he helped organize resistance to the Stamp Act (1765) and played a vital role in organizing the Boston Tea Party. Samuel was a second cousin to U.S. President John Adams, with whom he urged a final break from Britain and signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence. He died on October 2, 1803 in his hometown, Boston.

Early Life

Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722 in Boston, Massachusetts. Adams graduated from Harvard College in 1740, and would soon be known as an American revolutionary and one of the nation's Founding Fathers. Political Career
A strong opponent of British taxation, Adams helped organize resistance in Boston to Britain's Stamp Act of 1765. He also played a vital role in organizing the Boston Tea Party—an act of opposition to the Tea Act of 1773—among various other political efforts.

Adams served as a legislator of Massachusetts from 1765 to 1774. Among his accomplishments, he founded Boston's committee of correspondence, which—like similar entities in other towns nationwide—proved to be a powerful tool for America's communication and coordination during the Revolutionary War.

Following his run with the state legislature, Adams served as a delegate to the Continental Congress, until 1781. As a delegate, he urged a final break from Britain and signed America's Declaration of Independence alongside his second cousin, John Adams, the second U.S. president.

Adams became a Democratic-Republicans (following Thomas Jefferson) when formal American political parties were created in the late 1790s. Adams's final political role was serving as Massachusetts' governor, from 1794 through 1797. He died on October 2, 1803 in his hometown of Boston.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Artist Interview with Uneek Doll Designs- Debbie Ritter

I was happy to be interviewed on Channel 2 in Cullman- I thought I would share with you if you would like to see the artist behind Uneek Doll Designs. I hope you enjoy, and feel free to share if you feel so inclined!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Susan Boyle- Still Going Strong

It is no secret I am a huge fan of Susan Boyle- I love listening to her sing, and I just plain enjoy her humble attitude, and being the age that she is, I can relate to getting to finally do what you enjoy, even though at a later time in life. This is why I keep her as a constant staple on my creating list, and just listed this character of her and her new look. Best wishes to you Susan on your journey to sharing your voice and story with the world!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Christmas Carol- One of Charles Dickens Finest!

I love Charles Dickens novels- I am working on reading them all, and someday I may just get there!

One of his finest, my personal opinion, is A Christmas Carol, mostly because of the message it brings, and the ingenious way he presents it.

A Christmas Carol is what inspired me to go into work mode and create this cast of characters and put them in my art shop online. Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, the three ghosts, and Jacob Marley are all there, ready to bring a more tangible way of seeing the wonderful Dickens story come to life.

I hope you enjoy!