This post is part of our Best Next Step series, where you will hear from creative business owners like you, who are wondering what to focus on next. The background stories and questions are from all kinds of businesses in various stages of growth, and I share my ideas for how to proceed forward most efficiently and ambitiously. Today we’re hearing from Emily of Fresh Paper Studios about where her business was at in 2014.
Fresh Paper Studios
Business: Fresh Paper Studios
Below is a screenshot of the Fresh Paper Studios website:
I create bold, unique wedding invitations and personal stationery for fun, creative people. My business is light-hearted and casual, my designs are fun and unexpected, and the quality of my paper products is thick and lovely. I work with customers like a friend–the sassy, creative friend who’s happy to make you look as cool as you feel. Right now, customers can buy my products on my website (above) or on Etsy.
I’ve been running my business for 4 1/2 years. After the first 2 years, I was able to earn a full time income from my business and it’s been steady until about 6 months ago. Traffic and sales have dropped, and I’m struggling to figure out why or how to change that. I’d like to put myself out there more–make more of a name for myself and also expand my offerings. I get paralyzed by indecision, though, and don’t really know where to start. I also struggle with time management (working at home with my 3 year old daughter!)
*I would like to make my current invitation offerings a little fuller–I want to make sure I’m showing coordinating pieces (save the dates, programs, escort cards, etc) for each invitation design–by January
*I would like to streamline things so that I don’t feel so busy and overwhelmed all the time
I have an email newsletter (that goes out to 85 people, including my mom.) I post on instagram about once a day, facebook a little less regularly, and I’m trying to slowly build a presence on pinterest. I’ve had my save the dates featured in a few bridal magazines, which was awesome! But that wanes eventually and each of those opportunities was a case of an editor finding me and asking for photos. I have no idea how to approach people to get press.
Thanks so much for this opportunity! :)
Fresh Paper Studio’s Best Next Step
Thank you for entering our Best Next Step giveaway – hoorah, you’re a winner! My thoughts follow (read them with a grain of salt, since I only have a brief outline of your business and challenges right now).
Oh, this is a nice and juicy situation to be in! I’m sure it doesn’t seem that way. :)
I have some ideas for you to use to propel yourself in the right direction. You need to know your business!
First, this stands out to me as your biggest block:
“But that wanes eventually and each of those opportunities was a case of an editor finding me and asking for photos. I have no idea how to approach people to get press.”
You need to know how to do this! Approaching people to get press should be your focus. Word of mouth is nice and all, but it’s not going to get you far until you have some momentum. My best advice to you here is to purchase our Pitch Kit. Jena on our team created this for her clients, and the $44 will be the best money you ever spent on publicity once you start getting all the blog mentions and other press. You can learn more about that and purchase it directly here:
Next, you say that you used to be getting more sales than you are now, and it seems like it’s a little mysterious to you how that happened. It would be a good idea to pinpoint what was happening before that was improving sales – or what you did to decrease sales. Do you have stats for your site, so you could investigate your traffic as compared to your sales? For now and for earlier, when they were better? Does Etsy show you stats like this? Was there a particular press mention that was helping you out, were you featured somewhere on Etsy that was helping, were you being found more in search before? Use whatever tools and history you have at your disposal to try to crack the case there, because you’ll be able to use that info to improve. It may be something as simple as Etsy changing how they feature sites in the search, and if you were relying on them to send you traffic, you’ve now learned that you don’t want to keep all your eggs in one basket.
Finally, you say, “I would like to streamline things so that I don’t feel so busy and overwhelmed all the time.”
I can’t offer specific advice here, without knowing what is making you feel busy and overwhelmed. I suspect you may not know just yet! In general, I would suggest you spend a week, or at least a couple of days, tracking what you do all day, to see where your time is going and how you feel about it. Just jot down each hour what you did and if it made you feel overwhelmed. You’ll see patterns emerge, and then can make plans to streamline.
Thanks for the chance to learn more about Fresh Paper Studios. I hope this all makes sense, and I encourage you to go out there and get more sales while doing more of what you love and less of what you don’t!
Are you ready for the next step?
If you’d like the power and experience of the Aeolidia team behind you, please get in touch! We would love to untangle your business priorities and take a few tasks off your hands so you can do your work. Contact Aeolidia – we never bite!