Blog Reboot: Masters of a Modern Going Concern

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This blog formerly known as “The Self Sustaining Prophecy”is relaunching today as Masters of a Modern Going Concern to mark the shift from an “Etsy empire reflections blog” to the next phase in our business development. We are keeping backlogged posts up for now to provide continuity and background on future posts.

All posts made before December 2016 are tracking tips, tricks and reflections for developing a self-sustaining small business between 2013-2016 using (specifically using Etsy and alternative-income strategies) as well as tips and reflections on budgeting and minimizing total cost of living.

Masters of a Modern Going Concern will be a behind the scenes blog for the small worker-owned business start up: Bonne Witch Enterprises LLC, a joint venture between high volume sales and management maniac Bonnie McMillion AKA “Bonne” and vintage web shop hack Kate Witchger AKA “Witch”. Together we are starting up an enterprise to strategically develop and scale small quality online businesses that will scale down with waning market and easily generate new ventures from past efforts.

Recognizing the quickly changing patterns, markets and platforms associated with small business in the 21st century our principle aim is to generate a commensurate income for ourselves while doing things we are good at that we atleast think were going to enjoy, and which other people do value and enjoy. This means keeping swift and agile pop-up shop state of mind able to evolve and adapt quickly and stay on top of emerging trends while still taking care and finding joy in the daily grind.

This blog will document the hard lessons learned, the workflow optimization tricks, the insights and reflections and the nitty gritty how-tos of our business to help fellow 21st century entrepreneurs embrace and optimize technology for small worker-owned businesses.

Beginning in 2017 our principle effort, with an aim to generate our basic income, will be an affordable women’s vintage fashion retail shop online : The Cute Hunter West. This new operation is based on Kate’s flagship vintage Etsy shop: The Cute Hunter which operates out of Raleigh, NC through Etsy. In January 2017 we began start up plans to set up a second sales location this time scaling up and using Bonne’s outlet-mall retail expertise to bring the operation smoothly to a scale within 3-5 years.

As we develop and evolve we will track our successes, failures, tips, templates and resource research on this blog. Thanks for checking out this post and if this is something you’d be interested in following, sign up for our newsletter or follow us on wordpress!

 

Etsy Seller Tip # 8: The Buyer’s Unboxing Experience

If you are selling through Etsy your buyer’s experience is already pretty sweet. With automatic messaging when and item is purchased and when you print shipping labels, you can provide great communication without actually doing anything!

The buyer’s experience is important for repeat sales but also for ratings and word of mouth advertising! Here I will discuss the little extras you can add to your buyer’s experience during unboxing to encourage props and happy vibes!

1. Package your item with care.

You want to make sure your item is packaged safely so it will not break in transit but you also want o take care with out it will look and feel for the buyer to receive and open the package. If you reuse packaging material make sure to ‘own it’ as a responsible green alternative and make a note in your shipping policies with something like “I try to reuse packaging materials whenever possible to reduce waste.” And remember just because you are reusing a box doesn’t mean your item needs to look like its wrapped in garbage.  This is especially important if you are dealing in vintage.  Wrapping the item up in a reused plain brown paper (like from a paper bag) and tying it with simple kitchen twine can make all the difference!

If you are selling high end items you want your packaging to match the luxury feel of your item. Incorporate tissue paper, washi tape, ribbon in your packaging to make the opening feel like a gift! A customer who feels like they have received a gift will be more likely to leave positive gracious feedback!

2. Don’t forget to include a calling card!

You may just be happy to get the item wrapped and to the post office in your processing window but don’t miss the opportunity to connect to your buyers and encourage repeat sales. The buyer probably remembers they ordered your item on Etsy but they might not remember the name of your shop. A little slip of paper or card in with the package that has you shop name, website and a cute graphic will help serve as a little reminder.

3. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You’ve made a sale! Be grateful for the business. Include something somewhere that says the words Thank you. This can be a stamp on your tissue paper or a thank you card (you can get cheap packs 10/$1 of thank you notes). Including a handwritten note (even just a small slip of paper) is a nice personalized touch that remind they buyer this is a person-to-person exchange. You can print out your own 4/sheet thank you post cards and include a thank you coupon code for a percent off their next order to encourage even more love!!

4. Make it easy

First order of business in packaging is to keep the item safe. That said, you don’t want them to accidentally break the item trying to cut it out of 15 layers of taped up bubble wrap. Use appropriate packaging in the right amount to keep the item safe and make it easy to open.

TIPS:

  • If you are using newspaper as padding wrap the item in plain tissue paper before adding the newspaper, this will keep ink from accidentally transferring.
  • Make it clear which way is up with the postage label and place your calling card and thank you note on the top just after the package is opened.
  • If you are using tissue paper, tie a string or tape tissue paper edge to prevent it from wiggling off during shipping.

2014 Goal: Become Self-Employed and Financially Independent

I am starting this blog to track my first year attempting to develop a self- sustaining small business using Etsy and other online tools to become financially independent and self-employed. I will be posting Etsy seller tips, how to guides, useful links and other things I have found helpful for getting organized and optimizing my time as I go. In addition I will be trying to streamline and minimize my total cost of living and posting, when relevant, on ‘living small’.

I have no passion for business. I am not a marketing guru or profit engineer. I enjoy project based work and figuring things out. I have been in academia most of my adult life but at 31 I realize this is not the life for me. I have recently dropped out of grad school and over the next year I will be trying out different methods for making an honest buck while setting up a sustainable budget.

I am starting with Etsy as my principle tool mainly because I already have years of experience in crafting and vintage shopping. Over the past few months I have started and helped others begin their own online shops and will use these shops to experiment with and inform my blogging here on the The Self-Sustaining Prophecy.

My main goal for 2014 is to make enough to sustain myself in order to have time to pursue my own interests and projects.  I’m starting with a couple thousand dollars in savings, a no-rent situation and one full-time year to make this work. This blog will track my efforts, serve as a place to reflect and share what I learn with others on a similar path.

If you are interested, have questions or have advice please don’t hesitate to contact me!