Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Conferences, how they have changed


So, the conference cycle has started again, and it looks so much different than it did prior to the Pandemic. We were recently at an event which before had a lot of vendors as well as a lot of attendees. This time, the number of vendors was way down, which made it a little disappointing to attend. The number of attendees also seemed to be way down, and I think that is because so many people still don’t want to go to events that could be crowded.

The other thing that I noticed at this event that the number of physical things that you could see was way down as well. I understand that it has become more of a virtual world but if you are offering phones or services or other equipment it would be nice if you would have the equipment so that I can see it. Pictures or plastic copies of the items just doesn’t cut it.

Being able to talk to some of the vendors is nice when the show isn’t as busy so that is one of the advantages that I am seeing, but it also means that the vendors aren’t making as many connections so probably not going to be making a lot of money from attending the conference and paying the cost of having a booth.

The other thing that has been happening, and I heard it again at this conference, is there are a bunch of events all on the same day, so people must decide which one they are going to attend. This does make it hard, especially if you are a reseller or provide managed services because it means you could miss the best opportunity because you decided to go to one event over another.

It is going to be interesting to see how conferences are like even in another year because I think more and more of them are going to be going virtual only because then you don’t have the cost of a booth or the cost of staff to man the booth. The staff can remain at their desk (either at home or in the office), so any travel is eliminated. I hope that not all conferences go virtual because what is also important is the networking that happens between attendees.

Yes, conferences have changed, so now to see what they are going to become in the future.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Managing personal care

The idea of taking care of yourself when you are also a caregiver can be rather difficult. In a lot of ways, during this time, you sometimes put yourself lower down on the line and make sure everyone else is happy and safe. I know that for me, making sure that I take time for me hasn’t been something that I’ve been doing very regularly in the past. I have been a caregiver, first for my dad and now my mom. Note, neither of them has lived with me, but I am the one that they have turned to for assistance, and I’m also the one that takes them to all their medical appointments.

Being a caregiver can take so many different roles, it can be the person that lives with the person needing help, or it can be a person that is there whenever the phone rings. I am the person that is there whenever the phone rings and there to make sure that all the appointments have been kept and everything else is maintained at a level needed. I know this time is so different from the other journey we were on, but again, being a caregiver is the same in a lot of ways. The caregiver does give up a lot of their own time and energy to make sure that the other one is safe and taken care of.

During this time, I decided I am going to make sure that I do take some time for myself, even if it just little bits of time each day. Personal care means making sure you take the time to recharge your own batteries, both mentally and physically. Being sure that you take the breaks away and give some of the responsibility to someone else is important. Also, sharing some of the tasks and responsibilities is a good idea so that not everything is on one person.

I have been doing quite a bit of reading about dementia and being a caregiver for someone with dementia and one of the key things that they always say make sure you take time for yourself. Taking time for yourself is something that is very important, otherwise you were going to end up burnt out not being there for that person that really needs your help.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Managing your ETSY shop

 I wrote an entire blog about running an ETSY shop, but things that I didn’t mention that now need to be written about are:

  • Shipping
  • Inventory
  • Renewals of listing

Having a shop does take some time as you are going to be managing it if you have a product up in your shop.  Sure, there are ways you can have it easy and that is to sell items that are PDF’s and you don’t have to worry about shipping, inventory or any of the other physical item issues.  I am going to write about having physical items because that is what I have in my shop.


Shipping sounds like it should be easy to manage, and it is once you get into a routine in regard to getting things mailed to the customers.  For us, we have decided that we do the shipping (going to the post office) three times a week depending on the volume of orders.  Setting up a routine can make a big difference because we were going to the post office each time we got an order, and it was getting a little much as it meant that we were going every day some weeks.  Now what we have done is decided that we will bunch the orders and then take them to the post office and get them shipped.

Another thing that you need to consider when you are mailing your orders is if they are going to fit into an envelope or a box.  For us, we have found that most of the orders that we get fit into an envelope, which also means that it is one way to keep the shipping costs down.  An envelope is a lot cheaper to mail than if you are putting the items into even a small, light-weight box.

For us, we have a routine when we ship, and there are specific items that we put into each order, and they are:

  • Business card with a thank-you sticker on it
  • Postcard with a handwritten a note on the back of the card thanking the customer for the order.
  • Actual items ordered

Once we have all the items ready they are placed into an envelope, and they are ready to be shipped.


The physical inventory that you have is something else that you will need to determine how to manage.  For our shop, we have all the items made and stored in individual bags, which are all labelled, and then they are in tote boxes to make finding them easier.  Our tote boxes are sorted by size of item so that it makes looking for each item a little easier. It also helps show when a specific size is running low and more items need to be made.

Besides all the items being individually packaged, I have index cards for each of the fabrics that are in the shop.  Yes, I know that it isn’t necessary to have these, but it makes it easier for me to ensure that the physical inventory agrees to the inventory that I have showing in the shop.

Determining how many items you are going to have in your shop is up to you.  Once you start selling items, you will start to figure out how many you want of each item as well as how many listings you want. 

Renewals of listing

The actual listings that are on ETSY will run for four months from the time you originally post or 4 months from the last sale of the item.  It is nice when you can have multiple of an item because it means that if you have the listing set to auto-renew, it will automatically show up again as soon as a sale is made.  Now, the auto-renewal only helps when you have items left; otherwise, it won’t renew if you sell the last of a specific item.  It is a nice way to ensure that you are keeping items up and visible on the general ETSY site.  Each time an item is listed, it has a chance of showing as a new item on the general ETSY site as well as a listing on your shop.

I have found that having more than multiple of a listing makes it easier for me as it means that I can make the items in batches, and then I can work on another fabric to get them ready while the ones in the shop are being managed within the system.

There are so many different things that you need to think about when you are managing an ETSY shop but remember that there are people always willing to help you out. If you are thinking of opening an ETSY shop or have just opened an ETSY shop and have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me as I am willing to answer questions if I can.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Running an ETSY Shop

Here are a lot of different things that you need to consider before you start having an ETSY shop.  Some of the items will be very easy, and some of the other items will take some planning as well as some research, I know that before I ever opened my ETSY shop there were things that I needed to figure out, and they were changed a bit even once the shop was up and running.

I am going to try and document some of the things that I had to figure out along the way, and hopefully, this list will help in before and even after you have your shop up and running.

Here is a list of the things that need to figure out when opening/having an ETSY shop or even when you want to sell items like your crafts. Some of the items will be logical, but they need to be listed so that they can be managed and figured out.

  • Products (what are you going to offer)
  • Shipping (are you going to be shipping the items?)
  • Cost of the item to make
  • The sales price of the item or items

Now I am going to try and go into some of the items in more detail as there are a lot of hidden costs or decisions that need to be made.


This is the actual item or items you are willing to make or offer in your ETSY shop.  Some of the biggest decisions are going to be made around your products.

  • What am I going to make
    • This can be a major challenge because you may have lots of ideas, but you are also going to need to figure out if there is a demand for what you make.  If there isn’t a demand, you are going to have a difficult time getting sales.
  • How many of an item am I making
    • One thing you need to consider is are you going to make the items once they are ordered or are you going to have some stock so that you can ship once the order has been received.
  • What does it cost to make the item
    • The cost of the making of the item has to be taken into considering as this will assist you in pricing the item.  Remember you need to consider the time it takes to make the items as well
  • Storing the supplies and made items
    • If you are going to be making items, you will need to consider how much stock you want to carry and also what raw material you need to keep the stock at a good level.
  • Will I accept custom orders
    • Making custom orders is something that needs to be figured out because that will also impact what supplies you have in stock as well as how quickly you can get the material to make the custom orders.  


The shipping of the items is something that also needs to be considered.

  • Cost
    • What is the cost going to be to ship these items to customers?  Also, are you willing to ship out of your own country will also need to be determined.
  • Packaging the items
    • What items am I going to need to package the items for shipping?  The cost of these items is also going to have to be considered when you determine your shipping costs. Are boxes required to ship the items, or can they be placed in envelopes and mailed to the customer?  The size of the item will determine if it is an envelope or box and that will impact the cost of shipping
  • Frequency of shipping the items
    • How often am I going to be shipping the items, as this is something that also needs to be considered so that it can be noted in your shop policy?

Cost of making the item

What is the actual cost of making the item needs to be determined as this is going to help you determine your sales price?  I know that you might be getting some of your supplies on sale, and I do recommend trying to watch for sales.  You are also going to have to figure out the cost if you need to purchase something when there isn’t a sale, either for a custom order or even to restock something that is in high demand.

Sales price

Now, the determination of the sales price of the item is going to have some different factors, and all of these are going to need to be considered when you are pricing your items.

  • Cost of making the item
  • Possible fees that are going to be incurred for listing and even selling the item.
  • How much profit do I want to make on each item?  

Having an actual ETSY shop

Now that you have figured out some of the things, there are now other things that need to be considering once you decide that an ETSY shop is something that you want to do. 

  • Listing
    • The listing is something that is going to be the biggest part of having an ETSY shop, and it does involve a few things.
      • Description – you will need to figure out how you are going to describe your item so that someone else understands what it is and would be interested in purchasing it.
      • Photos – you must have a minimum of one photo for each of your items.
      • Shipping – does your sales price include shipping as part of the price or are you going to charge shipping separately.
      • Tags – there are short phrases to help people find your listings when they are doing searches.
      • Inventory – are you going to have some stock. If you are going to have the stock, you can add the quantity to the listing, and that will show the customer that there is more than one of an item available for purchase.
    • A piece of advance that I can offer about your listing is to make sure that you add items at various times and don’t put everything up at once as each listing is a new item and something that might appear on someone’s view.  The other piece of advance is to have your listing auto-renew because then you don’t have to monitor when an item will expiry and not be available in your shop.  The auto-renewal is a great tool, especially when you start to have multiple items available.
  • Fees
    • Fees are something that you are going to have to look at because again you are going to be incurring costs when you list and sell your items.
      • Listing fee – for each listing that you put up on ETSY, there is a listing fee.  If you have multiple of a single item, you can add the quantity, and you will incur a new listing fee each time you make a sale.  The good part of having multiple of an item available is that as soon as one sells, your listening is updated with the new quantity, and it shows again in your shop.
      • Transaction fee – these are the fees that you are going to incur when you make a sale.  It is a percentage of the actual sales price and also a percentage of shipping fees if they are separate.
  • Messages
    • With ETSY, you will be able to get messages from potential and current customers.  The messages you receive are something that you will need to reply to, as this also impacts your customer service.  You can have the messages show in your email account as well as the ETSY app, so you can manage the messages on a timely basis. 

Having an ETSY shop can be extremely rewarding, especially once you start getting sales, and the reviews start to appear.  Each customer can do a review on the item that they received, and they will rate it based on sales between one and five.  After rating the order and your customer service, they can add an actual comment to explain what they thought of the item as well as your service. There are always going to be things that you will learn as you start having a shop, and then you can make the changes and move forward.  Another good thing is to ask someone that has an ETSY shop about their experience because they will give you the advice to assist you in finding the process a little easier. 

I know that I talked to someone that helped with an ETSY shop before opening my shop, and I appreciated their input.  If you are thinking of having an ETSY shop and would like to talk to someone about it, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or other ETSY shop owners because a lot of us had to figure out things and are willing to share our experience.