Start Selling Online for Under $10

No, seriously. You can. I promise. And it’s not rocket science or brain surgery or other super-hard-job-you’ll-never-have.

Now, before I go any further, let’s just get a few basics out of the way. Don’t bother reading this unless you meet both of the following criteria:

  1. You make stuff. Art, books, scarves, e-courses, printables, graphics, soap, whatever. But you should already be making stuff. Ideally, you have stuff in stock, but you don’t have to yet.
  2. You don’t have a website (or at least not one you’re proud of) or a shop or anything yet. You’re totally, really just getting started.

If the above doesn’t fit you, then this post isn’t going to help you. There are lots of other posts like it on the internet that may, but this one won’t. :)

So it’s really very simple, but it will take some work on your part. Yeah, that whole “work” thing is touchy for some people, isn’t it? ;)

Start Selling Online for Under $10

How to Start Selling Online NOW for Under 10 BucksStep One:

Pick either Etsy or Zibbet and set up an account if you don’t have one yet. Yes, I say pick one, but you could essentially have both. The thing about Etsy is that it’s overcrowded. The thing about Zibbet is that it’s not as trafficked. Doesn’t matter which you choose, though, just pick one to start with.

Start listing your stuff. Now, if you’re going with Etsy, I want you to spend your entire $10 on creating listings. At $0.20 per listing, that means you need to take the time to create 50 of them. If you go with Zibbet and don’t already have one of their paid accounts, sign up for the Starter account at $5/mo. It gives you up to 50 listings and added exposure in the marketplace over free account holders. (Bonus: No listing/sale fees with Zibbet.)

You might be thinking: I don’t have 50 things to list! You’re nuts!

Sure you do. Do you make scarves or blankets or clothing? Create listings for custom work. Do you sell digital items? Create multiple listings. Do you have different packages you can put together after you create your next batch of soaps? Create sampler packs of what you’ve got an list those at a discounted price so people can get a feel of what your full-sized items are all about before they buy.

FYI – You’re not the first person to think I’m nuts. I’m pretty proud of my “crazy” and embrace it like a piping hot mug of coffee first thing in the morning. Crazy is effective, right? Right. So there.

You might be thinking: I can’t do all of that in one day! (OR) I’ve read you’re not supposed to do everything in one day, and you should space it out! You’re nuts!

Yes, we’ve covered the fact that I’m nuts. But you’re nuts if you think I meant that you’re supposed to do all of this in one day. In fact, you’d be better off spreading it out over a couple of weeks or even a month. Pick a day of the week and make it your “new listing day” and list 10-15 new items once per week until you’re done. There’s a method to this madness, Itellya.

You might be thinking: I can’t get good images/copy/titles/whatever together in that amount of time!

I call bullshit. End of story.

Step Two:

The rest of this is free of cost, but not time, so listen up. You have to schedule yourself, just like you would any other j-o-b. If you’re the type to hit back with complaints about having kids and a persnickety husband and another job and mountains of laundry as a “reason” not to do this stuff, then you’re punishing yourself for having a life. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, and there are MILLIONS of people doing what you want to be doing, and successfully. So stop your excuses and suck it up, buttercup. Do the work.

  1. Create your facebook fan page for your business if you haven’t already. Sign in to facebook and click this link to get started. It’s EASY.
  2. Create your instagram account for your business and attach it to your facebook fan page. Use this to do it.
  3. Post pictures of your stuff via instagram. DAILY. Okay, almost daily is fine. Even if it’s “in progress” pictures. Even if it’s the same thing from a different angle.
  4. Make sure your Pinterest account is a verified business account.
  5. Pin your shop listings, one or two per day.
  6. Follow people who are pinning stuff like what you’re pinning. Then they’ll follow you and see your pins and re-pin them. Basic stuff.

Now, go spend your $10, or hit me up in the comments with where you’re stuck.

Finding Your Childhood Audacity

Or… Remembering Your Inner 10 Year Old’s Bravery.

Do you remember your first lemonade stand? I do. Vividly.

Where I grew up, we had well water. An Artesian Well, which to me always sounded so sophisticated.

Our runoff went into the creek across the street, while my neighbor’s runoff came out of a pipe at the end of his driveway, into the rain ditch. People used to “sneak” up in the middle of the night and fill their containers with this “miracle water”. They came from all over. Eventually, they stopped being sneaky and just boldly would park their cars in our yard, driveway, and even would block our driveway, to go get this delicious water.

Remember, this was the EXACT same water that came out of my tap.
The exact same water I made my delicious lemonade from.
Which I was selling for 25 cents a cup.

childhood-audacity-post

So I got really tired of seeing people pass me by to go get this not-so-special “special” water, and not stop to buy my lemonade. Potential customer after potential customer would drive by, smile, even wave at me. And grab some water from the “spring” next door instead of stopping at my stand. So tired of this that I decided to yell over to one man in particular while he was filling up his glass.

“Hey Mister! This lemonade was made with that very same water!”

He looked at me and laughed to himself. I assumed he was going to get into his car and drive off, shaking his head with a smirk or something. Nope, he walked over to me, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief he’d soaked in the cool water first.

My mom had heard me, and of course came outside to see what I was yelling about. The man looked at my pitcher of lemonade and said, “So this WHOLE pitcher was made with the same water as from that spring?”

I said, “Yes, sir. It’s the same water that comes out of my faucet ‘onnacount it’s well water.”

He looked at my mom and smiled, and then asked me how much for the whole pitcher. I tried to imagine just how many 25 cent cups of lemonade would come from that pitcher, and while I was counting in my head, he put a $10 bill on the table and asked if that would cover it.

I looked up at my mom and she smiled. She told me we could always go make more.

He then patted me on the head and said, “Little girl, some day I want you to come work for me. You’re an AMAZING saleswoman!”

As he walked back to his car, I realized that he didn’t even take more than one cup of lemonade with him. He left the whole pitcher.

Now, this can be absorbed with any number of “morals of the story”, but the truth is this: I sold one 25 cent cup of lemonade for $10. Just by being honest, bold, and having audacity.

Fearlessness.
Guts.
Confidence.
Assertiveness.

You HAVE to know that what you’ve got to offer is just as good if not better than what’s available elsewhere. Even if it costs more, even if people prefer what’s free or cheap. By thinking that you have to lower your prices, or just sit there and wait for people to come to you, you’re shortchanging yourself. You’re missing out on your true potential to make money, be successful, and build your business and better yet, your own confidence even more.

I was inspired to write this because lately I’ve seen more and more artists and crafters, even designers and small businesses, just doing the basics (if that) and not going after what they want and deserve.

Is this you?

You need to learn how to market yourself for what you’re worth, regardless what your business is. What you’re worth is what people are willing to pay for your services, and just because your Aunt Sally thinks that you’re charging too much, doesn’t mean you are. Just because other people doing the same thing as you are charging less, doesn’t mean their work is as of high a quality as yours. It doesn’t mean that they have more sales, and even if they do, they’re putting in more actual labor than you are, to make the same amount of money (or less).

I sold a $0.02 (materials cost) cup of lemonade for $10. Just by opening my mouth. By being bold and assertive, all while being honest.

If I just sat there, with my little table, sign, and pitcher that day, I may not have ever sold a single cup.

How can you be more bold and assertive in your business? How can you attract buyers better?

Here’s Why You Need to Buy Local, Buy Handmade

Support Local Farmers!

That’s the same sign I saw at least half a dozen times in every town I went through during a drive out to the country the other day. Signs for Farmer’s Markets and Village Malls and all these rustic, hand-painted calls to action. I stop as often as I can at these things, as well as one-off businesses and shops that offer everything from homemade pies and truffles to handmade soaps and lotions. Why? For me, it’s simple:

I would rather pay $12 for something that was handmade with a passion, and help a local family, than spend $3 and support some international conglomerate that’s making $2.99 of the item and paying a penny to some child in China or Taiwan or India or wherever.

Yep, It’s The Economy, Stupid.

No, this has nothing to do with the book, but rather it’s the epitome of why I feel the way I do. See, I know lots of people who are still unemployed after 2, 3, 5, even 10 years. They announced on the news (and are talking about it today) that for the entire month of August 2011, not a single job was created in the US. Not one. For my unemployed friends and acquaintances, I’ve done everything I can to convince these people that rather than let this get to them, find something they can do – creative, technical, or otherwise – and start their own gig. Build their own life. No one’s suggesting they’ll become “internet millionaires” or anything, but rather they’ll have something they can do with their time that results in an increase of their income. Maybe they’ll be able to pay every single bill they have one month. Maybe they’ll feel that sense of accomplishment when they look in their bank accounts and don’t see a negative balance. Maybe… just maybe… they’ll breathe a little deeper for once.

Even I’m doing it.

I love my new job with BlogWorld because I love connecting content creators and showing them that there’s a place they can go to learn, network, connect, and expand their dreams. I also love consulting and helping people find their passions and build an income with it, too. But what I really love, many days, is when I can steal away to my studio and just play with materials, coming up with something different and beautiful. And why shouldn’t I sell it? If I think it’s beautiful, someone else will. If I think it deserves a prominent place in my home or around my neck, someone else will. I’ve taken my time and skill, and made something that someone else will want. Hopefully, it’s someone who sees the value in owning something entirely handmade by a woman who really has a passion for what she’s doing, and is trying to build a life for the family she’s working to have.

Just like that 20-something young man who makes the beautiful handmade glycerin soaps, saving up money to buy a diamond for the woman he loves.

Just like that newly-divorced mom who is trying to give her kids the world by hand-painting silk scarves.

Just like the 62-year-old grandmother who crochets at night, selling her wares so she can soften the worry lines on her children’s faces when she sees them looking over their checkbooks.

I often joke with my friends, saying, “I just want to make a bajillion dollars by sitting in my studio and making art.” While I wouldn’t turn away a bajillion dollars (else I’d think you’d all have me committed), I don’t need a bajillion dollars. I need to pay my bills and have a creative outlet so my brain doesn’t go all kooky on me. I need to pour my heart into something I make with my hands and have other people enjoy it so much they come back to buy more. And they tell their friends!

See, if I need a new scarf, I head to Zibbet and find one. If I want to spoil myself and get some new bath bombs or lipgloss, I head to local shops. If I want to head out for coffee and a sweet treat with a friend, I’ll go to the family-owned pasticceria before I’ll head to Dunkin’ Donuts. This is because I know that these people, my fellow Americans, New Yorkers, neighbors… I know that they’re struggling sometimes, too. Everyone is. I know that I can help them by choosing to purchase from them. I know that when I cash out in a Zibbet shop, that the person I’m buying from will get an email and it will make them smile. Just like I’ll smile when I receive my package.

There’s a point to this… I swear it.

My point is that even though it’s cheaper to go to “Super Big Huge Box Store That Underpays Everyone” for food, jewelry, bath products, and scarves – it’s also keeping hard-working artisans and passionate people from one more sale. It’s putting money in the wallet of the fat-cats, so to speak. Heck, not even the young Chinese girl who’s slaving over those items is making a decent wage for it, but what’s worse is that the only people in America who are, are the ones who don’t care about anyone or anything but making their wallets fatter. That’s it.

My “day job” involves me getting to talk to people every day. Real, honest people who are just trying to make it through their day, week, or month. I care about them. Do I not care about that poor Chinese girl? Of course I do. But my responsibility lies to those who live “at home”. We’re in a horrible situation here, people. We need to take care of each other. Here, is my point:

Buy local, even if it’s not in your hometown, but rather anywhere in your country. Buy handmade and when you do, make sure you look over that item and picture that 20-something future husband, that struggling, single mom, that worried grandmother. Imagine the look on their face when they realize they just had another sale. You just gave them a deeper breath, and that should make it all worth the extra few dollars you just spent.

6 Appealing Thoughts on Minimalism

I will absolutely admit that the idea of switching to a “minimalist” lifestyle does have a strong appeal to me. I spent much of my life living in a home that had all sorts of chotchkies, dishes on display (two to three sets of “fancy” dishes, plus the “everyday” set in the cabinet!), lots of appliances on the counters, and a general sense of “clutter” by today’s standards.

That being said, I’m not trying to say that my home was dirty, but more like messy. I was always searching for something for an hour, or doing an arm sweep across the counter to clear off a space to do homework or some other project.

I read things like Adam’s page where he posts a photographic inventory of everything he and his wife own, and it amazes me. Leo has trimmed down his personal possessions to just 50 things that are his own, not including family items or things that belong to others in his home. I’m floored.

Maybe it’s a guy thing? Maybe it’s easier for men than it is women?

Nope. Lynnae has a deep-seated desire to be more of a minimalist. Jules minimizes her cooking, by doing it with only 5 ingredients per meal, and gets in and out of the kitchen in 10 minutes. I’m sure there are plenty more.

Okay, so maybe I’m just totally not cut out for this.

I currently live with my boyfriend who owns a computer repair business, so we’ve got computer parts everywhere. While you might think that I could easily work from anywhere with just my laptop and a wi-fi connection, I’ve got an entire room filled to the brim with my art and jewelry supplies. Yes, “stuff” that’s actually intended to serve two purposes: To give me that physical, creative outlet I crave, and to make some extra money.

And I don’t even have all of my “stuff” here. I left about 90% of it back at my father’s house when I moved. Seriously, 90% of my possessions aren’t even anything I’ve looked at in over a year, much less actually needed to keep.

Some of the thoughts and feelings behind the minimalist lifestyle that are appealing to me:

  • Less stuff means less cleaning. Less laundry to do when you have fewer clothes, less dishes to do, less dusting, less cleaning in general.
  • Maintaining means constantly paring down. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying something for a while and then selling it to make back some of your money.
  • Money! Less buying of “stuff” you don’t need means you have more money to buy things you do. Selling off gently used clothing, older appliances, books… all of that money adds up in your coffee can labeled “Vacation Fund” or in our case, “House Fund”.
  • Money #2, you can pay off your debt faster and stop creating more debt. How many times have YOU bought groceries or gasoline on a credit card because you didn’t have the cash?
  • Less clutter means feeling less cluttered. It’s easier to find things you need, when you need them, because you know right where they are. Living in a chaotic environment forces your brain to feel chaos.
  • More time. If you add up all the minutes in a day you spend looking for something, cleaning or doing laundry, or moving things around to create a space for a task, I’m willing to bet you could reclaim at least an hour a day, more like two or three, if you lived more like a minimalist.

I also think that applying the core beliefs above can be helpful in regards to work just as much as it applies to day-to-day living and home life.

I’m not sure I can do it and give it my all, but looking around the apartment I definitely see things that we don’t need, that we could find major purpose for with the money that could be made by selling it. I’m thinking that lots of craigslist, eBay, and garage sales are in our near future.

Dear Santa, I’d Love Some Tassimo T-Discs for Christmas This Year…

Okay, so here’s the rub. The boyfriend and I are enormous coffee drinkers in this house. I mean, all day, into the night. We’ve been through two coffee makers and an espresso/cap maker in the last 10 months together. When I told him that I was getting a Tassimo T20 Brewbot for us to try out, he immediately began Googling and researching out of sheer excitement.

I’m so totally obsessed in love with this thing, folks…

Okay so it doesn't really look like this... but how cute!

The one I received is white, and came with an aqua colored insert which I absolutely love…

I got the same set Gabe Taviano did, and am borrowing his photo of the set.

Okay, so as I sip on my homemade, Starbucks cappuccino, let me share with you some awesome details about this machine:

Introducing the new Tassimo T20 Brewbot by Bosch

  • Makes coffee, tea, cappuccino, latte, crema, espresso and hot cocoa
  • Makes drinks in about 1 minute
  • Includes an exclusive flow–through water heater for faster, quieter brewing
  • Space saving design ideal for apartments, dorm rooms and countertops
  • Smart bar code technology allows the brewer to adjust each beverage with the proper temperature pressure and amount of water
  • Weight: 7.08 lbs. Length: 11.0 “; Width: 7.9 “; Depth: 11.8 “
  • 1.5 Liter water tank
  • Retail Value: $129.99
  • www.brewbot.com

SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase a Tassimo T20 Brewbot online here and save $25 and get 2 free T DISCS!
Also available at many fine retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Target, and more (but the special offer is online at the above link only).

T DISC Technology

Through patented technology developed and designed by Kraft Foods, the TASSIMO brewer reads the bar code printed on each T DISC to ensure optimal brewing conditions, including the exact water amount and temperature. Because the brewing takes place inside the T DISC, consumers can prepare different drinks, one after another, with no flavor transfer from cup to cup. This ensures first-cup freshness and consistent taste every time.

Drink Varieties

TASSIMO is the only Home Brewing system that gives everyone the drink they want, from coffees and teas to rich cappuccinos and lattes. Even hot chocolate. Tassimo offers more than 40 beverage and flavor varieties to satisfy everyone with 13 distinctive beverage brands including Milka, Gevalia, Maxwell House, Suchard, Mastro Lorenzo, Twining’s®, Kenco, Jacob’s, TAZO®, Nabob, Carte Noire and Seattle’s Best Coffee®. TASSIMO even satisfies your coffee-house coffee cravings with a great variety of Starbucks brands – including Cappuccino Primo and Latte Primo.

You know you want one. I mean, seriously… Any coffeehouse style drink, in your own kitchen, with no mess, in under a minute, for a FRACTION of the cost? Hello!

Guess what… I get one to give away! Just check out the rules and regs below and enter to win!!

Giveaway Details

Will choose ONE winner on Friday, December 17th at 8am ET. You’ve got 12 hours to get back to me once I contact you, with your shipping information or another winner will be chosen.

US Residents only, sorry.

Ways to Enter:

1. REQUIRED: Head over to the Tassimo site and find a drink you think you’d like to make, and let me know in a comment. Make sure I can contact you easily if you’ve won.

2. Follow @tassimotaster on Twitter. (Make a separate comment once you do this.)

3. Become a fan of Tassimo on FaceBook. (Make another separate comment once you do this.)

SO that’s it! Good luck, I’m off to make myself another cappuccino! ;)

Disclaimer: I was given a Tassimo T20 Brewbot to review for the purpose of this post. Opinions are solely mine, and were not influenced or guided by Tassimo in any way. I was not paid, except for receiving the machine.

We have a WINNER!

Angeli119 is the winner of the Tassimo T20 Brewbot! I’ll be in touch via email to get your shipping address!

Thanks to all who participated! Don’t forget you can get $25 off and two free T-Discs by clicking here ~> http://bit.ly/Tassimo25