Thursday, September 27, 2012

Etsy Prototypes

Over the past few months Etsy has started letting users opt in to prototype features before they become available to all users. I really recommend keeping an eye out for the prototypes because they can give you some great new features before everyone else gets them. The downside? These are prototypes which means they often still need a little work and change frequently.

Etsy makes it easy to try out the prototypes, you just join the team for the prototype and start using the features. Here are the prototype teams currently available, but keep an eye on the Etsy Announcements for new prototypes that are available.

Shop Stats - This team is for people who want to test and provide feedback on new Shop Stats features.
Listing Variations - Allows you to add options to your listing that can be selected in drop down menus.
Add Item to Treasury from Item Page
Saved Item Stash - This prototype makes it easy to gather items as you shop. Just drag and drop items to the bottom of the page.
Seller Opportunity Tools - Help find product ideas and trends
Similar Items in Search Results - Find what you are looking for faster when filtering by similar items in search.
Shipping Improvements - This Prototype is for people who want to test and provide feedback on improvements to Shipping features before they're available to everyone

And a bonus team I suggest joining: Etsy Apps. Discussion and reviews of 3rd party Etsy Apps.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Preventing Burn Out

Running your own handmade business is great, you can work in your PJs, your boss always agrees with you, and you get to have fun at work. Most of the time.

Day in and day out creating the same jewelry, bags, soaps, etc. can wear you down. The stress of keeping up with everything can lead to burn out. I hit that point at the beginning of this summer. After preparing for, and selling at, a big event (which went great) I didn't want to even look at clay again for a while. After a self imposed vacation from making jewelry I feel much better than I have in a while. I think I may make time for doing the same again after the holiday season. So here are my tips for avoiding burn out while still keeping the creative juices flowing:

  • Explore a new or different medium. I spent a whole month drawing and painting, neither of these things is new for me but I hadn't done much recently.
  • Make time for yourself. Go running, take long hot baths, get a massage, etc. just focus totally on yourself for a while instead of your business (or partner, or kids).
  • Learn something new that is unrelated to your business. Take a class or watch a lecture series on iTunesU.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Watch Project Runway.
  • Take your camera on a walk and photograph anything that look interesting, resist the urge to look at the photos until you get home.
  • Go to a concert.
These are just a few ideas. What do you do to avoid burn out?
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