Category Archives: HoopMama Talks

Should Your Craft Business Have A Facebook Group Or Page?

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, BUT I DO NOT RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES THAT I DO NOT USE AND LOVE MYSELF. READ MORE ABOUT THIS IN OUR DISCLOSURE POLICY.

This is a question I see pop up A LOT. We all want to start our business out on the right foot. We want to know that we know what we know… before we ever take that leap. While I can’t exactly answer what is the perfect direction for your business, I will absolutely share what I have learned and what has worked for mine.

I know people switched to groups because of how Facebook algorithms made it harder for your page posts to be seen, but while that is a factor to consider… the same is still happening with groups as well. If people do not interact with your group, they will not see your posts. So once again you’re hitting that “I’m invisible again” wall.

I know your whole goal is to be seen. I think that is a lot of crafters’ goals. But I think another goal is to be seen without having to spend loads of valuable supply shopping money!

So what works the best? Here’s my take on it. Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s just like any professionally confused person would do.

Pros: Facebook Page

  1. Public. Meaning anyone can see your posts even if they don’t “like” your page. If they’re searching around and stumble on your page, they’re much more likely to be ready to browse. If they have to push “join” and then wait for approval. They may move on before they’re accepted.
  2. Sharable. I can’t tell you how many times I want to share posts that are in groups and I can’t! We know the phrase “sharing is caring,” right? A share by a fan will go a super long way for your exposure. Do we want to beg for shares? No. But if you put out good content that your audience WANTS to share, we want to make it as easy as possible to do so.
  3. Found On Google. If someone is going to google searching for a “red ruffle raglan for toddlers” and that happens to be something your business sells, you have a good chance in showing up in those search results. Obviously other SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes into play here. But since pages show up on Google, that’s a huge plus for the page vote.

Pros: Facebook Group

  1. Control. Since you manually have to “accept” each request, you have full control over the people in your group. Don’t want competitors seeing your stuff? Don’t let them in. Now you CAN ban people from your Facebook Page… but they have to “like” your page first. If they don’t ever push that “like” button, then they can just keep trolling along and you can’t do anything about it. So if you want control over who sees your posts, then a group is a great option.
  2. Community. Groups make it easier for people to post and ask questions. This builds a community that is AMAZING for your business growth. When you look at the “selling” aspect of your small business, people don’t like to buy from businesses. They like to buy from people. Building relationships, showing your personality and ability to connect, is very important in small business. If people don’t/can’t connect with you. They will move on to the person they feel they can.
  3. Comfort. Some people are very careful of what things they post on. I am one of those people. With closed groups, the public can’t see posts or members, but things like the member list is available for every joined member to review. This comes into play if your customers may have customers or competitors of their own in your group. Original Olivia may not want to comment on things if she can see that Copycat Carla is also in your group. But if Olivia can easily check the member list to make sure Carla’s not around, she may feel more comfortable to declare “I WANT 8 OF THESE!!” on your posts. If you sell finished items, you may also see that people want to feel comfortable in the fact that family members can’t see what gifts they’re getting for Christmas, etc. Or ya know, that their husbands can’t see what they’re googly eyeing in your shop.

 

Cons: Facebook Page

  1. Visibility. This is the scary one that turned people away from pages to begin with. It is a little harder to be seen on Facebook pages because the way Facebook looks at it, you’re a business and businesses need to pay for advertising. There definitely are ways to be seen without paying for exposure, such as content that your audience reacts to in the form of a like, comment or share (without begging them to, of course.) Videos & Facebook Live are the #1 way to get your posts seen the most. Too many salesy type ads and your customers will just move on. You must get them engaged without looking needy. Build that relationship with them with great content and they’ll give you the responses you’re looking for.
  2. Consistency. Consistency is another key with Facebook pages. If you aren’t posting regularly, and I mean daily (if not multiple times a day,) you’ll get swallowed back up in the irrelevant category again and it’ll be harder for people to see your posts. But if you’re posting consistent and relevant posts, you can overcome this con with no problem.
  3. Algorithm Changes. This is one that will always be a con and there is no sugar-coating or overcoming it. Facebook is constantly revising and updating algorithm changes to make things more efficient. Sometimes what works for you one day, will not work the next. However, this isn’t something to be mad about, it’s just something we have to accept and know that when something changes, we may have to spend some time in the library learning how we need to evolve along with it.

Cons: Facebook Group

  1. Not Public. We mentioned this before but one thing to think about is the fact that not only are your posts non-sharable, but your chance of going viral on a post goes down to nil. You also have to do triple the work when you have a new item for sale because not only do you have to post in your group, but you have to go post in all the other relevant groups or on your personal page. When you have a new product with a page, it’s much easier to target a marketing ad to hit an area of your market that may not have seen your page before.
  2. Notifications. Ever see the dreaded “f” on Facebook comments on a page? They put the “f” because they want updates on the post. (PSA, some phones have the ability to click the top right arrow on the post and choose “turn on notifications” and it’ll keep you updated when someone posts.) But these types of notifications can be a huge turn off for a lot of people. Say someone just wanted to say, “this is pretty” now, every time someone else posts, they’ll get a pop-up in their notifications that someone else has commented on that post unless they turn off notifications. This can steer people away from commenting because they don’t want their feed clogged with updates. It’s a quick fix, I know. But it can still lead to people unfollowing your group completely because they don’t like the unnecessary updates when they didn’t really want to be a part of the conversation.
  3. Time Consuming. I say time consuming because it IS more of a community rather than a business platform. Since people can post directly to your page, there are more questions and comments that you need to be ready to answer. For me personally, this has been hard as my group has grown. So take into account if you have the time to devote to one-on-one conversations as well as running the ins and outs of your business.

In Summary:

I do not think a Facebook Group is BAD. In fact, I think it is very good and I know my business wouldn’t be where it is without it. But I would never say to JUST have a Group. I believe that with only a group, you are drastically limiting your reach.

The first year of my business, I only focused on my group and I grew it to just over 3,500 people. My page had only 1,000 or so. By the end of year two, the group had grown to 11,000 and the page to 7,000, Now, this year, my fourth year, my group is at 30,000 but my page is over 67,000! The page definitely stayed smaller for quite some time, but once I became regular about posting and giving content people WANT to engage in and share… it started to explode.

Don’t limit yourself and your potential. Constantly look for ways to grow. If you started with a group, it’s not too late to start a page and get that growing. You may find that you post less on the group, or post to the page and share it with the group. Or you may find that you end up writing different posts for each and sharing posts from the page here and there. There’s no right or wrong way.

We’re all in this small business thing together. My goal is to help you grow so that you can accomplish your goals. Whether those goals are being home with the kids, or just creating an extra income for your family. I know how it feels to want to succeed, and I’m so glad I can share my experience with you.

HoopMama Real Talk – Price For Profit

Can we have a real talk? Let’s real talk.

If you craft as a business… do you know your profit margins?

I visited an Etsy shop the other day where she had ADULT… NEXT LEVEL RAGLANS…. for $12.50!

Whaaaaat?

Guys. Guys. STOP undervaluing yourself!

NL 6051 Raglan costs me $5.74 so let’s assume she has a tax ID and gets that price, too. Hers were vinyl, So what… $3-$4 there? Etsy and processing fees being around $1.38….

At MINIMUM, the cost is $9. (Let’s leave Etsy fees out of it for the sake of people not selling on Etsy… and also because that math is DE. PRESS. ING) But that $9 doesn’t even include wear and tear on the machine or electricity either.

So her profit? A whopping $3.50.

If it took her 30 minutes to make the shirt from start to finish…. she now officially makes $7/hr.

Let’s do some math real quick.

If you want to make $1,000 a month from this crafting gig, at $7/hr… you would have to work about 36 hours a WEEK. 72 shirts sold at $12.50! Most people wouldn’t accept a REAL job making that amount. Much less one we build ourselves.

Don’t even make me do the math if you want to make $5k or $6k a month!

I personally don’t want to see RAGLANS for anything under $24 on SALE and $28-$32 regular. ($15-$23/shirt profit using the same math above)

Before you say “but my area won’t pay that”

Look at the device you’re on right now… your market does not have to be neighbor Tiffany with the 5 kids that can only pay $10 a shirt. Want people who can afford $24/shirt? The internet goes to their houses, too!

If you want your market to be Tiffany, the Tiffany needs to be okay with Gildan T-shirts and not Next Level RAGLANS! If you’re doing this as a BUSINESS…. there MUST be profit involved.

And before you say “$23 profit?! I’m not greedy, I don’t need to make $46/hr”

You price high so that you CAN offer discounts on special occasions. So you CAN replace something when it’s lost in the mail. So you CAN do giveaways. So you CAN offer free shipping. So you CAN…. pay bills!!

PLUS wouldn’t you rather make ONE shirt for $15 profit, than FIVE?

Just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you’re doing it right.

If you have these rock bottom prices and you’re 2 items being lost in the mail away from closing your doors? It’s time to change something.

PRICE FOR PROFIT….PAY YOURSELF…. you’ll enjoy your job a lot more.

#15DollarsAnHourMinimumAfterExpensesForCraftBusinessOwners #WheresMyPicketSign

3 Reasons To Be On Etsy And 3 Reasons Not To Rely On It

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. Read more about this in our Disclosure Policy.

The HoopMama Facebook group has had a lot of talk about Etsy and their fun little trademark bullies lately. So I just wanted to explain what I think Etsy’s roll should be in your business. Some people avoid Etsy like the plague, which I completely understand. It is frustrating when you’re running your business the right way and then someone comes along crying and yelling that you’re infringing on their trademark that they just APPLIED for yesterday. Trust me, I’ve been there, too. With rolling eyes and gritted teeth, I’ve been there.

Etsy is a platform that is owned by someone much larger than us. Therefore, they get to call the shots. Period. Their house, their rules. One of their rules is that they do not mediate trademark allegations. That means any Betsy on Etsy can cry trademark wolf, and get your listing taken down. Etsy does this because they are not lawyers and if they said they would mediate, then they would legally be responsible for their actions. So they take a hands-off approach and sadly, trademark bullies end up running the show sometimes. But again, their house, their rules.There isn’t much we can do to change that.

However, their house…. is a big one….. and it gets LOTS of visitors. Visitors that you wouldn’t ever get on your own. For that reason, I think Etsy can have a good place in your business if you are not relying on it completely as your entire income.

But before we dive in, I want to say this before I say anything else…. YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Not just a Facebook page. If you want to grow a brand and appear as a professional… you need a website. Whether it’s an entirely free one from Weebly, a $30 plan from Shopify or BigCommerce, or a self-hosted site through WordPress, you NEED a website! (I said it three times, which means I mean it!)

I recently left BigCommerce and now currently have HoopMama and CraftMockUps a wordpress site. I used to use Bluehost for hosting but the demands of my site were more than their servers could handle. But keep in mind, I have THOUSANDS of DIGITAL products. So that definitely comes into play.

But there is A LOT to learn on a wordpress site. And there’s ZERO support like you have on the other platforms. I mean, if you’re a YouTube ninja you can definitely work your way around your site. But if it breaks… good luck, Chuck! You have to figure it out or hire someone. Over time you do learn what breaks your site and you do get comfortable with it, but there isn’t a “help” button to push. So if you want to do it this way, just know that it is very hands on! But with hands-on…. it means you learn SO much in the process!!

You can get a FREE 2 week trial for Shopify or BigCommerce if you use my links! If you’re thinking of going the WordPress route, if you use my link for BlueHost, you can get your hosting at $3.95 a month instead of the normal $7.99!

But back to Etsy and Trademark trolls.

Here are 3 reasons you SHOULD be on Etsy.

  1. Shoppers! As mentioned before. Etsy has a large audience that you will most likely never reach on your own. Etsy has over 25 million active shoppers! People know Etsy. They are comfortable buying from Etsy. They go to Etsy probably before pulling out their list of small websites. Since Etsy is a marketplace, shoppers know they can look at LOTS of items on one site and not have to go to a million websites.
  2. Competitors. Wait… what? Yep! I’m saying you SHOULD be around your competitors! If your competitors are on Etsy, then they will get 100% of the sales from Etsy-only shoppers. YES, you want to draw your customers to be loyal ones, but that is why once you get your customer through Etsy, you entice them to sign up on your newsletter through inserts in their packaging, and then draw them to your website! OR entice them before they ever make a purchase! For example, my SVG shop on Etsy’s banner looks like this:Then in the shop announcements, I have the link to my Mailchimp newsletter. Mailchimp is completely FREE for up to 2,000 subscribers! I have a blog post about why you need a newsletter that I will be adding onto shortly about how to build your list. But if you have an Etsy shop, having an offer like this in your banner is one great way to help!
  3. Get Experience.. and Some Tough Skin. Etsy shoppers are ruthless sometimes. They are brutally honest and live in a Amazon Prime “get it to me in 2-days” world. Don’t get me wrong I LOVVVVE my Amazon Prime, I did the 30 day trial a few years ago and I now use it for everything. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, click here and you can get a 30 day FREE trial, too! But as handmade shops, we just simply AREN’T able to pump out items AND have them delivered in 2 days. I mean, I don’t know about you but my magical delivery fairy is out partying with my cleaning fairy and it just isn’t going to happen. But since these customers are so honest, they will provide a LOT of valuable feedback that you can consider and then make adjustments to your business. Some things may be a little hard to hear, but I read a the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz many years ago and I the one agreement that has always stuck with me was “don’t take anything personally.” Learning to do that, has really helped me so much in my business. Etsy shoppers will challenge you, but will make you stronger.

Here are 3 reason why Etsy should NOT be your focus.

  1. Fees. Etsy has a lot of fees. They have 20 cents per listing, plus 3.5% of the total sale. Not to mention the other fees like PayPal fees and direct checkout fees. HOWEVER, you will have PayPal and credit card fees regardless of where you go. So it’s really just the additional .20 per listing and 3.5% of total sale that is the big difference. That is actually a small price to pay for the reach that Etsy provides. On a $20 item, your Etsy fees will be $.90 cents. Not too bad when you consider that the sale may have come from an Etsy-only shopper that you may not have been able to reach on your own. But when you start building your e-mail lists, and start growing your brand, those fees really add up fast! So you don’t want your customers to STAY shopping on Etsy! You want to get them… and then move them over to your website for future purchases!
  2. Not Yours. This one is the scariest one to me. It’s not mine. If Etsy goes under, or if they decide to close me down… I have no say in the matter. It’s completely theirs. Which is one reason why if you do have an Etsy account, you should be backing up your data every so often. You can do this by going to: Your Shop – Shop Settings – Options – Download Data. Then downloading your current items for sale as well as your orders. This way, if your shop does get closed or suspended, you can still have access to all your item descriptions and details. You items SHOULD already be on your website *ahem* but in case you don’t have that fully operational yet, it’s helpful to have all of this information just in case you need to reference it in the future.
  3. Trademark Tolls. Sigh. I know many of you just rolled your eyes. I have nothing bad to say about people who go through the steps to trademark something the right way. It’s the people who put in an application on Monday and come out guns-a-blazing on Tuesday! It takes 3 months to be reviewed by an attorney, and that’s just to be reviewed! No promise of if it actually is going to go through or not. Many of these bullies are known for trying to enforce things that they don’t really have full rights to at all, which can be very frustrating and confusing to those of us who are trying to play our cards right. It is very important to understand your legal rights. As a mompreneur, sometimes it is hard finding the correct information and resources but thank goodness there are people like Joey Vitale in the world! He is an attorney for creatives and he is focused on businesses like us! His firm, Indie Creative Law, has a WEALTH of information listed on the website. His blog is full of trademark and copyright guidance that will leave you feeling empowered. He is truly an answer to the “small-business” world!

In Summary:

I personally believe that Etsy does have it’s place. But I also believe that you will and SHOULD grow out of Etsy. You should one day get to a point where you say “I don’t need it.” Which is where I got to last year with HoopMama. It’s such an awesome feeling to own your own website and not fear a huge company shutting you down for a reason that you’re not even clear of.

I know it said it three times at the beginning of this post, but YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Etsy cannot, and should not be your only revenue source. But if you look at with knowing that it could be gone at any moment, then that is when I believe that it is okay to have a shop because it can be a great extra income source as well as a way to grow your customer base if done properly.

If you don’t have an Etsy shop, but want to try it out. You can get 40 FREE LISTINGS by using my link. However, if you’re doing just fine on Facebook and still have zero interest in Etsy, I HIGHLY recommend trying out the free trials of Shopify or BigCommerce and getting your website up and going.

If you go the website route, and find that you need a little more freedom than what the Shopify or BigCommerce templates provide, then going to WordPress with BlueHost hosting will be a great move! No matter what you do though, I do recommend to purchase your domain name from somewhere like GoDaddy because if you do the “free domain” that the other’s offer, sometimes they hold on to your domain and you have to wait until a year is up to point it to another host. Meaning, if you start with Shopify, then later want to go to WordPress. Shopify will hold on to that domain until your year is up, regardless of if you cancelled your website plan with them.

The more people you have coming to your website, the more chances you have of them not going anywhere else! If you give your Etsy shop, they may be distracted by a competitors item and even though they went to visit your item… you lost them to your competitor. I always say to let Etsy customers find you on Etsy. You should promote your website only.

Building your business is hard and expensive, I get it. But the ultimate goal is to be able to hold your own. If you rely on Etsy for your businesses success… you will only be as successful as Etsy algorithms allow you to be.

So one more time, just for fun, GET A WEBSITE!

Never Be Bullied

Today I want to express to you guys how important it is to know the legal rights your business has. I know we hear the words, “law, legal, trademark, copyright” and some of us just freeze in fear. Thinking it’s too complicated for us average Joe’s to understand. However, understanding your rights as a business owner is going to be the difference between you being successful or your being bullied into thinking you’re doing something wrong.

I know many of you create your own designs sometimes and don’t always use HoopMama. (Shocking to some of you, I know, hehe… kidding.) But I wanted to share with you what I’ve been dealing with on my end and hopefully provide some encouragement if you guys face anything like this in your future.

Designs ARE copyrighted the moment they are created. No registration is *required* unless you’re ready to move forward with filing suit. But for someone to infringe on a copyright, the person’s design must mimic the original enough to cause confusion to someone looking at both. However, there are designs that can’t fall into copyright protection because there must also be an element of creativity in the design that makes it not easily copied.

In other words, if you take Arial font, and type out “I love my socks” and put it on a shirt, there is nothing to protect in this “design” because anyone can use Arial font and type out some words. But, if you hand draw a sock image, use 4 different commercial fonts or handwriting, have a custom layout that provides creativity…. you are more likely to have some protection around it if someone were to copy.

BUT, if someone ALSO creates a custom design around those words, that does not replicate yours, it is not infringement. That’s just time to know your idea was a good one, pour a glass of wine (or drink of choice) and market your item the best you can.

Here’s the part that might sting a bit. It always does to me. You may be the first person to put “My crafting brings all the sales to the yard” on a shirt, but the phrase does not, in any way *belong* to you. You may hate seeing people use it, but unless you go the route of trademarking and making that phrase your branding, anyone can use those words. ANNNNYONE. Even Competition Catherine. Sorry. I know that bites. But… that’s why you just keep moving and growing onto the next thing. Stay a step ahead and they’ll always be behind you.

Attorney Joey Vitale, of Indie Law, has a lot of information on the difference in copyright and trademarking if you would like to explore the details of this further.

In general, though, you do want to avoid copying artwork and designs directly. This happens to me a lot. Someone sees my design on a shirt, they don’t know they can purchase the design (or decide they don’t want to) and therefore, they copy it or even trace it. That is infringing and is illegal. I’m not the only one this happens to. It happens to probably most designers. If you’ve done this yourself without knowing it’s illegal, now you know.

You also need to keep in mind that brands of ANY SORT are protected, and you want to run run run… runnnnnnn run from using them. Disney, NFL, MLB, YouTube, Oreos, and phrases like “Onesie,” “Koozie,” “Dilly Dilly,” etc… If it’s a brand… DON’T TOUCH THEM.

Non-trademarked phrases are fair game. Do NOT be bullied by someone saying that they licked it so it’s theirs. Obviously, that doesn’t mean go follow your favorite designer and just copy all their phrases and do your own versions. That’ll just create some muddy water between you and that designer and that’s not worth it. But using the same phrase as someone else is not illegal. Copying the design is illegal. Using the phrase in an original design, is not.

Most IP (intellectual property) attorneys who will do a free call with you to explore these topics further for a specific situation. That’s as simple as a Google search to find one in your area, picking up the phone, and not being scared of saying “ummm” and “soooo like….wait” in your efforts to understand.

Or, as I mentioned earlier, Joey Vitale is another fabulous resource and his focus is geared towards creative entrepreneurs like us. His website is www.indielaw.com and I STRONGLY suggest you dive in and learn your legal rights as a business owner.

Do NOT be bullied. Do NOT cower. Educate yourself so you can be prepared for if and when someone tries to tear you down.

Meet The Girls: Emma The Encourager

ust a thought for today real quick before we move into the weekend.

It hit me this week that our society is obsessed with shaming others and making them feel like they aren’t valuable or worthy of praise. Moms are shamed if they work, if they stay home, if they breastfeed in public, if they bottle feed, if they breastfeed too long, if their kids have a new outfit every day, if their kids are wearing old shoes… it goes on and on.

Women in general are shamed for speaking out, not speaking up, being overweight, being on a diet, being muscularly toned, wearing a swim suit when “oh my gaaaawsh how is she wearing that” is whispered all around her. Women are shamed for wearing make up and heels, wearing a mom bun and sweat pants, being too “christian,” and then of course… being too “salty”…. again…the list goes on.

Then…if you want to better yourself, you’re shamed for being an overachiever, if you are happy where you are… you’re shamed for settling or being lazy.

There seems to be no “middle” ground. People will shame others… why? I’m convinced that while some of it may be “not meant that way” I think many people do it just to make themselves feel better about the choices they’ve made in their life.

Now… what really hit me hard this week is… crafter shaming.

Mean. Ole. Craft shaming bullies.

I’ve watched posts where someone is brand new to crafting and posts their creation and in the comments you’ll see everything from, “it’s off centered, but it’s still cute” to “Eh *I* would have done it this way” to “you spelled that wrong” to “are you really trying to sell this?” and then thankfully I’ll see “great job! You’ll get the hang of it! Just have fun!”

That last comment is made by Emma The Encourager. We like Emma.

GUYS! WE HAVE TO STOP SHAMING AND START ENCOURAGING EACH OTHER!!!!

We don’t know the life on the other side of the screen. We don’t know their pains. We don’t know their challenges. We don’t know if they just lost a loved one, or are fighting a disability, or suffer from depression. We just don’t know!

YOU have the power in your words to completely destroy someone… or radically uplift them and change their mood, outlook… or even their life! YES, even through a computer screen, you have that power LITERALLY at your fingertips.

I challenge you to think twice before pushing “send.”

Words are powerful, powerful, powerful things. Please choose them wisely.

Letting Go Of Perfect

In a world of Pinterest perfect craft rooms and Instagram rustic chic collections, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by perfection. Every time “that girl” shows up in your newsfeed, it makes you question ever even purchasing your machine.

I get it.

Doubt follows you around like a shadow. Always right there, ready to chime in whenever an opportunity arises. (And it seems to find lots of opportunities sometimes.) But while doubt will always be ready and willing to participate in your journey… if you want to grow your business… this is one thing you must let go of.

As I’m typing this out, I considered what the word “doubt” is. Is it an emotion? Just a state of mind? Or is it something more? Doubt arises when you aren’t sure about the end result. I decided that doubt is a thought process. It looks at the road ahead and decides to take every bad turn as the only option available. While doubt is not in itself an emotion… it does typically bring friends like anxiety and sadness along for the ride. Now, we know there’s no way to be successful if we let anxiety run things. So the good news is that since doubt is a THOUGHT process. We just need to CHANGE our thinking!

I know this can be hard. But before you throw in the towel, first recall the quote, “don’t think of how many things that could go wrong, think of how many things that can go right!” This quote is a perfect example of a change of thought process… while talking about changing a thought process! It’s a conscious decision to STOP the negative thoughts and redirect them. As soon as we see our minds turn doubtful, stop, and redirect focus where there is positivity and promise!

Now fear is another annoyance that likes to show its ugly face. Fear doesn’t lurk like doubt. Fear jumps out in front of you and says “the sky is falling!!!! The world is over!!!!” with even some pretty small scenarios. But typically fear is wrapped around things that are the most important to us. In a business setting, fear usually wraps itself around money. It says that there’s no way you will be successful and it will just be money lost and then, of course, the world will end.

Here’s what I have to say about the truth that doubt and fear have. It’s true that your products may not be perfect. It’s true that your pictures may look like your 6 year old took them on selfie mode. And it’s true that you may find out this wasn’t meant for you. All of those doubts and fears… are reasonable. But. I’m about to debunk them and hopefully it helps you start the journey of changing your thinking.

Doubt: “no one will buy from me because my items aren’t good enough”

DEBUNKED: We all have to start somewhere right? I’m pretty sure when your child brought you their first piece of “artwork” you didn’t tell them that they need to color inside the lines only and snub your nose. You said “it’s beautiful!!! Thank you so much!!” Right? Now, I’m not saying you can make your customers a noodle necklace and expect a $500 check. But what I am saying is that you are starting out. You are learning. Your customer base is small right now. You’re not mass producing to a million people. You’re making Granny Grace a hand towel. Granny Grace has a heart of gold and is going to love that hand towel and keep it on display throughout the year. This is the support you have when you’re starting your business. Granny Grace customers will evolve into Neighbor Rose customers who will talk about you to their friend Grapevine Gloria, and so on and so forth. So in that process… you get PRACTICE and your skill will evolve and refine. There is a reason that they say “grow” your own business. And not “jump in and fight for life with your own business.” Our skill, our customers, our own knowledge, and ultimately our business will all grow together! That’s the beauty of this thing, it grows!

Fear: What if I can’t figure this out, or I hate it, or I decide it’s not for me and I just lose money I invested in these machines and supplies?

DEBUNKED: Sell them. Get your money (or most of it) back. If you buy a machine and supplies for say $1000, then decide it’s not for you, and sell them for $800… sure you lost $200 but that $200 gave you an answer to something you would always have wondered about if you didn’t give it a try. Taking a risk for something your passionate about, is never a bad choice. If you don’t take that risk… you will always wonder about the what ifs.

Doubt: I’ll never be as successful as “that girl”

DEBUNKED: Why not? Because your only customer so far is Grandma Grace? Get out of here with that. I bet you “that girl” has worked her booty off to be where she is. I bet you she encountered more trial and error runs than you can imagine. I bet you she is STILL fighting doubt on the regular. But you know what… I also bet her first customer was Grandma Grace, too. If you’re willing to invest emotionally, psychically, and monetarily, into your business… there are no limits for you. Limits come because we allow doubt to create them. This can be everything you dream of and more!

Fear: Oh my gosh I’m going to mess everything up and waste so much money! I have no idea where to start!!

DEBUNKED: If you have ever gone to college or taken a training course… what did you have to do? Pay tuition, right? Well since we don’t have college for crafting, the “mess up cost” is our tuition and training! With anything made by hand… there is no way to learn, without doing. Say that a few times more. There is no way to learn, without doing. JUMP IN! Take the mess ups as your first class in “mirroring HTV 101” and learn and grow. Look, there’s that “grow” word again!

We get caught up thinking that we have to be PERFECT from the start and that there’s no room for mistakes, because our world will end if we make too many.

But let me tell you a secret. Behind “that girl’s” perfect, clean, crisp and clear pictures and seemingly waterfalls of money… are toddlers running around covered in peanut butter and with no pants, laundry piles, bills to pay, and a moldy cucumber in the veggie drawer of the fridge. Oh yeah… and hard work, mind numbing tasks, sleepless nights, and more tears than anyone would be willing to admit. She worked for it. “That girl” made it happen because she was persistent and did not let fear dictate her next move.

We get wrapped up in the “perfect” things we see and then we allow fear and doubt take that as a signal to attack us at every turn. But the idea of “perfect” is NOT a reality. “Perfect” may look pretty from the outside looking in. But there’s a whole different story behind that Instagram feed that we won’t ever see. As long as we change our thought process, calm our fears with reason, and acknowledge that we aren’t seeing the full mess behind every “perfect” picture… there will be no stopping our growth!

As the year comes to an end, what are you going to let go of before we enter 2017? Fear? Doubt? I don’t know what it is for you… but for me… I’m letting go of perfect.

HoopMama Mission Statement

I want to take a moment and try to explain who I am and what my vision is for HoopMama Designs, LLC.

Before my son was born and I had a small boutique, I was always behind on everything. I had a corporate job and I taught yoga as well. Even before having a child I was busy all the time. I don’t know how to stop, basically. Anyway, I was always rushing to do things last minute, I also missed promoting for holidays because I just never had time. Before I knew it it was August and I hadn’t done anything for back to school, and therefore, lost out on a lot of orders.

I started this business in 2014 when my son was born and left the corporate world completely. I didn’t get serious with digitizing until January 2015. In 2015, I had several people tell me how they were always behind, always doing things last minute, forgetting about holidays, etc. I UNDERSTOOD! So many of you are doing this with kids, or with a “real” job or two as well. I get it!

I created the HoopMama Crafter’s calendar with YOU in mind. A way to stay on top of the upcoming holidays. Scheduling tips and promotion schedules to help you out in your already busy world. It is not meant to take your already working formula and tear it all down and change it, but rather to assist in the things you may not be thinking of. It also provides marketing tips and strategies.

Promoting is 70% of your business. Totally made up statistic but it could be true. If you don’t promote and get the word out there, you are missing out on opportunities for growth.

It is a digital calendar. Every day has a tip or trick or word of encouragement. It has coupons, worksheets to identify your target market a to do list template, and so much more! Click Here For More Details

My college degree is in interdisciplinary studies where I learned about marketing, advertising, communications, and psychology. I have a background in negotiations and sales, which has taught me a lot about how to identify and speak to your target market. I also taught ballet and yoga for many years, which taught me how to plan and create. I am now a mom, who is completely in love with her little almost 2 year old, which has taught me more about life than I ever dreamed. I’m not perfect, and I am still learning and growing every day. But I honestly believe that God has used the pieces of my life and woven them together perfectly to be doing what I’m doing right now.

My mission with HoopMama Designs is to empower the women and moms who want to be home with their kids, or even just contribute to the family income somehow. I have met many, many 6 figure crafters in the past year. If something like that is your goal, know that it CAN be done. I WANT to help you get there. I know the desire to not ever want to clock in again and to do something I actually care about. I’ve found it in my mom business. I want to help you find that in yours.

 

Meet The Girls: Betty Budgeter

It’s time for another HoopMama Talk.

We just finished a week where people spent a lot of money for Black
Friday shopping and will continue to spend as Christmas gets closer.
Here’s what is about to happen and you may be seeing some of it happen
already. People are budgeting, they’re watching their money and trying
to stretch their pennies.

Here’s some do’s and don’ts for some common situations you’ll see a lot, especially in the next few weeks.

Let me introduce you to Betty Budgeter. Betty wants something for her
kids for Christmas and asks you for a quote. You tell her $35. She in
return says “can you do $20?” You want the sale, but realize you’re not
in the lowball business. But you’re stuck with how to reply.

DON’T: DO NOT APOLOGIZE for your pricing! I see so many posts “I’m so
sorry, I can’t go to $20 but I can do $25?” NOOOOOOOOO!!!! STOP!!!! I
ask Target all the time to lower my total before check out and I don’t
get anything! (Kidding, I don’t ask…I just wish it wasn’t as high) In
fact, it’s on me to use coupons, shop smart, and to use my Target Red
Card for my 5% off.

DO: Without taking it personally reply calmly
with, “At this time, I do not have any current promotions. However, if
you allow me to sign you up for my e-mail list, I do send out a 5% (or
whatever you choose) coupon code for first time customers! Would you
like me to sign you up?” (End your sentence with a question that moves
you FORWARD to an end result. Otherwise, you’ll be going in circles with
her) If she asks you again if you could do $25, do not budge. Reply
with, “as I mentioned, I do not have any promotions at this time. Would
you like me to sign you up for the newsletter?” Usually 2 times will
give them enough of a feel for if you will budge or not.

If Betty says “but it’s just a a wal-mart t-shirt, I can make this myself”

DO NOT: Break down your pricing about what you pay for what! I see so
many posts where the ladies go “I know but I have to buy the shirt,
that’s $5, then I have to buy the vinyl/thread, that’s another $6, plus
the design, that’s $4, plus I have to drive out to Armadillo, TX to get
it which is $27 in gas, so I’m actually losing money doing this *sad
face sad face.*” STAHHHHP!!!! When I read these I cringe! If you’re
doing this as a business, OWN your pricing. You decided on it for a
reason. If you don’t stand firm in it, you will always get “runned-over”

DO: Reply again calmly with “I understand that the pricing is not
something that works for your budget right now. I do stand behind the
quality and craftsmanship of my items and I’m positive you will be happy
with the final product. If it does not work for you right now, please
remember me in the future”

If Betty uses the “so-and-so is selling this same thing for $12” ridiculousness…

DON’T: Talk bad about the so-and-so. Don’t go on and on about how they
use poor products and people complain all the time about them. Just
don’t. Speaking bad about someone else reflects poorly on your
character. It’s best to avoid this at all costs.

DO: Reply with
your benefits rather than their downfalls. “I understand my pricing may
not fit in everyone’s budget. I do use the highest quality materials on
the market to ensure a product that will last for more than one use. My
return customers say that they love my products because of the quality
of craftsmanship and detail. I understand that there are other
businesses who sell similar items to me, but I will stand behind my
products 100% and I would love create this for you. If you would like to
move forward with me, I am positive you will love the final product.”

Betty is pretty gutsy and she may even say “fine, my daughter has a
“cricket” I’ll just have her make it. Where did you get the shirt?”

DO NOT: Cuss her out. 🙂

DO: While blocking or just ignoring is what you want to do, remember…
her “daughter with a cricket” doesn’t have a Cricut, she’s just pinned a
lot of things on Pinterest. Once again reply professionally with a
simple response that clearly shows you are not a teacher/tutor or
advisor. A simple “Thank you for your interest in my shop, if you need
to purchase from me in the future, please let me know
:)”

If you are doing this as a business, remember who the boss is and who
makes the rules. You set the tone for the customers you attract. If you
make your prices “work for everyone” then you aren’t really targeting
your business. Betty may not be your ideal client. Betty may be someone
who needs to save for your product. This whole situation is a reflection
of BETTY, not you! Tiffany’s doesn’t apologize that I can’t afford
their 27 karat necklace. If it’s something I wanted enough, I would work
hard and save to make it happen.

Keep that in mind and make sure you are marketing to your ideal client.

NOW, I know a lot of you DO like to help out people and make things
work for their budget. This is where you can use the “if you sign up for
my newsletter, I can offer you x% off”

This gets their
information in your customers list to market to for future products,
sales, and promotions. You NEEEEEEEED an e-mail list! Betty may be out
of money in December, but in April she will remember that you are firm
in your pricing, and she will use her tax return money to splurge in
your shop.

In summary: Don’t apologize, or explain yourself. Be
you. Grow YOUR business and don’t worry about the “other guy.” YOU DO
YOU!!!!

This concludes today’s HoopMama Talk.

Where do
you start with a newsletter?: Mail Chimp is who I use for mine and
they’re FREE for up to 2000 subscribers!- (AFIL link)
http://eepurl.com/cmc14X

Meet The Girls: Barbara McBurnout

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR COMPETITION! FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA BLAH!!!

Let’s talk about competition really quickly. A lot of you may be having
“me too” girls pop up in your town. You know the ones that live by the
“I can make anything! Shirts, hats, rocket ships and even submarines!!
AND I sell it 75% less then my competition!!!” motto. But guys. Trust
me. She is NOT your competition! She is Barbara McBurnout and she will not last!

Even if she does stick around for longer than you
would like, do not let her effect your business and do not let her set
your mindset each day. Yes, she’s annoying. Yes, it’s okay to silently
want to punch her in the ankle. But guess what?? The man upstairs knows
what you need! Has he let you down this far? No? Okay. So don’t worry
about what she does. Her standards of quality items and lack of
expertise will come through to her market and you will be the one left
standing!

I said in the
2017 HoopMama Crafter’s Calendar and it has been one of MY personal
mottos that has helped me grow so much – DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT ANYONE
ELSE IS DOING. You’re ONLY job is to make sure YOU’RE doing what YOU’RE
supposed to be doing and called to do. God and karma will take care of
the rest.

In the words of my sweet friend Jessica, “He’s never failed me before and he ain’t gonna stop this week.”

So tell Barbs “bye bye bye” and keep doing what you do. If anything,
let her drive you to grow and be better everyday… but do not let her
tempt you to lower yourself to her level. She’s attracting the “can I
get this for free?” people while you’re attracting the ones who say “are
you sure you’re charging enough?” And that’s exactly where you want to
be.

You’ve got this guys. Sending prayers up for anyone who needs a little extra motivation today!

Meet The Girls: Mary, Susie & Jill

I have a question. A serious question. It seems like I’m seeing more of
my designs being copied and shared in file share groups and I come
across them daily. Theft and morals aside. I’m trying to understand WHY
someone would want to share a file they paid for? Or even why they would
share one they copied for their own personal use? This is already a
very saturated market, why would you SHARE with your competitors? If you
bought a file, you now did something that someone else wasn’t willing
to do. Therefore, YOU will stand out. By sharing that file… and in
most cases in groups of 20k+ members… YOU just CREATED competition!
Even if you created your own “version” and didn’t pay for the design…
by sharing it with others… you now just ELIMINATED your own
uniqueness!

I do understand giving and sharing as I really try to
do a lot of it myself. But what I don’t understand is in business, why
you would share your work with other businesses? Especially in large
groups where you do not know their intention.

If you’re doing it
out of the goodness of your heart, I commend you and I love your
spirit. However, remember that copying a design and sharing it with 20k
people literally just stole money from the original designer. You may be
doing it out of good will, but the punch in the gut is to the original
creator that worked on it for many hours, when all you did was find
similar fonts, made your own version, and shared it. It may have taken
you 15 minutes to recreate… but that’s because hours of work had
already been done for you. And that is the person you stole from in
order to do “something nice.”

Last I checked, Tiffany’s does not
share items they curate with other stores. When I first started I would
use the common fonts from places like dafont but now I spend time,
energy and (lots of) money finding commercial use fonts that cannot be
found for free at all. My whole purpose in that is trying to be hard to
replicate. As soon as I see a font become well known… I move on to
another one I enjoy. I do this on purpose to stand out. Which is why
these file share groups just confuse me. You should want to stand out
too!

I promise I’m not writing this out of anger. Annoyance to a
degree, but not anger. Most of you know that my vision for MY business
is to help you grow in YOUR business, so believe me when I say I’m just
trying to understand. My view with all these file sharing groups… is
that not only are you sitting in a stagnant pool with people all using
the same designs that “everyone has” and that “anyone can do,” but
you’re also limiting your own potential to stand out!!!

Obviously
my business is designing and I would love for you to buy my files. I
would also love for YOU to MAKE MONEY from my files on your completed
products! I know this is the heart of many designers as well. And it
just doesn’t make sense to me to steal from the person whose PURPOSE is
to help YOU succeed.

In summary:

This is Mary. Mary found
a file she likes. Mary doesn’t want to buy it so she makes her own.
Mary is happy that people like the file and want it for themselves. Mary
then shares it in a group of 75,000 people, and takes credit for it and
never acknowledges the original creator.

Don’t be like Mary.

This is Susie. Susie found a file she likes and decides that her time
to recreate and money to buy commercial use for fonts is worth more than
the $3 that the file costs. Susie buys the file and decides to share
her finished product with a group of 75,000 people. People ask for the
file. Susie directs them to where she purchased the file so they can
purchase it for themselves.

Be like Susie.

But now let’s meet Jill.

This
is Jill. Jill spends hours searching for a design and finally sees a
design she likes. Jill buys it. Jill does not like to show her work
because she does not want her competitors to get on her trail. Jill does
not speak of HoopMama because she wants to keep her tucked away with
the Halloween candy she’s hiding from the kids. But Jill also knows
right from wrong and speaks up when she sees designs being shared or
copied illegally.

It’s totally okay to be like Jill too. We like Jill.

But today… I had to share my “be like Susie” shirt because you Susie’s make my day every day!!!

(And I promise the duck lips are just to mimic the mock-up of the
little girl going around. I promise I don’t take selfies like this