Advice for 2018 ?

Last year was tough, I just about went bankrupt mid year trying to hold this business together. I had another quick burnout and was forced to walk away for two months and focus on me and my family. This was really enjoyable and life affirming but it didn't pay the mortgage so I pulled it together and got stuck back into it for the Christmas rush.

Facebook advertising isn't what it used to be when I started this business, in fact its not even profitable anymore without a massive commitment to multiple ads, email campaigns, retargetting and very large budgets. The trouble with this is I end up making records for FB and every month I seem to do more for them.

You may have noticed I didn't advertise much last year on FB, I've switch to a tool that takes my products from the website and shares them organically to FB and Instagram etc.
This works fairly well except that FB has been lowering organic reach to force people to advertise.. Groan.

This is a bit scary for someone like myself who has relied on advertising to keep my business ticking over, pay the mortgage and keep the kids fed. 
3 years in business has taught me the toughest months are always January and July. 

I'm grateful that I got in and grew my page to 20,000 likes and an enormous customer base while the advertising worked, but times change and I have to change with them. So i'm on the hunt for something new..

I tried competitions but they make everyone wait to win at the end of the month and not buy a thing all month + FB has been lowering the reach of posts that ask you to tag comment a share.  Arghhh.

This year I've decided to adapt to change and am going to be studying full time, doing a degree in Psychology and collecting a student allowance to balance out the finances.
But I still want to keep this baby alive and ticking over to fill the hole I created last year. I'd much rather give my money to my customers and friends. I know I have an amazing fan base full of wisdom and experience, do you have any great ideas that might help me gain some traction and get more reach and sales ? 

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  • Helen on

    I love your work, I think you are so talented, and unique. Do you have items listed on and The beauty with etsy is it is global so you are not limited to NZ. Felt is a great NZ based site, and it would mean you get a whole new client base. It might also be worthwhile to do some of the bigger festivals in NZ (Martinborough fair, General Collective in Auckland – not sure what is in the South Island), or contacting retailers or art galleries to see if they would sell on your behalf?

    Another idea is to have stock at I wouldn’t because I sell jewellery, so they are small items that can be easily stolen. But large artworks could be worthwhile. I have a friend who sells painted rocks and stones and does really well.

    All the best :-)

  • Lindsay on

    I don’t think you need advice as I think you’ve got this! ??. Study is such a smart move. It will open more doors than you can imagine and is an insurance policy, if you like, for your future. You clearly have huge talent and that talent will still be tapped into when you study. Enjoy this next exciting chapter of your life with your family and all the very best. ?

  • Linda on

    I am so impressed with your talent. I’m wondering if you donated some to places like hospitals, restaurants, movie theatre foyers, cruise ships!! etc, where people spend a lot of time….???

  • Lisa on

    Well done for the past 3 years, putting my thinking cap on what about getting in touch with music groups and companies, i.e. nz music month ,music awards ,music schools, and festivals like the up and coming burning lamb in alk and a e mail to bands ,.good luck

  • MIdge on

    Well done for what you’ve achieved over the past 3 years!! You’ve gone MUCH further than most who work in creative fields.
    The squeaky wheel approach is definitely good. Are you on Instagram, Twitter etc? IG is still pretty good for spreading the word. Amazon now have a ‘Handmade’ selling platform which is taking over Etsy. You could also investigate alternative formats such as bags, cushion covers using an image of your work via the likes of Society6 or Redbubble.
    Stalls at local fairs & events could be worthwhile too.

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