Diary of a Small Business Feb 2022

Well, I have had some lovely time off over the Christmas season and started back to Pottery in early January. I missed my studio even though it's absolutely freezing. A shed in January is not a winning studio space, my small heater isn't able to keep up with the hot air seeping from every gap and crack. But still, it's my frozen sanctuary. Am I Queen Elsa from Disney's Frozen?

Over my break, I had a chance to reflect on a few things. First of all, I had to shake off a slightly disappointing end to last year with slow sales. However, I learned a bucket load and it's spurred me into future-proofing. Here are my thoughts on that.

More Baskets for my Eggs Last year when visibility on Instagram dropped hugely all I could do was sit helplessly watching as each new post barely got seen. The huge influx in activity leading up to Christmas drowned out little old me and my posts. So next year I'll be tackling Christmas a little differently.

However, I want to start building those baskets now so here's what I'm going to try:

- Pinterest - for pushing visitors to my site.

- Tiktok - for varied social engagement

- Etsy - for more sales

- Real-world adventures- for human contact and actual conversation!

No more paid-for promoted ads

I paid for a few posts to be promoted on Instagram - just £10 about 4 times in total in 2021. While I saw some uplift in engagement and followers, over time I would also see the unfollows too. Most alarming of all, I found that engagement with content that I posted AFTER the promoted post had finished significantly dropped. So for about three posts after they would barely be seen. It was enough to tempt me to pay again to promote a post and thus I identified the crafty scheme of Instagram to keep getting you to pay for promoting posts. So to me, the increase in engagement you pay for is balanced back to zero by the decrease in engagement afterward.

That said, I did pay privately for a general pottery account with 100k followers to share my posts and that worked incredibly well for gaining more followers. I paid about $30 for two posts and a re-share of one of those posts. From the second post alone I gained over 200 followers and I haven't seemed to lose many during the three months since. This too is something I want to explore more but I am mindful a) of paying someone privately b) followers don't necessarily equal sales.

Do some offline work

I want to get my head out of the online work, and more into the real world this year. I am still working out what this looks like. Perhaps a market stall, perhaps beginner lessons in clay, perhaps just more networking with other local creatives.

Passive Income

So pottery is always going to be a hit-and-miss income for me. Probably until the kids are at school and I can put some real time into it. So I want to find a way to gain passive income. I am mulling over some ideas but so far don't feel I have the answer. Here are some of them which are pottery related:

- Youtube videos- make videos and get a small amount of money for views. However, YouTube is already swamped full of how-to pottery videos (I watch many of them myself) and I've yet to come up with what my angle could be.

- Patreon- I've yet to have sussed this out but I will investigate.

- Sell pottery tools/ materials- eurgh...

- Write a book about my pottery life. Well ok, it would be a pamphlet but wouldn't you all want to read it..

-Just BE passive about my income. Now this sounds greatly appealing - I could lay all this to rest and just play with clay all day!

Keep a SLOW and POSITIVE mindset

Last year I got a little carried away with comparing myself and my progress with other potters and makers. This is both in terms of Pottery Skills- ahhhh- I want to throw 100 pots an afternoon, but I just don't get enough time on the wheel, so it's slow and steady for me. And ahhh - I want to have a kick-ass marketing rollout - it's my background after all so I do really feel the pressure here. But again, I don't have the time and honestly, it's not my passion either.

It's easy to slip into comparing yourself, especially as my business is all online and I spend a huge amount of time there. The Christmas break did me good, I took a step back, breathe in and let it go. Told you I am Queen Elsa...

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