The balancing act

Today, I’ve spent the majority of my time working in my Etsy shop. Wow. My admiration for people who deal in this kind of retail business full-time in order to pay their bills has really grown.

Yes, my shop exists on a series of electronic screens. I don’t have to walk back and forth from the front door to the stockroom or the window displays or the cash register. Thank goodness for that, I guess.

Still and all, Etsy is a huge marketplace, and if you really want to sell something there you will need to put in some time beyond just throwing up a 2-line description and one photo of your product. Too much competition to get away with being a slacker.

If you want to get an idea of how much is involved in running a successful store on Etsy, just go to YouTube and search “selling on Etsy.” Yowsers! And while most of that is geared to peeps who want to make a full-time pay-my-bills business out of their shop, a good chunk of the information you see there is also going to pertain to somebody like me who would be glad to move a handful of paintings each month.

Videos are the new thang on Etsy, so today I made a stock video that I could add to my ceramic coaster listings. Believe it or not, that took a while, from ironing the backdrop to finding the right place (lighting) to film a video, and a few things in between. Just getting the damn tripod and my cell phone to play nice was a chore. Then there were numerous dry runs, trying to keep it under the 15-second length limit while still conveying some useful information. Halfway into the process clouds darkened the sky (and my video set-up) quite seriously for a half hour and I had to just go do something else. But I did get it done.

Then came uploading the video to each one of my 12 listings, and that was a bit of a slog, too.

While waiting for videos to upload, I created a snapshot of my store policies to make them obvious. Then I used the Canva app to create some stills showing the measurements to add to each of the listings.

And believe it or not, there are still some other things I could do to tweak these listings with the hopes of increasing sales…but this is where the balancing act comes in.

Right now I’m okay with the time I’m spending on this. It’s new and novel and the kind of tech challenge I can dig into. But I don’t want maintaining an online shop eating up more of my life than actually PAINTING does. And again, I don’t want commerce to interfere with how much I enjoy painting.

The time I spent today on shop stuff was quite a bit more than any given day, so far. I’m retired, and most of what I’ve invested so far is my time. I’ve got some to spare. It keeps my brain challenged. Oh, and I’ve actually sold some paintings, so there’s that! I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when I think about a piece of my art being in someone else’s living space. Way cool.

Don’t stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed.

George Burns

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