Embracing Imperfection + Free Art Print

shake if off

Yesterday kind of sucked. Nothing particularly bad happened, nothing really happened at all actually. It was just one of those days where I hated everything I made and nothing seemed to be flowing. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there, probably more often than we care to admit. Even though it comes with the territory of being creative, it’s still enough to make me doubt everything, most of all myself. I hate days like this. I can have 100 good days and one of these days is enough to make me question if I’m good enough to be doing what I’m doing.

WHAT!? That’s ridiculous and it has to stop. Immediately. We are human, not machines. We cannot produce perfect art 100% of the time. It’s just not possible. There is no shame in that and definitely not worthy of doubting our entire self-worth on.

So, I’ve decided to embrace days like this¬†and try to learn something from them, instead of pretending like they don’t happen.

Yesterday I embraced being imperfect and shared it with the Instagram world.

Today I am giving you a free downloadable art print. It’s yours. Take it. Print it. Hang it up. Look at it when you’re having one of these days. Shake it off. Just don’t resell it. ūüôā

 

shake it off wall

© Hennel Paper Co. For personal use only.

My 2014 Reading List – For the Creative Entrepreneur

reading-list-2014-promo

So now that we’re well into February (how did that happen?!) I figured it was about time to post my 2014 reading list. Most of these books are geared toward small business, design and creativity since that’s what I focus on in my free time. It is not a reading list for everybody, but it’s my reading list and I hope it inspires some of you. There are a few at the bottom that are focused on the greater good that I’m particularly excited about. I’m currently working on Best Friends: The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary and it’s already wonderful. I may not get through some of these books this year, but I can sure try. If you’ve read any of these books, leave a comment and let us all know what you thought of it!

Money, Business, Design & Creativity

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design
by Marty Neumeier

Start
by Jon Acuff

We Are All Weird
by Seth Godin

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
by Tom Kelley, David Kelley

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
by Michael Hyatt

The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Getting Your Shit Together
by John Carlton

Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
by Pamela Slim

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
by Sally Hogshead

The Compound Effect Paperback
by Darren Hardy

The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul
by Danielle LaPorte

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brene Brown

How to Invest $50-$5,000: The Small Investor’s Step-by-Step Plan for Low-Risk Investing in Today’s Economy
by Nancy Dunnan

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
by Daniel Goleman

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice¬†
by Todd Henry

Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process 
by Blaine Hogan

Normal Gets You Nowhere
by Kelly Cutrone, Meredith Bryan

Die Empty
by Todd Henry

The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship (The Portable MBA Series)
by William D. Bygrave, Andrew Zacharakis


Get Found on Etsy

etsy-get-found-550Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on Etsy trying to figure out how to improve my stats. I want more views, more favorites and more sales. Just like everybody else. I’ve been hearing, and thinking that I understood, everyone saying it’s all about the Keywords. I was tagging my listings, using all 13 available keywords, thinking like a shopper and using words shoppers would think to use. Turns out I was doing it all wrong. I’ve been reading articles from the seller’s handbook and have also found the community forums extremely helpful. So here are my top five mistakes and some other important things I’ve learned along the way.

Mistake #1: Not paying attention to my stats. I always check to see my activity, views and favorites, but I wasn’t really paying attention to where the traffic was coming from. I missed out on some really great features where my cards were published. I didn’t even know that one of our father’s day cards was on Lonny.com until today when I went back to look at traffic sources from this whole year. Um, Lonny is kind of a big deal guys, I would have been telling everyone and their brother about that at the time. P.S. Check that out here.

Mistake #2: Listing Titles! The titles section has essentially turned into another keyword section, more or less. It’s less about describing the item for the shopper now and more about the search algorithms. They way Etsy’s search works, it uses keywords from the title, and the closer the words are to the front of the title, the more importance they have in the search. I thought I was creating good, descriptive titles for my listings, but according to Etsy’s standards my titles were not so great. The absolute most important words should be grouped together at the front. So my old title would have been something like this: “Silent Night Holiday Greeting Card A7” but the new title is: “Cabin Holiday Greeting Card Set of 8 A2, Silent Night, Winter Cabin, Rustic, Snow, Stars, Hand Illustrated, Christmas, Recycled”. Yep. People are banking on the fact that shoppers use the image, not the title.

Mistake #3: Using single word keywords instead of phrases. Apparently using phrases are the way to go. You get more bang for your buck, basically. The best way to use keywords is to use terms that shoppers would look for an item with. So for instance, my old tags were something like christmas, holiday, card, set, greeting, etc. But they should have been holiday greeting, christmas greeting, christmas card set, holiday card set, etc. Descriptive phrases.

Mistake #4: I wasn’t keeping track of my keywords. I added what I thought was good and that was that. Wrong. You have to not only keep track of what you use, but you should be keeping track of what keywords people searched to find you. You need to be monitoring what terms are getting traffic and what terms aren’t. If a term isn’t getting you views, then it needs to go and something else should be tested out.

Mistake #5: I wasn’t looking to see what keywords similar items in other shops were using. That seems pretty basic, but I wasn’t aware that was available information. Apparently it is. At the bottom of each listing page there is a section called “Related to this item”. Those are the keywords. Take note.

Notes, Observations & Research
Once I changed my listing titles in combination with the keywords, my views started going up almost immediately and my items popped up to the first few pages of the related browse sections. Ahhhhh! Why am I just now figuring this out?! Right? If you are reading this, you’re probably thinking the same thing. Below are my notes from my research.

Etsy search is based on RELEVANCY, not recency. Meaning how relevant your item is to the search term used instead of how long ago it was listed for sale. This is why keywords and titles are so important.

1. The most relevant words that would be searched for should be at the beginning of item titles.

2. Phrases in titles should match phrases in keyword tags.

3. Single word Keyword tags are not effective, use phrases instead.

4. Vary listing names (titles) with synonyms. ie: childrens, girls, toddlers, so each similar listing is different. This will help to reach more people.

5. Recency does play a small role in search results, especially when a shopper searches for a broad term, ie: greeting card. Add items to your shop regularly.

6. Use shop stats to monitor and modify what is and isn’t working. Test, test, test.

7. Compare to tags from your competitors. See what’s working for them.

8. Create an ongoing list of tags for your items, to have on hand when you make new listings and also to track what you know works and what doesn’t. Also keep track of the search terms people used to find your shop.

9. Use descriptive words, think about synonyms.

10. Reference the Google keyword planner for ideas.

11. Use the Etsy search bar to start typing in your search term, it will pull up recent searches from shoppers and give you ideas for keywords that shoppers are using.

12. The Relevancy Search algorithm IGNORES punctuation, no needs to use commas or dashes. Google ignores this too, but looks for words grouped together.

13. Search the community forums for help. Use this space to ask informed questions. I find this more helpful than searching through old and potentially outdated articles. https://www.etsy.com/forums

Helpful Articles:
Brainstorming Keywords
How to Get Found in Search
How to Get Found in Browse
Put Your Shop on Top – relevance search
Make your shop more relevant

And for now, that’s all I know. If you know more than me, leave a comment below.

Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!

Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!

This year we have two ways to shop our biggest sale of the year. We’re offering 20% off everything in our Etsy shop with code ENJOY20 OR free shipping on your order above $10 from our website (no code necessary). Take your pick, but don’t think about it too long, only good from now through Monday, December 2.

Hip Hip Hooray We’ve Got New Birthdays

So that title didn’t work out quite as well as I was hoping, but we’ve got a new line of birthday cards nonetheless. And with every new line I launch I get more and more excited, because that means we are that much closer to having a full line of greeting cards, which is my ultimate goal right now. So to kickoff our birthday line we have seven, fresh off the press, beauties. They are all 5″x7″, hand illustrated and printed on natural recycled cover stock. Click on each image to go to the shop listing for more information.

Get ’em while they’re hot.
Inside: Just don’t count ’em.

Happy Birthday
Inside: Live it up.

Have a super birthday!
Inside: Hope it’s more exciting than a flying dog.

Mmmake a wish
Inside: You know you want to wish for more cake.

It’s your birthday!!
Inside: Hot diggity dog. Enjoy!

Celebrate
Inside: Happy Birthday!

Without the Doing, Dreaming Is Useless

ideas

I love new ideas. Ideas are my most favorite thing in the world. And I too suffer from creative paralysis. Does that phrase hit home with anyone else, “creative paralysis”? The first time I heard it something clicked and I realized that I’m not the only one that deals with it. The mental overload of projects and possibilities can be overwhelming. I stumbled across this video today while keeping up on my rss feed and completely fell in love with it. If you are a creative professional and are anything like me, you might just identify with this talk like I did. It’s completely brilliant and insightful.

The process goes a little something like this. I get a genius idea – maybe my best idea ever. I research and gather and procrastinate just a little bit, sometimes more, then finally start working. Then the artistic decisions eventually start to stall out the progress I am making. There are so many choices to make and questions to answer. “Which way is the best direction to go? What should I do here?” This continues until my idea haunts me and I avoid even thinking about it. Not long after the project comes to a complete halt as my brain goes numb with overload of possibilities. I couldn’t restart it again if I wanted to. I begin to loathe my idea. It sits in my studio and stares at me day after day. Then my idea turns on me and I begin to doubt myself and my abilities. But something happens, the time passes and all of the sudden the idea has a new life again. I’ve grown, and learned and I have a new light to bring back to the project. So I work and work and work until its finally finished. I feel accomplished. I’m on top of the world. My creative confidence is soaring. I now understand that the idea wasn’t ready when I first thought of it, something was missing. It needed time to develop subconsciously. No, I wasn’t ready for it. I needed time. Everything is right with the world. Onto the next brilliant idea. Sound familiar? Me too, friend.

One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned is that you take things on as you are ready for them. And that’s okay. Things have a way of silently passing by when you aren’t actively seeking them out. So get ready, give yourself time and trust your instincts. Just don’t wait until you are 100% ready because the day will never come. 90% is perfect.

I highly recommend reading Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. It follows along the same topic line and is hugely inspirational and motivating.

It is not just you.

2012 in Review

2012 in Review

2012. Where should I even begin? It was a huge, wild year for me. I made gigantic strides, huge decisions and even bigger leaps of faith. I began 2012 with this overwhelming desire to make a change. I felt like I was sleep walking through my days and I wanted to wake up. I wanted new. I wanted big. I wanted the chase. I felt void and was desperately seeking to feel that excitement of following my dreams and making a difference in my life. I needed something to change.

That’s how I began 2012 and I am ending it exactly where I set out to be. I made the decision to attend Making Things Happen. That was huge and amazing. Shortly after MTH I reworked my business and started fresh with a new direction that more closely fit my heart. Zero to brand new business in 4 months wasn’t easy and I devoted a lot of my time to making that happen and was happy to do it. I also completed the Making Brands Happen webinars on Branding and the Client Experience. Taking these strides has made my inner drive skyrocket. I have a solid direction that I am excited about and fiercely chasing after in every way possible. Huge ideas are brewing in the studio. One in particular is going to be released in early 2013 and I’m so incredibly pumped about it. It started as a personal project, but I think it will be useful for a lot of people out there like me so I’ve decided to share it with the world. (Blog post coming soon – get excited.)

Part of my success this year can be attributed to finding a few people that have really inspired me, and helped define what I want and how to get there. Marie Forleo, Jessica Hische, Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co., Gary Vaynerchuck, Danielle LaPorte, Gretchen Rubin. And of course, the lovely ladies of Making Things Happen and Making Brands Happen, Lara Casey and Emily Ley. This is not an all inclusive list by any means, but these are some of the major role models for me this past year that I am grateful for.

Speaking of grateful, I’d like to end my 2012 wrap up on this note. One of the biggest things I learned in 2012 was that things can always get worse. This sounds dark and gloomy, but stick with me for just another second and I’ll get to the point. 2012 was a rough year. It was not easy by any means and the challenges presented were tall orders. My 9-5 job was turned upside down as we went from a full team of 7 to a team of 2 in under three months. At every point of this happening I remember thinking to myself, “It can’t get any worse than this.” And you know what, it kept getting worse. And here we are, struggling, but getting by with two people. And what I realize today is that it could still be worse. Thank goodness for the other person that makes up this team of two, without her I would be lost. I’m telling you this not for a pity party, no thank you, but because it has taught me to be grateful for what I have, right now, in this moment, because things can always get worse. There is always something else to lose even when you can’t possibly imagine it. So look around and take note. This year I am thankful for what I have been able to accomplish, for my role models, for my supportive husband, for the support of our incredible customers, for my teammate and for my job – to name a few. This is how I’m ending 2012 and how I will live in 2013. Thankful and excited for what lies ahead.

Cheers to 2012 and to an even happier 2013.
Jayme

Reading List for 2013

2013 Reading List

Being a creative entrepreneur means that I need to be on top of my game. I need to know everything there is to know about running a business, product production, shipping, billing, taxes, customer service, wholesale, blogging, marketing, product photography, trade shows, inventory.. This list could go on for a while and that’s exactly why I am serious about my reading list. During the month of December I am working on planning 2013 and part of that was creating my reading list. I will be writing up a short book review on each of these as I finish them. And while I’m at it I will be doing book reviews on my reads from 2012. (Social accountability, right here folks.) The 2012 books were especially crucial in getting me where I’m at right now, from no plan, no business, no products to being a fully operational business producing and selling my heart out. The 2012 reading list can be viewed here. I’m looking forward to lots of time curled up under a blanket reading these books that I’ve heard so much goodness about.

  1. The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuck
  2. The Charge – Brendon Burchard
  3. Digital Leader – ErikQualman
  4. Recipe for Press – Amy Flurry
  5. Graceful – Seth Godin
  6. Blog Inc. – Joy Cho
  7. How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything – Dov Seidman
  8. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
  9. Like A Virgin – Richard Branson
  10. The Personal MBA – Josh Kaufman
  11. Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value – Mark Thompson
  12. Life’s Golden Ticket – Brendon Burchard
  13. What I wish I Knew When I was 20 – Tina Seelig
  14. Content Rules – Ann Handley
  15. UnMarketing – Scott Stratten
  16. Platform: Get Noticed in a Busy World – Michael Hyatt
  17. The Referral Engine – John Jantsch
  18. The Pumpkin Plan – Michael Michalowicz
  19. Likeable Social Media – Dave Kerpern
  20. Permission Marketing – Set Godin
  21. Purple Cow – Seth Godin
  22. All Marketers are Liars – Seth Godin
  23. Turning Pro – Steven Pressfield
  24. Uncertainty – Jonathan Fields
  25. The Energy Bus – Jon Gordon
  26. The Now Effect – Elisha Goldstein
  27. The Myth of Multitasking – Dave Crenshaw
  28. EntreLeadership – Dave Ramsey
  29. Story Branding – Jim Signorelli
  30. Creative Inc. – Joy Cho
  31. The Art of Possibility – Zander
  32. Live More, Want Less – Mary Carlomagno

Cyber Monday Sale in the Shop

 

Cyber Monday Sale at Hennel Paper Co.

It’s the most wonderful day of the year. Don’t you just love Cyber Monday? I do and to celebrate everything in the shop is on sale today. EVERYTHING! And to make it even sweeter, all holiday items have free shipping. Skip the crowds, grab your coffee and get shoppin’.¬† xo Jayme