Category: Small Business Tips

It's not selfish, it's self care

It’s Not Selfish, it’s self care and it’s important : Monday Motivation

It’s Monday again, some hate this day of the week; I on the otherhand live for Mondays. I think I get more accomplished on Monday than any day of the week; and today is no exception. Monday is for the Motivated! I hope you all had a great weekend, and I hope all the admins … read more

It's not selfish, it's self care

Monday Motivation Blog Series from Goosie Girl. Shop Small Dream Big.

It’s Monday again, some hate this day of the week; I on the otherhand live for Mondays. I think I get more accomplished on Monday than any day of the week; and today is no exception.

Monday is for the Motivated! I hope you all had a great weekend, and I hope all the admins enjoyed their NEW Sunday Schedules! I’m reading a book right now called “The Wall Street Journal’s Small Business Guidebook” and it has opened my eyes to something that I was overlooking in life, and business. although it didn’t say this specifically, it got my wheels turning and it opened my eyes to the fact that we , as parents and as small business owners. WE are the all encompassing fuel that pushes our businesses forward.. like a car, or a truck… we need to put good things in to make it run well… not only do I believe in the power of positivity, I believe in self-care, healthy boundaries, eating well , getting enough sleep, and schedules that give us some down time to re-charge and re-boot.

It's Not Selfish, It's Self Care

Entrepreneurship is stressful, and micropreneurship- (what WE all do) is even more stressful because we wear all the hats. In this book they talk a lot at the beginning about trying to figure out if starting and owning a small business is really for you. They talk about the toll it takes on your family, the toll it takes on your social life, but it doesn’t talk too much about the toll on you– your bodies, your mental well-being either… It’s important to fuel ourselves with good things such as surrounding ourselves with a positive support network (such as fellow gypsies!) , eating well, getting exercise and enough sleep as well.

If we don’t take care of number ONE (us) , then everything else falls apart and the wheels come off. It’s not being selfish, it’s self-care, and that’s perfectly acceptable and needed to be in the roles we are in. This is one of the reasons I declared Sundays an official day off for the admin team. If we keep putting out, and get depleted then we won’t be much help to anyone.
I hope you guys can take a few minutes and watch this TED talk by Ariana Huffington at some point, it’s like 5 minutes long, and it’s about getting enough good sleep.
I care about each of you, and want you to all take care of yourselves the way that you deserve, quit burning the candle at both ends, and take care of YOU… otherwise your businesses along with everything else will suffer.

Happy Monday, I hope this was motivating!

xo Goose

Drop me a comment below, and let me know if you think it’s selfish to set boundaries, or take care of yourself. Sharing is Caring! Please share with those you think will find this helpful.

Visit my small shop Here. Visit my sister site, Gypsy Spoonful today to see creativity in community~ we’re a collective of 115 small shops, pioneering the way to be unapologetically handmade in a mass-produced world. Have a private thought or comment about this blog? Contact me Here

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop</font color> Written by Heather aka Goose, Owner/Founder of GypsySpoonful Just an FYI, marketing and promotion for us at Gypsyspoonful;  isn’t just about actual advertisements, that’d be boring! We’re not boring here, we’re fun!  So, what we do here at GS is multi-faceted, … read more

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop</font color>
Written by Heather aka Goose, Owner/Founder of GypsySpoonful

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Just an FYI, marketing and promotion for us at Gypsyspoonful;  isn’t just about actual advertisements, that’d be boring! We’re not boring here, we’re fun!  So, what we do here at GS is multi-faceted, as it should be. A good advertising and marketing plan for any business should include a multi-facted approach. Never, ever put all your eggs in one basket. If something happens , you’re screwed. Always , ALWAYS, have a plan B, and C, and D… way to reach potential customers.

I always suggest to all of our new members that they should open an account and have a presence on all of the major social media platforms (for their small business at least) .

Those platforms I suggest are as follows:

Facebook (a page AND a group)

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

MeWe (new)

AllSocial (new)

(I also suggest Redditt and YouTube if you want to be super efficient)

Gypsy Spoonful’s advertising & marketing efforts attempt to cover all of the ways that have potential to reach our market. The reason I believe in a multi-faceted approach is because not everyone is on every social media platform like you.. some might prefer one over the other and if you’re on all of them, you cover all your bases and reach different people on each one.

Here’s a sample of what a good multi-faceted marketing approach looks like:

  • Email campaigns (we do a monthly newsletter plus weekly themed email blasts)
  • Blog Posts, not just to promote our products or shops, though that’s important~ but it’s always important to provide useful content to your blog readers as well)
  • Link exchanges with other bloggers and websites, the more incoming links you have, the greater your rank with SEO
  • Social media (+ boosting some posts) on all platforms
  • Display advertising on niche and specialty blogs
  • Press releases to niche blogs, magazines or newspapers
  • Networking with other small businesses where there may be customer cross-over
  • SEO efforts
  • Paid and non-paid advertising campaigns
  • Submitting articles as guest blogs, or serving as an expert or interview source for other blogs, publications, podcasts etc
  • Google & Bing ad word campaigns (and pay per click ppc programs)

Except for the paid ads and boosting social media posts, the other bullet points is what is considered guerilla marketing, organic marketing, and viral marketing.

There are several books that I have found extremely helpful over the years for organic and viral marketing, and I always suggest them to my fellow small business owners, and to our blog readers, here’s that list:

These are great tools to put in your small business marketing aresenal: (these are NOT affiliate links, so if you buy them we do not make any money)

  1. Guerrilla Social Media Marketing: 100+ Weapons to Grow Your Online Influence, Attract Customers, and Drive Profits
  2. Guerilla Marketing Remix
  3. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you
  4. The No B.S. Guide to Brand-Building by Direct Response: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Plan to Creating and Profiting from a Powerful Brand Without Buying It
  5. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

Do you have questions? I’d be happy to answer them, drop us a comment and we’ll comment back below. Intersted in becoming part of our handmade community, and having your own handmade small shop? Apply HERE for a shop.

 

Keep an open mind quote

New Opportunities Await : Refreshing business model, Gypsy Spoonful is a pioneer in the handmade world

New opportunities await</font color> “To the untrained eye, a geode looks pretty much like an ordinary rock. But a trained geologist knows that inside the geode there is a beautiful crystal lining. The story is the same for those who refuse to examine new possibilities because their minds are closed. Life’s greatest opportunities, like the … read more

New opportunities await</font color>

“To the untrained eye, a geode looks pretty much like an ordinary rock. But a trained geologist knows that inside the geode there is a beautiful crystal lining. The story is the same for those who refuse to examine new possibilities because their minds are closed. Life’s greatest opportunities, like the geode, often come in ordinary packaging. Do not allow yourself to become such a creature of habit that you simply go through the motions and let life happen to you. Just taking a new route to work, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, reading a newspaper instead of watching television, or visiting a museum at lunchtime will stimulate your thought processes and may help you open your mind to new possibilities.”

-Napoleon Hill

Keep an open mind quote

The past 10 days I’ve been busy, busy, busy recruiting makers for Gypsy Spoonful. We have had 25 new shops join in that time. I am so thankful for these new members for keeping an open mind, and listening to what Gypsy Spoonful can offer them. I’ve probably contacted hundreds of people telling them about the opportunity GS holds, many didn’t reply … some did reply and weren’t interested, but I tried to remember, that’s most likely not even about what I’m “pitching” to them.. it could be that they are in a difficult season of their life, or it could be that they’re undergoing some business or personal challenges right now. I truly believe that those who are meant to be here, will be here, at exactly the right time. We’re not for everyone, but we are for the RIGHT people.

 

It’s a very exciting time for Gypsy Spoonful.. we’re kicking it into high gear and taking this bus to the next level.

Are you a maker/designer/artist/crafter/sewist/quilter/painter or other type of creative entrepreneur? Check out what we believe about handmade and what we believe about small business in America.. if you vibe with what we’re all about and our business model, then please, fill out the application and we’ll be in touch

Check it out here

Just like Napoleon Hill said in his quote as outlined above, just keep an open mind, this could be the best thing that has ever happened to you personally or professionally, but you’ll never know if you shut down the very thought of it. Just be open to being open is all we ask. We know that new opportunities await, if you’ll just open the door, and apply.

 

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

~Seneca or SemiSonic , Closing Time

Truth be told..We are NOT Etsy, we don’t claim to be… and in all honesty, we don’t want to be Etsy.. they’ve lost their way which is definitely disappointing~but I digress… GypsySpoonful can most definitely offer you things that Etsy can not.

We can give you a FOCUSED market that is ONLY looking for handmade items~ not vintage, not supplies… they appreciate handmade and all the good things that encompass it.

We can give you a supportive, community of makers where we help each other, cheer each other on, support each other and encourage each other.

We believe in community before competition. Yes, there may be makers that make similar items in our ranks but we HELP each other, rather than COMPETE with each other. You will find no other selling platform with a hands-on admin team that mentors and teaches shop owners. I guarantee it.

We are SERIOUS about selling and making money with our shops and handmade products, the positivity is not pollyanna or apple pie in the sky, it’s genuine, authentic entrepreneurs who are hustlers but are not cut-throat and back stabbing. It’s a very refreshing business model that you will NOT find anywhere else.

We will welcome you with open arms and meet you where you’re at, no matter what your business goals, dreams and strategies may be.

Give us a shot.. have an open mind… and check us out. You’ll be happy you did, I think!

xo

Goose

Goose, Owner/Founder GypsySpoonful

 

 

 

 

 

Owner/Founder GypsySpoonful.com

Bluprint

Bluprint : What Is It? And Where Did Craftsy Go??

*Damn right these are affiliate links! LOL!! 🙂 , if you click on a link and make a purchase, we may  earn a small commission on that sale. This helps up keep the website hosted, and other admin fees we don’t have a budget for! LOL! So Help your favorite gypsy mamas out and click … read more

*Damn right these are affiliate links! LOL!! 🙂 , if you click on a link and make a purchase, we may  earn a small commission on that sale. This helps up keep the website hosted, and other admin fees we don’t have a budget for! LOL! So Help your favorite gypsy mamas out and click through.I have no problem recommending this company to you, as I know it’s amazing.

An Introduction to Bluprint:

20181127_newyearnewyou_embroidery_snap_480.gif

Craftsy is gone, and the site is now called BluPrint. What happened to Craftsy? They’ve combined the spirit of Craftsy with the magic of Bluprint, It’s Been Years In the Making! This is so exciting!!

The Craftsy experience you’re used to, with affordable supplies and accessible classes, is staying the same – it’s all available at Bluprint.

At Bluprint you’ll be able to

• Watch all of your previously purchased classes
• Order project kits + high-quality supplies <—- I LURVE THIS!!

Bluprint

You can choose a membership plan- What a GREAT idea!
Sign up risk-free for unlimited access to every video, pattern and recipe on Bluprint.
Read a letter from the founder and find out why they made these changes, and what’s in store for you.

You HAVE to get on over to Bluprint and check it out!

Bluprint

  • Thousands of Classes: Stream high-quality videos taught by experts you can trust.
  • Hundreds of Projects: Step-by-step guidance on projects at every skill level.
  • Help If You Hit a Snag: Get technique refreshers and quick fixes for common mistakes.
  • Supplies You Need: Members get an extra 15% off all kits and supplies from our shop.
Bluprint

Download the Bluprint app HERE, it’s super convenient to have on the go.

Do you enjoy the GS blog? Drop us a comment and let us know how we’re doing~ Then join the Facebook Group and Follow Our Instagram to see our community in action! If you think we’re pretty cool, and want to open your own small , handmade shop, check this page out.

5 Reasons To Shop Small : A List By Gypsy Spoonful

There are a lot more reasons than just 5 to shop small, but here’s our top 5 picks. To shop the marketplace, go HERE  See our creative community in action in our Facebook Group Open a shop of your own, apply today!

5 reasons to shop small

There are a lot more reasons than just 5 to shop small, but here’s our top 5 picks.

To shop the marketplace, go HERE 

See our creative community in action in our Facebook Group

Open a shop of your own, apply today!

Hey Girl Hey

Hey Girl Hey

  Hey girl Hey We see you, Hustlers See Hustlers While you’re out there raising businesses and babies, we’d like to invite you to take that hustle to the next level. We’re taking applications for hard working, goal setting, team oriented individuals to join our handmade nation. We’re 100 small shops strong and growing. You … read more

 

Hey girl Hey
We see you,
Hustlers See Hustlers
While you’re out there raising businesses and babies, we’d like to invite you to take that hustle to the next level. We’re taking applications for hard working, goal setting, team oriented individuals to join our handmade nation.

We’re 100 small shops strong and growing. You don’t have to do all the hard work on your own, you don’t have to do this by yourself..

If you’re willing to put the work in to drive traffic, learn SEO, improve your product photography and grow your social media empire…

We want you to apply for a shop.
Our admin team is a group of handmade rockstars- they have 89 collective years of handmade and boutique style ecommerce experience.

We are a 100% handmade platform, a community where we place emphasis on community before competition and adminstratively, we place people before profit.

Check out this page, read what we are all about, and how we do things, and then apply & we’ll be in touch
https://Gypsyspoonful.com/market/join

By the way, if you’re non-binary, or a male, you too are also MOST welcome to apply as well.

We love the diversity of our community and we want to grow in all directions with people of all colors, faiths, cultures and beliefs. You ARE welcome here, we have a level playing field where the opportunity to chase your dreams is readily available to hustlers of all kinds.

 

Facebook Outage

When Social Media Goes Down, The top 2 things you can do to ensure business as usual

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date. WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected. … read more

Facebook Outage

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date.
WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected.

Checking DownDetector, we can confirm Instagram seems to be hugely affected…

Instagram outage

And Facebook’s issues loomed even larger with a total black out of 32% among reported problems

Facebook Outage

 

Roland Dobbins, an engineer with network performance firm Netscout said the outage was due to an accidental traffic jam issue with a European internet company that collided with Facebook and other websites.

“While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis,” he said.

Some users of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp reported having issues sending photos on the popular messaging app. As with nearly every Facebook outage, users headed to Twitter with the hashtag #facebookdown quickly becoming the top trending topic in the United States.

Down Detector showed MANY large websites were having issues:

Etsy outage Etsy outage

However, there is a rumor spreading that it is is denial of service (DoS)  malicious attack from an unknown source since so many platforms including youtube, Etsy and the USPS are even affected...this rumor has been denied by facebook and instagram and others.

What is a small shop to do if they sell on a platform that goes down, such as Etsy, or Facebook? Larger platforms such as these would logically seem to be safer because of the funds available to diagnose and prevent these problems, but in the case of the unsubstantiated DoS attack rumor, it may seem the bigger the platform, the bigger the target for those types of attacks. Sometimes bigger is not always better yo! I ALWAYS say never to put all your selling eggs in one proverbial basket. If Etsy suddenly decides to censor you and take out half your products because of your beliefs about vaccination, and that’s your only platform, then what will you do? If a DoS attack takes our your whole Facebook store… then what will you do? It is WISE TO DIVERSIFY… sell on multiple platforms, never sell on only one platform. (Learn more about selling your handmade products on Gypsy Spoonful HERE)

Sooo… What can we, as small shop owners, learn from a situation like this ? So many influencers, marketing and advertising people as well as  small shop owners depend on social media to get the word out about their events, sales, products and other news. I happen to have the blessing of having been in business for 15 years BDSM… that means Before the Dawn of Social Media (get your minds out of the GUTTER , y’all! lol) so what did we do in the days before social media was so prevalent

1. Build an email list… Seriously, I could tell all the small business owners I know 24/7, 365 and some still do NOT have an email list!  The best return on investment is building an email list of contacts, customers, prospects and fans. Sign up for a mailing list on MailChimp Today, don’t wait, do it NOW. Get a free Mail Chimp Account HERE. Email is a measurable business marketing practice that you can’t afford to be without. Marketing and Advertising folks KNOW that if it’s NOT measurable, it’s of no use.

Top reasons to have an email list:

For some business owners, email marketing may seem archaic. With the prevalence of social media, and a hundred other forms of messaging, the traditional email format feels relatively old. However, it still remains one of the most powerful and thoroughly understood “modern” forms of communication. That’s why just about every social media platform requires you to have an email. (and in the cases of social media going down and being virtually useless to your business as it did today, you can’t afford NOT to focus part of your energy on email!)

For small shop owners, email lists can yield dramatic rewards. According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the US. Can you say that about your social media marketing campaign?

Why Email Marketing Is Still Effective

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”

David Newman

Email marketing has distinct advantages over other modern media.

  • First, it’s direct, meaning that every person on your list receives an email the same way that they’d receive a piece of mail. It’s much different than finding a piece of content in a newsfeed, even if it’s personalized.
  • Second, email is necessary. You can go for a few days without checking social media or video chatting with your friends and family, but most people check their email several times a day.
  • Third, it’s highly customizable. You can create an email campaign on any subject, and add any bells and whistles that you need to get the job done. It’s also incredibly inexpensive and well documented by email marketing experts.

Sign up for the Gypsy Spoonful mailing list HERE so you don’t miss out on any news about handmade or small shop management.

2. Work on your SEO! Being found in search engine searches is not hampered when a denial of service attack happens, or some other random technical glitch that makes your entire message go down in flames.

Search engine optimization nowadays is way more important than ever and it is necessary for every small shop owner to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it creates for every business, no matter which platform they sell upon. SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site. Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the web site’s trust.

The Top 5 reasons why your small shop needs SEO

(written by Sam Hollingsworth of the Search Engine Journal, see the full article HERE)

Many brands and businesses know (or think they know) that they need SEO for their digital properties, and the benefits they will get from that SEO work being implemented on their behalf.

SEO will certainly improve a small shops’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer? Why is SEO so important?

These top 5 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.

1. Organic Search Is Most Often the Primary Source of Website Traffic

Organic search is a huge part of most business’s website performance, as well as a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement.

As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and the many, many others.

That’s not to say that all search engines don’t contribute to a brand’s visibility — they do — it’s just that Google owns about 75 percent of the overall search market. It’s the clear-cut leader and thus its guidelines are important to follow.

But the remaining 25 percent of the market owned by other engines is obviously valuable to brands, too.

Google, being the most visited website in the world (as well as specifically in the United States), also happens to be the most popular email provider in the world (with more than 1 billion users). Not to mention YouTube is the second biggest search engine.

We know that a clear majority of the world that has access to the internet is visiting Google at least once a day to get information.

Being highly visible as a trusted resource by Google and other search engines is always going to work in a brand’s favor. Quality SEO and a high-quality website takes brands there.

2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search with thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties.

Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google. In addition to the factors mentioned above, authority is accrued over time as a result of elements like:

But establishing that authority will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations. Problem is, it’s impossible to build trust and credibility overnight — just like real life. Credibility and Trust is earned and built over time.

Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment, but also relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand. We, at Gypsy Spoonful have been effectively establishing trust and credibility since 2016.

3. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience

Everyone wants better organic rankings and maximum visibility. Few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there.

Google has learned how to interpret a favorable or unfavorable user experience, and a positive user experience has become a pivotal element to a website’s success. (Learn what a bounce rate is, the GS site has a 23% bounce rate, anything under 70% is considered very good) .

Customers know what they want. If they can’t find it, there’s going to be a problem. And performance will suffer.

A clear example of building a strong user experience is how Google has become more and more of an answer engine offering the sought-after data directly on the SERPs (search engine results pages) for users.

The intention of that is offering users the information they are looking for in fewer clicks, quickly and easily.

Quality SEO incorporates a positive user experience, leveraging it to work in a brand’s favor.

4. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions

With the rise and growing domination of mobile traffic, local search has become a fundamental part of small- and medium-sized businesses’ success.

Local SEO aims at optimizing your digital properties for a specific vicinity, so people can find you quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction. (Goosie’s suggestion:  If you want to emphasize that customers can #shoplocal, work on local optimizations!

Local optimizations focus on specific towns, cities, regions, and even states, to establish a viable medium for a brand’s messaging on a local level.

SEO pros do this by optimizing the brand’s website and its content, including local citations and backlinks, as well as local listings relevant to the location and business sector a brand belongs to.

To promote engagement on the local level, SEO pros should optimize a brand’s Knowledge Graph panel, its Google My Business listing, and its social media profiles as a start. (If you haven’t created a business profile on the Google site, –buy an inexpensive domain at idotz, forward it to your small shop and get on it loves!) 

There should also be a strong emphasis on user reviews on Google, as well as other reviews sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List (among others), depending on the industry.

5. SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle

Customers do their research. That’s one of the biggest advantages of the internet from a buyer perspective.

Using SEO tactics to relay your messaging for good deals, groundbreaking products and/or services, and the importance and dependability of what you offer customers will be a game changer.

It will also undoubtedly impact the buying cycle in a positive way when done right.

Brands must be visible in the places people need them for a worthy connection to be made. Local SEO enhances that visibility and lets potential customers find the answers, and the businesses providing those answer.

 

 

Willow and Sage Magazine: Your source for DIY bath and body product inspiration

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I … read more

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I glanced through it and instantly was drawn to it. This magazine is called Willow & Sage. As stated on their website-

Willow and Sage Magazine

Willow and Sage magazine is filled with more than 70 unique recipes, uses, and beautiful packaging ideas for homemade bath and body products, paired alongside stunning, Somerset-style photography. In addition to showcasing natural bath salts and soaks, soaps, face masks, chemical-free make-up, lotions, sugar scrubs, how to use essential oils, and more, Willow and Sage features refreshing new layout designs that include hand-illustrated tips and educational information, such as eye-catching infographics and the benefits of specific ingredients. Also, if you’re looking for the perfect homemade gift idea, for any occasion, each issue provides DIY inspiration for creative packaging and the most unique gifts or spa bundle

Willow And Sage Magazine

The Willow And Sage Website is equally dreamy


The magazine is a quarterly magazine that starts in Feb. It’s an odd start date but when you look at lumping Jan into the winter issue, it makes sense. I totally understand doing the issues to follow the seasons, but it kills me to have to wait so long between publications! I usually go read it within the first two or three days, but definitely within the first week. It’s always interesting to see all the different ideas brought forth by other creators. I also enjoy the packaging ideas, bundle ideas, and ingredient spotlights. It’s a good way to learn about new benefits as well as help me with potential trend ideas. I have definitely used some of their ingredient spotlights to help focus on what ingredients to highlight to my customers.

So, if you’re looking for a beautiful magazine with a lot of fun diy ideas I would definitely give Willow & Sage a look. A quick side note is, many of the submitted recipes do not have preservatives in them therefore will not last for more than a few days or so.

Written by GS shop Owner, Rebecca Reynolds of JMaeHandmade ,  Stop on by her shop and take a peek at her awesome handmade bath and body products, and Heart her shop while you’re there!

JMaeHandmade Bath And Body Products

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

There’s a story behind the small black triangle forever imprinted on Kevin Durant‘s wrist. Like the rest of his tattoos — “Maryland” (his home state) across his shoulder blades, a portrait of Tupac on his leg — the ink is an attempt to grab hold of a moment in time and mark it as meaningful. … read more

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

There’s a story behind the small black triangle forever imprinted on Kevin Durant‘s wrist. Like the rest of his tattoos — “Maryland” (his home state) across his shoulder blades, a portrait of Tupac on his leg — the ink is an attempt to grab hold of a moment in time and mark it as meaningful.

The triangle tattoo is a symbol of the friendship between Durant, his business partner Rich Kleiman and their friend Charlie Bell. A few years ago the three men were hanging out, talking about the incredible possibilities in front of them, and someone thought it sounded like a good idea to get tattoos commemorating the bromance.

It feels a bit quaint now, even to them. Aww, friendship tattoos. How cute!

“I wouldn’t get most of the tattoos I have now,” Durant says with a smile. “But that’s why they’re cool. I got each of them at a point in my life I was feeling something I wanted to remember.”

Kleiman laughs and points to a Chinese character tattooed on his arm.

“Like, this means ‘patience,’ ” the 41-year-old executive says. “Could you imagine if I went in somewhere now and was like, ‘Yeah, what up, my man? Could you give me the Chinese symbol for patience?’

“The guy would be like, ‘OK, midlife crisis. What up, Dad?’ But when I was 19, in Miami, I’m like, ‘Yooo, give me “patience”!’ ”

We’re sitting at a shady table at the cafe atop the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The Warriors have the day off after a win over the Lakers, and Durant and Kleiman are making the most of it. There was a morning meeting with Brat (a company that created a network for young YouTube stars), this lunch interview, house hunting in Beverly Hills in the afternoon, then a red-eye flight to Washington, D.C., to attend the opening of College Track, which prepares high school students to apply to and graduate from college, at the Durant Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Life as a two-time NBA Finals MVP and budding entrepreneur can be a little like taking a speedboat down the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — sensory and experiential overload around every turn.

“My platform is hoops,” Durant says. “Billions of people are watching, so why not leverage it to do the cool stuff that we like to do?”

As one of the best basketball players on the planet, Durant can meet anyone he thinks is interesting, invest in any company he digs and get into any event he wants. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey? He flew in for Durant’s birthday party this year. Apple VP Eddy Cue? A huge Warriors fan whose company just greenlighted a scripted show called Swagger based on Durant’s experiences in AAU basketball. David Geffen, Oprah, Diane von Furstenberg? Durant hung out with them at Google’s invite-only celebrity camp at the Verdura Resort in Sicily the past few summers.

His world is wide open — and so the challenge for Durant and other superstar athletes-turned-business moguls isn’t just in finding the time to take advantage of the exclusive opportunities in front of them but in searching for the right reasons to do so.

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

A great brand is a lot like a great jump shot: The best ones appear effortless. And yet, underneath the surface, years of sweat, grind and refinement have gone into it. Athletes used to wait until they were done playing to start building their businesses off the court. They’d let their teams or agents with dozens of other clients handle their marketing. Even back then, they knew they were leaving money and leverage on the table. But who had the bandwidth to build out a portfolio while playing?

In the business world, that’s called a market gap. Customers want a product that doesn’t exist yet? Somebody should go create that product.

In this case, first a superstar athlete such as Durant had to believe he was capable of building his own brand while playing. Then he had to figure out how to do it.

Earlier in his career, Durant says, he mostly just wanted to do what he saw other superstars do.

“‘Gatorade, I need that. McDonald’s,’ ” he says. “I need a trading card, Upper Deck, because I’ve seen other great players do that.”

“You also thought your off-days had to be completely filled,” Kleiman says from across the table.

Over the six years they’ve been working together, Kleiman’s job has been to help Durant be purposeful and intentional about his projects and to take advantage of the creative freedom Durant’s considerable platform has afforded him.

That filtering process can be dizzying for a curious soul like Durant, who readily admits he’s still searching — and probably always will be — for what he wants to be. So a few years ago, in one of their daily deep dives, Kleiman laid it out: “You need to understand that this part of your life should be enjoyable.”

Durant had spent too long trying to fit the model of what he thought a superstar athlete “should” be doing. Just do what feels right or fun or interesting, Kleiman told him. Maybe one of his investments will turn into the next Vitamin Water or Beats by Dre. Maybe it’ll just be a cool experience to look back on. Maybe it’ll flop. But if a startup company presents a product Durant or Kleiman would use himself, or its founder had a certain je ne sais quoi they both connect to, that’s what guides them.

Take Postmates. “I’m hungry one day,” Durant says. “And Rich was like, ‘Yeah, [this company will] bring you food from any restaurant.’ I’m like, ‘They’ve got an app like that? Can you call somebody up there? We need to get involved, because we use this s— on a day-to-day basis.’ ” Soon after, in June 2016, Durant and his team bought a stake in the company, which reportedly had grown tenfold by a valuation this January.

There’s a more rigorous evaluation process after that initial spark, of course. Durant says he likes to study the industry and how a company has grown from its early stages of development before he invests. But if there’s a guiding principle behind the extensive portfolio they’ve assembled, it is to follow and trust Durant’s curiosity.

So far they’ve invested in some 50 companies, ranging from the cold-pressed juice company WTRMLN WTR to an autonomous drone company called Skydio. There’s an equity partnership in the headphone company Master & Dynamic. And starting Feb. 11, there’s The Boardroom, a six-episode series on ESPN+ and multiplatform media brand in which Durant, Kleiman and ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams talk with players, industry executives and insiders from the worlds of sports, business, media and technology about how the culture around sports is changing.

“Me and Rich always had these times where it was just him and I, brainstorming,” Durant says.

So why not turn those conversations into a show?

“It’s like Sports Business Journal but for fans,” Kleiman says. By now he’s got this pitch down cold.

“I was watching sports last year, and there was a headline about an investment that Kevin had made. Then a headline about a Liverpool investment that LeBron had made. Then some Yankees highlights.

“When I was 14 years old, I would have been so confused about why the investment stuff is in the middle of these highlights. But in our world now, that’s way cooler than the other stuff.”


There’s no job description that can capture what Kleiman does for Durant. He’s his business partner in Thirty Five Ventures, the umbrella corporation for their production company, Thirty Five Media; the Kevin Durant Foundation; and all of their investments, endorsements and business partnerships. He’s the first or second person Durant speaks to every morning, depending on how early Durant’s brother, Tony, and baby nephew FaceTime him. He’s definitely the first person Durant calls if anything ever goes wrong.

It’s more than your typical manager-athlete relationship: By all accounts, this is a genuine friendship. They refer to each other as “my best friend” and sometimes even “brother.” When ESPN shot the photos for this story, Durant preferred to share the stage with Kleiman and Williams. Yes, some of that is because they’re promoting The Boardroom together. But it’s also a reflection of just how close he and Kleiman are.

At first glance, it’s an unlikely pairing. Kleiman grew up in New York City, attending a private high school that was a member of the Ivy League Preparatory School League. Durant grew up in an impoverished area outside of DC, often taking public transportation for several hours a day to get to and from one of the three high schools he attended.

Kleiman is boisterous, excitable and intense. He has a ton of friends, sleeps with his phone on, spends hours every day workshopping ideas at home in what he calls his think tank. Durant is sensitive, creative and thoughtful. He has just a few close friends from his youth (he was too busy with basketball), spends his off-days exploring restaurants in San Francisco or record stores in Berkeley, and talks wistfully about driving his 1969 Volkswagen bus to Mexico for surf trips.

Durant had already worked with two other agents before he started working with Kleiman in 2013. But they quickly found a professional and personal synergy.

“We just met at, like, the perfect point,” Durant says of the former music industry manager he has empowered to run his business empire. “We both hit our peaks at the same time.”


Picked up from ESPN , I thought our readers would draw some inspiration from this well-written article. Photos are property of ESPN.

Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues and Conflicts for WordPress Sites: from your friends at GypsySpoonful.com

 Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues GypsySpoonful is a wordpress based handmade community, and most, if not all of the troubleshooting tips will apply to this actual site! Some issues that you encounter with your WordPress.com site/blog or account can be solved by changing your browser settings, refreshing the page, or clearing the browser cache and … read more

 Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues

 Support : Troubleshooting

GypsySpoonful is a wordpress based handmade community, and most, if not all of the troubleshooting tips will apply to this actual site! Some issues that you encounter with your WordPress.com site/blog or account can be solved by changing your browser settings, refreshing the page, or clearing the browser cache and cookies.

Supported Browsers

Some browser issues may be caused by the browser itself. For optimal viewing and security we recommend that you keep your browser up to date. You’ll find a list of the latest browsers at Browse Happy.

We, at GypsySpoonful.com,  recommend that you use any of the latest versions of browsers on Browse Happywith the exception of Google Chrome -for optimal performance with WordPress.com sites such as ours. For whatever reason (and it may be a theme compatibility issue here on our site) Chrome does NOT play nice with GypsySpoonful.com. Chrome causes it to drag and load very slowly.

A note about Internet Explorer: Due to browser incompatibility, some themes are not fully functional in Internet Explorer 10 or earlier. If you are using Internet Explorer 10 or below we recommend upgrading your browser for an optimal experience.

Support : Browser Issues

Force Refresh

A force refresh or reload will cause the browser to re-check with the web server to make sure it has the latest copy of the web page you are viewing. Here are keyboard shortcuts for force refreshing your browser:

  • Windows: Ctrl + F5
  • Mac/Apple: Apple + R or Cmd + R
  • Linux: F5

Clearing Your Browser Cache

If you are experiencing problems displaying WordPress.com pages, clearing the browser cache is a good first step to try to resolve the issue.

Each time you access a web page, your web browser stores a temporary copy of the files needed to display the web page to you. Those temporary files are called the browser cache. If your cache is not updating properly or if it’s stuck, you could be viewing an older version of some of the supporting files that run WordPress.com. If you clear the cache, this will force your browser to fetch all of the files for a website again, so you will see the most recent version of the page.

Instructions for clearing your browser cache will be different for each browser and version.

Note: It is also possible for your Internet Service Provider to create a cache at the network level. This means that instead of viewing the WordPress.com web servers for some files, the ISP has created a cache to store files on their network to try to reduce bandwidth costs and also to make loading some web pages faster. If a network-side cache is causing you trouble, you most likely just need to wait for it to clear out on its own. And in a situation where you can’t reach your WordPress.com website via browser, you can confirm it’s caused by your ISP by checking whether your website is up for the rest of the world.

Clearing WordPress.com Cookies

WordPress.com requires the use of browser cookies in order for our site to work properly. If you have trouble with some sections of your site, you may wish to check to make sure you have cookies enabled.

If you can’t clear out your username/password from showing up in the browser when you try to log in, you may need to clear your WordPress.com-specific cookies. Generally, unless you have privacy concerns, we would not recommend that you clear all browser cookies, as that will affect your experience using other websites.

Check that JavaScript is enabled

The My Sites pages on WordPress.com, including stats, the post and page editors, customizer, checkout, and account setting pages, use a type of code called JavaScript to work. If you have JavaScript disabled, most of what makes WordPress.com work won’t be able to load in your browser. Some theme features, like post sliders and slide-out menus, also use JavaScript.

For the best experience on WordPress.com you need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. This page will tell you whether you have JavaScript enabled or not, and has instructions how to enable it in the most popular browsers.

Note that some ad-blockers and anti-virus browser extensions can sometimes block JavaScript. Try disabling those extensions and check if the My Site pages work correctly. If so, add an exception for WordPress.com to the browser extension/add-on, and it shouldn’t block our code any more.

Logging out/Preview issues

If you find yourself getting logged out from WordPress.com frequently and are having trouble posting to your blog, or if you’re having difficulty using the Preview option, it’s possible you don’t have third-party cookies enabled in your browser.

More Troubleshooting

If you are still having trouble, here are a few more things you can try:

  • Upgrade your browser and Flash Player to the latest version available.
  • Make sure wordpress.com, wp.com and their subdomains (*.wordpress.com / *.wp.com) are not blocked by your browser. This also applies to your firewall or anti-virus software settings if you have any.
  • Try an alternate browser. If it works, then the issue is with the browser settings. Look for troubleshooting tips on your browser’s support documentation.
  • Try an alternate computer in the same location. If another computer works, then the issue is computer settings on the first one.
  • Try an alternate location that has a different Internet Service Provider. If it works, the issue is with your local network.
  • Try disabling IPv6. If this works, the issue is with your local network, but you don’t need IPv6 so you’re all set!
Dorcas Reilly

Dorcas Reilly : Who is she? and Why Are We Thankful For Her This Thanksgiving?

It started with a call from the Associated Press and a question: What’s a good recipe for a vegetable side dish that features common pantry products? It is the dish everyone is expecting on the holidays, and it is so easy to make, you can serve it any day. If you plan on eating green bean … read more

It started with a call from the Associated Press and a question: What’s a good recipe for a vegetable side dish that features common pantry products? It is the dish everyone is expecting on the holidays, and it is so easy to make, you can serve it any day. If you plan on eating green bean casserole this Thanksgiving, the memory of it’s inventor will live on. Created by Campbell Test Kitchen Manager Dorcas Reilly in 1955, its creamy, smooth sauce and un-matchable flavor combined with its simplicity makes Green Bean Casserole so appealing. Just six ingredients and 10 minutes to put together, this family pleasing side has been a favorite for over 60 years.

In 1955, the AP, like other newspapers and magazines of the time, was running a feature of an easy-to-make Campbell’s Soup side. The question came with a caveat: the recipe had to be built around green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, two items most Americans regularly had in their homes in the ’50s.

The request fell to the Campbell’s Soup Co. test kitchen in Camden, N.J., an arm of the company that focused on coming up with recipes for its products. Dorcas Reilly, a supervisor for Campbell’s home economics department, was tasked with leading her team to figure out what could be done. The group would test and grade recipes repeatedly. Only a perfect score would qualify it as ready to go. In November of that year, Reilly and her team settled on what would be first known as “the Green Bean Bake,” an easily adaptable six-ingredient recipe of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper and French fried onions that takes 10 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake.

dorcas reilly

Photo Credit: Campbell’s Soup

“We worked in the kitchen with things that were most likely to be in most homes,” she told NPR in 2015. “It’s so easy. And it’s not an expensive thing to make, too.”

During a time when many women were homemakers, Reilly embarked on a career at Campbell’s Soup in Camden, New Jersey.  She worked in the test kitchens, where she and her colleagues brainstormed recipes that used Campbell’s products, and then did blind taste-tests. The test kitchen employees rated a recipe on a scale of one to ten, tweaked it if necessary, and then submitted it to headquarters for approval. When Campbell’s started to put Reilly’s recipe on the cans of its cream of mushroom soup in 1960, the popularity of the dish hit new heights. More than 60 years since the dish was invented, green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving staple, with an estimated 20 million-plus American households expected to serve it this year, according to Campbell’s.

Dorcas Reilly

Throughout her life, Reilly, a culinary trail blazer during a time when women were often on the sidelines in corporate America, remained astonished at the success of a dish based on green beans and cream of mushroom soup, one referred to by Campbell’s as “the mother of all comfort foods.”

“We all thought this is very nice, etc., and then when we got the feelings of the consumer, we were really kinda pleasantly shocked,” she said in a Campbell’s promotional video for the dish. “I’m very proud of this, and I was shocked when I realized how popular it had become.”

Reilly, an influential innovator of beloved comfort food in the U.S., died on Oct. 15 of Alzheimer’s disease in Camden. She was 92. A visitation and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday in Haddonfield, N.J.

Rest in Peace Mrs. Reilly! We will all remember you this Thanksgiving as we take a big scoop of our favorite comfort food, We’re all thankful for you and your recipe!

Dorcas Reilly

photo credit: https://www.nj.com

*Source: The Washington Post

What’s the takeaway that we can learn from Mrs. Reilly?

1. Sometimes we can think we are just “doing our jobs” but to other people, it may make a big difference. This lady invented a recipe that was just a day on the job… but 60 years later, here we are, blogging about her and being inspired by her. Her recipe has been on a kabillion soup cans since 1960, everyone knows what “green bean casserole” is.

2. She was a team leader, and when talking about the challenge, she never took all the credit. She always said “we” when speaking of herself and her team. The TEAM was important, each member of the team contributed something, and she never lost sight of that. Although Reilly cooked up the recipe, she does not take sole credit for it.

“It was about the team working together,” she said. “I didn’t do it; we did it.”

3. Sometimes things start out small, and we never know how they may end up… I’m sure when Dorcas Reilly went to work that day, she never imagined her recipe invention would be called the “mother of all comfort foods” … She didn’t give up though, she stood by her work, and her work spoke for itself in the end~ gaining fame across the country. Keep your chins up, and keep on doing the “little things” that you may think are unimportant… you never know how they may end up in the long run. Dorcas Reilly was quoted as saying, “It was such a rewarding feeling when your recipe was published,” she added. Further stressing the importance of sticking with it, and following your ideas through to fruition.

4. She was a pioneer of sorts, in post World War II America, more than most women became homemakers. Dorcas pursued a college education. In the early 1950s, there was a cultural shift; a post-war wave of consumption was prevalent in America. Marketing departments of major companies were pushing products heavily, because Americans were spending more and the economy was flourishing. Campbell’s in particular published their signature recipes (all whipped up in the test kitchen) in ads, newspapers, magazines, and on their product labels. When Reilly’s green bean casserole recipe appeared in print, it took off. Some say its popularity was initially due to the fact that it used ingredients that were typically found in American pantries; others say that the flavor alone skyrocketed it to fame. Regardless, it was a dish that was being prepared in countless American homes.

5. The Campbell’s website boasts new, more modern spin offs of the recipe, and even more current versions but there is never quite anything like the original, is there?  This reminds us to appreciate the original, to respect the creator of the REAL recipe, and give credit where credit is due. This reminds me of handmade vs handmade knock-offs… what once was a totally handmade market (not mentioning any names) that is flooded with mass -produced goods masquerading as handmade… being produced in overseas factories and imported. Nothing is as quality as handmade, nothing can capture the attention to detail that a handmade garment, sign, purse or home decor item can. One person working on one piece at a time, paying attention to the details, giving the customer one on one service and customer care.

Small Business Children’s Artwork Contest Open NOW

The biggest and best day of the year for small business is almost here.. and we’re SO excited to announce an opportunity for your child to SHINE! Gypsy Spoonful is pleased to present our FIRST annual Small Business Children’s Art Contest We believe in encouraging children’s creativity, and we also believe wholeheartedly in small business. … read more

The biggest and best day of the year for small business is almost here..

and we’re SO excited to announce an opportunity for your child to SHINE!

Gypsy Spoonful is pleased to present our FIRST annual Small Business Children’s Art Contest

We believe in encouraging children’s creativity, and we also believe wholeheartedly in small business. Marry the two and the idea for this awesome contest was born!

Living a creative life can inspire us to continually live better, create more, and be more true to ourselves and our visions. It can also remind us to nurture our children’s creativity.

Who: Children Birth-18 years., Age Groups of 0-4 years, 5-8 years, 9-12 years , 12-18 years. (1 grand prize winner, and 1 consolation prize will be awarded to one child in each group).

What: Have your child color, paint, or draw the most fantastical, creative Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday or winter scene and incorporate the idea of “small business” in the artwork somewhere/somehow  (Santa runs a small business with the help of his elves, afterall!)  Take the best quality photo of the artwork and then add it to the thread in our Facebook Group .  Please include child’s name and age in your comment when you leave the pic of their artwork on the thread. These must be added to the thread prior to Saturday, November 17. One entry per child, please.

What Next? The Gypsy Spoonful admin team will put them into a photo album in our group and open up the album to voting on Saturday, November 17. Tell your friends and family about your child’s art contest entry and have them help you by voting for your child’s artwork.

How To vote: Voters must join our Facebook Group . Instruct them to go to your child’s entry, then voters must like AND comment on your child’s artwork entry, Voting will close on Small Business Saturday, November 24th at 8pm cst. 

Like buttonThe artwork with the most votes /likes will win We will announce the winner Monday, November 26th at 8pm cst.

Prize: A prize package will be awarded to the winning artist worth over $100 from select Gypsy Spoonful shops, and one consolation prize per age group. (if there is a tie for the top 2 grand prize winners, we will host a run-off vote)~we’ll also have a surprise for the parent/grandparent that enters the child’s artwork.

The small shop owners of Gypsy Spoonful will use the winning small business artwork to promote select holiday events, and your child’s artwork will be in the spotlight all season long! The winning artwork will also appear on the Gypsy Spoonful blog announcing the winners.

By entering this contest, you agree to allow Gypsy Spoonful use your child’s art on social media promoting the event as well as in future promotions.

Join our group and join in on all the fun!

 

Theordore Roosevelt The Man In The Arena quote

Motivation Monday Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated: You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the … read more

Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship: A Lesson From Theodore Roosevelt

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated:

You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your road work shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.

Boxing is a good analogy for developing bossbabes because it’s all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, they have to prepare and train to become successful.

One of this country’s greatest leaders was a fan of boxing: President Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, one of his most famous quotes uses  a boxing analogy

Theodore Roosevelt

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
download PDF of complete speech

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

*TR (Teddy Roosevelt’s nickname) was known for regular boxing and judo sessions, challenging horseback rides, and long, strenuous hikes. A French ambassador who visited Roosevelt used to tell about the time that he accompanied the president on a walk through the woods. When the two men came to the banks of a stream that was too deep to cross by foot. TR stripped off his clothes and expected the dignitary to do the same so taht they could swim to the other side. Nothing was an obstacle to Roosevelt.

Of all the leaders this nation has ever had, Roosevelt was one of the toughest-both physically and mentally. But he didn’t start that way. America’s cowboy president was born in Manhattan to a prominent wealthy family. As a child he was puny and very sickly. He had debilitating asthma, possessed very poor eyesight, and was painfully thin. His parents weren’t sure he would survive. When he was twelve, young Roosevelt’s father told him, “You have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must MAKE the body.” and make it , he most certainly did. TR began training every single day physically, building his body as well as his mind, and he did that for the rest of his life.

Roosevelt didn’t become a great leader overnight either. His road to the presidency was one of slow, continual growth. He improved himself and in time, he became a strong leader. Roosevelt’s list of accomplishments is remarkable. Under his leadership, the United States emerged as a world power. He helped the country develop a first-class navy. He was that the Panama Canal was built. He negotiated peace between Russia and China, winning a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.  On January 6, 1919 he died in his sleep. Then vice president Marshall said,

“Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight”

When they removed him from his bed, they found a book under his pillow. Up to the very last, TR was still striving to learn and improve himself.

*Source: Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell

Slow and Steady Wins the Race Quote

What are the takeaways we can learn from Roosevelt that may apply to our lives as Entrepreneurs?

1. Be FIERCE : obstacles will come, it’s how you approach those obstacles. Are you going to say , “It’s too hard, we can’t cross this stream, it’s too deep” and turn back? Or will you strip naked and lead the way? Nothing in life is easy. Entrepreneurship isn’t for sissies. You have to get in there, roll up your sleeves and be FIERCE. Are you stronger than the obstacles in your path?

2. Even a great leader like TR started off small. He wasn’t expected to survive from his own parents! If that’s not a kick in the teeth, then I don’t know what is! Of all people in the world, you want those who love you and you share your life with to believe in you and your dreams, it’s hard when you don’t get the support you’d like. But what did TR do? He set out to prove them wrong. He was CONSISTENT, he worked towards his goal of strengthening his body every.single.day. Consistency wins the prize in owning and operating a small business. Many times it can be isolating, people in our family would rather share a celebrity’s status or meme on social media. Your loved ones may shop at a big box store rather than supporting your small shop.. you can’t control other people, you can only change how you react to them. Seek out OTHER support from friends, or like-minded individuals and other small business owners. The community at Gypsy Spoonful is a great source of strentgh, knowledge and inspiration for me everyday. I am so thankful to have people that cheer me on and totally GET what I am trying to do with my life. Everyone starts off small, it’s up to YOU to seek out ways to grow and learn new things to embolden your entrepreneurial spirit.

” slow, continual growth.”

3. The mind and body combination is important, It was once said by Henry Ford, “Whether you believe you can or can not, you’re right” . Your mental attitude determines your outcome most of all. TR blazed a trail where no one dared to go before. He traveled all over the world pursuing adventures. Each trip, each adventure prepared him for the next one. He built knowledge upon his experiences. We all fail and fall short, just like the man in the arena~ but do we get up again after we get knocked down? or do we stay down? A product might not sell, a promotion may flop… KEEP LEARNING, learn from your mistakes and build on that. Go forward with the ideas of what went wrong and how to overcome that in your future small shop “adventures”.

If you are looking for a creative community where you can find limitless support from like minded creative folks, and you feel you’ve got a great product to offer the world, Gypsy Spoonful is seeking new shop owners, please go to this page and read what we believe about handmade and how we do things. If you vibe with what we’re doing, please fill out an application. We will be screening and vetting applicants for 2019.  Go HERE

 

 

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season : Tis the Season To Be Smart

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season This Thursday’s Thoughts turn to how to help our awesome customers at GypsySpoonful stretch their shopping dollars this Holiday shopping season. Nobody wants to go into debt, we all want to maximize the opportunity to make our gift buying budget a little farther – … read more

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season

This Thursday’s Thoughts turn to how to help our awesome customers at GypsySpoonful stretch their shopping dollars this Holiday shopping season. Nobody wants to go into debt, we all want to maximize the opportunity to make our gift buying budget a little farther – and who knows, if you save enough, you can treat yourself to some well deserved handmade goodness, or a gift card to use at a later date.

Treat Yo Self

Here’s our top 6 tips for the shopper who means business!

1. Many sites will offer a welcome coupon to new visitors on their site, search the site map for it. It may not be publicized widely. (coming soon to GypsySpoonful, YAY!!)

2. Many sites will offer a discount on your first purchase if you sign up for their mailing list. (coming soon to GypsySpoonful as well, woohoo!!)

3. Ask for gift cards for a site for your birthday, Christmas, Channukah,  or any other gift giving occasions, and save your gift cards for when there is a sale, if you sign up for the welcome coupon or the first discount/welcome as well (we call that piling on in the shopping world!)~ Did you know Gypsy Spoonful has a very cool wishlist feature? You can click and add ANY product on the site to your wishlist, so you can direct your family and friends to the handmade GS products you are admiring.

4. Search the terms “Clearance” , “Close Out” , “Discontinued”, “sale” or “discounted” on the site, or do a search engine (such as google) for sites that are going out of business and you may score big!

Top 6 Tips

5. Find out if the site has a loyalty program or an affiliate program where you can earn points or discounts, or even cash back on purchases people you refer to the site. Some sites offer social cred, if you share their products on your social media channels, you can earn points to redeem for merchandise on the site, or bonus gear not available to the general public. (May be in the near future on Gypsy Spoonful)

6. Become a brand enthusiast/influencer. If you love the products, inquire /search and find out if the site has a brand ambassador program. Sites will often give discounted products in exchange for your peer to peer marketing and promotion (which can be as simple as a selfie wearing their clothing, or holding their product and hashtagging the company)~ if you’re interested in becoming a brand ambassador or enthusiast, please email the head Gypsy HERE

Top 6 Tips

I hope that you find these tips helpful while shopping the awesome handmade marketplace, and independently owned and operated small shops on  GypsySpoonful.com. 

We are the new home of handmade where we are un-apologetically handmade with nothing imported and nothing massproduced. We invite you to shop our marketplace, and be sure to drop us a comment on this blog below if you have additional ideas and tips to help fellow shoppers save money and stretch that holiday shopping budget.

Be Consistent

Consistency is the Money Maker in Small Business

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Nothing is truer than this in small business. It doesn’t matter if you sell handmade products, direct sales products or pizzas at the corner store. You can’t just open the doors, put up a sign and expect the people to pour in to buy your goodies. … read more

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Nothing is truer than this in small business. It doesn’t matter if you sell handmade products, direct sales products or pizzas at the corner store. You can’t just open the doors, put up a sign and expect the people to pour in to buy your goodies.

You have to market your business. You run ads, offer sales and coupons, restock and reevaluate inventory and share on social media. Anything to keep putting yourself in front of people that will eventually lead to sales, hopefully. If your business is not seen, you don’t have a business and you are not going to succeed and grow.

How you choose to “grow and show” your business depends on the type of business it is and where and how your target market will most likely find you. Your personality is also a factor in your marketing efforts. For example, going live on Facebook is an excellent tool to build relationships with your potential customers. You can answer questions, share your product and interact with people in real time. But, if you are like me and you can’t stand the thought of being on camera and can barely stutter your way through it, this is probably not going to be a technique you use much.

Marketing has a rule called the Rule of 7. It states that a prospect needs to be exposed to your message at least 7 times before they will actually take action. In today’s digital age, I would venture that this number may be increasing. The reality is that it is more difficult now to get your message seen in the overwhelming amount of information available now to the everyday consumer.  You need to leave an impact and you need to show up.

Regardless of how you promote your business, the one thing that I and most other small business owners have found, is that to put and keep your business marketing efforts on the right track, you have to be consistent. Now, that does not mean that you need to be doing it constantly. Just consistently. Regularly. If people are used to seeing you post weekly, post weekly. If you can do daily, even better. Here is what does not work. Binge marketing for 3 hours one day and then doing nothing for the next 3 days. It may seem like you are getting tons of work done but a very limited number of people are going to actually see all that effort.

I have to admit, consistency is my biggest downfall and what I have to work the hardest at myself. A couple of years ago, I thought I had found the perfect answer to staying consistent on my social media when I found one of the scheduling platforms that have started to pop up everywhere. While they are definitely helpful, I found that they are not the perfect solution for me either. First, you still have to set up all the posts. You are still spending the time to craft the text and find the perfect image. Second, you still need to spend time tweaking your posts for the various social media and monitor the posts for engagement. Bottom line to me is yes they are an excellent way to cover certain times but you also need to continue to post in real time so that you stay current, trending and let your personality shine through.

Hashtags : Supreme List of Instagram Hashtags

Supreme List of Handmade Hashtags : the best hashtags to use for Instagram

Supreme List of Handmade Hashtags for Instagram You’ve been accepted to Gypsy Spoonful, Set Up Your Shop, Worked on Creating your first 10 product listings, and graduated to the bigger group… Now What?  How do you get found and get any real, engaged followers? Does it feel like you’re just talking to yourself (I can … read more

Supreme List of Handmade Hashtags for Instagram

You’ve been accepted to Gypsy Spoonful, Set Up Your Shop, Worked on Creating your first 10 product listings, and graduated to the bigger group… Now What?  How do you get found and get any real, engaged followers? Does it feel like you’re just talking to yourself (I can relate!)

Hashtags : Supreme List of Instagram Hashtags

On many social media platforms, but most of all Instagram, hashtags are one of the quickest and easiest ways to grow your following. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, so here is a quick and dirty list of some great Handmade and Gypsy Spoonful specific hashtags to use for your copy and pasting ease.

  • #GypsySpoonful
  • #GSShopOwner
  • #GypsyStrong
  • #GSsellersofinstagram
  • #GSseller
  • #GSlove
  • #GSfinds
  • #GSsuccess
  • #madeintheusa
  • #handmadegifts
  • #shopGS
  • #smallshop
  • #shopsmall
  • #handmadefavorites
  • #mamamade
  • #makersgonnamake
  • #artistsofinstagram
  • #AmericanSmallBusiness
  • #shophandmade
  • #shopsmallbusiness
  • #shopsmallbiz
  • #handmadesmallbusiness
  • #handmademarketplace
  • #shopGS
  • #handmadesale
  • #handmadetribe
  • #handmadebestsellers
  • #handmademen
  • #handmadewomen
  • #handmadesellers
  • #handmaderevolution

If you are looking for more specifically handmade, but not specifically Gypsy Spoonful hashtags, here is a list of my favorite of those:

  • #handmade
  • #crafter
  • #handmadewithlove
  • #artist
  • #maker
  • #creativelife
  • #makerslife
  • #makerlife
  • #makersmovement
  • #handmademovement
  • #waketomake
  • #calledtobecreative
  • #handmadeisbest
  • #makersgottamake
  • #createmakeshare
  • #instamaker
  • #instahandmade
  • #handicraft
  • #handcrafted
  • #instacraft
  • #wearethemakers
  • #creativeatheart
  • #supportthemakers
  • #supporthandmade
  • #createmakeshare

I’ve found it is a great idea to use a variety of hashtags — switch it up, and rotate often, some about handmade items, some about Gypsy Spoonful specifically, and some about your particular niche and geographic location.

Geographic location? What does that mean?

Examples:

  • #handmadeinTexas
  • #chicagoartist
  • #kansascitymakers

Do you have any particular hashtags that work well for you? Of course We’d love to hear them!

Interested in finding out more about being a shop owner/seller on Gypsy Spoonful? Read this page and see if you vibe with what we’re doing. See the members of our community in action and interact with them in our Facebook Group. 

 

Models Vs Mannequins, the great debate rages on

Guest Blog Post: Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best … read more

Guest Blog Post:
Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years

While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best alternative options are amateur models and mannequins.

When deciding between amateur models and mannequins, you’re largely factoring a risk/reward scenario, ongoing costs, and how much you’re willing to manage people.

Models, even amateurs, are more desirable because a live body helps a customer relate to your product and adds a higher degree of professionalism, but it can also make for an unpredictable process. Mannequins are great because they’re affordable, consistent, and easy to work with.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can create quality DIY product photography with amateur models and then we’ll go over the advantages provided by mannequins.

DIY Product Photography with Amateur Models

If you want to take a professional-looking product photos with amateur models, follow these seven steps:

1. Cast a Model

If you’re going to use an amateur, there are three primary factors to consider: Your comfort level with the model, their long-term availability, and your apparel’s fit. It doesn’t matter how attractive your model is if your dress is dragging on the floor because the model is six inches too short to properly fit it.

models vs mannequins

Image credit: Pixelz

Comfort level: Communication is important and the easier time you have communicating your vision, the more efficient you will be when shooting. Also, the mood in the studio comes through in images: If you and the model are frustrated and unhappy, you’re not going to get good photographs.

Availability: Plan long-term. If you want a consistent look, especially since amateurs introduce more body type variation than professional models, it’s beneficial to use just one or two models throughout your photography. You will also find that later shoots become more efficient as you and the model increase your comfort level and understanding of each other.

Fit: How does your product look when worn by your model? Focus on the product’s appearance and make sure it’s flattering and requires as little adjustment as possible—you don’t want to create wrinkles because you’re pinning excessively to compensate for a poor fit. Sizing is key. Pick one size and use that same size throughout your photography for a consistent appearance and a more intuitive understanding of sizing by customers shopping your site later.

2. Setup Your Studio Space

Select a space that allows your model to move freely when following your instructions, but don’t choose an area so large that your model might wander out of frame. Designate specific backdrop boundaries to help herd the model and aim your camera.

Your exact equipment will vary depending on your needs and budget, but as a starting point a white backdrop like a roll of seamless white paper or a sheet is always a good idea. White backdrops are required by many ecommerce marketplaces, simplify post-production, and are easy to light in session. If you’ve never set up a studio before, here’s a guide to how to build your own photo studio on a bootstrapped budget.

Be sure to use a tripod. Camera stabilization allows for longer exposure times, improves consistency, and saves you time between shots because you don’t have to readjust your camera’s aim. The result is usually a sharper image and more of them.

3. Shape Your Light

Renting or buying lighting equipment is a big decision and a critical step when capturing product images. Lighting equipment is expensive, so take your time and invest wisely. It may not be necessary to buy equipment: If you’re not going to use a piece regularly, consider renting.

The most common product photography setups use 1-3 continuous softbox lights or 1-3 external speedlights and umbrellas. If you’re in the market, here’s a shopping guide for product photography lighting equipment.

When positioning your lights, try to mimic the softness of natural window light. Continuous softboxes do so automatically, but speedlights may be too harsh and direct even with umbrellas. If that’s a problem, angle your speedlights to either side of the model and bounce the light off nearby walls, like in the image above.

Test out your lighting setup and experiment with different options—but do it before the model arrives so you don’t waste valuable photoshoot time.

4. Position Your Model

When your model arrives on set, it’s time to communicate your vision and position them in frame. The simplest way to position them is with a classic “X marks the spot” approach. Tape an X on the floor either directly beneath their feet, or closer to the camera but in line with where they should stand (so they’re not constantly looking down). The X creates a target for the model so you don’t have to constantly ask them to move.

5. Shoot with Wide Framing

Leave space on all sides of your model when capturing the image. If you’re going to be selling your product in multiple marketplaces and channels, they may have different requirements for cropping and sizing. It’s much easier to crop down to someone’s standards than it is to try and scale up.

Even if you intend to crop out faces, arms, and legs, always keep them in frame. Again, it’s much easier to edit something out then to add it back in—if that’s even possible. You don’t want to have to reshoot.

6. Give Direction

Stay positive and build up your model’s confidence. Remember that they’re an amateur and that you want to shoot with them long-term, so help them realize their potential.

Give the model the instruction they need to help you fulfill your vision. Be clear and precise: For example, if you want the model to look in a particular direction, tell them to look at a specific object instead of pointing. Keep poses simple, so that you don’t distract from the product or lead your amateur out of their comfort zone.

7. Post-Production

After you’ve captured your images, it’s time to optimize them for the web. You can edit the images yourself with this post-production guide, or you can outsource the labor to free yourself to focus on the creative aspects of your business. At Pixelz, for example, we offer a feature-rich and easy to use interface for creating specifications, uploading images, comparing before-and-after images, and rejecting images that don’t meet your standards.

The goal of image editing is to help you create high quality and consistent imagery. Steps like removing the background will create a professional impression by cutting away your DIY studio and also minimizing file size, speeding up your page loading time. Consider using post-production to make lighting adjustments, touch up skin, remove wrinkles, straighten your product, and perform cropping and resizing.

So that’s how to stage a photoshoot with an amateur model. Now, let’s take a look at mannequins.

The Case for Mannequins

stylecampaign burberry mannequins

Image credit: StyleCampaign

Even for high end fashion brands, mannequins are a budget conscious product photographer’s best friend. You can buy them for anywhere from $60-$600, depending on your needs, and that’s it. There’s no overtime, no rate hikes, and they’re always available for reshoots.

Those are the most obvious differences, but there’s more.

Mannequins Make Product Fit Easy

Whether you’re dealing with a professional or an amateur, you need to spend time when casting a model, have them try on your clothes and see if you like the way it looks. You can improve fit with styling, using pins and clips and other techniques, but you need a good foundation to build on.

Alternatively, with a mannequin, you may only need a few moments of browsing online to find the perfect one. Finding the right fit is simplified when you can click around and see exact measurements. This is especially true if all your samples are the same size and you only need one mannequin.

You’ll have less flexibility with posing, but your mannequin won’t complain about being poked or prodded while you’re styling it.

There are many types of materials mannequins are made from, but none is necessarily superior to another. It’s about a different kind of “fit” here; make sure your mannequin style matches your brand.

Branding Possibilities

Mannequins don’t communicate branding as completely as a fully styled model, but they’re not a blank slate either. We can use Anthropologie as an example; until about two years ago, they used mannequins for most of their ecommerce images. Here’s how they used to look:

anthropologie mannequin

Image credit: Anthropologie

It’s clean, vintage, and subtly decorated by a knob at the top. You don’t want your mannequin to be distracting, but anything that’s being seen by a customer should reinforce your brand positioning. If you’re bohemian, use vintage mannequins. If you’re modern, get something more sleek.

There’s also a 3D technique that’s growing in popularity: the invisible mannequin.

If you want to remove all distractions while still demonstrating fit, you can use the invisible mannequin effect. With a little planning and Photoshop know-how, you can create the effect in post-production yourself. If you don’t have the time or the desire to do it yourself, you can offload post-production to a company like Pixelz.

invisible ghost mannequin

Image credit: Pixelz

An “invisible” or “ghost” mannequin image is basically a combination of two or more images. Your product should be photographed as normal, and then repositioned in such a way that any portion that was originally covered by the mannequin can be photographed. Later, the photos are combined into a single image. For more detail, read this invisible mannequin guide that will walk you from basic principles all the way through post-production.

Which Should You Choose?

Models are essential for projecting a professional standard, while mannequins are cost-effective and consistent.

Many boutiques and brands with limited budgets combine the two with great success. You may want to consider shooting a lookbook with professional models, and using those images throughout your store for branding. You can then use amateur models or mannequins for product images.

A mixed approach will give you the best of both worlds without forcing you to choose between branding and your budget.

What have your experiences been like with models and mannequins? Do you have any tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below!


shopify-author Thomas Kragelund

About The Author

Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years.

Social Listening

8 Social Media Tools to Protect Your Reputation and Influence Conversations

Social Listening The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you. It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them? Social listening is … read more

Social Listening

Social Listening

The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you.

It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them?

Social listening is a technique for monitoring social media conversations to uncover new opportunities for your business.

With social listening, your business can identify these key moments to engage with users directly and sway their conversations in your favor.

To help you monitor conversations about your brand and transform them into new opportunities for your business, we’ve put together a collection of the top tactics and tools for social listening and media monitoring.

What Is Social Listening?

Social media is a sea of information. Content often dominates feeds, but human interaction is at its heart.

With social listening, you can track existing conversations to find opportunities for your brand to jump in and engage with prospects and existing customers. These organic relationships are the backbone of sustainable, ongoing social media growth and building a dedicated fanbase for your business.

Discovering the opportunities to build these relationships with your customers goes beyond the messages that show up in your business’ Twitter notifications. Social listening is a way for your business to monitor digital conversations at scale, saving you the massive amounts of time and effort that would be required to sort through the noise manually.

Social listening tools track posts based on keywords and phrases relevant to your business to help you find conversations that you aren’t a part of, but should be.

Why Is Social Listening Important?

Social listening is a key tactic for creating a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. It gives you an up-close-and-personal look at your customers and reveals new ways for you to connect with them and build content that reflects their values.

These raw and unfiltered conversations can provide you with a wide variety of insights about your audience. Here are the primary benefits of using social listening for your online store:

Address Indirect Complaints

In the heat of the moment, when customers are most frustrated, it’s understandable that they might not tag your brand while typing up a passionate complaint, especially since only 30% of tweets about brands actually tag their official usernames.

Unfortunately, without using a social listening tools to monitor social media feeds, these complaints would normally go unnoticed—unnoticed by you, that is.

The risk here is twofold: First, your customers will not get their issues resolved. If you can’t see their complaints, you can’t address them and help them have a successful, positive experience with your products.

Second, an unchecked complaint can spiral out of control online, fostering negative sentiment towards your brand. Not monitoring social conversations can leave your business in a vulnerable position and without the appropriate tools to protect itself. Whereas a proactive, social listening-powered approach will help you transform complaints into lifelong customers.

The key to delivering a stellar customer service experience with social listening is to go above and beyond in your response. Your customers don’t necessarily expect a resolution to their complaint since they haven’t tagged your business or product, so you need to go the extra mile to surprise, delight, and win them back

Uncover Unique Opportunities

On the other hand, social listening can also present new opportunities for your brand to create custom social media content and build relationships with your audience. By tracking keywords that are relevant to your brand, you can reach out to new customers in their moments of highest intent.

Here are the different kinds of keywords that your business should be paying attention to:

  • Brand Keywords: Words that are specifically associated with your business, including your company name and any common variations or misspellings. For instance, if your company is called Waterfall Skincare, you’ll want to track “Waterfall Skincare”, “Waterfall Skin Care”, “Water Fall Cosmetics”, etc.
  • Industry Keywords: Words that describe the kind of products or services that your store sells. For instance, a t-shirt store would track words like “clothing”, “t-shirts”, and “apparel”.
  • Location-Specific Keywords: If your business has a physical store or targets specific locations, be sure to track hashtags and keywords that are popular within the city, state, or country that you’re focusing on. For instance, a company selling Chicago souvenirs would want to track the most popular keywords within the Chicagoland area.
  • Negative Keywords: These keywords are ones that you don’t want included in your tracking. If your industry or brand name is commonly associated with non-relevant conversation topics, you’ll want to filter those out. For instance, if you sell dog toys, you’ll want to add “children”, “kids”, “babies”, etc. as negative keywords, so that you aren’t tracking conversations about children’s toys as well.

With social listening, seemingly unrelated conversations can suddenly become chances to impress new customers and engage with your current fans.

spotify twitter social listening

Image credit: Spotify on Twitter

Spotify, for example, was able to jump on this tweet despite the fact that it didn’t actually tag their Twitter account. Their response was simple and witty, humanizing their brand and making a personal connection with a loyal customer.

hilton suggests social listening

Image credit: HiltonSuggests on Twitter

Hilton has dedicated an entire Twitter account to social listening with Hilton Suggests. The account monitors keywords around the names of cities with Hilton hotels to respond to questions about dining and entertainment recommendations with suggestions for local hot spots.

Finding these moments is a three-step process, involving the collection and monitoring of conversations, followed by the analysis of these conversations to determine the intention of the speakers, and then, finally, outreach.

Intention is determined by context and context shapes the way that you should engage with the speakers.

  • What is the emotional sentiment of the conversation?
  • Will the speakers be receptive to your interaction?
  • Is this a relevant opportunity for your brand?

These questions will help you narrow down the context of the conversation and determine how your business should engage, whether that means joining in on a joke or suggesting your product as a solution to a problem.

Get Unfiltered Feedback

Want to know how your customers really feel about your products? From their biggest pain points to their favorite features, social listening gives you direct access to real, honest feedback.

The information that you pull from these interactions is highly valuable for designing better products in the future and improving your current catalogue. Pay attention to what your customers like and don’t like about your products. Try to understand their frustrations and the challenges that they run into.

Remember that negative reviews and comments aren’t personal attacks, they’re opportunities for your business to get better.

If you’ve just launched a new product, you can discover any shortcomings early on by monitoring social conversations. This can get you in front of negative reviews before they start rolling in and help you improve your current products for future customers.  Source Kevin Donnelly, Shopify Blog

If you’re looking for a place to sell your handmade products, check out this page, and to see our community in action, and how we suppport each other in our handmade community, join our Facebook Group.

Facebook Speculation Rumors Swirl: Zuckerberg Suggests There Will Be a PAID Version in Future

Zuckerberg Suggests There Will Be a PAID Version For years, there have been rumors running around on Facebook saying that the social media giant was going to start charging for it’s use; and for just as many years a quick fact check on Snopes will easily put this top 15 urban legend to rest. However, … read more

Zuckerberg Suggests There Will Be a PAID Version

For years, there have been rumors running around on Facebook saying that the social media giant was going to start charging for it’s use; and for just as many years a quick fact check on Snopes will easily put this top 15 urban legend to rest. However, something wicked this way blows~ and it sounds like things REALLY may be changing.

Repost from Bustle:

Facebook Founder And CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress yesterday, (April 11, 2018) regarding privacy breeches encountered at the hands of what is being called The Cambridge Analytica

“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” Zuckerberg said when Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch asked him if the service he created will always be free to use.

The phrasing of that remark strongly implies that it’s at least possible that there will at some point be a version of Facebook that isn’t free. Many speculated that this hypothetical paid version of Facebook would be ad-free, given that Zuckerberg was discussing the importance of advertising in Facebook’s business model when he made the comment.

Of course, this is all complete speculation. Zuckerberg made a throwaway comment that didn’t close the door to the possibility of a paid version of Facebook — but that’s about all he did. Zuckerberg made no official announcements, and didn’t even confirm that the company is looking at the possibility of a premium version. He simply hinted obliquely at the possibility.

The idea of a paid, ad-free version of Facebook has been floated in the past. In 2013, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone proposed that Facebook adopt such a business model — not as a means of protecting users’ data, but as a means of making more money.

“I’ve got an idea for Facebook,” Stone wrote in a Medium post. “They could offer Facebook Premium. For $10 a month, people who really love Facebook (and can afford it), could see no ads. Maybe some special features too. If 10% percent of Facebook signed up, that’s $1B a month in revenue.”

Moreover, a rumor circulated in 2009 (and several times since) that Facebook was going to start charging users to access the website. Needless to say, that never happened.

Not everybody is sold on the idea of a premium version of Facebook, however. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told USA TODAY on Wednesday that he doesn’t think users would pony up the extra cash for an ad-free Facebook experience.

“You would say, ‘I’m really paying $1,000 a year for this Facebook service when I can do email and other sites?'” Wozniak hypothesized. “There’s a lot of ways to be in contact with people.” He added that an ad-free version would provide “one little level of guarantee and privacy,” but probably wouldn’t alleviate all of users’ concerns about how their data is used and shared.

Goosie Commentary: I think most of the analysts who are predicting an “ad-free” version of Facebook may be off target. Where I see this going is offering Facebook free for regular users, and then Zuckerberg and his crew creating a paid version for businesses. I don’t think ad-free is ever the way they’re going to go.  Ad dollars are their bread and butter. Offering premium services to businesses to be seen again by followers (instead of boosting posts) will be the way it goes in my humble opinion. The slippery slope to a paid version for businesses seems to have started a couple of months ago with Zuckerberg’s statement when he basically killed Facebook Pages for Business and Brands.  He hinted then that there would be a separate place for Facebook Pages. And I believe that was the first step in separating “Regular Facebook users” from “Business Facebook Users”. I knew this was coming, I can almost guarantee that Businesses and Brands will be offered a premium version and if they don’t subscribe they’ll remain “dead” in “no man’s land”, or eliminated all together.

How will this affect Small Business Owners that use Facebook to share, promote, market and otherwise grow their customer base and reach? it’s going to hurt a lot. I think it’s going to be a pay to play type of scenario, and most of us are on shoestring budgets and live sale to sale as it is now.  Don’t quote me on my commentary and my prediction, but I’d be you dollars to donuts this is what will be happening in the future.

What do YOU think Mark Zuckerberg was alluding to in regards to the future for his social media cornerstone? Drop us a comment and let us know what you think.

If you’re a small business or handmade shop owner, would you pay to have a business facebook account? How MUCH would you be willing to pay per month? Drop a comment below and join the discussion.

 

Taking Better Product Photos : Guest Blogger Heidi from Stuff N’ Junk By Heidi

Taking Better Product Photos</font color> Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi! I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing … read more

Taking Better Product Photos</font color>

Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi!
I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing the photos into memory albums, but with the invention of digital cameras (and camera phones) and thanks to a busy life in general, I stopped taking as many photos. I never really learned all of the ins and outs when it came to lighting and camera functions, so when it came time to open my first online shop, my photos were dark, fuzzy and down right horrible! Over the years I have picked up some tips and tricks when it comes to product photos, so today I wanted to share some of the tools and tricks I use and how my photos have “developed” over the years.
Taking Better Product Photos

one of my first “product photos”

Before I had an online shop, I made diaper bags and baby blankets for family and friends. After many years of encouragement, I opened my first shop and my photos were far from appealing. I knew that I needed them to be “light and bright” but I wasn’t really sure where to begin. I didn’t have the extra funds to purchase high-end photography gear and I didn’t know enough about photography to know what a good value would be. My photos were dark, rough and many times blurry.
After very little research, I began mimicking what I thought looked good in other online shops. I started seeing this trend of photos on wood backgrounds. With no understanding of how it all worked, I purchased some scrapbook paper and started taking product photos. Still dark, still out of focus, I was getting frustrated.
Taking Better Product Photos

A first attempt at indirect light. The background is white cotton fabric.

Taking better product photos

Another “early days” photo, background is scrapbook paper.
There are lots of classes and free videos to coach you through photography and editing, but I got lucky and had a little one-on-one help from someone I met on Facebook. With her help, I ordered some vinyl backdrops and got a light kit, I upgraded my cell phone and my photos started getting better.
Taking Better Product Photos

Lights, Camera, Backdrops!

Taking Better Product Photos

Getting ready to take photos with my phone (Galaxy 8 plus)

When it comes to the actual photos, I found that you don’t need an expensive, high-end camera! Most new cell phones today have cameras that are more than capable of getting a good product photo. A few tips I learned along the way:
  1. Take the case off of your phone when taking photos. Many times the case will cause a shadow around your camera lens, causing the photos to be darker than they should
  2.  Clean the lens before and during your photo shoot. The smallest smudge may not be visible when looking at the phone display, but when you go to edit your photos, they will be blurry.
  3. Take lots of photos! The great thing about digital photos is that you can take a lot of photos of the same thing and simply delete the ones that don’t cut it!
Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my camera (Canon, Rebel T6)

Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my phone

Let’s talk photo backgrounds…

There are a lot of opinions about photo backgrounds. Some people will always recommend a solid white background. Some will tell you to use mockups. Lifestyle photos versus flatlays are also something to think about.
So here’s my two cents:
  1. Your photo background should compliment your business aesthetic. Is your logo blue and green? Don’t use a black backdrop… Do you sell wall/home decor? Photographing your products outside on the grass is probably not going to help your customer imagine that piece in their home. No matter how much you sew, a cutting board is not a good backdrop. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on photo backdrops! Vinyl backdrops are a number one choice as they are specifically designed for taking photos. There are many shops now that offer a variety of sizes and styles to give you plenty of options. I have also used contact paper (dollar tree) and scrapbook paper. The downside to the contact paper is that some are glossy and will give a lot of shine behind your product, with scrapbook paper you are a bit limited with regards to size. If you are looking to use a plain white background, poster board can be a great budget-friendly option!
Taking Better Product Photos

My chevron background is 2’x2′ and matches my branding. Vinyl backdrops can come in so many patterns and sizes! The roll is contact paper I picked up from the dollar store.

2) Mock-ups and props. You always want your product to be the main focus of the photo. If you are using props, be sure they complement your product but they really should be a back seat item, never the focus. If you do mockups, be sure that you are clear in your description of what is included with purchase. If I go to a shop filled with digital mockups and no finished products, I generally don’t make the purchase.
3) Lifestyle photos. These can be great to help sell your online items. Since your customer can’t touch or try on your product while shopping, seeing your product in use helps customers imagine that item in their home. I myself and still working on getting lifestyle photos, so be sure to check back for more on this topic!

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting…

I struggle with lighting. I have always struggled with lighting. I feel like no matter what I do, my lighting is just never “right”. How in the world do we get “indirect light”? Although I am still working on getting that perfect lighting down, I do have tools that help!
1) Lightbox! These can be purchased or you can make one yourself. We’ll be doing a lightbox tutorial soon, so be sure to subscribe to the email list! Although I own a lightbox, I don’t use mine much as my backgrounds and products tend to be too large. Whether you are using indirect light or electric lighting, a lightbox helps filter and soften the lighting when taking your photos.
2) Stand lights. I have the light set listed below and I just can’t live without them! My lights have covers, as shown, which helps filter the light coming through so I’m not getting a bright glare on my product and background.
3) Sunlight. I struggled with good old Mother Nature for quite some time. I tried early morning, different afternoon hours, in the shade, outside, inside, nothing seemed to be working! After doing a little research I finally figured out that I needed to be at my living room window between 10 am and noon (your time and place will vary) to get the best indirect lighting for my photos. Even with that, I still use my stand lights to help with angled lighting.
Taking better product photos

I use a combination of indirect sunlight and two light stands.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to product photography is that you want it to represent your business and give your customer the impression they would get if they were standing in your brick and mortar shop.
Thanks so much for visiting the Gypsy Spoonful Blog : “Gypsy Blogful: A Journey In American Handmade”  and feel free to drop a comment or question!

Gypsy Spoonful: Supporting the Shop Local Movement #shoplocal

BUYING LOCAL IS SUPPORTING YOURSELF TOO Source: Sustainable Connections Keep money in your community. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the … read more

BUYING LOCAL IS SUPPORTING YOURSELF TOO

Source: Sustainable Connections

Keep money in your community. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. (Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies)

Did you know Gypsy Spoonful has a page dedicated to the shop local movement? You can choose to support shops located in your state, or local area

Let’s explore WHY shopping local is a great idea:

SUPPORT COMMUNITY GROUPS

Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.

KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY UNIQUE

Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home, let’s celebrate it! Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. It’s what distinguishes between being here, versus when you’re in a big chain department store just as easily being in the same one in Phoenix, Arizona or St Paul, Minnesota.

“When people travel they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” – Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation, and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.

CREATE MORE LOCAL OWNERSHIP AND GOOD JOBS

Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents. Let’s encourage more start-ups!

 

GET BETTER SERVICE

Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

INVEST IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Local businesses are owned by your friends and neighbors who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future – just like you.

BETTER PUBLIC SERVICES

More local businesses mean a stronger tax base and  more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally- owned stores entering the community. This means better public services like schools, transportation, emergency response and more for you and your family.

BETTER SELECTION FOR YOU

A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

ENCOURAGE LOCAL PROSPERITY

A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. This also means a better use of community space. Big box stores can be highly attractive but… Wouldn’t it be better to have more local businesses that can make use of existing empty space in a heritage building downtown?

THINK LOCAL FIRST + BUY LOCAL WHEN YOU CAN = BEING A LOCAL!

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color> Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered … read more

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color>

Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered her an expert in her field for a long time now, she’s shown that she knows the proven ways to succeed in this rough market. Just the other day in our member’s only group, we were discussing this very topic! Great timing huh? Don’t waste any time wondering how to succeed at this like a champ!


Sarah Asks,

Are you afraid to call boutique buyers? I was too when I was first starting out.

Sarah has prepared this special guide to share her time-tested formula so you can get your products into the stores of your dreams.

  • You are going to get:
  • 6 ways to find the perfect buyers who already want your product!
  • The “My friend saw your store” copy and paste email script
  • Her “Perfect Follow Up” phone script so you can close the deal
  • And more…..

I know you’re absolutely going to LOVE what she’s sharing with you. There’s no time to waste, so shake a leg sister!

To get started right away and access her free PDF guide, click this link to access your guide

 

Hustle: Do you have it? What does Hustling Mean To You?

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means. We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses. #1- … read more

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means.

We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses.

#1- Powering through the hard parts

Thanks to Jake Jorgovan, Lead Cookie!It’s not about working nights and weekends forever, that just leads to burnout. Instead hustle is about working those nights and weekends when it’s necessary to get over that next hump. Too many people confuse hustle with being a workaholic. You simply can’t stay in hustle mode for your entire life. There are seasons for hustle, and there are seasons to focus on your personal life. It’s important to understand that balance.

 #2- GSD’ing

Thanks to Spencer Chambers Hustle to me is summed up in what I like to call GSD’ing. What is GSD’ing you may ask? In appropriate language, this means Get “Stuff” Done. Work hard, never take no for an answer, make things happen, etc. It’s a really simple concept, but it takes hustle to truly execute and get stuff done on a daily basis.

#3- Simple

Thanks to Taran Ghatrora, Ellebox!Hustle to me is having a clear vision and an unbeatable work ethic to get there. You can’t get stuck in the planning phase or in overthinking.

#4- Executing things

Hustle is the ability to execute steps forward on ideas using discipline to motivate you, instead of inspiration or whim. Your idea is pretty much shit, unless you actually execute on it and do the thing.

Thanks to Ben Woods, Weathered Coalition!

#5- A number of things

Hustling is pursuing your passion when others aren’t. Hustling is saying no to happy hour to work on your business. Hustling is waking up every day at 5 a.m. to write a new company blog post, answer emails or listen to motivational videos. Hustling is spending most of your days alone because you are fervently working to grow your business.

Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!

#6-Having grit

Hustle means having grit. Sticking to it and getting things done while thinking strategically and being engaged. Hustling is about being effective and following through. It’s about the process — start to finish. Be strategic, savvy, and execute. It’s a go-go-go, get it done mentality.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!

#7- Performance and productivity

For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, hustle in its most literal sense means that you have to perform and be productive at a high level each and every day. If not, your competitors are likely to get a leg up on you. In a more subjective sense, hustle is a term used regarding a side hustle, which is how many of us get started. If you can find something to do in your spare time which generates income for you, there’s nothing to say that it can’t eventually turn into a full-time position and career for you.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#8- Motivation and persistence

Thanks to Tom Szaky, TerraCycle!To me, hustle is motivation and persistence. It is being motivated by the word “no,” or the desire to do something others think is not possible. It is thinking big and not settling for anything less than great. Mediocre will not suffice. When TerraCycle first started about 15 years ago, we sold organic worm poop fertilizer. Selling to mom n’ pop stores would’ve been easy, but I wanted more. I wanted to see it on shelves in big box stores so I called relentlessly, no matter how many times they didn’t respond. Finally, we got a meeting and a short time later our fertilizer was on store shelves. Today, we no longer make the fertilizer and TerraCycle is known for recycling difficult to recycle materials. We operate in 21 countries and were just qualified by the SEC for a Regulation A offering which enables any level investor to purchase shares of the company. The capital raise will be used to acquire businesses, allowing us to continue to innovate ways to solve some of the world’s biggest waste problems. Thinking big and persevering despite the no’s in life is my definition of hustle.

#9- Making things happen

It takes drive, creativity, energy, passion, chutzpah, and resilience. As the founder and CEO I know there are going to be times when doors close or I have to pivot to turn my vision into reality. If it were easy someone would have thought of it and done it before. If you are committed to making your dream come true you have to hustle. No one else wakes up every day thinking about your business. It is on you to hustle. If you want it more then you just have to work harder and hustle to make it happen.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

 #10- Solving problems

Hustle is a term that gets thrown around a lot by entrepreneurs, we say with pride that we worked 14 hours a day for the last week. I’m working on being more conscious of framing my relationship to the word hustle, I now relate it to resourcefulness. When you’re running your own business, a lot of different things come down the pipe, and you’ve got to be able to dig deep and have a high capacity for problem-solving.

Thanks to Justin Shaw, One & Zero!

#11- Hard work

Hustle is working day in and day out even when the results aren’t showing. It’s doing all of the work when you don’t feel like it or you’re stressed. Hustle means not complaining and putting in the hours no matter what because you’re dedicated. In business, it takes a long time for the fruits of your labor to show their effects. I believe you have to be willing to work very hard now for rewards later. That’s what hustle means to me.

Thanks to Carmine M, Pierro Shoes!

#12- It’s everything

Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!Business and hustle go hand in hand when being an entrepreneur and it can be fantastic, but also really challenging at the same time. What is “hustle”, you may ask? It’s everything. To me it is breathing, living and feeling the pulse of the business. It’s about making constant growth sustainable. Hustle is about a constant state of peak performance and ability to find the positive in every situation. It is also used to remind one that good things don’t come to those who wait – it comes to those who work hard, sleep and breathe work, and deliver. No matter what type of problem is thrown at you, you have to keep hustling!

#13- To keep moving

Hustle to me means rolling with the punches and never giving up. When your business or your professional career there are going to be low times, failures and even lull’s. You need to make sure to keep working through these times. This is where most people give up and try something new. Have faith and believe in yourself. Hustle your way through these hard times.

Thanks to Garrett Smith, Pitch + Pivot!

#14- Several things

Being the Executive Director of a very small nonprofit, hustle means something very different to me than how the average CEO probably sees it. For me, making as many connections as possible and going to as many networking events as possible are critical. I also need to be fearless when it comes to asking people, companies, and organizations for support and resources for our organization whenever we need it. Hustle also means having my elevator pitch down to a science, so I can easily and efficiently sell our organization to potential new supporters and partners on the spot. For me, hustling also means keeping in touch with connections even if you can’t work with them right away, because you never know if they might be able to help you later on, or who else they might know who might be able to help you, too. Additionally, being ready with a list of things you need assistance with – and being ready to vocalize that list of needs when opportunities arise – is definitely critical to hustling, as is working all channels available to you (like using social media for instance) to crowd-source resources and connections that can benefit us as well.

Thanks to Melissa Norden, Bottomless Closet!

#15- When you say, enough talking – it’s time to do something

Your business began with a dream, that dream morphed into a vision which then becomes a goal. The world is full of dreamers. You have to do more than dream and believe; you have to have a shared goal and hustle to reach it! We teach our team in our EntreLeadership classes to clearly define dreams, visions and goals, share them and share them with their teams. Hustle happens when the team fights and claws together to get there.

Thanks to Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Solutions!

#16- Making it work

“Detroit Hustle” is a known state of mind in the Motor City, where my outdoor advertising agency is headquartered. To me, hustle means always making it work and never giving up. I’ve worked essentially 24/7 since starting Brooklyn Outdoor 5 years ago and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My days are jam-packed with meetings, conference calls, and tight deadlines. I think the most important part of the hustle is being invigorated by hard work instead of feeling drained.

Thanks to Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor!

What does hustle mean to you? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join

(courtesty of CEO Blog Nation)

Buy A Domain Name: Where to Buy The Cheapest Domain Registrars Around Reviewed

You’ve got your business up and running, you’ve opened your Gypsy Spoonful shop and now you are looking to secure your WAHM owned small business with a corresponding domain name, but you don’t want to pay a fortune for it. Who offers the cheapest domain registration? There are so many domain registrars out there, how … read more

You’ve got your business up and running, you’ve opened your Gypsy Spoonful shop and now you are looking to secure your WAHM owned small business with a corresponding domain name, but you don’t want to pay a fortune for it. Who offers the cheapest domain registration?

There are so many domain registrars out there, how do you know which one to work with? We’ve published this article to give you some insight into the different companies out there!

So, here we’re going to focus solely on price.

What is a Domain Name?
According to Wikipedia, “A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS)”. In more plain English, this is kind of like your address because it gives all internet servers around the world one unique place to find you and your website.

Since not all domain names are available, you always need to check whether or not the one you want to use for your company is taken.

A domain name is the identity of your business and, therefore, you have to be very careful when choosing one. It should be meaningful and serve your purpose well. Of course, having a memorable domain name can be useful and having one that falls off the tongue is great for marketing purposes

For example, for a business website, a domain name which contains the company name is an ideal choice. It could also refer to the website’s content or at least allude to it. For more creative applications, you might consider a quirkier domain name that will intrigue potential visitors.

Read more http://how2oo.com/how-to-get-a-domain-name-free/

Finding a Reliable and Affordable Domain Name Registrar
First, the most important function of a registrar is that they allow you to easily and effectively administer and manage your domain name. Functionality or features to look for in a domain name registrar include:

  • An established reputation (given the ease of becoming a registrar, there are many fly-by-night outfits out there that will take your money and run so BE CAREFUL! )
  • No hidden fees (such as a fee for transferring a domain out to another registrar)
  • Comprehensive administration (for nameserver, mail, who-is records, etc.)
  • Reasonably priced registration fees
  • Accredited by a governing body (such as ICANN: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit organization)
  • Easy transfer of domain name in and out of registrar
  • Domain name forwarding (something we suggest to all our shop owners on GypsySpoonful
  • Manual and auto renewal – Careful with this one. Many registrars will try everything they can to auto-renew by default, which may result in you renewing a bunch of domain names every year that you don’t want to renew.
  • Private whois registration – Conceals your whois data, i.e. your name, address, phone, etc. from prying eyes

Find out MORE About WhoIs

  • Do you need email accounts? Some registrars will host your domain’s email for you. This is practical if you need email up and running but are not yet ready to host.
  • Customer support – It’s crucial that your domain registrar have good customer support, whether via phone, email, or live chat.
  • Note: We leave hosting out of this discussion because we don’t recommend you host with your registrar. Why? Because they are two very different specialty areas and it is hard to be great at both… it’s like eating at a restaurant that sells both Chinese and Thai food and expecting both to be authentic!

How We Chose Our Rankings
This blog post’s rankings were based on price. So you may be confused when you see that there are some companies with more cons than others that are ranked higher up. Just keep in mind that the rankings are purely based on the renewal price.

Inexpensive, Reliable Domain Name Registrars (Table)
These rankings are based on price, but we also recommended the top 2 above because they are quality registrars where you will be able to reliably host your domain names. You may well find a less expensive option, but odds are they are not an approved registrar and you may have difficulty managing your names.

#1 Idotz Review

Idotz has the cheapest introductory AND renewal pricing. It’s been established for a super long time, making it our #1 pick!

Namecheap Review
#2 Namecheap
Namecheap has the cheapest renewal rate and an established business history, making it our #2 pick. If you’re looking for easy and affordable domain management without unnecessary frills, Namecheap is a good company to go with. It’s easy to transfer your domains in and out as well.

1&1 Review
#3 1&1 While 1&1 has a great introductory rate of $0.99 for the first year, the renewal rate of $14.99/year will make this more expensive than iDotz or Namecheap if held for more than 2 years. *Also, please note, if you’re paying with paypal, you aren’t allowed to pay with your paypal balance for some reason. Only a credit card or bank account transfer is allowed. (that seems a bit sketchy to me, so be careful)

 

Below are the reviews for other companies ranked according to price.

GoDaddy Review
#4 GoDaddy

GoDaddy comes with a big name and is best known for their web hosting solutions. It’s easy to get started with GoDaddy except checking out can be a bit confusing for some. Customers say they constantly try to upsell which is extremely annoying and their customer support could use some help since they have long wait times. Be careful if paying with paypal, they auto-renew your domain(s) and if you only want it for 1 year, you’ll be billed the following year, and the following year…and so on…

Host Gator Review
#5 HostGator
Host Gator is a big corporation with many awards under its belt. They’ve been around for a long time so they’ve had plenty of time to build their company. They pride themselves in customer service and have many features to choose from.

Moniker Review
#6 Moniker
We tried to research Moniker but had difficulties finding reliable information on them. If you’ve used Moniker let us know! It’s the cheapest that I’ve found for 1 year without a super low introductory bait & switch tactic. 

Who’s Your Favorite Registrar?
While there are quite a few domain registration companies out there that meet the above criteria, there are even more that don’t. And of those that do, there are many that charge above and beyond the wholesale price of a domain name (for example, register.com, which charges a $38 renewal rate, or Network Solutions, which comes in at a hefty $35 per year).

Want to learn more about domains and websites? subscribe to the Gypsy Spoonful Mailing List

Which domain name registrar have you used? Was it a good or bad experience?

Zuckerberg Announces BIG Changes for Business Pages on Facebook. Coming Soon in 2018. Small Business Apocalypse.

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!! straight from the horse’s mouth: Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this … read more

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!!

straight from the horse’s mouth:

Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this will make for a more enjoyable social experience on Facebook, one of the drawbacks of this change is that many of the businesses, brands or media that users want to follow will not be visible as often. For instance, if you follow a business page and enjoy seeing their posts, this new change will hide most of their updates.

Zuckerberg Announces Big Changes for Facebook Pages in 2018

As if the algorithms and the pay to play post “boosting” didn’t do enough damage to our small businesses, now he’s coming right out and saying that businesses and brands will be buried and hidden even more!!

Those of us who managed to dodge paying to boost posts just to reach a 1/10 of the people who actually follow our pages, will suffer even more. Small businesses who don’t have an advertising budget will all but be obliterated in the new Zuckerberg Facebook 2018 plan…

For those of you that have trusted my advice and suggestions in the past as far as social media go, I want you to know I am working on an ebook to explain these changes and I’m brainstorming workarounds for this “new era” for businesses coming SOON on facebook. I”ve been quoted in several publications (blogs, newspapers, magazines etc) as well as being quoted in two books as a small business and social media expert. If there’s a will there’s a way, and Goosie is on the case…

Please comment and let me know if you’d be interested in my ebook, and what you think of these new changes Zuckerberg thinks will be so awesome


Starting your small business: Top six tips for new businesses

So to get started, create your own simple, one-page business plan that is a high-level overview of the small business you’re about to start. Preliminary Steps: Define your vision. What will be the end result of your business? Define your mission. Different to a vision, your mission should explain the reason your company exists. Define your objectives. What … read more

So to get started, create your own simple, one-page business plan that is a high-level overview of the small business you’re about to start.

Preliminary Steps:

  1. Define your vision. What will be the end result of your business?
  2. Define your mission. Different to a vision, your mission should explain the reason your company exists.
  3. Define your objectives. What are you going to do — what are your goals — that will lead to the accomplishment of your mission and your vision?
  4. Outline your basic strategies. How are you going to achieve the objectives you just bulleted?
  5. Write a simple action plan. Bullet out the smaller task-oriented actions required to achieve the stated objectives

That’s it. It might be longer than one page, but it will surely be more organized and shorter than a full business plan, which could take weeks to write. If you need more information on the one-page business plan, or want to write out a full-blown finance-centered business plan

Decide on a budget

While I highly recommend you keep your costs as low as possible, you’ll still need to determine a budget to get started and how much you’ll be able to spend. If you’re self funding, be realistic about numbers and whatever you anticipate your budget to be. I’ve found that an additional 20 percent tacked on for incidentals is a realistic overage amount that helps you plan your burn rate.

Your burn rate is how much cash you’re spending month over month. It’s an important number for you to figure out to determine how long you can stay in business before you need to turn a profit.

You should set up your business with profitability in mind the first 30 to 90 days. It’s possible. But have a budget reserve so you can survive if things go leaner than expected.

Decide on a legal entity

Filing paperwork to start a business costs money. Often, depending on your state, it can be a lot of money. You’ll need to account for city or municipality licensing, state incorporation or business entity fees and more. Do a thorough search ahead of time to determine what the filing fees are for your city, county and state before starting any business.

Often in the initial “test” phase for your small business, it can be wise to start as a sole proprietor, as it means less paperwork and up-front expenses. That can save you some big-time cash while you determine the viability of your business. Do be aware though that acting as a sole proprietor can put you at personal risk, so you’ll want to weigh the benefits vs. risks and then speak with a local attorney or tax professional to decide which is smarter for your short-term vs. long-term goals.

You can always file for a business entity once you’ve proven in the first three to six months of business that you’ve got a viable, sustainable model.

Take Care of the Finances

Whatever business entity you decide on, keep the funds separate from your personal accounts. This is a big mistake that makes tax time and financials so utterly and horribly confusing. It’s really easy to set up a free business checking account with your local credit union or bank. All you’ll need is your filing paperwork, sole proprietor licensing information and an initial deposit to get set up from most financial institutions.

Don’t pay for an account or get any kind of credit lines yet, just get a holding place you can keep your money separated from your personal accounts. This should take you no more than hour at the financial institution of your choice.

Get your online presence/Website:

Regardless of whether your business will be brick or mortar or online, you’ll need a website and that means securing a URL. Popular domain sites such as idotzdomains and Go Daddy will allow you to search for the website domain address of your choice and purchase it for as little as $.99 (be careful with GoDaddy though, they will jack the price up in subsequent years so be sure

If you’re starting an online business, you can tie your domain to an online shopping cart and store front such as Gypsy Spoonful  or you can build a basic website yourself on top of your URL with do-it-yourself drag-and-drop site builders such as Weebly for a low fee.

Test Sales

You have enough of a foundation now that you can start testing some sales. Try to spread the word in inexpensive and creative ways.

If you have a service-based business, get involved with your local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter immediately and ask what resources are available for you to speak, present or share information about your business. If you have a product-based business, test the viability of your product at local flea markets, farmers markets or other community events to test what the public really thinks (and if they’ll purchase) from you. Start social media accounts and post photos of your products to see if the public is looking for the items you create.

Drive traffic to your shop/website through simple Facebook Ads with capped budgets, or set up a simple Google AdWords account with a budget cap to test if traffic is going to your site.

The admin team of Gypsy Spoonful is happy to help you learn how to drive traffic to your shop~ where else can you get hands on help from the owners of the company?

 

 

goals

Why Join The Gypsy Spoonful Creative Community?

On Gypsy Spoonful… ?we are 100% handmade ?nothing is imported ?Everything is hand crafted from real people who operate their own independently owned American small businesses. ?We allow you to run your business the way YOU want, we TRUST you to make great decisions on what products to sell, we TRUST you to be able … read more

what if I fall? oh my darling, what if you fly?

On Gypsy Spoonful…
?we are 100% handmade
?nothing is imported
?Everything is hand crafted from real people who operate their own independently owned American small businesses.
?We allow you to run your business the way YOU want, we TRUST you to make great decisions on what products to sell, we TRUST you to be able to get inquiries and be able to EMAIL the sender directly, we don’t keep communication trapped within the site (because we TRUST you to be responsible)
?We allow you to put outside links in your listings (to your facebook, or instagram for example) , because we TRUST you not to circumvent customers to another platform.

Empowering Women

?We won’t shut your shop down based on a random complaint, we have our maker’s backs and will investigate FAIRLY and give you the opportunity to respond as well.
?. There is no monthly shop fee, there are no listing fees, and no renewal fees. You can relist when and how often you want, listings run forever. The final value fees are modest , even on digital/pdf products (some sites take 50% of pattern sales! Gypsy Spoonful only takes 2.9% + Paypal fees and a 2% masspay fee) . If it doesn’t sell, you don’t pay a thing!
?You have the support of a creative/entrepreneurial community, cheering you on the whole way. Our admin team has over 30 years of online selling experience (in the handmade/boutique worlds) . We know what works and what doesn’t work. The founder (me, Heather Gray) has been in business for 14 years selling boutique/handmade items, she’s a published author, has designed for a-list celebrities, been on television, been blogged about, used as a small business expert in articles and books. We have experience in the trenches, we have tried different things, let our leg work be on your side. We’ll save you time and effort by giving suggestions of what we’ve learned over the years. We’re always experimenting, trying new things in the way of marketing and promotion for our makers. In just 8 short months we’re getting amazing traffic, inquiries, sales and we’re up to about 125 shops right now.

 

empowering women
?We may be new, but that means it a ground floor opportunity to get involved in a VERY EXCITING movement ~ we’re not just about selling, we’re about making handmade a LIFESTYLE. A viable choice in the marketplace, where disposable products have sullied the quality of goods that consumers have as a choice. We believe in handmade, and all that it represents. We believe in small business. We believe in supporting local small businesses before big box stores and fortune 500 companies. We believe in America, and that as Americans, we can bring superior products to the marketplace as exceptional choices for consumers.
? Where else can you get training, tips and help from the people that run the site? When was the last time the CEO of any selling platform sat down with you and gave you tips on taking photos, asked for your input on an idea for an important new feature for the site? YOU count, and MATTER at Gypsy Spoonful. We aren’t out to profit on your hard work, we’re also here to help you GROW because we believe in empowering other small business owners.


?If you’re interested in getting involved in what we’re doing, we’re looking for new makers, we are a curated site, meaning we don’t allow everyone to just join, there’s a vetting and interview process (and we do have a wait list). If you’re a hard worker who is not afraid to put in the time/effort/work and be involved in a community setting, with helping make decisions and give input about the direction we are going, we want you to be a part of Gypsy Spoonful.

https://gypsyspoonful.com/market/join/

?We’re also looking for bloggers who want to contribute as guest bloggers with small business topics, marketing & PR, & branding tips, handmade DIY tutorials, etc (email goosiegirlboutique@gmail.com)

If you made it through this LONG post, you deserve a HUG!!

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Collaborators on Pinterest

HOW and WHY to add collaborators to Pinterest

We’ve talked before about the importance of being on Pinterest and listed important steps to set up a business account on Pinterest.  In this article, I’ll show you how to use Pinterest as a tool for collaboration in your business. Pinterest isn’t the first tool that many people think of when it comes to collaboration, … read more

Collaborators on Pinterest

We’ve talked before about the importance of being on Pinterest and listed important steps to set up a business account on Pinterest.  In this article, I’ll show you how to use Pinterest as a tool for collaboration in your business.
Pinterest isn’t the first tool that many people think of when it comes to collaboration, but the visual nature of Pinterest makes it ideal in many respects.

How can you maximize your time on Pinterest?

But how can you maximize your Pinterest activities without spending a ton of time on it? Well, along with scheduling your pins, one of the most effective but underutilized strategies to get more exposure from Pinterest is by using group boards.

Now, if you’re new to Pinterest, you may only know of regular boards that only you can pin to. You may have never have heard of group boards. Or maybe you have but you don’t know how to use them or don’t think they apply to you.

I’ve been dabbling with group boards over the past few months and have seen a dramatic increase in followers since I strategically introduced them to my Pinterest marketing.

So in this post I am going to demystify group boards, explain the advantages of using them and outline a few ways you can get started straightaway with this strategy.

What Are Pinterest Group Boards?

A group board works like a regular Pinterest board. The only difference is that along with the board creator, other people are also allowed to pin.

Group boards go under many different names – shared boards, contributor boards, community boards and collaborative boards. Regardless the term, they are all exactly the same thing.

There is currently no directory of Pinterest group boards. In order to distinguish a group board from a regular one you need to look out for the group icon at the top of a board when you are browsing someone’s page.

Key Benefits of Using Group Boards

Group boards are not only a great way to organize ideas and bring people together, but they can also have real tangible benefits for your brand and business.

#1. Dramatically boost your followers

If users select to “follow all” of any contributor’s boards, then they will be added as followers to a group board you are part of. The increased exposure and visibility you get through group boards will increase your follower growth at a faster rate.

#2. Exponentially increase the number of repins

The more followers you have the more likely they (and their followers) are to see your content, repin your pins and click through to your website. This means more traffic to your site and potentially more subscribers, customers and clients.

#3. Put your pinning virtually on autopilot

Implement this strategy correctly and you could get other people creating content for.

Certainly at the start, Pinterest can be time-consuming but managed well, you could soon have a team of people perpetuating your content for you across their networks.

#4. Increase engagement and create brand ambassadors

Your customers may already be liking, commenting and sharing your content with their followers on Pinterest. But inviting them to pin to your brand’s group board will get them more engaged and involved in your online conversation.

It will also elevate them to the role of brand ambassadors, who their followers are more likely to take note of.

Let’s take a look now at some ways you can harness the power of group boards in your business.

How Can Businesses Use Group Boards?

  • Collaboration – are you working with other people, employees or co-workers on a specific project? Use group boards to share industry-specific tips, training materials and resources. Make the board “secret” if you want to keep the information under wraps.
  • Planning – are you a wedding planner, interior designer or in charge of an event that requires input from others? Invite the stakeholders to join you on a group board where you can collect and share design ideas, compare menus, color schemes, flower arrangements, room layouts, fabric samples and so on.
  • Promotion– thinking of running a contest, raising funding for your big idea or promoting a worthy cause? Group boards are perfect for engaging your audience, getting customers to interact with your brand as well as sharing data, statistics, success stories etc. to raise awareness about your brand or a particular issue.
  • Networking – why not invite other pinners to pin about a common topic and expand your network at the same time? Bloggers especially can benefit from group boards by using them to connect with other bloggers and actively re-pinning each other’s content as part of a blogging network.
  • Authority – are you knowledgeable about a particular subject area? Create a themed group board and contribute regularly to build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader to the board’s followers.

How To Create A Contributor Board

Go to the Pinterest home page and click on the Add + tab at the top of the page.

Collaborators on Pinterest

 

Then select the option to Create a Board.

Create a Pinterest board

Next choose a name for your new board, select a category and whether you want to make it a private (secret) board or a public one. The final sCollaborators on Pinteresttep is to decide who you want to add as a contributor.

 

How To Add Contributors
Today I’m going to share three different ways to collaborate on Pinterest:  Secret Boards, Group Boards, and reaching out to others.

Collaborators on Pinterest

Reaching Out To Others
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when I talk with other business people and clients, I’ve realized that many people don’t take this step.  Reaching out to other people in your industry who are already on Pinterest is a vital step to building business relationships.

This starts in your comments.  I’m still amazed at people who don’t respond to comments someone has left for them on a pin.  Pinterest isn’t the most social of the social networks, so when someone does this it really stands out. Comment back!  Don’t just say “Thank You.”  Continue the conversation and say things like, “What did you like about that pin?”  or “When you read that article, what was the most helpful piece of advice?”  Building on the conversation is key.

Once you’ve built up a history with each other, and they express interest in using Pinterest for marketing, start asking each other for advice or work together.

My Pinterest marketing skills have grown because I’ve been able to build relationships with .  Now, if I’m struggling on an image or what exactly to pin, I can turn to my friends for advice and they can do the same with me. Having colleagues who can give helpful criticism and support is crucial when trying to take your Pinterest marketing to the next level.

Group Boards
One of the most significant benefits of joining group boards on Pinterest is the exposure of your own content.  This is vital when you are first starting out.  For example, if you join or get invited to a group board that has 1000 followers and you’ve just gotten your Pinterest account up to 100 followers, that extra 1000 can make a big difference on how many people see your content. Finding high quality group boards relevant to your industry used to be a chore, but with sites like pingroupie.com,  finding group boards for your industry is much easier. Group boards can also help grow your Pinterest account more quickly.  If you are providing great pins that are relative to a Pinterest group board and that audience, more people will become interested in your profile, and in many instances start following some of your boards.

Creating your own group board is a great way for you to curate great content for your audience.  For example, I had a board called Instant Instagram Tips which is ranked on Google Search.  I mentioned this board to Peg Fitzpatrick, and she became a contributor. I then turned that board into a group board for the two of us to pin to.  Having just one other person who pins great content makes it a lot easier to make that board a place where people can go to for resources on Instagram.

Secret Boards
Secret boards are a powerful tool on Pinterest.  We’ll go more in-depth on some power tips for secret boards in a later article.   Secret boards are just that, secret.  The public on Pinterest can’t see them.  You can pin recipes, gift ideas for your spouse, what the competition is doing, or  article ideas for your blog…you get the picture.
You can, however, share your secret boards with users you select.  This can be used quite effectively in business.   I’ve created and shared secret boards with logo designers where I share logos I like, and they pin concepts that they have created.  It’s a really fast way to drill down to a design quickly.

 

How to add collaborators to Pinterest

Do you have a Pinterest board that you would like allow friends, workmates or colleagues to pin images to?  It’s easy – add them as a collaborator!  Here’s how:
Log into your Pinterest account and navigate to your boards
Click ‘Edit’ on the board you wish to add a collaborator to
In the ‘Who can add pins?’ text box, start typing the name of your new collaborator, and select their name from the drop down box when it appears (Note:  They will need to be following your board before you can add them) and click ‘Invite’
Click ‘Save Settings’
Your chosen collaborator will now receive an invitation to which they will need to accept and then they’ll be able to start pinning to your board!

Blogging

WAHM? Not Blogging? Top Ten Reasons You should be!

Blogging According to a recent U.K. survey, bloggers have ranked as the third most trustworthy source of information, following only friends and family. That’s right — bloggers are trusted more than celebrities, journalists, brands, and politicians. Here are the top 10 reasons blogging can help promote your handmade small business: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Be … read more

Blogging

Old fashioned camera

According to a recent U.K. survey, bloggers have ranked as the third most trustworthy source of information, following only friends and family. That’s right — bloggers are trusted more than celebrities, journalists, brands, and politicians. Here are the top 10 reasons blogging can help promote your handmade small business:

Top Ten Reasons You Need to Be Blogging!

When I network with small business owners and online marketers, I often find myself asking them if they’ve launched their blog yet.  Adding a blog has so many important benefits and it’s no wonder that huge corporations and megastores are also getting into blogging. Especially for the micropreneur however, blogs have several distinct advantages. Here are a few.

1. A blog is search engine food! Google and the other big search engines love content and a blog can help you get free search engine traffic. Recently search engines are giving more weight to blogs because they want to offer the freshest, most relevant content to internet searchers.

2. Blogs create community. Because they are interactive, a blog draws people back to your site again and again. Your visitors will read your post then leave their comments, read comments left by others, and come back to see how the conversation is flowing. Blogs are much easier to manage than message forums too. With RSS (Real Simple Syndication), people can subscribe to your blog feed and be notified automatically when you update your blog.

3. Blogging puts you in control of your site. Posting to your blog is as easy as typing an email or a word document. Why pay a designer to add a page to your website when you can update your site whenever you like, easy as pie? You can blog as often or as rarely as you like to serve your particular needs.

4. Blogs help you grow your bottom line. There are many ways you can add additional monetization streams to your blog so you can make more money in your business without working harder.

5. Your customers love blogs. They can ask you questions, read info about your products and services, and share their opinions. Generally, it can feel more interactive and personal to readers and potential customers.

6. Blogs help you know your target market. As you observe who is leaving comments on your blog, you get to know your market better. This education helps you be a smarter marketer.

7. Conduct market research. A blog is an easy way to conduct surveys and polls to help you get inside the mind of your customers. This information is invaluable to you.

8. Blogs help your customers get to know you. A blog gives your customers a chance to see your personality shine through. People buy from people they like!

9. Blogging is fun. I’ll admit it, blogging is addicting once you get going! There are so many benefits to your business. What’s not to love?

10. As a small business owner, you have a limited marketing budget. Blogging is a free marketing tactic – it only costs you a little of your time.

Old fashioned camera

 

Here’s a helpful resource list for bloggers

It’s always a great idea to mix a little personal / lifestyle with your business to keep readers interested~ so here’s a list of suggested blog topics to get you off to a great start:

Blog Ideas

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