Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Let's Talk About Money: How to Earn Exactly What You WANT


We don't like to talk about money, but we need it. We're thrifty so we can have more of it to spend on food and fun. I've been soul-searching and reached a conclusion: I need to re-focus my money goals! Here's how you and I can make our income exactly what we want it to be:

1) STOP UNDERSELLING YOURSELF

Flashback, 2008. I was 21-years-young. The company president sat behind his desk and maintained a perfect poker face, his eyes burned into me like lasers. He asks what I expect to make, I squeak, "I can't make less than $10.00 an hour." It's amazing he didn't crack the professional mask he wore with peals of laughter over his victory. He offered $11.00. My pay continued to rise but I was always the lowest paid marketer at the company.

NEVER AGAIN! Now I know my value. I make websites, design graphics, take bright, clear photos, market effectively, know SEO, draw, and write my ass off- and fast! Other designers I charge $25 to $45+ an hour to do 20% of what I did! I'm worth more and I will charge more. You should, too!

2) PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO

The picker skill is not universal, not everyone can pick out special items in thrift stores. Some don't have the eye to curate a collection. Not everyone can cook or craft. You have a special skill and people WILL pay for it.

Consider this: You pay a mechanic good money because you can't switch out a catalytic converter, right? People will pay good money for your special skills.


3) RAISE YOUR PRICES

I was stubborn here. People often suggest I should raise prices for my merchandise and services but I stuck to my lows, wanting to pass on savings to the customers I sincerely appreciate. But by doing so, I'm robbing myself of the type of income I need to make.

Do This: Track the hours it takes you to find, clean, photograph, and list your items as a reseller or make your items as a crafter. If you're paying yourself $20 an hour, incorporate that into your prices. You deserve to be paid for the hours it takes you to curate your online shop!

4) COMMUNICATE YOUR SERVICE, COMMUNICATE QUALITY

If people aren't buying there are two problems: 1) You're not providing the best quality you can in every aspect of your business and two 2) You're not effectively communicating exactly why your customer needs your product. I work every day on improving my message and quality, it's essential to raising pay.

5) SET TANGIBLE MONEY GOALS AND HIT THEM

Write down exactly what you want to earn for the year. Divide this by the months in the year so you know your monthly money goals to hit. It helps to go further and divide that into weekly and daily money goals. Do whatever it takes to hit those money goals! Get busy!


For real now, most people know what they need to do to earn more money, but they're just not doing it. I was there, too. The hardest part is getting started, but once the momentum is going it's hard to stop. I'm earning more and my creative energy and drive is ON FIRE. I can't stop making things and improving. Let's get on it and make the money we want to make!

If you've got any success tips to share in the comments, I want to read them!
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35 comments:

  1. Good points! You're so right about not everyone having a good eye when thrifting. I finds arts and crafts hard to sell however. People might need a part for their car, but they know they don't need a handmade greeting card. Artists and crafters rarely get paid for their time. The world is lucky we just enjoy it! Keep the tips coming!

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    1. Arts and crafts are definitely harder to sell, but so rewarding! It's up to us to CREATE the need with excellent photos, staging, descriptions, and branding. People just don't know they NEED your product yet ;)

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    2. Ur, by "people" I mean your demographic.

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  2. Excellent post, very inspiring!

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  3. Yes! Exactly! It isn't worth doing if it doesn't give you a quality of life that meets your expectations. Another point many pickers miss is sometimes spending a little more on an item upfront to make more profit. It is the same concept as investing, the more you put into the investment the more money you make (as long as you sell it for the correct price)

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    1. Thanks for your feedback! I love your point because I was among the many that missed it. It really does pay to invest more time into your finds. Not just in money, it gives you more PR and visibility, too, because when you invest more time in your finds you stand out in your market.

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  4. Just wanted to say great post about valuing yourself it truly is the most powerful thing in having others believe in you.

    By the way I see you recently hit 1000 here on the blog, you're now at 1001 so I missed it, but I wanted to say happy 1000 and congratulations.

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    1. Very true Trudie, it's hard to position yourself as an authority when you don't value yourself. Thanks for the congrats :) ! It's odd to see the four numbers there now, but I'm driven to spread the message and reach more followers from here.

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  5. Thank you for this post-I feel like there were a lot of things in here I needed to be reminded of. LOVE your blog!

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    1. Glad it had the necessary reminders Amy :)

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  6. Congrats on getting 300 items in your shop! Way to go!

    I definitely appreciate this post because I spent my first year on Etsy basically making very little money. I sold some great stuff and I have had people turn around and sell what they bought for 3 to 4 times what they purchased it from me. I wanted to pass on good deals to my customers, but I also wanted to undercut the competition to get more sales. (Oops! Newbie mistake! In actuality just driving down the market!) It took me a long time to realize my time means something. I realized that I get in my car, I drive around town, I spend hours in the thrifts, yard sales, and flea market, I purchase the items, I bring it home, store it, clean it, take pics of it, measure it, write about it, list it, shelve it again, and hopefully, pack it and ship it! A lot of it is a labor of love for me but I deserve to make money too! If so and so can sell their item for a bazillion dollars, I should be able to too right?! :) Such a mental game!!

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    1. Thanks for you sharing your story, it means a lot coming from such an AWESOME reseller :) You're right, we deserve to make that money too dammit! Let's price how we WANT to be paid.

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  7. Oh, I did the same thing as you when I was young. Someone asked me what I would charge to proofread at a magazine and I gave some ridiculously low amount. I can't believe he didn't laugh. You raise some very valuable points here! :)

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  8. Great post Van, and it's a great reminder. I've been trying to make sure the items I curate in my shop are going to be worth my time to research, clean, take pictures, pack and ship or you will quickly find yourself working for free.

    Yes, some people don't have the picker's eye, and I'm always grateful that I've been able to enjoy such a wonderful hobby/business to participate in.

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    1. It's hard to make sure we pick the best items for our time, especially down here where the picking is low priced and plentiful. On that same token, hard to sell certain things for more in the shops when it's plentiful at the thrifts.

      I guess it all comes down to the fact that we have to strive to think of profit first.

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  9. Hmmm... been thinking about this exact thing lately.

    Thank you for the word of encouragement. Do you have any tips for me personally? Here is my shop: www.janetpowers1.etsy.com

    I would appreciate your insight.

    Blessings,
    Janet

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    1. Your shop, photos, and branding looks good to me. You have a lot of selection! Have you reached out locally to see if you can sell items in boutiques, have you contacted companies to see if they'll buy your line at whole sale prices? I see it in your shop policies so I'm sure you have :)

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  10. I've had a lot of success with the "Best Offer" feature on eBay. There's a seller that I admire who seems to sell all of her items with "Best Offer" and she was always selling stuff!

    So I often have to suck it up, and swallow my pride and dreams of imaginary money, and sell stuff! I've found that for me, selling is more important, even if the profit margin decreases. It helps me see what people are really willing to pay, and accept that not everything I've listed is going to sell for the original listing price. Every month, I try to go through my whole store and decrease prices. Of course, this isn't my recommendation for a successful business. For me, it's about keeping my inventory moving (i.e. not stagnant) and paying the bills.

    Megan's thoughts for the day :)

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    1. I appreciate your sincere thoughts Megan! And will keep those tips in mind when I make it over to eBay. If I do, haha, at this rate. I got some other selling ideas up my sleeve first...

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    2. Megan, I too, use the Best Offer feature on eBay for about 90% of my items. What I try to do is price my items higher than what I would normally ask for to give me some wiggle room when people make me an offer. That way my buyer will feel as if he/she got a bargain when I accept his/her offer. But it is a balancing act. I take into consideration how long an item has been sitting in my store and how much interest it's garnered when deciding whether to accept an offer or not. If it's been sitting there for awhile with very little interest, I will accept even a lowball offer.

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  11. Vanessa, I so agree with what you're saying about being paid your worth. Two stories I'd like to share regarding this:

    1) Years ago, I met a fellow eBay seller who relayed a story about a gal she knew who posted an ad to teach others how to sell on eBay. She priced her services at less than $100 and didn't get any interest. For whatever reason, she decided to raise her price to way over $100 and got a lot of interest. In fact, one student said that he was signing up for her class because she must know what she was doing if she was charging that much!

    2) When I opened my Etsy store last year, I listed a couple of items I had made at a lowball price. This was partly due to the advice I got from a friend who was an experienced Etsy seller. I didn't get any sales, and decided to double my asking price. Right after I did so, I sold two of my pieces.

    Conclusion: Perceived value is everything!

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  12. BTW, I was talking to a girlfriend recently who works in corporate America. She told me that she never accepts an initial salary offer from anyone. She always counters with a higher salary and pretty much always ends up with a higher salary than the initial offer. Apparently, men tend to like to negotiate their salary, while women tend not to. I guess we gals have to step up and declare what we're worth!

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    1. It's true, women tend not to negotiate pay. We gotta demand our worth, dammit! I'm in the process of raising all of my prices and getting better and communicating use and value for what I do and sell. It seems to be working so far!

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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