We work online. We sell online. Our Etsy Shops are online and our blogs are online. So that means our marketing is online too.
But am I an “Internet Marketer”? I kind of hope not.
Maybe this picture is a good example of why I feel that way…
This was what Amazon was showing me on the home page this morning. Yesterday I clicked on an ad for a business book that looked interesting and apparently that signaled I was into making money. In a big way.
It must have been the image of a drill in the side of some poor guy’s head that got my attention and led me to read the covers of these books. Here are a few of the catch-phrases on these book covers (linked to the books on Amazon)…
Taken one at a time these are sound business ideas, and in defense of the authors they each only wrote about one of these subjects. But still… is it all about money? Really?
Let’s look at these from the perspective of an Etsy Seller (aka, my perspective!)
Creating a business that can thrive without you
This is a wonderful idea! Who, if offered a business that just loaded the bank with cash 24/7 with no effort, wouldn’t say “Yes, please” ? I know I’d be in.
But there are two problems…
- So then what am I going to do? — I’m creative. I like to create. It’s not all about the money and contrary to popular opinion you can’t spend all your time on permanent vacation. For handmade business owners, the act of creating is a huge part of the reward.
- If I actually have to work in my business and it can’t possibly thrive without me… does that mean I failed? — So much talk about how to make a living without working has a way of making you feel like a loser because you have to work! That’s backwards.
Sure, it’s good to try (over time) to set-up your business in a way that it can proceed forward without your constant effort. But handmade business is different… the effort of creating is part of why you do it anyway!
Ok, so I have to ask… who decides what defines “making it”?
If I create an Etsy shop that earns $7500 in 2015 is that making it? What if I earn $75K… then am I golden?
What if I actually don’t make any money at all because I’m still learning, because I had an idea that I pursued but it didn’t take off, or because I spent too much time preparing and never actually got around to selling anything? Does that mean I didn’t make it?
Obviously the definition of “making it” is individual and handmade business is different… there is inherent reward just simply in the fact that you’re out there, trying, doing, learning, growing.
As long as you’re still putting one foot in front of the other, you’re making it. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Of course extreme producers create massive value. But if you’ve ever spent any time as an “extreme producer” you know that it isn’t all peaches down that road.
While there are probably a handful or two of folks who consider themselves extreme producers who actually have a life, that’s almost always going to be because of other things or other people doing the producing!
Your everyday run-of-the-mill extreme producer, however, is a different story. That person is under constant pressure to, well, be an extreme producer!
Handmade business is different. Sure, we like to get things done. But that’s just not what it’s always about. Sometimes it’s about the freedom our handmade business provides to not be productive. Sometimes it’s about a whole different kind of productivity… it’s called creativity and it may not get as much press, but it’s an even rarer gem.
Handmade business is all about part three of this little trifecta. If you’re creating things and putting those things into the world… you’re having an impact! Plain and simple!
It’s just like the whole “made it vs. didn’t make it” argument. Who decides what level of impact on the world is worthy of being called an actual impact?
Maybe the clue as to how you should view this statement come in the first two parts… “go big” and “create wealth”… neither of which are a bad thing. But when you use them in an equation that says “big” + “money” = “impact” then it becomes a lie.
Handmade business is different. You impact the world with everything you do in your business and I don’t care how many people notice… you still rock!
The slightly disconcerting cover image on this book made me wonder if it was for real, which it did turn out to be.
The image shows a drill at someones head, the obvious implication being that if you can “just get inside their head” you can figure out how to get the money out of their wallet.
Handmade business is different. We ask… “how can I get at the customers heart?” not their head. Our businesses sell things that touch people in a real way, making a meaningful connection, and offering real value without the need for any mind-games.
Be Proud of The Difference!
I haven’t read any of those books, and a couple of them actually look like something I would want to read. Each of the ideas represented are good ideas to a point and I’m not saying smart business owners shouldn’t look at each of these ideas at some point.
I’m just throwing in my voice for the fact that handmade business is different. It’s not all about the money. It’s not all about an early retirement. It’s not all about automating the entire process and managing each day to the micro-second…
It’s very much about the art and joy of creating. Creating the products. Creating the business. Creating the relationships. Creating the future.
Those are my thoughts… I’d love to hear yours in the comments! How is handmade/indie business different in your world?
PS — If you like content related to handmade business, sign up for my Etsypreneur Newsletter.
PPS – If you’re interested in learning more about the books in the image above, here they are:
- Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You
- Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)
- The Self-made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value
- Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want
- Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World
- Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck
- Drilling for Gold: How Corporations Can Successfully Market to Small Businesses