This May, in celebration of Mother's Day, Creative Chat Cafe celebrates and shares stories and journeys of successful women and mom entrepreneurs. In this episode, we feature a woman in business who has thrived through change and self reinvention. Zef and Sondra host Kristin Hill, a new mom who does business on Etsy and In Selly. She shares her tips and tricks to help you achieve success in an e-commerce business.
Some key points of discussions in this episode:
Save time and skip ahead to the information that is important to you using the video's table of contents (TOC) in the video description on YouTube!
Table of Contents (click on the minute timeline for the specific content):
00:51 - Greetings
02:20 - Kristin Hill, a resourceful Etsy mompreneur.
04:21 - Getting started with an e-commerce business
06:22 - Tips on how to manage an e-commerce business for mompreneurs.
08:54 - The reality of being a mompreneur.
10:42 - The importance of outsourcing less important tasks.
12:43 - Why you should learn to delegate better.
14:54 - Get energized about your goals and setting priorities.
19:29 - Recap of what's in this episode of Creative Chat Cafe.
20:06 - Tips on how to get started on Etsy.
29:11 - Contact, connect, and let's get social!
The Conversation: Your Hosts:
ZEF: With your busy schedule and creating a work life balance, what do you do to manage product creation, manage your website, and take care of customer service?
KRISTIN: This has been the hardest part of operating a small in-home business. Having a toddler and a business is challenging! I can no longer work if she is awake. My work is during naps and when she goes to bed at night. I manage everything by having a schedule and using time management. Now I wake up in the morning an hour before she does, have my coffee and write down what I want to accomplish for the day...I found this keeps me off my phone or watching TV. Because when she wakes up I have to spend a few hours just being with her and going to the park and what not.
I have something to do every day. Like on Monday, I order my supplies, Tuesday I reply to customers, and so on. Then at night when she goes to bed at 7 PM, I start making the customers’ products they ordered. From about 7 until midnight I am making crafts. It’s exhausting, but I can only work while she sleeps.
SONDRA: Well, the things I have heard about being a parent is that you have to get used to routine, you have to learn to live on a schedule, to teach your kids structure. And now you are having to do that for yourself, having structure. You have to know what you will be doing on each day. You know, that Monday is for this, and Tuesday is for that, and this way you don’t have to waste your time or energy wondering what you are going to do on that day and how you will spend your time. I think that is really smart.
KRISTIN: Thanks, Sondra. I do that with every part of my life actually, I cook for the week on Monday, clean house on Tuesday, and so on. Every part of my life is structured.
ZEF: I love that you are talking about all this with us Kristin, especially with those mothers at home who may want to start a business. And it is a good visual too, having Addie here with you. Some of my guests ask me if it’s okay to have their kids with them and I say, of course! That is life, duh!
SONDRA: Yeah, hello, welcome to the real world!
KRISTIN: Well, this is what my life is like all the time.
SONDRA: That is what makes you so special, Kristin. Most parents that work wait until their kids are in school. But you are doing it now. You have this energetic little girl on your lap while you guzzle your coffee! And it’s not easy. For some reason people have gotten used to having the women do everything: keep the house clean, be an excellent mom, and an excellent friend. And you still have to make the money! You are living so many lives in one right now. I am so impressed!
ZEF: Not only that, you have the business, the baby, the job, and then there’s the husband. You have to take care of him too! But, that’s a different story, right? Kristin, I love how you laid out for everyone your schedule for the week. You have to have a good schedule to be successful in an E-Commerce business. You have schedules to manage your days of the week.
Sondra, what's one way you can help mompreneurs like Kristin feel like they have more time to spend on both business and personal life?
SONDRA: Well Kristin was one of my first clients and she was like “Hey, I’ve got this baby that requires so much attention, and then there’s this dog that has to be walked.” So I walked her dog. And the reason I bring this up is because even the small things that seem like a burden, are really not that big of a task. It’s just that you’ve run out of time. So that’s where I come in and help mompreneurs with their tasks.
You know, just going to the grocery store when you have a fussy little one can be a big chose. These little things that may not seem like much are really using up a lot of your valuable time that you could be spending doing something else. Like maybe taking a nap when Addie takes one or whatever it may be.
I also help moms with their blogs. They just give me the topic and I take care of it. I just help take some of the load off of your day so you can be more focused on what you have to do. So you are really "there when you are there." It all depends on what your priorities are. I can come in and do the things that are not your priority.
ZEF: And I love that you talk about priorities, Sondra, because here’s my thought: In a previous show we were talking about you know being a mom and having to do everything on your own because you don’t know how to delegate. It’s a big challenge for us as women because women are just so used to doing everything. We are not just talking about mompreneurs, we are talking about women in general. It took me awhile to delegate in my business because of course, we all think nobody can do it as good as we do. But, "Hello!" Some people can actually do it better than you.
SONDRA: It’s funny you say that. I have a client that is so good at delegating it has become a hindrance. She has delegated so much of her stuff that she doesn’t know who is responsible for what. So, if you do need to delegate, I recommend that you find someone who can be your one source for everything you need.
ZEF: There are so many things you may need. It could be something as simple as cleaning your house.
SONDRA: What is it about having a baby, something that uses up so much of your energy, that gives you the energy you need to keep pushing forward?
KRISTIN: It’s just, at the drop of a hat I have to feed her, I have to… whatever she needs. Being 15 months old now she is not just this little blob on the ground. I can tell when she is bored so its like “Okay, lets go to the park.” You know it’s just the most selfless thing I have ever had to do is be a mom.
SONDRA: How do you decide where to put your energy? Like whether you should keep building the business or bonding with the baby? Is it instinct or strategy?
KRISTIN: Well she is my number one priority and I want her to see that, because she is like a sponge soaking everything up and she will remember this. I want her to know that she comes first. But then she also has to know that mom has deadlines and has to take care of the customers too.
SONDRA: I never knew my mom to work and my parents were so good at making me and my brother the priority that I think we got a bit of a distorted view of how life is. We didn’t see all the work that really goes into building a career. It’s good that you are showing her from the beginning that we all have to work our little tails off to make things work and get what we want.
I know that some people feel guilty about working and not being with their kids, but, you know there’s a huge lesson in that as well. That sometimes I would rather cuddle with you all day but I have to work. You are not just grinding out a job, you are making people happy. I see your five star reviews all the time. And people really love working with you. And you are setting such a great example for Addie, because she sees that you are exhausted but you are still working.
ZEF: I think you are so right Sondra! It’s a great thing for the kids to see what we do for them. Even when they are young like Addie, or even 10 years old, but they will get it and see that we do have to work to get what we want. And that is really commendable.
SONDRA: So Kristin, I have never had an Etsy, and Zef has never had an Etsy. So what can you tell us about it? Is it easy to set up? Can any mom do this?
KRISTIN: Anybody can sell and everyone can buy too. Its very easy, but its not just setting up and then getting sales. It is getting good pictures and writing descriptions, and things I wasn’t prepared for. It is a lot of effort but it is worth it when you get that first sale. I mean literally your phone says “Cha-ching!”
ZEF: Have you tried Ebay? I did it and I did well but it was exhausting.
KRISTIN: Yes I have done it, but it is more work and I already have so much going on. I just signed up with Inselly too. You have to balance everything. Right now I am mainly focused on Etsy.
SONDRA: Yeah and anyone can sell on Ebay, but with Etsy it is just solopreneurs and small businesses, right?
KRISTIN: Yeah and it is supposed to be handmade or vintage, or something like that.
ZEF: So how long have you been with Etsy?
KRISTIN: I just had my one year anniversary.
ZEF and SONDRA: Woohoo! Congratulations!
ZEF: Do you have any tips or tricks for any moms out there who are thinking of starting on Etsy? I had a friend that sold on Etsy. She made cloth diapers. I watched her make the product, take pictures, do customer service, shipping and all that.
KRISTIN: Yes, my advice is to "Go for it!" Don’t be scared but be prepared to treat it as a full time job whether you are getting sales or not. Just keep making your product, and marketing.
ZEF: I am so glad to have you and Addie here today to show people this is the real thing. The real world. You know we just roll with the punches no matter what.
SONDRA: Yes, and it is also good for those people who don’t have children but may be thinking about it. They can see how it really is. I mean, you are already busy but can you imagine having that squirming little monster on your lap while you work? No. You can’t. And that is what people need to see. Just like you said, Kristin, it’s selfless. You are trying to put all of your love into this little human being but you are also trying to create something of value. It’s a good reminder to those of us who do not have children.
ZEF: So, what are some other tips and advice, Kristin?
KRISTIN: Well, you have to make really descriptive and specific titles for your products. You cannot just write “Pink headbands.” You have to write “Pink elastic newborn to adult Shabby Chic headbands.” They have a blog for Etsy, it’s called the SEO of Etsy. It gives you lots of ideas for titles. And really take advantage of all five of your photo slots. That is important. And explain how you are going to ship it too.
SONDRA: And you have to use lots of social platforms to funnel business into your store too. Like you do Kristin, with all your links to your Etsy store on all the social sites. I think you’re being really smart about that.
KRISTIN: On my Etsy page I have my links to Facebook and Instagram and I tell customers that if they LIKE me on Facebook or Instagram you get 10% off your purchase.
SONDRA: That is a great idea! Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. And thank you for showing us what a mompreneur has to do. It’s really humbling to see all that you go through.
ZEF: Yes thank you so much, Kristin. And thank you too, Sondra. We will see you all next week. Same time. Same place.
Tips from the Show: