{Ask Abby Maddy}

Welcome to the first edition of {Ask Abby Maddy}! 

Yeah! This has been in the works for a looooong time and I’m so happy to finally have a place to collaborate and share with you!

If you’ve followed my story for a bit, you probably know that I am completely self-taught- in pretty much every aspect of sewing and business. Yes, I have a degree. No, It has NOTHING to do with sewing or business, or really anything else creative for that matter. Why I picked it, I will never know. And I’m so thankful that in my late twenties I finally came to terms with not using it, got over it and remembered who I really am. Yea, kind of deep, but oh well.

In this phase of learning, I have asked a LOT of questions. Seriously, tons. I’m so thankful for the ladies out there in blog land and the handmade world who have helped and guided me. So I thought this would be the perfect place to pull it all together, and share some of what I’ve learned along the way, and of course learn tons more by trying to answer your super tough questions. You ready? OK, lets do this. 

Our debut question comes from Sharon, who writes:
” Right now all I have is a Facebook page {for my business} but am thinking about a shop page or a blog. Who would you recommend for your server?”

This is a great question and one that I get asked a lot. It’s also something I’m very passionate about. Let me say, I love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…social media has stolen my heart. But if you’re serious about treating your business like a business, you must have a store! Otherwise, you’re not really in business. I say this because when you’re simply marketing your business via social media, you are always playing by someone else’s rules. You may wake up one morning and find that unpaid advertising is no longer allowed, or like has happened in recent weeks, your audience reach has been tremendously reduced. And for a small business with no other outlet that can have devastating consequences.

But when you decide to open a “store” you’re putting down roots for your business. You appear more professional, reliable, and legitimate. It doesn’t have to cost a lot and you don’t have to have a degree in computer programming to make it work. There are lots of hosting sites that take all the guess work out of it for you by pre-formatting the shops and letting you fill in the blanks. Yes, every one’s shop looks the same but when you’re just starting out it’s a great way to get your shop up and running quickly. Some of the more obvious choices are of course, Etsy, Big Cartel, and Vista Print. The fees are relatively low and you pay based on uploads and what sells from your shop.

If you’re a little more adventurous, you can try a site like Merchant Moms. They are a hosting site only, so you will either have to build your own website, or hire a professional {like I did}. You pay one monthly fee for your site and you’re free to make changes as you please. Depending on how much you’re paying in Etsy fees, a once a month flat rate may be a better choice for you. 

And of course there’s nothing to say that you can’t have both. I have always had my own website at http://www.abbymaddy.com, but recently added a presence on Etsy as well. Just remember to play by the rules and know the terms of use. No diverting traffic from one site to another to avoid fees. 

While I don’t recommend using a Blog to sell your wares, it is a great accompaniment to your shop and gains you access to an even broader audience. Plus, if you’re like me and have lots of creative interest, it gives you a place to harness all that sticky, glittery, spray painted energy before you re-upholster the couch with your husband still on it. Blogger is free, or you can get a little more brave and try Word Press

Just remember, no matter who hosts your site or your blog, its up to YOU to promote it! Don’t expect 20,000 page views overnight and don’t leave it to search engines to find you! It’s your business, show it off, be proud of it and never stop seeking out ways to nurture it. Don’t make your customers seek out your presence on the web, instead use your site to draw customers in and display your work in the way it deserves. 

Have a question?
Email inspired@abbymaddy.com with {Ask Abby Maddy} in the subject line!

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