About This Blog

Why I Started This Blog

Let's see if I can get these thoughts down on "paper" correctly.

There are two sections on Etsy that I (and lots of other people) love to read:  Quit Your Day Job and Featured Seller.

But there are (and should be) lots of requirements for getting yourself showcased in either of those article series.  Then you're up against all the other store owners who also want to be featured.

So one of my reasons is to provide this same type of service to the Etsy community through another venue with a different sort of requirements.

Why I Feel Qualified to Administer This Blog

Well, besides the burning desire that I have to do this, here are some other pieces of the puzzle:

I truly believe that each individual has the ability to succeed, whether they believe in themselves or not.  I would have made a great track coach!  Some of the best advice I ever received came from my track coach.  (Thank you, Coach Legg!)  You run as fast and as hard as you can and don't look back.  When you start to look back, you slow down.  Your focus then becomes on the competition instead of on the goal.  Just thinking about all of those 100-yard dashes makes my heart pump!  Look at that white girl run, lol.

With that being said, there are lots of people that have great shops that just need a little exposure, an article they can promote.  It's always better to let others brag on you.  But since I'm having to write my own qualifications, don't think of what I have to say as bragging, lol.  Think of it like when you have to turn in a self-review to your employer.  Confession:  I was NEVER on time to work!  This was before I became addicted to coffee.

I was always asked to read my English compositions out loud, because everyone so enjoyed my style and way with words.  (That means a lot to a forlorn high school girl!)  Come to think of it, I was paid to write other people's composition papers, too.  College-level when I was just in high school.  Forgot about that.  Ahh, memories.
I know what it's like to say, "I wish someone would just give me a chance!"  So now it's me trying to provide others with a break.

Tim at Handmadeology.com gave me a shot to be a writer on his blog a couple of months ago.  I have written 11 posts and have had great response from my readers.  I just write from the heart.  Apparently there are a lot of people that feel the same way I do, especially about laundry, haha.

I also have a separate online shop where I have a second blog.  Some of those articles are on handmadeology.com, some aren't.

See this page for a list of my articles.

In my past life, I have worked for four companies.  Below is a brief list of what I did for each company.

My Quick-and-Dirty "Real Jobs" Resume

When I was in high school, I was a member of the work/study program.  I would attend school for half a day my senior year then go work a part-time job.  I started out as a bill collector and promoted up to advanced collections in that department. 

Along the way, I started college.  With my increasing experience with computers came more opportunities.  I was quickly promoted to Business Analyst.  I have to give a shout-out to my old boss, Ken Brumfield, here.  He saw the diamond in the rough.  He looked beyond the immodestly dressed, cigarette-smoking potty-mouthed girl that I used to be, and he must have seen the glimmer of intellect in my eye and enjoyed my wit and charm.  I changed my wardrobe and put on some learning clothes.  I was becoming a career woman.  And I quickly became known as "The Excel Goddess".  He taught me so much, and I will forever be thankful to him.  I really grew up a lot while under his tutelage.

With more college under my belt, working on my Computer Networking degree, I was given the opportunity to become the Network Administrator's Assistant.  I was able to slide back into my favorite apparel of the day (jeans and boots) and get down and dirty.  I was under desks and on tops of ladders.  I was tucked away in control rooms.  I loved it!  Thanks, Matt Blake, for all that you taught me and for putting up with my insubordination.  It took me a long time to understand the value in submission to authority.

After Matt moved along to another company, I had the full responsibility in my lap at 23 years of age.  This wasn't a small network either.  I'll spare you the details (after all, you're crafters not techies), but you can see just a small portion of the equipment I handled on the About Me page.  Yes, I stumbled along the way.  But you just got to get up, dust your jeans off, and get back on that ladder.

When I left that company at the age of 25, I had been there for 8 years.  I felt it was time to move on and expand my skillset.  That expansion found me at a large car dealership, Classic Toyota in Tyler, TX as their Internet Sales Manager.  This was back when buying a car over the internet was new.  I love a challenge, and I dug in.  I learned so much about the car business, customer care, getting financed, how money affects people, and how to service a car.  I also learned a thing or two about internet sales. :)

But I wasn't happy in the car business.  Although I had bartered a salary instead of a commission, I still had pressure to perform.  In sales, you're only as good as you were last month.  And while I was successful, there were other factors that came into play like the long, exhausting hours.  It's so easy to form relationships with people who aren't your husband if you are seeing them 14 hours a day and only seeing your husband for 30 minutes a day.  (You know what I mean, ladies?)

After two years, it was time to move on.  I found a job that was perfect for me.  I was able to utilize my computer talents in combination with my people skills by teaching adults how to use the computer.  Again, I found success.  I have to say here that my toughest students were secretaries that thought they already knew everything.  If you have that attitude, you will never be successful. 

If you think you already know everything, then rest assured that you will never learn anything!

Unlike the other companies that I worked for, this one was owned by an individual.  Due to some financial problems within the company, my position was terminated after two years.  He kept me on the payroll until I found a new job.  (I have to insert here that my husband lost his job just two weeks before this.  It was a bad and scary time in the Martin household.)

My new job found me as Office Manager/Executive Assistant for a real estate company.  Again, I had a job that enabled me to learn, learn, learn.  The only problem I had at this job was an older woman that worked there that absolutley refused to embrace new technology.  This was a huge problem!  Due to issues in her life, she felt the need to control everything around her.  She was wonderful at her job, and I know that I was just as much of a rub on her as she was on me.  The reasons behind my leaving had nothing to do with her, but I'm sure she was just as glad to be rid of me as I was of her.

Like some of you, I would cry and cry in the private confines of my office.  Why was I working for someone else, shipping my kids off to daycare sometimes 12 hours a day, so I could help make somebody else's life better while mine was crumbling all around me?  My husband fully supported my decision to be a stay-at-home mom, but we just couldn't afford it.  We had a financial blessing, which allowed us to purchase a car for cash and pay off a few small bills.  We only have our mortgage, and that's a good thing! 

We have sacrificed a lot of money (my salary was over $40K) but the other way, we were sacrificing our family.

I began my online business in November 2010, but didn't really embrace it until January.  It's been on the grow since.  I learn something new everyday.

How Do You Submit Your Site

1)  I am a part of four Etsy teams:  Handmadeology, Etsy Success, Conquest of Etsy's Front Page, and Haute Mamas.  I posted in each of these forums that I am looking for shops.  The response has been outstanding!  So I just posted a new team called Inside Etsy.  You can submit your shop there.
2)  I browse the treasuries section.  If something within those first four images catches my eye, then I pull up that shop and take a look around.  If I like it, I contact the seller.

3)  I use the "Pounce" tool on Etsy.  This shows what has just sold.  Again, if it's eye-catching, I click and go check them out.  I want to take a minute here to point out that most of the items that sale have great photography.  Please feel free to take a look at my blog post "A Degree of Difference" and also at my Must Look Links page for other outstanding articles of reference, concerning photography and other subjects for us online business owners.

4)  I have people that contact me directly through my Etsy shop (please do!) that want to be considered for an interview.

Who Makes The Cut

Here's an easier list of who I don't select:

1)  Shops with under-par photography

2)  Shops with average items.  If you are submitting burp cloths, they better be the most awesome burp cloths out there!

3)  I don't like to showcase two similar items back to back.  So if I've already got a wedding veils shop coming up, I won't be able to use yours right away.  However, I keep a very detailed list of who has applied and what their shop is about so that I can use them in the future.

4)  This is not a "get your shop listed" site.  Your shop has to be above and beyond in some way.  There will be times when I make an exception for photography.  But those will be very few and far between.  Generally, this will apply to shops that are focused on charities.  Very soon I will be opening a "Charity Showcase", which will be a page dedicated to shops that benefit charities.

If You Applied and Are Not Selected

This Seller Has OVER 10,000 SALES!

My goal is to be in touch with each and every person that I was not able to select and let them know what they can do to improve their shop.  I have had a great response to this, and two of my upcoming interviews are shop owners that have implemented these suggestions.  My goal is to help, not hinder.  If you haven't heard from me yet, I have had over 100 submissions in just the last week.  I have contacted several of you, but there are those that I have yet to get to.  Don't give up on me!  This blog is for your benefit, too!  Just keep an open mind when I do send you a review.  Lord knows I am not the know-all, be-all of Etsy, but I do think that I have an eye for certain things and others seem to agree.  My own shop has gone through several revisions just within the few months that I've had it.  I'll have to post some before and after pics of my own photography.  You can see the difference of "good" and "Wow!"
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