I'm feeling a little afraid like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she was walking through the haunted forest with the tin man and scarecrow thinking about the lions and tigers and bears that might be just ahead. They did encounter that dreaded Lion that decided to join them on their journey. As I recall, they were looking for a heart, a brain, courage, and home. Their journey would turn out to be the way for them to find all of those things that were already within them being strengthened during their time in Oz. And so it is with me... I am feeling afraid as I begin the process of developing a mailing list and newsletter for our small business.
It all started with an article I found on Pinterest. "How to Launch Anything And Make It Rain" was written by Lisa Jacob in May, 2014. I was attracted to the title because I just started this blog a few weeks ago. Jerry and I have plans and ideas for blogging about many subjects that we would like to become a two way conversation with artists, crafters, and small business couples. Lisa's first bullet point was "Build an email List" Oh My! I thought. Here we go again. It's not the first article I have read about the importance of subscriber lists.
I subscribe to Abby Glassenberg's Newsletter and Follow her Blogs at "While She Naps". Over the past two years; she wrote some great articles about blogging, newsletters, and subscriber lists based on her knowledge and expertise designing and sewing stuffed animals and running a creative business. I went back and re-read Abby's articles and then purchased Abby's e-book "How to Create A Powerful Email Newsletter: A Comprehensive Guide For Creatives" to help me prepare for building the email list and send out my first newsletter. In her ebook, Abby shares her experience with getting started and gives encouragement and advice that I know will help me along on this journey.
I took some of my first steps with MailChimp and Weebly. I applied online for the Free Subscription to MailChimp. There is a written "Getting Started with MailChimp Instruction Guide" and Video tutorials that guided me through the process of creating a subscriber list and building a subscriber form. Then, I followed a Weebly Tutorial "Creating a Newsletter Sign-Up Or Autoresponder Form" to embed a simple "Subscribe to GlassEyesOnLine Newsletter" on this blog and the home page of the GlassEyesOnLine Customer Creations Weebly Site.
By finally moving forward with building an e-mail subscriber list and starting a newsletter; I feel like I'm developing more of my courage, heart, and brain muscles. Next, I'll be working on the template for the newsletter. I'd like to get your ideas for what content we should put in the newsletter. Send us your comments. If you know of good newletter template designers; please share their contact information and samples if available. If you have had some experience with newsletters; we'd like to read about it! Jerry and I would love to have you send your comments and follow our blog. Join us on this and many other adventures with Being Married and Raising a Small Business by signing up below for the GlassEyesOnLine Newsletter!
Over time we have received some e-mails from customers asking for advice on how to paint glass eyes and plastic safety eyes. Some customers like to purchase clear eyes to paint in colors that coordinate with their creations. Jerry originally painted the clear glass eyes for decoy carvers. Gradually he expanded his painting to the clear plastic safety eyes. He enjoys working with a variety of colors and occasionally experiments with swirls, patterns, and three color eyes. For Jerry, painting eyes requires focus, patience, and attention to detail. Over the years, he has developed some techniques that help to avoid smudging, dripping, uneven dispersement of color and other problems resulting while painting eyes. He has two different approaches to the eyes depending on if they are glass or plastic.
For plastic safety eyes, Jerry uses acrylic paints. In order to have better control of dispersement of paint on the small surface of the back of the eyes; He pours the paint from large bottles into small open tip squeeze bottles. He applies the paint in a circular motion as he rotates the eye holding the stem with the tips of his fingers. He removes bubbles that some times occur using the tip of a wire to pop the bubble.
For even drying of the plastic eyes; Jerry uses two kinds of boards. For the small plastic eyes; Jerry created his own peg board using a clear plastic sheet he purchased from a hardware store. He drilled holes into the plastic sheet for holding the 6mm to 8mm size eyes. For the 9mm and larger size safety eyes, he uses a regular peg board that he also purchased at a hardware store. After the plastic eyes are painted, he places the eye upside down in the hole so it is flat for even drying.
Jerry paints the backs of the glass eyes on wire with enamel or acrylic paints. He uses a paint brush to paint the back of one glass eye and attaches the wire to a magnet so the painted side of the eye is facing up for drying. When the eye is dry, he paints the eye on the opposite end of the wire and attaches it to the magnet facing up to dry. You can purchase Glass Eyes On Wire and Plastic Safety Eyes in many colors, sizes, and styles at https://www.glassEyesOnLine.com
Do you currently paint eyes for dolls, teddy bears, carvings, sculptures or other mediums? Do you use certain tools or have a particular brand of paint or color you prefer to use when painting? We'd love to have you share your ideas, tips or tricks for painting eyes for your creations.
Jerry and I are married and working together in a small growing business. Both a marriage and small business requires care in order to thrive. There are times when I feel overwhelmed by the fact that we can't compete with large companies with employees assigned to different parts and pieces of the business. We do have some division of labor with this "baby". For example, I pull plastic, Jerry pulls glass. Jerry packages, ships, and orders supplies. We both manage inventory control. I work on social marketing. Jerry paints eyes and builds the insertion tools. There is much more to it; but that gives you some idea of what is going on with this married couple growing a small business.
Being the 'Social Marketing Manager' with very little experience means I have lots of research to do. I read articles, attend free webinars offered, and talk with people that have more experience to get ideas about how to market our business.
Etsy has many articles, forums, teams, and online learning labs specifically designed to help small business be successful. I am using an article by Katy Svehaug, "12 Ways to Get a Jumpstart on the Holidays" to plan and implement our fall social marketing campaign. One of the tools in the article "How to Create a Facebook Campaign For Your Shop" influenced my decision to create a concept map. I needed to get ideas for our campaign on paper and concept maps help me think outside the box.
I recently started two Pinterest Boards "Life Long Learning and Growing" and "Technology How To Do It". I pin resources that I can refer back to when I am working on social marketing and other aspects of this growing business. Do you have an article or other resource that you would like to share about social marketing, working with technology, or growing a small business? Do you have any success stories or failure stories with social marketing in your small business that you would like to share? Do you have some ideas to add to my concept map that I can use? I'd like to add any resources you share about growing a small business to the pinterest boards to share !
I will continue to build on the ideas in each bubble of my map and use this to guide my writing throughout the fall. Etsy has been a wonderful resource for me personally with my continuing education about running a small business.
Young people have been another resource for me when it comes to social marketing. I used to feel frustrated when my girls were constantly on their phone or computer. I would ask them to turn it off and "be sociable". One day; I asked them to show me how it works. Young people use social media all the time and are flexible and willing to trying new things and share information with others. My children and their friends show me how to use many tools available for social marketing campaigns. I sometimes call on them to get help or advice about the do's and don't of social marketing and how to best use Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. As they are teaching me; I feel like we are bonding in a deeper and more meaningful way. We talk more now about the things that are of interest to them. They inspire me to be open to trying new things for marketing our business.
Today, I am giving birth to this new blog. Why would I do such a thing with everything else I am juggling !! Jerry and I have been married for 21 years and this business is like a toddler that needs constant monitoring and attention. Adding this blog to my life is reminding me of the accidental pregnancy. I'm shocked, mortified, not quite sure I'm ready for this and at the same time unwilling to give it up or stop it because this blog is here in my fingers as I write the first post.
It all started with an Etsy article. "12 Ways to Get a Jump Start on the Holidays" The article, a conversation with my husband / business partner, and a 12 hour train ride to visit our daughters, set the course for the birth of this blog. You might want to avoid reading that Etsy article if you have a small toddler or a growing business. It's packed with information and tools for growing your holiday business.
I talked with my husband about some ideas for a fall social marketing campaign with photos and snapshots of certain aspects of working in and running our small business, GlassEyesOnLine. Then on the train ride, I created a concept map for a fall facebook campaign. I shared the concept map with my daughters while visiting them. They both added some ideas to my map and I came to the realization that I needed a platform to write articles about what goes on behind the scenes in our small business.
I'm excited about sharing my adventures being married to a creative man and raising a small business together. I hope you will become a new friend that I can share my adventure with in the coming months.
In my next blog; I will share my concept map and other things I'm learning about blogging and growing a small business with Jerry.