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Monday, August 25, 2014

An Arizona Weekend

Hey guys! I'm back from my trip to Phoenix. I was gone Friday-Sunday so Monday was a bit crazy/stressful/rough as I struggled to catch up. Phoenix was fun though! There was a great turnout at The Shine Project, where I had my little pop-up shop. It was also fun just chatting it up with Ashley. What an inspiration, that girl, let me tell ya.
One of my best friends from Michigan, Adam, lives in Phoenix now so I got to spend some time with him as well. I love spending time with old friends. It makes me remember the "old days" and my "roots." I sure love where I came from.

The rest of this week is going to require a lot of focus and productivity. J and I planned a last minute trip over Labor Day weekend and maaaaybe it wasn't the best idea to take a trip the weekend before Renegade Chicago. Yep. Renegade Chicago is Sept. 6+7 and let's just say.....I have just about everything left to do in order to prepare for it. So. Focus. This week. Lots of it. I've been writing to-do lists daily and it's really helping me remember (and accomplish) my tasks. Things have been busy lately for August. I don't know why but I'm very thankful. I must be doing something right! :p

Do you have any fun Labor Day plans? Also, who lives near Chicago and is going to come see me at Renegade?! xo JA

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


(Sign from Signazon)

Lately I've been:

- Working on some fun new card sets to add to the shop.

- Realizing I need to start getting in a Christmas state of mind. (It will be here before we know it!)

- Preparing for a couple travel events in the next coming weekends.
(Phoenix Pop Up Shop - Aug. 23rd - 1137 w McDowell Rd, Phoenix 85007. 10AM-1PM)
(Chicago Renegade - Sept. 6+7 - Wicker Park. 11AM-6PM)

- Slowly making progress on the new Julie Ann Art website. You guys. This shit is hard.

- Getting excited for fall. I am honestly just sick of sweating in our house all day. Gimme some cool air please.

- Still going to cardio barre. I have such a love/hate relationship with it. And it never gets easier, wtf?

- Craving a change with my hair. But the last time I chopped it did not go well so I'm skurred.

- Realizing I'm approaching two big business milestones:
1.) 30k sales in the shop
2.) 2 year anniversary of self-employment

- Missing blogging, or more-so, the connections it brings. I'd love to hear some blog suggestions in the comments!

-Becoming dangerously addicted to triple espressos on ice. Anyone else prefer the super strong taste of espresso?

- Drooling over our wedding photos. I can't wait to share them with you!

- Feeling so thankful right now. Our lives have been full of lots of love and great people.

- Thinking I should clarify that the above pic was taken soon after a shower. My hair is wet. Not greasy. FYI. ;]

- Wondering if blog readers are still out there. And if so, what's been new with you??

xo JA

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Growing Your Business Is More Than Your Sale Count

Tuesday was a weird day for me. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, I just felt....off? I feel like I have had this feeling on and off for a couple months now. But maybe that is normal. I feel like it's a common misconception that being self-employed, being your own boss, is all good, all the time. Maybe this is because, as business owners, we want to portray that.

The truth is that sometimes there are slow sale days that leaves me wondering what to do. Not that there wasn't anything for me to do, but that I didn't know what I should do.

Let me explain.

If you run a business, you know that there is always something to do. But there are a lot of things to do that don't directly bring you sales. Sometimes it's hard for me to focus on these types of things because it's hard to see the effect they have on my business. But there are really are a lot of things you can do, even though they may not immediately bring you sales, that will definitely improve your business as a whole.

Here's a few things you can do to indirectly help your business when sales are slow:

Don't watch your sale count - Perhaps the most important thing! No good can come from staring down those numbers. "Yay, sales are slow" said no one ever (Ok it's possible I have said this after Valentine's Day madness). Watching sales come in slowly will do nothing for your productivity and if you're like me, possibly stress you out a little bit. Instead of focusing on this, focus on how you can make your business better.

Read blogs - While sitting down and reading may seem like time better spent working, reading blogs is a great way to get inspired. It is especially important to seek inspiration when your shop is in the middle of downtime. Reading what other bloggers are up to can help kick you into gear and make you want to put that newfound passion into your business.

Take new product photos - I recently reshot all of my product photos. It was tedious as hell, I'm not going to lie. But my shop is better for it. And who knows, maybe my new sexy photos will catch a new eye while some one is browsing cards through Etsy's search engine.

Post on social media - Style up a nice photo of your product or your work space and share it with your followers. Even if you may not be really busy, you still want to maintain a presence on social media sites. It's kind of like a long distance friendship. You have to make sure you reach out every once in a while to make sure that relationship continues (even if you feel like you haven't heard from the other friend in weeks!).

Create an idea journal - Now is the time to dream. Dream up those ideas that are going to take your shop out of slow season. You never know what genius thought will come out of a 30 minute brainstorm session. Just start letting those creative juices flow, with no pressure on yourself, and see where it takes you.

Browse Pinterest - Yup. I am telling you to check out the time suck that is Pinterest. Pinterest is actually a valuable resource for seeing "what the people want." Watch what they are pinning, see what is trending. Also, repin! A lot of people get notifications when their pins are repinned. They may come check out your profile (and you have your products pinned right??)

Update your Etsy tags - Just the other day I was adding new cards to the shop (this one is my fav!) and I realized I had some old tags on my products. Think about the time of year it is, what holidays are coming up, what people are searching for right now (Ex: back to school, fall, teacher gifts) and tag your fitting products accordingly.

Write a blog post - Blogging is a great way to connect with others and these relationships can have a huge impact on your business. Think about all the collaborations you've seen between small business owners and bloggers. If you create a friendship with other bloggers they can (and will want to) help you promote your own business.

Being a business owner doesn't mean you have all the answers. It doesn't mean you know exactly what you're doing and you're always doing it. In fact, it brings a lot of uncertainty and self-doubt. It brings over-analyzing the tiniest, most ridiculous little details (at least I'm hoping I'm not the only one who does that). While it's easy to get caught up in things like sales count, remember there is so much more to running a business. Remember the big picture.

Do you have you tips for improving your business during slow season? I'd love to hear! xo JA
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