Kensie Kate

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How to Conquer Your Biggest Blogging Hang-Ups for Good

BloggingKensie SmithComment

When I started blogging 5 years ago, I really just wanted a space to share the designs I was creating as I was figuring out how to use Adobe Illustrator. Over the years, it became a place to share family memories, uplifting thoughts, and things that I was working on. But more than anything, I’ve always hoped that this space would be used to put more good into the world. I have a list of potential blog posts a mile long, but despite all my dreaming, wishing, and planning, I’ve never been good at blogging consistently.

And I know I’m not the only one. Blogging regularly is hard! I not only want to share my biggest hang-ups, but how I’m overcoming them for good.

Despite an overwhelming desire to put more good into the world, I’ve struggled (sometimes even dreaded) with blogging for years because:

  • I’m worried no one will care
  • It’s really hard to find the time
  • I’m not confident in my writing skills
  • I don’t know what to post about
  • I lose motivation

Can you relate? If so, let’s talk about how we can overcome these struggles for good.

How to Conquer Your Biggest Blogging Hang-Ups for Good

We’re worried no one will care

One of the reasons I want to blog is because I love reading other blogs and want to create things other people will enjoy. But it’s really hard to invest the time and energy when you don’t think anyone will care. When you’re constantly surrounded by other blogs and people who make it look so effortless, It’s really easy to fall into a comparison trap and tell yourself that someone else could do it so much better than you. When you’re feeling inadequate, remember this:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  -Marianne Williamson

We don’t have time

When we start blogs, we have no idea just how long everything will take. Start out slow. There’s no rule that says that you have to publish a new post every day or even every week. Just choose a frequency that you can stick with. I have no room to talk, but consistently really does matter.

One thing I have been a lot better about is planning ahead. Instead of waiting until the day of to brainstorm, plan, and execute a blog post, use a calendar to schedule when posts will be published, and then give yourself plenty of time to do it right. Not only will you feel less stressed, the quality of your content will increase dramatically. I knew that I was going to be writing this post so I had plenty of time to think about what my biggest struggles have been, rather than trying to remember them on the spot.

We aren’t confident in our writing skills

I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t published a blog post because I didn’t feel like the writing was strong enough. Now instead of letting a post sit it my drafts folder forever, I switch up the format to something I’m more comfortable with. When my words don’t feel strong enough, I try to use graphics or other designs (something I feel much more confident about) to supplement.

But the thing that’s helped the most is just starting. I’ve found that the more I write, the easier the words come. And I hardly ever start by writing the first paragraph. I just kind of start in the middle, where I feel more confident, and then fill in the beginning once words are flowing a little bit better.

You can also try switching up the format of your posts. If essays and lengthy explanations are intimidating, try making lists or tutorials. If writing out instructions isn’t your thing, focus on telling more stories.

We don’t know what to post about

This has easily been my biggest excuse. “I’m not married and I don’t have kids so I can’t write posts about my family.” “I live at home so I can’t really post about how I decorate.” “My life is boring and I have nothing to share.” This is another time where it’s all too easy to play the comparison game. It’s so easy for me to look at other blogs and think, “well I can’t do that.”

So here are a few questions to help the ideas start flowing:

  • What questions do people regularly ask you?
  • Who looks up to you?
  • Who is your biggest fan?
  • What do you do differently than other people?
  • What do you get ridiculously excited about?
  • What do you use every day?
  • What do you feel strongly about?

What aren’t other bloggers already talking about? Those are always the most interesting posts for me to read—the ones that haven’t been done a million times already.

We lose motivation

I’ve created endless lists of posts. I’ve filled out editorial calendars. I’ve had big plans and grand intentions. I have genuine reasons for wanting to blog. I get really excited and publish a few posts, and then I lose steam. I get so behind that I give up for a little bit until I decided to start the whole process over again.

How do end the cycle? How do we stay motivated and continue when the initial excitement wears thin? You have to care about what you’re blogging about. You have to plan content that genuinely excites you. You have to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and figuring out how to replicate it. Easier said than done, right?

I’m clearly no expert when it comes to blogging consistently, but I’ve going to give it my best! What about you? Do you have any other blogging struggles that I missed?

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy | part 2: taking the leap

guide to selling on etsykensiekateComment

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy part 2 | what you need to know about branding, photography, how many listings you should have, and more! Have you read Part 1? It's all about everything you should consider before opening a shop. Today is all about taking the leap and starting a business!

If you're getting ready to open a shop or have recently done so, congrats! This is such an exciting time and I wish you the best. Here's my advice as you embark on this new adventure!

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: get organized

Step 1: Get organized

If you've gotten to this point, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you're going to list, but how many listings do you need to launch a shop? A good rule of thumb is 24 listings or a full first page. Having the appearance of a full shop helps instill credibility in the shopper's mind. But wait! What if you don't have that many items to list? You can stretch the number of listings you have by creating a separate listing for different variations. For example, if you are selling shirts, you can have a listing for each color and each size.

Plan out how will keep your finances organized so you don't want to scream come tax season. Keeping your finances organized also allows you to see just how much your getting from your business at any given time. Keep track of business expenses like props you buy for product photos or packing tape and other shipping supplies. Even little expenses add up quick!

Establish your policies. (Ideally you should write your "about page" too, but it can wait.) You can't open your shop until you post your policies. Look at other shops for reference. Think about how you will handle things like returns or items damaged in the mail. Your policies should be as clear as possible. 

Okay, this one is hard for me, but part of getting organized is having a plan of attack for social media. How often will you post? How will you generate unique content for each of your platforms? Will your shop and personal accounts be separate?

Step 2: Branding

Kensie Kate Guide to selling on Etsy: example of excellent branding

Branding is everything! Look at the image about. Even though Michiemay has several different products for sale, everything in this shop is cohesive. The header image, listing images, and profile picture are consistent and convey the same message–quality, non-tacky party products that you won't find at your local party store.

Even if you have several types of products you want to sell, they should look like they belong together. Your listing images should reflect the branding on your header image, profile picture, and business cards.

If you can't create your own branding, find someone who can! Find a friend who can take stellar product photos. There are tons of Etsy shops that sell branding packages. With so many options available, you're sure to find one that fits your budget and aesthetic. The trick to branding is to make sure it stands out and is appropriate for the items you're selling.

Kensie Kate guide to selling on Etsy: example of excellent packaging

Knot & Bow does an excellent job of branding. Each product has a label or sticker that clearly identifies the shop. You may not be ready to brand your products quite to this extent, but you should include some type of branding with every order. It could be a sticker that you put on the outside of each order or simply including a business card in the package.

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: business cards

My branding and style have definitely changed since I first opened my shop. In order to stay true to my branding, I regularly evaluate my shop and deactivate any listings that aren't in line with the overall feel of Kensie Kate. Sometimes I'm able to redesign some of the prints that are no longer working and re-list them once they fit in.

Step 3: Photography

A big part of your shop's branding will be in the form of photography. (Note: You might notice that, right now, my listings don't feature photographed images. I have some photos of my prints on my blog, instagram, and my shop's about page, but if I had to photograph every single print I sell, it would take away a lot of the time I spend designing. Maybe someday that will change, but for right now I find that a digital image works just fine.)

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: product photography

When taking product photos, here's my 2 cents:

Take pictures that are going to show off your product. This sounds obvious, but take pictures of your product in use or any way that otherwise shows it at it's best. Your photos can convey a lot that you might not be able to in your description–size, color, material, etc.

Take way more pictures than you need. This allows you to sort through and find the very best ones instead of being stuck with only a couple of options.

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: product photography

I've already mentioned this, but make sure that your photos are consistent with your branding–the props you use, the lighting, background, and editing can all influence the style of your pictures.

Step 4: Advertise

While Etsy does a great job promoting listing and helping people find your shop, simply creating a listing is not enough to sell. You need to advertise! Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and everyone you meet that you're opening a shop. Host a giveaway on your personal social media accounts.

Always carry business cards with you! You never know when you might get the chance to hand one out.

Get involved! Attend local markets and comment on relevant social media.

Hopefully this was helpful and gave you some ideas to consider. Let me know if you have any questions!

Next up: Learn about all the tools Etsy has to help you. Etsy wants you to succeed!

awesome & affordable business cards

Uncategorizedkensiekate4 Comments

kensiekate_awesome_affordable_business_cards_vistaprint_discount_code I recently ordered some new business cards and there was a big smile on my face when I opened the box.

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I had them printed by Vistaprint. I have ordered from them a few times and have been really happy. I have searched and searched and I cannot find a more affordable website. I just ordered a friend's wedding invitations through Vistaprint and scored the best deal. (We're talking 500 invitations, 500 envelopes, & 500 inserts for just under $100) You can even click here to save $10 on your order.

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I haven't ever used their templates, I've always uploaded my own complete design, but the process is easy and I've always been satisfied. I always keep a few business cards with me and I include them in my packaging.

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NOTE: this is not a sponsored post. I have just been really happy with Vistaprint.