Tuesday, February 26, 2013

your Etsy shop as a transition position (why the making is more important than the making money ... until it isn't anymore)

evolving butterflies from caterpillars
The only way to get unstuck is to create instability.

Stuck stuff is stable.

(think dentures, well-made dentures, wait, do they still make dentures ...)

And it sounds like stable is a good thing (it is a good solid word after all) but sometimes stable is over-rated. Sometimes things need to be shaken up so they can fall apart and we can see what we are left with.

Often people email me for advice about their Etsy shop or about opening an Etsy shop.

Maybe, they have put a lot of time into their shop (very seldom have they put a lot of money into their shop) and it just isn't making them any money and sometimes they have just discovered Etsy or been stalking Etsy on the side and are wondering if it is worth putting in the time because it may or may not make them any money in the future. They are stuck.

(this looking too far into the future with money doesn't work anyway - we are evolving - kicking and screaming sometimes, but evolving and just like the farmer moved into the factory when we evolved from a society where almost no one had a job into a society where almost everyone had a job - we are evolving again into ... well, something else, my magic 8 ball isn't saying, but the way money is tied to work has changed forever this is certain)

Now, I used to look at this person's Etsy shop and offer some kind of advice around their pictures or their message or their makings, well not usually about their makings

(I tread carefully around people's makings because I realize I am dealing with people's hearts here, and if I was to say something not so nice about your makings and you didn't feel it in your heart, you would know you probably needed to put a whole lot more of your heart into your makings)

but you get the idea - physical stuff. But now I would be more likely to look at the non-physical stuff first - like why are they making their stuff? Were they making it before Etsy? How did they get here? What is their intention with this?

Your Etsy shop is not guaranteed to make you money - no matter how much work you put into it.

(nope, no guarantees, this isn't a job with a guaranteed paycheck for your 20, 40, 60 hours)

Although jobs don't come with guarantees either - no gold watch with guaranteed health insurance for life for us my dear - our safety net has holes large enough that even our winter backsides, holed up with a hot chocolate and cider donuts, can slip through easily. This is ok though, this is more than ok - we are moving away from the factory paradigm and if this gold watch stuff still existed we wouldn't be able to.

And often people tell me they have put a lot of time into their shop when what they really need is to put a lot of time (and yes, money, too) into their business.

(but that's a whole other post)

Etsy is a great transition position though - a place to move into the energy of creation - a place to get unstuck

(think that guy who's name you have forgotten that you went out with between those two great loves of your life - yes, him, that guy, well, that guy was a very important part of your life because he helped you transition, well him and chocolate ice cream anyway.

Etsy might be one of the great loves of your life, but more likely he is that guy, and that guy may be no less important)

Putting our energy (time, focus, money) into any act of creation (a totally unstable thing to do) can move us out of stuck. If we did things that only had a guaranteed outcome we'd never move off the couch.

We don't get to know where this unstuck energy will lead us - our Etsy shop that isn't making any money can lead us to something amazing that would never have happened if our Etsy shop had been making us money - stay open to the possibilities.

This is what we have really created with our Etsy shop - this space of openness - this space of potential and its place isn't in Brooklyn or on the internet - its place is within us and our only job is to make sure it stays open.


DancingMooney ♥ said...

I love this post Cat, and you are so right! Etsy isn't everything, it's just what's happening (perhaps) to us right now. I've been 'stuck' for quite some time because my intentions and the money that I hoped would follow have not lined up correctly however I've been trying lots of new things lately too, because you just never know when you'll find something that clicks. I know that this is a journey and I know that success on Etsy does not have to 'be' my success in life, but it's a place that I've found myself, and have also found the opportunity to learn so much while here. I know I have ideas that are bigger than Etsy and your post has helped remind me that I should be working on some of that too... Let's not limit ourselves to just succeeding 'on Etsy' because it's true, there is so much else out there waiting for us! :) xo! Thank you Cat, I needed this. ♥

Catherine Ivins said...

that's what I'm thinking too Janell- "just what's happening to us right now" - love that! xo

KJ said...

I thought about the Etsy route but never posted anything before deciding it was not for me. I need the interaction of a show. Maybe someday I will actually do a show again. In the meanwhile I just enjoy creating at my own pace for a limited distribution.

Catherine Ivins said...

I like the interaction of shows, too KJ and the fact that you are selling what is already made, less stress - execpt for the weather xo

DancingMooney ♥ said...

I prefer that personal interaction too, but the weather... that's another thing! (funny you should mention it, because I signed up for the Flea Market this year) keeping every finger and toe I have that the weather isn't awful on those days!

Cait Throop said...

I love your " The only way to get unstuck is to create instability." Etsy has pushed me to different places creatively...places that are leading to other places and I love that! A long, long (the 70s) time ago my first husband and I went to a lovely craft fair in NH and I met a weaver there who was doing very interesting weaving on pins (framed works of art). I went to this same fair in 2001 and she was there...still doing the EXACT same stuff! yikes! A life lesson for me! Love this post!