The hardest part about creating and selling the items I make is not the 'making' of them but rather getting the word out about what I am selling. In other words, marketing my sites.
I spend a good hour and more just telling the world what great things I have to sell. Well, I hope they are great to the world. I know to me they are my loved goods and inventory. Thought goes in to each photo I take and edit, each scarf I knit, or each eyeglass case that I sew. The thought is not just the actual making of the item but also the yarn, material and what is in the view of my camera.
Sometimes it is easy for me to say "I don't need to do marketing today" but then I think of the difference in the views of my shops. I could say 'to market or not to market?' However, I know I NEED to market so I set about the daily task of doing it.
I have a routine. I start with my FaceBook business page and move on to my personal FaceBook page and then on to all the groups I am in on FaceBook. I move on to Linkedin, Google+, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and then lastly I work with Twitter.
In Twitter it isn't just posting a link to one of my photos or knit items, it is also retweeting others. The retweeting is a necessity. For every person that I retweet, I get a retweet back from them on one of the things I posted. I say everyone. That is not the case all of the time. However, it doesn't hurt to work with others and hope that they will, in turn, work with me.
Another huge job on Twitter is getting followers. I have finally worked myself up to 10,373 followers. This did not happen over night. It has taken years. I do know the more followers I get and the more retweeting I do, the more followers I get. It is a circle. The one thing I don't do is just refollow everyone. In fact, some of the people who follow me are spammers. I will get my own followers, thank you. I don't need to pay you to get me a thousand bots (or not real entities.) That doesn't get legitimate views to my sites. Those people I block. They anger me because I don't want have a bunch of Twitter followers who are not going to at least consider looking and and maybe buying one of my products.
So, after a morning of marketing, I usually feel like I have been run over. However, I see the results with views to my site. It is worth the work. I am hoping it will eventually pay off when I become a world famous photographer.............. well, at least known in my town.
Another thing I have been trying to do is include one of my photo note cards as well as both of my business cards (Etsy and my photo web site) in with packages that I have sold on Etsy. They are looking at my knit and sewn items and probably don't have a clue that I also do photography. By including the cards (both business and photo) I am letting them know that there is more to A Joyful Creation besides Etsy.
Think twice about your views on marketing. If you are serious about selling your product it is a very important part of being your own boss and business person.
I have lived in California my whole life. Most of that time was spent less then 50 miles from San Francisco. However, as many times as I visited my favorite city, I never did more then just drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.
I decided that the best way for me to really get some nice photos of the beautiful towers of the bridge was to walk under them.
I was visiting San Francisco with a friend of mine and her fifteen year old daughter. I asked her daughter if she would like to walk with me across the bridge. I wasn't sure if she would want to but I was nicely surprised to hear her say yes. I knew her Mom would not do it with me but she did ride with us on the day we decided to do the walk.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I think that every person who has ever been to San Francisco decided to do the same thing. I tried parking on the San Francisco side of the bridge but to no avail. Every parking space was occupied and there were countless cars driving around doing the same thing I was, desperately trying to park. On top of that it took forever to get away from the parking lot and on to the road going across the bridge.
Well after driving across with all the other cars I finally got to the parking lot on the Marin county side of the bridge. I am really not sure how many times I circled the parking lot frantically looking for a space. I do know that my car almost got run over by a huge tourist bus. I am thinking the name on the bus was "Big Bus." It fit perfectly and it was very scary for all of us. It was one of those times that had us biting our nails but laughing about it later. Sadly we never got a parking space and we didn't get to walk across the bridge.
The next day, my friend and her daughter went home. I also had to go home but I decided to take one more chance to see if I could find a parking space and make that walk. It was Monday but there still was no parking on the San Francisco side of the bridge. However, this time I was lucky because I found parking on the other side. I was all by myself and a bit nervous but still determined to walk the bridge.
It was a long walk and it was windy but I was ecstatic. I was actually walking across the bridge. I have always loved it and to be able to look up at the towers and not worry about getting in to a car accident while doing it, was just the best feeling. I passed many other walkers as well as a lot of people on bicycles. Since I tend to be a motor mouth I also managed to talk to quite a few people. Some probably had no idea what I was saying to them because I had no clue what their responses were. Quite a few people were from other countries. I did have to dodge the bicycles because they had a tendency to take over the walk way.
When I was finally on my way back home I had many thoughts about my experience and, even though I was tired, I had no regrets about that wonderful walk. Many of my friends told me that they had never done this and wanted to. I had to smile because I have the photos to prove that I did it!
This past weekend I made my second trip down to Santa Cruz so that my friend and I could see the last four Best Picture nominated movies. This is a yearly tradition that tends to wear me out but also one that both of us look forward to doing.
Our first (or I should say fifth) movie was the only one that we were able to see at home. All I can say is thankfully I didn't pay to Mad Max at the movies. It took quite a long time in to the movie before I could figure out what was even going on. The plot was buried inside a bunch of vehicles racing across the desert. I looked over at my friend and she was sleeping on the couch. I kept saying "wake up! I am not watching this by myself." I finally got a grasp on the point of the movie and then it turned around and I lost my hold on it. At the end I breathed a sigh of relief because it was over and I didn't have to go through that again. However, it worked its way in to my dream that night.
We saw the last three movies the next day as we raced between theaters. Revenant was the first of the three. I do have to say that as much as I was dreading watching that movie, and it did live up to what I had heard, I felt it was the best of all the eight movies. I had to close my eyes a few times because of the brutality that was going on but, even then, I was thinking about how excellent this movie was. Both of us agreed that it was very well done and very well acted.
Our next stop was the movie The Big Short. Throughout the movie I felt like I was at a lecture in college and I had no clue what the professor was saying. I yawned many times. When it was over I said "I didn't like it." However, my friend liked it a lot and felt she had learned from it. The next day I finally asked her to explain what 'betting on a bond that loses money' meant. After she answered me I realized that I wish I had known that when I first started watching the movie and that I needed to see it again after gaining that knowledge. The mortgage crisis was an awful time that had swept me up as one of the many casualties.
The last movie that day and of all the eight Academy Award nominees was Room. It was another one I was dreading to see. It was difficult watching this kidnap victim living in a tiny room with her young son. She had been snatched when she was seventeen and had lived there for seven years. However, the movie was not entirely based on that but rather on the healing that took place when she was finally rescued. I had thought that it was based on a true story but it was not. It was, however, based on what actual kidnap victims have gone through in the past. Not one in particular but rather the concept.
After going through all of this on Saturday, I was able to have a nice relaxing time on Sunday with another friend of mine. That is when I took the photo of the seagull above. Now I wait for the Academy Awards to see if one of our guesses for Best Picture will win. I am saying The Revenant and she thinks Bridge of Spies.
All of the eight nominated movies are worth seeing except for Mad Max. All were well done and all very entertaining.
As I am sitting here at my computer I am feeling a little discouraged from the lack of excitement over people wanting to buy my photos. I see people are looking at them and I read and hear the compliments that people are giving me about my work and yet my sales are low. It makes me wonder 'why am I doing this?'
However, just like with this old clock that belonged to my Nana and the old books that are embracing it, things take time. They don't happen instantly. I don't think that famous artists became famous overnight. In fact, some didn't become famous until after they have left this earth. I don't plan on becoming famous I just hope that I become 'known' before I am gone.
I have only been doing photography for a few years and I am constantly learning. I compare my new work with the work I did when I first started and I just want to throw the old stuff away. I am growing with my labor and, as long as I continue to love what I am doing, I will continue to take photos and enjoy the pleasure that goes with along with it.
Even though the encouraging words are not really selling my work, they continue to make me feel good inside about what I am doing. When I first started knitting my scarves and hats, I was still a 'work in progress.' I made a lot of mistakes and I ended up marking down items to what they cost me so that they would sell and I could stop looking at them. I didn't stop knitting because I loved doing it. As the years progressed my items started selling and the encouraging words keep coming in. When I was at the end of the scarf and holiday season last November, I almost sold out of all my hats. That was a first. In fact, most hat orders I get on line now have to be made before I can ship them.
The same thing happened with my eyeglass cases. At first I would just grab material and make an eyeglass case. I didn't have to like it, I just pumped them out. However, I found that they didn't sell very well and, in fact, I still have a few of the earlier cases that I may start begging people to take. I have learned and grown and now I have a much better idea of what people want. I was a 'work in progress' with those. Now I sell tons of them.
This is how I have to think in regards to my photography. I can't let myself get discouraged. I have to continue to grow and to learn what people want. I am starting to be able to put a photo on the wall and see how it looks before I even take picture. The encouragement that people give to me is like fuel in a car so that it can keep moving. It means a lot even if I forget to tell them that.
I will continue to do what I love and if I ever become 'famous' my thoughts will remain with the people who have helped me get to that point.
My area is having a short break in the weather. We have had a lot of rain and it has been wonderful but yesterday it was a very pretty, sunny day. I decided that I need to walk in to town to go to the post office instead of driving the mile and a half round trip. Today my body is hurting but I don't regret the walk.
Nevada City is a small (very small) version of San Francisco. We don't have the ocean but we do have the old historical homes and buildings and the hills. Walking down hill to the post office is not very difficult. It is the walking back up hill that made me wonder if I would make it back alive. As a precaution I stuck my driver's license in my pocket....... just in case. Probably silly but, trust me, my heart was beating mighty fast on the walk back.
I have taken a few walking trips down to the town area. I honestly should do more and maybe I wouldn't feel like I was on death's doorstep on my way back. I live in a wonderful area. The town is usually full of tourists who drive to see what I can see by simply walking a mile.
The area is full of gold mining history. Grass Valley, next door, is home of what used to be a very large gold mine. Now it is no longer an active gold mine but rather a California state park called Empire Mines. The area, especially Grass Valley, is full of signs of the Cornish miners who came over from Britain to grab the mining jobs.
I walk in to Nevada City to eat the great food. I walk in order to try and burn off the calories of the bagel with cream cheese and avocado. You notice I say 'try.' Probably hopeless but boy is it good! I have also walked in to town and walked out with a huge ice cream cone. It was a warm day when I did that and I had to eat it fast and then try not to let the sugar high and low keep me from walking uphill on the way back.
However, mostly, I walk in to town to get photographs of the beautiful buildings and homes. I look at each home and think to myself "I could live there." However, I doubt I ever could because I couldn't afford the prices. Doesn't matter, I can still dream.
Yesterday I only walked to the post office and back. I didn't think that my out of shape body could handle another half mile or more by walking all the way in to town. I had some money with me and I did think about stopping and getting something yummy to eat but I refrained as I looked at the uphill walk back home.
Hopefully my next walk will include the walk all the way in to town. Hmmmmm.... ice cream, bagel, ice cream, bagel, maybe both. I had better not check out the other places that serve food until I have gotten myself in to better walking 'shape.'
Instead of writing a blog about my adventures with photography, I should write about my daily dreams and or nightmares. I honestly feel I would wake up more refreshed in the morning if I would stop having these crazy dreams. I wish I could go to bed at night and say "don't dream." However, I know that won't happen. Maybe if I stop eating so late at night or reading the spy and murder mystery novels....... anyways, on to my photography.
I have become so obsessed with photography and seeing photographic events that can be framed and hung on the wall. When I am with friends I usually end up having to try to find them or vice-versa because I have wandered off. If I were in a department store the announcement would come over the loud speaker that would be something like: "Joy, your friends are looking for you. You can find them at the customer service desk."
On this particular day I was with two of my very good friends. We had been walking along the wharf at Santa Cruz, California. They were looking at the food and I was looking at the ocean. I am surprised that I don't kill myself sometimes because I have wandered and gotten hit by a car or fallen in to the ocean. However, I must have a sense of radar and seem to miss having these things happen. Either that, or the people driving the cars are being observant.
My friends stopped at a fish counter and started looking at fish for dinner. I told them I would be in the area as I try to get some photos. I figured that they would have a good idea of what I would like to eat since we had known each other for way too many years for me to mention here.
The sky was so blue and the ocean so beautiful. I was able to walk over to one side of the pier and take the photo I have above. I had watched the sail boat as it drifted along and waited until I could see it in front of the boardwalk. In the background are all the fun rides that I no longer will go on but used to love as a child. After I took a number of photos I walked over to the other side of the pier and took some more of the boats in the water. What a great day for me to be here! It is not always this beautiful and I live hours away from the ocean.
It was quite windy that day, I do recollect that. Since that is not showing up in my photos I am not sure why I can recall the wind. I don't even remember what my friends bought for dinner. I am sure I ate it. What I do remember is the day spent on the wharf and I can thank my photographs and wonderful friends for that fond memory.
The picture I have posted here was taken a number of years ago at another place that I lived in. However, it is what I am seeing outside my window now. Nothing like having a clear day on Monday and waking up on Tuesday to snow. I had no clue that it was going to snow. Weatherman, what happened?!! Thankfully I didn't need to be anywhere today.
I live in the Sierra Nevada mountains. My elevation is rather low and so I don't get the snow the way they do higher up. Last winter it snowed once and it was in April of 2015. The usual snowfall is three to five times a year. The California drought really hit hard. So far this year I think it has snowed about six or more times. We are all crossing our fingers that we get enough rain and snow melt off to fill up our dams.
One of my more fun filled snow adventures took place when I lived in Magalia, near Chico California. I drove home from work and knew it was going to not be an easy drive. Magalia was an uphill drive from Chico and there was one rather steep hill before the road became more flat. I had snow tires but only front wheel drive and no chains. As long as I have a forward momentum going I am OK. However, the traffic came to a stop right before a bend in the road. I still had a little motion but the car in front of me got stuck. I couldn't pull around them because I couldn't see what was coming down hill.
There was a snow plow behind me. The driver got out and went to the car in front of me and proceeded to let some air out of their tires. They finally were able to move. However, I was stuck. My tires were spinning in the snow and ice. I thought he was going to do the same for me. Instead he informed me he was going to push me up the hill. I have never had a push from a snow plow but it worked. He got me up far enough on the hill that I was able to go on my own. That is until I got to my court.
I had just driven in to the court and my car stopped. I have a Saturn and it is low to the ground. The snow was about 2 feet deep. I only had to go about the length of three houses but I couldn't get past the first one. I ran up to my neighbor's home and knocked on the door. He came out but he couldn't help me. Finally a large pick up truck pulled in behind me. The truck belonged to an off duty police officer. He was going around and helping people like myself.
He and a friend first drove back and forth in my short (but uphill) driveway so that the snow was flattened. Then they drove a circle around the court to flatten out the snow more. I still had problems with sliding when I tried to drive in the area they flattened for me. He then proceeded to attach a rope to my car and pulled me around the court and up to my driveway. I couldn't get my car all the way in to the driveway but it was enough off the road.
Yeah I was home! However, I was stuck there for three days until the snow plow (wonder if it was the same snow plow driver) finally came in to the court and was able to plow the road. Of course I won't even get in to the problem of shoveling my driveway with a regular shovel. That will be another story some day. I now own a snow shovel.