Thursday, April 27, 2023

3 Ways to be a Better Etsy Customer

3 Ways to be a better Etsy customer
If you are an Etsy customer, but you don't have a shop of your own, here are three things Etsy sellers wish you would do when shopping:
1. Fully read and understand the listing
Please take time to fully read and and understand the item description and to thoroughly look at the photos of what you are buying. Most sellers will try to describe and show the item as accurately as possible. If you receive something that is flawed and the flaw is easily visible in the photo and/or described in the text description, don't leave a bad review for something that was obvious before you purchased. If an item is described as three inches long but you want it to be five inches long, don't buy it expecting it to miraculously become five inches long. If you are looking for a book with a specific title, don't buy something that's close and then be mad when it's not the title you wanted when the photos and description clearly state the actual title.
In THIS Etsy shop, I sell handmade envelopes, most of which are made from a variety of magazine pages, many of which are quite thin. A buyer recently said she thought I might have magically figured out a way to make them thicker and left a bad review, fully knowing that the envelopes she would receive would be thin. Another buyer bought a book that looked sort of, kind of like a book they wanted and then they were mad and left a bad review because it wasn't the one they actually wanted...even though the title and other details were clearly on display. Don't be like these customers.
2. Understand shipping 
You've placed your order and are eagerly awaiting its arrival . . . but your package doesn't arrive as quickly as you expected. Or it gets stuck in a shipping facility for days on end. Or there's a natural disaster that disrupts package and mail delivery. Or there's a mail services strike in your country.
Once your seller drops off the package, shipping is out of our hands. It is your sellers responsibility to: 
  • Ship within a reasonable time frame
  • Have shipping time frames noted in their Etsy listings/shops
  • Submit a tracking number for all packages valued at over $10
It is NOT your seller's responsibility to make sure the mail or package carrier actually delivers within a certain time frame. Etsy gives you an *estimated* delivery window, but it's still in the hands of the carrier to actually deliver.
If you order an item on a Friday or Saturday or there's a holiday within a day or two of your order, give your seller an extra day or two for shipping to take into consider the weekend. We aren't Amazon. Most of us don't have the capacity to be shipping 24/7! 
Of course, if you item is delayed by the postal or other delivery service, it's perfectly OK to message the seller and ask about their policies. Some sellers may have policies listed related to extended delays. If not, ask. For polite customers and those that have reasonable expectations, I'm far more willing to make exceptions to my policies, including for shipping issues. 
3. Contact the shop owner before leaving a bad review
Before you leave a review of less than 5 stars, please reach out to the seller. Most of us want to make sure you're happy with your purchase. For the most part, my customers have been great and communicated well before, during, and after their purchases. However, a few have opted to leave a bad or subpar review, even acknowledging in private messages that they were at fault for not understanding a listing or expecting something other than what was advertised (see above!).
If you're an Etsy seller (or a seller on other platforms), what do you want your customers to know before they buy? What advice do you have for customers?
Check out my Etsy shops here:

Vintage goods, handmade stationery, crafting tools, and more at Shop the Junk Drawer

Friday, April 14, 2023

Upcoming changes to Mom2MomEd

Upcoming changes to Mom2MomEd with yellow and black "changes ahead" street sign against a bright blue background
If you've been following Mom2MomEd for a while, you'll know this blog as a parenting and education focused space, particularly focused on younger children and their families. 
However, as relationships, interests, and the world around us have all changed, so too has this blog. 
Over the next few weeks, you'll be seeing a lot of changes around here. Some will be cosmetic -- new colors, new graphics, new styles. Others will be more focused on subject matter -- I've already put up posts on newer to this blog topics such as de-cluttering, networking as an introvert, and getting things done when depressed or down. And, I will be updating the blog name, policies, and more.
Over the coming months, we will be releasing a number of e-books on topics such as de-cluttering, smoothie recipes, homeschooling, and more. We also will start releasing homeschool literature curriculum guides. 
I will also be moving our lunchbox notes and other items from our Etsy shop to my download-and-print Etsy shop where I currently sell coloring pages, stationery, self help and therapy tools, and more. You can find that shop HERE.
I hope you'll stick around!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Decluttering over 1,000 items in only 30 days

Decluttering over 1,000 items in only 30 days with plastic totes full of random items
Have you ever looked around your home and decided you just have too much stuff? 
Maybe you want to 
  • de-clutter before a move
  • get rid of stuff so you can clean less
  • have people visit without worrying about tidying first
  • feel less scattered and more at home in your actual home
  • leave less for your children or loved ones to deal with when you are gone
  • or any number of other things.
Years ago, I inherited a whole lot of stuff from my grandmother. More recently, I inherited a whole lot of stuff from my hoarder uncle. 
Dealing my grandmother's things was fairly easy as she had already downsized several times, so there wasn't actually a whole lot to deal with.
My uncle, however, was another story. As a hoarder with a three bedroom, built out basement, and large garage, he had a lot of stuff! Most of it was junk, but I still had to go through all of it as I couldn't find a will and was pretty sure he had other documents and possibly money tucked away into weird places (I didn't ever find a will though). It took me a few years to go through all of his stuff! 
The experience of going through all of my uncle's stuff was overwhelming and felt never ending! I don't want to leave my child with such a burden when it is my time to die.
As I was going through my uncle's things, I decided to go through my own belongings as well. This has been a multi-year process.

Even after a few years, I still had far more than I wanted and decided to really accelerate my de-cluttering.
In December of 2022, in just 30 days (I took Christmas day off), I de-cluttered more than 1,000 items! I started tracking the items going in and out of my home (excluding business related things). I started keeping a record of every purchase and every discard. I used a simple notebook with three columns:
  • The date
  • Green or red color coding (green if I got rid of something, red if I brought something into my home)
  • The number and description of items
At the end of every page, I added up the items. By the end of the month, I had de-cluttered over 1,000 items, even after I accounted for the items I added to my home. In the following months, I've continued to de-clutter, though I've slowed down some and had a few periods where I didn't de-clutter at all. 
Even if I wasn't actively de-cluttering, I noticed that my shopping habits and my willingness to accept stuff from well meaning friends had changed. I said no more often and window shopped more than I actually made purchases. If I purchase anything now, it's typically something I need (my wallet fell apart and I replaced it, for example) or something I've thought about for a few weeks before purchasing.

Since December, as of writing this post, I've de-cluttered well over 2,500 items!

What has your own de-cluttering journey been like? Or are you wanting to de-clutter but not sure where to start? Or are you trying to de-clutter but friends or family don't understand why? Drop a comment and let me know!

25 Things to do when you don't want to do anything

My favorite YouTube channels for simple living and decluttering

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Networking for Introverts, Highly Sensitive People, and Others

Networking: Hands reaching out in a handshake and exchaning business cards
A few months ago, I attended a networking event for female entrepreneurs in my area. It was great, but it was also exhausting!
As an entrepreneur, I run my own private tutoring and academic and career coaching business, in addition to two thriving Etsy shops. I also consider myself to be a shy, introverted, highly sensitive person.
Networking and meeting new people are all scary and feel exhausting before I even take part in them! The same is true for many introverts, shy people, and highly sensitive people.
If you find networking difficult -- even if you aren't an introvert, shy, or sensitive -- here are a few ways I've made it easier for myself: 
First, I analyze if the networking event is a good fit for me. I assess what I hope to get out of the experience, what I have to share with others, who is expected to attend, the type of event, and more. If I don't think I'll get anything out of it and that I won't be able to bring anything of value, then I likely won't go. If the event will be huge, I won't go. If it's formal, I won't go.

If you have access to the list of attendees, take some time look up several on LinkedIn, social media, or their websites. Choose a few that you would like to connect with and send them a quick message. Briefly introduce yourself, tell them you'll be at the event, and that you look forward to meeting them. This will prime them to be on the lookout for you. You'll have made connections before the event even begins! I don't know about you, but having a connection beforehand helps to break down barriers the day of the event.

After I've decided that the event is right for me and I've made some connections ahead of time, I challenge myself to talk to three people during the event. I like to ask them questions about what they do. Getting others to talk about themselves and what they do is a great way to drive a conversation without having to do much work. Some of the questions I like to ask include:
  • What problems do you solve in your work?
  • What was your best client experience?
  • What was your worst client experience? Did it change how you do business?
  • What is the most misunderstood aspect of what you do?
  • What are your goals for the next several months?
  • What is the biggest lesson you've learned in your field and how do you apply it day to day?
I like to make sure I have an out, just in case the event isn't what I had hoped, if I feel overwhelmed, or if I feel my social gas tank hitting empty. In truth, I've gotten comfortable just saying, "This has been so great, but I need to get going. I have some things to take care of at home. Should we exchange business cards?" Most of the time, this is a pretty good path to the door. 

After the event, go back through the business cards or contact information you gathered, or go back to contacts you made before the event, and touch base with a few people. Just send a quick message on LinkedIn or by email and let them know you enjoyed meeting them and hope to see them at future events. If you have reasons to get in touch in the future, let them know that they may be hearing from you again and that you look forward to working with them.  

Some aspects of networking may always be overwhelming though and it's OK to give yourself an out so that you can leave events early! It's also OK to say no and to be selective about networking opportunities. I've opted not to attend several this past month, but I have been in touch with a few people from the event a few months ago through LinkedIn and Instagram.
What have your networking experiences been like? What has gone well and what hasn't? Drop a comment and let me know!