Those of us in the art and handmade business are bound to feel inadequate from time to time. Or, to be more accurate, a lot of the time. One of the chief reasons we feel this way can be because there is someone out there who we deem to be BETTER than us. This other seller/artist is selling more (and more often), takes better pictures, is friendlier and smoother with customers at craft shows, AND makes incredibly awesome crap. Some of us can’t help but look at our own crap, sitting there, collecting dust, and see it mocking our ambitions of success.
I’m not going to tell you to stop looking at the competition and “focus on your own damn shop!” (…as may be the common thread of advice floating around in the Etsy forums.) But I will tell you to try to look at these other sellers differently. First of all: successful sellers mean that IT IS POSSIBLE. They are a token to the reality of one’s ability to live off of one’s handmade creations. Knowing that someone has done something before makes it a little less scary to try it yourself. Let the existence of these sellers inspire you to push harder and keep trying. If they can do it, SO CAN YOU!
Another great thing about having other sellers out there who you think are “better” by comparison is you have shops you can learn from. (Oh, and by learn I do NOT mean copy. Of all people, artists should have to the ability be creative and make their own damn crap, so don’t be mimicking anyone else’s!) What strategies are these successful sellers using to promote their shop? Do they doing any off-site advertising? Do they blog? Are they big into Facebook and/or Twitter? How often do these sellers list new items? Do they renew sold items or are most of their items OOAK? Do they write lengthy, flowery descriptions or ones that are short and to the point?
You get the idea. The fact that there are “bigger and better” sellers out there should not be a source of discouragement, but encouragement. Let these sellers motivate and teach you to being more productive, make smarter business decisions, and trudge on. Keep creating my crafty friends!