DISASTER! - The End for an Entrepreneur?

This month I'm bringing you an article written by my lovely entrepreneurial friend, Lucy, who runs her own small business, My Brick Box.

And who still does....... despite the horrors of June 2019!  Read on to find out what happened (and take heed if you, too, are a seller!)

CRAP FOR SALE!

Well, looking back at my first handmade products, that’s exactly what they were 😂 I can’t believe I had the nerve to sell them - let alone that anyone actually bought one!

BUT!  Because I loved making my Lego frames so much and because there did appear to be market interest, my skills, precision, design and presentation grew and grew -

and before I knew it I was the biggest (and best 😉) Lego frame seller on the Etsy platform.

BUT

Only 4 weeks ago I woke up one morning as usual, kids ready and dressed for school, coffee and toast made, ready to knuckle down for another day of Lego Lego and more Lego.

I opened my emails, and my world fell apart. I actually felt the blood run cold, my mouth went dry and I began to shake.

There it was in black and white. The death warrant.

Etsy has terminated your selling permissions as we have received a third party notification of copyright infringement.
Etc
Etc
Etc
Adieu old friend....

NOOOOO!!

I fell to my knees in the kitchen and cried. My career, my job, my passion, my family's source of income, my customers, my Holy Grail...

GONE at the push of a singular corporate button. A big cold lifeless button........

The days that followed were days of mixed emotions. The main culprits being fear, grief, panic, stress, anger, uncertainty......


More so because at the point of “eviction”, Etsy informed me that I would still be able to access and fulfil the 254 outstanding orders I had.
But the back link they provided for those orders took me to a page that simply told me I was no longer a seller and I did not have access to this portal anymore.

I tried and I tried to tell them, to ask for a solution; nobody could help and eventually they sent me an email saying that they wouldn’t be replying to me in this regard again.


I was mortified to say the least, as my inbox continued to flood with emails from angry customers demanding to know where their order was.
Thankfully, by being open and honest and pointing every customer in the right direction for a refund I was able to turn those customers into happy ones who have been so kind and of whom many have since come back to me for further business.


(With the exception of one customer, who I shall not name, but who barraged me with abusive emails, threatened me, and stalked me a little bit; but she got her refund and hopefully it will go towards having those eyebrows fixed. Trust me they’re shocking!) 

Anyway, once the gloom had started to dissolve in my heart, I sat down and asked myself “what does this mean for me?”

What do I do with this situation? 

How do I make this into a positive?

How do I survive?

FIRST STOP: call the Tax Credits office and tell them your annual income isn’t going to be that great after all. (In fact, we might even qualify for a food bank) 
Sorted.

NEXT:  Take every penny you have got left in the business account and throw it at YOURSELF!  Yes, ME!
(And I don’t mean going out to have my nails done, or filling my wardrobe.)


I used what was left to do two things.
  1. Get my own website
  2. Enrol on a course to learn how to advertise effectively using Facebook. Facebook is the singular most powerful advertising media in the world and I needed to get educated quickly.

 

To cut a long story short, my mind has been blown:

  1. the Boost button is the worst thing you can push on a Facebook ad
  2. I thought my target audience were women in their 30’s and 40’s: I was wrong!
  3. Since running my ads I can see who clicks, who buys, and it ain’t who I thought it was!

It’s been a few weeks since Etsy threw me under the bus and I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I am glad they did.

  • I’m no longer paying their fees
  • I have more time to spend with my family whilst I recover my business (it is recovering as I “learn”)
  • my Lego frames are no longer being churned out in a one woman factory that stinks of stress and late nights
  • I’m no longer waking up and going to sleep answering 40 enquiries a day, waking up in the night and jotting down forget-me-not notes.


Time has slowed down for me, I’ve rediscovered it. I’m no longer a factory.

https://mybrickbox.net/collections/the-tv-film-gaming-collection/products/gamer-gift-the-mine-one
I have to work smarter for each sale. I have to take the customer from the top to the bottom by being a “person”.
On Etsy the job was done for me. Signed, sealed and sold without ever having to even talk to a customer.


I think the new way of doing business is going to be a better experience for both me and my customers and I’m delighted.

I know every sale I get I will have earned myself. They saw my Facebook ad, they trusted my website, they liked dealing with me.

I’ve got something that Etsy hasn’t got.

A living breathing, life-loving, Lego making, lovely little pulse.

Thank you Etsy.
Adieu to you too 🙌
https://mybrickbox.net/collections/the-star-wars/products/star-wars-gift-yoda-frame

 

Thanks SO much to Lucy for sharing her experience with us.

It's a reminder to us all:  you do NOT own your own business if you only sell through one online marketplace, be it Etsy or Amazon or Facebook, or wherever.....  BE PREPARED!

You can find Lucy's lovely frames at mybrickbox.net and catch up with her on Facebook or Instagram


1 comment

  • Thanks for sharing this very insightful experience!

    Lucy’s point about customers trusting her website resonated with me as I’d like to set up a business website and have been looking at the different options and things to consider.

    :-)

    Dawn Cato

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