Five years. That’s how long it’s been since my inspiring wife Kim started her first Etsy shop. Almost to the day, I think.
She didn’t have any big world-domination plans for that first little shop. She just wanted to line her pockets with a little spending cash before the holiday season which is always on her radar way before it’s on mine. She had recently made a few felt hair clips and successfully sold a couple on eBay so when she discovered Etsy it was an easy decision. Here was a site that seemed designed exactly for what she wanted to do. So she did it.
In the five years since that day, our life has changed dramatically in almost every way. The Etsy shop that was just a little holiday side-project turned out to be the starting line for an entirely new existence for us; the first page of a new chapter in the exciting page-turner book of Kim & Tim (and crew). Who Knew?
So much has happened during the interim that I’m sure we’ll never run out of topics to blog about and I might even have an actual book or two up my sleeve, such is the value of the lessons we’ve learned and the desire we have to share our experience with others on the same path. But this little blog post is only about one tiny part of it all.
The Lasting Value of Small Improvements
One of the more remarkable parts of the past five years is the frequency with which we’ve found ourselves disheartened and frustrated with a lack of progress. Interestingly enough, there have been just as many times when we’ve been beside ourselves with the excitement of what felt like unstoppable forward momentum. I suppose that’s what you might call an emotional roller-coaster ride, and I’ve come to believe that it is a typical and common trait of Internet based entrepreneurship.
I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life so I can attest to the fact that running a business of any kind has its ups and downs, but an Internet business is the most dramatic of them all. If anyone tells you different, it’s just because they’ve never started an Internet business. The lack of face-to-face interaction is part of the reason. The over-abundance of stories about everyone else who IS making it big is part of the reason. The unpredictable whims of the Web is part of the reason as well.
But there is another reason for the dark depths of the low times… a really big reason.
We don’t place sufficient value on the little things we do each day. Little things are a constant part of selling online and/or blogging.
- Adding a new product to your shop
- Writing a single post on your blog
- Making an improvement to your logo, avatar, blog header or shop banner
- Sending a nice email thanking a customer, a blog commenter, or someone who has helped you
- Improving your packaging, your materials storage, or your shipping process
- Learning to take better pictures and taking some
You know what I’m talking about! These things and so many more happen every day but we frequently fail to recognize how big of an improvement we’ve really made.
These little things are the building blocks of success and every time you knock one of them out you’re that much closer to having the shop/blog/business of your dreams!
If there is one secret to building an online success story it is this: Keep moving and don’t quit!
If there is one secret to not quitting it is to keep a good positive attitude about what you’re doing. And the secret to a good attitude about your work? You guessed it… recognizing the lasting value of small improvements.
So, give yourself the pat on the back you deserve and keep moving!