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Daily Worth

Doubts will never completely go away. They’re part of being human. So don’t wait for them to disappear before you embrace your dreams; keep believing in them and visualizing them. You’ll be surprised at what you will accomplish. It takes courage to step out of the crowd and create a business out of an idea. Working on a full-time job and a business will take every ounce of belief that you have in your dream – and the reward will be beyond what you could’ve imagined. – Dealing with Doubts

Image borrowed from Daily Worth
Image borrowed from Daily Worth

Do you know about Daily Worth? Discovered via Modish Biz Tips, Daily Worth is a “free daily personal finance email for women,” delivering “practical tips, empowering ideas and the occasional kick in the pants,” like the snippet above!

Daily Worth keeps the emails short and sweet, which is important if you are already crunched for time or just don’t like to read through lengthy emails (both true for me). Despite their brevity, each email contains clear value, be it through information or inspiration. Personally, I have found the information about financial planning and cash vs. accrual accounting very helpful. (Every year when doing my taxes I’ve puzzled over cash vs. accrual, but no more!) My favorite emails are the ones that address the more emotional part of running your own business, such as Dealing with Doubts and Stop Apologizing.

If you haven’t already signed up, I highly encourage it! And while you’re over there, check out who else subscribes to Daily Worth. If you are already subscribed, what do you love about Daily Worth?

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Heart-o-Tron 3000

hearts.jpgI know a lot of Etsy sellers are already familiar with the Heart-o-Tron 3000. I’ve known about it and forgotten it and recently rediscovered it, now that I’m listing new items in the shop again. Whether it’s brand new to you or something you’ve known about for awhile and forgotten about, the Heart-o-Tron 3000 is worth checking out. It provides a quick way to check how many hearts your Etsy shop has. You can also easily see how many hearts your individual items have, who left those hearts, and how many views each item averages per heart. Definitely faster than going through your shop item by item.

Do you know of any other cool unofficial Etsy tools? Share them here!

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Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

Generally, I think it’s a good idea to Google yourself every now and then just to see what you can find. Searching for your name, or the name of your business, online can be a helpful way to see what potential customers and everyone else is going to see when they look for you. Depending on what you find, googling yourself may be the first step in initiating a clean up process (sometimes, occasionally, we may post something online that we really don’t want to share with the whole world) or it can help you to get a better sense of who is interested in you and your product and what they have to say about it.

I am particularly interested in keeping tabs on what other people have to say about Anodyne Design. To that end, I’m a huge fan of Google Alerts. If you haven’t checked out this free tool from Google, you should start today. It’s a very simple and efficient way to keep track of any search terms or phrases you are interested in. Instead of searching for “Anodyne Design” on Google when I think about it (which is something I may forget about for a month), I tell Google that I’m interested in “Anodyne Design,” and it will send me an email when something new with my search term appears on the scene.

Google Alerts are customizable, so that you can tell Google how frequently you prefer to receive alert emails, and what types of searches you would like it to conduct for you (for example, a search of only blogs or a comprehensive search of all the data available to Google.) There is no limit to the number of alerts you can set up, so I have Google set to alert me when something new about “Anodyne Design” appears on the radar, and also when something about “Anodyne Designs” (a frequent misnomer used for my business) appears, among other things.

If you want to use Google Alerts to help you monitor information about your business, I recommend you set up several alerts for your business name, your own name, your business URL, and if you have a website or blog, the name (if different) and URL for those. That should allow you to cast a pretty wide, thorough net over Google’s treasure trove of information. You may be surprised by what you find. Google Alerts have informed me when my recently listed items on Etsy have been added to the Google search results, when another blog has linked to my blog, and I have created a new profile on a site like Blog Catalog.

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Cool Firefox Tool: Linkification

I found this great add-on for firefox that can improve your Etsy shopping experience. If you spend much time browsing Etsy (and why wouldn’t you?) you may have noticed that shops on Etsy aren’t permitted to put hypertext in their profiles or shop announcements. Lots of Etsy shops have associated blogs or other websites they would like to share with you, but without hyperlinks, the sharing ends up being a link typed out like regular text. There are a couple of drawbacks to this approach: 1) a url that isn’t hyperlinked won’t stand out from the rest of the text, so you may miss it completely, and 2) if you want to see what’s at that url, you have to copy and paste, which is an activity that gets old fast.

This isn’t to say that I don’t understand or even agree with Etsy’s decision to not allow hyperlinks in shop announcements or profiles. Allowing in hyperlinks could open the floodgates to spammy profiles and shops, and it could result in an store-fronts that are generally less attractive. Etsy clearly has a desire to keep shops simple and to have design consistency across shops, and these are both ideas I can stand behind. Keeping it simple, and limiting sellers’ abilities to personalize definitely keeps the shop looking more professional than it would otherwise.

But back to the point of this post: linkification! I’m on board with Etsy’s design plan, but I still hate copying and pasting urls when I could be clicking. With Firefox’s Linkification add-on, text urls become hyperlinks! This is an add-on worth installing, even if the only thing you’ll need it for is Etsy surfing. And if you’re not using Firefox already, isn’t this a good time to start?

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Unofficial Tools to Enhance Your Etsy Experience

I’ve come across a few unofficial sites that are all about different aspects of Etsy and that can enhance your experience of Etsy in one way or another.


Spend much time on Etsy (particularly in the forums) and you’ll quickly learn that the search engine on Etsy (particularly the one that searches the forums) isn’t very good. I just stumbled across a great solution to the search problem on Etsy: Besty Search. This site, which is not affiliated with Etsy, uses Google tools to search Etsy in a variety of ways, including seller location, where a shop will ship to, and item descriptions. The page also has a forum search and provides links to the latest Etsy news.


Etsy Tools is another great resource that’s not actually affiliated with Etsy. You can find out who the Etsy top sellers are and get statistical data about listings and sales on Etsy.


The Unofficial Etsy News will help you keep up to date with what’s going on at Etsy. This site is comprehensive, and addresses a lot of things that come up in the forums, which can be difficult to track sometimes when you have a life. It’s nice to be able to go to UEN and know you aren’t missing out on news that just happened to be in a buried forum thread (which you would never be able to find, without Besty Search.)

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Rotary Cutting

Rotary Cutting Crazy

Back around Labor Day, I got myself a rotary cutter and self-healing mat (how does it do that?). I’ve been cutting up all sorts of things lately, and I love using the rotary cutter! It’s so much faster, and I’m able to cut much straighter lines. And straight lines for me is a pretty big deal, because I’ve never been so good with the fine motor skills. Just ask my mom. So I’ve been happily cutting away, but I’ve discovered that even rotary cutting takes a little skill. It’s easy for me to stop focusing and have the cutter roll away from the straightedge. So, of course, I did a little internet research on rotary cutting, and here are the fruits of my labor: has come basic rotary cutting how-to’s, with tips on how to prepare your fabric for rotary cutting, how to cut basic shapes, and how not to cut your finger off. McCall’s Quilting also provides some basic rotary cutting steps, with a particular emphasis on getting your fabric straight (which it never is after being cut at the store, washed, and pressed).

Rotary cutting blades are sharp! Given my clumsiness, I live in fear of the day I roll that wheel of pain over my finger. Which is why I really appreciate’s Top 10 Rotary Cutting Tips for Quilters. Sure, I probably could have figured them out by myself, but now I don’t have to, and hopefully I’ve decreased my odds of injury at least a little bit. addressed my specific problem of rolling away from the ruler while I’m cutting. They say, “Keep the rotary cutter’s blade vertical against the edge of the ruler. If the cutter’s blade is tilted either right or left, you’ll get an inaccurate cut. The width of the strip will vary, and the pieced segment will not be the correct size.” Their tips also address how to hold your ruler in place on long strips of fabric (which is useful if you’re like me, and you keep accidentally sliding the ruler around on the fabric!)

I think these links will help me to keep my lines straighter and my fingers attached. I hope they are helpful to you!

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Crafty Business Tips

Craft, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Adorn magazine’s blog is having a little giveaway. They are giving away Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco to 5 lucky people who comment on the blog entry. The catch? Each commenter must leave a “crafty business tip” in order to enter. What’s cool about this is that Adorn has quickly generated a nice collection of tips for any crafter running a business or planning to start one. Be sure to check out the complete list and enter the giveaway yourself, but here are a few of my favorite tips so far:

  • Build a lightbox (these can be cheap and easy!) for your photography. Good photographs can make a huge difference in how people see your products, and whether they buy them.
  • Use or wear your own merchandise. (And keep extras with you, so when someone admires what you’re wearing/using, you’re ready to show them more and sell on the spot!) Plus, why wouldn’t you want to use your own awesome creations?
  • Communicate promptly and warmly with your customers. Distinguish yourself from other businesses by adding that personal touch that goes hand in hand with handmade goods.
  • Promote, promote, promote. There are so many crafty businesses out there–how can you get your product seen? Start a blog, join flickr, become active in crafting communities. The bonus here is that (hopefully) you’re becoming involved in communities that are satisfying to you beyond just being a way to get yourself known.
  • Always carry your business cards with you. You never know when you’ll need one.
  • Be passionate about what you’re creating, and don’t just follow trends. Make what you love because you love it–that will last longer than what’s in style this season.

Do you have more tips for being/becoming a successful crafty business? I’d love to hear them (and if you want to win that book, you’ll probably want to share them over at Adorn, too.)

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Optimize Your Blogging: Finding New Readers

If you are a blogger, you often want to draw in new readers to your blog. How do you do that? I don’t have all the answers to that question, but I do have some ideas and cool tools for your blog that might help.

Drawing in Readers

  • One way to attract new readers is to join (or start) a blog ring. Blog rings link your blog up in a circle of blogs with similar content. This isn’t done intuitively, you have to find the right ring for you. Anodyne Design is currently part of two blog rings, Etsy Sellers Who Blog and etsyBloggers. The first ring is for any Etsy member who also blogs (obviously) and the etsyBloggers ring is specifically for members of the Etsy Bloggers Street Team. They are so many possible blog rings for you to join, and they aren’t all Etsy related by a long shot. If your blog is about knitting, jewelry making, interpretive dance or salamanders, I bet there is a blog ring for you. Effectiveness: I have definitely seen an increase in visitors who are using the blog ring “next” feature and land on my site
  • Join online communities related to topics you discuss in your blog. Not only will this introduce you to others with similar interests, but it will introduce them to your blog. For crafty types, you may want to join Craftster and start checking out their forums. You can link to your blog in your signature, and when you post on the forums, people will see the link to your forum. If you post interesting, relevant posts (don’t spam just to get blog hits… would you visit a spammers blog?) people will want to know more about you and see what else you’ve got to say. This method will require some time and interest on your part, but could really pay off. Don’t bother joining communities that have nothing to do with the topics you address in your blog, because it’s not likely to produce repeat visitors. Why would the average member of a community devoted to aquarium care want to read about your newest tote bag? (I’m sure some would, but enough to make it worth your time if you aren’t interested in aquarium care yourself?)Another community you may want to consider joining is Stylehive. This is a community where you can tag items on the internet you’d like to buy (I think a lot of it is wishful thinking. I know I tag a lot more than I could ever actually afford.) Others can see your items and tag them, too. You can link to your blog in your profile. If people like your taste, they may want to see what else they can find out on your blog.Another social networking community for creative bloggers is IndiePublic. It’s brand new, but it looks like it’s already taking off. It’s described as an “independent art and design community. If you’re an artist, designer, retailer, blogger, or just someone who gets giddy when they buy indie, we’ve saved a seat for you!” You can check out my IndiePublic profile here. And if you join, I’d love to be your friend. Finally, if you’re a member of Etsy, a good way to promote your blog is to be active in the Etsy forums.Effectiveness: Personally, I click on blog links in signatures when I’ve read a post I really like. I want to read more of what that poster has to say. I have also gotten some hits on my blog through my Stylehive profile. And I have found a lot of great blogs that I visit regularly through the Etsy forums. All these community options require a significant commitment of time on your part, though, so you’ll probably only want to do this with communities you actually want to join.
  • Join sites that aggregate blogs, rank authority, and keep on eye on recent updates, like Technorati or Bloglines. There’s lots of others out there you can check out, too. Some for all sorts of blogs, and some for specific types of blogs.
  • Comment on other blogs you like. This will get your name and a link to your blog out there for other commenters to see. As with posting on forums, though, don’t be spammy. Only post comments that contribute to the discussion–be a participant, not an advertiser. Be involved in the blogging community, and you will be rewarded. Drive-by advertise in comments, and people will know what you’re doing and not waste their time checking your site out.

Don’t Forget the Basics

All of the above suggestions are helpful, but none of them can compensate for a lack of content. If you want to keep your readers for more than 5 seconds, I recommend the following:

  • Figure out the purpose of your blog. This is sort of like creating a mission statement. Ask yourself, “is this blog for me to express myself however I please, is it an extension of my business, is it devoted solely to my deep interest in scuba diving?” The answer to that question will guide how you develop your blog.If the goal of your blog is to draw in and keep readers, make sure that the layout and style of your blog is appealing to your readers. This may mean that you can’t always fully “express yourself,” because it may conflict with what your readers are looking for. One good example of this is deciding whether or not to put music on your blog. If you hear that your readers find this a turn-off, then to keep them you should keep the music off, even if you love it. (If your blog is simply about you being you, go ahead and keep the music. You only want readers who want you in all your glory anyway.)
  • Post regularly. Everyday, or on a clearly stated schedule. Readers want to know when they can expect new content.
  • Keep it interesting for your readers–make sure your content stays related to the topics of your blog. If you describe your blog as specifically about knitting, make sure most of your content really is about knitting.
  • Post pictures. We’re used to tv. We want to see things. (Caveat: Make sure the pictures you are posting are good quality, not blurry (unless it’s on purpose!), and not HUGE. If you’ve got a picture of something you want to show in intimate detail, post a small version of the picture and allow readers to click on it to see the bigger version.)
  • Keep the layout clean. Nothing is a bigger turn-off (at least for me) than a messy blog with animated pictures, messy text, and things going on all over the place with no clear order. I’m not going to waste my time trying to decipher how to navigate your site, when then are a billion other sites that may have already made it easy for me to read.

These are just a few ways to attract (and hopefully keep) readers of your blog. Later on, I’ll post more about retaining readers once you’ve drawn them in for a first look. Until then, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labors through these two cool tools:

  • See how many people are visiting your site and get a lot more information about them, such as what pages they are looking at and how long they stayed by setting up StatCounter on your site (it’s free).
  • Monitor mentions of your blog through Technorati, if you’ve joined, and Google Alerts (both free). Google Alerts are awesome, you simply tell Google what search words or phrases to keep an eye on and then sit back and wait for Google to email you when something new appears on their radar that meets your criteria. I recommend you plug in the name of your blog.

Please share your ideas for how to draw in readers. Happy blogging!