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Experimentation: Do I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing?

I’ve sold my yarn, online, for over 4 years.

When I started, Etsy was the easiest way to get started. I didn’t have to know any html, all I had to do was take pictures, write a description and there it was. Available.

And as the years passed, this method worked great.

As I focused more on making it my full-time income, I made myself a little schedule. I’d make yarn all week, photograph it on Saturday mornings, edit them by Sunday and list a yarn a day for the rest of the week.

I kept this schedule for…years. Up until this summer.

I  didn’t have enough yarn to keep listing. I was getting big wholesale orders and sending it off to yarn shops. I was preparing for craft shows and wanted to bring enough ( I was afraid of it selling online before I got to the show!)

Suddenly, no matter how much yarn I made, I felt bad that I wasn’t offering more online.

And when I packaged packages, I was rushed. Throw in a card, slap a label and get it out the door, so I can go back to yarn-making, writing and teaching.  To keep from getting behind on sending out orders, I made a schedule for this too.  Packing Day was once a week (Wednesdays) and I’d print all labels, package all orders and go to the Post Office. Soon I was corralling my husband into doing most of the shipping.

And I was in the throes of this slapdash packaging one day, when I realized: I dread this day. I dread all the admin here.

So I sat down with my journal and asked,

Why?

What about it don’t I like?
I don’t like that I feel guilty. Guilty that I should be making these packages prettier. Guilty that I’m not giving it my best. Guilty that I should be better.

What could make me feel better at this?

If I did it less often. If I could do a whole month’s worth at once.
If I didn’t feel so behind.
If I didn’t worry that I should have saved this yarn for a shop or a show or something.

What would that look like?

If my yarn-selling could be anything, as unprobably as it may seem, what would it look like?

And there it was, all at once, the solution:
I would offer yarn only once a month.
For one week.
At the end of that week, I’d pack it all up and send it out.

The unsold yarn would also get packed up, either to a shop or for the next show.
And then I’d get back to spinning, three weeks of full-on spinning with no photography, no labeling, no shop-maintaining.

But that’s scary

I was immediately beset with monsters.
This is the most ridiculous idea ever!
You’re always saying you should make it easy to give you money! This makes it hard!
People won’t buy it!
Customers will be disappointed!
Everyone will think you’re a slacker!

So I talked to the monsters.

And I talked to my supporters.
My friends. My family. My mindmelders (like, a mastermind group that channels Spock).

And we (my monsters and I) decided it would be ok to try it as an experiment.

Only an experiment.

My online shop closed 3 weeks ago as the first part of the experiment.
The second part of the experiment starts today, the one-week-only Yarn Party.

We’ll see.

I have no idea (yet) if this was a fantastic or a ridiculous idea.
Either way, I promise to report back.

Until then…

Let’s talk about other ways we could experiment.
What things do you dislike doing? Is there a way to stop doing it?
Share your thoughts in the comments.

2 Comments on Experimentation: Do I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing?

  1. Wendy Cholbi
    October 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm (4 years ago)

    I had a very similar experience when I first introduced my weekly Open Office Hour. Internally, I heard a ton of “but-but-but”s and was totally expecting the whole idea to blow up in my face. I mean, saying publicly on my blog that anyone could call me to ask tech questions at a designated time? Talk about scary.

    But framing it as an experiment gave the but-monsters (HA!) an out. My monsters and I agreed to try it for two months, and they had full rights to say I Told You So if it didn’t work out.

    And it worked out brilliantly! So much so that Open Office Hour is a weekly staple of my business. I love the calls I get, the questions I hear, and especially the people who make the time to talk to me. I look forward to that hour every single week!

    So yeah, I love that you’re experimenting with the Yarn Party. A well-designed experiment always yields valuable results, even if they aren’t the exact results you hope for. And then you get to design a new experiment. And the fun continues!

  2. Anonymous
    October 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for the Experimentation Encouragement!
    And but-monsters, I haz them!

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