How to be sustainable…this topic has been on my mind for quite some time and it’s really on my mind this morning. I decided to write here on this blog because it’s where I post a lot of freebies. Not to mention my digital stamp shop has had over a thousand downloads of freebies but barely any sales. It’s certainly a frustrating experience, when you have to support yourself somehow in the end.
Granted, this could mean my products suck. People download the free, because there’s no risk… but they aren’t purchasing because they don’t want it. Hmm. Something to think about. But you would think, people would stop downloading free if that was the case. My style, quality and products have been going for quite some time now. I also have a digistamp club newsletter that sends out a weekly free stamp image. The sign-ups have increased steadily, yet few people click through to support me in the shop. So I’m assuming people want the stuff…they just aren’t buying.
I think most people start to post free downloads and share their work from the passion of a hobby – same here. As many folks might agree, I’ll be doing this stuff anyway, even if there was no shop. It’s a great way to just share with the community, receive feedback and cultivate creativity. The pressure of supporting yourself does weigh on me personally though. It’s a hobby, but I also need to survive. Certainly, everything can’t be free. I feel like I’m stuck in between. I want to share and get my work out there – major satisfaction - but I also want to eat. Oftentimes when you start charging for things, people react really negatively and think you are a money-monger something or another. Not every blogger gets a loving reaction and I’ve always been quite unhappy with how ruthlessly mean some readers can be. As if they are entitled to free-ness?! What happened to the kindergarten lesson of saying something only when you have something nice to say – or at least meaningful and constructive! There should never be an obligation for people to offer free stuff – need I remind people?!
So anyway, I went back and re-read CraftyPod’s posts on the subject… and started wondering how I was going to continue on and be sustainable. There are many other bloggers who have discussed the issue. It’s really a struggle, because we all do what we do, because we love it. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to support ourselves too. Otherwise, we are going to disappear. I’m a designer and being freelance means that my time is money – or lack of billable hours when I’m doing something else. It’s painful to realize that I could spend days working on project, on a series of stamps, on digital kits and in the end get paid a total of $8.76 in profit.
I’m sure some people would say, well…if you can’t take the heat, just get out of the kitchen. I hear you. My point is in trying to find a solution though, I like the heat, I like food, I want to eat. So I’ve been crunching numbers in the background…thinking of a big re-org because I have my art blog tortagialla, my main website and many offshoot things I’ve done for the fun of it. My meager attempts at monetizing have failed pretty miserably. In talking to some marketers out there, the one thing they impress…is not going full force out there to sell. Because hey…you can’t be shy about it. So I will be working on that aspect to begin with.
First step is to reveal these thoughts here on the blog and see what y’all have to say. In addition, you might not know but I have a lot of online shops. If you didn’t know, that’s probably my mistake for not telling you how you can support me…so here goes.
My Etsy Shop - leather journals, zines and crafts
My CatScrap Shop - digital scrapbooking products
My Digistamp Stamp Shop - digital stamps
Greeting Cards - greeting card designs
My Spoonflower Fabrics - fabric designs
My Society 6 Studio - art prints
Zazzle shop - designs on products