I've been planning to open a shop online to sell things like t-shirts and posters for a long time, and this year, I decided it was time to commit. I'd been doing some research and thought that what I wanted to do wouldn't be very hard or take very long. I was wrong on both counts.
It has been a little disappointing so far, and tiring, but when I began to feel sorry for myself, I thought back over the last few months and realized that I've learned alot.
I have used Canva for several years, and I first designed my posters there. My posters are very text-heavy- literary quotes lined up in columns, and I had a really hard time figuring out how to make them all straight and even.
Then, when I put them into Printify, I found that I needed a different file type. The text was fuzzy. I looked around online and found Inkscape, which can be downloaded for free. Y'all, Inkscape is hard. The more fiddly little settings there are, the more control you have over your design, and the more opportunities for a newb to screw everything up. I actually cried trying to learn it. I watched about 8,000 youtube tutorials on the subject, but I am finally getting better at it. (The tutorials help alot!)
For awhile, I felt like anything that I crossed off my list of to-dos immediately engendered four new tasks. Each step on the way took longer than I expected it to take. I really thought about just dropping the whole thing, and wrote out long pro/con lists. I believe now that if I’d known that it would take me months to get through this, doing it on weekends and evenings, I wouldn’t have done it.
Having said that, there is a satisfaction in seeing things through. I had to calm myself down pretty often and adjust my self-appointed deadlines. While I do think that sometimes letting something go is the right thing to do, in this case, I'm glad that I stuck with it. I think it was good for me to figure my way through this and to develop some patience.
Keeping up with tasks in Trello
I wrote about this last July, and my system is still working for me. My Trello has had a good workout since I started this project.
Samples are good
I was feeling cocky when I finally got my designs uploaded into Printify and saw them looking good on-screen, but luckily my conscientiousness reared its usually-annoying head and slowed me down. I decided that I needed to order samples so I could actually see the product. One of the shipments was mis-delivered, so it really slowed me down, but when I saw the products off-screen, actually held them, I could see changes that I needed to make. (I had to nearly completely re-make my posters. I’d stopped saving them and making a copy before changing the text to a path. I can’t find a way to change it back. If you don’t understand what that means, I KNOW. IT’S SO HARD.)
Not all delays are bad
If things had gone according to plan without some of the delays, I would’ve upgraded my Wix site to a business plan about three days before they had a big sale. So I saved %50 off the upgrade to a business plan by being late! I kept reminding myself of that as new delays came up.
My Pinterest ads are wrong
I made ads and crossed it off my list, and within a day Pinterest was suggesting that I read their Pinterest ad tutorial and update them. They weren't wrong, but I was really ready to be done with this. I don't expect to sell much before Christmas, and I want to spend December on another project (writing) before coming back to the shop when I have a draft to let rest in January.
And finally, this stuff is hard.
Most of the time, when I learned that I needed to do something different, I just stared at my screen muttering….”what is that? What does that look like? Where does that live?” I had no idea. It was hard! I’ve been working on this or wading through delays for months!
My shop is brand-new, and I’d hoped to have twice as many items in it to begin with, but I’ve learned alot. I don’t want to make anything new until after the holidays because I try to get everything that I’m ordering delivered before December. The post office gets really swamped around Christmas, and I’ve learned not to try to put anything in my shop unless I’ve seen the sample product.
I’ve been improving in Inkscape all along, and the task management will serve me in other ways. Certainly, the patience is something I’ve wanted to learn for forever. Learning Pinterest ads may not carry over into any other branch of my working life, but maybe it won’t be too hard?
If it is… I’ll just be patient.