Subtitle

A personal look at the trails and triumphs of creating a business from the ground up; of starting a business selling what you create.

Friday, April 28, 2017

New Moon Manifestation


I've been thinking about journaling, self care, and the arts as spiritual practices. Want to get in contact with your spirit guides? Write them a letter. In the broom closet but want to celebrate the spring equinox? Use herbs and oils associated with the holiday in your bath or hair oil or food today. No money for altar tools? Doodle, draw or paint and altar in your sketchbook. Go to an observatory on the night of the full moon to celebrate and be closer to the Goddess or a short hike through the woods to connect with the God. Things of this nature.

One of my favorite ways to celebrate Imbolc is to sing Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles. I light a candle and sing this song while waiting the last few minutes as the sun rises. This is literally all I do. Music is huge in my life so I started adding it to my spiritual practice. I feel more and more that my personal practice is not about setting up an altar with things to celebrate the holidays and the gods. Though I may still do if the mood strikes me. But seeing them in the world around me and in using my actions, hobbies, loves, and work to express why this day is important to me. I plan to explore that more and share it with you all.



What's sacred about painting or drawing? What's sacred about music and dance? What's sacred about writing, planning and journaling? What's sacred about bathing and self care? What's sacred about traveling? What is sacred about cleaning? What is sacred about making and ingesting food and drink? What elements do these things correspond with? What colors? What crystals? How can creation honor other beings, spirits?

What are some unconventional or nontraditional ways of honoring the gods? Maybe looking to polytheistic practices for inspiration, not copying, would help. Thinking of the above examples as offerings to the gods on sabbats and esbats is one way. Using the arts to symbolize a more traditional rite or ritual is another. In their creation we expend energy and that energy we can harness and send to the gods as well. Anything really that says I thought of you that day would be good in my opinion. 
My first attempt at this is shown above. I have been interested in art journaling for years. I started looking into it (and finding out it had a name) two years ago. In undergrad I had plenty of art classes but they never explained how to art journal. Anyway, now my purpose for doing so has changed. I wanted to combine spiritual journaling with art journaling. So, after a few months experimenting, I did.



This is a very basic New Moon in Taurus spread. I put down some red wine on the pages like paint, as my offering. It also had the affect of darkening them which you can't really see here. Then drew the moon and new growth at the bottom. There's a bit of grey washi tape pasted in peices to one side and bits of green. Things are not perfect and won't go as planned and there will be dark times but growth will happen.


Then I wrote. I wrote about this moon phase and the sign its in, Taurus. Then spoke about the new things I wanted to plant in this season. The new ideas I want to see grow. I feel that writing things down puts energy into these ideas. It will help them grow.



Is art journaling something you can see yourself adding to your spiritual practice? Do you want to learn more? Sign up for updates, exclusive offers and more.






There's more to come. New and exciting ideas, products and posts. Be sure to subscribe to keep updated.

See you next time,
~Lashette
  Scarlet Moon Creations

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

February 2017 Traffic, Income and Goals



February has long passed and I did my review forever ago. I know things did not go as I had planned them and (yes I did say that last month) I think part of the delay in posting this is because I did basically nothing this month. I will be posting my March review asap so as to get over the shame of this one.

So what's going on here?

Early this year I realized I needed some form of accountability. I've got my notes but those are easily ignored. Being an introvert makes me hesitant to just buddy up with a stranger so my blog (and whoever reads it) will be my accountability partner. I've already shared my goals and objectives for this year already. Now, I plan to share my monthly and quarterly reviews. This will include traffic and income reports and wellness reports. Some areas will be more detailed than others since this is a blog focused on creation; particularly creating a successful business.




A few reminders, I have two businesses but I clearly indicate which stats you are seeing from each. If you are unsure about some of the terms or want to know where you can find your own stats, see my Analytics post. Also, you can click on each picture to make it bigger so you can see the details better if you wish. So here without further ado are my February 2017 reports:

February 2017 Traffic: 

In this section I will show how my growth strategy from my goal setting is working out. You will see stats on how many followers, users and buyers my website, blogs and social media accounts have. As well as what I am doing to attract and grow those numbers. 

Scarlet Moon Creations:

For those who are new, Scarlet Moon Creations is where I make and sell bath and body products as well as pagan and magical tools; all with a focus on self care.

Now for this business my main point of sale is my shop on Etsy. February gave me a very big order. After seeing last months results I pumped up my promotion of my Ostara and pagan products a bit.


Once again I blocked out the revenue amount because Etsy calculates things slightly differently than I will show below in my income report and I don't want things to get confusing. But from the graph above you can get a gist.

This time I decided to include my Etsy traffic sources because for some reason, Google Analytics did not record them properly in February. As you can see most of my traffic comes from people searching on Etsy.com or the Etsy App. And lots of people using the keyword wiccan sabbat oil, of which I have 8. 


Finally from the above lists you can see that while my pagan products are still the most looked at and favorited, the other non-pagan products are beginning to creep in.  

Blog & Google Analytics
So this is the traffic overview of this blog you are reading now in February 2017. Not shown? Still only 3 email subscribers via Mail Chimp and 76 views on the 2 blog posts published this month. Most of those were for the January 2017 Traffic, Income & Goals post.


This is where my inactivity and some oddness in February starts to show up. No views for my Goal Setting blog post and then none for my January 2017 Traffic, Income & Goals post either. Those two jumps in between the publishing dates is probably when I finally got off my ass to promote the Goal Setting post.



Now from these next charts you should see where my few visitors came from last month. Now it says I only got referrals but when looking at referrals I only see two sites that 1) I did not promote on and 2) are spam sites. However, on my blog I have more views listed and comments from people I know. So that's why I mentioned the oddness. Clearly I need to prioritize blocking spam sites from GA on my to do list.

And now onto social media traffic.

Facebook
This month I caught a screenshot of what was going on in the month of February early on so I could share it here. The graphs below show the basic activity during this month.


All the numbers are up but as compared to the previous month, not so much. I lost 3 followers or people who liked my page. But my reach and post engagements are up a bit.




Above are all the posts I shared this month. Most are shared from Instagram which is good in that I have some content keeping my page alive. But even then most of the Reach and engagement came later in the month.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am posting a lot of tarot and oracle card pictures because I have something new coming soon to Scarlet Moon Creations that involves them. That and I am an avid user of cartomancy though I prefer oracle cards to tarot.

Instagram
Instagram is definitely difficult to get an idea on what to screenshot to show you guys. However this is the one place where I was the most active this month. It is honestly the place where I will probably always be most active. I can post any time from anywhere on a regular basis with ease. This month I did a Follow Friday campaign. Which is basically me sharing some of my favorite followers and what they do all on one Friday. This I did early on in the month.

The other thing I did, was I had my first giveaway ever. It was in conjunction with Luna Sea's Dreams and The Renegade Jester. My contribution was a bottle of Self Love Oil and a surprise gift for our winner. With this activity in addition to my participating in some divination challenges my follower count increased to 418. My engagement was well beyond my expectations as well.

And finally Pinterest. One of my favorite places to be online. In February I had a total of 106 followers here. 





My reach is still increasing. This is one thing I like about Pinterest, it steadily shows your pins to more and more people who are interested. 




I have so many new images to pin but I have not so I had a slight decrease in Impressions. But only slight which means the Pinterest world would be my oyster if I would only pin again.



All but 1 of my top 5 pins are not my products or content. In fact the top 2 have stayed the same as last month. But my Ostara Ritual Oil crept in there. Yes! Also, my Ostara ritual incense is up to #7. I must be doing something right with the listings on these products. I need to analyze my keywords to see how I can replicate this on other products.

And as far as this blog and its pins goes, nothing has changed. I didn't even get to pin this month's blog posts yet. Guys this is what not to do to succeed. Or what to do to not succeed. Take note.

Excelsior Events:

And now my other business. The one I only talk about sparingly here. Excelsior Events, Inc is an event planning services company that I started last year. It takes a very different approach to market this business and make it successful. Most of what I do is in person and not online. But I do want to have that online presence since my target market is modern and alternative clients.

ExcelsiorEvent.com




According to Wordpress, I had 24 Views and 24 visitors in the month of February. 



My most popular page seems to be my home page followed by the Wedding Ceremony blog post I published. I shared this post around and did some special promotion for it. And in my subsequent series of posts giving the history, traditional and alternative ideas for each section of the Wedding Ceremony, I link back to this original post. This increased my views for it this month. 

I share all my blog posts on my Facebook page and tumblr account automatically, so those are accounted for here as well as all Google search engine in the referrers section. And I still have only 2 followers. 


Once again, I was able to capture this screenshot to show how well this Fb page did this month.





My total page likes this month increased to 67. And as you can see I only posted 4 times in February. Halfway through the month I just stopped. I didn't even share my second blog post until some time in March. 


The big deal here is that I paid to boost my post of the Wedding Ceremony blog post from January for one week. That brought me more views and engagement despite the fact that I was not very active. Had I been active, imagine the outcome then.


Pinterest


Now this business is more suited to Pinterest in this time of DIY Weddings. My blog posts have been crafted to appeal to potential clients via this social media platform. As of February, I have 2 followers.


As you can see I have a more steady and sharp climb in my reach. I believe because there are lots more people looking to plan their events, particularly my current focus weddings, than to buy products.



However my impressions are a bit down compared to last month.



Top pins were the same across the board for impressions, clicks, saves and likes. But I realized something a bit late. I should be blogging about the great finds then pinning those images from my blog pages to pinterest. I will be doing that from now on.




Also, same as with my other Pinterest account, I need to spread my blog posts out into different boards and categories. But this month my newer blog posts are getting all the attention.


 February 2017 Income: 

I will be listing all income and expenses together here from both businesses. Since one of my objectives is to earn a certain amount from both as a total. 

Income

Etsy: $79.15

Expenses

Etsy Fees: $4.89
Supplies: $16.14
Ingredients: $21.70
Legal Zoom:$7.99
Payroll: $44.09
Insurance: $70.83
Wordpress domain: $26.00
Bank Fees: $12.00
Total: -$203.64

Net Income: -124.49
YTD: -$260.65


 Goals: 

Here I will discuss my goals and how I did or did not meet them for the month. These goals come from my project lists which are breakdowns of my annual objectives, listed here


February Review:

  • Renew driver's license -Turns out I need to take a day off to get my eyes checked and I had no time for that.
  • Update etsy listings -I did nothing for this and this was my biggest goal
  • Launch 3 new body butters Finally, though it was a half-assed launch
  • Design ads -Another big activity I did not do.
  • Finish EE marketing plan -Nope.
  • Pay off con end bill -I really need to find an old bill with my account number.
  • Sell microwave -No
  • Sell shoes -No time
  • Sell books -Again no time
  • Self reiki Only did this once.
  • Use dumb bells 3x per week -I didn't even think about doing this.
  • Bring desk and metal kitchen thing in from storage -No money to pay for a truck
  • Daily draw readings Not quite though I wound up making my own cards so I'll count this as done.
  • Finish January goals above- ha!
  • Finish EE Financial Plan
  • Attend event planning networking event
  • Create Wedding checklist
  • Buy BTS merch
  • Organize photos
  • 2 blog posts each
  • Join Etsy & Amazon affiliates
  • Join Cruise with A&K
  • Consolidate student loans
  • Create card reading opt-in
  • Shred unwanted papers
  • Work out 3x per week
  • Continue savings
  • Create email lists for EE launch

March Plans:

  • Finish February goals
  • File and pay business taxes
  • BTS Wings concert
  • Buy plane tickets to Oslo
I really just need to complete older planned projects next month.
This month was not good mental health wise. This is not an excuse but the outcome. The more I did not accomplish the worse it got. I hope to improve on that next month. I thought about not sharing this post and just skipping on the March. But I promised to be real so here it is, failure in all its glory. As I said in the beginning of this post, I will be sharing March soon to move on quickly. If you have any questions or comments feel free to ask. I'll see you next month.

~Lashette
  Scarlet Moon Creations

Monday, March 27, 2017

Analytics


One thing I am thankful for in this business of being  e-commerce are statistics. But boy are they a pain in the ass (excuse my french as my Father used to say) to understand. Statistics show you how your website and blog are doing each day, week, month and year and the same goes for each marketing outlet you choose to use to promote your business. They give you the who what where, when, why and how of those interacting with your business in some way online. Unfortunately, all statistics are not the same. They don't even call them the same things (Insights anyone?) or use the same terminology. So it is up to each business owner to figure it out or hire someone who already knows how to use it.

So I figured I would share my findings here for others. And have something I can come back to if need be in the future. Fair warning, I am not a social media or marketing guru so I may have got it wrong. Feel free to correct me. Seriously, correct me if i'm wrong because I depend on this stuff and others may depend on this post.