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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Blogging is Difficult

I am by no means a blogging expert. But, I have 6 blogs including this one, and am considering another one. You might be wondering why I am a crazy person but in all honesty, I like writing. Not like a novel or anything. I will not be joining NaNoWriMo anytime in the foreseeable future. However, one thing I do know is that blogging is hard. Just in general, but then add on the fact that you want (if this is in fact what you want) an engaged and consistent following makes it that much harder. I think the most important parts are knowing your blog voice and having a goal, or goals, for your blog.

I started this blog to get my voice out there even if I wind up talking to myself. Like I've said before, I really see no one talking about their path to becoming a business owner and the path of being a business owner. Not in detail anyway. There are lots of coaches who will tell you what to do, in general, and if you hire them they will walk you through it. No hate towards them since that is their business but it doesn't put you in the mind of a business owner. There are a few blogs by business owners themselves but most started once their business is in some way successful so you don't get too many details since these are busy people. And no startup or pre-startup blogging ever seems to happen. Or all those bloggers could be like me, with only a small, marginalized audience.

So blogging is hard. Actually, the more appropriate word would be difficult. And I think blogging for business purposes even more so. But its not impossible. First, like anything, you have to define your purpose. Why do you want to blog? and What do you want to accomplish with your blog? Once you have that simply keep it nearby you so that whenever you are unsure about what to post you can steer yourself back on track. For me this blog's purpose is two-fold. One, to get the words, my thoughts, out of my head so that I can focus. And two, to share the journey of a small business owner and a creative entrepreneur. So my blog is not really supposed to increase my sales, though that would be a nice happenstance it would be just that.

Experts, whoever they are, would tell me to blog about my products and all things related that would make people interested in buying. They would tell me to be speak confidently and knowledgeably about what I do. They would be right if that was what I wanted to do. Its not. I am far from an expert in the aromatherapy, body care and skin care industries. I am still learning and I'd rather share my journey of this learning process than, what I feel is, bluffing my way into sales with information I'm not 100% sure of. Plenty of people do that already in these industries. Let me be clear, I am not throwing shade on any blogger, just stating my values.

I value accurate information based on tested results. And while I will test things on myself and people who will gladly volunteer for me, I also use the previous knowledge shared and tested by experts in their fields. Obviously, I am an analytical and logically-minded person. However, I am an open-minded and spiritual person so I understand that not everything can be proven. Some things I take on belief and intent. This shows in which ingredients I choose and why. I try to marry these two sides of myself in my products since I know my customers are not one or the other. But I love my customers and would not want them hurt so I am careful about what claims I make that I can't in my own head feel justifiable about. I try to include these parts of myself when blogging as well.

This is my thought process; my feelings. So when I look back to earlier this year when I clarified the purpose of this blog and sketched out ideas for future topics I realize now that some will take longer to appear than others. My goal this year were as follows: 1. to release a new blog post every week, 2. to increase the length of my posts to include more information and 3. to include links. And even though I fell off every once in awhile, I think I did pretty good job. That Blogging 101 course really helped with that. Earlier in July, I added 4. organizing my blogging process, so I looked into content calendars and how to create them. I started using one by HubSpot, which has been great. Its kept me on track since I can easily record any topic ideas as they occur to me and then write about whichever feels best when the moment comes to do so. I was also able to promote my blog posts consistently on various social networks thanks to the content calendar. My last goal for blogging this year, I started implementing this Fall I think, was 5. adding pinnable images to my blog posts. I love Pinterest and could spend all day there. But it is all about good images. I think adding images helps make each post more interesting and break up the blocks of texts in a way that makes it easier on the eye. I've been using mostly my own pictures that I took myself with a few stock photos I got from HubSpot. I came up with a overlay look that is consistent with how the blog looks and voila! I've been creating images for older posts as well.

For 2016, I'm already looking into what I want to do. These past few months I looked into creating a newsletter but I decided I'm going to wait on that. I need to do way more to build a list. Building an email list is difficult too. So I think I need to focus on that first next year and then start putting out a newsletter. For now, this blog will suffice to keep me clear and keep you informed about what it takes to be a creative business owner and what happens behind the scenes to the startup of a small business. One thing I will definitely be adding sometime next year, guest interviews. I, for one, am always curious and I have met many fabulous and interesting small business owners in various fields. So basically, I want to interrogate them about their businesses, lol. I'm torn between coming up with a set of questions I use for everyone or if I should come up with questions unique to each entrepreneur. I'll probably go with a combination of the two. I don't want these interviews to be fluff pieces; I want information that will help my blog followers and I want to help pimp out my fellow small business owners. I mean, why not? If they do great things why wouldn't I share?

This year, this blog has increased its viewers, likes, shares and comments so I'd call my many improvements a win. I hope to say the same this time next year no matter how difficult blogging can be.

~Lashette
Scarlet Moon Creations

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Product Line #1 - Body Butters

So, you guys already know I've been experimenting with body butters for two years now. I've finally got the basic formula that I want to use down and have created a few that have just been released. Honestly, I am quite excited. I am loving body butters. I have never used them before, not even store bought. The closest I've come is using lotions that say they contain shea butter and/or cocoa butter to moisturize. They never work like they say they do so I never bothered looking into body butters. I don't know about you but many of us black people have a dry skin problem when fall and winter comes around. One bad enough, in some cases, that regular lotion will not even put a dent in. Many of us have been using petroleum oil since that was the thing to do. But if you know better, petroleum by products are not really good for your health long term. And the skin doesn't really soak them up well.

Well TADA!! Body Butters. My parents have been my main guinea pigs throughout this entire process. They love whatever I come out with because it works better than anything they've tried before. I tried these out on a few other people as well over the years and I am happy with the feedback. I actually got the formula down pat last December but it seemed too late to roll out even one body butter then. Low and behold, in January I got a request for something for muscle aches after working out. I did some research and made a post about it here already. So, one of my body butters will be the Muscle Body Butter, as I call it. Shout out to Work Hard Train Harder for the influence.

Anyway, this is the first new product line I hinted at in my Fall Favorites post. This is also the first new product line since the Massage n' Bath Oils back in 2013. For those I did not make a big to do, but I am doing so now because I missed out. Right now I've got four body butters; Chocolate Mint, Muscle, Lavender and Lemon. I also do custom orders so if you've got a natural scent in mind feel free to contact me and we'll set it up. Plenty of my products have come about because someone asked me for it.

Also, I am planning on more as time goes by so look out for those. Want to know when they are coming out so you can be the first to get them? Sign up for Newsletter to get New Product Updates and more.

~Lashette
Scarlet Moon Creations