The global marketplace is rewarding, but it’s scary

I just sold another print of Vintage Camera 1.1 to a buyer in South Korea. This internet shopping thing is so incredible, making it possible for my illustrations to be literally all over the world – so far, they’ve travelled to Sweden, England and now South Korea.

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The world is quite simply your marketplace. But the thing is, it’s also everyone else’s marketplace. You can no longer rely on having a fixed location and having someone wander in because they see something pretty in the window. Now, it’s really up to you to push yourself to be everywhere. You have to put yourself on every suitable platform – mind you, not all – in order to reach your best potential. But it’s not easy to know where’s best.

From my experience, just have one shop. And perhaps one Etsy shop as well. Although after having listed my items on Etsy for a month now, I don’t find it particularly effective. Sure, I get more visitors than on my standalone shop, but I have gotten less buyers. Exposure doesn’t equal revenue. I even tried ads on Etsy because they’re pretty affordable. But after advertising for two weeks, I have nothing to show for it except € 1,20 less in my Paypal account.

If you want to sell your own products, my advice (based on experience) is to have one shop and then go out there and talk about it as much as possible on any suitable social network. And there are a lot more networks than Facebook and Twitter. In fact, those are pretty useless for these kinds of things, because those are only people you know and who know you. And as researchers have discovered, these people are actually less helpful to your business than the people in your outer circle and beyond. Try being part of a community of like-minded strangers like Google Plus, or be active on social apps like Fojo, an app where you can snap a photo daily based on a suggested theme.

My shop is far from being able to support me financially, but I derive pleasure from knowing people love my work enough to part with their hard-earned cash. And to me, that’s worth more than the money itself.

ps. I can only say that last line with conviction because I’m not starving and homeless. Otherwise, I would say every time, food trumps admiration.

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