Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Famous CafePress stores

I’m glad I got outside yesterday because it felt more like winter today! Worked on marketing all day long. I did make new flyers for Lent and my “Daddy Dressed Me Today” section too. My list of future to dos and to study is growing!

The forum on CafePress today was talking about how much money some of the shops make. Someone said there are shop owners taking in $100,00 a year! It turns out though that Star Trek sells items through a CafePress shop, as does the cartoon Nancy, the cartoon Dilbert, Snoopy (as in Peanuts), This Old House and many more. But, they did say there are many individual shops that are making really good money too. Click here to check out CafePress for yourself.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, February 27, 2006

"Like being the last living cell in a dead body"

John put a statcounter on my blog now. It seems every single day I learn something that I wish I had been doing from day one!
I worked on press releases for the “no breeding” section. Besides Spay Day on Feb. 28th I found out that February is Spay and Neuter month for thousands of Humane Societies around the world. So I’m trying to play that up.
I got two nice email responses from two places I sent my “no breeding” email to. It’s always nice to get positive feedback.It was almost 70 degrees out today and I had to get out in the yard. After nearly two months of this it is wearing. Sometimes I am at the computer for hours and hours and the line from the old Dick Van Dyke TV show comes to mind, where he says in a dream, “It’s like being the last living cell in a dead body!”

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 25, 2006

My home office

Speaking of My Space….I’m starting to get used to my little office. My husband also works out of the house and has a very nice office, huge desk, big comfortable chair…
He has a laptop and we share a desktop computer. Or at least we shared it until I started my store and needed about 10 times more hours at the computer then I did before!
I thought since he had a laptop he could just pick it up and take it somewhere else in the house. But, it turns out he uses both computers and likes being close to his drawers, files and printer.
One day he led me into the furnace room (where his workbench is). There on a small wooden table next to a file cabinet was our old computer we had sort of trashed when we bought the new one. The only reason we still had it was because we thought a school might find a use for it. John had hooked it up and put a folding chair in front of the table.
This was to be my office!
Well, the computer worked, so I spent the rest of the day trying to clean up old folders and email addresses in there and get organized. The next day when I entered the room John had added an artificial tree and a bunch of artificial flowers (no windows in the furnace room).
The next day there was a lamp and he had hung one of my business cards and a cartoon I had cut out of the paper of a homeless person holding a “Zero hits on Google” sign up on the wall in front of my “desk.” As I sat down, I noticed he had made my logo into a magnet and put it on the file cabinet next to me and I now had a smiley face mug for my pencils!I told him I need to take a picture so that when I am a multi million-dollar company and I tell people I literally started in the basement they would believe me. But, it’s cozy, and if I ever need a hammer I just have to turn around to the workbench.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 24, 2006

Trying to keep up!

I just reorganized all my to do lists. The daily ones, the weekly ones, the master ones!
I have so many “no breeding” emails to send out and want to do some press releases on the Spay Day, plus Lent is coming up and I have to get going on promoting for that. And now John was going to see a hair salon he did the website for and on the spur of the moment created a “no bad hair days” image which I really liked. So I finished up that section today and put on my list – promote to hairdressers.
So basically I have no time to read and research or explore new forums right now. I spent the whole day on promotion. Whew!

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Too much to do!

I spent about 7 hours sending emails to Humane Societies and animal shelters today! There are so many!! And once you start finding them they never stop, they just keep linking to more and more list of sites. Those fuzzy animals sure have a lot of friends!

Oh, my goodness! I found a site that said it has links for over 8000 animal shelters – dare I open it? I’ve already spent about 4 more hours sending the “no breeding” emails out today! Also sent ads to other countries and two more to Craigslist. One “no Road Rage” to LA and the “My Daddy dressed me today” section to NYC. They are already showing up on my statcounter!
One of my gifts from John for Valentine’s Day was my own domain name! So now I can use http://www.givitup.com Certainly shorter! Now if I decide to do another website I have it.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My "no breeding" campaign

A friend who is on the board of our local Humane Society suggested I do “no breeding” and promote it to the different Humane Societies around the country. So I created that section today and did a little research and wrote this press release:

Online store "givitup" has items, which allow Humane Societies, Animal Shelters, and just people who love animals get the word out to stop breeding.

Everyday over 70,000 cats and dogs are born. There can never be enough homes for them, therefore over five million are put to death in shelters across the country each year, with millions more dying homeless and unwanted through starvation, disease, automobile accidents, abuse, etc.
Puppy mills are places of over breeding, inbreeding, minimal vet care, poor quality food and shelter and the killing of unwanted animals.

February is spay and neuter month for thousands of Humane Societies around the world. They are getting the word out that neutering your pet is not only good for you, neutered pets have better temperaments, it's better for the pet, they live longer healthier lives, and for the community, communities spend millions of dollars controlling and eliminating unwanted animals.
givitup has "no breeding" buttons for a fun promotional item for centers staff and volunteers.
The shop also has t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, hats, mugs and more.


I also created a “no drama” section today thinking the teen girls would like it. Sent it to a couple My Space groups, but only one person has clicked on it so far.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 20, 2006

How to select the right media

We are actually getting snow today! And my daughter came home from college for the weekend with 5 loads of laundry!! So between loads I’ve been re-reading some of the marketing information I collect to spark ideas.

One of my favorites is from Guerilla Marketing. In fact reading some of their books a couple years ago had a great impact on me and is one of the reasons I’m working online now!

By Jay Conrad Levinson
Some media are apples and others are oranges. What
works in one medium may not work in another. Guerrillas
have insight into the powers of each medium. They tap those
strengths to use the medium to its greatest advantages.
Here's what they know about media power:
1. The power of newspapers is news. Marketing that is
newsy gets noticed because news is on the forefront of
readers' minds.
2. The power of magazines is credibility. Readers
unconsciously attach to the advertiser the same credibility
that they associate with the magazine.
3. The power of radio is intimacy. Usually radio is a one-
on-one situation allowing for a close an intimate connection
between listener and marketer.
4. The power of direct mail is urgency. Time-dated offers
that might expire before the recipient can act often motivates
them to act now.
5. The power of telemarketing is rapport. Few media allow
you to establish contact in a give-and-take situation as
adroitly as the telephone.
6. The power of brochures is the ability to give details. Few
media allow you the time and space to expand on your
benefits as much as a brochure.
7. The power of classified ads is information. Nobody in their
right mind actually reads the classified ads except for those in
a quest for data.
8. The power of the yellow pages is even more information.
Here, prospects get a line on the entire competitive situation
and can compare.
9. The power of television is the ability to demonstrate.
No other media lets you show your product or service in
use along with the benefits it. offers. TV is still the
undisputed heavyweight champ of marketing.
10. The power of the internet is interactivity. You can
flag a person's attention, inform them, answer their
questions and take their orders.
11. The power of signs is impulse reactions. Signs motivate
people to buy when they are in a buying mood and in a
buying arena. Signs either trigger an impulse remind
people of your other marketing or both.
12. The power of fliers is economy. They can be created,
produced and distributed for very little and can even bring
about instant results
13. The power of billboards is to remind. They rarely do
the whole selling job but they're great at jostling people's
memories of your other efforts.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 19, 2006

New "no evolution" design

I added “no evolution” today. Probably the only thing remotely controversial on my site!
I titled it:

Jesus said in Mark 10:6 "But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female." Don't let anyone make a monkey out of you! Show them what you believe with our givitup "no evolution" apparel!


I am starting to rust! I was never made to sit still so long. I am used to being outside most of the day and moving!Found an interesting site on blogging I thought I should read, saw how long it was and my eyes started to glaze over. Accidentally hit the delete button and don’t remember the name of it. Probably just as well at this point!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Now we're having fun!

Oh, my goodness!! Last night within an hour of: posting my new kid’s clothes on the Boston Craigslist, sending all the classifieds and joining two new My Space groups (greatest abs on My Space – I sent them the link to no body fat) and (vegetable mafia – I sent them the no meat) I had 107 page loads and 50 unique hits!! I didn’t want to go to bed, just stay up and keep hitting the refresh button!!

Today I added a “no cancer” section. Sent more links to new My Space groups and watched my statcounter grow!

An aside note – I have just learned to add my blog to feeds! So basically I have been writing to myself for the past 43 days! Well, I had registered it with a few blog searches, but I certainly didn’t know how many there are and that you need to “ping” them when you add a new post! (I actually had no idea what ping was – except maybe half of a game!) I noticed in some of the feeds though, if you just read my blog on their site, you only get the past few days. SO, I am adding my blog address for those who would like to start in the beginning – 43 days ago. http://onlinestoregivitup.blogspot.com/

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 17, 2006

Live, learn and keep on going!

Doesn’t it just figure!! My statcounter has kicked in for the front page so now I am seeing things coming in from my blog and other places. But, today I took off the Steelers’s fans and Seahawk fans (being my usual neat nik/organized self – after all Super Bowl was over – time to move on!) and a little while later my statcounter showed someone had tried to enter that section from Google and that they had actually searched for Steelers clothes and my site came up! I never even knew it had made Google for that section and as far as I know the first time someone googled it –the section was gone and they couldn’t find it!

Time for classifieds again! Unbelievable! This time I sent all the states a link to my “Daddy Dressed Me Today” site with mention of the “I Dressed Myself Today” site too.
and http://www.cafepress.com/givitup/1180863

The title I used is, “Charming Children’s Clothes Let Mom off the Hook.”

“When mom just doesn't want to take responsibility for the results, let others know it was Daddy who dressed the little one today! Every color of the rainbow is in the design on these darling children's clothes. Whatever dad adds should match!”

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Using forums to promote your business

Everything I read about online promotion mentions forums. Get on forums, be helpful, use your URL in a signature line. After a long enough time people will begin to know you and respect you and just naturally want to click on your site to see what you do! (Or something like that!) Well, I told you my experience with the groups in My Space (Day 33) and also with Oprah’s forums (Day 10). I joined a couple others, but there never seemed to be the right lead in for me to say something wise and wonderful!
I’ve always enjoyed forums because I learn so much. There are some really smart, creative, helpful people out there! But, I was getting no traffic to my site from any of them.I needed help! Just in time I found a free ebook by Harvey Segal called Forum Super Tips or how to post on forums. It was an easy read and got me encouraged to try again, that it is possible, and will work. Click here to get your own free copy.

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 13, 2006

2 new designs announcement

I decided to go ahead with the two other ideas I had had years ago when I first thought of the Lent buttons. At the time, Brittany was just a little girl and I thought of how many times we butted heads over what she would wear. I wanted to have a button that said “I dressed myself today” so no one would think I picked out that combination. Then of course Daddy put a few odd ensembles together too, so I thought of “Daddy dressed me today.”
Spent almost all day getting two sections set up for that. Mostly because poor John had to make the images for me and also the buttons on the side of my site, which is apparently really hard and I need to quit asking him to do that!
I debated whether to do a basic shop and just link it to mine, but then I would have had to have two basic shops because you can’t put the same image on the same product unless you have a premium shop. And I didn’t want to buy another premium shop just for two sections. But, I do like having my store have a theme and not just be a jumble of everything I could think of.
So, I ended up treating the new sections like they were stores I am recommending. They each have a little button like my affiliates, which sort of separates them, but are still part of my store. http://www.cafepress.com/givitup/1180863 is my “I Dressed Me” section and http://www.cafepress.com/givitup/1180725 is my “Daddy Dressed Me” section.
I think it will work. I am not really planning on marketing them like I do my givitup stuff, I am hoping word of mouth for this one, and so I sent out some emails and asked people to pass them on to anyone else with little kids.
As John was adding the statcounter to the two new sections I realized it wasn’t on my front page, which would explain why friends had told me they had looked at my site, but I never saw the evidence on the statcounter. Of course it doesn’t explain why they didn’t go to another page!

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sold 3 t-shirts!

Yea!! Finally, my dry spell broke! A really great guy in Houston bought 3 of my t-shirts through Wacky Shirt’s blog!! I actually looked at my statcounter before anything else when I turned on my computer and saw I had a repeat visitor who spent over 4 minutes on the site. I remembered reading that’s about how long the order takes if they’ve been on before and kind of know what they want! So I covered my eyes and pulled up my CafePress account and peeked through my finger…and there it was!!! 3 t-shirts. How fun is today!!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Catch up

In case you are just joining me (38 days into my adventure) let me catch you up on just the basics. I started an online store called givitup - http://www.cafepress.com/givitup
and have been blogging about all my trials and errors and occasional successes….but, mostly trials and errors! It has definitely been a learning process! If anyone has read this from the beginning and thinks they would like to open their own shop, click on: Open Your Own Shop

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The emotional part of owning a business

It took John about 4 hours to put on my link last night!! I felt SO guilty! I brought him cake!
This store is such a roller coaster of emotions. Down at the very bottom when I check for sales L Then starting to climb when I get another idea or read something that gives me hope. Then at the top when I look at my site or what I’ve done so far. Today it hit bottom at one point: I was reading a CafePress forum and someone mentioned getting a hit from the CafePress Marketplace search. And then someone else talked about the descriptions being so important again. So I thought I would check which of my descriptions were showing up on the Marketplace and just randomly picked “no TV” A site called antiuniverse came up and had ALL words with lines through them! I mean every word you could think of! My stomach actually felt like I hit the bottom of the roller coaster!
I don’t know who’s site was up first, but after just sitting there about 5 minutes I realized we had different takes on the theme. My site is about giving things up to make you a better person. Theirs is anti everything. Kind of like being anti for the sake of being anti. So I took a breath and moved on. Tweaked all my designs for, hopefully, better placement in the marketplace.Went to an art fundraiser tonight and talked to a couple who own an art shop about being small business owners. We all immediately relate to each other that’s for sure!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

CafePress drops referral income to 1 year

Spent a lot of time sending out the free classifieds again. Every 7 days comes around fast! I promoted Super Bowl. Did a few more My Space ads and spent a lot of time reading and researching. Have a huge list of sites I want to learn from.

Read CafePress forums for a couple hours! Everyone was up in arms about the new shop referral change: now you only get income from a shop you referred for 1 year. Since I hadn’t referred anyone yet, or even put a link on my site to do that, it didn’t really effect me, but I felt for some of the people who were apparently getting a fair size monthly check from the program.
At first I thought it was awful of CafePress to do (and I still thinking the 2 month warning isn’t nice or fair), but someone in the forums pointed out that the affiliate program might have replaced this. So I spun that around in my head a bit: 5% from all sales forever from a store you referred, or 20% from one sale if the customer came to the sale through your site….hmmmm…..
Oh, well, what’s done is done.
I did notice a sudden flood of affiliate emails and sign ups going around! So I decided to go ahead and “announce” that my shop is ready to affiliate and asked John to create the link on my site. (He’s been working on it for a couple hours – I’m sort of afraid to go in there to see how he’s coming!)

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 06, 2006

Using news for product ideas

OK, My Space is getting freaky. Got an email from a guy – “can’t believe anyone as pretty as you isn’t married.” Guess I should have checked the married box…and not lied about my age.

Getting a little discouraged. Some hits still coming through on the statcounter, but haven’t had a sale forever.

Read in the USA Today that Chicago and New York City are having an “online fight” about which city is better. So on the spur of the moment decided to do a section for Chicago fans and one for New York fans. The article had mentioned Craigslist as being involved, so I did an ad in each city’s Craigslist and sent a press release to the Chicago Tribune. On our way to the theater so will have to send one to a New York paper and also clean up both sections better tomorrow.
Wish I knew what will finally work or what is a (huge) waste of my time, but it’s all a guessing game.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Trouble on MySpace

Got booted from a My Space group on Pittsburgh! Thought it would be perfect to join since they are in the Super Bowl and I could mention my site. The group leader sent me an email “Congratulations, your post lasted a whole hour before it got flagged for spamming!” I thought you could do anything on My Space! I can’t believe I even get in trouble on My Space!

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cleaning up MySpace

Finally got My Space sorted out. Classifieds caught up to where I thought I was the day before and joined a few groups that let you promote things. Had to close my eyes to 90% of the group titles though!!

John helped me get my picture on there to replace their default picture, which looked like one of those silhouettes the police shoot at for firing practice! Of course my picture doesn’t compare with most of the girls on there!


Friday, February 03, 2006

Other types of MySpace promotion

Announced my Blog on a CafePress forum and got a couple very nice comments!

Later I was on My Space getting very frustrated that none of my classifieds had posted, so for a break I typed in my 18 year old daughter’s name. There she was in a hot low cut red dress! I sent her a message, “Hi, I joined this site to promote my store. What are you promoting?”

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Superbowl Part 2

Spent the morning switching everything from Steelers and Seahawks to Seattle and Pittsburgh. I hadn’t had any more comments, but decided to be safer now then sorry later!
Finally developed a rhythm working on my press releases. Sent to all the Georgia daily papers just because that’s where I had stopped with my store opening announcements, did lots of TV stations in Washington and Pennsylvania and started in putting free ads on My Space. I was really going fast there when all of a sudden things began dropping off. Finally stopped to look at it better and it said “you can only submit one ad once every five minutes” ! And I had been so happy to get it down to every two minutes! So I tried to check emails in between – five minutes seemed like forever!Also sent to Prweb and MPR again. And I did break my promise and sent one more email about the Super Bowl items to about a third of my original list. I told them I knew I had said I would only do it once, but they were either family or might as well be family, so they were stuck with me!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I was so ready for Super Bowl. My idea was to do a line through each of the two teams that were going and call the sections “blank” fans. Then do hundreds of press releases talking about how quickly “givitup” had items for sale as soon as the playoffs ended.
The Steelers won first today and I got as much ready to go as I could. The Panthers and Seahawks began their game at 6:30 pm. By 4th quarter we knew it was over and I could get the Seahawks in place. Spent an hour pricing all my products and then tried to start my press releases. From 10:30 pm – 11:30 pm John and I messed with my computer which had suddenly decided it wouldn’t let me put images on my desktop anymore. I needed the images in my press reports so until that was resolved my plan came to a crashing halt.

After everything was finally working again I started pulling up Pennsylvania, Washington and Michigan (because the Super Bowl will be in Detroit) daily newspaper sites from my favorite gebbieinc.com. But, my computer was a slow as molasses and it was so late I began jumping around sending to Seattle radio stations and a few local papers…wondering if I would be able to keep track of what I had done tomorrow and what I still needed to do.

I sent an announcement to the CafePress forum “Trends and Buzzes” saying my Super Bowl items were on if anyone wanted a look. About 1:15 a.m. I looked back there and had one response “not sure if you can use Steelers, Seahawks or even Super Bowl…”Stopped and went to bed!

Labels: , , ,

Checking out my statcounter

Starting to see people from Canada, England and Singapore on my statcounter. I wish I understood better how to see what brought them there. I’m thinking it’s the free classifieds. Because I did send those to Canada and England this last time. Though not Singapore. It always interests me what page they come in on. Lately there have been several that went right to “no fear”. One of those came from the Senate at Arms in DC!

Labels: ,