entrepreneurship

My First 6 Months on ETSY

It has officially been a little over 6 months since I have set up my Etsy Shop and I can’t lie, things are going pretty good. But as always, let me walk you through the details of how it all started.

I recently launched a 360 photo booth business in Atlanta and South Florida called Luxury Lens 360. Even though I can design fliers, I had so much on my plate that I decided to just go on Etsy and purchase some ready-made fliers. The only problem was, that there weren’t many fliers to choose from. To give you a reference, if you look up “birthday party flyer” on Etsy, about 3,400 results pop up whereas if you look up “360 photo booth flyer”, about 300 results pop up. 

Now you should know I am not scrolling through all those pages looking at fliers but the first two pages were not giving what they were supposed to gave so I had to make my own fliers. After I made them, I thought “I should probably put these on Etsy since there aren’t many options” but I was hesitant because I felt like it was going to be too much work. Typical Lola would overthink to the point that I would say “forget it” and put the idea on the backburner but Hustler Lola was like “its money to be made.”

I did absolutely no research! NONE! ZIP! And that is NOT like me. I like to make sure the numbers make sense and that I understand how everything works but in this instance, my rationale was “you already made it to use for yourself FOR FREE so the worst thing that can happen is no one wants to use it”. 

So I listed my first flyer on October 24, 2021 and got my first sale on October 28, 2021. Then my next two orders came in 3 days later and as of today, I average 3-5 sales per day. When I tell you I was surprised, I was shook because I just couldn’t believe the things I created for myself had actual value to someone else. 

Etsy recommends that you have at least 10 listings (items for sale) on your site. As of the date that this blog is published, I have 10 listings and they all fall in the 360 Photo Booth Flier. The fliers are actually templates that people can edit using Canva (graphic design tool). So my fliers are not made-to-order which makes this type of business venture pretty passive because once I create the templates, there is nothing else required of me.

I do want to point out that till this day, I still do not completely understand how Etsy sales and profit work. This is new territory for me so I am learning as I go. I just know that I set up daily payouts and every other day, there is money deposited in my bank account. I will say that I have been spending the last 30 days actually analyzing trends and keywords, I have been optimizing my listings so they are more searchable, and have been paying close attention to my shop traffic and conversions.

I plan on creating more things to put on the platform because even though my shop is booming, it is not to my standard. I don’t know if that’s because I am pricing my templates too low or if I need more items in the shop but that is what my focus is today. How do I make my store better?

I hope this encourages you to try using Etsy. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t make a sale that you wouldn’t have made anyways if you didn’t open the shop. 

But for those of you that do have an Etsy shop, what do you sell? How is business going for you? Talk to me! 

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

entrepreneurship

Using Groupon To Market My Business

It takes money to make money.

So when I started my 360 Photo Booth business, I was trying to come up with different ways to market it. I knew that I would set up a Google My Business profile as well as position us on Instagram & Facebook to appeal to millennials – our target audience. I was not interested in investing my own money into the business so I needed to come up with a way to get “free” advertising.

I know what you’re thinking “where can you get free advertising”. When I say “FREE”, I mean not having to pay upfront costs. If you have an Etsy shop like I do, you are charged AFTER a customer makes a purchase. The platform takes their fees for “promoting your product” before they release the profit. And now, I found out that Groupon offers something similar.

Let me preface this with the fact that I am an avid Groupon customer. I use the app at least once a week looking for deals in Miami and Atlanta since I pretty much live in both cities. And then one day while I was scrolling, I saw my friend’s business ad on there. He is a personal trainer based in South Florida and he was offering his services at a discounted rate. 

I immediately started searching for 360 Photo Booth services on Groupon in the South Florida and Atlanta areas. I couldn’t find any and the lightbulb went off — this is a good market.

I created a Groupon Merchant (business account), started watching YouTube videos on people’s experience using Groupon Merchant, and created my first campaign. In maybe a day or two after I created the campaign (it has to get approved by Groupon before going live), I received an email telling me that the campaign was rejected. I shrugged and assumed that’s the reason why there were no 360 photo booths on the platform — they were all getting rejected. 

And then maybe a month later, I received a call from someone that worked for Groupon saying they saw I attempted to make a campaign and wanted to know if I was still interested in partnering with them. He told me how Groupon is always looking for new and innovative things to offer and they liked my 360 Photo Booth business. He told me that there’s a certain way to manually work the system and his specific job at Groupon is to find those unique businesses, revamp their campaigns, and get them approved. 

After the call, we went back and forth via email trying to set up the perfect campaign. Groupon has 20+ million active users on its platform and they provide businesses all the marketing they need. However, it comes at a cost. You have to list your product at an appealing sale price and then when you make a sale, Groupon wants 50% of that sale.

For example, let’s say your business offers jet skis. Your regular rate to rent out a jet ski for 30 minutes is $100. You list this service on Groupon at a discounted rate of $60 (40% OFF). This discounted rate is the price a customer will pay at checkout. After the purchase, Groupon will take $30 and give you $30. 

Now, before you fight me, let’s continue to look at that example. Depending on your business overhead (costs of operation), that $30 profit may be a loss. If gas for the jet ski is $10, you have to subtract that from the revenue so your true profit is $20. Other overhead costs may be a dock rental fee, lifeguard salary, and more which can have you seeing more negative than positive. In the context of my current business model, it’s a win because we just want to build exposure and profit enough to pay the employees that have to work these events. We do not use Groupon to pay for our overhead.

We started our campaign in early December and have consistently sold at least 2 vouchers per month from January to March 2022. The cool thing about this is, we are able to make more money by upselling additional items since our campaign is bare bones. On our account, we only offer standard 360 Photo Booth services for 3 hours, 5 hours, and 8 hours. All of our customers so far have purchased the 3-hour voucher and when we schedule the event, they almost always want an additional hour (more $$), themed props (more $$), and custom overlay/geofilter (more $$).

For those that do not know what upselling is, it’s when you offer additional services and/or products during a sale. You probably have experienced this while being a customer at your local fast-food restaurant. You order a taco and nachos and the cashier asks “would you like to add a drink with that”. That is upselling. So there are products and services included in our regular rates that we do not offer Groupon customers. We can’t just let you off that easily.

Another benefit of using Groupon to market my 360 Photo Booth business is being able to easily get reviews that you can then use on your company site or social media and it helps your business establish credibility. Just because something is listed on Groupon, doesn’t mean you should give your money to it. Remember, I am an avid Groupon customer so I look at reviews and I leave them. Shoot – I look at and leave Google Reviews. The reviews show that not only is your business legit but it provides good or bad services and products. I will admit, due to poor planning and lack of staffing on our part, we had to cancel our attendance at an event last minute which caused us to get 1 poor review but that won’t stop our show.

All in all, we have seen success in Groupon. The campaign reach and conversion rate has been pretty high for the first 90 days (the partnership is 4 months long with an option to renew) and I just know it will continue to grow. I will say, we do not promote our Groupon listing on our social media or even word of mouth because we don’t want everyone booking through the platform. Like seriously, we have money to make. So we have a limited number of vouchers that can be purchased on Groupon and still promote our regular rates via other online platforms.

I hope this was able to give you insight on potentially using Groupon to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your business. I don’t have all the answers but I thoroughly enjoy sharing my entrepreneurship journey so you can see what it’s like in real-time. 

For those of you interested in starting a 360 Photo Booth business or already started but not getting booked, let’s hop on a call to discuss what’s going on. As always, I love helping people level up in their entrepreneurship journey.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

Uncategorized

2021 Year in Review

I am a big advocate of reflecting on your past experiences. I feel like we often ask for things and never get the opportunity to actually enjoy them because once we get them, we are focused on trying to get the next thing. This is one of the reasons why I share so much about my entrepreneurship journey because I feel like the journey is more important than the destination. The journey is where you grow so the destination means nothing without that experience. With that said, let’s take a look at my 2021 year in review.

January

February

  • Took a girls trip to Cancun, Mexico and took my first ever COVID test in Mexico

April

May

  • FINALLY experienced a good wax specialist in Atlanta
  • Completed my 1st year teaching in Atlanta and gifted myself a new MacBook Air
  • Started selling my lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers

June

  • Moved into my new home
  • Upgraded my vlogging equipment
  • Started my 1st project manager contract with a biotech company

July

  • Made my way back to the personal trainer for the next 3 months (not including my birthday month)
  • Completed my 1st project manager contract with a biotech company
  • Completed a brand photo shoot

August

September

October 

November 

  • Worked my first event with the 360 photo booth
  • Completed my 1st year as an AirBNB Superhost / Property Manager

December

  • Planned for 2022

It looks as if I had a busy year and I’m not going to lie to you guys, it was exhausting. I was tired. I am tired. So in 2022, I want a smooth, relaxing, and fruitful year. I spent a lot of time trying to make money and now I want to focus on making the money flow — like a stream. I feel like I can’t say I have streams of income since they are not flowing. 

Thank you for rocking with me in 2021 and I am excited for what is in store for 2022. Let’s get to it.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER