A Crafter’s Guide to Experimenting in Business
Now that you know what actions to take, you can start taking actions, but you might be wondering, once you start taking action, how, like what's working, how do you know what's going to work and moving forward? You know, we talked about how to make decisions on tools and actions. One of your best decision making tools will be an experiment so that's, how you'll know what works and how you stay current with your changing business. You know, I said a couple of times that your goals are going to change and that you're going to change, and part of that means that you need to be flexible, and in order to stay flexible, you want to keep learning what your business wants to teach you. I was looking at like, your business is going to be one of yours, very best teachers, your customers are going to tell you what it is that they want, but you have to have a system for staying flexible, staying learning, keep taking in the information that your actual business is giving you. This will also help y...
ou filter out all of the things other people are trying to tell you that might not be right for your business, so we'll keep experimenting and experiment is, according to wikipedia, an orderly procedure carried out with a goal of verifying refuting or establishing the validity of a hypothesis and you'll notice there that verifying means you could have a hypothesis and it be proved true. Refuting in this being proved false are just establishing that something's really true. So you know all these social media questions? Should I use twitter how she used twitter let's, establish the validity of how it's gonna work for you. So this is one of my favorite quotes by ralph waldo emerson do not be timid about your actions all of life is an experiment really seriously. Nobody knows what's going to work for you or your life and especially not your business, so you have to approach it all like an experiment and my less wikipedia way of saying it is an experiment. What we're talking about here is just a test you're gonna hold to figure out what's working it's really at the key of it, we just want to figure out what's gonna work for you. The reason that you're going to experiment is because you want to learn what really works, not for other people, not in the way it worked for other people, but for you in your business with your goals and your life, what is working and also to pay attention to what's changing like I said, your business and your life is going to keep changing or going keep wanting different things so when you experiment it conserve as a reminder like a boundary around ok it's time to go back and assess is what works for me last year working for me now is this experiment that I'm holding in say blogging or emailing is it really has it changed the way things work or is it made things better as it made things worse? You also want to craft a business that you actually like you notice I've said this that the whole three days we're here to get you to your ideal but snus not mine, not a business it looks like somebody else who you really like but your business and the experiment is the only way you're going to know how to do that so what to experiment on? Well this is me experimenting on the back of the quilt I'm lying fabrics down trying to figure it out but you can experiment on everything we'll look at your entire thing we've been learning today you can experiment on who you're right people are how to best talk to them, how to craft her customer path and specifically your home how to set it up you know we had a lot of questions about should I put my buy button here? Should I have the link to my home page? Should my home page b the first page people come to or should they come toe a block page and I kept saying it depends because it depends on your experiment so hold on experiment I'm currently holding an experiment on what my website the blawg used to be the first page but now it's a home page home page it has a slider of the different graphics has a description of what I d'oh I don't know if it's going to work I don't know if it is working I have to uh create an experiment to test it or not and we'll talk about each of the different steps of an experiment so that you don't just change things but you change things with purpose and knowing what it's going to get you so um here's a few things to keep in mind before we get into your experiment this is an ongoing process this is not something that you'll just do and be done with and you'll have all the answers to everything right this is something we're going to keep doing over and over in your business you're going to take it far beyond what we'll do in this class and the big thing and we're talking about this at lunch this is not the on ly thing you're doing you're going to pick something to hold on experiment on but you'll keep running your business right you're going to keep the filling orders entering customers questions creating products listing those making those new products for sale while you work towards your goal you know, earlier in the day I asked you just set a goal for the next three months that's not the only thing you're doing that's the thing you're focused on doing that knew your experiment is going to be something that you're wondering what works you still have to keep the filling customer expectation delighting the customers that are buying you stick with all of those up routine actions you're going to keep doing those routine actions while you're experimenting on something I said before we get into how experiment are there any questions here about anything? I want to turn to your page fifty six in your workbook we're not quite ready for it yet but we're going to get there save juan and turn to page fifty six and let's talk about how to experiment first before we go to that I want to go back because uh so the thing about it being an ongoing process I want to give you some examples of what I've experimented on so when you start to think of your own you have some ideas I was doing a class actually that you'll get in a resource guide the how to craft an effective blogger class well I was gearing up to do that I am not an everyday blogger I usually blawg one, two, three times a week and I wondered what would be different in my business if I blogged every day because I get so many messages from crafters who love everyday blog's ah blawg like design sponge or the pioneer woman who posts multiple times a day, if not just one today. So I thought, I wonder if my business my interaction, would change if I blogged every day. So the experiment I set up was that I was going to block every day for one month. I was going to test the thing that I want most increase with customer interaction, so I wonder if logging more will either get me more conversations on twitter about that blawg post, not just in general like about the dress I'm wearing. And then would they, uh would it get more comments so that's, another way of measuring interaction and or what it get more news that our sign ups because that's, the most effective path that my customers go down, so does blogging everyday change that that's kind of my question that I created the hypothesis for the parameters of that I was in a block every day, and then at the end I measured that what changed? What? How many conversations? How did I feel? How did my people feel? I learned all kinds of things. I learned that the more that you set the intention to write, the easier it is to come up with things to write about because at first I had no idea what I would write about every day also learned that there's some interaction but after tying people got kind of burnt out I learned that it didn't really fit in with all the other things I want to d'oh because although I love connecting with people on my block, I also need to be creating great content for my clients and customers and if I'm always putting stuff on my block but it means that I'm not able to create things for people who want to pay for things so that's just an example of my experiment have you guys held experiments in your business in the past? Can you think of something that you had experimented on and how that turned out? Yeah um I've done like some giveaways yeah and noticed like we talked about yesterday that a lot of traffic it's driven but not a lot of sales and um some disappointment on and so I realized now that's that for me it's not what I really what because yes, the traffic comes but I really didn't get like interaction and then afterwards yeah, these religious and follow you are right it goes back to that question we had in session to someone is asking about giveaways and we said it depends on what your goals are if your goal was just to get traffic than it was a success but if you had a different goal than it, it didn't reach that goal yeah, I haven't ongoing big experiment since I'm I don't have a business yet uh my experiment is ah posting one drawing a day um I used to make jewelry tech sell jewelry on dh I realize it was probably not the best choice for me I loved making the jewelry, but I'm not interested enough in jewelry in general, so I want my next business to be more well creating images, ministrations and all that on, so I want you to know if I really lightens, so I post one drawing every day and I realized I really like spending hours making those drawings, listening to podcasts on and you've been doing that for months, right? You've been doing that since for a long time since january first. So that's, I think today it's been two hundred days that's a great experiment and I love that your hypothesis was like, do I like this enough to keep doing this? Because he had started a business that you weren't interested in funny is that about the jury? Kristin, you also tell me on twitter, you don't owe necklaces s so it's funny to been creating jewelry if you're not a jury where so that's part of why we're holding the experiment so that you can find the business that really suits you like and you know you like it and maybe your experiment if you don't have a business yet, maybe it will be about testing something. What I always tell people who aren't started yet is to first make fifty things right? That's a great experiment to see do I like making more of these so here the different components of an experiment, and then we're going to go through each one one by one, he said a hypothesis, and this could be a question like, does blogging increase engagement? Do I like drawing enough to make it a new business? But it can also be I think that tweeting ten times a day versus what I have been doing will increase twitter subscribers, right? Or I think that, for example, if your goal is increasing sales to a certain sales number, so your hypothesis would be I think that doing this it is going to increase sales. I think that starting an email list is going to increase sales that's a great hypothesis. Then you set the parameters the parameters include, how long are you going to be doing it? What are you going to test? What actually are you doing right, like so you know exactly what it is that made this experiment work or not work and then you're going to put a system in place for support? What do you need in order to keep doing this? So in order to block every day, I need to have an ongoing list of things I could write about. I need tio be really smooth and my whole block posting system and editing it, but I also need to have a system in place to handle all those other things that I'm not going to have time for another, I'm blogging, so I can't launch a class or create a class in the same month that I'm blogging every day. I just don't have the time and space to do both. And finally you're going to review the results you are going to look back and say was my health office is true? What did I learn? What what do I now know is going to be totally different moving forward? And after you review the results, you're gonna make a real decision about it so let's, get into each piece and get into your workbook. Did you have a question in the chat room? Are you just? We have a lot of people who are sharing some experiments that they've tried, but ever so might be good to hear some of those one girl circus says that I experimented with blogged tours and increased my newsletter sign ups and social media followers and kris with a k says I'm in the middle of an experiment right now on my blogged it was always a tuesday post with writing and content creation tips, but I want to see if I would get more interesting interaction if I added more fun stuff like crafty stuff for a home office and a business book club party. So I started a thursday's extras post every week and so far so good I love it those are all really good experiments yes experience, which most new etc shop owners probably dio where you do swag for events and you make so much of one product to put in all of the these people's bags just to get your business cards out and you know those people, then it just never worked out it has been so much time on those products you don't have enough time to put into your descriptions or your photos, you just listings on it, see and your training your business cards out and it just doesn't work. Yeah, and I have some theories on why that doesn't work. One of them is that people are getting bags full of other people's things, so you're just like one of many you know, if you were the on ly gift somebody got when they walked in it's going to mean a lot more than if you're one of thirty and the other thing is, is that usually people put things in this gift bags that are smaller versions of what they really d'oh it is not showing your awesomeness, right? They don't see what it would be like to have a scar me, of course it would be impossible for you to give everybody else going no, I done like crazy things shade my little heart out twenty four hours on and I trying to get things out and it just doesn't work. Yeah, yeah, because the other thing remember, we were talking about how blog's aren't good inciting people to action in session to because because of people who are readers are not in the mindset to be buyers. I think that a lot of times in this bag bags when you go back home and look at him, you're not in a buying that you're not like I'm gonna go through and buy all this stuff that I really like usually, especially if it's at a craft show you've just been shopping, but you don't really look in your bag and go through the cards and then go to the web sites because you've just been shopping all day you just pick out the stuff that's nice that's in there and you leave the cards absolutely and that's the other thing is it's a lot like print ads or print press and that's that people are setting up their computer when they read it. So there was a link somewhere they could just click the link. But they have to, like get your card figure out what thing goes with your card go to your website and that's not gonna happen in the same way as if they could just like click one like that's. A good that's. A good experiment though. And you learned something really good about it too. Yeah, and hopefully not as many new s ee shop owners or people on a lot you know online right now are spending all their time on trying to get their business cards out. But trying to do perfect their plan absolute their business to grow cause slog does not it does not do it. I've learned my you heard it here first, probably first, but so let's let's flip the page fifty six and start creating so let's. Think back on. You know during the break I asked you to go through everything else in your workbook and filter in some things you want to start doing what are one of those things you want to start doing that you need to experiment with to see if it works and that is online in line with your goal. So it might be how you use a social media tool it might be how you use your blawg it might be what you change on your home page so you want to test it for a while can you guys come up with with something and this is your hypothesis let me tell you this oh good you guys are ready to share time okay do you think a contest would be a good thing like um for my head bands maybe seeing how people would style them and how they would wear them to kind of get feedback for that in order to get those thirty eight cells like I'd love that so here's what I would do though in order to generate sales and not make people feel sad say I'm having a contest if you for people who own the headbands which you can get right here take a picture of yourself with it styled in your hair styled and we'll share it and the first maybe not first maybe that ones that get is you shared that on your instagram feed and the one that gets the most likes wins a scarf do you see how you've tied that in so now only the people that can enter have purchased her headband you know and then they're taking a picture and they have to share it with the hashtag but do you think since I'm not one hundred percent on um the right person that peace is for that I should get feedback on how to style it and maybe do, like post and block posting stuff to kind of encourage people to buy it and see, like how they could wear it and stuff like that. Um, I think I'm not quite sure which, as you're saying, so maybe you should ask people how they were before they buy it, I think they would have would wear it so or what they would wear it with, like getting feedback on who the right person is for that piece. Yeah, but if you hold a contest in which they have to buy it in order to take part, then that's going to drive sales so it's okay that you're not quite sure who it is because you'll see by their cell fees they would that will show you who they are, and then and then if you want to keep making headband to have a clear vision, you know, but so I would because this is a great way of bringing them out of the woodwork to say, and then you can do a series of posts as picture start to come in, where you highlight them and maybe put a time limit that's kind of long on this contest, so it gives people time to order and buy it. But I would make a big deal about the initial launch of the contest share it everywhere you can ask your friends to share it asked them to post about it or blogging about it to start driving people towards it and then the girls who get it and you might only have five people take part but that's ok, because this is a kind of contest where it doesn't matter if there's three people or there's thirty people because you're not you know you don't have a minimum number no matter who takes part, it might be one person takes part, so you just kind of quietly just send her the scarf and thank her for it, you know? And that way I think people get afraid of doing public things like this because they're afraid what if nobody takes part? If even one girl gets your headband and post the picture, she can win, you know? And you don't have to make a big deal and be like, well, nobody joined you know, you wouldn't say that publicly, right? So publicly I make the big deal about the launch of it say now you might wantto do something like free shipping or these headbands are on ly available for a limited time in my shop because I'm not going to be making them anymore, but I want to see how you style them ok, do you see what I'm saying? Yeah, and then that will drive the sales so it's okay that you don't know exactly who she is because this isn't one of your ongoing products. I mean, from what she said before, yeah, and I think that it will tell you a lot about who's buying it if you can start to collect that and then you get an idea of who's actually buying it versus who just wants to buy it because you might get a lot of girls who want to buy it. They're sixteen and have no money, but the women who actually buy it are twenty five or something. Ok, does this I'm good? Yeah, I like that experiment. Yeah. Okay, so our hypothesis for that is that your contest will increase sales of these headbands. So that's it is it a hypothesis? You ask? What do you think will happen if you d'oh fill in the blank with your action? Did you have a question? Well, when you were talking about social media, I realize that I'm I'm on social media all the time, but I never sell on social media. Once in a while on my facebook page, I'll put what's new in my shop, but not really so I think I'm going to instagram like you said uh show something that I'm working on and say that it's available in my shop like once a week or something I love that that's so great I'm so glad to hear you say that because people follow you because they like your style so even if they're not a buyer just they like what you're doing they want to see it you know for sure and showing it in process is always interesting because I I always wanna know how things are made I show the process a lot but then I don't follow up by showing the end product and letting them know that it's going to show my tray and this is what I'm working on and then that's a cute and then e I didn't I never tell them exactly and on instagram you know since you can't actually put hyperlinks I often will change the link that's in my profile instead of just keeping it tar swagger dot com right now it's discreet of my workshop and so then I can say lincoln profile because if I do something like talk about like I am talking about my dog on the podcast which is not what I normally do, I wouldn't change my my profiling to the podcast so the people have something to click through and I know I click on people all the time when they tell me I can so you can you can change that you're less likely to sit there and write the whole you know no doubt exactly so that makes it easy for people and then you tell them it's a link in the profile take you right to this item cool things that's awesome I want to see how that experiment goes to your hypothesis is that if you instagram your ongoing projects with a clear offer yes we'll increase sales awesome so I'm going to do a weekly for six weeks I love it that's perfect so that gets us to parameters you ask what exactly exactly will you d'oh and how long is this experiment it's another it's part of the boundaries around you doing this? How long are you going to do this thing? What exactly are you going to d'oh like you said you're going to do it for you said six weeks and you're going to actually post it once a week that's awesome and of course if you want to you can always do more but knowing the parameters is going to help you understand the data if you just said more than when you figure out what actually happened you'd be like well, so what I do going forward, you know I'd be very specific and measurable you will have some data you can use going forward you'll know the posting once a week really increased it but maybe if you try and post three times a week if freak people out yeah, that that would be well, I mean, I would probably show the in progress pictures more than once a week but I would never sell right more than once a week because because you're not comfortable what they get people know how to find me if there's already way more about the clear offer right way talked about in session to making a really clear offer and I know it's really hard for me to a lot of times I mean, I just want to be like, well, the look on my web site they're interested but you know they won't they won't let you ask him to because they won't know okay yeah what's a good length for an experiment on guy I know that it depends but like it seems like a week might be too short but to me six weeks seems like so I'd be too so it depends on your hypothesis is here so my hypothesis would be to see if writing blog's pocus about specific products change the sales okay, so it's interesting is what would you write one block post for each product or would you do a series of like three for one product? I don't know ok, so that's a name to this let's make your hypothesis will doing a series of three posts on one product because you realize like if you did a different product each week that it's so much harder to measure yeah you know will it increase sales from let's say last month or last year this month how do you want to compare those numbers when you go back to compare the sales the number of that pattern that sold last month right well the powder and didn't exist last month so so there we go that's a problem with the parameters because what you said well it's l'm or they're going to compare it to a different pattern last will it sell period ok so it was actually says dr sales to that pattern ok so ok it was my looking at any sales of that pattern taste are you blogging about it? Okay, so I if you're also going to talk about in your email and you're gonna mention it on any social media I would get more specific uh you know, I would just just test the syriza bloc post and I should say that I was in my head I was talking about it out of much more end up level have been where I'm talking about it in the cells ok? Ok, so like I would do a review of the pattern and maybe call out specifics in the pattern and so it would be much more specific to the powder rather than the fabulousness of the design yes ok, I like that so I think that for that than it doesn't need to be very long. It needs to be long enough for you to write this series. If you do one morning host tweak and you get a series of three, that would be three weeks. Okay, you could be done. You could also wait an extra week since a four week toe look back. Yes, perfect. Sounds perfect. Awesome. Anyone else have questions about your parameters? How long that should last? You have any questions just yet, but we have people who are starting to share some of the hypothesis that link up with ah curious. Kerry says that my hypothesis is that and newsletter will help increase customer interaction. And then one girl's circus says, I hypothesized I will get more sales if I offer my garments one at a time and for a limited time, if it doesn't sell out. I have inventory for craft fairs, and then amy is not dead yet, says my hypothesis for the floating galleries that limiting choice and time will force people's buying decisions so far, my regular patrons by more often. But I haven't gotten good at picking up new custer. Mers yet, okay, and I know amy has been holding that experiment with the gallery for a couple of months, and it took her a couple of months of doing it. So what it is is that for one week you can buy her original art and she produces new original art, and she makes it available for sale as opposed to it used to be all of the earth she'd ever made was on our website. You could buy it at any time, but by limiting the time in the availability, we're hoping to drive to make people realize, oh, she sells original art, I could go buy it, but only right now, because it's very hard for to keep talking to people about this thing that's just always available, so I took her a few months to initially get people, even knowing that it was going on, right? It took our wild learn how to talk about it, to continue spreading the word and then, like she said she's, finding that repeat customers are coming. Ah, they're more likely to buy now, but not necessarily new customers. So then that could indicate the next step of her experiment with this, what could I do to get new customers? And she could pick one tool one maybe blogging siri's or email siri's specifically aimed at new people or she could just keep expanding on the returning market. You know, she could keep getting more and more loyal customers and not worry about so much the new people who depends on her goals for a business. So the next stage after you have put their parameters in place, is it to figure out your support system that is going to hold your experiment? So what will you need in terms of time, space and energy to do this experiment? Because, you know, we've been talking about getting overwhelmed about everything that you can do and that it's very easy to just, like, think you can do it all, but by crafting this specific experiment, you're telling yourself I can test out ten new tools in a test one tool, and this is what I need because what I find is that people who want to test out a new tool don't account for all the time and energy it's going to take, so they get frustrated when they can't keep up with it. You know, the blogging everyday thing is great people think if I blogged every day, I would get more traffic, so they just start doing it without realizing if you have been leading a normal life, it was busy, so you don't just have time for this new to our thing every day. You have to figure out something to shift something to change a support system this goes back to the question I asked earlier in the workbook about what kind of support systems you have in place to reach your goal so do you guys want to share about the time or space or energy yeah um when I write something down in my planner I need toe actually refer back to the planner and remember what I wrote down on a ce faras energy goes I have like ice coffee like every day really helps e I like that's the system for your experiment your ice coffee drink yeah excellent excellent. My morning cup of coffee is definitely part of my support system anyone else are you having us so I wrote that I need to write my topics that I'm going to cover and then also right content and to do that I need tio schedule it into my week um I need to make sure I have photos and then I have to actually post it which that sounds like so logical but sometimes I write stuff and then forget to post it cause I'm over verrett right? So you need to find that time in your schedule you need but you need to put in your schedule that you we're going to post it like it this time because we talked earlier how you schedule things eso definitely put it in there that it's yeah, my support system for like say the contest I would need other bloggers that may be due a lot of like the fashion stuff and styling and like word of mouth by that right but what I did and what I do is I'd avoid so that you can do this quickly without it getting away from you yeah, you can first connect with the people who already have relationships with I think there's a girl sitting next to you she's my main support you're right but you can reach out to the other people that you know that might be willing to talk about it so like it would make sense for I don't post about fashion would make sense for me to a blonde post about it but I could totally share it on twitter so you'd have to send me an email with the details and what you'd like me to say and just ask and say I'm doing this I think your people might like it they're going toe the person with the most votes is going to get a free scarf you know and and there are many people that want to support you in that way but you also have to get the nerves actually send the email which I know for me at least is one of the hardest parts right it's just hitting the send or like re reading it how are they going toe right? How are they going to perceive this email? Yeah, I think about what it's what's in it for them that if you point out what's in it for them like your readers, I think your readers would like to know right on dh that's why what we talked about in session to when we talked about building relationships is that you you're you're only gonna send this email to people you already have a relationship with you've already talked teo you already know that they like your stuff and then you're going to aim it so much at what their own goals are with their own point is that they will be thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with her people. So you know, if it was a fashion person, you'd say since your readers really into fashion, I know they loved tio take pictures of how they style themselves, they can share it but blah blah or if you're reading to another crash a place you know, your readers really into pro shea you know what I'm saying? You get a mitt specifically to them for example for me if he sent me an email and we had to start this discussion, you could say like, um I know that you I know that you write for for a largely female audience and that they are super into handmade goods because that's that to my audience is so then I would be like oh so this is a good fit so I don't do fashion I don't negotiate accessories but I do talk to women who loved by handmade goods personable exactly and and every email you should it will have a lot of the same information but definitely be talking to me because I get a lot of e mails where it's just like a press release or a pinch delete on our freedom and that's why the whole building relationships thing is key it's going to be people that you've already contacted and you should definitely send me that you know and probably most people in the traps I want to hear about it tio yeah tonto hash take swagger experiment e wait inside your life e o so yeah swagger experiment you heard it here first all kinds of things you heard here first so I received your might share your experiment and the what comes of it? I definitely want to know did we have some experiments being shared in the chat room? Yeah, I know we have a lot of people who are talking about their accountability partners and the things that they do to kind of keep up on all of their experiments they have someone there to share the results with sister that the traveling stamp says that I had an accountability partner for my business and it helped to keep track of my to do list have somebody there to help you plan. So a lot of people are talking about support system now, chris, for the cases that she has a sports system for the book club that she's doing, she really needs to have her book club buddies involved in the process booked out in advance. She likes having the support of the author's for the monthly book meeting, and it helps her to do giveaways as well. I love that they're all kinds of support systems, and some of the ones you might need our whatever helps you get it done, so we've been talking kind of up people, a support systems are people, you're going to reach out to your accountability partner, but your support systems can also be technology and software and tools. So what is going to help you get it done? What is going to keep you on task like a accountability partner or a timer? That something I use a lot, and how are you going to measure your progress? We're gonna talk about reviewing results in a minute, but if you don't first measure your progress when you start, then it won't you won't have anything to compare it to when you review your results, so before you start the experiment, you have to know. Okay, like, you know, I have thirty eight of these headbands, so you're starting at zero and you're moving to thirty eight. But if you were wanting to increase traffic, you have to know what you're starting at today. I don't know where you're going, so for that you need analytics. You might use paypal. You might use some other software you been using to track your stuff, actually share examples of the systems I used in the resource guide I link tio ah block post, right. Did it huge business tools I use, right. I use different tools for my daily writing. For my timer. I used tools, tio keep track of all the different things I'm working on your support systems or anything that makes this easier for you, because what we're doing here is adding something totally new to your life. And so you've got to make sure that there's it's going to fit in and not overwhelm you and not be just like more stuff for you to d'oh.