Remain humble and hit those milestones
Hayyyy! If you follow me on Instagram I mentioned a few days ago about my Etsy account being blocked. Before signing up for PayPal and Etsy I did actually read the terms and condition. Not word for word, but enough to fully grasp the benefits and some conflicts about using these services. That was about 3 years ago and most of that info has been pushed to the back of my brain. Well last week I was doing my routine of checking emails, coupon hunting and looking over orders when I noticed my Etsy account had a block notification. My first thought was "whyyyyy" mainly because I didn't know how long the block had been on since I don't usually check my Etsy through the website (app is so much better). I inputted my TaxID number and being looking at more info about this foreign 1099K form. The exact words on the form starts like this "You have received this form because you have either: (a) accepted payment cards for payments, or (b) received payments through a third party network that exceeded $20,000 in gross total reportable transactions and the aggregate number of those transactions exceeded 200 for the calendar year." Basically, I had received the form because little ole me hit 200 transactions on Etsy.
Now lets break this down so you can understand my excitement. I had reach my 200th transaction. It was just April 1, 2016 and for the year 2016 I was at transaction 200. Now, thats only 92ish days into the year and I had surpass what some do in a year. An average piece of work in my Shop sales for $35 average --- I'm pretty good at math and that's about 7k! By the time I did the quick math in my head I was screaming. Even though this is NOT my net profit because as an independent artist, I pay for all my supplies (shipping, art supplies, even those thank you notes), I pay overage on shipping (because it's no need to hassle a customer for it) plus there's also transaction fees from Etsy. By now, I think you get the picture! My morning was made.
This is what separates a humble artist from one who's arrogant. I one can't take all credit for what I do. I have very strong faith that keeps me going, along with a very strong support system that I bother at all times of the day about my ideas. Then there's my 7thousand followers on Instagram and all my customers who have purchases from me, sent me feedback and reviews and just shared my work. Without all of this I know I wouldn't have made it to 200!
I think sometimes hitting a milestone can make us forget that it still takes hard work and humility to press on. If I just stopped and kept bragging about transaction 200, I wouldn't have had time to market myself, talk to customers and reach transaction 201! Sometimes we get so caught up in our own success that we become stagnant. I also hear this big argument of "I'm more talented then him/her, or I'm smarter or more qualified." Not saying that talent/smarts/skills are irrelevant, but it's not the end all. It's your work ethic and that step you take even after you know you made it to the top. That's what matters. There are some people who are "famous" because of just good looks or popularity, but I'm not talking about those (nor do I really care about them). What really makes me a fan of someone's craft is the background, the work ethic, the customer service and their journey. I don't know about you but I want to be able to say to myself "I deserve this" when that money hits my bank account not "they owe it to me because I'm great and reached 200 transactions."
One thing I'm learning during this journey to take everything in. It feels good to hit a major goal in my eyes, but it's not the end. I just have to outdo my self by July now. Staying positive and remaining humble is really the way of life!
Tips for milestoning
- Don't be afraid to ask questions (I ask my mom everything)
- Open a business bank account
- Look over your stats weekly (every website has a stat/metric section)
- Celebrate your accomplishments
- IRS isn't that scary (if you're doing the right thing), you have a local office that can answer your questions, plus their website is pretty helpful