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The Merriweather Council Podcast

The Merriweather Council podcast, hosted by Danielle Spurge, is all about celebrating the reality of gainful self employment through craft. This is a podcast for art and design entrepreneurs - makers, etsy sellers and shopify users! Featuring tips, insights, advice and tough love for handmade business owners in concise format. Focused on sharing realistic ideas and personal experiences with the nuances of handmade business in mind. If you are working to turn your crafty tendencies into profits, tune in every Tuesday and Thursday.
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Jun 17, 2021

On this episode, I’m sharing 5 reasons to love The Council in 2021 and basically 5 reasons why I really want YOU to join The Council!

The Council is our membership experience for handmade business owners. 2021 is our 5th year! I can hardly believe The Council has just turned four years old. In that time, we have worked with hundreds of makers and seen so many incredible victories among them! After all these years of working with handmade business owners, I have found the flexibility of the membership format to be an asset to small business owners as we cover these topics and the community element to be absolutely crucial. We LOVE hosting The Council and fostering the community we have there.  I am passionate about helping small, craft-based businesses succeed and this is the way I’ve chosen to deliver the education and support we know makers want, need, and value.

You can get all the details about The Council at jointhecouncilnow.com to learn how it works, what’s inside, and who is there to support you. 

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/158

Jun 15, 2021

I don’t want anybody to feel bad if they did this, but this is not a good strategy.

It’s not wise to do this. This concept can apply to any platform. This is not specific to Etsy. As I said earlier, this is something that came about because of Etsy but many platforms already offer more than ten image spaces. You want to always be mindful of what you are including in listings. Don’t just use space because it’s there. Use space wisely.

If someone discovers your listing (yay!) and they click into it (yay!), they explore some of the info (yay!),  scrolli through some of your images (yay!) that is all exactly what you want!! If someone has gotten that far into your listing, and is that deep into looking at your product, why on earth would we want to distract them with a graphic that indicates they should stop what they are doing on the listing and leave the page to do something else? 

If you put a social media handles or opt-in coupon image in your listing, you are interrupting the buying process.

If someone has gotten through image one, image two, image three, image four, image five, image six, image seven – if they are that far into your listing, if they have gone into your listing that deep, it is your responsibility and opportunity to convert that person to make a purchase! Your listing’s purpose is to convert sales, not to grow your social media following. 

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/157

Jun 10, 2021

Do you ever feel like you know how to do a lot of things and how much knowledge you have from your years of random online learning and freebie gathering and yet… still struggle to make progress in your business?

I've been there!! (I do not feel nostalgic for it, but because I learned some vital lessons, I will revisit those wayward years today for the greater good!)

On this episode, I am diving into why that happens. I'll be answering the age-old (just me?) question: Why do we struggle to achieve our goals, and what do we really need to reach those goals a little bit easier? 

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/156

Jun 8, 2021

It’s no secret that as a business owner you will, at some point, usually multiple points, have unhappy customers. While unhappy customers are less frequent than happy customers or customers we never hear from, either way, customer service is a daily activity in any business.

It is true that customer service exists at every turn, but the part of it that I’ve noticed is trickiest is at the very end of the transaction, specifically if someone is unhappy.

What should you do, as a handmade business owner who wants to remain human and friendly but also not have anxiety and stress over what to do with customer service issues that might come up?

Drum roll, please… You have actually probably already done it: it’s your policy.

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/155

Jun 3, 2021

The idea of launching a product line usually brings up one of two emotions: YAY or UGH.

(Both are entirely valid!)

If you feel more UGH than yay, I get you. I, too, dislike using the launch model in my own business.

The launch model I am referring to is one you are probably familiar with. It starts with teasing out a new product line for a few weeks before launching it live for sale at a certain time on a certain date. Usually, there is some fanfare in that build-up process and on the launch date! It might involve a mailing list, email blast, social media campaign or even the help of influencers. It tends to be a multi-faceted project and quite a bit of work concentrated on a single ‘event.’ 

Launching is a semi-popular approach particularly for product-based businesses and many handmade business owners enjoy it! (I’m not one of them but many sellers do love it.)

I get asked about product launching quite a bit and I’ve heard a variety of concerns. I am going to address as many of those today as possible!

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/154

Jun 1, 2021

Today I am diving into the quandary of consistency in business. So elusive! What does “consistency” in business actually look like? What does it mean when we say we want more consistency? And why does it sometimes seem unattainable or frustrating to accomplish that at times?

We are ALL always looking for consistency in business, usually, that means sales but it could mean other things like subscribers or followers, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

Is this achievable? I believe that is! BUT we have to work on what we REALLY mean when we say it. Like, truly define what we mean when we say we want consistency.

Consistency is too loose of a term for most of us to feel secure with. 

If we give ourselves a more liberal and realistic view of consistency then we have the opportunity to celebrate and ‘succeed’ more often!

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/153


May 27, 2021

Here at The Merriweather Council, we are VERY pro-Etsy. That is probably pretty obvious by now. However, we are also huge proponents of having your own standalone eCommerce site in addition to Etsy. (We recommend Shopify for building that standalone site!)

We wholeheartedly suggest handmade business owners have both!

We love Etsy and believe it’s the best marketplace handmade business owners have available right now. 

Are there things I wish they would change? Of course!

I’ve been in a relationship with Etsy for nearly 11 years. Just like any long-term relationship, there are things I have found I don’t LOVE. But, for me, none of these issues were deal-breakers. 

There are a lot of great features of Etsy, and one of those is choice. Sellers can CHOOSE to use many functions or not. Such as shipping labels, sales and couponing tools, listing videos, and on-site Etsy ads.

You’ve likely heard me say I do not recommend using Etsy’s on-site ads. I am not against on-site ads; I just don’t think you need them - I know you don’t need them! Further, it’s not the best use of a marketing budget.

But a little explanation might be helpful here!

For full show notes and all mentioned links please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/152


Disclaimer: This content is published by The Merriweather Council. The Merriweather Council is not affiliated with Etsy Inc. Etsy is a trademark of Etsy Inc. We write about Etsy, from our own experiences, not for Etsy.



May 25, 2021

Every year I make an effort to deliver this message regarding the summer sales slump to help you get proactive and manage expectations during this time so you can turn your slump into your most valuable season.

This is about using summer wisely to avoid a lack of focus and preparing for a successful holiday season!

My hope is to make this summer sales slump feel less scary and to assure you that it is very, very normal!

I want to give you the heads up on what you need in order to maximize this season of summer and the season that's coming after it based on what I know from real-life experience.

In this episode, you’re going to learn the three major pitfalls that most makers fall into during the summer months that you definitely want to avoid. It will also cover the timeline that you need to understand and know how to work with. Plus, the five key pieces to turning your slump into the most valuable season.

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/151



May 20, 2021

I don’t work for an algorithm.

I understand that every platform has best practices and things it’s good to be aware of. I’m okay with basic rules and guidelines, but I’m not okay with being told I shouldn’t even bother unless what I want to do will make an invisible robot happy. That is so discouraging and toxic.

I don’t have any issues with the existence of the algorithms on any platform. I understand and support that there has to be an algorithm in place; otherwise, things would move so fast it would be useless. 

Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and other massive platforms handle so much content from so many users and deliver it to so many users; there needs to be a system (algorithm) to manage it. 

The algorithm is a huge part of what makes those platforms functional and enjoyable as a user. Are they perfect? No. Are there a million things about it that we don’t know and don’t understand? Yes.

My issue is with the culture surrounding the algorithms - and the messaging that seems commonplace to appeal to the algorithm or don’t expect to get anywhere. This is not a positive or encouraging message.

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/150








May 18, 2021

At one point or another, I believe all makers will receive a message requesting information related to HOW they make their products and with what materials exactly.  I know this is a moderately controversial topic in the maker space, and as always I want to remind you that we do not have to agree on this at all.

Everyone gets to choose how they run their business - it’s important that we all respect the choices other business owners have made even if they aren’t the same as the choices we would make for our business.

Of course, those kinds of prodding supply questions could come from potential buyers who have a particular interest in something that is not currently outlined in your shop, for example, ‘is it vegan’ or similar.

Often though, these inquiries come from people who just want to make what you make, either to bypass the purchasing process thinking it will save money (does it ever?) or because they do already (or want to, or think they want to) sell that same sort of product that you do.

It’s entirely up to you how you handle these situations. Some people don’t mind being asked and will share freely. 

Others feel it is an invasion of privacy, and that it threatens their business in some way.

Some people simply don’t want to spend their time teaching or educating, as it is not their jurisdiction - not their thing, not what they are here for.

There is no right or wrong answer here. 

You don’t even have to react or respond the same way each time. 

In any event, here are three possible ways you can react or reply to questions about suppliers or when people inquire about your trade secrets.

For full show notes and all links mentioned in the episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/149.






May 13, 2021

The ever-popular topic of Etsy SEO is on the docket for today, so let’s chat!

What is Etsy SEO?

Of course, when we say Etsy SEO, that means Search Engine Optimization specific to Etsy’s native search engine. Etsy SEO is a common focal point for Etsy sellers, maybe even to a fault.

What I really wanted to highlight in today’s episode is the reality of search ranking! There is a lack of perspective here that is causing some unnecessary drama and anxiety for a lot of sellers.

I hope that in breaking this down by the numbers, I can help shift the mindset about SEO and the desire to rank on the first page of results.

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/148.


May 11, 2021

If this is your first time joining us for an episode of The Merriweather Council Podcast,  well, you’re diving into the deep end today.

I’m okay with it if you are!! ⚠️ Just a fair warning: this is one of my soapbox topics, and I get so fired up about this!

Today I am doing an extended rating of the coupon types makers in business tend to offer. I did a short version of this on TikTok, but 60 seconds was not quite long enough for all the many things I want to say. 😏

If you are currently offering any of these or more than one of these, please don’t feel bad! You might love these, and that’s entirely fine. If NOTHING else, I genuinely hope everything we do encourages you to build the business YOU want to run. If that includes doing something I’m not a fan of, so be it! I’m a bigger fan of you doing you than anything.

I’d rather you hear this perspective and decide for yourself what’s good than NOT hear it and figure out in a year from now that you actually don’t want to be offering these.

For full show notes and all links mentioned in this episode, visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/147

May 6, 2021

✨ If your product went viral tomorrow, would you be ready?

Small business owners are so lucky to have an abundance of tools at our disposal for creating and sharing content right now, such as Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok. I know that can be overwhelming at times, but it is a good thing overall.

There are so many ways to create content and places to publish that content. Content is being consumed more than ever. It’s probably ‘easier ‘ than it has ever been to go viral. 

But what does “going viral” mean?

For the context of this episode, “viral” just means you are getting a lot more attention than you usually average or anticipated, rather quickly. 

Going viral can be fantastic for your business! It can create a lot of visibility and increase your sales short or long term and help your business grow! A viral post can lead to even more new opportunities! It can connect you to more of your ideal customers. 

Whether you are trying to go viral or not, you want to be able to handle it if you do, in fact, find yourself in a place where your product has suddenly blown up overnight.

It is important to remember that, as business owners, the closest we can get to being ‘in control’ is to be proactive. 

Being proactive will help you to maximize the exposure for as much good as possible.


For full show notes and more tips on how to prepare your business to go viral, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/146.

May 4, 2021

Pricing handmade products is so challenging, but this is a critical topic (obviously.)

Today I’m recapping some of my top pricing reminders for handmade business owners because I know the struggle is very real, and I need to hear these things more than once, too! 

If you are a long-time listener of The Merriweather Council Podcast, you have probably heard some of these things before - maybe even more than once! I wanted to smash them all together so we can drive this home! Pricing is such a vital topic in ANY business, and I know it is difficult to feel confident about pricing in handmade.

For full show notes and all links mentioned in this episode please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/145

Apr 29, 2021

⚠️TOUGH LOVE ALERT ⚠️

I’ve posted about this on Instagram before, and it always seems to ignite a little fire. No one cares about your Etsy sales number besides you.

Etsy is not a perfect platform, but it is a damn good one. We believe it is the best marketplace handmade business owners have right now. 

Sellers (and some buyers) often gripe about Etsy changes, but for me I find this one UNCHANGED thing is my biggest grips: displaying the seller’s sales number on the homepage of the Etsy shop. It’s been this way since day one and hasn’t changed.

The fact that Etsy publicly displays your sales number has ALWAYS seemed ridiculous to me.⁣

For years, I have heard so many sellers express discomfort with this number on display so publicly.

Etsy sellers take it to mean something about them and their product or as an indicator of success or failure.⁣ It’s not.

For full show notes for this episode and a list of all episodes visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/144



Apr 27, 2021

What problems do non-essential, luxury, handmade products solve?

Great question, maker!

Oh, you’re only asking because it showed up on some ideal customer avatar worksheet? There’s a reason you keep bumping into this question. It can be hard to answer. 

You might think of other issues people regularly seem to seek to fix like weight loss or better health or learning a new language or skill. Again, likely your product doesn’t address those.

The problems your product does solve are still worthy of investment though. The people who have those problems absolutely agree.

Your non-essential, luxury, just for fun, handmade item DOES solve someone’s problem though. To figure out what problem that might be, you need to expand your understanding of what a problem is.

For full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/143.






Apr 22, 2021

I’m excited to dig into the big sometimes-scary topic of investing in your business today. 

For the past ten (nearly 11) years, I have been operating and making financial decisions about my businesses. I have spent about half that time working with small business owners full time, so I am very familiar with all the hesitations and concerns of making business investments. It might surprise you to know that I have found most of those concerns are the same regardless of how significant the investment is.

It’s important to note that investing and spending money is so personal. How and where we each spend our money is our business. It’s absolutely none of my business what you choose to do with your money. I am regularly asked about investing, though. I want to give my response to those inquiries a bigger platform here on the blog. 

For full episode notes and links mentioned in this episode visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/142.

Apr 20, 2021

Season 8 of The Merriweather Council Podcast has landed! I cannot believe this is the start of our 8th podcast season!! 

If this is your first time listening to The Merriweather Council Podcast, welcome! The Merriweather Council is a female-owned and operated small business that provides support resources for makers in business. Our mission is to lead makers to turn their crafty tendencies into profits and become empowered business owners who thrive on their own terms.

We have already published over 130 episodes of The Merriweather Council Podcast; you can see them all right here. To kick this season off, I will highlight one episode from each season that is worthy of the re-listen (or first-time listen!)

For full show notes for this episode and links to all the highlighted episodes please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/141.

Dec 10, 2020

We’ve made it to the end of another season of the merriweather council podcast! It is always bittersweet for me to end a season but I truly hope you enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed making it!

To end this unexpected year, I thought it would be fitting to look ahead. Has a new year EVER been more anticipated?! (Probaby, but I’m not old enough to remember another one so it’s at least been a few decades.)

2020 HAS BEEN A ROLLERCOASTER! 

One for the books. A LOT happened… to say the least.

Because of *gestures widely at everything* all the things going on, the fact that you decided to tune into this podcast, a podcast about building a handmade business, is extra meaningful. We are so honored you allowed us to be a part of your business this year in that way!

With 2021 nearly upon us, I do of course think about my own goals and plans but, I think about yours, too! I am curious – what’s next for you? 

WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS IN 2021?

No clue? Too many ideas? Can’t decide?

I hear you —  the new year can feel really intimidating and abrupt. There are two things I like to do in order to transition into a new year smoothly: Make no ‘resolutions’ – i set INTENTIONS instead, and I like to get a head start on the year so it’s less of an abrupt spiral into a new reality and more of an ease into a new way of things. 

Find success in 2021 with Intentions

It’s much easier to flake on a ‘resolution’ than an intention. With a resolution, it feels like you’ve failed the first time you veer off course. With an intention, you are always SUCCESSFUL as long as you are working, because as long as you have intention at heart, you’re winning, even if you fumble a little bit from time to time. 

Whether you’re feeling a bit ‘deer in headlights’ about 2021, or if you have full clarity, resolution or intention (or whatever you like to have!) we would love to help you make big things happen in 2021.

To find out more about setting realistic intentions for your business and to see the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/140

For a full list of episodes visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/podcast

Dec 8, 2020

Today, I want to explain myself. 

I want to tell you why I've been holding out on you. We have shared a lot of information with you since 2015, when we started focusing on the education side of the business. I've shared A LOT. Over 120 podcast episodes, countless Instagram posts, videos, and other pieces of content… I've shared a lot!

There is one thing I haven't shared, though.

I haven't told you the four hacks to skyrocket our sales… because they don't exist. I cannot tell you about them because, well, there aren't any.

Any such tips masquerading as such are just that: a masquerade. There is no such thing as '4 hacks to skyrocket your sales.'

For all links mentioned and full show notes for this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/139

To see a full list of episodes please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/podcast



Dec 3, 2020

This is an essential message to the person who steers the ship in your small business: you.

The C.E.O.

C.E.O.

Y-O-U.

We get lots of emails and messages here at MWHQ from small business owners looking for advice, guidance, and support. We have noticed that many are not in the correct place, mindset-wise, to really receive and make use of even the best advice that we could possibly give.

And that is NOT a call out. That's a call FOR! I'm calling for you and all small business owners to step into a C.E.O. state of mind to become better equipped, mentally, to make use of any and all advice and guidance that befalls you!

For full show notes and links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/138

To see a list of all Merripodcast episodes, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/podcast

 

Dec 1, 2020

Overwhelm is everywhere.

Things 'to do' pop up everywhere - TikTok lists, IGTVs, Pinterest pins, posts in Facebook groups… everywhere you go that entrepreneurs hang out, you will hear and see people talking about things you absolutely MUST DO to be successful.

It's impossible to avoid seeing them, and it's tough not to let these things take hold and rule your time if you aren't in a place to know how to react to them.

Being an entrepreneur can be very overwhelming, and we are inundated with information. The good news is, there are not, in my opinion, a lot of MUST-DO things that apply to everyone.

Today we are talking about the misconceptions of must-dos and things we KNOW you do not need to do. More importantly, we are talking about the things you need to HAVE and BE to be successful.
Let's dive in!

Connect with me on instagram @merriweatherc

All of the resources mentioned in this episode can be found HERE: merriweathercouncilblog.com/137

To see our full podcast lineup, visit: merriweathercouncilblog.com/podcast

Nov 24, 2020

In the past TEN years (oh my goodness, y'all), I've filled thousands of custom and personalized orders – and I've learned a ton! It's a whole different ball game to do that kind of work than it is to batch produce something and ship it once it's ordered, as I am sure you can imagine. That sort of work has a it’s own set of pros, cons, challenges and nuances, too.

If you are considering offering custom work or personalization in your product line, I hope the insights I'm sharing from my experience will be valuable to you in making that decision and having some foresight to work with as you go.

To get the full show notes and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/136

For a complete list of all episodes please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/podcast

 

Nov 19, 2020

No matter what niche you are in, no matter what kind of product you sell... sales becoming sluggish or stalled sometimes is normal. ALL businesses have slow times. Just like all businesses have busy times!

One of our goals here at Merriweather is to empower you to weather storms, deal with challenges and make progress even when things feel hard and I am hoping this episode does help you feel more informed and empowered.

The first thing to do here: remind yourself, it's normal, and it happens. 

Next, consider this a bit of a gift. We are all continually trying to find time for things, aren't we? I think most people are looking for some extra time on most days. Consider a slow spell, an opportunity to catch up on something that's been lingering, or a chance to explore something new that's been on your list. You might have tasks that have moved from one month's to-do list to the next several times already. Get those things done! Take the time and make it useful to you. Anticipate that things will not stay slow forever and prepare for things to pick back up. 

I know that telling yourself it's normal, and looking on the bright side won't always make your worries about it go away. Likely, that will not be enough, which is why we have a list of questions you can ask yourself if your handmade business experiences a slow spell.

For the complete list of these questions and all the links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/135

For a list of all Merripodcast Episodes, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/podcast

Nov 17, 2020

If you feel drained and overwhelmed by social - you are not alone, and there are plenty of reasons that might be the case. One of them is merely feeling clueless about what your audience wants to see from you. I know for a fact that this one question creates a ton of anxiety and lots of hurdles for handmade business owners who use social media with the hope of casting a wider net for their business and connecting with existing fans and customers.

What kind of content should you create for your social media and email audiences? What do your followers want to see from you on social, in their inbox, or wherever else you show up for them?

The great news is this question has a straightforward answer. Your followers and audience members want to see you showing up as a confident, independent, capable, creative business owner.

Better news: there are LOTS of ways to do that. There are many ways for you to show up and exude confidence, independence, and creativity on behalf of your business.

For full show notes and all links mentioned in this episode, please visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/134


For a full list of all Merripodcast episodes, visit merriweathercouncilblog.com/podcast

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