blog post tips
Before I share my new video I want to talk about something that’s been on my heart a lot lately. The other day I was in one of my favorite big box stores, wandering the aisles looking for craft supplies, lately this store has been stocking their shelves with things that seem similar to what I sell in my own store, items that look like they are hand painted and vintage but are actually manufactured over seas and sell at a lower price point than my hand crafted goods.  I’ve been a shop owner for 20 years and a creative entrepreneur  for almost 30, I’ve sold hand made Christmas ornaments at street fairs, I’ve made jewelry for Nordstrom, I’ve worked until my eyes went blurry filling online orders, I’ve auditioned for HGTV, I’ve hosted flea markets, sold my work wholesale at trade shows and the list goes on… everyday I watch many of my  creative friends doing  what I like to call’ the Hand Made Hustle’, which is basically trying to juggle many tasks  at the same time to build a business, in a very saturated over stocked market place.

For me, posting a typical project goes something like this…

Step One– troll Pinterest for some inspiration, find something that catches my eye and then try to create a new thing that is totally different, for example this weeks Mermaid Sunglasses were inspired by  these Donut Sunglasses from Studio DIY.

Step Two– Shop for supplies, this will often involve yard sales, flea markets and the above mentioned big box stores, I found this giant spool for my last project at an antique mall down the street,

new video roll out
Step Three– attempt to make the thing… often the idea doesn’t work the first few times, the giant spool table failed twice and ended up being a month long process, ( two months if you count the hours of procrastination).

Step Four– film and or photograph all the steps, involved in creating the project. (usually a two day process or longer) I have love/hate feelings about step four, I love sharing the tutorials but I hate being slowed down by the process of recording the steps, when I get in the creative zone stuff starts flying, messes are made and time seems to stop, all I want is to be totally in the moment of creating something new. Recording the steps takes you out of that flow, you need to be aware of lighting, sound, camera angles, batteries dying and is my hand blocking the shot. (also things like does this angle make me look chubby,  does the lighting make me look old, and do my fingernails look cruddy?)

Step five– edit and record narration and voice overs, this step takes 20 hours if I’m lucky and 30 if theres a lot to cover, there have been times when I had to redo the same on sentence many times, editing can be grueling because it’s basically  boiling down a three day process into 5 minutes, sometimes as I watch myself played back and I’m taking too long to get the words out I want to yell at the screen, “Debi get to the point already geeze!”

Mermaid shades
here I am trying to explain how to make the Mermaid Sunglasses…

Step Six- Get a beauty shot of the finished project and create a thumbnail, this step is  very important, it’s what sells all of your hard work and entices people to click on your post or video. Here’s the beauty image for this weeks project,I set up this  shot over two days ( the first day it was too cloudy and the photos looked grey) I took about 60 photos to get one that I liked.

yoyoutube thumb mermaid shades
Some of the sharing sites I submit to, don’t want any text so I also have this shot but I like the first one better…
mermaid shades square no text
Step Seven- promote your work, this is usually a day or so of work in itself , pinning  the images writing a blog post, sharing it to Facebook, Facebook groups, Twitter, Instagram and third party sites like CraftGawker and link parties.

Step Eight– Answer comments. Getting comments is one of the best parts of  creating content and sometimes one of the most challenging, because some of the comments that I get are rude.  I try to see the humor in the not- so- nice comments, I like to formulate an imaginary reply  in my head but never actually send it, it makes me feel better 🙂  I’ve heard others talk about how they deal with hate comments they say things like ” the haters are unhappy souls, try to have compassion for them, feel the anger and release them back into the universe, pray for them and know that it’s not about you”.  Sometimes I do pray, it usually goes something like this, “God please help me to restrain myself from replying back to this person!” and sometimes I do send back a snappy little remark 🙂

Here’s a screen shot of some of my favorite comments, as you can see it’s a mixed bag, most of the comments I get are wonderful,  and the ones that say things like “you’re a nut job or” you’re as crazy as a box of frogs” I actually love those.  Even the downright rude remarks… I do  end up laughing at later, after I’ve had a chance to let it roll… The comments that are truly hate filled or abusive get deleted and banned.

comment  mash up

Step Nine-  Find a way to earn revenue from all of your hard work and time spent, this step is important, because  spending 40 hours a week on a hobby is not realistic, this is my job, it’s a job that I love but there are bills to pay. which brings me back to the title of this post, How do you earn a living as a creative in a world full of big box stores and internet giants?

There are many ways to earn money.  I’ll list a few…

– monetize  your blog or video  with Google ad-sense or other advertising

-create sponsored posts or brand deals

– sell products used in your tutorials, sell classes or kits using the products that you love and sell

-create e-books or online courses in your area of expertise.

-create merch this could be t-shirts, aprons jewelry and many other things centered around your brand.

* Note if you want to optimize  all of the above you might first consider the big ‘Why’ question…

This, in my opinion is what sets niche businesses apart from big box stores and websites that seem to dominate online shopping, I’m just going to share some basic stuff here but if you want to know more I highly recommend reading Primal Branding by Patrick Hanlon

So what is this” Why”?

Let’s take  this weeks project as an example… “Why?”   what drives me to work so hard? , what do I believe?  Why do I do what I do?  These questions are important because they influence the decisions we make as consumers.

I follow people that I feel a connection with, they hold beliefs that align with mine, their content or products create experiences that enrich my life. As a result, I’m fiercly loyal to brands that I love  I’ll go out of my way to purchase products that may cost more because I believe in the product and what it stands for. I personally love Apple products because Apple changed my life,  there was a huge turning point after I purchased Apple’s One-to One education program with my first computer.I have attended over 50 sessions, the trainers have always been encouraging and enthusiastic and they taught me how to make videos, something I never thought I could do on my own.  When I walk in to my local Apple store they recognize me and ask me how my Youtube channel is going. It’s doubtful that I would have a Youtube channel today without the help and support from the team at Apple. My business would be very different without video content.  I probably would not have been offered my own Paint line and you most likely wouldn’t be reading this.

channel screen shot
   As a result I own several Apple products, you would probably have to force me against my will to buy any other brand. I base my loyalty on my experience.

I think that creating a great experience for your customers is key, and also something that many brands overlook. If you want to offer the best possible experience, it’s important to understand what motivates you, so you can make that clear in your marketing and incorporate that message into the products you offer your customers.

When I asked myself the BIG why question, the answer was, I want to encourage others to do what they think they can’t do,  I’ve done so many things in the last three years that I never thought possible, like make videos, take good photos, navigate social media and be entertaining in front of a camera. I wish that it hadn’t taken over 40 years to realize that I I could so so much more that I ever imagined.

I own a store because I love  tranforming old vintage things I love taking something beaten down and dirty and making it beautiful,  but even more than that, I love to see transformation in people, when a viewer or a customer  gets excited about createing  something that they didn’t think they could… that’s the best thing ever and that is ‘why’ I do all that I do..

I love encouraging  the retailers  who sell DIY Paint in their own stores across the US and Canada to make videos because I know that video is one of the best ways to create a connection and share their own message. When one of my retailers gets excited because their videos are watched and appreciated, or a viewer comes to their shop to buy paint from them, DIY paint becomes so much more than just selling great products.

I love see the photos of what you have made, and  if one of my ideas sparks inspiration for you to create something, that the true reward, the revenue just allows me to continue to do more and share my message on a bigger platform.

With every project I try to incorporate my why message,  “DIY because you can”.  I don’t edit out the mistakes because  my job is to share what can go wrong so you can avoid it.  I try to show my authentic self  because I hope you will think “if she can do it maybe I can too.”

What is your why? We all have one, it may take some time to discover what it is but when you do, I believe that no retail giant can stand in your way.

I hope this weeks project will  inspire and entertain you and if you would like to make your own pair of Mermaid Sunglasses, I’ve packaged up all the fun goodies and put them in a kit for you, its wrapped up in a cute box with a QR code that links to the video so you can also give it as a gift 🙂 or keep it for yourself  you can check out the kit here.

And now here’s the video!


As always, Thanks for watching!



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