Lesson 7: Get off the teat!

10 Feb

This is the 7th part in a series of discussions about topics pertinent to Etsy shop owners (and other online operators of small business, I like to hope). And when I say “discussion” I mean “sweetie, you are still standing there and my drink hand is empty…that ‘s just basic math.”


Thoughts on Being an Independent Business Operator.

You run your own business – even if it’s just a small concern. In that business, you are independent, your own boss, maker of your destiny. You have struck out alone, away from the security of someone paying you, telling you what to do and calling the shots for you.


So why is it that every time you stumble upon something even somewhat new, instead of saying “Oh ho, I run my own business, I create things, I market them and I am intelligent, so let me tackle this new thing!” what you actually say is “Oohhh noooo…google analytics*…eeeewhat’s that?” and flick it with your finger, like it’s some sort of repulsive bug that crawled across your screen. And you follow this up with “Can someone please explain this for me?”

Can someone explain it for you?

Sure. Sure I can, I mean, I’m only working a day job, running my own thing on the side, marketing myself, blogging, producing, making dinner, cleaning the house AND somehow figuring out google analytics on my own.

It’s not that I don’t want to be helpful, but at what point between deciding to set up your own online shop and the moment you said ”heeeelp me” did you lose the ability to learn for yourself? To investigate things and at least try to solve them on your own before turning to others?

Yes Etsy has a great online community who like to help each other – but let’s help those who help themselves. I’m not a big acronym user, however one of the best I have ever been introduced to is RTFM….read the fucking manual. Before you get on a forum and ask others to do the work for you, read the fucking manual. (Also handy are STFW and JFGI – and in the spirit of the message today, I’ll let you figure those out yourself. One cockpunch to the first person to post here looking for an answer to this.)


Google analytics, for example, has a help section that walks you through the basics of using and understanding their service. Should you decide to ignore this, attempt to use it without assistance and then get frustrated, how is the response to this situation ask others to solve the problem?

Buck up and be the independent business operator you are. Take half an hour, go through the help, learn for yourself. Things you learn this way will stay with you better than anything else.

But more importantly, take experiences like this as lessons for life and your business – do not wait or expect others to give you’re the keys to things on a platter. Go out and get them yourself. Learn for yourself, think for yourself!

Of course, I am not saying to never come to the forums looking for help. But before you do, ask yourself if you have really tried to solve the problem for yourself. Are you going to be that kid in 6th grade who never did the work and just asked the kid who did the reading? Is that who you want to be? Because I will tell you that nature is rarely kind to those who do not fend for themselves. When hard times kick in, any of you still clinging to the teat will be left in the dust of those who unstuck themselves from Mother and struck out on their own.

*As Etsy has only recently introduced this ability to us this feature on their site, and as it seems that every third thread in the Etsy forums site or business help sections is about this, it is today’s whipping boy.

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10 Responses to “Lesson 7: Get off the teat!”

  1. sandysays1 February 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    Great post! Great advice! Great lesson!

  2. leah February 10, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    this whole series has been so spot-on. I have been an etsy member for a while (buyer to seller), but really started to dive in before the holidays. thank you for taking the time to spell out great advice and sometimes remind me of what I already knew!

  3. empty envelope February 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    Brilliant brilliant blog posts!!

  4. Joni Stinson February 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    I plan to return to read the entire series. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and advice!

  5. wryandginger February 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    thanks everyone!

  6. Heather February 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

    I find these posts a total cry for help. Usually people like you are so insecure or such a social retard that they need to go to places like the Etsy forums to feel important and smart. Not to mention how contradictory the whole series is. I feel sorry for you and the suckers who actually think that you know what you are talking about.

  7. wryandginger February 10, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Oohhh, what’s your damage heather?

  8. Donna February 12, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    BRILLIANT! Yeah, that’s right, I’m shouting! Finally someone said what I’ve been thinking for a while now, particularly when it comes to the etsy forum. How many threads have there been on “how do I make resin jewelry”? Well, if you’d JFGI (see, I know what that means), then you’d find a ton of tutorials on the web and dozens just on etsy alone. Every time I see someone asking a question that’s been asked a million times before and it’s clear they never bothered to look for the information themselves, I just roll my eyes. It may be a little pissy of me, but I’ve started doing the search on etsy and then posting a link to the search in the thread, trying not to be too rude, but suggesting they do a search first!

  9. keith February 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    I find that anyone who uses the word “teat” in a blog post knows what they are talking about. Momma always said “Don’t question the one with the teat!”…. just sayin…

  10. Jen February 12, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    Oh Heather, surely you jest.

    Another great post Wry.

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