Why I Quit Stampin’ Up! ~ A Year of Review
I'm so excited to share with you all a new chapter in my business. This blog is sort of a end of year review. If you would like to check out my mid-year review, you can go to my blog post A Mid-Year Check ~ A Post of Love here.
Some of you may not know of my blogging journey so if you don't mind, I want to share a little here.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! The income I make helps me with the expenses of this blog. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
How it began
My online journey begins sometime in the mid 90s when my deaf friend, Laura, wanted to learn about this online language called HTML. She had gotten invited to a small workshop from a local business who was teaching people how to do basic html code. She asked me to interpret for that workshop. It was that workshop on S. Congress Ave in Austin, TX that my wonder and quest to have an online presence began I had no idea what the internet would become but I knew I wanted to be apart of it.
My journey has taken many forms over the past 20 years. From creating a html website from scratch to display family photographs, to helping different organizations update their content online, to using online blogs for my own business as a Realtor, and now as a crafter.
The one thing I have always wanted to do is earn a full time income from the internet. Figuring it all out was difficult. I would read here and there how people were making 6 figure incomes but I never knew if I could trust that was actually true or if it was something I could do. I always sat on the fence watching them not sure if it was actually true or if it was doable.
What was the turning point?
It wasn't until I met Jennifer Maker, a crafter, online that I thought… wow..this could really happen. She introduced me to the Elite Blog Academy and I joined in July of 2018. From there I was introduced to bloggers from all walks of life, whom were making a respectable full time income just from blogging.
I have been a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator since March of 2017. It started as a hobby but I quickly realized there was a large market for people who wanted to learn how to stamp and create beautiful cards. There is a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator facebook group that has over 25K people in it…. and that of course doesn't count all of the people who were either Stampin' Up! customers or just customers who didn't purchase Stampin' Up! but some other brand of stamping supplies. I'm not sure what the numbers are but I had the sense this industry is very large and room for lots of people like myself who just want to share their love of paper crafting… and get paid while doing it.
I was on Jennifer Maker's crafting newsletter list and one day she had emailed a newsletter and asked if I was interested in how she made a living posting her paper crafts (she is a Cricut expert). I clicked through and was placed on her blogging newsletter list. She shared her income report, which I had never seen anyone do before. I was simply amazed at how she was able to earn income from affiliate marketing, ad revenue, and her own products.
Jennifer was big on building an email subscriber list. She described how important an email list was. How your email list is the only thing you really own. Social media platforms change all of the time. One day a social media platform like Facebook or Pinterest could be sending your website all kinds of crazy traffic, and the next day they pull the switch and the water facet drys up. But if you have a robust and engaged email subscriber list, then you can reach out to them any time and drive them to your website, direct them to your affiliate vendors, or simply sell directly to them. For me it was a light bulb that just switched on. And it just made sense for me.
I had 30 subscribers at the time, and a good portion of them were just friends and family and a handful of Stampin' Up! customers. I read of Jennifer's success and how she went from 0 – 10K in 6 months. And how she took her strategy of building a large email list and created a digital course to show others how they could do it too. I decided to take the leap and purchased her List Love, Email Building for Bloggers course.
I was not sure what type of growth I would see. 10K new subscribers in 6 month seemed unlikely…. but maybe a couple of hundred. She did this full time whereas I was working on my blog in the margins. But guess what …. as I write this post today, I have went from 30 to 865. There have been even more subscribers sign up than that, but they were not my tribe and ultimately unsubscribed. But 865 in 7 months compared to 30 in the previous 8 months was huge.
The proof is in the pudding
This gave me incentive to go further. I purchased 2 other courses that were instrumental. One was Jennifer Maker's Pinterest Launch Plan eBook, and Tasha Agusto's Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers. PLP taught me how to drive tons of traffic from Pinterest, and AFM taught me how to monitize my site to earn income from sharing products I already love. Just to share with you a graphic of my pageview growth, here is my google analytics stats from when I first started my blog on August 16th to today December 20, 2018.
After experiencing this growth, I made the decision I was going to change my business model. My current business model was to create blog posts around Stampin' Up! products in the hopes of selling more product through my online shopping cart store Stampin' Up! and maybe build a down line team of demonstrators. But I quickly saw that I was not going to reach other customers to sell to because most customers already have a local demonstrator. And it is usually through those customers that you are going to potentially build a team. So I decided early on, that my long term goal would be to make my income through ad revenue, and affiliate income.
The problem with those 2 avenues of revenue, is that it goes against Stampin' Up! policy of marketing products of competitors. And that leads me to my decision of stepping down from my Stampin' Up! Demonstratorship. I have decided that although I love Stampin' Up! products and will continue to use them, and even talk about them on my blog, they will not be my main source of blog content. Stampin' Up! has been instrumental in giving me the creative outlet and the support to learn this craft medium of stamping, but now that I have more confidence in my skills, my world has just opened up to so many more vendors and brands. This is what gets me fired up and excited on what my next chapter will be.
A year in review
I would like to review where I was in July of this year. Back in July I posted a few stats from my website here.
In July here is where I was:
Average blog posts per month ~ 5 blog posts
Average page views per month ~ 483 views
My 6 month goal was:
Average blog posts per month ~ 10 blog posts
Average page views per month ~ 1000 views
So although I was not able to average 10 blog posts a month, (I averaged 5.7), I did blow my page view goal out of the water. I averaged from July to December 4321 a month. My average the past couple of months have been 6752, which is great for me considering I am not posting as many blog posts as I would like to.
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Here are my goals for my blog in 2019.
Pageviews (average) per month ~ 15K
Blog posts (average) per month ~ 7 (my previous goal of 10 per month was way unattainable but I need to stretch myself))
Creation of my own product and launch for sale ~ I am currently working on a digital course on stamping.
Attend a Blog conference ~ I have purchased a ticket to the Alt Summit in Palm Springs that I am completely stoked for!
Monthly income from all blog sources ~ XXXX (yeah I don't feel comfortable sharing this online, but I would gladly share it with you in my newsletter. Scroll up and sign up for my blogging newsletter and I will share my income reports with you.
Well my hope for you is that 2019 is all that you hope for. If that means you start a blog for yourself… I would be happy to help you in any way I can. Feel free to poke around here to get inspiration. happy New Year my crafting friend!
Thanks for sharing Brandi, your stamping is beautiful! I have taken a class of Jennifers and she is awesome!
Yes she has been a mentor of mine for the past year…