Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why Join?

Why Join a Team? 
Why Join This Team?

I wanted to take a moment and talk about why I joined this AWETeam (Art Walk Etsy Team).

First, an introduction:
I'm Marsha. Here is my "About" page on Etsy.
I am the current 2013 Captain of the AWETeam.
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio, 2013 Captain of the AWETeam
My Etsy shop is Marsha Neal Studio.

This is how and why I got involved with the AWETeam.

As anyone selling on Etsy that wants to succeed by following most of the guidelines and tips that gets tossed your way for "Etsy Success", I wanted a fast way to get my work out there in front of as many people as possible. I wanted to expand my audience visually.

I saw a link in one of the Etsy Team Newsletters for First Friday Art Walk on the calendar, clicked through and found the AWETeam.

I joined the team, and at the time I had also just picked up being Captain of our local Delaware Etsy Street Team, and was trying to find ideas to get members there involved too. Basically we got involved by "tagging listings" to participate. Tags are a hassle to deal with. Easier now then back a few years ago, but still - it's a huge time suck because you have to deal with individual listings. So that really died off in a few months. Awesome...

My Original Thoughts About This Team:

1. I can join this team and get my work seen every month!
2. I can help promote the week before First Friday to get the word out about this monthly event, and not worry too much about it the rest of the month (it is First Friday right?!).
3. I can help make treasuries to promote the team. I can help write up blog posts. Help share items and treasuries socially when I'm included in one or notice something I really like from a fellow team maker.

You know where that lead right...
I dabbled a little. Life got crazy for a bit, so I slacked off. Who doesn't. I had questions about the team, Is there an actual Event? Well - it is First Friday. So I guess that day is the "event" right?
I have no idea.

Clearly this team and it's members had a great "family feel" to it when I joined. But somehow it seemed to me that people were a bit burned out. Not just this team, but all over the place, Etsians seemed to be turned off from the changes going on at Etsy with the Forums being turned into Teams, and things being a bit chaotic and new all over the team boards. Not to mention all of the social media outlets popping up, and the way people were communicating was making things even more thin on the team boards.

Things change constantly with technology and with life. And volunteering your time for a team can be draining if you are not "getting" anything out of being part of it. This does not mean sales. This also pertains to relationships made on the team, common connections, events, leads, funny stories, etc.

Not to mention that you SHOULD be focusing on your work, and checking in with teams here and there. 
Not 24/7...

Back in August 2011 my personal family life all of a sudden started to get over run with family member sickness and deaths, volunteer responsibilities taking up too much time. It was crazy. And I just could not keep up with any of the teams I had joined as I had to focus on life and my business.

Towards the end of 2012, things finally seemed to lighten up a bit for me. I started to refocus and try to say "No" to more pleas for volunteer help. It was then that I was approached by Chris, the Captain of the AWETeam (she had taken over for Sarah as Captain back in the summer of 2012). Life and other commitments had gotten the best of her, and the AWETeam really wasn't getting a lot of member activity, and we discussed options, one of which would be closing the team.

My first instinct was: I have no time to lead another team. I am volunteering for 4 groups as is (3 Etsy related), running my business, and having a family (my kids are 5 and 3). 

But my heart and head stalled that reply and said to me: C'mon Marsha...

One Last Hurrah...

Overhaul the team. 
Get new goals set. 
Set things up to run as best they can with minimal upkeep and effort.
Re-work the idea of involving Location and Theme based teams seriously this time.
Talk to Etsy Teams. Apply for their Grants. 
Make this something awesome to be a part of for 12 events a year.

Apologize along the way to the people that don't like change and let them know that there is a clear goal. It may be a bumpy path, but the result can be amazing if things work out and we go about things slow and steady, keeping an open mind and not getting spread too thinn.

So here we stand. 

The end of February 2013. 
An overhauled team. 
Trying to get people (shops) and teams involved for a blog hop style "Event" for First Friday.

How awesome is it going to be to sit on your computer device and click away and see new AWETeam member work!

To Blog hop all over the world via Location Teams threads!

To check out Theme Related Teams to find things you are into but had no idea how to find them!

Our AWETeam now has threads for:

~ THE EVENT: First Friday Art Walk Weekend (monthly)
~ Welcome and Role Call (annual thread to keep info updated for active members)
~ Chat (hey, what's up?!)
~ Treasury (team and non-team)
~ Colors and Seasonal Theme Threads (a place to put your items that "go" to give our shoppers and treasury makers a pool of similar related items to pick from).

We have a new FaceBook Page.
We have a new Twitter Page
@FirstFridayEtsy to chat with us. 
#AWETeam to link up First Friday Events with us

This blog itself is in for an overhaul and making it look "Clean and Artsy".

And that is just the basics. 

There are lots more that can be done to keep things fresh here all month long.
Maybe follow up posts from things that happened at live local First Friday Events from Etsy Artists participating in local art walks...

Being part of teams is something you do not only to promote your work, but it is to help build a sense of community for yourself and others.

To have a common goal and have fun getting there. 
And it really does not take much effort to be part of a team, not really.

Doing easy things, like commenting on a treasury, adding it to your favorites, sharing it socially, commenting on a team thread every few days (at very least, once a month) to say Hi. Look around the discussion boards and add a quick comment on something someone posts to encourage them or at least acknowledge them makes you both feel important. And that builds good feelings and connections, and builds community and makes us a team.

Can you imagine doing that on a regular basis?
What about 12 times a year?
What about for the week before First Friday?
Maybe even randomly through the week?

If you said Yes. Then consider joining up with us.
Be part of something bigger.
Make your work, share your work, and help with our community by promoting and connecting.

Click HERE to join.

I'm going to go work in the studio for a bit!
Hope to see you on the discussion threads.
And to celebrate the March 1-3, 2013 First Friday Art Walk Weekend in just two days!

2013 Captain of the AWETeam

PS - As a child, I loved "Go Dog Go" by P D Eastman:
I always REALLY wanted to go to the dog party on top of the tree. 

And for me, that's how First Friday Art Walk is. Like that Dog Party. I really didn't realize that until after I quick doodled this out yesterday.
Disclaimer: Figurative and representational drawings are not my strong point.
I was never allowed to take art classes until I decided to take Ceramics in college, for which I have a Masters Degree.
I was previously educated to be an Entomologist concentrating in Wildlife Conservation through the University of Delaware.
And for what life has put at my doorstep, I've got to have a good sense of humor:

Marsha's Interpretation of First Friday Art Walk Party

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