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Welcome to Voetsy

Voetsy is an online marketplace and creative community that brings together talented sellers and buyers looking for something unique

Month: July 2018

Tips for setting goals: Making a THIS List

Being a human is hard. Why is it hard? Because we want to be better all the time… we want to achieve more, do more, learn more, get more, be more. And what makes that so hard you ask? Well, because we’re human.

Human beings are designed to achieve under stress. I’m no expert but it probably has something to do with our ancestry and having to catch our own food. You’re not going to bring down a buffalo dinner by taking it easy, right? Or keep yourself alive in a predator infested wilderness chillaxing under a tree, no sir.

Fast forward a few years and now we can buy our dinner and pepper spray, so what’s so hard about achieving anything these days? Well, our brains didn’t get the memo on it being 2018, and are still kicking into stress mode when we’re trying to get stuff done. And let’s be honest, we’re trying to get a lot more stuff done these days than we ever did back in the good old days. No club wielding cave woman had to worry about getting a good nights sleep so she’d have enough energy to wake up, make up, get the cubs up, dressed up, fed up and ready for cave school… all before arriving on time and raring for a busy day of berry picking.

We are constantly trying to do much at once, and this is sending our brains into “Where’s the lion?!” hyper drive on a minute to minute basis… although it’s more likely a scenario of “Where did I save that document I need for my deadline”, or “Where is the printer toner?”…same thing to your brain. Now again, I’m no expert, but I’m thinking that your brain being in constant fight or flight mode is going to lead to your body eventually finding itself in give up and go down mode. Being constantly stressed is obviously no good, and you don’t need to search for my PhD’s on the wall, they’re not there… you know it, the world tells us this, your mind and body are screaming it at you… And all of this stress and multi-juggling is helping you achieve what exactly? You got it, zip. So not only are we busier, stressier, and unhappier than ever before, we’re actually achieving less.

So what to do? How will you take back the steering wheel of your life from the over-caffeinated squirrel that’s driving your brain with the brake line cut and with the GPS set for Burn Out town? Personally, I’ve found that writing stuff down helps manage the brainado (brain tornado).

If you’re like me and have a million and ten things whizzing around in there, including the squirrel imagery now, you’re Helen Hunt in Twister hanging on for dear life to a pipe and staring into the eye of the beast. Minus the hero dude who helped strap you in, and minus the happy ending where the beast blows away eventually.

It’s not just about writing things down though, although brain dumping (as beautifully visual a term as that is), does helps tremendously. It’s more about committing yourself to achieving something through the systematic and less frenzied act of committing pen to paper and planning. It’s about setting goals.

So after scouring through some great articles on Entrepreneur, an idea began to form. Goal setting is essentially turning “that” into “this”. It’s bringing some seemingly far off thing you would like to have into your immediate reality, and making it real for you, everyday. Turning that thing you want into this thing I have. Goal setting becomes about establishing your “this”, how you’ll go about getting it, doing that, and tracking your success.

So let’s look at setting a THIS list:

 

This is yours

When setting your goals, it’s important to know that your “this” is really in line with what you want, deep down… all the way down, be honest now. Setting goals that are truly important to you will ensure you stick to them, kinda obvious. Also, your goals may include other people and this doesn’t fly. If it’s not for you alone, and doesn’t involve only you, you can’t fully control the outcome. Don’t include other people in your “this list”, they don’t care as much about your this as you do, they have their own bag of this’s to carry around. Once you’ve figured out what you want on your list, take some time to think about what your reality looks like with this goal achieved. How is life different, how would you feel? Spend some time really, really, getting into that story and exploring all aspects of how this would change your life, and hold on to that. Consider it done, and keep considering, and then consider it some more. Do whatever you can to enforce that story… if it means cutting a picture of yourself out and sticking it onto a picture of a Ferrari’s driver seat (or a tropical island), you do that, and look at it everyday. Sounds weird, but you will enjoy that picture regardless. Positive thinking and owning the reality when our brains have visual cues, is that much easier…so find someone with mad Photoshop skills or attack your magazines, and have a good time with it.

How you’ll get this

So your goal is the big shiny light at the end of the tunnel and all you need to do is walk through the dark towards it, simple right? Not quite. As any parent with children who own Lego will tell you, the night is dark and the floor is full of foot terrors. Also, well known fact that your pinky toe is biologically designed to find furniture in the dark. I digress, squirrel. My point is, you need to have a plan when it comes to getting to that goal. You can’t just head out into the darkness without considering all aspects of the terrain you may encounter, Lego-less or otherwise.

Map out your game plan, consider all the risks and/or problems you may encounter, and above all… find ways to get there and tell yourself you can no matter what. Also, give yourself time, Rome really wasn’t built in a day, which is probably the most factual thing in this article and completely researchable. Put your self critic in that way back there dusty cupboard in your brain when doing your planning, the one where your high school and clown thoughts live. Bring out Oprah instead, and check under your chair because when you’re planning to achieve something, you need a positive thought, and they need a positive thought, and everyone needs a positive thought!

Is this being rewarded?

Setting goals and sticking to them is hard. Let’s not even pretend that it isn’t…the world would be a much different place with less credit cards and McDonald’s outlets if that were the case. So reward yourself. When you hit a milestone on your map, be sure to include a reward for yourself for achieving that milestone. Don’t reward yourself for hitting potholes, we tend to reach out for all things sugary, chocolatey and bad for us when we do, it won’t help. You need to be good to yourself in the whole getting to “this” process. It’s hard what you’re doing, out of your comfort zone most likely, and you need to be your own BFF through this.

So, who’s got you in this?

Speaking of BFFs… Your support structure is everything. Yes, it’s your goal, and yes you’re doing it for you… but we all need a someone who will help keep us at the wheel when the squirrel has had an extra hazelnut double espresso. There are people in your life who can act as a mentor, to whom you will turn to for much needed advice and who knows something about your “this” and getting it. This could even be someone well known, like a motivational speaker you can follow and watch on You Tube. There could be people you might need to influence to achieve your goals, if you’re in sales for example. Getting to the heart of being a good influencer and doing your research would be key to getting their support. Other people will help introduce you to just the right people you need to interact with to get your “this”. Always be open to new people, they might just know or have exactly what you need to achieving your goals. Most importantly is your Jarvis. Where would Iron Man be without Jarvis? We all need someone who is going to be there with the facts, and possibly some thinly veiled sarcasm, to keep us on the straight and narrow. If you can’t get your hands on a super advanced artificial intelligence that can tap into most of the world agencies archives to provide you with answers, then turn to the next best someone in your life. Jarvis can’t hug Iron Man, and you may need one or two of those to cheer you up, so I’m sure your sidekick is probably better anyway, maybe.

So there you have it, my two cents worth on goal setting. I wish us the very best of luck in beating the squirrel and getting on track to getting our this, whatever that may be.

Happy listing,
Nicole@The Voetsy Blog Team

 

How to make everyday a Mandela Day

Hey Guys,

 

Today is the internationally recognised day in honour of Nelson Mandela. Organisations and people from all over the world are creating awareness around this special day and the significant actions they are taking to contribute towards it. We thought we’d take a look at how each and every one of us can make every day a Mandela Day.

 

#1

 

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela

 

The take away from this profound message is bringing about change and knowing that the change begins with us. This takes shape in our daily actions, whether we are aware of them of not.  Similarly, the difference we make to others is present whether we know it or not. The key is mindfulness, to bring that awareness to the forefront of everything we do for sustainable change. Have a look at the short list below and see whether you can tick one or all three off, just from your daily activities today?

– Showed kindness to someone

– Thought about a few things I am really grateful for

– Offered a helping hand to someone in need (emotionally, materially, physically etc.)

“We must use time wisely and forever realise that time is always ripe to do right” – Nelson Mandela

#2

“We must use time wisely and forever realise that time is always ripe to do right” – Nelson Mandela

Learn, grow and develop every day! We are so consumed by time and never seeming to have enough of it that we learn to forget to make time. I know a person who absolutely hated their commute to work, “wasted time”, they would nag on. Until one day to utter amazement, it became almost the best two hours in the day. You see, this person found a way to make that time their time and used those two hours every day listening to educational pieces of work, be it either study notes or best-sellers narrated to them via their car speakers, thanks to an awesome little app by Amazon, called audible. The point is, this person “made time” which made all the difference. Instead of getting into work or home, frustrated from the commute and inevitably frustrating those around them, they arrived relaxed, more positive and excited to share what they had learnt.  How are you making time?

 

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it” – Nelson Mandela

#3

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it” – Nelson Mandela

These are daily words to live by, to bring to the forefront and make time for, every single day. It really comes down to being mindful and a few small actions that make big differences, every day.  We heart the ongoing Mandela Day campaign that drives sustainable change and encourages people to spread the word of positive change created by people, groups and organisations. If you want to know more or get involved and make a change, why not pay them a visit on www.mandeladay.com

 

Happy Mandela Day – Everyday J
The Voetsy Blog Team
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The only vanilla cupcake recipe you will ever need… ever!

Howzit Guys and Gals!

We are hearting our Voetsians hugely this week! So we want to share with you, the only vanilla cupcake recipe you will ever need. We mean it, ever!

This is one of those obscure recipes that gets passed from kitchen to kitchen on crumpled icing stained handwritten notes, so we can’t validate the origin. Obviously we have tried and tested this recipe, several more times than is the recommended daily allowance, and can verify it’s awesomeness with two icing coated thumbs up. It is quick, easy and honestly the best cupcake recipe we have ever tried… and there have been quite a few in the quest to cupcake greatness. So without further ado, here it is!

Ingredients:

2.5 Measuring cups of flour

2 Measuring cups of sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 Measuring cup milk

0.5 (half) Measuring cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 Large eggs

1 Measuring cup hot water

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line your cupcake tins with cupcake papers

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl mix your milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs.

Add your wet ingredients to dry and mix well.

Slowly add hot water to mixture while blending ingredients.

Fill cupcake papers to half way.

Bake for 15 – 17 minutes.

*Makes 24 cupcakes*

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A few things we used and will recommend with this recipe… People, spring for the vanilla extract, not vanilla essence. Yes, there is a difference in price but it’s worth it to get that magical vanillery goodness. We also used our Kenwood mixer to blend everything that needed blending on a medium speed for about ten minutes. We recommend an electric mixer… unless you’re in training for some triathlon and could use the extra exercise… it’s up to you, we’re not, so electric mixing for us.

Trust us, once your morsels of golden deliciousness come out the oven, they’re good enough to eat as is… but for those of you who like a little extra yummy on your yummies, here’s a buttercream icing recipe too…

This recipe comes from Cupcake Jemma, so we claim no credit to it whatsoever, and we lavish heaps of sugary goodness and blessings on her for sharing this on her you tube channel.

Ingredients:

200g softened butter

450g sifted icing sugar

2 Tbsp milk

1/2 (half) tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Beat butter for 2-3 mins (on medium speed with a mixer non-athletes)

Slowly add icing sugar (reduce to low speed)

Add milk and vanilla extract

Beat for another 10-15 minutes

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Some added notes from us, really, when we say slowly add the sugar… we mean slowly… the longer this stuff whips up the better. Watching Jemma’s video will definitely help explain better than a recipe. And yes, the extract, again.

So there you have it folks, the best vanilla cupcake recipe and butter cream recipe to match.

You’re welcome.

If you need samplers to check if you got it right, please feel free to get in touch and we’ll send you an address you can send your samples to, no stress at all, we’ll gladly help.

 

Happy baking!

The Voetsy Recipe Blog Team

Do you have a great idea that could make you money? Consider selling through an online marketplace

If you have a great idea, whether it’s a product you’ve designed or make yourself, or even a great service you can provide to people… Chances are, you’ve thought of how you can make money with that idea, right? You’ve probably entertained the possibility of being able to use an online platform of some sorts, after all, you’re spoiled for choice these days with all the available ways to advertise online… and maybe you’ve even heard of ways to sell your products through an online marketplace. But what is an online marketplace, and what are the benefits?

Wikipedia defines a marketplace as:

“A type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. Online marketplaces are the primary type of multichannel ecommerce and can be a way to streamline the production process” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_marketplace>

What you could take away from the above is that, multiple sellers with (possibly) multiple products can sell online through one platform, which is managed by a single provider. We could liken it to a grocery store that stocks many different products, all produced by many different manufacturers. The customers have a variety of choices and are able to purchase just about everything they might need, and because of the nature of some human beings (myself included!), manufacturers increase sales chances for their items that customers might not necessarily need, but see and buy anyway. Sounds like a good idea to have your products visible in a central place that is known and frequented by people for their product offerings, isn’t it? Convert the grocery store to a website that allows for multiple vendors to list products with a checkout and payment facility, and you have an online marketplace.

So, let’s get back to your great idea and why a marketplace is a good choice to make money from it…

Your online presence – good marketing takes time

Creating a way to generate awareness about your idea on your own is all good and well, and can be done very simply… but you have to be able to increase that awareness by linking that one way to other ways of being seen, therefore increasing your online presence. Sounds easy enough right? Until you start doing some research online and realise that this will take time, lots of it. You see, it’s not just about checking your interesting newsfeed anymore, as a business owner it’s about generating the interest yourself. Doing this requires good content and regular check-ins and interactions, frequently and consistently.

As Debra Sinclair, founder and director of community engagement at Liquid Mango Consulting, says in the article “6 steps to an effective social media presence“, an effective digital presence takes time to cultivate and maintain,

“Consistency is the most important thing – you need to be creating content, publishing and engaging online as often as you can.”

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I’m willing to bet that your great idea probably takes a large chunk of your time too, time that is better spent creating your business offerings rather than the awareness about them. That’s where a marketplace can help.

The nature of online marketplaces themselves organically increases more traffic than the average website. This is due to having many vendors invested in the promotion of the site they are selling on through their own marketing means, that very same site you would be selling on. There is sharing, liking and mentioning by family, friends, and friends of friends that you’re not even aware of, but that will increase traffic and your own business’s visibility. Added to that is the proactive marketing that the site owners would undertake themselves, after all, your business is their business. They will be investing a lot of time, and probably money too, into promoting the site as much as they can and creating traffic generating content consistently. This means your customer reach to larger audiences is increased without you really having to do a thing.

 Online marketplaces – saving you time and money

On the subject of time, we’ve looked at how online marketplaces save you time by doing the heavy lifting from a marketing perspective, now let’s look at other ways you save both time and money.

Creating a store on an online marketplace is inherently designed to be as quick and easy as possible for you, the vendor. In as little as an hour or two, you can have opened a fully functioning online store that is ready to sell. Your product images and descriptions can be uploaded, your store and shipping policies set, and you can even customise the invoices your customers will automatically receive.

Compare that to the time involved in creating a standalone website, which can take months to achieve, and it’s really no comparison at all in terms of time saving. Not to mention the huge costs involved with developing a fully functional e-commerce website, registering and hosting a domain, securing payment gateways and enlisting the services of specialists to ensure everything is place, technically and legally. Marketplaces most likely will charge you a fee, either monthly or commission based, or both, but these fees will most likely be comparatively lower than the fees you would pay for maintaining your own website. Far less hassle too.

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“Especially for small business owners, who don’t have the resources to establish their own e-commerce business or website, a marketplace allows them to build a reputation and gain visibility without expending a significant amount of cash.”  – Kevin Jessop, The Marketplace Model: A Proven Model for Success & Why the Shipping Industry Should Adopt It

There may also be marketplaces that have the option to open a store with no monthly fee at all, which means even greater savings and ultimately more profit to grow your business.

 Improved customer experience – online marketplace tools for success

Now that we know how an online marketplace benefits you as a seller, shouldn’t we be thinking of how your customers can benefit too? Of course! A positive customer experience should be a number one priority and is key to selling successfully, and ensuring your business’s sustainability through repeat business.

There are a number of reasons why customers are choosing online shopping, as outlined in the article by Ida Domingo on Odyssey titled, “7 Reasons Why Online Shopping Is Better“. One of those reasons is customer reviews.  More and more research conducted about online shopping behavior is finding that customers are placing a lot of value on reviews, and in most cases, that reviews will actually sway their decision to buy or not to buy. To have customers be able to review your products is one of the features that online marketplaces provide. Having great reviews on your storefront is a powerful selling tool and one you can easily achieve through providing great customer service, and of course your great idea.

Another online marketplace tool that helps you provide that great customer service, is your product descriptions and store information sections. One of the appeals to online shopping that customers enjoy, is the fact that they can find out a lot more about the product they are purchasing online than they would when shopping in a conventional retail store. Providing your customers with detailed information about your products and services through your storefront, is a guaranteed way of building credibility and giving your customers what they need, thus improving their shopping experience.

When your customers engage with you, never underestimate the importance of providing them with feedback. Every review is important, be it good or bad, because it tells you what you are doing wrong so you can fix it, and what you’re doing right so you can continue doing that. Responding effectively to customers through the various communication channels available to you through an online marketplace, is a great way to ensure that personal touch that people love and ensuring happy loyal customers.

Lastly, you are a customer too! Online marketplaces rely on your business to do well, and so should provide you with all the support you need in opening up your store with them. You as a seller and customer, should expect to be given all the information you need to run your store, have a store that functions well, on a site that is being well promoted and you should have additional options and features that will enable your business to be as successful as possible. Exploring an online marketplace’s website should give you a good indication of whether or not your expectations will be met.

The online shopping movement – be where your customers are

According to the PayPal and Ipsos third annual cross-border commerce report, South Africans’ online spending is forecast to be over R53bn in 2018. There is an upward trend in the e-commerce industry that is only set to grow as more and more people use mobile technology to do their shopping. So if your customers are buying online, where you should you be selling? Online, correct!

Don’t get left behind in the e-commerce trend. Do some research to find out what a marketplace will offer you and if it will be a good fit for you and your business needs, and get your online business up and running. You can turn that great idea of yours into a profitable reality in no time.

Happy Selling!
The Voetsy Business Blog Team
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