You Don’t Need Magic to Run a Successful Online Shop

A guest post by artist and maker Mayi Carles.

Believe it or not, successful online shops dont happen overnight. I know, I know, we would all like to think otherwise, that a Fairy God Mother can suddenly appear + fix all our problems + transform our shops into a hit. That would be pretty sweet, but since that probably aint happening anytime soon (or in our lifetime), let me share with you a pretty awesome plan B that will seriously impact your shops success fast!

Now, come closer. Just a little closer please. I’m about to reveal my top 5 tips to running a successful shop, right here on papernstitch. Call it my secret weapons if you will. These tactics have really worked for me + Im confident they can work for you too. Plus, I just love success stories, especially from hard working + passionate creative folks like yourselves.

I don’t want to keep you waiting so let’s get right to it, shall we? Drum roll please!

My top business success secrets disclosed:

1. Listen to the little voice inside your heart. Yep, I typed that correctly. I didnt mean head, but heart. Be aware about your feelings + ask yourselves the hard existential questions “Am I happy, really happy doing what Im doing?”, “Am I doing what I was destined to do?. The rush of the everyday tends to dilute our emotions. Tip: Dont be an android + don’t be afraid to feel + listen to your heart. I promise it will take you far when you embrace it.

2. Be a real person. Doing business online can sometimes feel a little cold, but it doesnt have to be that way. Allow your customers to “see you”. Put a picture of you in your profile + write a heartfelt about page + tell your story. Allow your customers to easily identify with you, the person, not the shop, but actually I real skin + bones + heart pumping human being. Tip: The more your customers can identify with you, the more likely they will buy from you.

3. Brand + brand + brand. It must be the communications major in me or all that marketing jargon I learned in college, but the point is I’m a strong believer in the power of branding. Everything you do must support your brand + big idea + story: your logo + business cards + blog + boutique + craft booths + tags + note cards + packaging + bags + anything + everything that your potential customers see must be branded. Your clients should be able to see + feel + smell + hear your brand from a mile away. Tip: branding is very very powerful. Use it! It will be your biggest ally!

4. Take yourself seriously. Get yourself an office space + buy the best supplies you can + hire a professional to help you do what you cant + seek help + open an online shop. Dont wait for your big break. Dont wait for anyone to approve of your less than common career path. Dont wait until Oprah invites you on her show to take yourself seriously. Give it all youve got! Turn off the “I’ll do that when I’m rich” mentality. Tip: take yourself seriously + have the gut to make the important decisions your business needs to grow.

5. Surround yourself with love + support. Im not good at asking people for help. Luckily, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a loving family + boyfriend + friends around me to take care of me even when I didn’t even know I needed to be taken care of. I really couldnt have gone this far without having loving people around me. Tip: Surround yourself with loving + positive + inspiring people. They will be your fortress when you are weak + your cheerleaders when your triumph.

These are just simple things you can do for your business that can really REALLY make a difference + no bibbidi bobbidi booo magic is actually involved.

Now I need your help. Please leave your favorite business tip in the comment section below. I’m sure if everyone leaves one biz success trick we can all grow + benefit so much from our shared experiences. Your participation + supports means so much!

Mayi Carles

Thanks so much Mayi for sharing your business tips with us again this week. Read Mayi’s other posts in this series here: Tips for Selling Online and Wow Them with your Packaging

More about Mayi: Mayi Carles is a Panamanian multi-passionate artist + avid eco-friendly designer + the heart behind heartmade blog + fun indie coach. To connect with Mayi, follow her tweets at @mayicarles.

Image via Laney Butler Photography

17 comments | Click here to reply

Favorite business tip: Just get started. Often we hold ourselves back overthinking things and or saying we’ll do it tomorrow. Just do it today, just get started.

Rachel Anne

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I agree with you Rachel. Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part.


My best business tip is this

Trust yourself… if it feels right do it, if it feel wrong don’t do it, if someone is telling you to do something but you don’t think they are right don’t listen to them… nod sagely, smile and say thankyou and then casually disregard said advice!

I’ve done a lot by casually disregarding advice…


“Trust yourself” great tip feltmeupdesigns!


What great advice; thank you for sharing it! The only thing I have to add is the flip side of #2 – remember that your customers are real people, too. Treat them like friends, and they will remember it!

Alli (One Pearl Button)

So true Alli. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.


Your advice has really inspired me to carry on during a recession. I believe also that you have to have a passion for what you want to do as this drives you when the low days come along. The only thing that I would add is that organization and planning are also very important. Being prepared as much as is possible.

Diane Marsland

thanks mayi and brittni! Branding is something I’ve been working on…thanks for the advice!


Tip #3 Kills me. Yes, BrandingBrandingBranding is so incredibly important, yet it’s the hardest part. Making sure every single aspect of your business communicates the clean and clear message can be incredibly difficult. Maybe less so for crafters and artists because your art and medium can speak for you, but for marketing in general, it’s killer.

Speaking as a female who just got out of a marketing meeting on branding something and now has a headache. It’s brutal. I need a beer.

Love this post though, I agree with each point.


What a fabulous post Mayi; I love articles that inspire and encourage others. I love what Diane just said about being passionate.

It’s hard to narrow down my favorite business tips to just one, but I would say if you believe in God, ask Him for favor in your life and to bless the work of your hands, as well as to give you creative ideas and wisdom. I truly believe that tithing (or donating a portion of your store income to charitable causes) comes back to bless you tenfold. I can say that the success of Woodland Belle is due to these things. Looking forward to seeing what works for others too!


i’ve got two:

1. take it seriously! sometimes what you love to do is so fun and entertaining that it doesn’t feel like a real job. i have so much fun working that it’s hard for me to actually stop and get away from my desk. read blogs, get business advice, and do anything you can to learn how to make your shop online a successful one. and that, it’ll be!

2. as mayi said, get business cards. market your shop. market your product. market market market. be consistent. * BRANDING IS KEY * you want to create a brand that people actually remember. if people remember you, or your logo, you’re in for success. and if you start growing, i recommend registering your brand. protect it and get a trademark.


my tip comes from a friend (

be as resourceful as you can, in every way you can. sometimes we think we need things, when we really don’t need to spend money on those things. use what you have, in information and free resources. sometimes the solution to making your business happen and grow can come from a chat with friends, a visit to the library or some simple jotting down of what you really need, what you know and matching that up to what you already have.

Mayi + Brittni, thanks for lots of great advice on both blogs today!


ohhh waoooo! paper n stitch readers are on fire. this tips are AMAZING!!! thank you so so much for sharing. i’m going to have to do a part II of this post to include all those awesome pointers.

alli: i love your point about treating your clients as human beings + not as buyers + walking wallets.

van: i know branding is a tricky pain in the but, but damn does it pay of when done well, right? i think a biz without a story/brand identity is like a clown without a red nose. it doesn’t work 😉

diane: i love you brought up passion! that is such a HUGE part of my business. well like 90% of it. great point.

mai: hi girl. thanks for always reading + supporting my posts here on pns. i love reading them every time. i also have to admire you so badly for donating part of your work to charity. you have inspired me to start giving more. i really need to make the leap to philanthrophy.

Mayi Carles @ Heartmade

what a great article as I’m just getting started with my business. and all the comments are wonderful and valuable as well. my little mantra right now is to take one step at a time. sometimes i want too many things at a time and the disappointment can be big when I don’t accomplish everything. but now with all those tips at hand nothing can happen. thank you so much for the post.


I’m nearing the end of my first year with an online shop and have heard advice from many corners and learned an incredible amount, but I guess the most important thing is an echo of your the tip in this post of listening to yourself…my advice is that you have to make and sell the “product” or art that is truly your own. It’s easy to get caught up in the notion of trying to make what you think will sell, but I don’t think that’s a good plan for the long haul. In the first place, the world needs creative people to be making the thing that only they can make and secondly, the making and marketing and branding will come easier if you’re true to yourself and all of it will sustain you over time….as long as you’re true to yourself!

Patti Roberts-Pizzuto

I would have to say my best business advice would be to be true to what you really want. The vision may have to be tweaked a little here and there to fit into your business model, but all in all you should listen to yourself. I’ve had so many people try to make my business into what they see it as. They give me ideas trying to help but some are things that just take me further away from my dreams. I’ve learned not to read too much into what other people say. I appreciate criticisms and take them into consideration. At the end of the day, I have the final say though. Let’s face it, the reason you started the business was so you didn’t have to listen to a boss:)

Brooke Tighe
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