Friday, June 07, 2013

My Two Cents on the Discontinuation of Bonuses for our Zazzle Stores

The last twenty four hours has been a bit insane for all businesses under Zazzle due to new policies that eliminate our bonuses. Bonuses can be huge for the heaviest hitters down to just ok for lesser stores. It's not pretty and shopkeepers are upset, understandably. It all hinges on us all being better at marketing and promotion. I'm pretty good (above average but no whiz by all means) at these things but not nearly as good as the top pros, who really know their stuff, scoring huge checks on affiliating and marketing ventures. The bottom line to it all is this: it's all about money, not about sentimentality over artists and their businesses. It's the corporate way, and it just marches on, no matter if you like it or not. None of us like it, but honestly we can't change it so it's best to make our views known and figure out ways to recoup any losses we may have. It's business, plain and simple.

Being on my own since 17, I've had to scrap quite a bit in life by working hard. My childhood was privledged but my adulthood hasn't been, not really. I have learned to live well on what I have and am proud of it. By learning via free programs to use the computer as a temp in my twenties (since I couldn't afford to take courses in computers anywhere), and taking courses for free with coworkers while working office/corporate jobs, things that formerly didn't seem possible to do got done. All along, I did my art and ran my little business, gathering clients and referrals. Now I don't need those so much, relying on my knowledge and also dealing with Zazzle. Awhile back I had a store at CafePress, but bailed on it because it no longer profited in my favor. When they took away our ability to set our own royalties and wanted us to work for close to nothing, I closed my store and moved to Zazzle.Fast forward to now. Despite losing our bonuses, I am still able to choose my own royalties and will continue on as long as that option is given. It is corporate nature for them to want to profit more and more as time goes on, and make cuts accordingly of benefits, etc. I've seen it in real marketing jobs I've had. My attitude is to have a Plan B, Plan C, D, E..and so on. Always. Corporations I've known are loyal to themselves, not to their workers. It's all about the bottom line at the end of the day and I get that. There's no room for emotion and sentimentality. And that stands for me, too. If they become a liability to my bottom line, I have alternatives to take my store to. It pays to stay cool and not get overheated about the politics of business, instead it's necessary to roll with the punches and think up answers. It's a big puzzle to be figured out. Always was and always will be.

In the Town Hall Meeting today, it was one big slugfest. Kind of reminds me of the freaks slugging it out on Jerry Springer's show. I observed it all, but threw no punches, just asked for answers, sat back and observed. Bottom line is that I'm going back to do my work as always, choosing my own royalty settings and carrying on as usual. I am not phased by the insanity and emotion of that meeting. Not much good came of it, just lots of people blowing steam. It's understandable, but getting mad doesn't fix anything. So, it's back to business as usual and I will ramp up my marketing efforts all the more, without spamming. It's business, the art is the easy part. I'm a firm believer in not keeping all my eggs in one basket. Why my store is not only on Zazzle but also on other sites across the internet. It's survival, plain and simple.

For my friends who are panicking over this new policy, don't. Keep calm and Zazzle on. The volume bonus was only one part of our income, not the whole thing. Life goes on, keep working, keep your options open and don't get overly reactionary..turn that anxiety into action. Do whatever it takes to find answers, improve your business, and keep going. I have boundaries. If Zazzle crosses them in the future, I will move to another site and keep going. Until then, it's best to go with the flow, and do whatever is needed to grow the business. The term "starving artist" is silly and untrue. You only starve if you don't work at it hard enough. Change happens so it just takes some adjustment here and there. These are my thoughts on the situation. I refuse to let the marketing turkeys get me down :)