Any of you who read my Facebook Page will see how annoyed I am at Etsy’s recent “business tests”. Etsy is an online marketplace which consists of a large collection of artisan owned stores mainly selling unique handcrafted items. Etsy’s growth has been phenomenal over the last few years and a lot of their sellers have grown their businesses successfully under the Etsy umbrella.
I too have a tiny shop front on Etsy selling my little animal tea cosies and I’ve had quite a few sales there but I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that my sales are very much subject to the whims of the Etsy management. In one moment they could close down your shop and wipe out any income stream. Indeed some shops have been closed down because their owners have been a bit too honest and vocal on the Etsy forums.
I think that having your own domain name and separate online shop would be a very good back up plan and if you can plug it as much as possible you could in the future move away from Etsy’s not terribly altruistic grasp. I’ve done this already with Crystalmooncat.com (this is my shameless plug!)
This got me thinking on other ways we relinquish control to others. At the moment the energy companies have us by the short and curlies here in the UK. Because we depend on them for our heating and power they can up the prices whenever they want, usually when there’s an R in the month. Same with petrol companies. I can drive past my local petrol station and see unleaded petrol at 128p per litre and an hour later I can drive back again and see it’s gone up to 129p per litre. (This usually happens right before a Bank Holiday).
Supermarkets can increase the price of your weekly shop at the push of a button. I remember once after years of shopping for my cat food at Tesco, I switched supermarket and started to buy it from Asda. After just a few weeks of this I got a load of money off vouchers for cat food through the post from Tesco. Coincidence or what? Of course they were able to track my buying habits through my use of their Clubcard.
Litter piling up in your street? Council street cleaning services not as thorough or as regular as they used to be. Your local MP developing selective deafness and or spending all their time cosying up to local bigwigs? OK we voted them into power and a certain degree of government control is necessary to run our Health Service, Foreign Trade, Police Force etc. But I would like to see our MPs a bit more accountable, a little more fearful of their constituents and that maybe cozying up to and actually listening to a homeless person without a film crew present would go a long way to giving a bit more control back to the ordinary man or woman.
In the meantime I think we could all be a little more self-sufficient. Granted installing solar panels or a water filtration plant in your garden is not cheap. But learning a bit of basic plumbing, carpentry, cooking from scratch can all help. Also insulating your home as well as you can afford to and maybe start saving up for a couple of solar panels. Has to be better for you than the latest 100 inch wide, 3d time travel, olfactory sensory tv screen that serves 3 course meals during the ads. As for litter in your street just go grab it and bin it! My lovely Bloggy friend Ilona from Life After Money just rolls up her sleeves and gets picking up. She describes one of her litter picking events here. Maybe if more of us did that we could take control of our streets again and restore a bit of civic pride.
Financial Independence has to be the key. To have enough money to cushion you from redundancies, interest rate cuts, burgeoning transport costs has to be the Holy Grail in terms of cutting your puppet strings. I have to recommend Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez
Read this and you’ll be reaching for the scissors!