Merriam-Webster defines team as “a number of persons associated together in work or activity” Etsy says that “Teams are groups of organized Etsy members who network, share skills, and promote their shops and Etsy together.”
I’ve been thinking about the teams I belong and have belonged in the past and my experiences vs my expectations thus far. I think that teams and guilds (as they are called on Artfire) serve different purposes for different members. On the whole though, participation is key. Each member needs to ACTIVELY participate, at the level that is required in that particular group. As defined by Webster, teams are “associated together in work or activity”. One can’t actually associate if limited to no interaction occurs. Right?
So, #1, member participation is key.
What should member expectations be of the teams to which they belong? When I first joined etsy, I joined two fairly large jewelry focused teams. At the time, one of my biggest reasons for doing so was to sell more items in my shop. Now, with a bit more online experience under my belt, I see that this is a poor reason to join a team. Teams, in and of themselves, can’t help you sell more goods. They can, however, help you gain a better understanding about how to make changes, either incrementally or other otherwise that may lead to your sales increasing.
I think teams are the means to an end, not the end itself. And the distinction is an important one.
I think that one should expect a team to provide
• Shop/Studio appearance advice
• Photography tips
• Entry in to larger team events like group sales/specials and/or group purchases
• Skills and knowledge sharing around proper artist technique
• Marketing advice, experimentation and brainstorming
• Minimal, if any, strife or infighting among members
Potential members should not be asking a team “what can you do for me”. Potential members should be asking THEMSELVES what are my expectations and how can I contribute to this team in order that those expectations are met.
Personally, my experience has been that the smaller teams are a better fit overall for me. I’ve found that the larger teams tend to deteriorate into a large mass that depends on a core smaller group to do all the work, essentially that team’s own mini team. Over time, it seems like this leads to grumbling from the mini team’s members, which isn’t particularly helpful.
I also like teams that are comprised of a nice mix of experienced folks as well as newbies. The experienced ones can coach the newbies and the newbies bring a fresh outlook and point of view that the experienced ones sometimes forget about.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that any team I join will be around for the long haul. Participation wanes, life intervenes. It is what it is. But I think that we, as members, should define our expectations up front and perform a bit of homework to determine if a particular team meets those expectations. Then after deciding to become a member, continually evaluate expectations vs reality. Adjust as needed.
What do you think? What has worked for you? What has failed miserably? What important components did I miss?
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