Thursday, February 24, 2011

Betterfly - An Interesting Concept For Arts & Crafts Teachers Or Anyone With A Teachable Skill

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog or Tips For Crafters On the Web you know how much I like to "play" online and try out different websites.

You also know from my "I Love Crafts & Craft Blogs" that I love arts & crafts and would like to learn just about every kind of arts & crafts category there is.

Unfortunately, with a list like the following: Altered Art, Americana, Angels/Faeries, Animal Crafts, Apparel Making, Applique, Art, ATC's, Baby Crafts, Baskets, Bead Crafts, Bear Making, Birds and Birdhouses, Bridal Crafts, Broom Crafts, Cake Decorating, Calligraphy, Candle Making, Card Making, Cartoon Drawing, Carving, Ceramics, Children's Crafts, Christmas Crafts, Clay, Cloth Crafts, Colonial Crafts, Computerized Sewing, Cottage Crafts, Country Crafts, Crazy Quilting, Creative Embroidery, Crewel, Crocheting, Cross-Stitch, Cupcake Crafts, Decorative Painting, Deco Art, Decoupage, Digital Art, Doll Making, Dried Florals, Drawing and Sketching, Dyeing, Egg Art, Embellishing, Embroidery, Fabric Art, Felted Crafts, Fiber Arts, Floral Crafts, Folkart, Food Crafts, Fragrance Crafts, Garden Crafts, General Arts and Crafts, Glass Art, Gourd Art, Graphics, Hat Making, Home Decor, Holiday Crafts, Illustrations, Japanese Crafts, Machine Embroidery, Miniatures, Mixed Media, Mosaics, Native American Crafts, Needle Felting, Needlepoint, Origami, Painting, Paper Crafts, Papier Mache, Pen and Ink Crafts, Penny Rugs, Pet Crafts, Photography, Plastic Crafts, Plush Crafts, Pocketbook Making, Polymer Clay, Porcelain Crafts, Pottery, Primitives, Printables, Punch Needle, Punched Tin, Quilling, Quilting, Retro Crafts, Ribbon Crafts, Rubber Stamping, Rug Making, Rusty Tin Crafts, Santa's, Sculpey, Sculpture, Scrapbooking, Seasonal Crafts, Sewing, Shabby Chic, Silk Florals, Stamping, Stationary Design, Soap Making, Spinning, Stenciling, Stitchery, Tatting, Terra-cotta Crafts, Textile Art, Tile Crafts, Tole Painting, TyeDying, Victorian Crafts, Videography, Vintage Crafts, Watercolors, Wearable Art, Weaving, Wedding Crafts, Wire Art, Wood Crafts, Woodland Crafts, Woodworking, Wool Felt Crafts, Wreath Making, and Yard Crafts it would be nearly impossible for me to learn everything on the list.

For me there just isn't enough time in the day or within my lifetime to learn everything I want to learn.  My list is just way too long. But I'd like to try.

Given the above, when I received an email from Jeremy over at Betterfly my curiosity was piqued. Here's what Jeremy's email said:

Hi Linda,

I recently came across your crafts blog, which I really enjoyed reading, and so I wanted to introduce myself. I work for Betterfly.com which among other things, has one of the largest directories of craft teachers in the U.S.(http://betterfly.com/category/crafts-hobbies-amp-games). It provides a lot of utility for people who teach or want to learn about crafts and is also good for finding activity partners.

Betterfly has been featured in the New York Times and was named one of the top 10 job sites for service providers--like craft teachers--who are looking to turn their service into a paid gig.

I wanted to get on your radar, and I hope you'll have the opportunity to check out the site and pass it along to your readers, colleagues and friends if you like it.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd welcome the chance to give you more information either by email or phone.

Thank you,

Jeremy


I thought, "Now that's an interesting concept. I should check it out." So I did.

Well, if I wanted to learn just about anything on my enormous list then Betterfly would be a good place to start.


Betterfly is a website that, according to them, helps you "Be Better. At Anything."

Betterfly is the free and easy way to find the best people - not companies - to help you learn, look and feel better.

When you're looking for someone to whip you into shape, push back your cuticles, or teach you how to handle a knife (in the kitchen!), Betterfly matches you with the best person for you. It's that simple. Because nobody's perfect.
We all have a talent to offer. You might already be a dance teacher, speech coach, hairstylist, or SAT tutor. Or you might be really good at something and want to earn some moola doing that thing you do. Betterfly gives you the free resources to easily create your own page and connect to the people looking for you.
So, if you're an arts & crafts teacher or service provider (like a hairstylist or barber) Betterfly provides you with the ability to attract more customers by becoming a "Betterist."  And, if you're someone looking to find someone who could teach you something (like knitting or sewing, or how to draw, etc.) then Betterfly can help match you up with someone in your area who can do that.

And, they go one step further.  Not only can you search for "Betterists" by criteria but you can book appointments, read reviews of their services, and check when they may or may not be available.

Each of the "Betterists" can create a mini "Betterist Site" website that contains 6 tab pages: an overview tab that tells perspective clients about themselves, a services tab that tells what they have to offer,  an availability tab which provides a calendar of when they are available and allows prospective clients to book an appointment, a qualification & reviews tab which lists their education and experience as well as reviews of their services by clients, a resources tab where you can add a photo or a document or a video or an audio file, and a blog tab where the "Betterist" can create blog posts.

Clients or users of the Betterfly website also have a personal profile page where they can write reviews of the "Betterists" and list their goals, interests, activity partners, and their Betterists.

There is also a dashboard that tracks messages, notifications, and account settings.  It also contains information for the Betterist on their appointments, earnings, clients, analytics, marketing tools, and their booking & payment settings.  For the clients the personal profile section of the dashboard tracks appointments (upcoming and past), transactions (current, past, and Betterfly Buck), interests and activity partners.

Clients or users can pay for the services they want through Betterfly and Betterists can specify whether or not they will allow users to pay them through Betterfly.  According to Betterfly: The client who is booking the appointment pays no fee at all, other than the cost of your appointment, of course. The Betterist accepting payment pays gets charged a 5% fee on all money received online. So if you get paid $50 for your piano lesson, Betterfly will put $47.50 into your account. We call money received online for an appointment Earnings. The 5% is a small fee that helps Betterfly cover some of its costs, such as credit card processing fees.

Betterists do have some control over who can book them and pay for their services through Betterfly.  According to Betterfly: Betterfly has created a number of cool features to put you in control. One option allows you to limit online booking and payment to just Clients you’ve already worked with. Another feature allows you to set a cancellation policy whereby anyone who books you online must pay you in advance and loses 100% of the service cost if he cancels- and there are many more options for you to discover.

For the clients or users who are booking different "Betterists" services being able to pay through the Betterfly website is very convenient.  For the "Betterist" having the Betterfly website handle the payment process is also very convenient.

One of the ways to pay is through Betterfly Bucks which clients or users can use. According to Betterfly: Betterfly Bucks are currency used on Betterfly to do everything from paying for appointments with Betterists who accept them to giving gifts to friends. The only type of Betterfly Bucks that can be redeemed for money are Betterfly Bucks that have been Earned.

If you are teacher or a personal services provider (like a hairdresser, etc.) then Betterfly is a very interesting concept. When you think about all the different areas for learning and all the different personal services there are then the possibilities for matching consumers with the right "Betterist" become endless.

However, you don't just have to be a professional service provider or a teacher. Betterfly could as easily be used by students seeking another student as a tutor and vice versa. Someone to help them become just a little bit better at something they want to learn.

Right now most of the application seems to be matching users with Betterists in their area.  However, I don't see why it couldn't also be applied to e-classes, especially e-classes where the instructor is available for chats at specified days and hours.

Expanding this concept to include e-classes would considerably widen the playing field. Think of all the possibilities for learning something from the best person in their field despite where they are located.  The application of e-classes would truly expand matching the right user with the right Betterist - no matter where they are located in the world.

Betterfly is an interesting concept not only for arts & crafts teachers but for anyone who has a teachable skill.


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals- "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Example Of The Power Of Facebook With Corporate America


I thought you all might be interested in the following story which is just a simple illustration of the power of Facebook with corporate America. It's in regards to a cross-stitch kit that I finished from Dimensions (aka EK Success Brands).


Last December 2010 after I finished my "M'Lady's Chateau - Dimensions Gold Collection Cross-Stitch Kit" I decided to tell Dimensions about my review of their kit that I had written on my "Linda's Blog" and on my "The Book Review Corner Blog."   So, I went to their EK Success Brand website and filled out their contact form.  I received an email on 1/1/2011 saying someone would contact me.

Well, I never heard anything in response so today, February 14, 2011 I thought I'd visit their website again to see if they had an address I could send a letter to. Well, to my delight, they had a Facebook link to their EK Success Brand Facebook page. So, I thought well let's see if they'll answer a Facebook comment.  So I "liked" it so I could make a comment and posted the following to their wall:

"I thought you might be interested in my review of M'Lady's Chateau - Dimensions Gold Collection Cross-Stitch Kit that I finished at http://thebookreviewcorner.blogspot.com/2010/12/lindas-review-of-mladys-chateau.html and more about it on my Linda's Blog here - http://lindawalshoriginals.blogspot.com/2010/12/you-spent-how-many-hours-on-that-cross.html. Have a great day. Linda"

I also posted the same comment to their review page after rating them with 4 out of 5 stars.

Well, within two hours of posting that to their EK Success Brand Facebook page I received the following comment on my "The Book Review Corner Blog" review post :

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,
First, we are so happy to hear you love the way your design turned out. It certainly was a labor of love!

Secondly, you might be pleased to know that this was a design we produced some years ago, and we have since made a number of changes to how we create our instructions and charts. Many of the comments you made were things that we have addressed, such as the issue you had with the same symbol in different colors. We really appreciate your comments as this kind of feedback helps us to become even better at what we do.

Your framed piece is GORGEOUS--well done!

Kristel Adair
Product Development, Dimensions


Well, I was thrilled that I had finally gotten a response and so happy to know that they thought my framed piece was gorgeous.  I'll have to remember to tell the Art Emporium that the next time I'm in their store.

I had bought my kit last year, but I don't know how long my particular kit was at the website I had bought it from.  It's good to know that they had already addressed some of the issues I had mentioned in my post and that they are happy to receive comments from their customers.  I wonder if they'll address the rest.

My comment and the quick response I got from Ek Success Brand - Dimensions just shows you the power of Facebook with corporate america.

The lesson I learned is "If you want to get in touch with a company see if they have a Facebook page. And, if they do, post a comment on their wall."

Thanks, Kristel for responding so quickly. I appreciate that.


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals- "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"