Are you considering opening an Etsy shop? Read this first! Here’s 10 Things I’ve learned after 10 Years on Etsy.
This year marks 10 years on Etsy for me and my little business. It’s crazy how time flies when you’re having fun!
I started selling on Etsy in 2007 and sold stationery on and off for the first few years. It was a busy time in my life and I was using Etsy more as a creative outlet than as a business model.
I think I had a total of about 10 sales during that time, but it was fun for me.
In 2012, my husband lost his job and I had to do something to bring in more income quickly. I was homeschooling and running a small daycare out of my house, so getting an outside job was not an option.
So, I reopened my Etsy shop and started designing printables. It was a fast project with a quick return.
My planners were very popular and I was soon earning a decent part time income without leaving my house. It was a huge help to us at the time and I’m grateful to all those customers who took a chance on my first designs.
Looking back, they weren’t very good.
Over the years, I’ve added a line of greeting cards, personalized stationery and I’m currently adding party invitations to the mix.
I love illustrating and creating paper goods and I can’t imagine doing anything else at this point.
But, it hasn’t come without perseverance.
It’s A Lot of HARD Work
I’ve studied every Etsy tip I could get my hands on over the years. I’ve had good sale days and bad sale days. There have been days where I really wanted to give up this little shop of mine and days where I wouldn’t change it for the world.
If you open an Etsy shop, I guarantee you will have all of these feelings and more. You will go from “Woohoo, I’m finally doing this” to “Whoa, I cannot do this”.
Running your own business is stressful and awesome at the same time. You’re totally responsible for everything and that’s a powerful feeling. But, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience.
Don’t set yourself up for failure from the get-go. Set realistic goals, create products you love and be kind to your customers. The rest you can work on over time.
10 Things I’ve Learned After 10 Years on Etsy
1. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come
Seriously. Just because you throw up a few things on Etsy does not mean you’ll have sale after sale. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time to create a store that has that many sales.
2. Feast or Famine is the name of the game
Some days you will wake up to a few sales in your inbox and continue to rack ’em up throughout the day. Other days you’ll beg for the sale God to just give you one.
3. There will always be someone “better” than you
I’m sorry to hurt your feelings, but it’s true. No matter what you do or how good you get at your craft or design, you will always see someone else’s work and think “they are so much butter than me”.
The key is to get that good yourself, then other people will think the same of you. You have to keep plugging along – you’re day will come.
4. There will always be someone “worse” than you
On the same note – while there will always be crafters out there that are “better than you” – there will also be a lot that are “worse than you”. Those that are just getting started don’t have the knowledge or the hands-on time that you do.
Be helpful, don’t make fun and do you’re best to help them get started.
5. The Times…they are a changin’
Etsy is constantly changing. The things that are popular this week, will not be so hot next week. You’ll just get used to the layout and the “powers that be” at Etsy will change it. You’ll have a slew of sales one week and think “If only I had days like this everyday” and “I can actually live on this” and the next week, you won’t have a single sale.
There are constant Ebbs and Flows in the Etsy business, but if you try to keep up, you’ll sink. Instead, keep working on your craft, list new items regularly, keep up on your SEO and most of all, keep your chin up. What goes around, comes around.
6. Lots of Views Don’t Mean Lots of Sales
Some days you will get hundreds, if not thousands of views to your Etsy shop and listings. The problem is, those views won’t always equate to sales. In fact, you might even have days where you get thousands of views and not a single sale. Then, you’ll have a day with just a few views and get several sales.
Work on your SEO and make sure your keywords are perfectly matched for what you are selling. Many of your views might be coming from miscellaneous keywords in your tags section.
7. Don’t Pay Attention to the Majority
Not to sound hateful, but the “majority” of sellers on Etsy aren’t making much money. Some aren’t even making a hundred dollars a month. Don’t try to mimic the majority. Pay close attention to the minority on Etsy.
In every category, there are a small handful of sellers that are making thousands and tens of thousands of dollars on Etsy every month. Those are the people you want to mimic. Don’t copy them, of course, but pay attention to how they title their products, the tags that they use, their product descriptions and their photography. Then, see what you can do to make your own listings better.
8. SEO Sucks
It’s a painful process that will suck up a lot of your time and energy. But, without it, you’re products won’t be found on Etsy Search. So, suck it up buttercup, you’ve got to do it.
Make sure you’re using keywords that perfectly match your product and weave them into your title, description and tags.
9. Photography is Your Bread and Butter
I hate it, but it’s true. Without good photographs of your products, you will never have many sales. I have a variety of photographs and digital backgrounds in my shop – the products that are photographed receive double to triple the amount of views than those that are on digital backgrounds. It’s something I have to work on.
Beautifully staged photographs are key…you must put the product into the customer’s hand. Let them see it in use.
10. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket
Don’t depend on your Etsy business. Even if you’re making a full-time income month after month, it’s imperative that you spread your eggs around. Etsy could close tomorrow and leave all of their sellers in a lurch. There is no telling what could happen.
Make sure to have multiple income streams. Open stores in a variety of online venues, sell on Zazzle, Society 6, Amazon or eBay. There are thousands of sales venues to choose from based on what you’re selling.
Whew…that’s a lot to digest, but here’s just one more tidbit…
Bonus: Selling on Etsy is addictive and a lot of fun.
Even if you aren’t making the money you’d like or you aren’t having as many sales as you’d like, your Etsy business will become an addiction. You will dream about it, hover over it and tend to it like a newborn baby. It’s like a slot machine that you just keep pushing 20¢ into in order to keep playing. After 10 years on Etsy, I still get the rush. It’s a lot of fun and the fact that you can make money doing something you love? Makes it all worth it, if you ask me.
So, if you’ve read all of this and I haven’t discouraged you from opening your very own Etsy shop, here’s 40 free listings to get you started!
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Have a Spectacular Day!
Vanessa Hamlin is the owner and founder of Food Life Design and VLHamlinDesign. With her passion for frugal living and homesteading, Vanessa loves to write about easy recipes, making money, gardening, home remedies and everything else that a good life entails! When she’s not writing for Food Life Design or creating products for VLHamlinDesign, you’ll find Vanessa reading, drawing, gardening, cooking or spending time with her family.