I have been on etsy now for over a year with a little over 700 sales. Now and then when I run into someone I know they ask me what I do for a living. For a while that answer was I don't have a job... only because I was leery about explaining how I made stuff and sold it online. With a year under my belt I feel a lot more confident with the answer "I sell handmade items on Etsy" because I have some numbers that I can spit out and feel valid.
I guess what I am trying to say is getting into something like Etsy can be hard not only because you have to figure it all out yourself but also you feel like you have to try to validate what your doing to "certain" people.
Long story short... now that I do tell people what I actually do for a living, 9 out of 10 times someone asks me how I do it or how they should start. Truthfully, I really don't like to be asked these questions because I feel like their really isn't an answer I can give them. You really just need to dive right in and see for yourself. However I do have some helpful tips for your first year that I would like to share with you today!
- BE PATIENT: it takes time just like everything else in this world to create a successful shop, brand, and product. It is not going to happen overnight (even though we wish it secretly would). I just spent the past 2 hours trying to figure out how to put font on a picture, move it around and save it in photoshop cs5 for the image above. I did it,.... but what seems to be simple can end up being more complicated process than you thought. So it pays to be patient (literally).
- EXPLORE: you need to actually look around on etsy. That means explore shops, type things in the search bar and click on everything you see.Heck it is even a good idea to actually purchase something so you see the process customers go through when they buy something from your shop. Doing this helps you discover what etsy is all about which in turn helps you learn how it all works.
- STAY BUSY: Don't just list one item and wait for it to sell because most likely it won't. You need to get on there just about every day and do something. Whether you list an item, make a treasury, join a team, or like someone else's shop/items. Staying busy on Etsy keeps you visible to potential customers.
- INVEST: When you do start making profit it is important to invest back into the business if you want it to grow. My top investments for your first year would include... A good camera, a shipping scale, supplies/materials, a good computer, and packing/shipping materials.
- EXPERIMENT: Most likely you are going to put something on etsy that your not 100% sure will sell or even get liked. It's important to experiment with different products, shop banners, descriptions, tags, and whatever else you are not completely sure of. I found that by experimenting I discovered and learned a lot of things that I would have never thought would be successful and productive in my business.
- BE UNIQUE: find that quality in you that makes you different from everyone else and USE IT. It helps to be different on etsy because there are too many people doing the same thing... which means competition. Being unique create your own opportunities for success!
- KNOW YOUR WORTH: this is important when your talking to customers about a order, listing and pricing an item or writing a description. YOUR WORTH... is all about being confident and listening to your heart. You are worth a lot more than you think. When you know your worth you become more valuable and profitable!
- LIST ITEMS YOU WOULD BUY: easier said then done right? I mean there have been a whole lot of times when I looked at something I made and didn't actually know if I would buy it because... well I just made it. Basically you need to actually kind of want to keep the item and it's even better if you actually make one for yourself! This means your item is something others are going to want!
- STAY ON TOP: keep up your listings! Don't let them collect dust! If it's been sitting a while reread your description, check your tags, take new pictures... and if you must renew the item! Just be on top of your shop and stay relevant!
- KEEP GOING: When all is hopeless and you feel like etsy isn't taking you where you thought it would.... this one is simple KEEP GOING. I have thought a million times that it wasn't going to work out for me but I just kept going. I always get those moments but then something happens and it all gets better! So KEEP GOING!
- GET INVOLVED: join teams, comment on blog posts, create a social group for your shop, create and comment on treasuries. There are lots of ways to do this but it really is something that you need to do to be visible in the etsy community and to potential customers.
So there you have it! My top 11 tips... I really could give you a lot more but I feel like these are essentials. You see now why it's not just a simple answer?
For those of you who have a shop do you have any more tips to add or ones you agree/disagree with?