My Etsy monthiversary came and went last week and I’ve learned a lot in this month. So I’ve decided to share it, it may be useful to someone contemplating starting an Etsy shop or it may be a source of comfort for any other Etsians who haven’t sold anything yet, it will certainly be a useful exercise for me to do:
1. WAIT! and by wait I don’t just mean sit and twiddle your thumbs. Lurk on forums, look at what’s selling, discover all you can about any legal or financial limits to what you want to do. When I opened my shop on 29th December, I had no idea what the CPSIA, now I feel I know it inside out. Start a blog, blog about what you’re making and what you’re learning.
2. WAIT! ok now you can join Etsy as a buyer or even a potential seller, start posting in the forums, ask people for help and advice, most Etsians are extremely helpful and generous, a few of them are a little crazy/paranoid and self destructive, think of it as an enormous high school, there’ll be someone there like you. I promise. Buy some supplies and get your rating up. Get some business cards made, it’s substantially cheaper if you get them delivered by the sloooooow mail option. Oh and heart some people, it’s good for you.
3. WAIT! What sort of stock do you have? I made a huge mistake of only having one thing in lots of different colours. A store looks better if it has a variety of items. It’s also very important not to post all your items at the same time, it makes you unpopular with those who miss out on their front page place because of batch uploading (to be honest I don’t really understand this yet myself) and it lowers your chances of getting on the front page yourself. Do you have a plan as to what you will be putting for sale over the next few months? It’s good to know what’s coming next, for you and your potential customers. Try to have enough different things that you can upload every few days. It will be good for your shop’s front page exposure.
4. GO! Open the shop, email all your friends and family, start a facebook fan page (not a group, like I did, it’s just not the same thing) and post like crazy in the forums.
5. Keep posting items and blog entries and forum messages and try not to get discouraged.
6. Etsy is seasonal, like all sales outlests it takes a dive after Christmas and (presumably) a dive in the summer when everyone’s on holiday. 29th December is a bad time to start (for example)
7. Try to get a good balance between creation and promotion. This one is tricky. I know I’m under-promoting at the moment. I can’t bear the idea of chat rooms, they terrify me and I’ve made an ass of myself in the forums a dozen times. I’m trying to do at least a half hour of forum promotion work a day and half an hour on the blog, of course I still have my 12 hour a day job (being a toddler’s Mum) which leaves me a few hours in the evening to work on my ideas. It’s not ideal, but it’s all I can do at the moment.
8. Don’t take it personally. Luckily I’m still selling in the real world so I know that my products are good and that people like them, I’ve just got to wait for that first Etsy sale, any volunteers?
I know I’ve still got a lot to learn, got to overcome that chat fear for a start. But life’s for learning things and I’m still up for the challenge.