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When I first opened my Etsy shop in the spring of 2014 I had no idea what I was in for. I spent days slaving away creating new products, anxiously waiting for my first sale. Then, finally, “cha-ching”! My phone made this random register noise that I had never heard before. Turns out that it was a notification of a sale in my Etsy shop.
Cue the happy dance.
Fast forward almost 3 years later, I am so very fortunate to be able to say that I have had over 10,000 sales on Etsy. I was also able to quit my corporate career once I was earning six figures a year on Etsy.
But, I’m not going to lie, achieving this success was no overnight thing. I put everything that I have into my Etsy shop. There were nights where I was up until 2 in the morning finishing orders. I’ve even passed on taking vacations because that would mean I would have to shut down my shop while I’m away.
Needless to say, I’m obssessed.
Here are 10 things that I’ve learned after 10,000 sales on Etsy.
Owning an Etsy Shop is a Building Process
If you take a peak at some of my most recent earnings reports you’ll see that I earn a full time income on Etsy. But, I’ll be 100% honest and let you know that’s not always been the case. I opened my shop in the spring of 2014 and I did not become a full time seller until January 2016. I’ve learned that owning an Etsy shop is definitely a building process. Anyone who tells you that earning a full time income on Etsy right away is a liar, or a scam artist.
I’ve learned that you should start small by offering a few products to start. Once these products sell you should invest most (or all) of your profits back into your business by creating more products, advertising, etc.
I personally like to think of it like a game. I LOVE tycoon games.
You Have to Work Hard
I’ve also learned that once you decide to open up an Etsy shop you’ve got to work extremely hard to achieve the success that you want. You can’t just list a few products and expect sales to come rolling in. You’ve got to really work hard and educate yourself about everything there is to selling on Etsy. I spend a lot of my spare time reading blogs, watching YouTube tutorials, and participating in Facebook group discussions.
The Forums on Etsy are Very Helpful
There are many people who aren’t aware that there’s a forum community on Etsy. I make it a habit of checking the forums daily. You’ll see that the Etsy team gives updates to recent changes almost every Monday.
If there’s any glitches on the Etsy website it will be posted in the “bugs” section.
But, if there’s anything that you need help with that’s related to Etsy then feel free to ask others in the forums.
SEO is Important to Learn
SEO (search engine optimization) is extremely important when it comes to achieving sales. I’ve spent a lot of time learning all that I can about SEO on Etsy. Take a moment to read my 10 Tips to Improve Your Etsy Shop SEO and Rank Higher in Etsy Search to learn how to optimize your listings for search.
I go over things such as improving your product titles, listing descriptions, keywords, and more!
The more you work on optimizing your products the higher they will rank in search when someone is looking for something in particular. And, the higher your product ranks, the more it will be seen and purchased by others. Make sense?
Ship Orders on Time
Another important thing that I’ve learned over this past year is that your shipping rate is one of the factors that determines your placement in search. Etsy recently announced this in a conference. So, not only is shipping packages on time important for customer service, it’s also important for your placement in search. The more orders that you ship on time, the better placement you will have in search.
I kept running into a problem when customers would fail to leave the information that I needed to fulfill orders. If that happens I’ll try to reach out to that customer and if I can’t get ahold of them I refund and cancel their order.
Etsy Does Not Tolerate Copyright Infringement
I belong to a lot of Facebook groups that are related to Etsy and one thing I’ve learned from these groups is that Etsy does not tolerate Copyright infringement.
I’ve witnessed many people lose their Etsy shop due to selling things with Disney characters, college logos, etc. I’ve definitely made it a point to stay clear of any material protected by copyright or trademark.
Setting Goals Keeps You Motivated
One great way that I’ve found helps to keep me going every day is by setting goals. I have a goal list saved on my computer which I list monthly goals and yearly goals. Every month I set a couple of new goals such as “create 20 new products” or “make x amount of money”. These goals are what keep me motivated to keep going every month.
More Products = More Sales
I know that this may seem too obvious, but the more products that you have available for sale, the better chance you will have obtaining more sales. That’s why I’m constantly focused on creating more and more products.
But, I always ensure that the products that I’m creating are great quality. There are shops who sell similar products as me who have thousands of products for sale, but most of their stuff is 👎. Therefor, I’m always about quality over quantity.
Pay Quarterly Taxes
I’ve definitely learned a lot about taxes, especially over the past year. One of the things that I’ve learned when it comes to taxes is that if you’re making a decent amount of money it’s a good idea to pay quarterly estimates to the IRS. Hopefully you use a good bookkeeping system such as Outright by GoDaddy. Programs like these automatically track your profit and loss and generate an estimated amount that you should pay to the IRS for a specific quarter.
Do yourself and your accountant a favor and just pay these quarterly estimates. You can easily fill out and print the quarterly voucher here.
Track Your Inventory
Finally, one thing I never realized when it comes to tax season is that you have to track your inventory of supplies. Basically, you can’t claim supplies that you haven’t used up for the year.
I found out this information through the Accounting & US Tax Compliance Facebook group. This group is extremely helpful when it comes to tax time.
To learn more about tracking your inventory and other tax related information you can check out Paper and Spark.
Well, in closing, I hope that above 10 lessons that I’ve learned have helped you and your handmade business. I’m so extremely fortunate to be able to say that I’ve achieved over 10,000 sales. Maybe I’ll have more lessons learned after I achieve 50,000 sales 🤔