Should You Stop Selling on Etsy and Open Your Own Online Store?

Should You Stop Selling on Etsy and Open Your Own Online Store?

 

Recently one of my subscribers reached out to me and asked me for my honest opinion on a very important subject. Apparently someone told her that she should stop selling on Etsy and that she should focus on setting up her own website instead.  This person gave her this advice due to the recent crackdown that Etsy has started to enforce within the past couple of years.

What’s the crackdown?  Well, when you are selling on a platform such as Etsy you have to comply with their policies.  Etsy requires that your products meet their handmade criteria. You must also not sell products that violate copyright or trademark laws.  If you’re caught violating these policies then you risk having your shop shut down by Etsy.

Between the years of 2014 and 2015 a total of 442,849 shops have been closed by the Trust and Safety Team at Etsy. Woah, that’s almost half a million shops! In case you’re wondering where I obtained this information you can view Etsy’s 2014 Transparency Report and their 2015 Transparency Report.

So, does that mean that you should give up selling on Etsy completely and open up your own online store? Not necessarily. Here’s my following thoughts on the subject.

 

Keep Selling on Etsy

If you’re not violating any of the policies on Etsy, then why worry about your shop being shut down? Don’t let these statistics scare you if you’re doing things by the book.  Selling on Etsy is such a wonderful starting point for small businesses. In fact, I would highly recommend starting out on Etsy before opening an online store.

Selling on an established platform such as Etsy will generate a lot more traffic than a standalone website.  You also have access to tons of available tools which make it easier to sell and ship your products.

Another major reason why I would suggest sticking with Etsy is because there is such a large audience that already trusts buying on Etsy.  Customers are already familiar with the way that Etsy works, making them feel a lot more comfortable buying off of Etsy instead of a private e-commerce website.

So, to sum it up, just make sure that you’re complying with all of the policies on Etsy. Only sell handmade or vintage items, don’t sell items with Disney characters on them, and provide excellent customer service. You shouldn’t have a problem selling on Etsy after you follow those simple rules.

 

Open Your Own Online Store

As stated earlier, selling on Etsy is an excellent starting point.  Not only is it usually a cheaper option, but it’s an excellent way to learn the ins and outs of running a small business.

I believe that once you become comfortable selling on Etsy and you’re up for a new challenge, why not open up your own online store that’s separate from Etsy?

And, don’t worry. You don’t have to sell on one or the other. It’s perfectly acceptable to have a shop on Etsy while you’re selling on your own website. So, why not do both?!

If you’re thinking about opening your own online shop I would highly suggest starting with Shopify.  Shopify is an e-commerce system that makes it extremely easy to set up an online store. You can choose your own website layout, easily upload products, blog, etc.

The only downside about selling on Shopify is that you have to pay a monthly fee on top of paying transaction fees, but the basic plan starts out at $29 a month so it’s not too bad.

Once you have your own website established you’re going to have to learn a thing or two about marketing to drive traffic to your website.  But, if you’re still selling on Etsy you can promote your website to your customers who are purchasing from you off of Etsy.  To do so, create some business cards that include your website information and include the business card in with each of your orders. Don’t message your customers directly through Etsy and refer them to your website, that’s totally against the rules and you could get into trouble.

 

Leave Etsy When You’re Ready

If you ever get to a point where selling on Etsy no longer benefits your business and you feel comfortable pulling the plug on your Etsy shop, then do it.

Some small businesses eventually establish themselves to the point where they can do without Etsy. But, until then I always believe in selling on both Etsy and your own website. There are just so many benefits in selling on multiple platforms.

 

Are there any other platforms that you currently sell your items on? I’d love to know! Leave a comment below.

 

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The Ultimate Business Plan for Your Etsy Shop

The Ultimate Business Plan for Your Etsy Shop

When I first started selling on Etsy I had absolutely no plan. I just decided to open a shop one day and sell products.  This is how most Etsy sellers start out, and guess what? It’s certainly not the wrong way to start out! Owning a shop on Etsy is definitely a learn-as-you-go experience. But, if you start to treat your shop like an actual business by planning then you’ll surely get ahead of the game.

According to Etsy’s 2015 seller report, 30% of Etsy shop owners are full time sellers. Full time shop owners rely solely on their income earned from their shop. So, what’s the deal? What’s the difference from the side hustle sellers and the small percentage or people actually making it on their own?

Well for one, if you want to turn your shop into a thriving online business then you should have a steady plan set in place. That’s where I come in today :). I’m going to show you how to create a business plan for your Etsy shop. And, don’t get me wrong, this is not by any means a formal business plan.  Formal business plans are generally used for applying for business loans and such and consist of a whole bunch of crap that doesn’t really apply to owning an Etsy shop. Instead, this business plan is more so for you, to help you plan for the year.  I’ll cover things such as analyzing your target audience, creating a marketing plan, and analyzing your competitors.

I’ve even provided a FREE workbook that you can download and keep for yourself to follow along. Click the image below to download my free business plan for Etsy sellers.

Business Overview

First, let’s start off with your business overview. Assuming that you already have a shop that’s up and running, write a brief paragraph that summarizes your business such as your business name, what products you currently offer, how long your shop has been established, etc. Remember, this is just for you so you don’t have to worry about being all fancy.

Accomplishments

Next, write down some of your accomplishments that you’re darn proud of!  Mention any sort of accomplishment such as the number of sales that you’ve achieved, how much money you’ve earned, or how many people have favorited your shop. All of your accomplishments contribute to your overall growth, so this section is important (and motivating, right?!).

Goals

What’s a plan without any goals? It’s always exciting to have some awesome goals. Where do you want your business to be 1 year from now? How about 5 years from now? Even if the goal seems unrealistic to you, write it down! You’ll be amazed at what you can truly accomplish if you have goals set in place, no matter how crazy they sound.

Improvements

Lastly, review your goals above and figure out what improvements you can make to achieve these goals. So, for example, if one of your goals is to earn 10,000 dollars more than last year then you can list things like:

  • Spend 2 hours a week marketing my products
  • Add 5 new products a week
  • Work on SEO for all of my listings

Product Planning

If you really want to make some serious money on Etsy you’re going to have to pump out new products like a factory. Use the next section to brainstorm ideas for new products.

What will you sell?

Provide a quick summary of the product that you intend to create.

Next, use the following questions to build onto your idea:

  • How does your product benefit the consumer?
  • What is the size of the product?
  • What color/colors can you offer?
  • What materials will be used?
  • What keywords are related to the item?
  • How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • How will your product differ from your competitors?
  • Are there any coordinating items that you can sell along side this product?
  • How do you plan to ship the item?

Target Audience

Now that you’ve got your products all planned out it’s time to figure out who your target audience is!  Figuring out your target market is essential because it will help fine-tune your marketing plan, giving you a better idea on getting your product out there, and even more importantly, getting more sales!

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the age range of people who enjoy your type of products?
  • Are they male or female?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What social media platform is their favorite?
  • What are some other products or services that they may be interested in?

And, you may be thinking that these questions are pretty generic and pointless to answer, but trust me, establishing a target audience is kinda like striking oil (except it’s way less messy).

See, the more details that you can gather about your target audience gives you a better marketing strategy.

Think about it, let’s say that you sell baby clothes. Baby clothes are typically purchased by women. But, wouldn’t it be pointless to market your baby clothes to teenage girls? You would probably do better targeting women ages 24-40 who enjoy reading up on mommy things, scrolling on Pinterest, etc.

Competitor Analysis

Another major factor of developing a business plan for your Etsy shop is scoping out your competitors. Now, I’m not saying to flat out stalk your competitors and copy their products. That’s a big no-no. What I am saying is that it’s perfectly acceptable to research who your competitors are and analyze their business.

Pay attention to what types of products they sell and for how much. Brainstorm ideas on how to make your shop and products stand out from theirs. 

While scoping out the competition, do a little research and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What products do they sell?
  • What are their pricing points?
  • Why do they seem to do so well?
  • Do they promote across social media? If so, what platform seems to be their most popular?
  • How are their reviews?
  • What can you do or offer that will make your product(s) appear better than your competitors?

Marketing

Marketing, promoting, advertising. Whatever you want to call it. Now that you’ve established details about your products, audience and your competition, it’s time to compose a marketing strategy. Because, what’s a business without a marketing strategy, right?

When developing a marketing strategy answer the following questions:

  • What platforms do you intend to use for marketing your products? (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)
  • Will you invest in marketing ads? If so, what would be your daily or weekly budget for ads?
  • What strategies will you use to promote your products?
  • What times of the week will you solely commit to marketing your products?

 

Whew! That was a lot of info right?! I’m surprised you’re still reading, I guess that means that you’re really dedicated to growing your Etsy shop which is super awesome.  Now here comes the hard part: actually keeping up with your new business plan. Make sure that you keep your business plan around so you can refer to it as often as you can.

Do you have any other information that you would like to share to help others grow their Etsy shop? I’d love to know in the comments below! Let’s chat!

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10 Tax Tips for Etsy Shop Owners

10 Tax Tips for Etsy Shop Owners

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based off of my personal experience and the guidance of my accountant.  You should consult with your own accountant for any tax related information and/or guidance.

Woohoo, it’s tax season! – Said no business owner ever!  Ugh, there’s seriously so much involved with taxes when you own your own business.  Things can be a bit confusing, so this year I took the plunge and hired a business accountant.

After meeting with him earlier in the week I thought that I would take the time to write about a few tax tips for Etsy sellers.  Keep in mind that I am not an accountant or an attorney. The following tips that I’ve collected are soley based on my experience. Consult with an accountant if you have any questions.

Let’s get started, shall we?

You do Have to Report Any Extra Earned Income

Okay, I’m just going to clear the air and set things straight. If you earn money with your Etsy shop you are required to report your income and pay taxes on any money that you profited. Even if it’s a few hundred dollars.

I’ll be honest with you, when I first started selling on Etsy I thought that if I earned less than $20,000 in a year then I didn’t have to report the extra income because Etsy isn’t required to file a 1099. Boy, was I wrong! Don’t make this mistake, please! Just know that you are required to report any extra earned income to the IRS.

Speak with an Accountant

My second tax tip for Etsy sellers is to speak an accountant.  Even if you’re new to selling on Etsy, you should look into speaking to an accountant to determine if you’re starting out on the right foot.  When you first start selling on Etsy, you’re basically selling as a sole proprietor, which is a sole owner and operator.  However, depending on how fast your business is growing and what you’re earning, it may be wiser to switch to an LLC or a S corp.  This is where an accountant comes in handy.  An accountant will guide you in the right direction depending on how things are looking for your business.  Choosing the correct legal structure could end up saving you thousands in taxes!

Have a Business Bank Account

I highly recommend that you have a separate bank account that is strictly for your business.  Having a business bank account that’s separate from your personal account is essential, especially if your business is growing.  You certainly want to avoid mixing your personal finances with your business finances. Not only can it become a big headache to manage, but it can cause some serious trouble with Uncle Sam.

All I had to do to open up a business bank account was to provide my EIN, my state registration, and a small deposit.  I think I started with a deposit of $50.

Use a Bookkeeping System

You should also find a way to keep track of your books. If you’re just starting out you can track all of your expenses for free with a computer program such as Excel or Numbers. If you find that you’re logging things in regularly and you want something easier to manage you can always try a free trial of Outright or Quickbooks.  I personally use Outright which only costs $10.79 a month.  The great thing about Outright is that it automatically imports my sales and fees paid to Etsy, which saves me hours of work logging that information in myself.

You’ll find things to be so much easier when using a bookkeeping program. I can log my purchases through an iPhone app, which is amazing when I’m on the go.  It also provides an estimate of my quarterly taxes which is a lifesaver!

Know What You Can and Cannot Deduct

Once you’ve got a bookkeeping system in place you should learn what expenses you can and cannot deduct.  Any monthly bill that you pay that’s directly related to your business should be payed through your business bank account and logged as an expense. A good example of this would be a monthly bill for a bookkeeping system.

If you’re unsure of what you can and cannot deduct then be sure to ask a business accountant.

Track Your Milage and Auto Expenses

Did you know that you can also deduct some of your auto expenses? If you use your vehicle to travel for any business then you can deduct a portion of your auto expenses. With that being said, it’s a good idea that you keep track of your milage. You should log each trip that you spend with the date and number of milage driving. This information will help determine your auto deduction at the end of the year.

Have a Set Place for Business

Assuming that you work out of your home, you can also claim a home office deduction.  A home office deduction can be a bit tricky. A lot of people shy away from a home office deduction, but as long as you’re qualified for a home office deduction then you should surely save at the end of the year! As long as you have a set area of your house that you use for business that is separate from your living quarters, then you should be okay. For more information about a home office deduction, here are a few helpful articles:

Keep All of Your Receipts

Another great tip for tax time is to make sure that you keep all of your receipts for any business expenses. If you don’t keep your receipts and the IRS audits you it could land you into trouble. For that reason it’s also a good idea to have all of your receipts organized.

I personally organize all of my receipts in an accordion file separated by month. At the end of the year I combine the months into quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) and I file them away in a filing cabinet.

The IRS recommends that you keep your receipts for 3 years after you file your return.

Save for Estimated Taxes

If there’s one piece of advice that I would recommend to every new Etsy seller, it’s this one. If you’re making any sort of money online (even if it’s only a few hundred dollars a year) you should save money for tax time just in case you’ll owe taxes.

I see so many sellers that don’t save anything for taxes and they come to find out that they owe hundreds, some owe thousands! Please don’t make this mistake.

I’ll tell you what I do. Every week when I get my weekly deposit from Etsy on Tuesday, I immediately transfer 30% of that into my savings account for taxes. That way, when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam, I have no problem writing that check. In fact, because I do the 30% BEFORE any expenses, I usually have money left over to spend. It’s like I give myself a little extra quarterly bonus!

Do a Monthly or Quarterly Review

Finally, the last tip that I have for tax time is to do a monthly or quarterly review of your expenses. Keep a list somewhere of the bills that you pay toward your business. That way, you can see if you missed logging a bill into your bookkeeping system. Or, better yet, review your business bank statement and/or business credit card statement every month to make sure that everything matches up. It will be so much easier for you at the end of the year if you do this monthly or quarterly, so you’re not scrambling around last minute.

And, that’s a wrap! I hope that these tax tips were useful to yourself and your Etsy shop. Do you have any tax tips that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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15 Things to Do When Sales are Slow on Etsy

15 Things to Do When Sales are Slow on Etsy

 

Thinking of things to do when sales are slow on Etsy can be a difficult task.  Your shop may see a drop in sales around specific holidays, especially leading up to Christmas.  I’m currently drafting this blog on December 23rd and I have zero open orders when I usually have at least 15!

Although you may be seeing a decrease in sales it’s a great time to focus on other things when you don’t normally have the time to do them.  With that being said, here are 15 things to do when sales are slow on Etsy.

Create New Products

It’s no secret that having more products available in your shop increases your chances of getting sales.  Take the time to start brainstorming ideas for new products and get to work!  I tend to create best selling items when things are slow in my Etsy shop.

Improve the SEO in Your Shop

Perhaps sales are slow for your shop because you’re falling behind in search.  Learn how to improve the SEO in your Etsy shop.  You can update some of the keywords in your item descriptions, fill out your Etsy shop about section, or work on backlinking to your shop and/or products.

Improve Product Photos

Just like the SEO in your Etsy shop, it’s also important to update your product photography.  You don’t have to own a fancy DSLR camera to obtain amazing photos (although it’s recommended).  You can snap amazing photos with an iPhone camera and some natural sunshine!

Related: 10 Product Photography Tips for Your Etsy Shop

Make Plans and Goals

Now that it’s nearing the end of the year and my shop is pretty slow, I’m going to start planning for the new year.  Owning a planner seems to be “the thing” recently so I may just invest in one for the new year.

Set your weekly and/or monthly goals and map out your future schedules. Organize your days to focus on product creation, marketing, etc.

Have a Sale

If you’re trying to get more sales while your shop is experiencing a slump then perhaps you should consider hosting a sale.  You can host a sale automatically with an app called Etsy on Sale.

Etsy on Sale is an excellent tool that automatically marks all (or some) of your products down at the same time. You can set a certain discount such as a percentage (20% off) or dollars ($3.00 off).  Etsy on Sale will place an “on sale” sticker on all of your product images so customers know that you’re having a sale.

You can also create a coupon code and promote it across your social media accounts if you don’t want to use Etsy on Sale.

Promote Your Shop Across Social Media

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available today, and the best part is that it’s free to use (with the exception of advertising)!  Take the time to promote your shop and/or products across social media platforms. I personally believe that Pinterest is the best platform to promote products that are sold on Etsy.  Look into joining group boards.  Group boards are very effective at gaining lots of exposure.  To find different group boards head on over to pingroupie.com.

Start a Blog

If you don’t already have a blog for your Etsy shop you may want to look into it.  Starting a blog for your Etsy shop can be very beneficial for your shop in many ways.  Most importantly it can boost your SEO.  Be sure to post on your blog at least once a week to keep your site relevant on search engines.

Join a Community

You can also get involved with an online community such as an Etsy team or a Facebook group.  I’ve found that Facebook groups are super helpful and can provide excellent resources.  

Work on Your Shop Brand

Tweeking or re-working the branding for your Etsy shop is also a great thing to do when sales are slow on Etsy.  Have you read your About section lately?  Does anything seem like it needs an update?  How about your logo or your business cards?

Organize Your Workspace

I’ve found that having an organized and clean workspace can do wonders for my creative flow.  That’s why I recommend organizing your space when sales are slow in your Etsy shop.  File everything away, dust your shelves, light a nice candle and get back to work!

Check Out Your Competition

It’s very wise to check up on shops that you would consider a competitor.  Have no shame in doing so either because large corporations are constantly stalking each other.  Take note of what your competitors are promoting across social media.  See what kind of products do well in their shop.  Just remember that you shouldn’t copy another sellers work and doing so can set yourself up for copyright infringement.

Educate Yourself

The biggest investment that you can make is in yourself.  I love educating myself.  Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd.  But, I wouldn’t have become so successful on Etsy if I hadn’t spent the time learning the ins and outs of owning an Etsy shop.

Take the time to read a blog (mine, perhaps? 🙂 ).  Create a Pinterest board with any educational content that you would like to read. I have a Pinterest board with 500+ pins related to selling on Etsy.  Buy a book or two about running a business, you’ll be surprised at just how much information is out there.

Review Your Shop Stats

I’m so guilty of neglecting to review my shop stats every once in a while.  Your shop stats can provide a lot of information and insight as to where you traffic comes from.  Check out your top preforming keywords.  You can also check to see what your least active listings are and this can help you figure out what can be improved in these listings.

Your shop stats are constantly changing, so make sure you check up on them at least once a week.

Prepare Things in Advanced

Preparing things in advanced is my personal favorite thing to do when sales are slow on Etsy. Preparing things in advance can save you loads of time when you’re busy in the future.  Write out some thank you notes or fold some shipping boxes.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Treat Yo’ Self

Finally, my last bit of advice is to treat yourself.  If you work hard on your business and you feel that you need a break, take it!

Like I said earlier, the best investment that you can make is in yourself.  Treat yourself to a spa day.  Hell, take a nap if you want!  There’s nothing worse than feeling burnt out, so if you can take some time for yourself then take it.

 

Speaking of being burned out, I’m officially out of ideas of things to do when your Etsy shop is slow. What do you personally do when business is slow? I’d love to know so leave me a comment below!

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December 2016 Earnings Report – How I Earn Six Figures a Year on Etsy

How I Earn Six Figures a Year on Etsy

$273.97. I specifically remember when I came up with this number.  It was late January of 2016, I had just given birth to my daughter.  I was at home rocking her while she slept and I was doing some calculations on my phone out of boredom.

No way, I thought. There’s no way that I could earn $273.97 a day on average with my little Etsy shop.  Okay, maybe I thought it would be possible to make that 5 years from then.  But, here I am.  It’s now January of 2017 and looking back on my stats from last year and I’m completely baffled.

Instead of doing an earnings report for the month of December, I figured it would just make more sense to do a wrap up of the entire year.  From my earnings, to lessons learned, and I’ll even throw in some goals for next year.

And, don’t get me wrong – I’m not doing these types of posts to simply brag about my earnings, I’m writing these type of posts so that my readers can follow me on the path to success.  I want to show others that earning a full time income online is absolutely possible.  I loved reading these types of posts when I first started selling on Etsy, so I’d like to pay it forward.

If you’re interested in seeing how much I made last month, check out my November 2016 Earnings Report.

Okay, enough with the suspense. Let’s get the ball rolling.

 

So, how much money did I earn from Etsy in 2016?

$108,591.71, before any expenses. Mind=blown.

But, notice how I said that was before any expenses? Yeah, I had a lot of expenses this year!

2016 was definitely a game changer for me.  I was able to quit my corporate graphic design career to become a work-at-home mom. I’m seriously so grateful for all that’s happened in the past year.

I’ve learned that busy seasons can really depend on what you sell.  This December, while everyone else was crazy busy, my shop was extremely dead.  I’ve also learned that if you can set your mind on something and really work hard on achieving a goal, you can do it.

 

How did I earn six figures in a year on Etsy?

In case you’re wondering what I actually sell on Etsy, I sell printed invitations for baby showers, bridal showers, holiday parties, etc.  I did not go to school for graphic design, but I’ve been working with Adobe programs for years.

I first started out on Etsy in 2014 by selling digital files of invitations that people could download and take to a print shop.  After a long time of busting my butt and saving some serious cash, I became the print shop!  Now, I sell invitations that are designed, printed, and mailed to the customers doorstep.  My shop has grown from earning $7.00 a day to earning over $1,000 in one day (but, only on some days 🙂 ).

There are a lot of factors that contribute to earning six figures a year on Etsy including SEO (search engine optimization), great product photography, excellent customers service, quality products, and much more!  I’ll break down each category.

SEO

I preach about SEO (search engine optimization) constantly.  SEO is without a doubt the number one reason why I get so many sales. SEO is basically a strategy of word placement that will help your items rank higher in search placement.  So when someone searches for “Fall Baby Shower Invitations”, one of my listings appears on the first page of the search results.  To learn more about SEO for your Etsy shop I’ve written an in depth article called 10 Tips to Improve Your Etsy Shop SEO and Rank Higher in Etsy Search.

Great Product Photography

We as humans are very visual. When given a lot of choices at once our minds tend to automatically focus on the one thing that draws the most attention.  That’s why it’s so important to have excellent product photography.  Use natural lighting and avoid photographing items on the floor!  For my best photography tips check out 10 Product Photography Tips for Your Etsy Shop.

Excellent Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is definitely one of my top priorities.  I’ve had so much repeat business within the past year because my customers love that I communicate quickly and because I ship my orders out as fast as I can.  I know that I’m not going to please everyone out there, but I try my hardest to do so.

Quality Products

To put it in simple terms, if I don’t personally like the quality of my product then I won’t sell it. I always aim for the highest quality product with an affordable pricing point.

Quantity of Products

If you have more products available for sale in your shop then you’ll most likely get more sales.  This year I ended with over 800 products in my shop and I hope to have over 1200 products listed by the end of this year.

Offer Matching Items

Finally, my biggest tip that I have for earning six figures a year on Etsy is to offer matching items.  So, for example, I sell printed invitations.  This year I extended my product line to offer matching inserts for the invitations such as diaper raffle inserts, book inserts, games, etc.  Doing this alone prompted my business to explode!

Here are a few more helpful blogs that I’ve written about selling on Etsy:

 

What’s new this month?

Since the holidays are now over it’s time for me to start focusing on the upcoming wedding season. Although I don’t currently offer wedding invitations, I do offer a lot of items for bridal showers, engagement parties, etc.  So I’m starting to design a lot of invitations for these events. Wish me luck!

 

What are my goals for the upcoming year?

I really hope that this year will be packed with surprises, just like last year.  This year I plan on working more on this blog than growing my Etsy shop.  I’m still going to work on my Etsy shop, just not as much. With that being said I really hope to close the 2017 year with 1,200 products in my shop and $125,000 in sales. We’ll see how that goes!

As for this blog I really, really hope to establish some sort of e-course, or at the very least create an e-book.  But, I’m also expecting another baby girl in March so who knows what will happen.

 

So, in closing, I’d like to say that if you really want to make some serious money in 2017 then you’ve got to work for it. Don’t sit around and wait for an opportunity to knock on the door, go out and make your own opportunities.  Set goals for yourself and your business. Go to bed early and wake up early. Declutter your house (I really have to work on that)! Unfollow negative people on social media. Challenge yourself and conquer your fears. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in one year.

 

Cheers to 2017!

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What To Include in Your Etsy Shop About Section

What to Include in Your Etsy Shop About Section

So you’ve got things down. You’ve created a few awesome handmade products, and you’re waiting for the sales to come pouring in.  But, wait! How about your shops About section? You have completed your About section, right?!

One of the biggest mistake that I witness many Etsy sellers make (even well establish sellers) is that they don’t have anything listed in their About section.

Why is it so important to fill out your about section on Etsy?

There are several reasons. For one, filling out your About section helps improve the SEO for your Etsy shop and rank higher in search.  But even more importantly, having an established About section will help you get more sales.  You get more sales by having excellent quality products and by gaining the trust from potential customers.

That’s right, there’s a whole lot more to selling online than just listing a few products with pretty pictures.  You’ve got to actually reach out to your customers and establish their trust first.  This is especially true if you don’t have any reviews yet for your shop.

Customers love to know the face behind the mask.  Even more so when it comes to small business. And that’s why it’s super important to tell your story by including an About section.  

To edit your About section, go to “Your Shop” in the navigation, then click on “Edit Shop”. Scroll towards the bottom until you locate the About section.

What should I write in my About section on Etsy?

Anything that you want people to know, honestly.  I know that writing about your shop can seem like a huge drag, and you may have absolutely no idea what to write, so here are a few tips for you.  I’ve even included a free worksheet to help you get started.

 

Include Awesome Photos

You are allowed to upload up to 5 different photos in your shops about section.  You shouldn’t upload just photos of your products because people can already see your product listings.  Instead, upload photos of where the magic happens (and by that I mean where the crafting happens). Have someone snap a photo of yourself while you’re working hard on an order.

Craft an Attention Grabbing Headline

Your headline is what’s going to pull your customers into reading about your shop. You should focus on creating an attention grabbing headline. Here’s a great example of one:

“Are you looking for affordable, professional, high quality handmade signs?!” 

Start with a Questionnaire

Coming up with ideas to write about can be really hard sometimes.  I would highly suggest starting off with using a business questionnaire. I’ve provided one in my free About section planner.

Be Honest

The most important tip for writing your Abouts ection for your Etsy shop is to just be honest.  Don’t tell your story like you have 50 employees when it’s really just you.  Don’t use “we” instead of “I”.  People want to know the truth, which is why it’s important t o tell it like it is.  Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and give a little background on yourself and your family.

Your Process

You can also write about your crafting process in your About section. How you start your process, what programs or machinery you use, what materials you use. Obviously you don’t want to give all of your secrets away, but give a little information out so the customer knows that they are definitely buying something that’s handcrafted.

Why You Stand Out

Is there a certain way that you stand out from other sellers?  Make note of that in your about section!  Customers love to know why they should purchase from your shop instead of another shop.

Use My Template

Besides the free questionnaire that I provide you with, you can also feel free to use my “mad lib” template that’s included in with my About section worksheets. Click the link below to download it!

 

What other suggestions do you have for crafting an amazing About section? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

 

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How to Become Successful on Etsy in 2017

How to Become Successful on Etsy in 2017

Becoming successful on Etsy is no easy task, believe me. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to owning and operating an Etsy shop, especially when you’re just starting out by yourself.  Many new sellers don’t realize how munch work is involved such as working on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), marketing your shop, networking yourself, and having excellent product photography. Whew, it gets me tired just thinking about it.

I’ve owned my Etsy shop since 2014 and things have definitely taken off. I can actually say that I do own a successful Etsy shop.  But, my definition of success and your definition may be completely different.  Success is what you make it.  Here are my top tips that will help you become successful on Etsy in 2017.

 

Set Achievable Goals

If you really want to become successful on Etsy in 2017 then the first step that I would suggest is to set achievable goals for yourself and your shop.  Write goals down in a notebook or on a note taking app on your phone. Your goals can be as simple as having X amount of products in your shop by the end of the year, or starting a new product line by July 2017. But, whatever you do, make sure that the goals are achievable.  If you set unrealistic goals then you may be setting yourself up for failure. Give yourself some wiggle room for when you have vacation time or if you ever get sick.  My problem is that I set so many different goals up for different things. Don’t be like me. Create 2 to 3 realistic goals and stick to them!

 

Improve the SEO in your Etsy Shop

One of the most important factors of obtaining sales on Etsy is by improving your SEO.  While there’s no set strategy, I’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to improve the SEO for your Etsy shop.  These tips include finding the right keywords to use, filling out your shop title and announcement. I would also suggest starting a blog for your Etsy shop.

 

Ship Your Orders on Time

Etsy recently held a conference and at that conference they announced that your processing time will affect your ranking in search.  When you receive an order you are given a “ship by” date which is calculated based on the processing time that you set up when you initially set up your listing.  You must ship by this date in order to avoid being penalized by Etsy.

How can I avoid shipping orders later than expected?

As you can see, you should avoid shipping orders later than expected because it can hurt your ranking in search. To avoid shipping orders late, always make sure that you have a good amount of inventory of supplies.  Keep track of your inventory and keep extra in stock if you can.

Also, if you feel as if you’re falling behind on orders don’t be afraid to put your shop on vacation mode.  Putting your shop on vacation mode does not penalize you at all, despite what others say.

If you’re absolutely stuck and you must ship your order out later than the set date then you must notify the buyer first and explain the situation.  Ask them if it’s okay to ship the item out later, and if so give an updated date.  If this is okay with the buyer make sure you reschedule the shipping date. To reschedule the shipping date, locate the order and click “update” next to the scheduled shipping day.

If you sell custom items and require information from the customer that they did not provide then I would suggest contacting them as much as possible to get the information. If you don’t hear from the customer by the ship date then cancel the order.

 

Invest in Promoted Listings

Another way to become more successful on Etsy in 2017 is to invest in promoted listings. Keep in mind that promoted listings may not work for everyones shop, so it’s best to experiment by spending just a few dollars a day. Do this for about 10 days and then review the progress by checking your stats page.  If you’re making more money than you’re spending on the ads then continue using them.

 

Market Your Shop

Another tip to become successful on Etsy is to market your shop. You can market your shop in so many ways, and social media is a must.  I would highly recommend marketing on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Here are a few great articles that involve marketing your Etsy shop:

 

Network Yourself and Your Shop

Although your Etsy shop is an online based business, you should also focus on networking offline as well.  Join local crafting groups or your local SCORE.  You can find different events to attend via Eventbrite.com.  Attend some of those events and introduce yourself.  You can meet a lot of great people (and, also some very annoying sales people)  along the way. Don’t forget to bring your business cards!

 

Participate in Online Communities

Many shop owners are not aware of the many fabulous online communities.  Participating in the forums on Etsy is an excellent way to gain more knowledge from experienced sellers.  I also highly recommend joining Facebook groups.  There are tons of Facebook groups related to selling on Etsy such as The Joyful Entrepreneur, which has over 33,000 members!  Follow and participate in some of the great discussions. Even though I’m an experienced seller I learn something new from these groups very often!

 

Have Excellent Product Photography

I know that this is mentioned time and time again throughout my blog, but your product photography can make or break your Etsy shop. Consider investing in a lightbox or learn how to make one yourself.  Don’t photograph your items in dark places, and especially not on the floor!  Check out my other article which includes 10 Etsy Product Photography Tips.

 

Use Great Packaging

Let’s face it, we all judge books by their covers. This is why you should use great packaging to ship your items. Stuffing a t-shirt into a poly mailer gets the job done, but wrapping the t-shirt in colored tissue paper and tying it with twine and a business card can make a great first impression.  Some people really appreciate the time that goes into great packaging. It can be really worth the effort to step your game up in the packaging department.

 

 

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