ART | What I've Learned From My 1200+ Sales on Etsy Part Two

Friday, January 29, 2016

Last week, I wrote up Part One of this post where I shared the first 5 things I have learned from my 1200+ sales on Etsy. Anyone can create a shop on Etsy, but not everyone is going to succeed, so my tips can help maximize your chance of success. From my experiences, I have rounded up the top 10 things I have learned since I have started selling. Before reading the rest of the list, I recommend reading Part One.

So here we go! Part two!

6. Differentiate Yourself: Many categories on Etsy are incredibly over saturated. For example, when you look up the keyword "necklace", you get nearly 3 MILLION listing results; the "art" category has over 2 million listing results; there are over 800,000 listings for "bows", and nearly 700,000 listings found by searching "knitted". Everyone has this idea that they can make something that already exists and make money off of it because others are, but it's not as simple as that. Sure, you could go into the abstract art market or start making cute little headbands for babies, but there are a lot of other people who have that same idea. You have to differentiate yourself. In a sea of sellers, you have to stand out. You can do this by providing exception customer service or by offering products in a niche market. If you can't provide a good reason as to why someone should purchase from you instead of another seller, you aren't going to make that sale. My cards have been successful because I found a niche market for military themed greeting cards. I have few competitors and have "insider information" about military life, deployment, and army wife-li-ness. On top of that, I really focus on building strong relationships with my customers and through my efforts, I have distinguished myself to be different from the rest. I found a way to stand out in a sea of incredibly talented sellers and creators.

7. Promote Yourself: As an introvert, I feel very uncomfortable putting myself out there. I feel funny telling people about my products and that I own a business, but this is something I have been actively working on getting passed. The thing is, your products can't speak for themselves. You could have a fantastic product, but if people don't know that it exists, it won't matter. You have to promote yourself. Do not rely on word-of-mouth, do not rely on search words, do not rely on Etsy to do the work for you. Create yourself a Facebook page and/or an Instagram page and start reaching out to people. The key is being active. The more active you are on your social media sites, the more views and followers you are going to get. I'm still relatively new to social media, but I always see a direct correlation between my activity on social media, the amount of followers I have, and the sales I get.

8. Create Realistic Goals: You want to be successful? Create a plan and stick to it. Schedule out time to work on your shop and your products. The more products you have for sale, the more chances you have to be found in a search. The goal on Etsy is 100 products. That may seem like a lot, but the sales start coming in steadily the more listings you have. It seems many sellers see this as the magic number and as I reach my 100 goal, I too, have seen an increase in sales. In fact, this January is my biggest yet for Mail Call! I know that for many, selling on Etsy is a side project done in between working and life, but if your shop never offers new products, you are going to go stale. Create realistic goals for yourself and hit those goals. If you can only work a few hours  a week on your shop, then work those same hours next week. If your goal is to list 100 products in a year, then break that down and see how much work you need to do to create that. If your product takes 10 hours to make and you can only spare 5 hours a week, then there is no way you are going to be able to hit that 100 goal in a year. Be honest with yourself and what you are trying to do. Failure to do sure will surely result in disappointment. Which leads me to my next piece of advice.

9. Try Not to Get Discouraged: There are going to be times where you want to give up. Times where you will think your products are not good enough, where you think you should have never started to begin with. Try not to get discouraged. You will see other people with hundreds of sales and just wish you could get just one. When you get hundreds, you will see people with thousands, and wonder what they are doing differently from you. If this is what you think you should be doing and you believe in what you are doing, don't let these negative thoughts get to you. Stay positive, and NEVER negatively compare where you are to where someone else is. Instead, use it to learn. Use your disappointment to come up with a new angle and strategy. If plan A doesn't work, just remember there are 26 letters in the alphabet. It is so important to remain optimistic and just striving to be better than YOU were before.

10. Know When to Walk Away: Sometimes despite your best efforts, you may find that you need to cut your business loose. There are many reasons why you may have to come to this decision but if you have to make it, make sure it comes from a place of thought and not of emotion. Don't have a bad week and throw in the towel. Make sure you look at what you are doing and if it can be fixed. If your problem is visibility, did you change up your SEO? Low sales? Did you try new product images and thumbnails. Not turning a profit? Did you accurately calculate a price the includes: your labor + materials + desired profit? Try everything you can and put your best effort in before closing down shop. If you need a break to regroup and strategize, put your shop on Vacation Mode and get to business. Walking away needs to be a last resort decision made with absolutely clarity.

Of course, my tips will not guarantee success, but they are what I found to be the most important lessons that I have learned through my experience selling on Etsy. It may be a hobby for you, but it you want to make money, you need to treat it as a business. Having a background in marketing has definitely helped me, but you don't need a fancy degree to have a successful business. Etsy makes it so easy to set up shop and with these tips, you can get a great jump on information that can help make your business successful.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips!

Do you have any other tips that have helped you?


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