Before you set up your shop I wanted to talk a bit about some of the worries you will have while running an Etsy Shop, or selling any of your hand made items online, whether you use Facebook, or eBay etc.
It is so exciting to have something cool or arty to share it with the world. You imagine what it would be like to make your crafts full time and sell them, how you could give up the 9-5 or supplement your income, work from home with family etc etc.
The reality is, this can happen, but it won’t be overnight! And in the meantime you may well second guess yourself, a lot.
Etsy, and selling hand made goods online overall, takes a lot of time and hard work. If you haven’t seen other blogs or books say this yet, then you are reading the wrong things!
Yes, it’s easy to set up a shop (I’ll take you through the different steps in a later post), but the hard part comes once the shop is open.
I don’t want to scare you, I just want to share some of the worries I and others have had when running a handmade online store so you feel prepared and so that when your expectations aren’t met, or you find yourself struggling to keep motivated, you know you are not alone, we all feel like this!
Before I go on I want to say one thing, I’m not an expert here. My shop is still very new. It’s been open for 3 months now, and while apparently, I have done well in terms of sales, I still feel very green. But I want to share this part of my journey with you as I’m learning. I often read other people’s experiences and to be honest I haven’t read anything about feeling inadequate or overwhelmed, possibly because people writing about etsy now have 100+ sales a week or a day and they’ve forgotten what it is like to worry about whether their stuff is good enough, when they will sell something or how to overcome feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done to succeed.
1. My stuff isn’t good enough
This is one that regularly re-occurs as you start selling your beautiful makes online. All your friends tell you they are lovely, perhaps you’ve had the odd comment through a Facebook group or if you have one, on your page. But once you put it on your shop, you will constantly second guess your creativity. One of my most creative friends, whose art is ASTOUNDINGLY GOOD, does this every time he starts a new sketch and still hasn’t put them up for sale (If you are reading this – LIST THEM!!).
I do this all the time. I’ve started to learn that this is my ego, so I ignore it. Generally, if I’ve made something really rubbish (it does happen), I know immediately, and I recycle it. But when I think “are they good enough?” “Am I good enough?” I ignore the voice and carry on regardless.
Ultimately the way to deal with this is to simply ignore it, which seems easier said than done right? But essentially these are just thoughts, and remember, you can stop thinking thoughts if you really want to.
If that isn’t working and you are still plagued with doubt, then why not post your items onto a crafting facebook group and ask the opinions of strangers. That way you get an unbiased view. Be prepared for some criticism, but you’ll probably be surprised!
2. I have too many ideas!
Yup, every single day I wake up with a new idea. I have about six ranges fighting inside my head at the moment and while I am lucky enough to have more time to dedicate to this than most, I don’t have enough time or resources to make six ranges in one go and manage my current stock.
I’ve started to do several different things to decide where to go with new range idea:
- I check Marmalead or Etsyrank to see which have the highest engagement and lowest competition. That’s a very good start. (I’ll talk more about these two resources when I share my experiences with SEO with you all)
- I reach out via twitter and Instagram to see what my (currently small) audience wants to see.
- I make one from the most popular range and put it out there to see what the response is, I’ll list one and then go to the second most popular range and do the same. That way I have a couple on my store, it’s not overwhelming me or taking over my current items and enables me to have something fresh to post on social media.
- I design a range while I have my prototypes increasing interest.
It’s all about taking small steps to overcome feeling overwhelmed.
3. I’m not making enough sales
I suspect every 1,000+ sale etsy store had this issue at the start. I’ve only had my store open for 3 months now so I’m certainly not the most experienced etsy store owner out there. But I have done my research and everyone says the same thing: IT TAKES TIME
If you think you are going to open your shop and make sales immediately (to people other than family and friends), then you will be disappointed.
Occasionally you’ll see someone boast about just opening and selling their first item within a day and good for them (if it’s true and it wasn’t to their mum/best friend/partner). But this shouldn’t stop you.
If your stats aren’t high, keep checking the SEO (coming soon), and post like crazy on social media. Join all the Facebook groups, twitter hours and Pinterest boards (I’ll be writing about social media soon too).
Keep updating your store with new items. Keep researching and implementing tips on improving your store.
It will come, in dribs and drabs to begin with for most of us. Keep the faith it will become an avalanche – and then worry about how to deal with that!
4. There is too much to learn, I don’t know where to start!
Starting here is a good place to begin. Read the blog on etsy while you watch TV, or on the train/bus, in the bath – find moments of time where you can dedicate to learning how to do things.
Break up all the things you want to do into small achievable chunks.
Don’t aim to become an expert in all the social media platforms, running an etsy shop and all the admin side of running a craft business (HMRC, accounts, insurance, etc).
Make a list and tackle each one at a time.
Prioritise – things like HMRC registration needs to happen ASAP (it is easy and I’ll write a post about all of that soon!), make sure you have a system for pricing and keeping note of expense and sales.
Then work on making your shop as professional as possible by reading blogs, the etsy blog etc.
Once your shop is up and running then you can start learning how to best work with Social Media and obviously I’ll give you some tips I have learnt about that in due course.
Don’t forget you can get 40 free listings from me by clicking on this link BEFORE you set up your shop! Running an etsy shop is full of highs and lows, but I am so glad I opened mine, every day when a sale comes through, I still do a happy dance… start practicing yours because you’ll be needing a happy dance too!
If you want to know more about what I’ve done, pop along to my etsy shop.
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