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I mentioned in my post 6 Tried and True Ways to Make Extra Money that I sell greeting cards on Etsy. I have so many good things to say about Etsy that one post is just not enough. In a nutshell, Etsy helped kick start my entrepreneurial career.
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but starting a business from scratch seemed so out of reach. Etsy makes it easy to scratch that entrepreneurial itch. Here are my seven tips for selling on Etsy:
1. You have to start somewhere.
I don’t know how it happened, but I decided I wanted to sell greeting cards. The start-up costs were low and I had a ton of ideas. I started secretly doodling ideas whenever I got the chance. One night we were heading out to dinner when I asked my husband (then-boyfriend) to grab my keys from my purse. My doodle book fell out and he browsed through it.
“These are funny! Did you come up with these?”
“Um… I think so. I mean, yes?”
“What are you going to do with them?”
“I don’t know. Maybe make greeting cards? And sell them?”
“That’s a great idea!”
My husband was so excited about my doodles that he couldn’t help but tell our friends about it at dinner. I was so embarrassed. Now that I think about it, I am so glad that he believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
2. Treat it as a business.
My Etsy shop officially opened in November 2012. I didn’t start treating it as a business until September 2013. It was then that I started seeing a steady amount of income coming from my Etsy shop. I went from making $60/month to $300/month. During card-giving holidays I make upwards of $800/month. Those numbers are far from a full-time income, but it makes for a pretty nice side income.
3. Believe in yourself.
Like I said earlier, my husband believed in me before I did. And that is wrong. I should have been just as proud of myself as he was. I was afraid of what people might think if I failed.
I could not have been more wrong. My friends, coworkers, and family were so supportive. They started offering their card ideas and even signed up with Etsy just so they could make a purchase from me.
4. Double-check your shipping.
Take the time to wait in line and speak to someone at USPS. I didn’t know how many different shipping methods USPS offered until I started selling on Etsy. Don’t think you can just slap on a few stamps or use the automated machine at the Post Office. I learned that the hard way.
My first Christmas selling on Etsy was a disaster. About 90% of all the orders I sent out didn’t have enough postage on them! I ended up having to email about 100 customers to ask if they had received their package. If they said no, I immediately sent them a replacement. Not only was that an expensive hiccup, it completely stressed me out. Needless to say, I learned my lesson.
Once you know how you want to ship your packages, you can print your shipping labels via Etsy or PayPal. You will pay discounted prices and the labels will include tracking and/or delivery confirmation.
5. Stick to a work schedule.
Decide whether you will pack orders once a day or multiple times a day. Will you ship orders daily? I had a horrible habit of fulfilling orders the second I received the Etsy order email. I would stop whatever I was doing to print, package, and ship. This was so inefficient and tiring for me.
Now I wait until the evening to fulfill any orders that came in during the day. I drop them off at the mailbox when I take Pika outside before going to bed. This allows me to focus on my blog and household errands during the day and have my evenings dedicated to the card shop.
6. Photos are everything.
I saw a bump in my views and sales when I changed my product photos from a darker background to a lighter background. Never stop improving upon your photography. When I shop on Etsy, I tend to buy from shops that have attractive photos. They stand out more in a search and tend to catch your eye before you even get a chance to look at any others.
7. Perfect your tags and titles.
Write your title as if you were searching for that particular item. Don’t be too broad. Instead of “necklace”, try “blue crystal statement necklace”. Think about the way you are wording your titles. Instead of “cup for coffee with cats on it”, try “cat coffee mug”.
Use all of your tags! I see so many shops not take advantage of tags. Tags are keywords that customers use when trying to find your item. By not using all of your tags, you are missing out on a chance for a new customer to find you. Don’t use one-worded tags like “necklace”, “mug”, or “pencil”. Add an adjective in there like “crystal necklace”, “coffee mug”, and “personalized pencils”.
If you are considering opening an Etsy shop, or already have one, I hope these tips were helpful to you!
Do you plan on doing your holiday shopping on Etsy this year?
Do you have an Etsy shop? If so, what do you sell?
By empowering women to understand their finances, I free them from uncertainty, stress, and fear. My clients go from scared to savvy — transforming into the confident Chief Financial Officer for their family. You can do the same! Get out of debt, save for the future, and splurge on what you want.