In the beginning of any new business venture, the investment can always be a little bit scary. It’s often difficult to wrap your mind around the what ifs and the unknown. How much should I put in to start? When will I get my money back? What if it fails completely? Although I’m all about thinking positively and believing in yourself, these are legitimate questions and fears that come along with starting something new.
In true “zero to biz” fashion, I break a lot of the rules by telling you to just get started and worry about perfecting things later. Once the dollar dollar bills start rolling in, you can always adjust and uplevel as you start to grow. I would never recommend splurging for a custom website, hiring a professional photographer, or buying a ton of inventory before you prove that you have something to sell – and that you still enjoy doing it once the orders come in.
This is why I suggest Etsy to anyone starting out. The financial risk is extremely low compared to most other avenues of selling online. With no cost to open a shop and no recurring monthly fees, it’s really ideal for a business in the infant stage (yes, a baby biz!). Other than a $0.20 fee, you won’t pay anything until you actually make a sale and it’s taken out automatically so you can build it into your pricing.
Stock Your Shop
Of course, you will need to buy the supplies to actually make a few of your products in order to photograph and list them on the site. The cost of building your shop inventory will differ depending on the products you plan to sell. Think creative and plan to start by making the basics – you can always list your item with the option to order in a different color, size, etc!
Take advantage of freebies
You can start by downloading my FREE guide (shameless plug, have to!) which will give you my best tips on setting up an Etsy shop. This will provide you with the exact steps you need to get things rolling. Plus, you’ll be added to my email list where you’ll receive free content in your inbox – tips, tricks, and suggestions on growing your newbie shop.
Use your smartphone to take pictures and edit the photos using a free app – I highly recommend Snapseed! Take photos in natural light and without flash. Read more tips on shop product photography here.
If you’re willing to spend a little extra beyond the inventory and listing fees, I highly recommend investing in your photography. Photos are extremely important in getting views, visits, and ultimately sales.
Although I love the free photo editing apps, my absolute favorite is Pic-Tap-Go and it’s available for only $1.99. I’ve tried several editing applications and even use something different for my fun/personal photos, but Pic-Tap-Go is the definite winner when it comes to sprucing up my iPhone photos for my Etsy shop listings.
Buy a white foam board to use for product photography. They really help your pictures appear clean and professional. You can find these at any craft supply store, including Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, for under $5.
Purchase branding materials. Note: you will not be able to hire a designer to create a custom logo for $25. The good news? You don’t need a custom logo – yet. Keep it simple (and cost friendly) in the very beginning by creating your own text logo in Canva, for free! There are also options to purchase pre-made logos on Etsy to use as a temporary fix until you’ve got the cash money to spend.
Make your packaging a little prettier. With newbie Etsy sellers in mind, I create a line of fun stickers and cards to add to orders. Use these to create a cohesive feel and give the buyer an experience once they receive their package. These little details really help you go beyond! Check out the options here.
Set a goal to really develop your branding within a certain time frame or after a certain number of sales. Branding your shop is a very important part of growing your business and I don’t recommend sticking with something homemade or generic forever. However, I think it’s totally ok to do this for the first few months while you start selling and get to know your business! Your brand is MORE than just your logo and after you’ve gained a little experience, hire a professional designer to create something special just for you!
Ready to get things moving? Research shows that when you invest in a course, you’re more likely to do better at whatever skill you learned. This is because the monetary investment gives you that little extra push of motivation.
My signature e-course, Launch Your Etsy Shop in 5 Days, is available for $97. It’s perfect for the creative who is ready to turn their hobby into a business and wants to get their shop set up as soon as possible! You know you have a great product, but need the support of getting everything put together before officially opening your virtual doors. Sound like something you might find useful? Read more about the course here! (Note: this pricing is current as of September 2019 and isn’t guaranteed for the future!)
So, there you have it – no excuses to getting started! I’m cheering you on!
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