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.
I think some of the best Etsy success stories come from people who already have a hobby and make the decision to turn it into a business. They’re already making a product, even possibly have perfected it. Knowing WHAT to sell isn’t a question, because they are super familiar with what they’re doing.
But what if you want to start an Etsy shop and don’t know what to sell? I’m constantly asked this question from people who are interested in making money online through Etsy but just aren’t sure what type of product to create. I’ve put together a list of over 100 potential product ideas for Etsy and some questions to ask yourself to make sure the product you choose is a good fit!
Thinking about opening an Etsy shop, but not sure if you’re ready? I’ve been there. When I started selling invitations, Etsy wasn’t in the immediate plan. I figured I knew enough people that using Facebook and word of mouth would suffice to support my new hobby.
My sister (shout out to ya, MB!) was the one who planted the idea of selling on Etsy to me. Of course, I was familiar with the platform as a buyer – but selling? I had no idea where to start. I kinda sorta threw some listings together and published my shop. Imagine my surprise when my first sale came in less than 24 hours and my first month sales surpassed $1,000.
Sure, I could have sold a few orders to family, friends, and other connections through my Facebook page, but I can’t imagine that it would have been anywhere close to what I did using Etsy. I’ll truly never know, but by listing items on Etsy you’re able to reach a much wider audience than you can on your own.
My Etsy shop beginnings were rough. The products were of the amateur quality. The listings and photos were thrown together. The tags and titles were created with absolutely no intention or strategy. Thinking back makes me cringe, but I don’t regret jumping in head first at all. Especially since I made my first sale within 24 hours and went on to sell over $1,300 in my first month.
In that year of selling on Etsy, I literally kept records of my finances written down in a notebook. I printed out the invoice for every order and calculated my profit. At the end of every month, I manually did a profit and loss report.
Nothing was automatically captured, calculated, or recorded – everything was on paper, either in my notebook or my file folders. This system took me tons of time to keep up with and stay organized. With no business background, I was doing the best I could to understand my bookkeeping.
Setting up shop on Etsy is a super exciting time. Sharing your art + talent with the world (and getting money in exchange!) is one of the most satisfying feelings ever. But as you begin this journey, you may quickly realize that operating an Etsy shop is not all sunshine and rainbows. There’s real work involved, and even before the sales start pouring in, you’ll want to make sure you’ve gotten the financial and legal side of things squared away correctly.
Today I’m going to offer you a brief overview of the steps required to get the financial side of your business set up properly. One of the biggest challenges we as makers face is that we often don’t even know all the rules that apply to us, so luckily I’ve got this handy printable checklist here for you to help you follow along.