My advice to anyone when they’re beginning their Etsy shop journey is to “just start”. If you wait until you think you’ve figured everything out or have perfected your ______ (brand, photos, listing descriptions, WHATEVER) you will never take the leap. You have to truly jump in and open your shop before you can really learn and grow!
After I’m done shouting JUST GO FOR IT from the rooftops, I will tell you there are a few things you should get a hold on before turning on the (figurative) open sign – but, they’re easy I promise!
1. Open a separate bank account
Opening a new bank account specifically for your new business is the number one thing I recommend when people ask questions about getting started. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “business account” (because banks sometimes charge extra for those), but just an account to deposit your income into with an attached card to use for business expenses.
It can quickly become confusing to have your personal money mixed with your business finances. You’ll want to see how much money you’re spending and making – which can be done at a glance if you have a place specified for business funds. Read more about why your Etsy shop needs a separate bank account here.
2. Perfect Your Product
I’ll tell you all day that perfect is rare and if you wait to achieve it, you might never get started. However, when it comes to the product you sell – it needs to be as close to perfect as you can get it. Some of the “biz stuff” will have to fall into place, but the items you’re creating should be top notch. It is your specialty, after all!
Do your homework to figure out exactly:
- Where you’ll be sourcing your materials
- The total cost of producing one item
- The time it takes to create it
- What type of variations you can offer
- Any information about it that needs to be communicated to a buyer (safety, care instructions, etc)
- How to ship it (read my post on shipping here!)
Want some help refining your product? We can walk you through the steps in our mini course right here!
You should feel comfortable making a high quality product and recognize any issues that might come with it. Every product is different, but make sure you have back up plans for various situations – your vendor runs out of a material you need, the items are breaking in transit, etc. These problems will be unique to what you’re selling but need to be considered before you open up shop – just in case!
3. Take Product Photos
If you’ve been around me long, you’ll know how I feel about photos. Photos. Are. Everything! You want to look professional and stand out in a sea of items in searches. Clear, quality photography is key to changing browsers into buyers.
You can DIY your photography using just your iPhone. Although I prefer using a professional photographer, I’m not always able to. I think part of being an Etsy shop owner is learning to take some basic pictures of your products. Check out this post for photo tips for beginners.
Stock photos work nicely if you’re selling digital products, or items that can be digitally mocked up like coffee mugs or t-shirts. I have had good luck finding stock photography on Etsy and Creative Market.
Powered by Creative Market
Of course, it’s always nice to have your products shot professionally. This isn’t always the easiest (finding someone with a similar style) or most cost efficient (good photographers cost money, as they should). There can also be a lag with turnaround time if you have to ship your product and wait for the photos to be edited. However, professional photos really elevate your items and can help you grow your sales. It’s definitely worth investing in if you can swing it!
4. Research Competition and Pricing
Spend some time on Etsy looking at shops selling items similar to your products. Browse through several and notice if you see any patterns – whether it’s the style of photos, listing descriptions, policies, or turnaround time.
Try doing a search using keywords a buyer might use when looking for items like yours.
See what is being sold, how, and at what price. It’s important to get an idea of what else is out there, but at the end of the day you can’t compare apples to oranges. YOU are different and have something different to offer, so don’t get too stuck on fitting in or pricing a certain way. You’ll have to show or tell what is different about your offering.
5. Choose a Name
Naming your shop is a big decision. Once registered, you are only allowed to change your shop name one time – so take your time in deciding.
Brainstorm and get inspired by thinking about things related to not just your product, but you and your mission. Do what you need to and get your creative juices flowing: browse your favorite magazines, listen to music, or open a bottle of wine (my personal favorite!)
Consider the future when choosing a name for your Etsy shop. Have an overall vision for where your business might grow in the next several years. Keep the name simple, relatable, and memorable. This post has even more ideas about naming your Etsy shop!
Check availability not just on Etsy, but also for a website and social media handles. Although you might not be ready to set up a platform outside of Etsy yet, you do want to have the option if the time comes.
I hope you’re feeling fired up and ready to go! Opening an Etsy shop is a fun adventure and the learning never stops. Download my totally free Guide to Setting Up an Etsy shop for even more tips.