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.
Social media is rapidly increasingly in popularity for marketing our online businesses. Instagram is one of my favorite promotional platforms to use as an Etsy seller. Since our physical products are so visual, Instagram is the perfect place to share them with the world.
If you haven’t heard of Instagram, you might be living under a rock. Seriously. It’s the social media channel that made it possible to allow an inside look at our favorite celebs, get inspired to travel, work on our photography skills, and keep in touch with friends. Instagram is totally free and likely will remain that way, a la Facebook. Not only is it a place to get social, but also a way to reach potential buyers for our Etsy shops.
I have a personal Instagram account full of fun times with friends, vacation days, and other random photos. I created a separate account to promote my Etsy shop for a few reasons. First, although my friends support my business, I didn’t want to spam them with photos of wedding invitations. Many of my friends are following my business account, but keeping it separate was important to me.
For potential buyers, it appears much more professional to have a dedicated account for your Etsy products. I encourage the occasional personal post so that your followers do know there’s a human behind the screen, but adding family photos and/or memes on your business account regularly can send a mixed message.
Hesitant about opening an Etsy shop?
There are a ton of pros and cons to choosing to sell your products on Etsy. Depending on which person you ask, you’re going to get varied feedback. I’ll be the first to admit Etsy isn’t perfect, but it is a great platform for people just getting their online businesses started. In my opinion, if you’re selling any type of handmade good, you can’t afford to not be on Etsy.
Great place to start
When you’re just getting started, there are several reasons why Etsy is a perfect place to begin selling. The start up costs are extremely low, there are no reoccurring fees for membership or subscriptions, and it’s relatively easy to set up.