The funny thing with change is people either completely embrace the chaos, changing too much to enjoy the fruits of their labors, because they become bored and need something new, or you have the person who lives in fear of change and never takes that first step. The woman who wants to crawl in the corner and cry, they become so terrified of failing that they never even make that first big launch which could turn into something beautiful and life changing.
I know both women well, because at one point or another in this lifetime I have fit the shoe for each one.
As Mompreneurs we need to learn to embrace the word No, You Can’t Do That, how will you support your children with that? You shake your head, you smile, you let it go in one ear and out the other knowing that you are in the making of following something that feels right for you. With every stumble, look with a new perspective. This is a learning lesson to grow your business and bloom as a person.
This chapter were not going to think about it, were just going to do it. Dive right in. Accept this just might be the scariest moment you have ever encountered of the unknown. Put on your Unicorn Costume and let’s do this!
First things first. You have your vision. Mine looked a little something like this when I wrote them down.
- Make six figures by year 5 on Etsy.
- Write a book and self-read it on Audible.
- Help other mamas feel inspired through blogging.
- Plan Events to bring together women in my community.
It was simple, clear, and concise. You need an action plan – a to do list if you will. Your clear on the mountain you want to climb, but how in the world will you achieve this?
Taking each goal, you have and breaking it down in to a to do list is step one – every day do at least one thing on that to do list.
Starting your Etsy Shop –
- Create your Business Name. – Make sure you are checking google to make sure no one else has a name like yours. – The last thing we want is someone to accidently type in weaves and woodwork and a cleaning shop come up on Facebook ads. This is where being unique comes into play. What is important to you, cupcakes? Mommy hood? Woodwork? Painting? Take a few words and write them down. Play with how they flow together. What are you selling? Is it one specific item or a plethora of items you create. You want your target audience to be drawn to your shop by the appearance and title it holds. Before moving on come up with a catchy headline which will appear under your title. For example, mine views “Handcrafted and Made with Love.” Get creative and in 3-5 words tell your customers what your shop is all about.
- Find a logo and branding – Personally I love supporting other people like myself so all my logos and branding I have had created through a fellow maker on Etsy. It’s a more personal experience and their people just like you who WANT to make sure their supporting your vision and dream.
- Decide what Niche you will sell. – When you first start out stick to one thing for at least 6 months and become an expert at that one thing. After your pro status then expand.
- Set up your policies and information. This step is tedious but oh so vital. Your customers need to know where you stand with shipping, delivery times, how your shop ticks and tocks.
- Write your about page. Don’t even blink twice on over thinking this. Your customers just want to know who you are, what they are supporting, and how your shop came to life! When I first started out it was a paragraph that slowly just grew as customers asked me questions and I realized the need of what everyone wanted to know about my shop and myself!
- Connect your social media accounts. In my experience Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress and Facebook are an absolute necessity in driving traffic to your Etsy. You can launch fun giveaways and peak interest to gain followers and get the word out about your new shop. (We will go into detail on the importance of social media in a future chapter.) For now, just link whatever you have available, so we can launch! If your feeling extra peppy go ahead and start transferring everything social media to a business page, its usually two clicks and voila your ready for action!
- Now this is the exciting part – Girl get ready. This is the biggest action step yet. The first item listing. Use your I phone, get some natural lighting and a sleek background that fits your brand (for my first year I used a slab of reclaimed wood to place my items on and photograph.) We will go into a full chapter on photos, lighting, tips and tricks, and how to capture the perfect angles but for now just GET IT UP. Let go of perfect and step into work in progress.
- How do I name my item? Here are some simple tips to help you get everything launched and ready for action with a beautiful title that is sure to catch the buyers eye.
- Research trending key words for your items. Google AdWords has a keyword tool you can enter in as well to find out what people are searching. For example – Let’s say you have a Unicorn coffee mug, you want to make sure that Unicorn Coffee Mug is in the Title, but you can also hyphenate to a trending key word to be looked up more often than a competing shop. Unicorn Coffee Mug – Magical Horse Cup with Glitter.
- The Etsy Search Bar is a powerful tool as well! See what people are looking up, what are they searching for, get in on being in. (Normally I am so against comparing your shop or self to any one else because you want to make sure you are staying on top of the trends, so you can deliver an excellent product that clients are searching for.)
If you are struggling with key words and titles you can also download a program for free such as Marmalead or Etsygadget to help you get flowing with key words and make SEO (search engine optimization) not so scary!
- Pricing – How to come up with the perfect pricing on your items? This can be tricky! I completely failed at this starting out my Etsy Adventures. I wanted to sell my items at a dollar store price, create Nordstrom style products, and gain amazing customer five-star reviews. This doesn’t work. If you are putting an hour into making something, 30 minutes into crafting and creating the perfect packaging, and then $20 on supplies for that one item, you need to charge accordingly! For example: When beginning the adventure of mompreneurship I started selling coffee mugs. I figured $7.50 was a fair price to sell them for. What I wasn’t accounting for was my time, my supplies, my shipping, and the biggest factor…ready for it…COMPETITORS. Similar shops like mine were selling the exact same item for $19.50. It took me a year to realize I was losing out on thousands upon thousands of dollars in sales. When I raised my prices, I was terrified no one would buy any thing because it was too expensive. Guess what happened? My sales quadrupled. I went from making $100-200 a week to making $500-700 a week, this happened overnight! Customers understood I was a hand made business, they wanted to support me, just as they would want to support you and the thousand of other makers online! Do a little research, find what similar items are selling for, and mark accordingly. Remember the best part of this all is we are a work in progress and Etsy takes 5 minutes to edit a listing and completely change it all over again! Beautiful right?
- Writing a seamless description. This can be broken into simple sections. What is it? Can it break? How does it wash? What is the size?
At this point were besties, right?
I am going to give you a huge leap point here because my goal is to get your shop launched and selling as soon as possible. Here is the description I use on all my items (the only difference is changing the verbiage per item, but this is a generalized answer to years of customers questions and what they are looking for.) Feel free to write this on your description til you have a better knowledge of what questions or guidance your customers will have about your items.
This listing is for one hand painted coffee mug.
Capacity Options: 14 oz 16 oz 18 oz
Mugs are hand painted and made to order. The picture listed above is an example of what yours will look like. Please allow for slight variations as each one is hand painted. A photo will be sent to you before shipment to make sure you absolutely love your item.
I can personalize in any way for no additional charge, just make sure to include a note in the note to seller at the time of check out
How to take care of me? I am microwaveable. Hand wash me with warm soapy water and a soft sponge to make sure I last forever! I am baked and sealed if I do need a good scrubbing. DO NOT MACHINE WASH ME I COULD MELT AWAY OVER TIME.
Personalizing is what I love to do. See something you love but wish it was just a little different? Let me know and I will be happy to change it for you as a custom order.
Gift Wrapping? YES PLEASE. All mugs are wrapped with tissue paper. Is this a gift? I can personalize an additional card for special occasions and send straight to the recipient at no additional charge to you.
After Purchasing: A lot of times I have a few questions for you on personalization after purchase! Please check your Etsy messages after your purchase.
- Shipping – Can you see me turning bright red and giggling writing this section. Oh, how I wish we were face to face girlfriend.
Let me tell you a little story, when I first started out and I was creating my Nordstrom’s Dollar Tree, I decided $5.50 sounded fair for shipping. I was so gung ho to launch I priced all my items at $5.50 priority shipping. Priority Shipping is 2 -3-day shipping that cost around $14.50 for a 1 -2-pound item which is standard for what I was selling. At the time technology was terrifying to me. Set up a scale? Ship directly from Etsy? What if my printer fails? What if it never arrives at the destination. I went on for two years driving a ridiculous number of packages to the post office on a daily basis and paying full price for shipping items. There were more then 10 occasions I paid $60 – $120 JUST IN SHIPPING on something that brought in maybe $20 in profit. If there was a palm in face emoji I could insert here, I’d do it. On my second year of Holiday Season I decided with a new baby, a 4-year-old and a wagon full of packages I needed to brave that damn scale and printer. I signed up for Etsy Shipping, if I can shake you on any one thing through this process of setting up your shop its this. SET UP ETSYS SHIPPING. You save about 20% through commercial business pricing, you can generalize and see how much an item cost to ship BEFORE you ship it. Granit there were some perks, I got to know everyone at my local post office on a first name basis, my kids learned how to squeeze their bodies over the years in random mail boxes and pop out at the retirement folks walking by to pick up their mail. These are the moments we will giggle about in 20 years, right?
For a general shipping rule, order a scale on amazon, I got mine for $20 and it holds up to 50 lb. Make sure you have a dependable printer that hooks up to your computer and some black ink. Grab some shipping tape and BOOM Your in business and ready to become your own post office. Now are you ready for the best part? When you are all done packaging, you schedule a pickup from USPS.com the post man or woman comes to your front porch picks up your packages and you are now officially seamlessly working from home. (Remember how in the previous chapters we discussed the importance of time management. – here are hours of wasted time saved!)
- Tags – On any social media tags are free SEO gold. Sprinkle that glitter everywhere! When tagging an item, you want to think of one thing and one thing only. If I was searching this item. What would I type in the search bar? If your searching for a baby shower gift what would you search?
Let’s do some examples, because again I am as visual as they come over here!
Item: Bridesmaid Wine Glasses
Tags: Bridesmaid Gifts, Be My Bridesmaid, Wine Gifts, Wedding, getting hitched, Bridesmaid, Be my maid, Personalized Bridal Gifts, Custom Bridesmaid Wine glasses, Handmade Bridesmaid Gifts.
Use every tag they allow you to use. Can’t find any? Google is your friend for inspiration.
- Post it girlfriend. Do not even think twice just start by pressing that post item button. Remember you can always edit and shiny them up to be polished and new as your work gets better and you grow as an artist and product photographer!
- Post 10 new items a week for your first 6 months! I know this sounds like quit the project but trust me, if you take away one piece of advice from this section, this is the chunk to take. What launched my shop was dedication. It also made me grow more then I ever imagined possible as an artist. The more you put your self out there online the more chances of clicks, visits, and traffic to your shop.
- Customer Service – In our generation it pains me to say that quality customer service is something rare to come by. I have even done a few experiment buys on Etsy to see what other shops say after a purchase, how quick they respond to a question on a custom order, your catching my drift? Guess what? 90% did not respond to me at all, it was all automated through the Etsy apps you can create to send messages right after a sale or after you ship out an item. It was disheartening to say the least. I personally want to buy a handcrafted item for the connection as well, to know I am supporting someone and not a corporation. I try to think of my target audience as someone like myself who is shopping and expecting a certain experience from a personal makers business. Common courtesy and customer service seem to be a mannerism of the past. My number one concern in my shop is making sure my customers feel the following points in their shopping experience. Let’s jump in.
- Quick Response Time – I can not even tell you the amount of sales I have gained when people are on the fence about a purchase between my shop and competitors because I am the first to personally email them back and answer any questions they may have about my items. I try to have a response time of less than an hour with any customer – you can turn on Etsy notifications to get a certain ding on your phone and know a customer is trying to reach you.
- A Simple Thankyou – After every sale I make I personally reach out and let the buyer know how much I appreciate their order, how I will send pictures to make sure its perfect before shipment, and that I will reach out if I have any questions during the making process.
- Follow Up – Before shipping out any item I always send pictures and give a 24-hour response time in case the customer wants a change made or something added to their order. (This will also condense your shipping cost down and save your time in having to remake something later down the road.) You just officially got it in writing that they love the item you made and gave you the go ahead to ship. Your covering all your bases at this point.
In the coming up blogs we will cover in detail some more tips, websites to assist, and secret sale advice for Etsy but we will dive in to the next common goal for now! Remember one step at a time. If we get to overwhelmed it is just hopping right back on the hamster wheel and accomplishing a whole lot of nothing.