Good Tips to Know about Selling on Etsy before You Open Your Shop


 

etsy for dumbies

For specific directions about each step of your shop set-up, a good resource is “Starting an Etsy Business for Dummies.”  It is available on Amazon.com at the following link:  http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Etsy-Business-For-Dummies/dp/0470930675.  It is also available on Kindle and Nook.

 

Setting Up Shop:

1. Go to www.etsy.com. If you already have a membership as a buyer, this account will serve as your account for selling too.  You can skip to step #2. If not, you’ll need to create an account.

Click on the link to Etsy.  Once you arrive at the main page, you will see a menu bar above the picture with categories, “Art, Home & Living, . . . More.”  Hover over the word “More.” A drop down menu will appear after a second or two.  Click on the words, “Sell on Etsy.” Click on the blue button to open your shop.   A sign-in box will appear.  Click the tab which says, “Register.” You will be asked several questions for your personal information.  Some people use their real name, others use a nickname.  Then click the blue button register.

2. If you are already a member as a buyer: First sign into your account. In the top left hand corner of any page will always have the Etsy menu bar. Click on the tab that says “selling”. Then it will give you the option to start a shop.

3. You will then be taken to your shop set up page.  Nothing is set in stone. You can always edit you shop name later, change your banner picture, etc. Everything is flexible.

4. About Page:  Write a sort introduction about who you are and how you got started. You can write as much or as little as you want. However, as of the end of January, Etsy requires all shop owners to give some kind of information for customers to read. Many times, customers connect with you or your shop from what they read on your profile.  Whenever I find a shop I like, I always read the profile information before making a purchase.  Why?  Because I am nosey.  LOL

5. Greeting:  You can add a welcome message, announce sales, announce coupon codes, or tell your customers what will be happening in the near future.

6. Banner:  I began with a simple picture I found on the internet.  Think of it as the wallpaper on your shop walls.  No wallpaper equals white, boring, paint.  Put something that expresses a connection to your shop.

RGough_Etsy_JuliesSugarSoaps_Avatar200

You can also search for other shop owners who create pre-made banners for as little as $8-$12.  I purchased my banner kit through a shop owner and friend who also has Fibromyalgia. Robyn is a graphic designer and creates wonderful items for scrapbooking as well. Her website is www.etsy.com/shop/RobynGoughDesigns. You will get any files purchased from her in an instant down loadable PDF.  You simply follow the instructions to download the file and then add the banner pic to the banner box from your file as you would any other picture.

 

7. Move to the top right hand corner of the page.  Hover over the words, “Your Account.”  After the drop down menu appears, click the word public profile.  This is the first page that you should concentrate on completing.

8. To choose the settings for your shop, go back to the upper right hand corner and hover over the words, “Your Account.” Click on the word “Settings” in the drop down box.  Enter the information in each tab. Remember, to select the notification alerts which go to your email.  If you don’t want to be flooded with alerts each time someone likes an item or begins following you, change those settings.

9. Shop Appearance:  To go back to your shop page, go to the upper right hand corner of the page.  Click on the words, “Your Shop.”  This is where you add a shop picture, the shop, name, a description of what you sell, and a welcome message. You can edit each of these items by clicking on the word, “edit.”

Remember to tie your theme back to your products.  Using your name or a play on words is often a way to help customers remember your shop name.

10. Listings: Click on the box which says, “List an Item.” This first listing can be a template for the rest of your listings.  If you list another item which is similiar, it is often easier to Copy the listing and modifying the listing rather than starting from scratch.  Listings can always be edited.   Don’t worry if you made a mistake.

Each listing costs $.20 and remains active for 3 months. Some sites charge monthly maintenance fees. Etsy does not. When a sale is made, etsy does take a small percentage of the sale, but it is very little overhead compared to the service provided. Writing listing descriptions and shop policies will take the most time. Whatever you want to sell, look at your competitors. Read their descriptions of similar items.

Give as much information as possible. Describe your items by explaining the type of materials you use, the color, size, weight.  Suggest uses for your listing.  Give as much information as possible.  Use descriptive words.

11. Photos: One photo per item is the minimum. However, people like lots of pictures. You can post 5 pics max. Photograph in natural light.  Electric lighting sometimes turns photo yellow. If necessary, photograph outside. If you need to use a photo editing program, pixlr.com is free.

You may want to invest in a higher quality camera if you do not have one.  I started out using my camera on my cell phone.  I soon realized that the pictures did not show the detail of my soaps well.   For a $100 investment, I was able to purchase a decent camera from http://www.walmart.com.  Remember, a camera is part of your equipment for your shop.  It is a tax deductible expense. Alternatively, you could also ask a friend to help you.  You could exchange goods or services in exchange for their time and expertise.

Show your items from as many angles as possible. Using a white background often helps your items be seen more clearly. Here is a short video to help you build a light box.  The creator of the video shows simple materials and steps to create a better setting for photographing your products.

12. Shop policies: Again, look at your competitors.  I was at a complete loss how to start.   Find several examples from very successful shops for policies and listings. This should give you a basis to start writing your policies.  Think about every eventuality.  What will you do if a person is not happy with a product? Under what circumstances will you issue a refund?

13. Tags & Materials: You are allowed 13 tags and 13 materials. Use them wisely. Tags should include words which help customers find your shop both on Etsy and when they do a search the internet. This is sometimes referred to as search engine optimization (SEO).  Find a few listings of succesful shop owner. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page.  A few words are listed across the bottom in boxes.  Write these words down and use them as a starting point for your tags.

14. Payment and Shipping: I accept both Paypal and direct checkout (major credit cards). Etsy acts as the platform for clearing the transactions. I never see the customers payment details and refunds are literally a click of a button. I find more people use direct check out than Paypal, but I keep both options open. I never accept checks. There are too many ways to go wrong with check fraud. Never ship an item until the payment has cleared.

Shipping can be tricky. However, you can go to usps.com and use the shipping calculator to estimate shipping costs and buy shipping labels on-line. I use flat rate shipping as much possible since Etsy has a feature where you can print and pay for shipping labels from home. It is convenient, but sometimes the postage for non flat rate shipping is sometimes wrong. My husband takes those directly to the post office.

I do participate with international shipping. Etsy promotes shops who have both domestic and international shipping options available.

16. Bill Pay: Most shops start with a $50 bill payment limit.  You can make a manual payment with your registered card.  I feel more comfortable paying $10-15 at a time rather than having $50 taken out of my account on the 1st of the month and sometimes forgetting about it.

At the end of every month, Etsy provides a shop activity statement.  You do not need to be concerned about writing down every transaction.  Just print off the statement and keep it for tax purposes.

Once you have several items listed, you are ready to open your shop.

You are welcome to check out my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps to view my shop policies, listing descriptions, and pictures. I welcome any questions you may have.

Benefits of Opening a Shop on Etsy


There are three categories of shops which you can open on www.etsy.com: vintage, handmade, or supplies for crafting.

Vintage items must be 20 years old or older.  It would be easy to go to a few estate sales, charity shops like Goodwill, or buy a few items at a yard sale which qualify in this category.  You might buy something for a few dollars and then sell that vintage item in your shop for $25.

Handmade items are highly prized on Etsy.  People sell a variety of items.  A few ideas could include: jewelry, bath products, wooden toys, shelving, wedding decorations, or even clocks.  These items can be made with little investment on your part if you can source your supplies inexpensively or for free.

Graphic designers are even welcome under the Handmade category.  Many graphic designers sell digital scrapbooking kits and others sell stationery sets.  My first tags that I purchased for my shop were designed by another Etsy shop owner.  Other ideas could include designing t-shirts or selling pdf’s of your photography.

Selling supplies for crafting is another way you can make a nice profit.  People sell things like stamps, tags, baker’s twine, soap molds, chalk paint, labels, and even drinking straws.

You choose your area of expertise and sell, sell, sell.

Here are a few reasons why setting up a shop specifically on Etsy is profitable.

1. Membership is free.

2. Listings cost $0.20 for a 3 month period. There are no monthly fees. When you sell an item, you will be charged a minimal percentage of the sale. However, when you compare the service provided to your profit, there is no question whether this a beneficial option. Etsy maintains the website and acts as a platform for your transaction.  I call that a bargain.

3. Teams: Team membership is available for shop owners to get involved in promoting other shop owner’s items. In so doing, your items are promoted as well. This is free advertising for you. Several times right after I worked on the promotional teams for the day, I had a few sales that evening.

4. Google Search Ads: Etsy allows you to enable the Google Search Ads if you would like to take advantage of this option for free. Search ads are the ads that run at the side of your Google searches. Several times, I have notice on my stats that a person found my website through a Google Search Ad.

Over the next week, I will share more information about “How to Set up a Shop.”  I tried to make the directions as simple as possible for those who are not familiar with computers can even understand the process.

You can check out my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps. I welcome any questions you may have!

How To Arrange Your Shop


To arrange your shop:

Go to the top right hand corner of this page. Click on the words “your shop”. This takes you to your listing manager.

Look at the left hand menu and click on options under shop settings. This will take you to “shop options”. 

Under rearrange your shop, click enable and save the changes at the bottom of the page.

Go back to your 1st page of your shop. You should now see “Rearrange Your Shop” in blue on the very bottom of the menu on the left. Click the blue words. 

Then all you need to do is click and drag!

Benefits of Starting an On-line Business (Especially for Chronically Ill People)


 

  1. Schedule: As an independent shop owner, I am not tied down to a schedule. I can work at my own pace making products today or I can sleep if I need to do so. Some nights, I don’t sleep at all which means I drag all day. I stay in bed and work on my website and advertising.

  2. Dress Code: There isn’t one. Did I hear an Amen? Shoes, waist bands, anything which creates pressure points . . . need I say more? Let’s just say, It’s Casual Friday EVERYDAY at my office.

  3. Overhead: If I were to open a physical brick and mortar store, I would have a lot of expenditure for overhead costs including rent, utilities, building insurance, maintenance, etc, etc, etc. . . My overhead with an on-line shop in minimal. I spend money on supplies, listing fees, seller fees, and any equipment which needs maintenance. For instance, my computer nearly died two weeks before Christmas. A friend was able to find a refurbished business class computer for me at a great price.

  4. Tax Write-Offs: When you have a home business, you have so many write-offs for taxes, you may even forget one or two. One room of your house can be deducted from your mortgage or rent, a percentage of your utilities, the mileage on your vehicle (if it is used for the business) and maintenance costs, supplies, equipment such as the computer you already have or need to replace, internet connection service, postage costs, and so much more. So although your business might be breaking even or running a small profit in the first year when you look at the sales vs. the supplies, when you file taxes, you may very well get a nice tax return.

  5. Personal Satisfaction: For the first time in several years, I feel like I am able to do something worth my time and energy. My creativity is sparked and I have also been able to help a few other people set up shops. For this, I am thankful. Ultimately my goal is to get my business running a profit so I can cover my medication costs. My husband should not need to carry the sole responsibility of paying for my care if I can in some small way contribute.

  6. Applying for Disability: I was previously under the impression that once you file for disability with the Social Security Administration or under SSDI, you could not work at all. This however is not true. According to my attorney, a person receiving benefits can receive an income of about $1,100/month.

  7. Family Involvement: My husband has now begun helping with my shop. He cuts the handmade wooden items we sell for wedding décor and birthday decorations. We have had fun coming up with ideas together. My husband has run his own business for several years which gave us both a platform of experience from which to start my shop.

Easy Etsy Marketing


Easy Marketing Strategies

1. Click on the Circle button next to the word, Etsy, in the top left corner. This is similiar to a news feed. The people who follow you, favorite other items, shops, and treasuries. You can favorite these as well by clicking the hearts or the word “Follow.” By following other people or favoriting these items, those people ( about 1 out of 3 people) will follow you too and favorite your items. Then your items spread through Etsy to other news feeds.

2. Choose 3 or 4 close friends who have lots of Facebook friends to post one or two of your items on their timeline. 

3. Use social media: Twitter, stumbleupon, About.me, Pintrest, etc. . . You could create a blog too. WordPress has a mobile version as well. Post new items, sale info, tutorials, other blogger’s posts you like, or even a funny story about your family. Connect with your customers.

4. Rearrange your shop at least once a week. By doing so, you will automatically trigger activity and your items will be circulated into activity feeds with little work on your behalf.

5. Teams: You can join as many teams as you want. POST, POST, POST. I post several times each day with at least 3 teams. This exposes your items to new circles of people. It works just like social media. I have noticed most of my sales happen between 7-9 pm. By 7 pm, I start posting to teams to get my items into circulation again.

6. Diversify: Try to add different types of items to your shop and different materials. You need products which will keep sales moving year round and not just for a few holidays.

7.  Another way to spark traffic is to simply change the order of your pictures on a few listings.  Customers who are only looking at the first picture of your listing in a search may have seen your item previously.  By showing them a new angle, they often think it is something new, or you added more pictures.