Etsy Shop Tips: Managing Time

People always seem to be surprised when I tell them I have a 30-hour-a-week job in addition to running my own business.

For the most part, the people at my "real" job think that my Etsy shop is a hobby.. if they even know I have an Etsy shop at all. Honestly, most of them just think I go home and take a nap every day. Um, I wish.

The people who know me on the internet probably think all I do is sell on Etsy, go to Disney World eighteen times a year, and take pictures of my Starbucks cups to post on Instagram. Um, I wish.

And when they find out that neither of those misconceptions is true, the most asked question is.. "But wait. How do you have enough time to do both?"

BLOGGRAPHICS_timemanagement.jpg

Let's just get one thing clear. I'm not Superwoman. In school, I was never the best time manager. That 10 page paper always got done the night before it was due. That exam always got studied for at 5am the day of the test. Yeah, I have the same amount of time in the day as Beyonce. The difference is, apparently, I like to live dangerously. (That's a joke.)

A decade later, I still don't have it all figured out. But I also know that time isn't something you can create. Instead, time is something you can choose not to waste. I'll say that again..

"TIME ISN'T SOMETHING YOU CAN CREATE. INSTEAD, TIME IS SOMETHING YOU CAN CHOOSE NOT TO WASTE."


1. It's not that you don't have enough time.

Instead, more often than not, you're just not using it effectively. Is that game you're playing on your phone going to make you any money? Um, sorry to break it to you, but no, it's not. And before you go thinking I never get sucked into this trap.. yeah, I'm not even gonna pretend I'm innocent. That Disney Emoji game is addicting, y'all. Can you use that time to write an item description? What about coming up with 5 new tags you could use on your listings? Answering a convo via the Sell on Etsy app on your phone?

Do a little experiment. Write down everything you do in a day and the time it takes you to do it. I'm willing to bet that when you really break it down, you can find at least an hour or two a day that you could spend on your biz instead.

2. Set clear goals for a finite amount of time.

I've always kept a running to-do list in a black notebook that I carry around with me at all times. Sometimes the list could be up to 2-3 pages long, because it encompassed every single aspect of my life. Crossing those items off gave me such a feeling of accomplishment, but the list seemed to grow exponentially with every passing day. At one point last year, it got so messy that I decided to copy over the undone tasks to a new page and start fresh. Here's what I realized. Some of those undone tasks were 6-8 months old. (SHOCKED FACE EMOJI)

So I changed my methods. I got all of those tasks cleared out, and started making daily "must lists". They're sometimes made anywhere from a day up to a week in advance and they're way less overwhelming than those 2-3 page to-dos. It has helped me focus in on exactly what needs to be done, and it gives me a hard deadline for doing it. It's one thing to write "update tags for Father's Day" on your 2-3 page list where it gets lost. It's another to write it on your "Monday Musts" list, and not allow yourself to get distracted by the 234098345 other things that you brain dumped last week.

3. Don't try to be everywhere.

There are way too many social media apps. Yeah, that's right.. a millennial just said that. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr. OH EM GEE. Trust me, if you're spending all of your time doing social media instead of doing what you actually do, then you're doing it wrong.

My advice? Choose one or two platforms that you love, learn them inside and out, and spend your time promoting your wares there. My personal faves are Instagram and Facebook (specifically, my Facebook group - the shophappy society).


Think you don't have enough time to start your own Etsy biz? Think again! Grab my FREE guide that shows you 3 super simple steps to opening up shop - and you can get it done in less than 30 minutes per day!

etsy shop tips: choosing a name for your shop

I clearly remember trying to come up with a name for my first Etsy shop for WEEKS.

Naming a business ain't easy, y'all. It's kind of like naming a child. That kid has to live with your decision for the rest of his/her life, so you better make it good, right? Back in the olden days of Etsy, you were stuck with your shop name, no matter how much you ended up hating it after 6 months. That's a lot of pressure, dude.

Thankfully, now, if you do experience naming remorse, you're able to make a change, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't put a fair amount of thought into your shop's name before you open it up to the public.

choosinganame.jpg

Here are a few of my tips for creating a shop name you'll love for years to come.

 

1. Simple is best. Make it memorable, easy to say, and easy to spell. You don't want to have to spell out the name of your shop every time to say it to someone. Trust me, I have to do that with my actual name (ALL THREE OF THEM), and it gets annoying after a while. (Thanks, Mom and Dad. Love y'all.)

2. Numbers are easy to forget. Even if you have a favorite number that you like to add to the end of every email address and social media handle you own, consider leaving it out of your shop name.

3. Make a list of some variations, just in case your first choice is already taken. You may even be able to add "shop", "boutique", or something similar to the end. However, if you're wanting a truly unique biz name, I'd suggest doing a bit more extensive research (Google is your bestie) to make sure nobody else is already using a name that could be confused with yours.

PRO TIP: Check out social media, too. Just because the shop name is available on Etsy doesn't mean it will be available on Instagram. Consistency in branding is important, so if you're wanting to grab that name on all of the most popular social media platforms, make sure it's available before you take the plunge.

4. Consider using your given name. If you're not totally sure what you'll be selling yet, or think you may want to expand in the future, this gives you the freedom to broaden your range of products and services without boxing yourself in.

Ultimately, go with your gut, and make sure it's something you'd be proud to put on a business card and announce to your friends and family!


STARTYOURSHOPOPTINGRAPHIC.jpg

etsy shop tips: figuring out what to sell

So maybe you're intrigued by the thought of opening up shop on Etsy, but you're just not quite sure what to sell.

That's totally okay, because there's almost no limit to the kinds of things you can offer. (I mean, besides complying with the terms of service, of course. Handmade. Vintage. Supplies. Boom.)

whatshouldyousell.jpg

Do some brainstorming and ask yourself a few questions to get started.

 

1. Do you have a current crafty hobby? Have you made things for people in the past that have been a huge hit? Maybe it's something you like to give out at Christmas, or something that your family members have come to expect from you on their birthday.

2. Have you tried to search for something you wanted/needed on Etsy but couldn't find it? Did you end up DIYing it? If you've looked for it, chances are, someone else has, too! Maybe there's a hole in the marketplace that you could fill.

3. Do you love antiquing? Turn that hobby into a profitable one by keeping an eye out for things that you could resell on Etsy.

4. Are you a designer or photographer? You don't have to sell a physical product on Etsy. Consider making some of your designs into a printable format or selling stock photographs. You can set your listings up to deliver an instant download to your customer, and you never have to do a thing! This will also work with DIY patterns for embroidery, sewing, crochet, etc. 


Don't fall into the trap of thinking that your area is oversaturated or that you'll never get seen.

 

Here's something for you to think about - as of the time this blog post was published, there were 677,803 listings on Etsy for "greeting card". Seems pretty darn saturated, right?

Guess what I make my living selling?

Greeting cards.

If I can do it, you can.


STARTYOURSHOPOPTINGRAPHIC.jpg

etsy shop tips: is etsy the right platform for your creative biz?

Etsy has become the internet's go-to marketplace for handmade goods, craft supplies, and vintage awesomeness. If you're a creative soul who likes to make, curate, and profit from your talents, you might be wondering if Etsy is the right place for you to get started.

Spoiler alert: my personal opinion is "HECK YES"!

isetsyright.jpg

Here are just a few reasons why Etsy is absolutely the right platform for a beginning seller.

1. Etsy has a built in audience of over 56 million users just waiting to become your most loyal customers and fans. If you're just starting out and don't have much of a social media presence to drive traffic to your own standalone website, Etsy is a total no brainer.

2. It's super inexpensive. A mere $0.20 will get you a listing, complete with 5 slots for photos, a 140 character title, a description, and 13 tags. And it won't expire for FOUR MONTHS. That's a cheap piece of online real estate. When you actually sell an item, Etsy takes a small fee of 3.5% (off the item price, not including shipping), and your payment processor will take a bit as well. Etsy lets you choose between PayPal and their own Direct Checkout system where customers can enter their credit cards without having to create a PayPal account.

3. It's basically a household name. I remember when I started on Etsy in 2009, I would ask people if they had heard of the website, and they'd look at me all funny. Today, when you say the name "Etsy", people know what you're talking about and they've usually even spent time browsing or buying.

4. Etsy is a global marketplace. That means that you'll end up with customers from places you've only dreamed about visiting. Your goods will be seen by the entire world, instead of just your local craft fair visitors.

5. You don't have to be a tech genius to run your shop on Etsy. It's so darn easy to set up - no web design background or coding required. My very un-techy aunt runs a super successful vintage shop, and trust me.. if she can do it, SO CAN YOU!

So, is Etsy the right platform for your creative biz?

HECK YES!


STARTYOURSHOPOPTINGRAPHIC.jpg

Etsy Shop Tips: The future of "free" shipping

If you haven't watched Josh Silverman's video yet, you can do so right here.

As Etsy sellers, we all know that shipping isn't free. Never has been, never will be. However, Josh's video opens up the discussion about the perception of free shipping in a marketplace like Etsy. Across the internet, free shipping sales are known to draw in customers, especially during the holiday season. If Etsy was to advertise a site-wide free shipping sale, the thought is that more buyers would come to the site expecting great deals, therefore bringing more traffic and more sales to the sellers.

Let's be honest. To buyers, shipping will always be an annoyance. An extra fee they are forced to pay on top of the item they're purchasing. But when they see something with "free shipping", they're automatically going to assume they're getting a great deal.

Now, Josh isn't asking us all to eat our shipping costs. That's just silly. He seems to suggest that if we're able, we should include our shipping costs in our item costs to give that perception of free shipping.

Obviously, this raises some concerns:

1. Etsy currently takes fees out of our item costs, not our shipping costs. If we're to combine both, Etsy automatically gets more. I truly don't think that's their main motivation behind this suggestion, but it has definitely raised some eyebrows.

2. For those of us with lower-priced items, will the jump in item price be too much for buyers? Or is the psychology behind free shipping so strong that it even won't matter?

3. Will Etsy give favor to those offering free shipping over those that choose not to?

On the other hand, there are sellers who I believe this will benefit:

1. Those who sell high-priced items. A $30 item with WOOHOOFREESHIPPING psychologically sounds better than a $20 item with $10 shipping.

2. Those with already low shipping costs. If your shipping is under $5 already, your customers probably won't notice the jump in item price by adding in your shipping.


There has been mention of a "free shipping tool", which I believe will most likely be introduced before/during the holidays. We just got through Etsy's first ever advertised site-wide sale (Labor Day), which gave sellers the option to run any kind of promotion they'd like (discounted items or free shipping) with the hopes of being featured on a dedicated sales page.

My hope is that they'll continue advertising sales regularly, especially with the holidays coming up. It's hard to run a sale on your own, but when you have an entire marketplace buzzing with great deals, it benefits everyone!

While we wait (not so) patiently, what are your thoughts about the future of "free" shipping on Etsy? Will you be integrating your shipping into your item prices to test out buyer psychology? Would this even work for your particular shop?

Can't wait to have this conversation with you!

xo, Christen :)


Even more awesome conversations happening inside the shophappy society Facebook group! Come join us!