Why Etsy is better than a stand-alone website

When talking to creatives who are considering opening up a product based business, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is..

Why is Etsy better than a stand-alone website?

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I'm talking Squarespace, Wix, Big Cartel, Shopify, Wordpress.. all of the big names. None of them have what I consider to be the most amazing feature Etsy offers. THE BUILT-IN AUDIENCE OF 56 MILLION SHOPPERS. So if your mind isn't already blown, hunker down and get ready.

Etsy is basically its very own search engine.

Let that sink in for a minute. That means no competing with the millions upon billions upon jillions (that's a technical term, just in case you were wondering) of websites in a Google search. That means not having to drive your own traffic. That means not needing a massive social media following to start making sales. That means ready-to-purchase shoppers who have already made the decision to look for your goods on Etsy.

Big Cartel and Shopify are e-commerce hosts, but they don't have a database search function. Each shop is completely independent and responsible for driving their own traffic. Squarespace, Wix, and Wordpress all have e-commerce options as well, but again, no way to search through every shop on the platform.

So you can totally learn Google SEO, compete with literally every other website in the world, pay for advertising to drive traffic (Google, Facebook, etc.), build a massive social media following, funnel followers to your site and hope they buy, pay monthly or yearly subscription fees, and learn additional third party shipping apps..

OR!!!

You can learn Etsy SEO (which is a heck-ton of a lot easier), automatically get your shop in front of people who are already interested in your stuff, link your items with Google Shopping (for free!), pay ZERO monthly or yearly fees, and purchase all your shipping labels straight from Etsy (with a discount included).

Is it a no-brainer, or is it a no-brainer? I'll let you decide.


Need more convincing? I've got you covered! Grab my FREE guide with FIVE of the biggest reasons that Etsy is the number one place to start a creative business.

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10 MORE PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FOR ETSY SELLERS & SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

I'm baaack! And I've got 10 more productivity tips to help you make the most of your work days (just in case you've already mastered the first 10)! If you missed the first installment, you can read it right here.

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1. Purge and donate

Confession: I’m a minimalist trapped inside of a hoarder. I have what’s called the “but-I-might-be-able-to-use-that-one-day!” syndrome. If you are also afflicted with this, you need to switch up your mindset. Instead of keeping things because you might be able to use it one day (but probably never, let’s get real), donate them because someone else might be able to use it right now. This includes clothes and shoes that you haven’t worn in at least a year, supplies for projects you never got around to, and knick-knacks that sit around and serve no other purpose than to collect dust.

2. Start your day with meditation

There’s such a tendency to start the day off at a full sprint, especially when you have a ton of things on your to-do list. Instead, try starting off your day with a little slice of silence and reflection. I love and recommend the Headspace app, especially if you’re new to meditation. You can try it for free here. It might seem a little weird at first, but the more you’re able to control your thoughts, the calmer you’ll be when things don’t go quite as planned.

3. Set an alarm to get up and move around a little

When you’ve been sitting at your desk (or on your couch) working your butt off, sometimes it’s easy to lose track of time. (Wait, when is the last time I even peed?!) Set an alarm to get up every so often and walk around. Fix yourself a big glass of water, grab a snack, play with your dog. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to hustle as soon as you sit back down.

4. Use music / white noise / podcasts to focus

Personally, I’m way more productive when I have music playing. The opposite might be true for you. Whatever background noises make you the most productive, take advantage of them. Maybe it’s music you sing along to, or instrumental pieces. If you can’t focus with music playing, but the silence isn’t helpful either, try a white noise app. I love listening to podcasts, but only when I’m doing something that doesn’t involve reading or writing. They’re perfect for editing photos or creating graphics.

5. Keep your end goal in mind

What is the number one goal that is currently driving your work? Ask yourself this question: “Is everything I’m doing moving me closer to my goal?” If you’re working just to be working, re-evaluate your to-do list. There’s no need to be spinning your wheels on tasks that aren’t chipping away at your end goal.

6. Create a checklist of everyday tasks

There are some things that we do every single day just for maintenance sake. They’re probably on auto-pilot by now, but if you’re adding something new to your everyday routine, or you’re just starting out and trying to make a routine for yourself, creating a checklist of those everyday tasks is essential to making sure you don’t fall behind or forget something important.

7. Focus on one important task at a time

Multi-tasking is NOT your friend. I sometimes like to think that I’m the princess of multitasking, but the reality is always that it takes me longer to do 5 things at once than if I did 5 things back to back. Instead of trying to do all the things all at once, put them in order of most important to least important, and stick to your list.

8. Make a list of things you’re thankful for

Sometimes we can get so bogged down in everything we have to get done and focus on the things that aren’t going quite right that we can forget to be thankful for everything that we already have and the things that ARE going right. Keep the list handy, add to it regularly, and refer to it when you’re feeling down.

9. Take a day off to do all the little things

The daily grind can totally wear you down. We often get stuck in a routine of maintaining and forget to grow and expand. Sometimes it’s just a few little things that need to be handled in order to move forward. Take a day off from the daily grind to get all those little things done, and you’ll be able to start fresh the next day!

10. Turn your brain off at night

This is one that I’ll definitely be putting into practice right alongside you. I’m terrible at shutting my brain off at night, especially since bedtime seems to be the perfect time to scroll Instagram for way longer than I actually mean to. It’s been scientifically proven that putting your phone away at least an hour before you plan to go to bed does wonders for your sleep quality. If you’ve still got thoughts running through your head while you’re laying in bed, keep a notepad close by, write down your ideas and to-dos and then forget them. They’ll be there when you wake up.

Which tips speak to you the most, and which ones will you be implementing in your own biz and life? Let me know in the comments below!


10 PRODUCTIVITY TIPS FOR ETSY SELLERS & SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

My phrase for 2018 is peaceful productivity.

Not the running-around-like-a-chicken-with-my-head-cut-off kind of productivity. Not the oh-crap-is-that-deadline-really-tomorrow-guess-I’ll-pull-an-all-nighter kind of productivity. And definitely not the sorry-I-don’t-have-time-to-hang-out-with-you-because-I’m-so-dang-busy kind of productivity.

Because those kinds of productivity are draining and unfulfilling. And because we can always make better use of our days. If you’re ready to ditch the crazy-busy and float into peaceful productivity with me, read on for 10 methods I’ll personally be putting into practice this year.

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1. Keep a clear workspace

When your workspace is clear and you know exactly where everything is, you can stop wasting time looking for that lost piece of paper or stressing out about the humongous piles of junk all around you. File away any papers or receipts you don’t need and get rid of any knick-knacks that are collecting dust. If you hoard pens and markers like it’s your job (I sure do!), test them all out and get rid of the ones that don’t work.

2. Clear out digital clutter

Just like your physical workspace, a messy digital workspace can be super stressful, too. Try to keep only relevant files and folders on your desktop, and make sure everything is easy to find and in its rightful place. If there are files you want to keep, but don’t need regularly, I recommend Dropbox for a great cloud storage solution.

3. Braindump regularly

If you’re like me, you have about a million thoughts running through your brain at once, so it’s important to get them out so they’re not taking up mental space. Keep a running list of everything you want/need to do, either on paper, in a planner/notebook, your phone (notes app or voice memo), or a word doc. Nothing is too big or too small - maybe it’s something as simple as needing to text a friend or respond to an email, or maybe it’s as complex as an idea for a new product launch.

4. Prioritize your braindump

There’s a difference between something you want to do six months from now and something that needs to be done by tomorrow at noon. Take a look through your braindump and prioritize the most important things. I like to also make a more organized list that breaks down my tasks by day, week, and month. It helps keep me on track and ensures I don’t let things fall through the cracks.

5. Turn off notifications while you’re working

Ideally, you should put your phone in a different room while you’re working. If you can’t stand to do that, or you need your phone to accomplish something on your list, put it on airplane mode, do not disturb, or at the very least.. silent. If you’re picking up your phone every time it dings, you’re interrupting your natural workflow and you’re more likely to get sucked into something else while you have it open.

6. Batch your tasks

If you have multiple similar things on your to-do list, try to batch them together. Instead of hopping around from one thing to the next, your work will flow more smoothly, and you’ll get less distracted. Write out captions and hashtags for an entire week’s worth of Instagram posts at once instead of stopping to do it once a day. (I love the Planoly app for this!) Have a bunch of new products to list on Etsy? Take all your photos at once, then edit, then write descriptions/titles/tags instead of going through the steps for each one separately.

7. Create a list of canned responses

Do you feel like you’re responding to the same questions over and over again ALL DAY LONG? Instead of typing out a new response every time, create a list of canned responses so you can copy/paste in way less time. I typically keep mine in a Google Doc so they’re easily accessible no matter where I am.

8. Say no to things you’re not super excited about

If something doesn’t excite you, DON’T DO IT. If someone has requested a custom item and you don’t have the time or desire to do it, just say no. If you must say yes, for the love of all things good in this world, PLEASE at least charge what you’d be excited about making off of the sale. If there’s no amount of money that would make you happy, politely decline and move on.

9. Check in regularly with your prioritized goals

Take a look back at those prioritized goals from all your braindumps. How are they coming? Are there smaller tasks you need to finish before you can make one of those priorities a reality? If so, break it down into manageable pieces, write them all out, and work towards one big goal at a time.

10. Reward yourself when you reach a big milestone

Whether it’s a sales number or a monetary amount, you deserve to celebrate when you reach a big milestone or hit a goal. Take a day off, go get your nails done, pamper yourself with a massage, buy yourself something you’ve been wanting, or go out to a fancy dinner with friends! (Heck.. do ALL of those things!) When you reward yourself after working your butt off, you’re more likely to work even harder just so you can reward yourself more!

Have you mastered any of these 10 tips already? Which ones will you be focusing on in 2018?


ETSY SHOP TIPS: 3 WAYS TO EXPAND YOUR PRODUCT LINE

On Etsy, the more items you have for sale in your shop, the more chances you have to be found in search. That way, if you’ve positioned yourself correctly, shoppers will come across your items on multiple pages instead of just once or twice. I definitely don’t recommend overwhelming yourself or listing more than you can handle just for the sake of having lots of listings, but here are a few ways to expand your product line without any additional stress.

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1. Listen to your customers

What kinds of things are your customers requesting from you? I have had great success with this particular method inside happytatts, since buyers are constantly requesting custom tattoo designs. If they’re asking you to create something they don’t see in your shop, chances are they haven’t found it anywhere else either. Additionally, if they’re searching for it, other potential buyers probably are, too. Take some of your favorite custom requests and turn them into permanent listings inside your shop.

2. Make more variations of your best sellers

Do you have one particular listing that seems to be your best seller? Are you able to offer it in additional variations? Perhaps a new color, texture, pattern, or size? List each new variation as a brand new listing, or use listing variations inside your current listing to give your customers more options.

3. Divide out current listing variations

This actually ties in to #2 and is used as a method to create more listings from what you already have. Variations are a wonderful tool to combine all of your offerings into one listing and give your customers the ability to choose their own options at checkout, but it also takes away the opportunity for multiple listings. I suggest having one listing with variations included and multiple stand-alone listings of those same variations. This also allows you to play around with different keywords and phrases in each listing to get more eyes on your goodies.

So, what kinds of new products will you be adding to your Etsy shop in 2018? Let me know in the comments below!


Still think that dream Etsy biz is out of reach? Let me show you just how easy it can be to open up shop! Snag my FREE guide to start-up success below.

WORK FROM HOME PLAYLIST - JANUARY 2018

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all about having some tunes blaring while working from home (and taking breaks for sweatpants-dance-parties, of course)! Y’all seemed to really love the Christmas playlist I posted last month, so I’ve decided to make it a monthly thing.. 20-25 of my favorite songs of the moment, collected for you and your marathon work sessions.

Without further ado, here is your work-from-home playlist for January! Enjoy!


Still dreaming of that work-from-home-dance-around-in-your-sweatpants kind of life? Snag my FREE guide to opening up an Etsy shop in 3 simple steps!