Posts Tagged 'ecommerce'

Four Essential Lessons From Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” Series

I recently dropped from full time to working only two hours per day at my day job, and have since been pursuing my Etsy shop full time. You wouldn’t think so to look at it, but I am. Most of my work so far has been “behind the scenes,” and during this starting-up phase, I’ve read a lot of Etsy’s “Quit You Day Job” series. Maybe even all of them. Reading interview after interview after interview, I noticed certain recurring themes.

1. The most common “If I had it to do over I would…” moment? Time and again, it’s “I wish I would’ve done this sooner.” Quit my day job sooner, pursued my creative side sooner, taken my Etsy business seriously sooner.

2. The next most common piece of advice is “View your business as a business.” Take it seriously. Be professional. Get up, get dressed, and go to work. Even if that work is at your kitchen table.

3. The most successful promotion tools (apart from excellent customer service and word of mouth): Twitter, Flickr, and blogging about what you do. Sometimes it seems as if you’re only Tweeting to fellow Etsy sellers, but the potential audience of Twitter is not to be underestimated. Tweet about your new listings. Tweet questions, like “What do you think of my new shop banner?” (include a link, of course). Tweet links to your latest blog post. See something you love on Etsy or elsewhere? Tweet about it. Retweet others, be interesting, and others will retweet you, too!

More on blogging & Flickr in a future article.

4. Last but not least: Everyone seems to get up at 8 a.m. Well ok not everyone, but it is very common in the description of an average workday. I don’ take this as a piece of advice, so much, but rather as an indicator that successful Etsy sellers follow their own natural rhythms. This fosters creativity and maximizes productivity.
Whadd’ya think?
What would you add to this list?
Please comment.


Why You Need to Diversify Your Online Presence

We are all familiar with the old adage: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Why not? Because if something happens to that basket, you are out of luck.

So you’ve spent all this time constructing your online store, working on building a brand, perhaps even Facebooking and Tweeting about it, and your customers are starting to trickle in. You’ve made a few sales. Maybe you’ve made more than a few. If so, congratulations!

But now you’re noticing all kinds of venues very similar to the one you already use, and you’re wondering: Should I switch? The answer, unless you are VERY unhappy with your current site, is: NO. You should DIVERSIFY. This means Yes, by all means sign up and put some of your eggs in that basket, too. No two websites have exactly the same audience. You will undoubtedly reach more potential customers by having more than one online store, and here’s the best part: It’s not complicated.

If you were to design and maintain three or four completely different websites all on your own from the ground up, you wouldn’t have time to produce any inventory. But the online venues that are so popular today take care of all of that for you. If you are, for example, a hand-crafter or artisan selling on Etsy, there are many elements of your shop (announcement, maybe shop banner, etc.) that you could quickly and easily migrate to another venue, such as ArtFire or Zibbet. And once you have all of these stores up and running, it’s not going to take you that much longer to check in and maintain three of them than it was taking to maintain just the one. But, you may have tripled your audience and potential sales!

A word of caution: Listing the same item in all three shops is NOT recommended, unless you actually have three of the item. It would be really, really terrible customer service to tell a potential buyer: “Sorry, but you’re too late– I just sold out of this item in my other online store.”

So, your next step? If you’re a Handmade seller, check out this great Zibbet deal: The basic seller’s account lets you list up to 25 items at a time, and there are ZERO listing fees and ZERO selling fees! The really awesome Premium account is going for $7 for a limited time, and it includes unlimited listings, links to your blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages, the ability to display your favorite feedback at the top of your shop page, and more. (There’s even a free trial of the Premium Account with Coupon Code FREETRIAL.) It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a storefront.

Are you ready to diversify?

Have you had success selling in more than one venue at a time? I’d love to hear about it- comment below!

Quitting My Day Job, Opening New Doors

I’ve been working as a preschool teacher for the past year, and I love it so much that I decided to back to school and get some credentials. So lately, my job description has been “full time student.” My major is Early Childhood Education. I’ve been able to explore different aspects of the field, and I’ve learned more than I thought possible in just a year’s time.

Then, a few months ago, I had the opportunity to work full time as a co-teacher for three months. I learned even more during that time, and I consider myself very fortunate to have been given the opportunity. However, one of the most important things that I learned from that experience is that I do not want to be a full time preschool teacher. My interests are in anti-bias education, teacher training, and family-teacher partnerships. Still, I’ve known for years, perhaps decades, that a 40-hour workweek on someone else’s schedule is just not for me.

All of this brings up the question: What am I still doing in school? I already have the education and experience to become a CDA (Child Development Associate), which is more than enough for me, and I am running a little Etsy shop that I am very excited about. If I am going to pursue my “own thing” in earnest, forcing myself to wade through these classes with no goal in sight is just a complete waste of my time.

I realize that the Etsy thing might be a long shot, and there is, of course, a chance that it won’t amount to much. But either way, a degree in Early Childhood Education is simply not pointing me in the way of my dreams.

So there you have it. Bye-bye, College!
Grab it! Open it!

At Least Three Things I Learned From Failing to Reach My Goals

So my “Bags and Purses” Etsy Showcase is ending in fewer than thirty minutes.

Did I reach my goal of creating and listing at least four new bags in forty-eight hours? No.

Did I gain something from this experience? Yes. I did actually design four new bags, and I am in the middle of experimenting with a no-washing-machine felting technique for one of them. (More on the felting experiment in a future post.) I also learned about rhythm, which I’m going to need to perfect if I’m going to make this Etsy shop fly. I also learned that it is silly to start up a store during the first week of classes when I am a full time student!

On the other hand, maybe doing this during all the rush and confusion of a new semester was a good idea. After all, I got a real feel for what I’ve gottn myself into, running a business and going to school. Jumping in like this was probably a much better idea than waiting for the “perfect opportunity,” you know, that opportunity that never really comes.

Whadd’ya think? Did I pass or did I fail?

p.s. Regarding the photo above: No, it’s not a bib. It’s the nautical flag “Papa,” or “Blue Peter,” in a less-than traditional Baby Blue.

The Landlocked Sailor is ALIVE!!!

I finally got up the nerve to open up my Etsy store:

I’ve been putting it off for so many (imagined) reasons: I’m not that skilled; I don’t know much about business/sales; Nobody makes money doing what they love; I have to build up a HUGE inventory first; What if no one likes my designs? What if I don’t sell anything? What if I DO sell stuff, and I get overwhelmed?

I realize that I am as afraid of success as I am of failure, if not more so. I’m SO TIRED of being afraid!

Three years ago, I was accepted to the Art Institute of Seattle, in the Media Arts and Animation program. I had terrible credit and no cosigner for student loans, and it’s not an inexpensive school! I had no idea how I could make it go. I didn’t believe in my portfolio enough to even apply for a merit-based scholarship. I quickly became overwhelmed, gave up on myself, and ran away to sea.

Now here I am in the middle of Indiana, still dreaming daily of Seattle and the sea, and going to school locally (now an Ed major). My creative urges have not gone away just because I have tried to starve them to death. I still have a million ideas every day and I believe that they deserve a chance to live and breath in the real world. So, sketchbook in hand and eyes wide open, here I go!

Whadd’ya think?

Pirates at Play

My Etsy Shop