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February 19, 2019
I stumbled into life as an Etsy seller. Having no marketing background and basically no business experience (other than cleaning out my parents’ attic and selling their junk at a flea market as a teenager…does that count?) I was learning on the fly. And it has been a heck of a ride with so many lessons learned over the past 6.5 years of selling on Etsy and over 11,000 sales.
I wish I could go back in time and start over knowing what I know now, but alas, that isn’t how life works is it? If I could rewind time and start selling on Etsy now, in 2019, here are a few mistakes I made and I’ve seen my students make that I would love to avoid:
The number one thing that I hear from my students who want to get started selling on Etsy but have not taken any steps to make a move is that they are “learning” and “researching” about the platform and running a business. While I think you should do some amount of research about the very basics of getting started selling online, often times people get stuck in this step because it is safe – it does not require you to actually step out on a limb and potentially fail.
Take that first step. Stop researching, and start doing; the fastest way you will learn is through trial and error, and that cannot begin until you get started.
Like many other work at home mothers of young children, I was working in the margins of time – you know, the naptime/bedtime hustle. But here is what I found, that I wish I could go back and change: I wasn’t doing either one very well.
Even if it is only an hour a day, set aside dedicated work time to prioritize the tasks of the day that need to get done. Don’t allow every other thing in your life to take priority over your dream of having a successful shop – make sure that you carve out that time to work on this venture and move it forward.
I see these alllll the time on every single Etsy Facebook group I’m in, and it just kills me.
Stop wasting your time (and potentially your money if you are participating in buying trains!) on these and use that time for marketing that will actually move the needle of success – working on SEO, niching down your branding, and building up your brand community.
The world of social media marketing is incredibly overwhelming, and the pressure to be everywhere is real. You feel like if you’re not on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/Pinterest and who knows what else then you are missing out on an opportunity to promote and you’ll never be successful with your shop.
So you’re spending hours upon hours marketing your products to the social media stratosphere with very little results to show for it.
Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere all the time. Focus on those one or two places and forget the rest — your customers will know where to find you, will engage with you there because you aren’t spreading yourself too thin, and you’ll be able to manage your time better by not balancing a million different plates of social media marketing.
A lot of Etsy sellers start out like I did – putting up a few things online, wanting to make a go of it, but not having a really clear vision about where they are headed or what their goals are for their business. While I don’t think that is inherently a bad thing, in order to be successful in 2019 you have to pretty quickly develop a plan for what you want your business to stand for and what your vision is for your brand.
It’s important to move forward in your business with a plan for where you want to go — to build your brand, hammer out your customer service and dream customer, and then market and scale your shop. Having a path to follow and not making moves randomly depending on the day and how you feel will also allow you to grow and scale without feeling overwhelmed or confused.
I hope these tips have been helpful if you are just getting started on Etsy or getting started in the process of scaling your shop!
Lauren Keplinger has been an Etsy seller for 6.5 years with over 11,000 sales and six figure annual revenue. She now coaches other women to scale their shops from side hustles to full time incomes.
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