12 Things I’ve Learned About Running an Etsy Shop

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I hit an Etsy milestone a few days ago – 200 sales! I’ve learned an enormous amount about how to set-up my shop, promote my products and work with buyers and now I’m going to share some of the most important things I’ve learned with you…

Make a plan

Yep, I’m talking about planing for the millionth time. But, seriously, you can’t just fill up a shop and expect to take off. (If you do and it does then mega high five!) You have to have a plan for how you will promote your new business and what your goals are for sales. Do you want to sell five items a month? A week? A day? Specific goals are easier to hit than “I want to be an Etsy millionaire.”

Check your shop stats

I visit the shop stats page every couple weeks to check what users are searching for (mostly WordPress templates), where they’re coming from (mostly Etsy), and what listings are getting the most views (She’s Classy)

Manage expectations

When I started my shop I had no policies – you can bet that changed real quick! I had tons of emails for tech support because buyers didn’t know how to install templates or add buttons and a few people bought self-hosted templates when they were actually using WordPress.com. I was spending hours trying to explain things that were in the attached instructions or easily Googled.

Now I have an installation listing and a note saying I don’t offer tech support. I’m happy to help, but they’ll have to pay for my time. My order response also lets the buyer know exactly how long it will take me to send their template.

Update your listings

I get asked the same questions over and over – how wide is the post space? Can I change the navigation? Can I pick a different color? Do you offer custom design? And again, to save time, I add this information to the listings and to my shop policies. Sales are still growing and I’m answering a lot less email.

Do a little SEO

Notice how all my listings start with the product type and not the template name? It’s because people will type ‘premade blogger templates’ not ‘Hello Yellow’ into Google and I want to make sure my listings pop up on the first page of results.

I’ve also included keywords in the title to help people find specific colors or patterns. Use keywords in your shop announcement as well and add categories – instead just templates I have WordPress templates, Blogger templates, social media icons, and photo templates.

Evaluate your stock

Every couple months I go through and remove any items that aren’t selling well. I update my listings and make more themes similar to my best sellers.

Keep your focus

This is me as a shopper talking now…just like I tell you to do with your blog, having one type of item makes for a much cleaner shop. If I’m looking for dog collars I don’t want to wade through candles and jewelry to find what I want. I prefer to buy from the dog collar shop, not the “I make lots of stuff” shop.

Download the Etsy app

I used this for pretty much one thing – to re-list items once they have sold. I can’t tell you how many times a template sold, I re-listed it and then an hour later someone else bought it again.

Install Etsy Mini

See that little box in my sidebar…it brings me lots of traffic. A couple items with larger photos is better than small photos and lots of product. You can create your own widget in Etsy under Promote > Etsy Mini.

PayPal charge backs

At the end of last year I ended up with a charge back on PayPal. This is when the buyer files a claim that they haven’t purchased/received the item and want their money back. It was right before Christmas… I bet somebody wanted a little extra shopping cash.

I responded PayPal with photos from my shop, Etsy convos, and emails showing that they had in fact purchased the template and emailed back and forth with me about it after they received the files. Despite my best efforts and a whole lot of evidence, their credit card company decided they could have their $50 back and I had to pay another $20 to Paypal because of it. I don’t really have any tips on avoiding this, but be aware that it does happen.

Keep track of sales & fees

I have a spreadsheet in Google Drive that I use to record each sale – when, what, who, URL, email, and how much I made. Etsy and PayPal fees are expenses (tax time!), so once a month I input those too.

Vacation

Since I’m not making items to order, I don’t shut my shop down for vacation. I put a note in the shop announcement and a note in the order response letting buyers know I’ll be back in a week and will send their orders then.

Want more Etsy advice?? Check out part 2: 10 things I’ve learned after 500 sales >>>

Also, use this link to start a new shop and we’ll both get 40 free listings!

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