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Do you find yourself struggling with the decision to open an Etsy shop or create a website of your own?
You are not alone!
When I decided I wanted to take my hobby to the next level, I was filled with a ton of emotions…excitement, fear, and a smidgen of anxiety to name a few.
I couldn’t believe I was REALLY doing this. This girl was leveling up and there was no turning back.
One of the first decisions I had to make was deciding how I wanted to showcase my products. I took pen to paper and created a list of features that I wanted on my website. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was heading far over my budget. Wrong answer.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for just a sec…
When you start a business your funds are limited (unless of course, you are filthy rich) — the gist is you have no money. So, keeping things to a minimum is a top priority when you’re starting out.
I went back to the drawing board and something magical happened.
Epiphany. Light bulb moment.
What about Etsy?!
I have been a buyer of the marketplace for quite some time. In fact my original Etsy profile dates back to April 2013. The possibility of me becoming a seller in a place that I loved so much was only logical.
I decided to take the plunge.
Sidebar to a little motivation…we tend to regret the chances we don’t take. In terms of obtaining success, you should always accept challenges with open arms, even if they are the most frightening. What’s the worst that can happen? Here is one of my daily mantras: What if I fail, oh darling what if you fly?
Okay, back to Etsy…
Joining the marketplace was by far one of the best business moves I made when I started my creative business. (No joke!). This is why I am such an advocate for creative business owners to make the move to the Etsy platform versus a website.
Etsy helped form a solid starting point for me. I was able to get my feet wet, learn the ropes of the platform and discover the ins and outs of being a business owner, without making a large investment.
Let me tell you why Etsy is the obvious, no-brainer move when you decide to turn your passion into a business.
1 | Recognizable Platform
In the world of sales and marketing, there is a saying that describes a tactic on how you get an individual to purchase from you. It’s called the Know, Like, and Trust factor. This factor is considered a process that a potential customer has to go through before they actually spend money with you.
One of the most essential components for selling your products is getting visible. Sounds easy enough, but is a primary challenge for many creatives. With that, Etsy has quite a reputation that proceeds it. It is a well-known website that millions of people are familiar with and shop with each and every day. So, although your particular shop is unknown, you are right where you need to be. Etsy provides you with a level of security and reputation, that you have yet to establish.
Joining a platform like Etsy, makes people feel secure about shopping – there goes that trust factor. When you are just starting out, selling on a website that is already established and well-known provides you with instant credibility. Increasing the chances of you making sales.
2 | Built-in Traffic
Etsy launched the summer of 2005. It currently presents with nearly 40 million active buyers.
Yes, you read that right.
Since then, it has made quite a name for itself as a platform for all things handmade. It has built a solid foundation with an instant customer base that is ready to buy. What does that mean for you? Well, my friend, you have instant traffic that is itching to buy your goodies. Need I say more?
3 | Super Easy Setup
The marketplace has a very clean, professional interface. It allows you to brand the heck out of your shop without requiring knowledge of how to build a website.
Although, there are limitations for full customization like you would find with having a website. It makes up for it with having such a simple set up. Allowing you to have your shop up and running in no time. You simply click on the Sell on Etsy link, choose the appropriate shop settings, and name your shop.
Even if you only have a few products on hand, it’s okay, you can start your storefront and open your shop in a matter of hours. Etsy has made the starting process extremely easy, and user-friendly.
Once your shop is open, there are a ton of resources and tools you can utilize to assist you with how well your shop is doing. Etsy has a dashboard that provides analytics regarding your sales, views, how much you have earned, in addition to your sources of traffic. This information is golden as it helps you to identify what is and isn’t working for you. It’s especially helpful as it tells you what your customers are looking for — priceless data that helps you create more of what your customers want and less of what isn’t working.
BOOM! You’re on your way to taking over the world…well somewhat!
4 | Low Start-Up Cost…My personal favorite
Let’s talk numbers for a sec…
Remember the website I thought I needed? That dreamy website that would require quite a bit of upfront dollaz?
Well, guess what?
Not with Etsy! No hosting, domains, or even membership costs. Etsy currently charges a listing fee of $0.20, a transaction fee of 5%, and a payment processing fee of 3% +0.25. It costs $0.20 to publish a listing to the marketplace. A listing lasts for four months or until the item is sold out. That is it, folks. Not too shabby considering all the perks you are receiving.
A cool bonus for both you and me is if you open your shop using this link, Etsy hands over 40 free listings to you and myself. You can thank me later!
5 | Trusted Name
Etsy is the go-to spot when looking for handmade goods. It is a well-known and trusted site to shop. It was created with creatives in mind and is an excellent place to build your brand and reputation.
This is a key element for a beginner seller. You are given a fair chance to prove yourself. Once you have made a few sales, your shop will begin to be noticed. The shopping community will embrace you and you will be well on your way to success. Being a business owner is tough. Starting out is tough. Why not create a strategy that helps you move forward without taking huge financial risks?
Some still have doubts about Etsy. Is it possible to outgrow the Etsy platform? It is a possibility. With the positives, some limitations may at some point hold your business from evolving. When you have reached that part of your business journey you could move on and create a website of your own.
Not long ago, when Etsy changed their fee structure, tons of creatives lost their marbles. The complaints were never-ending, and many jumped shipped and created a website. The problem? Well, for starters when you get a website, no one is sending you traffic. It’s all on you, my friend. You’ve just made your job of getting traffic to your online shop 2x as difficult. Etsy has an audience of close to 39.5 million buyers ready to purchase your products. With your website, Google is not merrily sending people to you because you are the new kid on the block. People don’t know that you exist, and it will be your burden to bare of advertising your butt off, but with less than half the return you would receive on the Etsy platform.
I know it is tempting to start a website, many creatives believe they will do better having their own space instead of being lumped in a marketplace with others. Or maybe you’re afraid to keep all of your eggs in one basket. Trust me I get it and you shouldn’t store all your eggs in just one place. The problem is you need customers. And that is something you lack from the gate with your own website.
I started a website for my business a year ago and I have to tell you it was one of the worse decisions I made in my business. Why did I make the move? I changed my business model and was offering subscriptions, a limitation that Etsy lacks at the moment. In the beginning, I was running both simultaneously, but that became extremely overwhelming. I neglected my Etsy shop and put more focus into my website. My traffic and sales plummeted the more I spent on my website. The kicker? My website was HARD WORK. I had to pump up the volume with marketing like it was no body’s business. I felt like an icky saleswoman struggling to make sales.
Although I still have my website because of my subscription element, I wouldn’t suggest rushing to have a website simply because you don’t want your business to rely on Etsy entirely. I totally get it! My first year of business was all about Etsy, over time I learned that my online shop is the foundation and I had to create extensions of my business elsewhere so that I am not relying 100% on Etsy to make it happen for me.
My suggestion? Ditch the website idea, create extensions of your business. Your Etsy shop is the tree trunk and the branches are extensions of your shop. Those extensions look like…
Having an email list. Starting an email list is a wonderful way to connect with your audience on a personal level. Often times, people will sign up for your list for the cool freebie you are giving away. But those that actually stick around, love and adore your products and will buy your products any chance they get. These are the very people you want to continue to communicate with and nurture. With an email list, you can do just that. One of the easiest ways to get started with email marketing for your Etsy shop is with AWeber. Etsy has made it super easy for you to connect your Etsy shop directly to the AWeber platform. Each time a customer makes a purchase, an email will be sent from your AWeber account asking the customer to join your list. Mind blown! On the fence about having an email list, you can start a 30-day trial with AWeber using my special link. (Update: You can now join AWeber for FREE up to 500 subscribers, this option is awesome for beginners and takes the pressure off of you while you are growing your business).
Promoting on Pinterest. Pinterest is by far my favorite resource to promoting my shop. It’s easy to use, fun (in my opinion), a visual platform, you are competing with follow, unfollows, and it’s FREE.
Starting a blog. Starting a blog for your shop is a fantastic way to connect with your followers. With a blog, your goal is to provide information to your audience that is useful and keeps them coming back for more. Blogging requires more of a commitment for you to show up, but it’s a great way to connect with your current audience and discover customers that didn’t know you existed.
Now that I have cleared up some of your concerns, what are you waiting for? Get rid of your self-doubt and go for it. Let’s take over the world together…er, Etsy world rather. Open your Etsy shop today and get your first 40 listings free.