Lessons Learned after Five Years Selling on Etsy

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This month, in 2013, I opened my Etsy shop with a handful of items and little clue what I was getting into. I made my first sale within 24 hours and went on to sell 27 orders that month. (Read more about my first month on Etsy right here!) That means I’m celebrating my five year business anniversary now!

Thinking back, it’s crazy to think how far I’ve come. My Etsy shop started as a hobby, as most do, but eventually grew into a business. It allowed me to quit my job and purse my passion full time. Living the dream, y’all!

As you can probably imagine, I’ve learned a ton over the past five years selling on Etsy. I’ve made mistakes, cried tears, had success, and celebrated. Being an entrepreneur is always a bit of a roller coaster, but I couldn’t be happier with my business today. This blog is a full testament to my journey, but I wanted to share a few major things I’ve learned since starting my Etsy shop.

It’s OK to Not Feel Creative Every Day.

When starting out, I felt so much pressure to come up with new ideas, designs, strategies, and content daily. Most of the time, it was enjoyable but there will always be days when you’re not feeling it.

Maybe there’s a custom design project that isn’t speaking to you on a particular day. Rather than trying to force something out that isn’t there, it’s ok to step away. Take a break, whether that’s for an hour, a day, or a week, and come back to it later. The best designs are born under positive factors and without feeling pressured to create.

Etsy Is Not Enough

You list a handful of items on Etsy after carefully researching keywords, creating eye catching photos, and writing quality descriptions. Your expectations are high, but you aren’t reaching the level of success you had imagined. This is why a lot of people end up feeling like Etsy “doesn’t work” for them.

Just having an Etsy shop is not enough. Etsy is an amazing platform with a built in customer base, but you have to do some work off the site to drive traffic to you shop. You can’t sit back and expect Etsy to do everything for you!

When I created the intention of turning my hobby into a business, I knew I had to do some work outside Etsy. I created a blog, social media accounts, and attended events to network in person. The combination of these elements is what led to my growth!

Lessons from an Etsy Seller

Mistakes Happen.

It’s inevitable that something will go wrong. Missing packages, issues with my vendors, not meeting a deadline, an important email ending up in your spam folder – the list goes on. In the beginning, I would stress so much and legitimately lose sleep over these type of things.

One of the major negatives of being “the boss”, is that any mistake comes directly out of your pocket. However having to literally pay for it reminds you to be cautious of repeating that error again.

For the most part, clients are extremely understanding when there’s an issue – I’m always very up front if something is wrong that will affect their order. Being honest and providing great customer service goes a long way. Give yourself a break, you’re only human!

Consistency is Key.

This is one of my biggest tips for anyone wanting to start their own business. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes work, a lot of it. If you’re consistent and putting your best efforts in, it will happen! The more you’re able to devote (money, time, etc) the quicker it will grow but patience is so important.

Show up, market, blog, strategize, network, create, dream, and don’t stop. When you think you’ve done enough, do more. Continue to work for it and amazing things will happen!

Ready to start your own creative biz? Get my free guide to opening an Etsy shop right here!

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