How to Find the Time to Grow Your Etsy Shop While Working a 9 to 5

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I know all too well how tough it is working a full-time job and still managing to be active with your business. Time seems to never be on your side and you tend to struggle with this quite a bit because ultimately you have to place primary focus on your job.

Are you that somebody? Is this your struggle?

Don’t fret, can I share something with you?

It is very possible to start and grow a successful creative business while working your full-time gig. Many have tackled this feat prior to you and have come out on the winning side.

When you start on Etsy, the first struggle you encounter is what to do next? Generally, you find yourself lost and not sure which direction you should go in. This leads to never getting anything done at all. Check out my Etsy Seller success series to point you in the right direction.

But truly the real struggle is finding the time to work on your shop.

Is it going to be easy? Ummm…no.

But, if you want to see success for your business, you will have to wave farewell to all the extra time you once had (that includes weekends and evenings).

Not cool, right? While this sounds unappealing and downright crappy, the long-term reward of creating a successful Etsy shop is far greater. Your struggle of time, what to do next, lack of money…these are all just minute challenges that you will overcome.

And you know why?

Because despite what it looks like for others who are knocking this success thing out the park, it all truly takes time. Starting any business takes time and with your full-time job that just means it will take a little slower to grow. Perfectly normal.

What that means for you is the growth of your business is dependent on when you make the time for it. If you aren’t showing up and being active, your business will reflect it.

So, today I’m going to share with you how to make this happen.

1 | You Need Focus

Because your time is very limited, you need to have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and what you wish to accomplish with your products.

I know it’s tempting when you have a ton of ideas that you would like to roll out like right now. But, when you add that element in, it becomes that much harder to get things going. So instead of focusing on an entire summer collection for your products, try focusing on one product from that collection. Or instead of catering to women, focus on serving moms with girls. Niche it down.

Narrowing in on these fine details helps you sell your product better, figure out what works and what doesn’t work in the beginning phases, and gives you the time to do all those things.

This also helps when you are implementing tools and marketing strategies to your business model. When you are adding a lot of things at one time, it becomes difficult to test out what’s good and what isn’t. It’s better to excel at what works now so that you can master your craft and serve your business well.

Are you great at blogging? Put more focus into your blog as opposed to social media.

Do you find promoted listings has brought success for your shop? Focus on that form of marketing.

2 | Small Actions Creates Big Results

Success does not happen overnight for anyone. And for you working a job, it becomes a slower pace — it’s all about baby steps. Which means you will have to be patient and work in small chunks.

You won’t have the opportunity to work on your shop like you do with your full-time job, so you will have to take small actionable steps. And that’s certainly okay. Slow, consistent steps are really all you need to be successful.

So instead of creating 30 products, taking photos, creating listing all in one day – which I wouldn’t recommend by any means – break that process down a bit. Make your products one day, dedicate one day to taking photos and another day to listing your products. You can even go as far as spreading these out over days or weeks. No pressure here.

3 | Create a Schedule and Stick to It

Because you are splitting your time between your job and your business, everything should be scheduled. This helps you remain consistent and holds you accountable. If you like the good ole’ pen and paper like me, write out your to-do’s in a planner or grab a free printable calendar online. You can also use a free online tool such as Google Calendar or the calendar on your smartphone.

Whichever route you go, use your calendar to find any gaps of time that you can schedule to work on your shop and business. Even if that means bringing your laptop to work and using your lunch break to get things done.

Should you ALWAYS focus on your business? Absolutely not, and don’t you feel guilty for it. Sometimes I will put my business before everything, when necessary. But often I consider my health and my kids first. That is why it is so critical to schedule things so that you are creating a balance of time for yourself and your business.

As a single mother, it became extremely difficult to fit in everything. So, I got creative with my time to make it all work. I scheduled my important to-do’s when my little one was down for a nap, worked on social media when I was in the pick-up line for my oldest, and even got up an hour or two earlier.

Was it ideal? No.

Is that something I wanted to do for the lifetime of business? Heck no.

But it worked for me at the moment based on my schedule.

4 | Apply the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule is derived from the Pareto principle which simply states 20% of your actions will create 80% of your results. If you have ten items on your to-do list, two of those items will be worth more to your business than the other eight put together.

In essence, you are going to work on things that will create more time for you in the future. For example, you are spending 5 hours a week answering customer inquiries. What if you could cut that time in half? How does it sound to spend an hour to create a detailed frequently asked question section within your shop to reduce the amount of time you spent on answering questions?

You’ve just saved yourself 4 hours a week. Wowzers!

To take it a step further, you can set up a series of reserved responses that you can set up in snippets to answer questions you frequently receive.

Will it take some time to set-up these systems? Sure, but imagine the amount of time you are saving on the backend. Isn’t that the point of it all anyway? You are putting your full efforts in upfront to save those tedious time-sucking moments later.

5 | Chunk the Things That Just Doesn’t Matter

“I just don’t have time.”

The infamous saying, I hear all the time from Etsy sellers.

Truth bomb: If you gave up binge watching shows on the weekend, you would have the time. Hard pill to swallow, I know, but someone had to say it.

It’s okay to enjoy yourself, I for one understand how important that is. But if you are serious about growing your business and creating success, then you have to get rid of all those things that don’t matter.

It’s the honest truth that we ALL hate to face. I was there too. I thought I was doing everything I could to grow my business, when in fact I wasn’t.

This also holds true when it comes to spending hours on trivial things such as the design of your logo. Yet you put little effort into researching keywords for your listings. Your logo really isn’t that important, especially when you compare it things that will create a greater impact for your shop.

Food for thought.

6 | Automate

Gone are the days of manually posting. Nowadays, thanks to technology, you can automate the heck out of your social media. There are tools designed especially for this type of thing. Such as Later or Buffer that allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time. You can literally dedicate a couple hours to knocking out your entire week of posts for social media.

One of my favorite automation strategies I use is with emails. Whenever someone signs up to my email list, they automatically receive a sequence of emails without me having to send anything out manually.

What a time-saver.

7 | Outsource

If you have the resources to invest in outsourcing tasks or projects for someone else to handle, I say go for it. Also, think about if it is worth more than the cost to hand over something.

For example, if you find you don’t have the time to deal with bookkeeping, why not outsource it. Outsourcing it to someone who will not only take care of it better than you would but save you a headache is a big fat win.

In the beginning, I was sewing everything myself. But it became overwhelming over time and I had to relieve myself by hiring a seamstress. Now I have more time to focus on other parts of my business.

Consider all the tasks you are doing for your shop and determine if you can hire someone to get it done at a faster rate.

As a solopreneur, you will always run into battles to overcome every day. This is especially true when you are working a full-time gig. However, when you work hard and be consistent, the results will be pleasing. And it will be a great reminder of why you are doing this in the first place.

If growing a successful shop is important t you, you will find the time to work on your business, despite all the excuses you could possibly come up with.

What’s your struggle? In the comments below, let me know what is holding you back?


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