But… can you have a successful handmade business if you aren’t?
I discuss this very question in this week’s episode.
I outline the pros and cons of Etsy, and do the same for having your own, independent, online store.
Reminder! Set Up Shop Registration closes this Sunday 5pm AEST, and class starts Monday! Are you joining us?
Quotes and highlights from this episode:
Why use Etsy? It is the premier online handmade marketplace, has a massive handmade product search engine, provides buyers with a sense of transaction secruity and will drive customers and revenue to you.
If you have no experience with web design and management, start on Etsy. It makes setting things up simple.
Etsy is a great learning space where to work on your photos, tags, captions and stock.
However, “if you are serious about growing a part-time or fulltime business you should set up your own shop.”
If you are doing large portions of marketing drive your business back to your own shop rather than Etsy.
“The power of using Etsy is they should be driving the traffic for you – that’s the point!”
Do you ever wonder what digital tools and software other people use to run their businesses?
I do – and I get asked about various and sundry software solutions a lot, too. So, this week, I decided to do a big round-up of all the digital tools & software I use to run my own handmade business – and Create & Thrive, as well.
I discuss what I use and why in detail in this episode – covering social media tools, website design, shopping carts, time management, photo editing and graphic design, file storage, audio & video recording and editing, outsourcing, book-keeping… and more!
Take a peek behind the scenes of my businesses, and see how I keep everything running (mostly) smoothly!
P.S. While finishing these shownotes, I realised I left one or two things out of the ep. I’m sure more will come to mind, so I’ll update the links below if that happens!
Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.
Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:
FYI if I have (R) next to a link, this means it is a referral or affiliate link. This means that if you click that link and sign up to the service, I get some form of reward. If you’d prefer to avoid that, just google it.) I am only listing and recommending tools and software that I use myself and would recommend to others wholeheartedly.
Digital Tools/Software I use to run all my online businesses:
My main social media are Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I used to love and use Twitter a lot (not so active on there now) and I have a Google Plus account. I’m also starting to use YouTube more.
I use Trello to keep track of my work and life, and I also use the Cal app on my android phone as my appointment-keeper (as well as some paper in my office – a whole-year wall planner and a weekly desk planner).
I use focusbooster on my computer when I really need to get stuff done – it’s a pomodoro-style app. I schedule work periods of 45 min and rest periods of 15 min each hour.
I’m back into the groove of work as of today, and I’m so excited about what 2016 holds for you and me. There’s a lot coming up this year in C&T-land, and the very first exciting thing is launching as of today.
Some of you may remember that at the beginning of last year, I was invited by Etsy Australia to co-teach a program for new Etsy sellers called #EtsyResolution alongside the lovely Clare Bowditch.
Over 3,000 Aussie Etsy sellers took part in the programme, and it was a fantastic honour to help so many people get their shops up and running.
Well, I’ve got some exciting news! The programme was such a success that Etsy decided to take it global, and this year, Etsy Resolution is running in 8 countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom).
Etsy invited me back to be a mentor again – and, of course, I said a resounding yes.
Each country in the programme is lucky enough to get their own local mentors, so for all you Aussies out there, I’ll be there to help you out, alongside Laurie Melia of Yellow Tree, Adam Jelic of Mi Goals, and Kristy Tull of Fox & Ramona. Those of you in other countries will have your own amazing mentors 🙂
If you’ve been wanting to start an Etsy shop, then this free, four week long programme is a great place to start!
The programme will walk you through the basics of getting started on Etsy. We’ll look at things like product photography, marketing, branding and how to get found by customers online.
The invention of the internet has made growing a successful handmade business more accessible, more possible, and more convenient than ever before.
I’ve done it – and it wasn’t even imaginable to me 10 years ago that I could be making a full-time living from selling my handmade jewellery online. But I am. And I know thousands of other makers and artisans are doing exactly the same.
How are we doing this? By creating enticing, well-functioning, cohesive, and professional online shops to sell our craft all over the world.
Selling your work online has SO many benefits.
1. Rather than having to schlep yourself, your products, and your set-up to a market every weekend, you can instead accept orders while you sleep.
2. Even if you do still want to sell your work to retail shops, you can now showcase your work online, so that potential retailers can see everything about your work and your brand, and you can make it easy for them to determine that you’re a great fit for their shop, and effortlessly order exactly what they want – because they can see it in your online shop.
3. You don’t have to have huge amounts of items pre-made. Instead of having all your materials tied up in stock that might not sell, you can sell the item before you make it.
4. You can reach your ideal customer – no matter where in the world they live. Not to mention, no matter where YOU live (say goodbye to having to live somewhere because of your job – when you sell your craft online, you can live wherever there is a post office and an internet connection).
5. You can start selling for an extremely low initial cost – using a venue like Etsy, you only pay 20c per listing you add to your shop. That’s just 20 bucks to make 100 products available for purchase. Forget having to outlay hundreds of dollars on market fees and stall set-ups!
6. You can work – and sell – from the comfort of your own home. Bye-bye commute! Hello lunch in your own home, and naps when necessary.
7. Of course, you might still love to sell via other venues. Even if you can’t imagine not attending that regular market, or selling your work to shops all around the country, you should still have a strong online presence to promote your work. And if you’re going to go to all the work to set up a website to showcase your work – why wouldn’t you make your craft available to purchase while you’re at it?
The benefits of selling online are immense, yes. But so is the work involved in creating an online shop that will actually draw in paying customers.
Setting yourself up for success takes a lot of hard work, planning, dedication, and knowledge. And a LOT of time spent on the business – rather than in the business. That is: lots of time spent on the ‘business’ side of things, rather than the ‘making/creating’ side of things.
So many people try and fail at the ‘handmade dream’ – not because what they make isn’t good enough, and not because they don’t have the desire to make it happen – but because they lack the knowledge to do it right, and they give up too soon due to frustration and burnout.
There is an immense amount to learn about online business.
Not only the technical side of things – how to set up a website/shop, how to take and edit click-worthy photos, how to create good seo, how to send an email newsletter – but also about the business and marketing side of things.
You need to learn how to sell. You need to learn what your brand story is, and how to tell it. You need to learn how to market your work through social media. All of these things time time to learn – and working it all out by yourself can turn the process of selling your craft online into an epic, years-long journey.
I want you to be successful. I want you to make your dream of turning your handmade hobby into a thriving business come true, just like I have.
Over the last 3 1/2 years, I’ve taken over 500 people through the system that is Set Up Shop. It is more than a course: Set Up Shop is an integrated system of lessons and projects that will take you from having no knowledge whatsoever about selling online, to knowing everything you need to know in order to get your shop set up right – right from the start.
Registration for the final class of 2016 is open right now. Class starts Monday, October 3rd
In the words of Set Up Shop Alumni Karen Lynch: “If you have ever thought you would like to have an online presence, but have lacked the confidence or know how, this is the course for you. If anyone has ever said “Your stuff is great. You should sell online”, and it’s been a dream of yours for too long, you need to make those dreams become a reality and do this course.”
After working with hundreds of makers over the last few years, I regularly see people making the same mistakes in their Etsy shops over and over again.
In this episode, I share the top 5 mistakes I see people making with their online shops. I’m focussing on Etsy today, but honestly, these issues crop up no matter what online venue you are using – so even if you’re selling somewhere other than Etsy, you will benefit from this episode.
Today I share some really vital things which you can quickly and easily change right now to make your online shop more professional and encourage customers to purchase from you. Other issues I touch on might take some time to get it right, but it’s important to start on these now so you can add to your skills
I hope you don’t recognise these mistakes in your shop – but if you do, at least you now know what you need to work on to make it better!
Your shop will never be perfect: but you can always improve and be the best you can be.
Are you making any of these 5 mistakes with your Etsy shop?
Quotes and highlights from this Episode:
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at somebody’s store and they would have maybe 5-10 items. I can tell you immediately that this will be a turn off for people. They won’t take your seriously if you don’t have a well-stocked shop.”
If you have high priced or artist pieces, you might be able to get away with less products.
With Etsy, you should have 25+ products which will give you more than one page of products.
You want your shop to look full and that you’re serious about business.
But you also don’t want to have too much choice.
100 products is said to be the magic number on Etsy but don’t panic if that’s out of the realm of possibility for you.
Grow your items slowly but surely until you have a good selection but don’t go the other way and have too many products.
“I ended up having too many with 400+ items and I had a lot of older ones which I made the decision to narrow my brand and took a bunch of them down. My business has grown more since then than ever before.”
Don’t be afraid to get rid of things that aren’t working.
Don’t use flash photography as it looks awful and makes harsh shadows nor does it to any products any favours.
A bit of styling is OK but don’t clutter the image.
Dial back your styling until your product is the star of the photo.
If your item blends into the photo, it’s too cluttered.
Taking photos freehand will definitely give you blurry photos sometimes.
On the camera screen it might look fine but if you blow them up on your computer screen and they aren’t sharp, redo them.
“I’ve made all these mistakes which is why I can talk about them. But I’ve learnt a lot since then and I’ve come a long way.”
It will take trial and error – you can do it, it just takes time.
Filtered or ambient light is best.
Before you work on your marketing, spend time on your photos and getting them right.
It’s important that people can see who you are especially with resellers and big companies infiltrating the market.
Show behind the scenes photos to show social proof that you brand is genuinely handmade.
Customers can separate your quality from all the rubbish that is out there.
It’s important with connecting with your ideal customer.
Be genuine and warm and tell them why you make what you make and why they’ll love it.
If you don’t have Policies or a FAQ in place, make that a priority.
It will make dealing with issues really easy since you will have a policy to refer them to.
Customers can know before they buy what your policies are and can make an informed decision to buy.
“Good policies will nip a problem in the bud before it becomes a bigger issue.”
There’s lots of great examples out there and see which ones are clear and especially in your specific niche.
Descriptions help you convince your customer to buy.
Most of the time you want to tell customers that you have what they need and the detail in your descriptions will do that for you.
People are inherently lazy and want to know all the answers to their questions upfront so describe the item as if they can’t even see it.
Benefits and Features are the most important aspects of your product so figure them out first.
What is the emotion attached to the item? Include that story in the description.