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.
We all struggle with choosing – and sticking to – a direction for our business.
In the beginning, you probably didn’t even have a direction in mind. You just had something you loved to make, and you wanted to start selling it.
Things like finding your ideal customer, marketing, goal-setting, long-term planning, and conscious product development were likely not even on your radar. You might not have even planned on having a ‘business’.
But now you’re here. You’ve realised that you not only love making things – you love being able to share them with the world, and make money doing so. You’ve crafted yourself a business.
But are you clear on where you want to drive your business to?
Or is it driving you?
Camila Prada – one of the successful makers I profile in the SHIFT Gold Member Case Studies, has this to say about finding direction.
[Struggling with direction is] a constant for me. I think it is for most entrepreneurs, simply because of the fact you have to switch back and forth from CEO mode to worker bee mode. As the creator of a business you are always second guessing yourself, questioning, thinking of how to make things better.This makes it hard to execute plans in a focused manner, and of course YOU have to execute these ideas and plans yourself at the beginning, as there is no one else to do it.
Another of our Case Studies, Tracey Matthews (you might know her from Flourish & Thrive Academy) actually grew her first jewellery business to a huge level of success over 10 years… then let all of that go to re-start with a completely different business model for her jewellery.
She says: “Struggling to find direction is just part of life. The difference between those who succeed and those who stay stuck in the struggle is the direct correlation between your ability to make a choice and to take action.”
I totally agree with Tracey. I wrote about this on the blog recently – the terrible habit of not taking action because we’re waiting for something… whether that something is more time to think through a decision (hint, there will never be a point where you are 100% confident… about anything) waiting for perfection, waiting for the ‘right time’… or any of the other myriad excuses we make to ourselves about why we haven’t taken action.
The 4 makers I profile in the SHIFT Gold Case Studies all have this one thing in common. They have made decisions (sometimes, really tough decisions) and then enacted them.
Another thing they have in common is a clear direction.
They know who their customer is – and who their customer is not. They are not trying to be everything to everyone. They know what they want, and every decision they make drives them closer to their chosen destination.
Do you have this clarity?
Or are you still floundering, lurching from task to task, always feeling like you’re behind the game?
If you’re driving your business aimlessly, it’s time to make a shift.
I created SHIFT – my e-course for makers and creatives – to help you do exactly that.
Why did I create this course?
Because I’ve been in your shoes. It took me years to get clear on what I wanted my jewellery business – Epheriell – to be, and the direction I wanted to drive it. From when I started it as a hobby in 2008, it took me 5 years before I finally got really clear and focussed as to what direction to take my biz.
Sure, I had attained some level of success – I was making regular sales, and making money. But things were growing slowly, and it wasn’t until I consciously chose a specific, defined direction that things really took off.
Once I got that clarity, and committed myself to one micro-niche, my business exploded. In fact, my jewellery business revenue in 2014 was double my revenue in 2013.
And that was after culling over half my product line!
Attaining this clarity and direction makes everything so much easier. Your marketing, product development, time management, heck, even the amount of supplies you need to keep on hand.
It makes things simpler, more straightforward, and you clear so much mental space because you’re not wasting time constantly asking ‘this or that’?
You know your Core Values, you know what part you want your biz to play in your life, and you know your WHY.
If you need help finding this clarity and direction for your business, join me and a passionate group of fellow creatives for SHIFT.
The course kicks off March 9th and runs for 30 days. Registration closes Sunday morning, AEST.
As with all of my courses, you get lifetime access to both the content and the private course forum.
I hope you’ll join us and #SHIFTyourbiz in 2015!
P.S. Don’t just take my word for it. SHIFT Alumni, Carolyn Kospender, says of the course: “I feel like I’ve read so many books and essays on information that never really hit the point. But your course not only gave me concrete steps and plans to get me going but more importantly, opened my eyes to the true purpose behind what I do.”
P.P.S. If you have any questions about the course after reading the course page and FAQs, just leave a comment below or email me and I’ll get back to you asap.
So, remember a while back I mentioned a free bootcamp that was coming your way in 2015? This is it!
I was honoured to be invited by Etsy to co-teach their #EtsyResolution bootcamp for new Australian Etsy sellers alongside the fabulous Clare Bowditch.
It’s a free, 4-week program that will help you open your first Etsy shop – or help you spruce up the shop you already have.
It is aimed and written specifically for Australian sellers, BUT anyone is welcome to join, so my lovely international peeps, don’t hesitate to come on board! The majority of content will be perfectly applicable to you, too.
Each week there is a video with me and Clare, as well as two written lessons. There’s also a Facebook group for participants, where Clare and I (and a number of awesome Etsy admin) will be hanging out during the bootcamp, answering questions and generally helping you out.
Here’s the class schedule:
January 27 – Telling Your Brand Story
January 29 – Find Your Target Market
February 2 – Photography: Telling Your Shop’s Visual Story
February 5 – Shipping Tips & Tricks
February 9 – Search Engine Optimisation: Getting Found Online
February 12 – Get to Know (and love!) Your ‘Shop Stats’
February 16 – Marketing 101 (for creative types!)
February 19 – Creating Happy Customers (and nailing the art of repeat business)
February 25 – Live online Q&A with Clare and Jess
If you’ve done my course Set Up Shop, this will be a great refresher. We’ve tried hard to cover a lot of practical topics that will help you understand the details you need to know to get your shop up and running. Obviously we’ve done so in an Etsy-specific way, (unlike SUS which applies no matter where you want to sell online).
If you haven’t done SUS, but have been thinking about it and want to sell on Etsy, definitely sign up and give #EtsyResolution a go. It will definitely be a fab kick-starter, and will give you a feel for my teaching style, too 🙂
(In case you’ve been holding out for the next session of Set Up Shop, it will run in mid-March.)