Stop Focussing on How Many Sales You’ve Made & Start Focussing on What Actually Matters





Stop Focussing on How Many Sales You've

When you’re starting out selling your craft online, every single sale gives you a thrill.

Actually – every single sale still gives me a thrill, and I’ve been at this for over 6 years now! Celebrating each and every sale (even if that celebration is limited to a little internal shout of ‘woohoo’) is an awesome thing. You should never lose that thrill – it’s part of the joy of business.

That said… there is a really unhelpful metric out there when it comes to measuring the ‘success’ of one shop or business over another.

That metric is the number of sales a shop has made.

It’s an easy trap to fall into – especially when you start comparing the progress of your business to other people’s businesses. Most online selling venues (Etsy, Madeit, etc.) have the number of sales listed for public view. That is a great thing… for potential customers. It is a figure that gives the customer a quick measure of how long that shop has been in business, and how many other customers they have dealt with.

What it is NOT a good measure of is the financial success of that shop.

Now, I’m the first to argue that success isn’t just about the money side of things – but it is obviously a vital part of being in business. If you’re running a business, you’re doing it to make money, and that’s something you need to keep in mind every day.

But, when you start comparing how well you are doing with others based upon the number of sales you’ve made versus the number of sales they’ve made, you need to take a deep breath, step back, and start being more analytical about it.

If we get down to the bottom line, then the success or otherwise of a business comes down to… the bottom line.

That is: the revenue and profit that the business is making.

And there is no real way you can tell how much profit a business is making based upon their number of sales.


Let’s look at my Etsy shop as example.

As I write this post, I have made a total of 1,895 sales since I opened in October 2008.

That’s great – it tells my potential customers that I’ve been around for quite a long time (in the world of online sales, anyway) and that I’ve dealt with almost two-thousand customers through my Etsy shop in that time.

Now – let’s take a moment to clarify that my Etsy shop is only part of my business. I have my own website, and I’ve also had shops on many other online venues over the years, not to mention wholesale and market sales over those years. That’s the first part of realising that my Etsy numbers are only part of my business story. So – realise that when you look at one venue that a business sells on, chances are high that they are making sales in other places too.

Putting that aside, let’s go back to my ‘number of sales’.

Last year (2013) I made a total of 328 sales in my Etsy shop.

This year, as of writing (on the 18th of November, 2014) I have made a total of 380 sales in my Etsy shop. I’m guessing that will top out at over 400 by the end of the year.

Now – if you just look at those numbers, you might think ‘oh, she’s made some good progress growing her business, but it’s not a massive amount’.

However, what you don’t see by looking at those numbers is the difference in the revenue.

I may have only made an extra 52 sales, but I’ve made an almost 50% increase in revenue in my Etsy shop in 2014 compared to 2013.

Why? Because not only are my prices higher (I put the prices on my wedding rings up in November 2013, the reasons for which you can read about here) BUT I’ve also sold many more wedding rings than other pieces of jewellery – and they have a much higher price-point.

By that measure, 2014 has been vastly more financially successful than 2013 – even though the difference in the number of sales isn’t drastically different.

Let’s do a quick hypothetical comparison to clarify my point.

Say you compare my store with another store that sells scrabble tile pendants.

After a quick browse of the first few pages of results on Etsy, I’m going to say a mid-range price for a scrabble tile pendant necklace is around $7 (which is just ridiculously low, but that’s a rant for another day).

If a shop selling scrabble tile pendants at $7 per sale had made in the ballpark of the revenue I’ve made in my Etsy shop this year, they would have to make quite a bit over 5,000 sales in 2014.

Me – 380 sales.

Them – way over 5,000 sales.

To make a similar amount of revenue.

This is why you need to stop using ‘number of sales’ as a measure of the success of a shop.

Just for a minute, think about how much more work those 5,000 scrabble tile orders would be in the admin and packing side of things.

Communicating with 5,000 customers versus 380. Packing 5,000 orders versus 380. Sure – the product might be quick and easy to make compared to mine, but product crafting is only part of the work you do for each and every order.

Quite a difference, eh?

So, the next time you look at a shop and lament on ‘how many more sales they’ve made than me’, make sure to take a moment to consider what I’ve talked about today.


If you must compare, ask yourself:

What’s their average price per sale?


That will give you a much better idea of their bottom line – and therefore, how much money they are actually making… which is a much more accurate measure of ‘success’ than number of items sold.


AND – it is a question to ask yourself over and over again to ensure you’re not under-selling yourself.

Imagine – if you doubled your prices and halved your ‘number of sales’ – you’re still making the same amount of money… with half the work.

Food for thought, hmm?

3 Business-Boosting Tips for the Upcoming Holidays





3 Business-Boosting Tips for the

It’s almost November… so welcome to the busiest season for all retail businesses – both big and small!

It’s such an exciting time, and today I’d like to share some ways to encourage more sales and gifting.


1. Always keep the gift recipient in mind.

As we head into the gift-giving holidays, it’s important to remember that your customers aren’t always buying for themselves at this time of year. They’re buying for friends, family, party hostesses, etc., and they’re looking for unique gifts. Encouraging customers to gift your product is a great strategy during the holidays because when your customer gives your items to friends and family, the gift introduces you to a new customer. It’s the best possible form of recommendation!

As you plan for the holiday shopping season, try and imagine who your customers might be buying for:

  • Female friends
  • Husbands, boyfriends or partners
  • Parents
  • In-Laws
  • Grandparents
  • Teenagers
  • Children
  • Babies
  • Party Hostesses
  • Coworkers and managers
  • White elephant gift exchanges/Kris Kringles

What items in your inventory can be presented as gifts for any or all of the above recipients?


2. Cross-promote with other artists.

One of my favorite Etsy sellers sent an email last year that I thought was simply brilliant.

She contacted her customer list with a list of handmade gifts from various sellers that she was giving to her friends and family.  Just imagine if you collected a handful of your favorite sellers and introduced your favorite shops and they agreed to return the favor? How many new customers might you share and gain?


3. Offer free shipping.

Free shipping has tested as one of the very best sales you can offer your customers. People simply don’t like the added amount at check-out; it’s not a fun surprise!

I always offer free domestic shipping in December, and my products already come gift-wrapped. If you want to ship 5 bracelets to 5 of your friends, I’m happy to eat the shipping costs!

Calculate what this would really cost your business, and see if you can swing it. Because of the price and light weight of my products, free shipping only equals a 10% discount off every order … completely doable! How much would free shipping cost you?


Here’s to a happy, healthy and fruitful holiday season for us all!

C&T Recommended Reads ~ Week 35, 2014

recommended reading week 35

From Megan:

From Jess:


SHIFT Registration Closes in Less than 24 Hours…





Are you driving your business aimlessly-

Hey Thriver!

It started as a hobby, and grew organically. But now, business is picking up, time is getting scarce, and you’re starting to realise that you don’t have a roadmap or a clear destination.

Where are you heading? How are you going to get there? Have you got the right stuff for your trip? And how are you going to tell people about your journey now that you have less and less time to devote to storytelling?

Join me and a fellow group of committed, passionate, enthusiastic, and supportive creative biz owners just like you for a 30 day virtual roadtrip of learning, planning, clarification, and motivation to help you focus on what matters, what works… and what you need to let go of.

Yes, time is almost up to register for the inaugural class of SHIFT!

Registration closes in less than 24 hours (there’s even a handy-dandy countdown timer on the site so you don’t miss the cut-off).

I know you might not be ready for SHIFT yet – if you’re just starting out or still running your business as a hobby – so if that’s you, never fear! The next class of Set Up Shop – which is written just for you – will be running in October, so keep an eye out for that.

But if you are ready – click here and join us on the journey.

See you in the car… (I call shotgun!)

Jess xx

Ask the Makers – How Did You Take Your Business Up a Gear?

Ask the Makers - gearing business

Lisa’s Answer:

This year, I created an If I Could Not Fail, I Would … list in which I listed all of the things I would do right now if I knew I could not fail. To be completely honest with you, I was only putting it out there to demonstrate how fun the blog topic was. But in response to the article, one of my previous clients said:

“You should do those things on your list even if you might fail at one or two.”

And she was absolutely right. In only a short few months, I’ve gone on to honor the deeper connection I was truly craving in that list by organizing a women’s creative retreat and focusing all of my efforts on group coaching dreamy clients.

After only a few adjustments in the focus of my career (inspired by the list), I’m not only doing the most meaningful work of my life, I’m also earning more than ever before.

Stacie’s Answer:

This has been a leveling year for my business. We have not seen the growth that we were hoping for, but are still profitable. It has been harder this year to grow our sales, but that means that we just have to get creative and begin approaching our business a bit differently.

Danielle’s Answer:

Because this year was sort of a whirlwind – and is just now settling down – I have been trying to foci my efforts on smaller things – like being more intentional about social media and things like that. So far it’s going pretty well – in the sense that I seem to be reaching more people – and I feel like things are improving. It was a simple idea but it’s not really my specialty so it’s a slow process for me. Still learning!

Megan’s Answer:

This year I decided to focus on wholesale to take my business up a gear. I wrote all about how I added 15 shops to my wholesale list last month. It’s been a real game-changer for my business and has enabled me to feel a lot more professional about my business.

Eleanor’s Answer:

This year I’m doing two and a half things, really. I’m finally upgrading my aging, breaking e-commerce platform, which I wrote about here: Proof of Concept Planning. It’s a painful, painstaking process which kind of requires almost everything else go on hold but really necessary. This process has forced me to do the second thing I’ve needed to do for awhile: hire help. Luckily I’ve dug deep into Odesk (If you want to know how I did it, you can find my post HERE.) and found some good people and I am just beginning to see what’s possible and wishing I’d done it sooner. The final ‘half’ thing I’ve done is switch to a project management/collaboration tool called Asana’, I was a Basecamp fan and advocate (and still do love a lot of the work and products from 37 signals) but Asana is pretty amazing and the free version is just about fully functional for a business of 15 or less people. You can read all about why I love Asana HERE.

What about you? How have you taken your business up a gear?

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