I love helping people grow their small businesses, because there is always a special purpose behind every shop. Everyone has their story that adds to the authenticity of their store’s personality. Jason and I got on Etsy for a variety of reasons. We were $88,000 in debt (we got out, but then got back in with our first home purchase), we moved into a fixer-upper and needed money to renovate, and we wanted to have extra side hustle cash to spend on vacation. Today, I have dreams of reviving Dallas through residential and commercial real estate, and while I don’t have a gazillion dollars to put down, I fund my real estate goals through what we make on Etsy. I wanted to make this as easy as possible for you to start your dream today! You got this. It will take work, but nothing can stop you. Message me if you run into any issues and I am happy to help guide you!
Step 1: Pre-Work 📝
- The top question I get that confuses people and stops them from starting is what to do about taxes and how to get everything in order to start selling. I have included this Pre-Work article here https://thrivette.com/lifestyle/etsy-pre-work-taxes-materials-shipping-prep/, so you can check out how to start your business and register for sales tax.
- I have included ALL my links that I use for materials, printing, shipping, and outsourcing here https://thrivette.com/lifestyle/etsy-faqs-answered-here/. People get confused at why I would share all my secrets…it is because most people don’t take action on achieving their dreams and I want to give you every single piece of knowledge I have so that you can take pieces and learn how to help your own shop thrive. I want to give you a step by step guide to show you that if you put in the grunt work, you can grow a lucrative business.
Step 2: Now The Fun Begins…Create Etsy Shop Account 🥳
- Go to: https://www.etsy.com/sell
- Click: “Open Your Etsy Shop”
- Sign Up: You can choose to sign up via email, Facebook, or Google
Step 3: Set-Up Shop Preferences 🇺🇸💵
Step 4: My Favorite Part…Pick Your Etsy Shop Name 👩🏻💻
- 4-20 characters without spaces
- It is completely up to you on if you want to convey the products your company is selling, or if you want a random name that doesn’t define what you are selling. It’s okay to look at sellers who have similar items in their shop to do research on names.
- I would encourage you that no matter the name, your shop needs to tell the same story with the products you are selling. I have 4 Etsy shops with “different personalities” so that my customers can choose which shop fits their needs. 1. Crate Style sells prints with Cities, Beer, Wine, Whiskey…it’s more of a male audience. 2. Siloes Custom Gifts is more for weddings, anniversaries, gifts for grandma, and everything is custom…it has only prints right now, but I want to expand to more mediums on this, like printing grandma’s apple pie recipe on a glass pie dish kind of thing. 3. Overwrote is all custom prints, but it is more quirky…like our dog prints in soldier outfits. 4. Unity Skincare is a completely different audience.
- How can you tell if someone is already using the name? During this step in the process, you can type in your name and press “Check Availability” to see if another seller is using your desired name. If you want to research names before getting to this step, it is not always a guarantee because seller’s shops might not be public, but you can type “etsy.com/shop/yournamehere” and hit Enter to see if one pops up.
- For your logo, don’t worry if you are not a graphic designer. May favorite design hack, is Canva.com. It is FREE and super user-friendly. You can download it on your computer or mobile device. Search “logo” and hundreds of templates will come up for you to curate your own design.
Step 5: Add Photo + About Bio 📷
- Etsy customers want to support artisans…this means, they want to connect with you!
- Be authentic and know that no matter if you have been doing this for years, or are just starting out, Etsy fans are supportive along your journey.
- Use Canva.com for your thumbnail design, but use a fun picture of yourself in the About section.
Step 6: Add Product(s) and Publish 🖼️
- Add up to 10 photos of your product. Make sure to take photo in natural light on a solid background.
- Fill in Listing Details. In your title, make sure to type in as many keywords as possible. For instance, one of my Best Sellers are animal portraits, but I have it titled as “Custom Pet Portrait | Watercolor Portrait | Customer Dog Portrait | Customer Pet | Personalized Pet | Dog Art | Custom Dog Art” to help pick up on key search words.
- How do you know how much to charge for your item? When I first start to sell items, I sell them a few dollars less than the competition, so I can start to rank. Sometimes, this means I will barely make a profit, but once I get about 10 sales then I increase it little by little. My time is worth money…which means if I am going to be making a custom dog print, send a proof, and make proof changes, than I am going to charge extra. I like to keep everything under $40, but check out your competitors and see how they are doing it. (Ex. My custom family illustrations, take a lot of time and instead of charging per portrait size like a normally do, I noticed that other sellers were charging per figure. Adults, babies, pets, they are all considered a figure and that was a great way for me to learn a different pricing strategy).
- I set my products to “Automatically Renew” because they only last for 4 months, and it is easier for me to set it and forget it. It is only $0.20 to renew.
- Use all 13 “Tags” and “Materials” as much as you can to help generate your products during a customer’s search.
- I typically offer Free Shipping within the US. For me to ship internationally, it costs around $21-$25 for 8oz (costs have gone up with COVID pandemic), but I leave International Shipping at $15 because my margins are high enough to do so. Keep in mind, customers will have to pay for customs/duties in their country once the product lands. Most customers are familiar with this. If you want to dip your toe in the water, and start out with domestic only, that is perfectly okay! It’s up to you.
- I cannot stand being in line at the post office. After hundreds of orders back in 2012, we finally learned an easier (AND CHEAPER) way to mail. We have used Endicia for many years, now we use Shipping Easy (because we have a variety of shops and it combines them all in one for shipping.) For both, we use a DYMO Label/Writer 4XL Printer, and it is amazing!
Step 7: Set Up Payment Options 💳
- I would stick to credit/debit cards, PayPal, and Etsy Gift Cards. (I would not choose check/money order).
Step 8: Set Up Your Billing Information 💰
- Billing works different per each country regulations, but for the US, you must have a valid credit/debit card.
- For US sellers, Etsy will also automatically charge your card on file for seller fees + deposit profits right into your bank account.
- More info on collecting sales tax: https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/collecting-state-sales-tax-as-an-etsy/22717969977
Step 9: Let’s Start Selling 🛒
- Share your shop on your personal social media to get friends/family to favorite your shop. I also send out 50% off codes for them to use (in hopes they’ll leave a 5 star review).
- Customer service is a top priority in making sure you keep your account at 5 stars. I have pre-generated responses that I tailor for every interaction, but it helps me stay efficient, as well as have all the information on-hand ready to send to customers. I love using emojis and talk to my customers like I would a friend via text.
- Here is an example of what I send to customers that I need an image from:
Thank you SO much for your order! You can attach your pic right here, through Etsy messaging. Let me know which image you want to use 📷 and we’ll get your print going. 🙌 The larger the image the better. We’re able to get more detail in there with larger (higher resolution) images. We are working hard and fast and staying up late to get these out asap for our fans! 👩🏻💻👨🏻💻
Please let me know if you have any questions along the way. Have a great evening. 😊
Thanks so much, Stacey
Here is an example of what I send to customers when I am messaging their proof:
Oh my gosh, your fur baby is SO sweet!! ❤️❤️❤️Thank you for your order!
Here is your proof. Let me know if we are good to move forward with this print. 🙌 We are working diligently to get everything out asap. 👩🏻💻👨🏻💻
I look forward to hearing back from you. Have a great day!
Happy selling! If you have any questions along the way let me know! Your dreams can come true with persistence and consistency. Don’t let anyone’s opinions discourage you for launching your dreams to the next level. You got this! Let’s #makethingshappen!