We had such a nice response with our post about the online tools we use that I thought it would be fun to share our experience with Etsy today. Growing an Etsy shop can be challenging and time consuming. Despite the hard work required, Etsy has become a big part of our day-to-day business that I feel like it’s important to be real about it. There may be those of you out there considering an Etsy shop or just getting started that might not know what to think or expect.
I started my Etsy shop in 2009 thinking it would help boost my online presence and give me an outlet to sell online rather than just try to win projects through my website or locally. It was just me at the time so I was doing everything myself from marketing to client / project management to all the behind -the-scenes stuff. I didn’t really take the time to research it much before jumping in so when things didn’t suddenly take off, I just let it sit on the back burner. I would revisit the idea every now and then but I never really made any sales so I devoted my energies elsewhere.
It wasn’t until 2014 and the addition of Jen that I really started putting some real interest and energy into improving and growing our Etsy shop. With Jen here to take on some of the day-to-day workload, there was time to start dedicating to the shop. Jen found some online seminars for us to attend and we immediately began implementing a lot of what we were learning. This time around we were able to keep our efforts more consistent and between the two of us we added listings, changed titles and photos and so much more and we eventually started seeing sales.
With some success to track, I revised my goals for our Etsy shop to keep pushing us to continue to work on it. The new goal was to make our Etsy shop a steady supplement to our larger, custom projects. Keeping small projects coming in would keep money coming in on a more regular basis to help us grow overall. It wasn’t until this year, 2016, that I can say we are reaching that goal. Our sales go up and down each month but we are staying pretty consistent overall and it has allowed us to turn some of the money we are making back into improving our shop.
Now that Etsy has become a larger part of our overall business, it made sense for us to stop relying on just our photos and listing descriptions and start turning some of our profit back into paying for promoted listings to help give us a little added boost. This now puts our listings at the top of some of the top search terms. That means our listings are getting in front of the people that are looking for what we are selling. It’s been a lot of fun seeing this chain reaction and, learning more about how Etsy works has enabled us to do so much better.
Along with more sales comes a downside. The hardest part for such a small company is getting orders when we aren’t expecting them, even if our workload is already pretty full. During our busiest months, we can’t just put our Etsy shop on hold so orders keep coming in even though we don’t really need the extra work. That makes for some stressful weeks but we’ve been able to keep up with everything so far.
Another downside is the amount of time that is required to keep up with everything related to Etsy. With more shop visibility, we are now getting a lot more inquiries. This is a great way for us to talk to a potential customer, but it also takes a lot of time. It’s also time consuming to manage all our listings, track what’s getting the most views and the most “likes”, track what listings are going to expire, track search terms or research search terms when preparing to list something new. The list goes on and on.
I am not exaggerating when I say that keeping up with everything related to Etsy has become almost a full time job in itself. As we embark on hiring a third person to join our team, I’m considering how I am going to handle the increasing demand of our Etsy shop and how to best delegate the work that we have based on the strengths of each team member.
Etsy has really given us the online outlet that we desired. It has been a great source of consistency for us both financially and keeping a steady workload for my staff. It has endless opportunity for growth moving forward but along with that also comes more challenges as we face growth and managing that with such a small staff.