Friday, July 21, 2017

Why I Choose to Sell on Etsy

What I am learning along my e-commerce journey!

With the internet and social media abound, there is an abundance and overstimulation of enticing e-commerce and 'get rich quick' schemes nowadays, how is a girl supposed to know where to start? 

With my thrift store addiction in full swing, and my DIY-projects overtaking each nook and cranny of my home, I needed a good place to offer these extras to a special home.

Before I venture deeper into my post, let me reassure you, I just genuinely want to share how this site can help the creator who is on the fence about either their business or themselves.  Sometimes we all need that little push to get us started and feel great about what we do and what we can become!  I want to become a mom who doesn't have to work outside of my home 40+ hours a week.  This was my push to be able to afford cutting back some of my hours while doing something that makes me feel good about myself too (how often we forget to do that as moms!) Now back to my post...

Amazon and EBay would be the first logical choice as a good place to start.  Who hasn't heard of them?  But with that kind of recognition comes competition.  With over 2 million sellers on Amazon alone, I had my marketing work cut out for me.  Not that I don't have the will to compete (I do love shopping on Amazon) 

But my shopping successes and selling success are two different beasts.  I wanted to start out in a place that left me feeling comfortable and would allow me to rebound from any growing pains I would be experiencing (I am new to this whole business and entrepreneurship thing). 

As an antique-lover, unique junk reviver, and upcycle creator, it is virtually impossible to not wander onto Etsy. Etsy is no small fish in the e-commerce pond either (nearing ~300,000 sellers).  It was just the right amount of exposure I was looking for.  Let's also not forget about quality.  With Etsy's requirement for handmade or vintage items only, you can't beat the type of product's listed for sale here.  Who doesn't love one-of-a-kind pieces that are crafted with love? These are some of my favs...

When everything in the stores nowadays is manufactured elsewhere, and is most often made with less-than superb materials, I have a hard time finding anything else like what I find on this website.

There are so many reasons a DIY-er would choose to sell on Etsy.  Below are 7 of my reasons I choose to sell on Etsy

1. Etsy is user friendly (even for the technologically challenged)

There is some technology out there today that still baffles me, but for the most part I would call myself an intermediate at best when it comes to websites, blogs, and just computers in general.  Etsy makes it easy for even the NOVICE user to understand.  With instructions on how to do almost everything it's near impossible to mess up anything! 
Source: Etsy
They give instructions on how to upload photos, how to describe your items to optimize traffic (otherwise known as SEO), drop-down lists on how to categorize each shop item, and this is just to describe a few.  Etsy even has a preset Shipping Profile for those of us who get so confused by shipping details.  It's definitely a no-brainer for the novice shop owner to try out.

2.  No start-up capital or rent to pay (a frugal-by-circumstance sister's dream!)

As I've mentioned before in a previous post, it's almost, and quite possibly, the best way a to start a business venture into the artisan world.  2 reasons include:

a.   It's free to join and $0.20 to list an item. I have NO money, and probably horrible credit (I'm too scared to actually check it, and yes, I know this goes against all advice but I'm working on it).  I think we can venture to say no bank was going to lend me some start up capital!  So this is why I originally decided to go the online route but, it should be setting off light bulbs for all others, no matter what your current financial status looks like.  It is free, yes I did say free, to start your shop.  Etsy even allows you to set it up before making it public.  I originally began my shop in 2015 only to put it on hold until I was able to re-open this year in 2017.  It only costs $0.20 to sell each item and showcase it online to the monster global audience of the internet.  Much better than rent and overhead for a brick and mortar store.

b.  It goes hand-in-hand with Pinterest and their followers.  Who doesn't love Pinterest?!  No that 's not an actual question because we all know the answer to that one.  All fellow DIY sisters have cruised Pinterest.

Source: Chasing Foxes

I can never get enough of pins like these.  I love these thrifty ideas from Chasing Foxes.  Thank you Pinterest for inspiring me on all of my home décor creations.  I couldn't have done it all without you!

3.  They WANT you to succeed

Etsy gives you a load of supportive articles on how to grow your business on a range of topics.  The Seller Handbook is every small business owners bible.
Source: Etsy
Where else can you start a business (with no business background, training, or education) and have someone walk you through every little aspect of what you need to do and how you should do it?  It's a great way to learn about business and what it takes to succeed in all areas (from customer service to finance, marketing, pricing, distribution, etc.)

4.  It's a supportive community

Fellow shop owners are also fellow customers.  You sell your DIY creations on a DIY site.  This means fellow sellers are into the same things as you are.  Below are some of my favorite Etsy shops.  Check them out:

 Etsy seems to have an uncanny way of promoting a culture of support.  There are even Communities sellers can join, dedicated to a wide range of topics.  You can ask your fellow shop owners how to do something and get tips on what works best for them.  I love to shop on Etsy.
What better way to advertise and support your supporters by being an Etsy consumer yourself. It also lets you see other's creativity, and inspires you to have new ides for your own shop.  Inspiration should come from all over.

5.  It creates an unmatched sense of pride to create and inspire others

I still get excited every time I make a sale or someone Favorite's something I have made.  It is self-validation at it's finest.  It seems to make all of your hard work worth it when you can interact one-on-one with your customer's and know that something you made will adorn their home.

6.  Advertise where you sell locally

Etsy allows sellers to not only advertise their items online, but promote where they are selling in-person.  From flea markets to events.  If you live in Michigan, check out this flea market coming up from Gypsies at Heart!  Maybe get your feet wet and sell there?! (just click on the pic to email and get started!)

7.  Confront and conquer that self-doubt

Before I begin on my girl-power/super mom trip, let me preface it by stating it took me time, patience, and MUCH hard work to get here.  (Some of us are born natural're awesome...but most of us women have to consciously work at it every day...own that and be proud too).  However you arrive at this place, once you get's awesome!  And the work never ends.  We all have our bad days, and life never stops.  There are always new struggles for us to sort out.  I know I have another doozey coming up the road to maybe make me question this blurb in the future, but I take heed in the fact that once you've mastered your go-getter mindset, these struggles seem to have better and better outcomes.

As a woman that has struggled with self-doubt and confidence for a large portion of her youth, I was a little weary putting my stuff out there for people to inspect, admire, and criticize at first.  What if I never made a sale?!  This is where my new, self-love inner voice interjects and tells me I'm crazy.  You are just as smart and knowledgeable as anyone else.  Who cares if you had set-backs along the way or ruined a few projects in your experimental stage?  Now you know how to make them better!  No one ever shows you their mess-ups on a blog, and they definitely don't sell them, BUT, they all have them!  And the best one....Who cares if no one buys it?  You're having fun. 

Now I know self-doubt is not the deepest topic or even my worst problem to address , and Etsy is not the most rewarding of life's outcomes (as opposed to family, good health, no debt, etc....), but it HAS started me on my way to bigger adventures.  I'm hoping you can find your own inspiration to your inner bad-a**.  Or at least finally gift those amazing DIY-objects you've labored over to your loved ones.

Go out there and try it!  You have nothing to lose.


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