Congratulations! The desire to open an Etsy shop, is the first step!
Have a plan.
Before you open a store, you’ll need
- A product someone wants to buy.
- A bank account, preferably separate from your personal one
- Debit or credit card
- A link for 40 free listings here.
- A shipping plan – Pirate Ship
- Social Media Plan
Shipping can be the most intimidating part of opening an Etsy shop, right after you get over the fear of “What if…” So, it’s good to start off with a plan. First you will need a scale, or a friend with a scale. We have this scale. It is robust and takes a beating. We had a different cheaper scale, and it would give random weights!
Etsy wants you to add the weight and package dimensions to your listing, before you can list an item. This made me delay opening my shop for months!
If you are starting up, and on a budget, you might want to consider, not buying a scale yet. Go to the post office and pay for your items at the counter. This will be a little more than what Etsy quotes you and your buyer, so make sure you give yourself a small cushion with pricing. For small items, like jewelry, the difference usually less than a dollar. You will get an estimate on how much the item weighs, with packaging for any future orders!
After you get the hang of shipping, you will want to consider Pirate Ship. Yes, it probably sounds a little weird, but it’s easy, fun and FREE to use, as in no subscription costs. They also integrate with Etsy so you can see your orders in Pirate Ship. You do need to import, so it might be an extra step. You will not have to manually write down every order though, they will import that for you with a couple of clicks. The shipping cost is the same, usually, as Etsy, but, the biggest difference is Etsy will take the money right out of your Etsy balance. So if you just had a sale, they will take it right from that “cash”.
I like to think of this balance as my cash. Personally, I would rather pay this on credit and earn points or cash back. I know I have the money to pay, because I just made a sale. This is more money in your pocket, or at least that’s how I think of it. After enough sales, this starts to add up, and so does the cash back.
The American Express Blue Business Cash card makes applying easy and fast. They will usually tell you if you are approved after the application is submitted and you’ll receive an email confirmation. Currently a $250 bonus if you spend $5000 or more in the first 6 months, and zero percent interest for one year! You can apply here.
You don’t need a business checking account, but it’s easier when doing your bookkeeping. You can change your bank and card after you open your shop, if you want to get started right away. I decided to also open a business checking account. I don’t have bank suggestions. There don’t seem to be many free options. The best advice here, is to check with a local bank. They usually love supporting local businesses and might have special deals, or be willing to waive certain fees for a certain amount of time!
I highly advise you check out Etsy’s Seller rules and terms. It’s a lot of reading. They have their fees set up in a weird way that isn’t 100% intuitive, at least it wasn’t for me. This is a lot of reading!
You might think that just by opening a shop on Etsy, you will get flooded with traffic. This might be for your particular product, but, it also might not be. You might need to put some work in to drive traffic to your Etsy store. This is where social media comes in. Now, I have experimented a lot with social media. It does seem like certain niches do better on some social platforms than others. For example, blogs, bridal/wedding accessories, printable SVG or other printables mostly that cater to crafters, tend to do very well on Pinterest. Artist portrait commissions do well on Facebook, etc. You might also have to experiment to see what works well for you! Now, this sounds really easy, but it is very time consuming. You might be thinking, if I have to put in all this work, what the heck am I paying Etsy for? Yep! Exactly. Etsy does make it easy to quickly set up a shop, which is really nice.
At a certain point, you might want to break free from Etsy, especially if you are trying to build a brand and pursuing your passion. Most shoppers on Etsy are loyal to Etsy. Think about it, when you purchase from Amazon, do you ever check to see if you are buying from a third party seller? The chances are, you don’t. I don’t. People see the Etsy brand, or Amazon brand, and are loyal to that. You’ll want the same for your business.
You might be saying you only want this Etsy shop as a hobby, and that’s fine, but please keep this in mind if you want to make it a business in the future.
When you open your shop, you’ll have Etsy pushing free shipping on you. They call it a free shipping guarantee and say you’ll get listed higher in search. If you do not have experience with shipping and are completely new to ecommerce, do not experiment with free shipping, until you know what your shipping costs will be and can add the cost successfully to your product.
You’ll also get asked to participate Offsite ads. This is your choice, but it makes selling on Etsy a lot more expensive. If you make a sale from a click on a link from an offsite ad, Etsy will charge a 15% fee!
Don’t forget to sign up for your 40 free listings here. You must sign up through the link and finish setting up all in one session, otherwise, they may not give you credit your listing fees!
Good luck with your shop. I wish you great success and many cha-chings!
I’ll talk about moving to a site, like Shopify in my next post.
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