Posted on October 26 2015YAY! I am coming up to my 1 year anniversary on Etsy. Things have certainly been a learning experience and I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished in a year. Here's some of the things I've learned along the way. (Also, add what YOU'VE learned too - the more helpful info, the better!)
1. Don't expect everything to go as planned.
When I opened my first shop (A week before I started FourLetterWordCards,) I had HUGE ideas of making jewelry and selling pretty stuff. Except no one visited and it stayed stagnant. Part of the problem was my photos, my tags and titles, my descriptions and the fact that I was in an over saturated market. Once I put my time into something I truly loved and had fun with (this shop,) things blossomed and I started working on EVERYTHING.
2. You think you know...
I thought I had a good grasp on how to run a shop online. HA. HA. HA! LIES! There is so much crap to learn, it isn't even funny. There will always be someone who does something better and someone who you can learn from. Be open to suggestion and pay attention to what other's are doing. The more you learn, the better!
3. For only 1 million dollars, you can learn....
There are a lot of people that want your money. They'll sell you this workshop, this plan, that online fail-proof business. If you don't have the time to find free resources - then by all means, give your money away. But if you have the time to invest in yourself and read, GOOGLE THAT CRAP! You'll save yourself money and not fall into the online ponzey scheme of learning from someone who may not even have an Etsy shop or know exactly what they are doing.
4. Invest in yourself.
Take the time to actually invest in your business and yourself. Buy the materials you need, purchase the organizing crap to make your life better. Put money where your mouth is and faith in yourself. If you're always going crazy because you have a messy office (my own problem,) you need to find some time and resources to fix it. The less crazy you are, the more time you have to dedicate to your business.
5. Always work on improving!
Holy crap. I've changed my logo like 4 times to date. I have another change in the works soon and will be rebuilding my website this month. This is the third time I'll be changing my website...in a year. Next year, I have new photos that will be taken of ALL my products and more changes in the works. There isn't SOMETHING you can't improve and if you remain stagnant, you'll bore yourself eventually and your customers. Make things look as good as you can and then improve gradually. Your sales will thank you!
6. Do right by your customers!
Customers are the blood of your business. Without them, you have no business. Granted it can be hard to always see eye to eye with them, but it's our priority to do right by them. I've had customers never get an item, even though it showed as delivered. I've taken care of them and even though Etsy would have supported my decision, I still tried to ensure they were happy with everything. Thank them for their purchase and make purchasing from you an experience! I always include a thank you note and other goodies - because I want them to have FUN and to feel like family.
At some point, you'll double, triple and quadruple your orders. You need to figure out a process that allows you to do the most work in the shortest amount of time. Streamline everything you can and find a pattern that works for you. I'm still learning this and have so much more to figure out. I can do 100-150 cards a day - eventually I'll need to learn how to get more done, in a shorter amount of time.
8. Have an online presence!
Be somewhere online. I've gone mad trying to navigate ALL social platforms and have figured out I'm happiest on Instagram. Figure out what social media works best for you and do something with it. Fans will find you and eventually buy your stuff!
9. Price yourself correctly.
Don't undercharge in order to be competitive. When I first started - I actually priced myself against competition. It was okay for awhile, but I realized in order to price well for wholesale and actually make money - pricing for myself and products was smarter. You'll only ever have the chance to make as much as you ask for - so be fair to yourself. I've raised my prices and charged more for certain items and the world didn't blow up. People buy my stuff MORE now that I charge accordingly. It is awesome!
10. HAVE FUN!
Etsy and an online business or anything really - should be fun. Sometimes crap is tedious and boring and there are certain things we hate doing. But please for the love of GOD - HAVE FUN DOING THIS STUFF! If this is a side business, it should be a way to make money and enjoy yourself. If this is a full time business - it still needs to bring you enjoyment. I LOVE the fact that I work for myself and answer to me, myself and I. I don't have to do something I don't want to and I can plan out each of my days, based on my mood. That is incredibly powerful and having the freedom to choose - IS AMAZING! Never forget that you are here to make your life and those around you BETTER!
So what have you learned? What are you most proud of within your business? What are your goals for your business and what are you celebrating?