Saturday, March 29, 2014

Just Set Up My Etsy Shop: Now What?

Yes, you have finally passed that threshold. You have thought about setting up your own online shop for a while. Of course, you are a great at what you do. You have passion. I can do what I see others doing. Then you open up a shop on Etsy or any online marketplace. You post photos, add descriptions, and then you wait. I know. You are so excited. Then nothing. Sigh! What am I doing wrong?

Listen, I've been there. I'm great at drawing, creating, and making things by hand. Sure, I could make extra money doing what I love and have a passion for. I opened up a shop on Etsy and then silence. Just 6 sales my first year. Plus, I will admit it. I cried. Just so embarrassed. Yet, I stuck with it and am doing better than ever.

So let me give you some tips when you hit the now what stage of opening an online shop.

1.) If you list it, buyers will come right?

      The answer is NO! As a newbie, you are a ball of excitement and energy. You may even get a few family and friends to buy in to what you sell. Outside of that, you have nothing. Not one view. I've been there. Here's the key: RELAX. Having an online shop, whether hobby or not, should be treated like a business. You going to have to put in the time and work. Its hard work. Take a look at your shop. Are your photos clear and show every angle of your product? Do you describe everything about your product (measurements, color, etc.)? Are there a healthy amount of items in your shop? Which is better 10 items or 100 items? Have you researched SEO (search engine optimization)? SEO and keywords in titles and descriptions get you seen in the search ranks. What shop policies do you have? Ask yourself what is your course of action when something goes wrong. That's what shop policies are for.

Advice: Listing alone does not attract buyers. You have to put in the work.

2.) Take constructive criticism.

       When I was a newbie, I would ask questions. I felt like I never got the right advice, i.e. products and focus. So I stopped asking and tried it on my own because other online shop owners don't know what they are talking about. My stuff is different. Why are they criticising me? I'm doing exactly what they have said? Ugh...NO! I wasn't. It's hard to accept criticism. As an artists, we take criticism personally. Other online shop owners, especially on Etsy, were telling me things to help me make my shop better. They were not trying to do harm. When taking constructive criticism, weigh the pros and cons. See what works for you. Don't get offended when someone criticizes. Take a deep breath and relax. In essence, they are trying to encourage you towards success. Once I started accepting constructive criticism, things started to change for me. It will change for you, too.

Advice: Constructive criticism should not offend you. It should encourage you on your journey to having a successful online shop.

3.) Impatience Gets You Nowhere!

      Your thoughts: I'm not getting any sales or views. This sucks. I've tried everything. These are things all online shop owners have said to themselves once upon a time. This impatience can cause you to become inactive. I know I did? When I would list a few things, I would become obsessed with looking at my stats. Then nothing would happen. Then I would get so impatient with my shop, I would just ignore it completely. Please, don't do that. It gets you nowhere. Just relax and take a look at your shop. What could you do more? Promote on Instagram or Twitter. Do you have a focus? Try focusing one thing instead of thousands of things. Are you constantly updating? Do trends work for you? How are your photos, descriptions, etc.? Once you stop being impatient and just relax, make up a checklist of things that you could do more of. This list can help you when impatience tries to creep in.

Advice: Impatience can lead to inactivity. Relax, focus, and see what you can do more of to improve you shop.

The advice I'm giving right now is advice I have learned to take. I was a newbie once. Its difficult. Plus, an online shop can drive you up a wall. Yet, if you continue to improve, take constructive criticism, and turn your back on impatience you can get there. My Etsy shop is growing because of these three tips. I believe it can happen to you.


XOXO,


Miss Tan


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Things To Do Before Setting Up An Etsy Shop

Oftentimes when I'm online, I see people ask how do you open an Etsy shop. More than often, people ask this question after the fact. I have had an Etsy shop since 2010. Every mistake you can think of, I have done it. So here are three things to do before opening an Etsy shop or a shop online in general.

1.) Narrow Your Focus!
Etsy is a platform for handmade, vintage, and supply sellers. When I started, I knew that I could draw, design, and create lots of stuff. So when I started my online shop, I put up a listing for everything from paintings, digital art, greeting cards, etc. Nothing was relatable. It was all over the place. I needed to narrow my focus more. My humor is interesting, vulgar, and sweet at the same time. So I combined those attributes and started to create things that were similar. I stopped doing paintings and shoe art. Stuck with greeting cards and digital art. JACKPOT! I started getting more interest in my shop with this simply step.
ADVICE: Yes, you are talented. The things that you create are great. Yet, have to have a focus when you start.

2.) Research everything.
When I first started, I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't look at competition, price points, descriptions, photos, or SEO (search engine optimization) until after I opened my shop. Before you list your first item, do the leg work (or Google for some). Read everything you can get your hands on. Go the the Etsy forums and ask a question. Read the Etsy blog to see the hottest trends. Learn about SEO. It is a must. Learn the basics from billing to shipping. Research your competition to learn what works. Plus, Goggle is your friend. Once I started doing these things, my sales started to pick up. I could have gotten a great head start early on, if I had done these things first.
ADVICE: Research, beforehand, gets you off to a good start when starting an Etsy or online shop.

3.) Budget, Budget, Budget!
One of my biggest mistakes was budgeting problems. I would spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on supplies, shipping, and promotion. In my mind, I was trying to build a shop with as much money as I could throw at it. Until I realized, I am not recouping any of this money. My pockets were empty and I was nowhere with my shop. What I should have done was this: budget and plan. Every dollar should have had a purpose. Know how much it is to ship your item. Use Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook for free promotion. Now, I don't overspend. I use just enough to cover my expenses. My goal is to turn my hobby into a full time business. Treat it like one.
ADVICE: Start with a budget plan and stick to it.

These three steps are just the beginning to opening your own shop online. Having a online shop is a fulfilling journey. It takes focus, research, and smart budgeting to get you on the right path. Just having a good start can lead to a very prosperous Etsy and/or online shop.

Free Stay Positive 8.5 x 11 inches Art Print Available, here


XOXO,


Miss Tan


FWIW, more tips are on the way!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

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Do You Like Purple, Excuse Me Radiant Orchid?

Every year us crafters, designers, and fashionistas are always looking for the latest trends. Color is always at the top of the list. This year Pantone™ color of the year is Radiant Orchid. What is this color? It's purple basically. Nothing special about it. Personally, I like purple. Do I wear it a lot? No. Do I design with it a lot? Sometimes. When I'm making handmade greeting cards, is it the first color I grab? No. Yet according to Pantone™, its going to be all the rage for 2014. So I'm going to add it here and there to my designs and fashion just to be "on trend." I got to keep up with the Jones' (whoever they are). 

I hear purple, excuse me Radiant Orchid, means royalty. Be royal as you indulge in the color of the year. Enjoy!


XOXO,


Miss Tan

DOWNLOAD 8.5 X 11 INCHES PRINT, here


Monday, November 18, 2013

Yay! Blog Feature/Contest!

Yay! I'm featured on the On Fire For Handmade Blog. I created a treasury on Etsy that is made up of great gifts for any occasion.

Vote for "Hipster Swag" by Miss Tan. Let's get as many votes as possible. It is so fun to be featured on this blog.

http://onfireforhandmade.com/nov-18-etsy-treasury-contest/

Thanks you so much for stopping by.