Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Confess ONE lesson learned & spare a newbie :)

This etsy forum thread currently has 195 pages of answers...this is impossible for the reader to wade through so...I am presenting an edited version with the "best of" comments and some comments of my own...

Original Post

I'm still a newbie, but I've learned from my mistakes on Etsy & never plan to repeat them. I have many new bad ideas to try. BUT let's each list ONE BAD IDEA that might spare some other newbies. Then explain WHY it's a dumb move. I don't mean Etsy Rule Violations -- Read my big dumb move & you'll see what I mean:

LESSON: DON'T post your products on Etsy at one time! ....
WHY: Shortly after you add an item to your store, ETSY shows pics of it on its home page for the top 2 (3?) 'tags' on that item. Example: Etsy will show my new listing for a bracelet in both its 'Jewelry' and 'Bracelet' home pages. This is a few minutes of priceless publicity that brings looks into your store, if a buyer clicks on those pics!

I guess my lesson (and I'm still learning it, btw) is not to under price yourself. If it wasn't for me finally asking for help, and for a very kind seller pointing out specific examples from my store, I wouldn't have known. ....
I had problems with shipping prices, too...I charged a buyer $3 to ship an item, the actual shipping ended up being almost $8!!! After shipping and fees, I barely broke even...but I learned my lesson!
squrlgurl says
don't expect things to just "happen" on Etsy. You have to work hard to make sales... promote your work! Let people know you are here! You have to be a little shameless in these efforts
I would have to say don't ask too many times to be critiqued, LOL I fell into that one and I think ended up with some people thinking I was begging for them to buy from me. Promoting is one thing, begging for a sale acts as a big negative!
ask the Sassy Team for a critique they are pros...
SusyJack says
oh! I thought of something else. It is 100% worth it to learn how to use your digital camera to take great pictures. The reason for this is 2fold.

Firstly, it looks better to buyers (duh)
But second...many people who write blogs LOVE to put beautiful images in their blogs. If your pictures look good, then people will probably be more likely to feature your items in their blogs
great camera for $15, light cube free, photo editing free...
Proof read everything. :)
Put dimensions in your descriptions.
description check list...
beadsnall says
Create, beg, borrow or steal (OK, don't steal) a spreadsheet to keep track of your costs/profits - and keep it up to date. I now have a huge bag of receipts that I need to enter and I just can't bring myself to sit down and do it. Once it's done, I will (I promise) keep it current
Do not go on defense when your customer ask why they have not received their package..........
As sellers it is our job to help our customers not make them feel like they wish they had not spent their money with us.
If you know you sent it, explain to them nicely that it was sent on such date and you have no control after it is out of your hands.
Ignoring your customer do not help.
I say this because I have felt this way before and donot want my customers feel the way I did.
Great thread, everyone!

My tip is to not be afraid to jump in and start doing it! I sorta psyched myself out before starting my shop (not this account), and I was surprised at how fun (and addictive!) it is. Oh, yeah! And stay positive- take things at your own pace, join the community, and enjoy the process of learning...
Reyney says
Don't stare at the computer all day long. It will give you a headache.
One thing I noticed while I was reading this thread is that catchy avatars make me want to click on them and check out the store.
How to make avatars....
rheta says
Good tags are critical.
Join your local street team! You can meet fun people who share your interests. There are also specific craft-based street teams.
Don't listen to everybody in the forums, I kept changing everything to fit what others said was wrong, only to be stressing myself out. Didn't make much of a difference, now i do as what i think my shop needs. Every shop is different.
Well, the $7 you spend on a showcase spot might get you some nice numbers of views, but when you calculate the actual return on that spend, versus the 35 renews that you could do for the same amount of money, it just doesn't stack up. I did some showcases, and made 1 sale each time I did it. The profit margin was almost nil on those sales, after taking out the $7 showcase cost.
Buy delivery confirmation. It's the best use of 19¢. When a buyer says they didn't get their package, you can track it...
Get started on Google Analytics right away...

I agree with the blog giveaways, thing, if you're going to do it, choose carefully. I did one that was basically $30 down the drain. On the other hand local giveaways (to charity events) have really paid off for me in off etsy sales
Write up your policy, etc...BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE! That's really, really important for buyers to know you're serious and know the terms.

Don't let your shop sit idle. List something new as often as possible to stay at the top of the viewing order. Relist if you don't have anything new. Just keep popping up and you will be seen, eventually
Don't expect instant feedback for every sale.
If you don't like your shop name, change it sooner than later! I signed up on etsy as a buyer first and my username wasn't a very memorable shop name. I kept it as my store name for 3 months before finally opening up a new shop. I would have saved myself a lot of time and effort (and useless business cards) if I had just done it sooner!

I think my biggest blunder was not coming to the forums before I opened my shop! I could have learned a lot and avoided the mistakes....
I mis-typed my paypal address, I didn't notice for ages because I was selling with no problems in my supplies shop, but when I sold some jewellery the payment didn't go through.
I, too, have done this.

well when i started a whole 2 months ago i bought a whole lot of RECYCLED post paks. They are a recycled version of a padded bag. God knows why, i was just sending paper prints.

Anyway.... the recycled post paks turned out to pretty much DOUBLE my postage costs ( i just shouldered the cost) because the recycling material , being old newspaper or whatever it was that was inside it , weighed double that of the ordinary postpaks. Its unfortunate, because i would have liked to continue using recycled ones.
I also have made this mistake.
momomatic says
I misplaced an item! I now put anything that I've taken a picture of for listing in a sealed tupperware bin so the two little kids in my house can't walk off with it.
This happened to me and spurred a total reorganization of my workspace.
Don't get down on yourself, STAY POSITIVE!
Visit the get inspired page on this blog to regenerate your attitude.


Jesse said...

Wonderful Blog Lisa... Some great advice for newbies and people who have been selling on Etsy for some time...

Janet said...

The lesson I learned the hard way: do your research on shipping prices. It's usually more than you think and I've lost many dollars trying to guess at shipping charges.

Of The Fountain said...

Awesome points. I would suggest ordering a crap load of the *free* shipping supplies of (flat rate Priority boxes and bubble envelopes). If you are able to use these packaging materials it's great because you 1.) have them in stock since you ordered them in bulk online and 2.) they are free! I use the small Priotity Flat Rate boxes a lot and it's nice to have them delivered to my door (for free) instead of trying to remember to grab them from the post office.

*Oh, and printing your shipping labels off Paypal is cheaper than going to the Post Office....yeah, it took me over a year of selling on Etsy to figure that one out. :(

kristanlynn said...

GREAT post!!! So much advice. So much stuff I wish I knew when I first started!

following via EBT.

kristanlynn @ adelynSTONE

stampingwithjill said...

This is great advice for selling on Etsy! I am new to Etsy and I'm taking in all the advice I can get my hands on! Thanks for sharing!

Jill Rosenkrantz

SINSUS said...

great suggestions!!
I will try it for my shop!