Today, more people are considering the idea of starting a business instead of working for someone else. Thanks to resources like Etsy, just about anyone can set up a shop and start selling their goods and crafts. Of course, before you dive in, it helps to understand exactly how to go about getting started on Etsy, including making sure that it’s the right place for your business.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything that you need to know about starting a business on Etsy, from signup to shipping your first sale. First up, let’s talk a little more about Etsy and what kind of business you can operate there.
Etsy: A Haven for Handmade Goods
In an effort to provide a collective space for handmade goods, the founders of Etsy decided to put their heads together and the end result has quickly become one of the best places to buy and sell homemade, handmade, and bespoke items that come from all over the world. Fortunately, even Etsy makes it easy for sellers to start their own business and generate income by selling on the site.
Step One: Learn and Gather
The best thing you can do before starting your Etsy business is to read as much as you can about the process and how Etsy works. Learn about how listings are created, what you can include, how to draw attention to your shop, and even how to get started in the logistics and backend operations. Etsy has dozens of its own resources in the Seller Handbook section, including their handy Quick Start Checklist that ensures you are ready to get started and have everything that you need.
Step Two: Choose a Name
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that have been sitting on the perfect shop name for years, you might be struggling to come up with a name for your Etsy store. Even for some people who think they have it figured out, the dreaded “unavailable” flag could be the end of everything. Try adding something like “boutique” or “shop” to the name, or just get creative and choose something different.
Protip: As soon as you start thinking about opening an Etsy business, make a list of names and whittle them down to 2-3 of the best options so that you aren’t stuck when it comes time to actually set up your shop.
Step Three: Optimize and Market
Now, it’s time to market your new Etsy business and optimize your content with keywords and other SEO tools. This will ensure that your audience finds your shop in search results and that you get the best rankings possible. It will also allow the right audience to find your listings by making sure that you’re attracting the ones who are looking for what you sell. Check your Etsy URL and make sure that it’s not too complicated for people to follow. Make sure that you’re using titles and tags to get in as many keywords as possible to help optimize your shop.
Marketing can also be done via social media, where you can encourage friends and family to become your first and best customers. You will also be able to share the link on almost every social channel, including your new business social accounts (which you should consider if you’re setting up a professional Etsy business). Nothing is worse than visiting what you think is a professional store only to find that it links to Joan Smith’s Facebook page– if you’re starting a business, start a business.
Etsy Tips Are Plentiful
Some new businesses are more challenging to start than others. When it comes to Etsy, you should have no trouble because the site itself is full of resources and tools to help sellers succeed. Etsy even suggests that you should consider this more like a traditional brick-and-mortar store, selling like items together, discounting seasonal items or old products, and even setting up listings in different color schemes and formats to see what gets the most attention.
If you’re starting an Etsy business and you aren’t using the resources offered by the site itself, you’re missing out on a wealth of information that could make all the difference in your ultimate success with selling online. Depending on the resources you have available, you might even need a business loan to get started.
Don’t Forget Fulfillment
Of course, once you sell products, you’re going to have to ship them. How will you do this? Some people simply pay for their own shipping and delivery by creating accounts with various shippers and the USPS. Others choose to outsource to third-party logistics providers who can save them a small fortune and handle every aspect of fulfillment:
- Order picking/packing
- Customer service
It takes time and effort to get things going, but when you take advantage of the resources that you have, you won’t be entirely on your own. Shipping can get expensive and if you start doing a lot of business right away, you might realize that just visiting the Post Office or sending out UPS shipments a few times a week isn’t efficient or effective. Figure out what works and include a fulfillment solution in your business plan that can be scaled with the growth of your new Etsy business.
Open Your Shop for Business
Once you have created an account, chosen a name, and set your preferences, you’ll be able to add your inventory to your online store. Then, you can choose payment preferences and set up your billing so that you can open your shop for business. Through all of this, you should have already started marketing your Etsy business so that you have customers waiting when you finally open your virtual doors.
Customize and market your shop to the people who would be most interested in whatever products and services you are selling. Use social media, along with free online marketing tools, and make sure that you take advantage of the tips and resources to help you along the way. Whatever your creative passion, Etsy has a place for it, and your business is just waiting for you to get started.