When Should You Start Building Your Own Website For Your Etsy Shop?

What is great about Etsy is that it gives you a fast way to build your brand, get customers, and figure out what sells. We have over 22,000 Customers on Etsy for Melinda Wood Designs, and about 6,000 Customers for JPW Design Studio, and about 1,000 Customers for our high-end artwork on Etsy. So we have a place to start and data to work off of to build a website and online marketing for our Etsy Business.

Starting your own website only makes sense if you can calculate the costs ahead of time and ensure that it will be a good use of time and money. Typically, I only recommend that Etsy Sellers start building their brand with a website, email marketing, SEO, blogging & social media only once they have 1,000 to 2,000 customers from Etsy. That's a good indication that your Etsy Shop is successful, and you can take it off Etsy or build elsewhere. 

Put together a plan. 

Don't start wasting time until you can reasonably estimate that building a bigger business is feasible. You need a way to scale, grow your business, find more customers, perfect your process, and work on a customer service and marketing plan. Put it together all on paper first before you even think about designing a website for yourself. 

Setting A Monthly Goal For your Etsy Shop

The best way to grow your Etsy Shop or business is to set a monthly goal, and then dividing that monthly goal into smaller daily goals. 

For instance, let's say you currently make $1,000 USD per month on Etsy. 

A realistic goal would be to increase your monthly revenue to $1,200 USD, or a 20% increase.

That is definitely feasible for you to achieve, which is great. But now you need to put specific action items together to ensure you reach your goal. 

One of the best ways to do that is to focus on top 3 ideas for how you will reach that goal. Don't try 10 or 20 methods - that's just too much to think about or worry about. 

Instead, just focus on 2 or 3 or 4 methods to help you reach that 20% increase in sales. 

For instance, you could try the following on Etsy:

  1. Start using Promoted Listings
  2. Make one new product that is $20 USD that will sell 10 times this month (it's got to be a stellar product!)
  3. Start email marketing to market to your previous customers on Etsy for return business
  4. Run a promotional sale to boost traffic, like 25% off.
  5. Focus on really good customer service, like offering VIP access to customers, or access to early release products. Something creative & interesting.

Once you know your ideas for reaching you 20% increase in sales, you should then break your daily schedule down and write it down.

What is the number 1 thing you need to do today to reach that monthly goal of a 20% increase? Focus on just 1 or 2 things per day, and check that off your list. 

You have to have a way to track and record your progress in order to make this happen.

So, I've put together a simple printable sheet to help you reach this goal.

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I hope to hear from you in 1 month to see how you've reached your goals! 

Is Etsy Plus Worth It?

Have you considered Etsy Plus? 

It's $10 per month, to give you a few extra features. 

The feature I was most excited for was the "Out Of Stock" feature, where someone could request an item if you had it out of stock. That seems pretty cool, right? 

Here is the problem: Etsy is not your website. It is Etsy's, with millions of other sellers. 

So you don't stand out at all among all the other shoppers.

Plus, after trying out the "Out of Stock" option for about 2 weeks. With over 600 out-of-stock items, not a single "Restock request."

Same goes with their new tools for offering discounts for auto-sending coupons for items in someone's Favorite list, or Abandoned Cart discounts. With hundreds of customers per month, we have only had 1 sale from using these auto-emailed discount offers. That leads me to believe Etsy's tool doesn't work, or no one use compelled by it at all. Coupon codes do work, however.

But When you got to Amazon.com to buy something, do you only buy from one shop, and no one else? Not at all. You keep looking around until you find what you need. You aren't going there to be devoted to a single brand. You are going their for Amazon's large selection, free 2-day shipping and not having to drive to a store to pick up basic items.

If you want brand loyalty, if you want people to ask you to re-stock items, if you want customer engagement, you must build your own brand - on email marketing, on your own website, on a blog, on social media. 

Etsy is a gateway to find your first bundle of customers. But if you want to build a long-term business you must think outside of Etsy. 

Etsy is great to get something started. It is a great way to find new customers, and test out ideas. 

But it is not a good way to build a big business. At least, not exclusively. If you look at all the major brands that did well on Etsy, and are now even bigger, they all moved away from Etsy and built their own brand. 

https://freshlypicked.com/ - which was on Shark Tank

https://www.hangoutlighting.com/ - which was on The Profit

https://www.threebirdnest.com/ - had millions of sales on Etsy

https://www.herbivorebotanicals.com/ - which went retail and is just about everywhere now

Am I saying to leave Etsy? No way - and not at all. That is how these 4 companies got started! You should build your first 1,000 or 2,000 customers on Etsy, then start building your own brand based off what you have learned.

But what I am saying is to think about doing your own marketing, away from Etsy, and focus on your brand. 

Etsy Plus is just a super, super minor way to do marketing. It's only $10 per month. So if you want to try it out, go ahead. But you wont be in control of your marketing. It's still up to Etsy to make things work out on their own. 

The Most Important Thing About Small Business I Wish I Learned 8 Years Ago

When you work on your Etsy Shop or Small Business, how does your day go? 

Is it chaotic & random - each day being different? Or is it smooth, calculated, thought-out and methodical? 

While I am really good at starting up a new idea for a small business, I have been terrible about perfecting each step of the process once I find out what works. 

But this is what I wished I learned 8 years ago, when I first started my own business. 

The only way to scale a small business is to perfect each and every little detail, step by step, in a standardized and streamlined process which can be replicated over and over. 

Think about all the major, large brands in the world, like Starbucks, McDonalds, Coca-Cola or UPS. They each have a very predictable, streamlined process. So no matter where you go or where you live, these businesses have a very consistent approach to their overall process. 

While you may not like big brands and companies, in order to be successful and scale and grow your business, you must think like a big company, which standardizes and perfects each step of the process, so that you can eventually replicate and build your business to new heights.

So when you develop new products, create a standardized step-by-step process which you go through every single time. 

When you do customer service, create a step-by-step process. Think of it as if you were going to hire someone to do it for you, and give them a step-by-step guide on what to do for every single little detail so they can refer to it every single time and deliver high-quality results. 

You don't have to hire someone. The step-by-step process could even just be for yourself. It saves you time, because you really don't have to think about what comes next. You just look at your list and move forward quickly. 

If you don't like the idea of doing a rigid, step-by-step process, think about someone like a Dancer or Musician.

I play piano, and in order to write a good song and play it well, I must practice it over and over. Usually, around 200 different times, so that I get so good at playing a certain song, I basically don't have to even think about it. I can just focus on playing a piano song really, really well, and perform it as well as possible. 

The same would go for a dancer practicing a ballet performance over 200 times until the performance is flawless and people are impressed with the dance.

Your Etsy Shop process or small business process should be like that. Perfect each and every little step, and then you will become so good and what you do, that you can really get creative in the Details, the Experience, and save so much extra time on your hands that you might even be able to scale larger and focus on new areas of your business.

This is the most important area of small business I wish I learned 8 years ago. But I learned it this year, and it is an extremely powerful business concept you should use as well.  

Building A Brand - Starting With Etsy, Then Growing Online

As the owner of your own small business, you have the power to change your direction at any time, into tons of different industries, with the ability to choose how and when you will market yourself.

As an employee, you are at the mercy of your employer, the board of directors, and whether or not the company can keep growing and moving ahead properly. 

As an Etsy Seller on Etsy, you are more like an employee. You must work around the rules that Etsy establishes. You are at the mercy of their algorithm changes. And you are at the mercy of however they decide to brand Etsy to the public. The customers that come to you are searching on Etsy, looking at other shops, not just yours. And you have to do what you can to stand out. 

Building a brand on Etsy is a great opportunity. It gets you the experience you need, with a simple framework that keeps you focused. But once you hit 1,000 Etsy Sales, you are ready for the next chapter in your small brand's story. It's time to think about bigger opportunities. 

One of the biggest failures I had with selling on Etsy was choosing to stay focused solely on Etsy. In 2016, we had over 20,000 Sales and couldn't figure out where to go next. Instead of growing, we kept doing the same things over and over and Etsy. But all Etsy Shops have limitations within the framework Etsy provides. 

If you have over 1,000 Etsy Sales, have you considered growing outside of Etsy? Building your own website, creating your own email marketing, and streamlining your business with a clear, focused process so you can grow? 

If you want to be a true small business owner, you'll need to head in that direction eventually. Not right away, but start planning on it and thinking about it. Start learning what you need to know ahead of time. 

Learn more about Growing An Online Business here with my free online business checklist.