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! 

Starting Your Own Business From Home

The biggest setback I typically get from my clients when they are starting a business is the fear of getting their work in front of other people. My clients will hold off as much as possible from launching their website until everything is "perfect." 

Get your rough website up as quickly as possible, get it in front of people, try to capture leads - even before you have a product or service available. Getting your work in front of prospective clients will push you to start your business much more quickly than if you just "keep it to yourself" and wait until everything is just right.  

Try to get your website launched in just 1 day, then start posting it around the internet to get  your first leads. Make sure your website as a clear Call To Action to capture email addresses, customer questions, and inquiries, such as "Get a Free Consultation Today" or "Get Pricing" or something that will motivate them to take action. 

The first business I started was a private in-home bartending business in 2010. I took a 3-day class on how to bartend, then half way through the class I built a website in 1 evening, posted on Craigslist, and got my very first client the following morning after a phone call. If you don't get a working model of your website live asap, then your business will stagnate.  If you ask too many other people for their advice on what to do, and what do you think of this or that, then you're just wasting time not taking action on building your business.

Should I Use Etsy Forums?

If you're just getting started on Etsy, there is often a temptation to sit on their forums and talk with other sellers to see how they're doing. But there are major problems with doing this if you want to grow you Etsy Shop and work towards eventually leaving your day job to run your own business:

  1. Most people on the Etsy Forums are not experienced sellers. They might have 200 Sales in the last 2 years, but most are hobbyists. If you're getting advice from hobbyists, you'll simply stay as an Hobby Shop, and not a business. Listen to and learn from people who are successful on Etsy that can show you the right pathway forwards.
  2. Most people on Etsy Forums discuss silly things and complain, such as "Why am I not getting any Sales" or other discussions which drag your focus down and blame your failures solely on Etsy, without taking responsibility for your own problems. For instance, you must sell things that people want to buy, instead of make things that only you like. And you need to understand how Etsy Keywords work. 
  3. Etsy Forums aren't focused clearly on topics, and are not moderated. So the information is jumbled and confusing. It doesn't help you find important information you really need to know in order to grow your business.

Start learning how to grow your Etsy Shop and plan to leave your day job.

Should I Do My Own Marketing & Create A Website Even If I Sell On Etsy?

Here's a popular question from Etsy Sellers: Should I create my own website, even if I have an Etsy Shop? Should I do marketing other than Etsy Promoted Listings?

After selling for 4 years on Etsy successfully, I do believe it is a good idea to put on your "long term to-do list" and create your own business website and do marketing in areas other than Etsy, such as Social Media, SEO, Google Adwords, Facebook/Instagram Ads and other places.

However, I recommend you spend little to no money doing this, such as hiring a web designer or marketing consultant, because you'll have a lot of learning curves along the way and end up wasting a lot of money.

I personally like to "kickstart" a new business on Etsy, get about 1,000 Sales or so before building a website and doing other marketing. This way, I have proven my Etsy Shop business concept and can safely move forward building out my business in other places online.

Here is what you should plan to do if you're thinking about doing marketing & making a website for your Etsy Shop:

  1. Learn as much as you can about selling on Etsy first using Keywords & developing good products. This is the easiest way to get your first 200 Sales
  2. Then, start interviewing your customers about what kinds of new products to make, to learn how to create a great customer experience and use their feedback to grow your business and reach for 500 Sales.
  3. Once you're starting to get sales on a daily basis, start using Etsy Promoted Listings to boost your sales. Focus on perfecting your keywords & listings to reach 1000 Sales.
  4. Once you hit 1000 Sales, you've likely figured out a good business model and you can start creating a website. For small businesses, I recommend Squarespace.com
  5. Start collecting email addresses to build an email list with Mailchimp.com so you can begin to practice weekly marketing and drive repeat business with your existing Etsy Customers.
  6. Use your email list to drive people back to your Website so you can practice to get sales on your Squarespace website, rather than solely through Etsy. 
  7. Continue to grow your website on places like Social Media, or Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads

This is a general answer, and not a specific answer for all Etsy Shops. You must be careful where you spend your time on your business and not waste it on things that wont pan out. First, figure out your business model and get to 1000 Sales on Etsy before you spread yourself too thin and work on a website & email list that may not be effective until you figure out how to make products that people will actually buy.

Pushing Your Dreams To Their Limits

Last September, October & November were some of the worst months for me ever in my website design business. As my primary job, I help businesses develop minimalist websites & branding to help establish them as a leader in their industry. My business, JPW Design Studio, has typically accounted for 60% of our family's income. Some months are way up and others are way down. A lot of my business's success has to do with what month of the year it is. For instance, December is the worst month ever, while January tends to be crazy. And Etsy has been a great help in keeping our finances stable. While it typically accounts for about 40% of our income, it is a lot more stable than my web design business. Things go up a little, and down a little, but it doesn't fluctuate in unpredictable and crazy ways. 

But last year, I started to get jaded with my web design work. I got bored of doing the same thing over and over. And I think my lack of passion for my own work reflected in the fact that I wasn't getting a lot of business. I didn't try hard to follow up with new clients, or schedule an initial phone call conversation. I didn't think about how to grow my business to new heights. And I didn't think about what would help me become passionate again.

But some times, you have to hit bottom before you wake up. With 3 terrible months of web design business, I finally woke up to the fact that I had to start doing things differently if I want to take care of my family financially and my wife and 2 sons thrive in life. I needed to start studying marketing, how to sell better, how to grow a business, and how to change the direction of my business to match peoples' needs in 2018.

A few weeks ago, I was watching the show Shark Tank. One participant came on and was from a foreign country, immigrating to the United States. He said the first few months in the U.S., he had no money, sleeping on the floor in an apartment, in the dark, and he felt a cockroach crawl over him while he was trying to sleep. This person knew he was at rock bottom in his life, having absolutely no money or assets to have any sort of quality of life. He got up the next morning and decided to do everything in his power to create a life of his own that was meaningful and successful. And just a couple years later, he was on Shark Tank presenting his own business idea that would be shown in front of millions. 

One of my biggest faults in my own work is that at some point, once I start to feel more successful than I imaged, I then stop learning. I start grinding out work and I forget to be inspired. But I often try to remember that presenter on Shark Tank. I don't want to be the person that watches all of my opportunity and success disappear. Success comes from hard work, but also learning, planning out new goals, and writing out the steps required that must be taken every day to reach those goals.

In December, I started reading books about business again, and about marketing - how to set goals, work effectively, inspire others, and pushing dreams to their highest limits. I read books like Smarter Faster Better and When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.  Now I am going through books like Virtual Culture and The Power Of Moments. Each of these books are writing my successful people, or written about how successful people operate. And they are changing the way I think and act in my day-to-day life. 

A popular saying goes: "If you are not growing then you are dying." And that is completely true. There is no way to just "keep things as they are" and just coast along. If you are just trying to float, instead of fly, then eventually you will drown. That is why it is super important to keep learning, keep doing, keep growing, and keep trying.

When you try to build your dreams on Etsy, or in any other place, you have to push yourself further than you ever think you could go. And the best way to do that is to keep learning, talking with people, trying things out, get out there and test ideas, and learn from others.

I want to encourage you to make 2018 your best year ever. Don't just learn from one place, or one person, or one concept, or one idea. Keep growing as much as you can, so that you can push your own dreams beyond any limits.

What Should You Sell On Etsy?

The more I sell on Etsy, the more I realize over and over that selling on Etsy requires two very essential components: 

  1. You absolutely must understand Keywords and how to use them properly on Etsy.
  2. Like any business, you need to sell things on Etsy that people actually want to spend money on.

When you connect Keywords with Good Designs on Etsy, you get Sales. There are so many ways to market your products on Etsy, such as Promoted Listings, Instagram, Pinterest, and Email Newsletters. But Keywords should always be priority #1 as your main marketing strategy. 

But having good Keywords doesn't matter if no one likes your Etsy products.

So don't be offended if you have ugly Etsy products and you know it. Instead, I am instead going to offend myself by telling you a story about one of my biggest failures on Etsy. 

 

Here's my story about selling on Etsy

In 2010, I started my first Etsy Shop. I thought it was awesome that there was a website that focused on helping individuals sell creative, independent items online. 

I sold minimalist, very rectangular, geometric paintings, in various colors. I sold a grand total of 1 painting on Etsy. My first customer was a lady was from Florida, and she said the painting matched perfectly with her home decor. It was the blue painting shown below. I was so excited to get a Sale, and I figured that at least someone else would buy something too - eventually! 

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I had about 8 paintings all together on my Etsy Shop, and in order to try to get a sale, I lowered my prices from about $400 USD to about $150 USD per painting and included free shipping. Little did I realize that it would cost $75 USD to ship the item. And then after subtracting the cost of the canvas, painting, packaging materials, and the roughly 8 hours it took to make the painting, I was basically making no money at all. 

I had no clue what I was doing, and after 6 months, I gave up. I had all these other paintings available for sale, like the green painting shown below. Personally, I really, really like this design. The problem is that no one else likes it and no one wants to spend their money on it. When I look at it now, it's probably because of the ugly green color. Or maybe people find it to be too boring looking. And no one uses green to decorate their home, especially in a modernist home. But I thought the design was cool, so shouldn't at least 1 other person like this design? 

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The thing that I did not realize back in 2010, is that I am not creating things for myself on Etsy. Instead, I am creating things for other people. And they are paying me to make it for them. But what I kept doing was making things that only I liked, and I didn't try to figure out my own target customers and cater designs towards their interests. I should have continued to develop products based on my Blue Painting - but I didn't do that at all. I ignored what a customer bought, and continued on my own path. 

Your goal on Etsy is to sell things that other people want. But you're a creative person & you'll want to make things that you like, too. If you want to just be a business person, then you sell on Amazon or Ebay. But just like selling on other online platforms, your goal should always be to make money and sell things that other people want.

Six years later on Etsy, I finally created a modernist painting design that both I like and lots of other customers on Etsy like, too. Below is a black and white abstract painting I made and it has sold hundreds of times.

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In terms of style, it's minimalist, it's a painting, and it is sort of like the designs I did in 2010. The difference is that people are willing to pay money for this design. And they can find me on Etsy through the use of good, clean, simple Keywords. 

Why do people like this design? I have no clue. I have some theories, though:

  • Modernist design is much, much more popular today than it was 6 years ago.
  • Black & White is so much easier to match to a home than blue or green is.
  • I've figured out a way to lower the cost of my designs.
  • I've also realized that it's hard to sell very large paintings, like my original 24" x 48" paintings because they are so expensive. Now, our best seller is a much more affordable 8" x 10" print. 
  • I've also learned a ton about Keywords in the last 6 years, and this helps me get my artwork in front of more people. 

So the whole point of this story is to tell you one main piece of advice: It doesn't matter what you like. It matters what your Etsy customers like!  And you need to find a way to create things that both you and other people enjoy at the same time. That way, you have fun doing it, and you get to make money at the same time. 

So learn from my mistakes. Get over yourself and what you like. And start making things that other people are going to enjoy.