Lots of Etsy Sellers are saying that their sales have dropped dramatically in 2017. Ours have dropped as well since the beginning of January 2017, almost cut in half from the previous year, which is a horrible feeling and has definitely given me moments of panic.
I have thought this through, and I think there are 2 big issues here. One is that since Etsy keeps making changes to how their platform works, it's going to make things better or worse constantly for different Etsy Sellers at different times. The other issue is that relying on Etsy as your only place to sell and make money is a risky way to do business.
I still believe Etsy is a great place to sell handmade stuff. There are tons of buyers out there, the platform is super easy to use and get started, and there is tons of potential.
So in light of these issues, here's what I recommend doing:
- Focus on growing your business as big as possible, in as many places as possible, with a variety of products. Don't rely just on Etsy, and don't rely on just one "Category" within Etsy. Build your own website, gather email addresses, build social media, sell locally, develop more products, and keep growing.
- Think of Etsy as your primary tool for experimenting. There are millions of shoppers on Etsy, and you can sell all over the world. Once you experiment and figure out a business concept on Etsy, push further and look beyond your core products, as well as look beyond Etsy to see where else you can start selling your products.
- Don't give up on Etsy entirely. I hear that sentiment a lot from Etsy Sellers, but there is so much opportunity there. Stick with it, but grow to other places as well.
One thing I am learning right now is to develop a range of products. If one market is oversaturated, or people no longer have an interest in it, if you expand your product line, you can prevent large drops in Views & Sales. For instance, if you make leather handbags, consider expanding your products to other similar items, like leather wallets, purses, fashion accessories, belts, or other leather products. This way, you'll reach more customers, be able to use a larger range of keywords, and you'll prevent huge swings in Sales as Etsy changes their platform, or as seasonal changes occur.
You might want to be a sole business owner and entrepreneur because you want the flexibility to do what you love. But if your income relies solely on one place, in one source - you are just as vulnerable as an employee losing their own job one day. If you get fired, you have to find a whole new job somewhere else. Selling your products on just one platform, with one kind of product, is just like being an employee. One day, it could all disappear.
So focus on building a company by building a brand and selling more than just 1 kind of product. That way, as they economy changes, and as the online marketplace changes, you can easily adapt and find new opportunities. You just must find a way to continue to survive, grow and dominate as a business person.
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