When I opened my Etsy shop almost ten years ago, the gig economy was just a twinkle in a bunch of baby hipsters’ eyes. You either had a cute little side hobby on Etsy, or you had a “real” job. And all I knew for sure was that I didn’t have a “real” job. I was a mom with two little kids, screen printing designs I came up with in my basement in the butthole of Utah.
I started my Etsy shop as a way to carve out something that was just mine. Something that I loved to do, even if I was tired after a long day of tricking my kids into liking vegetables or later, when I was back at a full-time job writing about candle wax for a company that shall remain unnamed.
I tell this story often, but I have this vivid memory of sitting at my desk, writing an article about why a particular wax was really amazing and wouldn’t poison your house with VOCs. It was like 8 am. I was really tired, I felt so unmotivated, and I had the sudden realization that my kindergartener’s music program was that afternoon—and I hadn’t asked my manager for time off. I was just kind of burned out. And I felt stuck.
When my coworker and longtime friend Anna and I talked about our dreams for the future, I always told her that if I could do anything—money didn’t matter—I would run my little fledgling Etsy shop full time. I had no idea how to do that. Or what that would really look like. I’d seen a few sales trickle in since I launched, but those earnings were nothing compared to what I was making writing about candle wax. But Anna, who has always been very wise, looked me dead in the eye and said, “I bet you could do it.”
And I found I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
So little by little, I started researching. And planning. And I started throwing spaghetti at the wall. I connected with other shop owners and learned what I could from them. I pored over the forums on Etsy. I experimented. I had some failures. But I also had some successes.
I did more of what worked. I took what I could from the failures. And I kept learning.
. . . Until I was so busy, that I had a decision to make. I couldn’t keep my full time job and my Etsy shop because I was getting home at 5, spending time with my kids, and then working until midnight. So I made the leap. I quit my job and became a full-time Etsy shop owner. And it was the best decision I ever made. Or at least in the top five, sorry kids.
Etsy is an incredible platform. There’s so much potential there. And if you know what works, you can be successful. I know because I did it.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering if you have what it takes. If your product is good enough. Even if you’ve seen some success, you may still think of your Etsy shop as your “little hobby.” And I want you to knock that off right now. I’ve found that the people who run Etsy shops are some of the most creative, tenacious people I know. And I have no doubt that you are one of them. You can do this. You DO have what it takes.
And that’s why Jeanne and I wrote this book (Remember when I told you I found what worked? Well, Jeanne’s brilliance and insight into the SEO/keyword/algorithm aspect of Etsy has worked magic in my shop. I’m going to let her introduce herself in just a bit). Jeanne and I are going to help you take your basic Etsy shop, and make it into something that gives back to you what you’re putting into it.
Real talk. No BS. No secrets. Just what actually works.
We’ve broken this book into three sections:
---> Foundation work. First things first, let’s get you set up correctly and optimize your Etsy shop. Even if you already have an Etsy shop you feel is doing well, I’d recommend you at least skim this section. There are tips and suggestions throughout that can really help take your shop to the next level.
---> Marketing and advertising. In the next section of the book we’ll cover everything you need to know about marketing your product within Etsy and across the web. Marketing and advertising are how you get the sales that push you over the edge from hobby to business.
---> Building and expanding your business. The last section of the book is all the details about building and expanding your business from filing as an S-corp to how and where to get your own website (and still keep your Etsy shop). This is where we put everything together and help you reach your goals so that (if you want to) you can turn your hobby into a legitimate business.
Crafting is not for losers. Handmade doesn’t mean cute (I mean, it can). Handmade just means that you know how to roll up your sleeves and turn something ordinary into something incredible.
And that’s exactly what we’re here to help you do. No matter where you are in your Etsy journey, we’re here to help you succeed.
~Noelle and Jeanne