Monthly Archives: December 2016

Tips To Increase Your Etsy Profits

The Internet has brought craftsmanship back to the forefront when it comes to home décor and personal style statements. For a long time, local flea markets were the small businessperson’s best bet when selling unique items, but more crafty entrepreneurs are flocking to online selling platforms such as Etsy to reach national and even global markets. Just like having an appealing display in a flea market can help net you more customers, your online store needs a personal yet professional touch of its own to move sales.

Start with the following five tips to help make your home business a roaring success online.

1. Learn Search Engine Optimization

In order for buyers to find your store and the items you list, you need search engine-optimized content to ensure that your store shows up in a Web search or Etsy site search. Simple yet accurate product titles are key, such as “brown leather moccasin boots” instead of just “leather boots.” Including keywords specific to your product in the title can help boost your search results.

You can also improve your hits by including a succinct description for your store and products using keywords found with one of the many free keyword research tools online. Be sure to incorporate keywords (called “tags” on the Etsy site) that are specific to your item.

Once you have the right content in place, ask your friends to share links to your inventory on their websites and social media to give your page views a boost.

2. Use Professional Photos

Having a high-quality camera to take photos of your items is a good place to start, but you should also consider factors such as lighting and staging to make your products stand out. When selling homemade candles, for example, a photo that suggests a use for the items, such as dinner table decorations, will be far superior to a standard shot against a white background.

If you are uninspired or lack experience with photography, you can always hire a friend to take the pictures. To save money in the long run, you could enroll in a photography course at the local community college or simply study online.

3. Conduct Market Research

Even if your merchandise is well represented visually and descriptively, you still may not make the sale if another store has a similar product listed for a much lower price. Always check your prices and products against the competition before listing, or even before producing the items, to make sure you can make sufficient income within a reasonable time frame.

If there are many similar products on the market already, you will need to make your merchandise stand out all the more. The easiest way to stand out is to sell for less, but lower prices lead to smaller profit margins. Regardless of the sentiment your product has to you, the market will ultimately determine its value.

4. Find and Refine Your Voice

According to the Pew Research Center, social media usage has risen nearly tenfold in the past 10 years with 65 percent of adults in the United States actively registered with one or more of these sites as of 2015. In order to make more income from your online store, consider creating a brand profile with a consistent voice to appeal to social media users.

Look at what is trending; once anything related to your brand goes viral on social media, you can expect your profits to increase because people will often browse through all your posts after they have read one that they really liked. Just keep your message consistent and positive so that your fans will stay interested.

5. Be Prompt and Polite

Remember that you are only one of many choices for your customers, so you need to make them a priority in your life. Always answer customers’ questions within 24 hours; the sooner you can answer them, the less likely they are to look elsewhere.

Be prepared to ship any items that sell immediately. Before you list anything, stock up on an assortment of shipping and postage supplies so that everything is ready to go when life’s demands might otherwise interfere. A satisfied buyer is more likely to order from you again.

Finally, accept any criticism from your customers as graciously as you can, particularly if you use social media to promote your brand. You may come across difficult people who will question your product or business practices. Have a boilerplate message prepared to respond to negative social media posts and emails to prevent employing any rash words in the moment. Be sure to express your gratitude for the feedback and acknowledge the importance of the customer’s concerns as well as his or her continued business. This may prompt more positive reviews in the future, which is a good sign for customers who need some encouragement to purchase from you.

Get Started Selling on Etsy

The online marketplace Etsy reported $1.9 billion in sales from 22 million buyers in 2014. The site offers sellers the ability to set up their own stores, name their own prices, use the free tools provided to manage their stores, and receive support when needed. Creating your store is fast and easy, but these tips can help you decide whether it is a good fit for your particular business as well as help you understand the different aspects of the site.

Deciding Whether Your Items Are a Good Fit

Unlike many other online marketplaces, your products must fall into one of three categories: handmade items, craft supplies, or vintage items.

Handmade items are designed or made by the seller. If the items are produced with the assistance of another individual, you must describe this person on your “About” page. If you have the item manufactured from your design, you must submit an application for outside manufacturing and choose a manufacturer that complies with the site’s ethical manufacturing policy.

Craft supplies can be either handmade or commercially produced items. This category includes tools, materials and ingredients that are used to create handmade items.

Vintage items must be a minimum of 20 years old. Commercially produced and handmade items can be sold in this category as long as they meet the minimum age requirement.

Although the site’s policies are liberal, there are some things that you cannot offer for sale:

You cannot sell handmade items unless you were directly involved in making or designing them. In other words, you cannot purchase handmade items from another individual or company and then resell them.
You cannot sell items that promote violence, illegal activity or hatred.
You cannot sell items with mature or pornographic content.
You cannot sell hazardous materials or recalled items.
You cannot sell weapons, including firearms.
You cannot sell drugs or paraphernalia, tobacco, alcohol or items that make medical claims.
You cannot sell animals, items incorporating parts of animals defined as endangered, ivory from any source, items made from dogs or cats, or items incorporating human remains with the exception of teeth.
You cannot sell a service that does not provide a new, physical item.
You cannot sell an item that violates another’s intellectual property rights.
Creating Your Store

To set up your store, you must first register and set up an account. You can register by completing a form or using your Facebook or Google profile. When registering, you will be asked to choose your username; this will become your shop name, so you should pay special attention to this decision.

Simple Ways to Cut Ties with the Big Boss to Become Your Own Boss

Every single day you work hard. You work hard to make money for someone else. Sure, you receive a paycheck for the work you do, but it probably isn’t comparable to the amount of work you do each day.

Imagine how great it would be to work just as hard, but instead of making money for someone else, you make it for yourself. Seems like a dream, doesn’t it? The good news is this dream can be a reality. All you have to do is cut ties with the big boss and become the big boss.

Here’s how to do it easily and quickly, so you can successfully start making money for yourself.

#1: Start a Side Business

Do not quit your job just yet. That’s the worst thing you can do at this point. But do check any papers you signed when you started working for your current boss to be sure there was nothing prohibiting you from starting a sideline business, or that gives your present employer rights to any work you produce on your own outside the company.

What you need to do is prepare to leave your big boss. You do that by starting a part time business on the side.

Can’t decide what type of business you want to start? Think of your passions, and then see if you can make any money from them. Come up with a few different ideas and research them to see if there is a market for them. These are some great part-time business ideas you may want to consider.

Take your time with this step because your side business can turn into your main business. Talk to people, look up information online, and come up with a plan. The plan is what will help you get your business off the ground.

When you feel comfortable, get started. You don’t have to tell anyone. You can simply do everything in your spare time. It may be hectic for a while, but the more you work now, the less you’ll have to do later when you say good-bye to your boss.

#2: Grow the Side Business

You need to make a good income from your side business to quit your job. This means you need to grow your side business as fast as possible.

Many people will use money they are making at their current job to fuel their side business. This is a good idea, if it’s possible for you. Since it takes money to make money, using your big boss is a great option.

Business loans are available for those of you who don’t have extra money coming in from your current job. Research different loan options, so you can choose the one that will give you the most amount of money with the lowest interest rates.

There may be a time in which you will need to hire someone or bring on independent contractors to take care of your side business while you are working. Only do this when you have the money to afford to pay them. Be sure you are bringing enough money in to still make some profit after having people help you.

#3: Network with People

Running a successful business has a lot to do with networking. The more people you reach out to in the industry you’re in, the more information you’ll receive that can help you. Attend networking functions in your local community or look for groups online.

As you meet people, do not only discuss what you’re doing. Find out what others are doing and see if you can help them. By lending a hand, you can learn a lot from the experiences, which could end up propelling you into amazing opportunities for your business.

#4: Reveal the Side Business to Your Boss

This step is an important one, so don’t do it until you read this completely. DO NOT tell the big boss about your business until you are making enough money to be able to live on it. Some bosses feel insulted when they hear their employees have been making money on the side. While they shouldn’t feel that way, many of them do. It’s like a betrayal to them.

This is why you should never tell your boss about your business until you can walk away and live off your business’ profits.

This doesn’t mean you are quitting just yet. You are simply letting the big boss know you are working on something that could lead you to leaving soon. It’s the nice thing to do.

#5: Say GOOD-BYE to the Big Boss and Say HELLO to Being the Big Boss

You have succeeded at this point. You have started a business, you’ve developed it, and now you are making enough money to comfortably step away from your current job. All you have to do is let your boss know you will no longer work hard to make him money. Instead, you’re going to work hard to make yourself money – and a lot of it.

It’s freeing. It’s exciting. It’s a little scary too.

It could end up being the best thing you ever did for you and family.