The best and easiest place to start selling is most definitely Etsy. If you are following the rest of this Ecommerce 101 series, you are most likely making your own products and therefore Etsy will be the place for you. Like I previously mentioned, Etsy is a get rich quick scheme, but in a good way and not in the pejorative way people usually use that term with.
The reason why Etsy is a get rich quick scheme is that it's easy to start making money, and a lot of it. But there's a huge catch: Etsy is also the easiest place to get banned for no reason. Do read our other articles and you'll know what I mean.
Before I start, let's recap:
- You already thought about creating your own business - Ecommerce 101 #1
- You know you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur - Ecommerce 101 #2
- You thought about what you can sell online - Ecommerce 101 #3
- You decided what you want to sell online - Ecommerce 101 #4
Now you are ready to go to step 5.
It's really easy to start a shop. Here's what you need:
- A bank account to deposit money;
- A credit/debit card to make payments (to pay for fees and whatnot);
- A form of ID (a photo of it);
- A shop name - IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT IT IS, choose something fun that you like;
- A product to start with.
I see so many people waste time with "new Etsy shop launch!" and they get ready like it's some sort of an event. It's nothing, you just put a product online in the middle of millions of others.
"oh but my new brand needs recognition and a fan page"
That's all fine, but it has nothing to do with Etsy. Etsy is a marketplace filled with people like you. When people search for a "woolen phone bag" they will find a billion different ones from different people, choose one and buy it. They will NOT care about you or your brand. Sure, if your product is amazing there is a chance people will follow your work, but they will do so on facebook or whatever.
In my opinion, you should SELL on Etsy. You definitely should try to create a following for your brand and products, but drive that traffic to your own website. If you are serious about going solo on an eCommerce business, you should use Etsy to make money and invest it in your own website and brand. Etsy will NOT support your business, you are just another grain of sand in a vast beach of millions of them. If you don't look out for yourself, nobody will.
Etsy is a great place to make money, it's also great to test your products with the consumer. You don't have to worry about photos, logos, anything. Just put your products online and see what happens. If you put random things on your website, the traffic you are bringing from your hard work in social networks and/or ad investments might be in vain. On your own website, you want to make sure everything looks perfect because your entire business will depend on it. On Etsy who cares! Just fill your shop with stuff and start seeing what people like best. Don't overthink it. You really need to experiment with a LOT and really pay attention to the results. Do a scientific approach - test and take notes.
Don't know how to start? that's OK. Here's what you do:
Search on Etsy for products similar to yours - observe what your competitors are doing. Open their stores and check how many sales they have and the reviews too. If they are doing very well, grab whatever you think are good practices and add them to your store. Obviously you'll need to add your own personality to it, but use the best logic you can find to organize your business.
You will actually want to add some of those stores you liked to your favorites in your browser so that you can check on them regularly. You can take notes of the number of sales each shop has, and compare after a week to see how many they did that week. There are many shops with thousands of sales but also are active for many years, which means they don't really do much business. What you want to do is also check the year they started, and then divide the number of sales for each year they have been and business, and divide that in months. After that, if you are also curious, you can calculate the average price of their products and multiply the number of monthly sales you calculated before with the average product price, to get a sense of how much money they are possibly bringing each month.
I know this is kind of vague and you are probably very confused and overwhelmed with information. But believe me at this stage what you want to do is experiment because there's nothing like learning by yourself. You should use this guide do improve your business, not as a template to create your own. You should take all my advice with a grain of salt, like all the advice you find online.
If I followed all the Etsy and eCommerce advice I found online I wouldn't have made it. That's also why I created this blog in the first place.
Don't worry, as we go through the next steps I'll go to more and more detail on how to do pretty much every step of creating an online business! Add this blog to your favorites and check on this regularly, since I'm adding content a few times per week! We're about to go deep into specifics on how to be successful with an online business.