2.04.2013

Etsy Seller Series: Getting Started

Hey there everyone! From time to time I get questions about running my own Etsy shop. While I can't give away all of my secrets, I CAN share some tips and things that I have learned from my years of selling on Etsy.



I have put together an Etsy Shop series of posts to help any of you who may be wanting to get started on Etsy and don't know how to begin or for those of you who are already selling and may want a couple extra pointers --- and everyone in between! 

Today's post is all about....



Naming your Shop:
The trick is to come up with a name for your shop. You want it to be something fun and catchy! Something that your customers will remember and that anyone looking at your listing would be interested in checking out. Some of my favorites that I have come across are : No Whining Pleez, Melon Headz Doodlez, Happy Organized Life, and Elastic by the Yard. The first two are fun and creative names... the others give a real simple picture of what they are selling just by looking at the name.

Once you decide on a name do a quick search on Etsy for the name. It is always possible that name has already been taken and you will need to brainstorm a little more. Think about the products you will be selling,  and think about the kinds of customers you will be selling to. Bounce some ideas off of your friends and family... see what they think about your ideas. Odds are if they like it, others will too!

Once you have decided on a name it's time to set up your shop!

Branding: 
This is one of the most important things about your shop/business. Branding. It is what sets you apart from everyone else. It is what your customers will remember your shop for. Once you have decided on your name it will be a little easier to figure out your branding. If you have a really cute shop name you will most likely want to create a set of cute logos and designs. However, if you choose to use your products as the basis for your shop name maybe you will want to include a picture or two in your logo designs. If you have a modern name, then maybe a mod design.... and so on.

The great thing about Etsy is getting to know other sellers. There are A LOT of graphic design Etsy sellers out there. Some sell easy template designs that you can customize yourself while others will create entirely custom graphics just for you! A few of my favorite are: Erin Bradley Designs, Simply Graphics, and Kelly Jane. They offer a mix of custom and pre-designed logos. If you are going to have a blog or facebook page -- which I absolutely recommend {more on that in a different post} -- I suggest you choose a custom design so that you can have your designer create graphics for your shop, your blog, and your facebook page. Part of good branding is being consistent!

If you dabble in graphic design as I do, you can create your own personal branding using your own images or purchased images. The benefit: it's cheaper and you have more options on how you want things to look. The downside: it's a lot of work!

Tax and Licensing: 
This one you will need to do some research on. Google your city and state government pages online and find out what types of businesses need licensing. Personally I had to pay a fee to my city to be able to have a home office. Not all cities work that way so be sure to look it up.

You WILL need to pay taxes to your state. This, again, will require some work on your part to find out where to apply for your business license and taxes. Be sure to keep on top of paying your taxes {as often as they are required} those late fees are hefty!!

Finances: 
This is another BIG one to get your shop started. You will need to invest some money to start up your business. The amount that you invest will be determined by the products you are selling so I can't give you much advice here. The general rule in business that I have been taught is that you should at least break even your first year and start to turn a profit in your second.

Be sure to set up a specific bank account JUST FOR YOUR BUSINESS. This is the easiest way to keep track of everything. You can monitor your spending, your profit, and reinvest in your products as the year goes on.

You also need to put together some way to keep track of everything. If you are the kind of person that like to keep written records then you should either purchase some ledger paper or look for various template that you can find for keeping track of everything. I have found a great Etsy seller who offers a digital download of printable pages for Etsy shop owners. 

 EDITABLE and INSTANT DOWNLOAD-Etsy Business Planner-Work at Home Planners-21 documents
comes with pages for just about anything you might need! Seriously! I have found that as much as I like having everything right at my finger tips it uses a lot of paper and that's just an added expense for me that I want to avoid. If you work better though using pencil and paper then this is a great set to get. There are other  sellers who offer different designs and pages so take a look around. 

For me... I choose to go the digital route. A few years ago I purchased a file from an Etsy seller that came as an Excel spreadsheet. It had lots of pages, graphs, and calculations that helped me to keep track of everything. As the years have gone by I have realized that I don't need all of the things that came with that worksheet. So, I recently created my own and I am sharing it with you! 


The excel file has 4 sheets to it: a sales tracker, a purchase tracker, an inventory tracker, and a totals sheet so you can keep track of everything at a glace. 

The Sales Tracker let's you enter all of the information regarding any sales that you have, including: 
date
order# (for easy searching)
item sold
buyer name
quantity
sales price
shipping charged
shipping cost (so you can see the difference in what you are charging if any)
tax collected (makes it easier to pay your taxes)
totals
coupons used (for you to keep track of the number of people using it)
sales type (etsy, facebook, boutique, etc.)
payment type (cash, credit, paypal, etc.)
shipped?
shipping date
shipping method
and tracking #

The Purchase Tracker helps you to keep track of any and all purchases that you make throughout the month. You can break it down into the cost of the actual material, then the tax and shipping that you pay on it. This will help you to determine the price point you should be selling your items for. (more on that in another post)

The Inventory Tracker can be used to keep track of your in-stock inventory, especially if you are selling supplies versus handmade products in your shop. You can update your inventory and your listings in your shop as items sell. 

Then the Totals page is simply that. It keeps tabs on your monthly totals for spending, revenue, and ultimately your monthly profit. At the end of the month you can access everything and adjust your prices where needed. (again, more on that in another post)

Download your free copy of the excel file here

You will want to start keeping track of everything regarding your business finances right from the beginning, so as soon as you get started with your shop decide on a method to record everything and DO IT! It's easier to start from the beginning rather than trying to back track to put in all the missing information. 

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Up Next:
{Setting up your Etsy Shop}
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3 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this Katy! I've been thinking about setting up a shop on Etsy but I'm so nervous about all that goes into it! Reading your series will help in my descision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Britt, I hope you've had a chance to read the other posts in this series. If you have any questions about setting up your shop let me know! :)

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  2. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blogs and I’m impressed! Very helpful information specially the remaining part I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

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