Podcast Episode 7: 5 Ways to “think” Like a Full-Time Etsy SellerSep 16, 2021
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Hey there! I am SO glad to be back here with you today! And being the personal growth nerd that I am--- I’m geeking out about talking with you about MINDSET.
That’s right--- if you’re here--- odds are you not only want to have an Etsy shop. You want to have a Successful Etsy shop. And you probably Ultimately have the goal of building a full time Etsy shop.
That is awesome! I totally believe you can do it. I don’t think Etsy is too crowded or saturated at all. I think as much as it’s growing with sellers, it’s also growing with shoppers!
You may need to make some tweaks product-wise or more generally in your shop but the BULK of the work needed to position yourself for a full-time Etsy business is completely in your thought process and mindset.
Now I promise I am NOT going all woo-woo on you today. Frankly that isn’t really my jam. I’m being totally practical when I say that the way you think will be critical to the success of your shop.
So let’s jump in to the 5 mindsets you will need to hone as you make your way toward becoming a full time Etsy seller!
1 ) “Everything is Figureoutable.” – coined by Marie Forleo
The most common mistake that new business owner’s make is that they give up too soon. You’re going to hit roadblocks, challenges, dry-spells--- even catastrophes in your business. It’s just one of the realities of entrepreneurship.
The key is to adopt the mindset that “Everything is Figureoutable.” Always tell yourself: If I don’t know the answer now, I can figure it out.
We had to implement this at SO many different points—I mean there’s no way we’d still be in business today if this mindset wasn’t basically a mantra in my business!
Here are some examples of where we hit roadblocks and had to figure it out:
In the very beginning, it was moving from hand-cutting stencils (our designs were too big for a cricut) to buying a professional cutter.
Then it was upgrading building tools so we could develop a higher quality product which then allowed us to raise prices a bit and reduce customer complaints.
We eventually got a local company to make us custom boxes because we were building them out of moving boxes since Uline and other providers didn’t make a size that worked for our product. My husband would spend 45 minutes boxing one of our large 45x21” signs—and that was once he knew what he was doing!
At some point the trends were moving much heavier into framed signs and so we pivoted from only making our shiplap pieces to including framed signs. Today they make up the majority of our sales.
Now we’re needing to pivot again—a) because we can sense the market shifting and b) because my hands just can’t paint this many signs per day. Lol!
You’ll have to do this too as your shop develops. You’ll have a different set of challenges to work through but the reality will be the same--- you have to stay open minded and be a solution oriented thinker rather than focusing on all the problems in front of you.
If you know you could use some growth in this area, I highly recommend the book “Everything is Figureoutable” by Marie Forleo which I will link in the show notes.
2) Be patient
A successful business owner must develop a mindset of patience. That might sound overly simple, but the rate at which people quit early on proves that most people start with unreasonable expectations and very little patience.
Believe me, I know how nerve-wracking this can be if your family really needs the income or you don’t have one more dollar to spend on promoting your business. I’d recommend against depending on your new or first small business to solve immediate financial needs. Find a way to backfill with another immediate stream of income until you figure out how to make your shop profitable. (ie. Something like babysitting, Uber, Doordash, Fiverr, selling some stuff on Facebook marketplace, or use another skillset part time to earn the money you need right away.)
It’s amazing how much more creative and open we become when we can take a deep breath and approach our business as a curious problem solver instead of a desperate person.
The truth is that building a business takes TIME and the seasoned business owner stays patient and focusses on longer term potential.
I think another facet of patience once you’re a fulltime Etsy seller is in the way you handle issues that come up. There’s a mindset shift here, too---- as you become a more established seller or business owner, daily hassles become problem-solving or creative moments instead of crises. (That’s not to say that there are never crises--- they’re just less frequent and we notice ourselves being able to deal with more.)
So be patient with yourself and your results and just keep going. So long as you don’t quit, you can still win.
3) How can I make my customer’s experience unforgettable?
Sometimes in today’s world, it can seem like everyone is out for themselves. Especially when you’re trying to cancel a flight or return something that didn’t work for you--- it feels like you have to argue your case and brace yourself for disappointment. It’s why we gravitate towards companies like Southwest or Amazon who we trust will allow us to make changes—and they’ll even make it easy and free to do so.
This is where your Etsy shop can really shine! Rather than just focusing on “How can I grow my business” (a valid goal, it just shouldn’t be your only goal!) develop the mindset of “How can I make my customer’s experience unforgettable?”
At first, this shift in thinking made me a bit uncomfortable. I had thoughts like, Gosh, I’m just a tiny business- I can’t afford to give away the farm. And In this day and age, what will it even take to keep my customers happy let alone give them an unforgettable experience?!
But I quickly learned that taking small steps to let my customers know I care about their experience and will take care of them if there’s a problem was more than enough to surprise and delight them. In fact—some of my best shop reviews have come from customers who received a damaged or incorrect piece—but I was able to turn it around with great service.
I think one of the ways I do this is with customer service. For every order, I send a thank you note through Etsy conversations that is personalized with their name, I let them know I’m honored to make a piece for them, and I set the expectation of when I will ship their piece. A huge part of this is also my tone--- it’s cheerful, gracious, and I make sure it sounds like I’m TRULY grateful for their order.
I also package the piece thoughtfully. I wrap it up in old school brown packing paper with a branded tag on some jute cord. And I have a thank you note with our family picture that I always include to remind the buyer that they’ve supported a real family and their piece was made with care.
So you see--- you don’t have to give away the farm. An unforgettable experience doesn’t necessarily mean freebies and discounts. Just that personalized, caring, boutique experience will do the trick.
4) It’s just as important to work “on” the business as it is to work “in” the business
As a solopreneur, you wear so many hats! Like most Etsy shop owners, I started my business with just myself (and my husband). It was a few years before we could hire help and get some time back.
In those early days when you just gotta crank it out and get everything done yourself, it’s easy to get lost “in” the business completing all the tasks it takes to fill orders.
What I want to remind you today is that you have to make time to also BUILD your business—so that one day you can hire help and have that life of freedom you started your business to get.
There are multiple pieces to this but first off-- schedule a block of time each week to add more listings, develop your shop, market your products, and do research to figure out your next steps of growth. If you don’t plan this time intentionally—your daily tasks will swallow it right up. This will also be the time to hone your systems.
When you’re thinking like a full time Etsy shop owner, time becomes at least (if not MORE) valuable than money. You’ll need to start investing more proceeds into tools to help you streamline.
You’ll need to be constantly perfecting your systems such as batching your work. My husband’s part of the business—which is building and boxing our signs--- is a great example of this.
First he sources all the wood he needs, then he cuts all of the various boards to size, then he constructs all of the signs, then he sands everything.
He’s also created systems using jigs he built—they’re basically wood tools that help him cut each piece to the perfect size each time without having to constantly measure.
I do this too--- I’ll usually have a prep day where I base paint and stain everything I’m going to use for the orders that need to go out next. The next day I apply all my stencils and do the initial painting (even this is sub-batched because I work in color batches so I don’t spend as much time cleaning brushes and paint dishes), then finally I do all the touch up, etc. (Wrapping and boxing them is a whole additional process—like an assembly line that my husband and I do together a few evenings a week)
This point is—a batching system makes the process go SO MUCH FASTER than if I just did each piece from beginning to end before starting the next one.
As you work ON your business you’ll build systems that will help you save your precious time and also prevent waste.
As a full time business owner—you need to be focused on activities that can help you expand and pivot as need-be, so make sure you prioritize this in addition to the tasks of fulfilling orders.
5) Constant personal growth
The most successful business owners adopt a mindset of constant growth. They’re always asking themselves:
What new skills can I obtain?
How can we do this more efficiently, better quality, faster, easier, more affordably?
What parts of “me” need development? (ie. Creative skills, writing, customer service, marketing, leadership, getting rid of imposter syndrome, time management, abundance mindset, etc)
You might study other shops on Etsy, read books, listen to podcasts, take courses, or meet with a mastermind group. Truly, therapy would even fall into this one—because the more you work on yourself, the better you can be for your business. You’ll make better decisions faster and become even more creative.
I am a PERSONAL GROWTH junkie. I love it. I’m constantly listening to stuff, reading, and taking courses. A few of my favorites are Jennifer Allwood (she specializes in coaching creative business owners), Jenna Kutcher (she’s an expert in all things marketing), and Alison J Prince (who is the queen of online sales). And otherwise I find experts and resources for the particular area I’m wanting to grow in next.
The details will be different for every person, but the mindset is the same. Pursue constant growth inside yourself. We all have areas we can develop and grow—and as we do, our businesses will grow too.
I hope my 5 Ways to “think” Like a Full-Time Etsy Seller have sparked inspiration and courage in you! If you implement each of them with intentionality, there’s no direction to go but forward.
And the key take away here? You won’t magically one day have a full time Etsy shop and realize all of these mindsets are in place. You get to start developing them now! Here. Like, today. And as you do, your business will develop and grow too.
Something can only grow as big as it’s container. So just become a bigger container and your business will grow to fill it!
I’m over here cheering you on and eager to help you however I can. Let me know what other resources would be helpful as you build, scale, or pivot your Etsy shop. You can do this!
Do you want to run a full time Etsy shop one day? You can totally do it, you just need to develop the MINDSET that will get you there. Today I’m sharing 5 Ways to “think” Like a Full-Time Etsy Seller. And the key? Start developing these NOW.
Stuff I mentioned:
Book: “Everything is Figureoutable” by Marie Forleo: https://amzn.to/3e1EF6R
Jennifer Allwood: https://jenniferallwood.com/
Jenna Kutcher: https://jennakutcher.com/
Alison J Prince: https://www.alisonjprince.com/
Looking for more resources?
Here’s my free guide that will show you the "4 Strategies I used to grow my Etsy shop from $25 to $6000+/month"
Grab my eCourse “Listings that Sell” and learn how to skyrocket your Etsy business:
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HOW TO SELL YOUR STUFF SHOWNOTES: https://www.howtosellyourstuff.com/blog/podcast-episode-7-5-ways-to-think-like-a-full-time-etsy-seller
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