ETSY How-To: Money in and Money Out

 

When running a business on ETSY (or any online venue, personal website, or home parties) it’s very important to keep track of money in and money out.  It’s nearly impossible to gauge how well your business is doing without keeping track of the necessary profits and expenditures.  Once you are tracking the in and out of money it can be easier to find budget limits, and determine where to cut costs from and where to put more money in.  If you aren’t already I would get an accounting software (Quickbooks is one of the best) and put it all your information; inventory, receipts, bills, advertising costs, and sales.  It’s also a great program to use to keep track of inventory pricing such as cost, wholesale price, and retail price of items you have for sale.

Here are some quick tips on how to save money once you gauge where your business stands with money in and money out:

* Have a Set ETSY Bill.  Every month determine the exact amount you want to spend on ETSY for listing new items and renewing. Remember if you want to only spend 60.00 a month don’t set your budget at 60.00 because you still have to account for items being sold and your commission costs to ETSY for those items being sold. If you sold $350.00 in merchandise on ETSY that’s $12.25 that will also be on your bill Try to stay as close to your budget as possible.

* Research Supply Prices.  Always remember this: You are not married to your supplier.  It’s okay to look for better pricing on items.  You may get lucky and your current supplier may price match the other supplier, but they won’t if you don’t ask.

* Dedicate to FREE Promotion.  There is no cheaper advertising than free advertising, and there are many ways you can do that.  I am currently working on a Facebook fan page, and it’s free.

* Cut Unreasonable Practices that Bleeding Money.  I was offering free shipping for a long time but with the cost of shipping going up and the cost of my mailers going up it was no longer practical for me. I still have very good shipping costs ($1.99 US, $2.99 international) but it was unreasonable on my already lower priced items to offer free shipping.

Hope this helps you out a little with your pursuit of making more profit in 2011.

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ETSY: Selling on a Shoestring Budget

 

For many small businesses, and sellers just starting out, the costs of running business on ETSY (and anywhere) can be too much and unaffordable. So what can you do? Are you doomed to not make sales because your simply; BROKE? Not necessarily. Many of us sellers run our business on a shoe string budget, and “YES” you can too!

So, what can you do?

**** CONTACT TRADE FRIENDLY SELLERS ****
There are many sellers on here who trade their services for product. Perhaps you need some business cards? Find a business card shop that participates in trading on ETSY and see if they will make you cards for a trade in your shop. Need a banner? Perhaps a banner shop. Want some promotional items? Contact another shop with promotional items you want to use.
Learn More about trading here:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6183294

**** PROMOTION ON THE FREE SIDE ****
You don’t always have to buy an ad to be seen. There are many free ways to promote your shop, they may require a little more work, but yes they are free.

A. Join a Team: Many teams build treasuries, more treasuries you are in the more exposure you will have

B. Build a Facebook Fan Page: Or better yet just have a personal fanpage. I get more sales from my personal page than my fan page, that’s where my last two sales have been from!

C. Be Active on ETSY: Post in the forums, join a chat, do a workshop. The more people you meet the more potential sales you may make. Remember sellers are buyers too.

**** RELY ON NEW OVER RENEW ****
It’s okay to renew, but only if you can afford it. Adding a new item to your shop is always a better investment, and keeps your returning customers coming back to see the fresh side of your shop!

**** HAMMER LOCAL PROMOTION ****
Put your cards up in creative places, where your work, Always have cards on hand. Jewelry artists get your hair done and have eye candy for the hairstylist to see dangling from your ear lobes. Leave your business card with your tip and restaurants.

Its more than possible, I am one of those sellers who can’t afford ads but I do well without them. I do a lot of forum talking, adding inventory, and just chit chatting on my Facebook. It’s possible to sell without breaking the bank.

ETSY: Making a Profit

These last couple of months have been tighter for my family and I, expecting another new addition to the family (another boy, we have a four year old Carl) in July. At first I was thinking to myself, how in the world is this going to be possible. I was a little afraid I may have to walk away if I couldn’t afford to bring people to my shop to at least pay the bill for the month. But then somehow the lightbulb went off and I realized… you know let’s just try to “promote on a low-budget”….

~*~ Cut the Renewing. It’s so easy to just go and click renew. To me renewing is almost like playing the slots in Vegas, you may get a few views, and once in a while a jackpot (item sold) but in reality after all the renewals how much are you really cutting into your profits? I was cutting too much into them. Being in the jewelry category I learned “renew to be seen or you’ll be buried”. I believe instead in good pictures, good tags, and good networking. I spend a lot of time continuing to improve my pictures, look at my tagging, and Im always trying to meet new people through Facebook, twitter, and my blog https://naturalamber.wordpress.com

~*~ Network Correctly. Twitter really can be a good thing for your business as well as Facebook (sometimes it doesn’t work for some, but there is no harm in trying) I have met a lot of wonderful people on twitter, and many of them will retweet some of my links to my work to their twitter contacts, and posting the new listing on my Facebook has really gotten more of my friends, family, and people from the past stopping in and buying. As long as you don’t spam, and have it personal the links once in a while they will be happy to see. If they think all you care about is buy from me they may just eliminate you completely from their page

 ~*~ Pitch Yourself. There is no harm in trying to pitch yourself to popular blogs, craft magazines, local tv stations, and other free places of advertising. The worst that could happen is they say no or don’t respond… the best thing that could happen is they want to feature you and they have a huge audience. You’ll never know unless you ask.

 ~*~ Aiming for Repeat Business. Repeat customers are hard to come by sometimes that’s why each and every transaction should be a way to really show your customers that you care. Respond to their questions, ship promptly, add something extra, have great packaging, and great follow-thru! Keep posting new items so they want to come back and see what else they can buy. Customers love fresh shops! Create a mailing list and create a newsletter geared towards customers, offer them specials, let them know what’s new with your business.

 ~*~ Keep Creating. Don’t let your shop get boring. Instead of spending 20 cents to renew something old bring something new in your shop. I try to at least add new items to my shop 3 times a week. I love to have a big inventory and I love to keep looking for new and unique items which is why I buy mainly on ETSY. I know I am bound to find a unique supply. It’s very important to keep yourself looking fresh. Why use your potential profits renewing the same items, when you can add a new treasure to your store. Have fun, get creative! Being creative artists we should thrive on finding creative ways (and budget nice ways) to get our name out there.