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.

May 2010: ETSY Success Tips

Selling on ETSY takes a lot of hard work, but thanks to many successful sellers and the forums selling on ETSY has been easier with all the tips and advice they have dished out. I do have to say if it wasn’t for the forums I may be still trying to figure it out two years later. I  have received some of the best advice on here.

Always remember that some advice may not work for you, but you never know unless you try. Having a business is about trial, error, and learning… really finding what works for you. I always try to remember why I’m here, it all started with a passion to create and now I want to share it with anyone I can. When I get down, I always go back to crafting and many times a new item.

My Top 3 Pieces of advice?

* Keep crafting and Keep listing. You can never have enough and what is not listed can not sell. You’ll find yourself relying less on renewing with more and more new items to list

* Go Outside the comfort zones. When I added vintage cabochon jewelry to my shop last year my sales started for me. Now I’m listing more new items, my flower line has taken off, and I’ll be adding vintage cocktail rings this week.

* Always room for improvement. There are always things you can do to improve your shop. Tweaks in your listings, new pictures, better tagging…

Happy Reading. Thank you guys!

My ETSY Recaps, Advice That Has Helped Me:

How the Four P’s Helped Me Hit 100 Sales
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6444980

Promoting on a Low Budget:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6472038

Have You Refresh-ed Your Shop Lately:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6507509

Before You Relist Consider This:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6511099

My Favorite Threads From Sellers:

4 Years on ETSY Want to Know My Secrets
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6494244

Homework is Not a Dirty Word
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6409036

600 Sales and What I Have Learned:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6506854

So You Want to Be An ETSY Success Story:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6419206

Thanks Guys for all your encouragement. I love ETSY… and a lot of it is because of all the fun times I have here in the forums.

ETSY 101: When Things are Slow

There has been a lot of commotion in the forums this last month or so, slower sales, possible site issues, less foot traffic. We have a voice in some of these matters, but sometimes the overall resolution we do not… or it takes some time to resolve which we have been seeing lately. March has typically, overall, been a softer month for retail (not always the case with individual shops, some do well a lot or March is good for them) so as an artist with a creative nature, I try to look for creative ways to get my name out there. I think as the creative people we are here on ETSY, many of us have found unique and great ways to stand out and bring in customers despite slower times. So how am I getting creative:

*~* OUTSIDE of the BOX crafting. Last year when things were slow for me during the spring I didn’t completely abandoned beaded designs with gemstones and natural components, I just went outside my crafting comfort zone. I started buying unique vintage items, and instantly fell in love with cabochons and cameos. When I introduced those to my store, my 5 sales a month went to over 10. Now I am selling on average an item a day. Go ahead and experiment. It’s a perfect time to, and you may just broaden your range of customers.

*~* Get CREATIVE LOCALLY. Sometimes just marketing somewhere you never would can draw in sales. I have been marketing myself when I go karokeeing. I now have repeat local customers who buy my jewelry just because they met me, thought I was interesting, and became friends with me on Facebook. I post a lot of those new pieces on Facebook… from there the sales have come.
~*~ MARKET to a wide array of PEOPLE. I post my cards at local hardware stores and yes I realize a small percentage of people who go there are female, BUT I do know that my card attracts those significant others who want to buy their wife, girlfriend, significant other a piece of jewelry. Believe me no one else is posting their jewelry cards there, so my competition is none. I have gotten a lot of male customers that way.
~*~ TRAIL and ERROR advertising. Slow times are I believe the BEST time to test new advertising strategies. When you are slow you can really get a good overall look at whether or not a certain advertising is working. If you place an ad on craftcult and have been slow for a little bit and then start making sales, you may realize it was because of that ad. Remember you don’t have to always pays for advertising, try posting to Facebook (just your regular one, I find its more efficient), submitting to blogs and magazines. Approach local stations.
~*~ Don’t STOP CRAFTING and LISTING. A lot of people hate to list when its slow, but its a really good time too. Remember you may still have repeat lookers and buyers periodically browsing your shop. You have to remember sometimes it takes just 1 view for an item to sell. Plus crafting is fun… it’s what brought a lot of us here and I think it’s too easy to forget our passion and get caught up in no sales. I always go back to what I love.

How are you getting creative in slower times?

NaturalAmber Jewelry: New Vintage Cameo Line

Cameo’s are a very popular item lately, so stay tuned for many new cameo pieces in my shop!

Handmade Jewelry: The Trendy Vintage Touch

Vintage Neon Flower Cabochon Ring
One of the hottest trends I have been seeing is the comeback of Vintage Jewelry. In my own shop Natural Amber Designsmany of my newest rings and earrings have been  made with vintage cabochons. It is a great, unique, and appealing way to add a little bit of fun and trend to handmade jewelry pieces. One of the best ways to acquire unique vintage pieces is hitting up small thrift shops and antique stores, you would be surprised the hidden treasuries tucked on their shelves!
Some of my latest Vintage Jewelry: