June 22, 2016

Five Things To Do Before You Launch Your Etsy Shop

I launched my Etsy shop three years ago this August. I had no clue what I was doing and honestly did not prepare for it. I just added some products I had from my DIY Archives and called it Shop Always Rooney. I had no clue I would still be doing this three years later (and yes, I realize I say that a lot). I don’t even think I read many blog posts on how to start an Etsy shop before-hand. I just took the step and then I realized how much more work had to be done!

Maybe you have already launched your store and aren’t seeing much growth. I challenge you to read through these tips and see if you’ve done these five things. If you haven’t launched yet, don’t take another step until you work on these things. It will be better start off with a firm foundation, I promise.

Most of these tips I didn’t even implement for my Etsy shop until this year, but I wish I had done them three years ago. Be sure to download the checklist at the end of this post for more practical tips!

1. Cultivate Your Brand- Your “brand” isn’t just the look of your shop/business. It is how people feel when they see your business. Make everything cohesive so if someone saw a design of yours they would immediately know you did it. I would highly recommend hiring a designer to help you brand everything or at the least, bounce your ideas off of a close friend to see if everything is cohesive.  One last tip: when branding, make all social media names the same so people can easily find you!

2. Buy A Domain- Ok, I’m a little embarrassed I just did this months ago‚Ķbut better late than never, right? You can easily purchase a domain through GoDaddy for cheap.cheap.cheap. Today I bought a new domain for an upcoming project and it was ONE DOLLAR for a year. There is no reason to tell people “You can find my Etsy shop at shopalwaysrooney.etsy.com” That is far too long and no one will remember it! Add some clout to your business with a personalized, easy to remember, domain name. It is simple to direct your domain to your etsy shop.

3. Share Your Story- People follow along and connect with stories more than just a picture with no context to really connect with. When you are setting up your About page, Instagram, Facebook, and any other outlet that lets you share even a snippet of your story, allow people to hear it! What was that final nudge that made you step out and start your business? How did you begin working with all organic soaps? What have been some of the hurdles (mentally and physically) to get over to starting your business? Think about these questions while you are sharing your story!

4. Test Your Product- You can have passion, dreams and drive all day long, but the product is the main meat people are buying. When I opened my shop, I started out with around 8 different products that had nothing to do with each other. A few months in, I realized passport covers were the most popular, easy to customize, time and cost-effective. I got rid of everything else in my shop and had a focus because I tested my product. A way to do this without opening a shop with random stuff (because I don’t always recommend that) is to just put your product out there on social media and see the response! If multiple people are asking you to make them something like it, you pretty much have a sellable product.

5. Know Your WHY- The newness of owning your own small business is bound to wear off. Excitement will come and go and when you don’t have a why to look back on, you will not press forward when the tough times come. Because they will. Your why is connected to your story (see #3).  It is deeper than “I just want to make money” or “I know this product will sell” or “I just want to quit my office job”. Write it down, hang it up where you can see it, and know it well. You’ll need to have it in times where you feel like no one is looking at your store, or you realize owning a small business is no walk in the park.

BONUS: JUST BEGIN. Maybe you are still learning your story, trying out the perfect product to hone in on, or even confused about the branding. Most of the time, when you just take that initial step, the ball starts rolling and you will figure a lot of it out along the way. A year from now, you’ll be glad you did.

Here is a checklist to help getting you started and break down some of the tasks it takes to opening up an Etsy shop. When you sign up, you’ll receive the checklist as well as a weekly exclusive Etsy Business Tip from me!