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Creating a home business that actually makes a profit has never been easy. Without a solid plan, it can be even harder.
Etsy seller to Etsy seller, I’m going to let you in on EXACTLY what I would do and how I would plan if I was opening my Etsy shop today.
Let’s just get this out of the way. The most important tip I have is to JUST GET STARTED! Test things out, and be prepared that some things may not work, but some things will. Learning and growing from your mistakes are the keys to the success of every business.
Don’t have the first clue on how to start? In this article, I share the steps you can take to plan out your future Etsy shop or get a better handle on your current shop if you are struggling to make sales.
What if you had a planner that was smart enough to help you make money? Check out the Ultimate Etsy Shop Planner to help get you started making money on Etsy TODAY!
Step 1: Let’s Make Plans!
This stage is really about defining the details of your Etsy shop. Who is your audience and what do they like? Having a clear understanding of your target customer is the most valuable step in the foundation and success of your business.
Here are the things that you identify and figure out:
Identifying your why
Providing the “why” of your business story gives your customers a way to connect with you on a personal level. In order to figure out your why, start by digging deeper and asking (and answering) the hard questions. Grab a notebook and pen, or open the notes app on your phone and start by answering a few basic questions:
- What do you want to achieve? Why is that important?
- What inspires you?
- What is unique about your business or products?
- What do you believe in—personally and professionally?
Define your target audience
Defining your target audience is an essential step in building a successful business. While it may be tempting to create a wide variety of products that appeal to the masses, this approach can actually be counterproductive. By trying to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one in particular.
That’s why it’s so important to define your target customer and understand what they’re looking for. This involves getting clear on things like age, gender, interests, and spending habits. Think about who your ideal customer is and what their needs and pain points are. What are their goals and aspirations, and what challenges do they face on a daily basis?
By answering these questions, you can start to build a picture of who your target audience is and what they’re looking for in a product or service. This, in turn, can help you define your niche – the specific problem or need that your product or product line solves for a specific target audience.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can start tailoring your products and marketing efforts to appeal specifically to that group. This might involve creating products with specific features or benefits that meet their needs, or developing marketing materials that speak directly to their interests and pain points.
Ultimately, the key to success is to stay focused on your target audience and to be willing to adapt as their needs and preferences change over time.
Define shop keywords
Defining shop keywords is an important step when starting your own business. These keywords will help you not only choose the perfect name for your shop, but they’ll also become part of your brand “look” – the overall image and vibe you want your business to convey.
So, what are shop keywords? Simply put, they’re the words or phrases that best describe your business and the products or services you offer. For example, if you’re selling handmade candles, some of your shop keywords might include “candles,” “handmade,” “natural,” and “scented.” If you’re opening a coffee shop, your keywords might include “coffee,” “cafe,” “espresso,” and “pastries.”
Once you’ve identified your shop keywords, you can use them to create a name that perfectly captures the essence of your business. For example, if your keywords include “vintage,” “retro,” and “fashion,” you might come up with a name like “Retro Threads Boutique” or “Vintage Vogue.”
But shop keywords aren’t just useful for naming your business – they’re also a key part of your branding strategy. When designing your website, business cards, or other marketing materials, you can use your keywords to create a consistent and cohesive look and feel. For example, if your keywords include “rustic,” “handcrafted,” and “homemade,” you might choose a color palette and font that reflects that aesthetic.
In short, defining your shop keywords is an important step in building a strong and recognizable brand.
Figuring out your shop name
Figuring out the perfect name for your Etsy shop can be a real challenge, but it’s a crucial step in building a successful brand. Your shop name is the first thing customers will see when they come across your shop, so it’s important to choose something that accurately represents your brand and makes a memorable first impression.
One approach to choosing a name is to think about your shop keywords (as we discussed earlier!) and try to incorporate them into your name. This can help customers quickly understand what your shop is all about and make it easier for them to remember your name. For example, if your shop specializes in handmade jewelry, you might choose a name like “Sparkling Stones” or “Handcrafted Gems.”
Another strategy is to brainstorm words or phrases that evoke the feeling or vibe you want your shop to convey. Do you want your shop to feel whimsical and playful? Or maybe sophisticated and elegant? Once you have a list of words that capture that feeling, you can start playing around with combinations until you find something that feels just right.
It can also be helpful to consider your target audience and the niche you’re trying to fill. Are you catering to a specific type of customer or offering a unique product that’s hard to find elsewhere? If so, you might want to incorporate those elements into your name to help attract the right audience.
Ultimately, choosing a shop name is a personal decision, and what works for one person may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to take your time and play around with different options until you find something that feels authentic and true to your brand. And remember, your shop name isn’t set in stone – you can always change it later if you feel like it’s not working for you.
I have written an entire article on this topic alone that may be helpful! Check it out here!
Plan your social media accounts
When it comes to building your brand and reaching new customers, social media is an incredibly powerful tool. But with so many different platforms out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to focus your energy. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for your social media accounts.
The first step is to consider your target customer and where they’re most likely to spend their time online. Are they primarily using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or some other platform? Once you have a good sense of where your ideal customer is hanging out, you can start to focus your efforts on building a presence on those platforms.
But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to jump in and start posting or advertising right away. Instead, take some time to learn about each platform and how it works, as well as the types of content that tend to perform well.
Another key aspect of planning your social media accounts is to think about your branding and how you want to present your business online. This includes choosing the right profile photo and cover image, as well as developing a consistent visual style and tone of voice across all of your social media accounts.
Ultimately, the key to success on social media is to be consistent and engage with your audience regularly. This means posting high-quality content on a regular basis, responding to comments and messages in a timely manner, and building relationships with your followers. With a solid plan in place and a commitment to building your brand online, you can use social media to reach new customers and grow your business.
Marketing is a key part of any business strategy, and it’s essential to have a plan in place to help you reach your target audience and grow your brand.
One important aspect of marketing is posting to social media and advertising. To start, you’ll want to set a plan for how often you want to post and on which platforms. You might also want to think about what types of content perform well on each platform – for example, Pinterest is great for visually-oriented content like infographics and step-by-step guides, while Instagram is ideal for showcasing products and lifestyle shots.
You might even want to create a content calendar or strategy to help guide your social media and marketing efforts.
As you’re planning your marketing strategy, it’s important to consider the types of files you’ll need to create to support your efforts. This might include things like Pinterest pins, Instagram posts, Facebook ads, and more. Make a list of the different types of content you’ll need to create and think about how you can repurpose that content across different platforms to maximize your reach.
Of course, marketing can also involve paid advertising, and it’s a good idea to set an advertising budget and put money aside to cover these expenses. Consider your goals and which platforms might be best for reaching those goals – for example, Facebook ads are great for targeting specific demographics and interests, while Google AdWords can be effective for driving traffic to your website.
Ultimately, the key to success with marketing is to have a solid plan in place and to be consistent with your efforts. Whether you’re posting to social media, creating ads, or running a content marketing campaign, it’s important to stay focused on your goals and to keep tweaking your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not. With time, effort, and a commitment to building your brand, you can use marketing to help your business grow and thrive.
Stage 2: Create Your Goals
Set your general business goals
- Write down the goal you want to achieve for things like Revenue, Orders, Conversion rate, etc.
- What do you want to achieve in 1 month? 1 year? 5 years?
- What do you want to sell and when? Do you intend to have seasonal products? If so, list those out with the date you want to create the listing for them.
- Define how often you want to list new products – Is it once a week, a month, or whenever you have a listing ready?
Remember – It can take a few weeks or months even for the Etsy algorithm to identify the relevance of your listing and show your item in search to potential customers. This means you should experiment and be prepared that not every item you list will become a best-seller overnight.
Stage 3: Plan The Details for Each Product
Planning the details for each product is an important step in ensuring that you’re creating a high-quality product that meets your customers’ needs, while also being profitable for your business.
One key aspect of planning is to list out all of the supplies needed for each product, as well as the cost for each item. This includes everything from raw materials to packaging and shipping materials. Be sure to consider the cost of all materials and factor in any shipping costs or fees that might be associated with sourcing those materials. This will help you get a clear sense of the true cost of producing each product, which can help you determine pricing and profitability down the line.
Another important step is to look at videos or articles of people who sell something similar to your product. This can give you a good sense of what materials and supplies they’re using, as well as any techniques or tips they might have for creating a high-quality product. Take notes on what you observe, and think about how you might be able to apply those lessons to your own products.
It’s also a good idea to consider any packaging or shipping materials you’ll need for each product. This includes things like boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, and shipping labels. Be sure to factor in the cost of these materials as well, as they can add up quickly and eat into your profit margins if you’re not careful.
Ultimately, planning the details for each product is all about being thorough and methodical. By taking the time to list out all of the supplies needed and the associated costs, as well as researching what other sellers are doing, you can ensure that you’re creating high-quality products that will delight your customers and help your business succeed.
TIP: Only buy what you need for the first 25-50 sales. This will help you understand what you may want to buy in bulk
Plan your production
Planning your production is a crucial step in ensuring that you’re able to create high-quality products consistently and efficiently, while also meeting customer demand.
One important aspect of production planning is to consider how long it takes to make each product. This includes everything from sourcing materials to actually creating the finished product. Be sure to factor in time for any drying or curing periods, as well as any time required for packaging and shipping.
Another key consideration is how many products you’ll keep on hand at any given time. This will depend on a variety of factors, including how quickly you’re able to produce new inventory and how much storage space you have available. It’s a good idea to start small and gradually build up your inventory as you become more confident in your production processes and as demand for your products grows.
It’s also important to think about your processing time to create and package an order on average. This includes everything from printing shipping labels to preparing the product for shipment. Be sure to factor in the time it takes to process payments and any shipping and handling fees as well.
As you’re planning your production processes, it’s important to remember that you’re still testing to see what sells. Don’t be afraid to start small and gradually expand your product line as you gain more experience and insight into what your customers are looking for. Keep detailed notes on each product and how it performs, and be willing to make adjustments as needed to ensure that you’re creating products that are high-quality, profitable, and in demand.
Ultimately, the key to successful production planning is to be organized, detail-oriented, and flexible. By taking the time to plan out each aspect of your production processes, you can ensure that you’re creating products that meet your customers’ needs and that will help your business grow and thrive.
Pricing is a key factor in determining the success of your Etsy shop. While it can be tempting to price your products too low in an effort to attract more customers, it’s important to find a balance between affordability and profitability.
To start, it’s important to add up the cost of supplies and shipping for each item you’re selling. This will give you a good sense of the true cost of producing each product. Be sure to include an estimate of Etsy fees in your pricing calculations, as these fees can add up quickly and generally amount to about 20-25% of each item sold.
You will want to add a buffer for any Etsy advertising fees as these can also affect your ROI (Return on Investment). You will find more details about Etsy fees here.
It’s also a good idea to research other similar items on Etsy and see what your competition is charging. This can give you a sense of the general price range for your products, as well as any pricing trends or patterns that might be worth considering. Pay attention to whether your competitors offer free shipping or charge for shipping separately, as this can have a big impact on how customers perceive your prices.
Find a balance of what people are willing to pay, but is still worthwhile for you to create and make a profit.
When setting your prices, it’s important to find a balance between affordability and profitability. You want to offer prices that are reasonable and competitive, while also ensuring that you’re making enough profit to cover your expenses and grow your business over time. Be sure to factor in any costs associated with marketing and advertising your products, as well as any overhead costs like rent or utilities.
Ultimately, the key to success with pricing on Etsy is to be strategic, adaptable, and responsive to your customers’ needs and preferences.
Stage 4: Product Listings
Define product keywords
What is your audience searching for? Stay away from redundant words, but it is a good idea to repeat your keywords in both the title and the tags. Try to come up with as many unique words that describe your product as you can, then search for those on Etsy. Study the results – you may even get a few keywords from similar items found in your search.
Pre-write your description
Create bullet points of the most important info. What do you think your audience would like to know about the item? Consider adding how your item is shipped or any special packaging – this will build trust and show your customers you care that your items will avoid damage during transit.
TIP: Research Etsy to get inspiration for listing photos or how descriptions are laid out. But don’t be a copycat! It is also helpful to keep notes of things you don’t like.
Calculate shipping costs
Calculating shipping costs is an important part of selling on Etsy. It’s essential to find the right shipping method and pricing strategy to ensure that your customers receive their orders on time and in good condition, while also keeping your costs under control.
First, think about how your items will ship. Will you use USPS, FedEx, or another carrier? It’s important to choose a shipping method that’s reliable, affordable and offers the level of tracking and insurance you need to ensure that your items arrive safely.
If you plan to ship internationally, be sure to research the specific requirements and regulations for shipping to different countries. You may need to fill out customs forms, pay additional fees, or comply with certain labeling requirements.
When it comes to pricing, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll offer free shipping or customer-paid shipping fees. Many sellers on Etsy offer free shipping as a way to attract customers and simplify the buying process, but it’s important to carefully calculate your costs to ensure that you’re not losing money on shipping.
If you do choose to offer free shipping, you’ll need to factor in the cost of shipping and handling when setting your prices. Be sure to also consider any fees associated with Etsy’s “free shipping guarantee” program, which requires sellers to offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount in order to appear in top search results.
If you choose to charge customers for shipping, be sure to calculate your costs accurately and transparently. You can use Etsy’s built-in shipping calculator to estimate shipping costs based on the weight and dimensions of your items, as well as the destination and shipping method.
Plan your product photos
Listing photos are a critical component of your Etsy shop, as they’re often the first thing that customers see when browsing your products. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re using high-quality photos that showcase your products in the best possible light.
One important best practice is to make sure that you’re including all 10 photos for each listing. This will give customers a comprehensive view of your product and help them make an informed purchasing decision.
When taking photos, be sure to show angles or images that you would want to see as a buyer. This might include close-up shots of any unique features or textures, as well as wider shots that show the overall appearance of the product.
It’s also a good idea to show your product in use, held, or worn by a person. This can give customers a better sense of the size and scale of your product, as well as how it might look in different settings.
If your product comes in different sizes or dimensions, be sure to include other items for scale in your photos. This can help customers get a better sense of the actual size of the product.
When it comes to lighting, natural lighting is generally the best option for showcasing your products in a flattering way. Try to take photos during the daytime and in a well-lit area to ensure that your products look their best.
Another best practice is to include a video for your listing. Even though audio is not saved, recording a short video showcasing your product can help you stand out from the competition and improve your Etsy search results.
If you’re selling digital products, it’s also important to source or create mockups to showcase your products. This can help customers get a better sense of what they’re buying and increase their confidence in your products. You can even use Canva to create your mockups or display photos.
Stage 5: General Considerations
When it comes to running your own business, there are a lot of small details and miscellaneous items that you’ll need to consider. Here are a few additional things to keep in mind:
One important consideration is whether to rent a PO Box or use your home address for your business. While using your home address can be convenient, it can also compromise your privacy and make you vulnerable to unwanted solicitations or even theft. Renting a PO Box can help protect your personal information and give your customers a more professional impression of your business.
Another important consideration is to purchase general supplies like printers, packaging materials, and shipping tape. It’s a good idea to keep a stock of these items on hand so that you’re always ready to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently. Consider buying in bulk to save money, and be sure to factor these costs into your pricing and budgeting.
It’s also important to keep track of everything you spend for your shop, including supplies, fees, and any other expenses. This can help you stay organized and avoid any unpleasant surprises at tax time. Consider using a spreadsheet or accounting software to track your expenses, and be sure to save all receipts and invoices.
Yay! You’ve now planned your future Etsy shop! Just get started, test things out, and be prepared that not everything will sell instantly. But, with hard work and determination, you’ll get there!
Need all of these steps and tips laid out for you in one place? I’ve got you covered! Introducing the Ultimate Etsy Shop Planner
What if your planner was smart enough to help you make money? Yeah, you may have daily or weekly planners, but none of them help support and grow a thriving business.
This planner was designed out of my desire to feel in control over my Etsy shop and to set myself up for success. It’s filled to the brim with necessary (and growth-encouraging) goodies that will help you make your Etsy shop 10x better.
Determine your ideal customer, establish your brand, optimize your Etsy shop, and track your goals all in one place!
Don’t wait!! Get your copy of the Etsy Shop Planner here!