You may not know this, but Mike and I (and even Alex) started out our small biz journey on Etsy and even still have those shops up on the marketplace. Even though it was possible to build our own shop and have complete control over its design and how it’s run, joining a marketplace like Etsy provided our newbie selves with an opportunity to make something out of nothing. While Etsy is never the end goal for most people, it is an amazing starting point for most small businesses for reasons you may not have expected. Ignore the naysayers – here are six reasons you need to open an Etsy shop (like, today)!
Instant access to a huge audience
Etsy has allowed us to generate a lot of opportunity, reach and flexibility in creating our business. Things that may not of happened if we started out on our own site trying to generate our own traffic. To explain better, Etsy gives you instant access to a huge audience (more than 2 billion page views per month) compared to generating your own traffic for your site, which could amount to as a little as a hundred or less visitors a month. A couple things to note – this doesn’t mean you don’t have to market yourself or work on SEO, but with a little effort you can start generating traffic within mere hours. This also doesn’t mean that creating your own website is out of the question, because more than likely you will want (and need) to do this to create a consistent brand experience and generate even greater growth. Starting out though, a large and free audience is a great asset when it comes to starting a business!
Opportunity for connections
Etsy provides is the opportunity for connections. Believe it or not, Station Seven stemmed from our first Etsy shop, Suited Brand Lab, designing logos for passionate entrepreneurs. This shop allowed us to find our first clients, who we then designed websites for, which then evolved into us creating WordPress themes for creative entrepreneurs. Our shop, blog and livelihood may never have happened if it wasn’t for that first Etsy shop and experimenting with new ideas and making connections. You might be surprised how many of your favorite bloggers and businesses started selling on Etsy (and some still do), like The Nectar Collective , PinkPot and Paper & Oats.
Acts as a testing ground
Etsy gave us flexibility in our products and business. We didn’t feel as tied to keeping products that didn’t work for us or feel guilty testing different branding strategies. As a budding business this is absolutely necessary! Of course you don’t want to be changing out pieces of your business on the daily, but when you start out there’s a ton of testing and learning. Etsy is a great platform that lets you experiment with all of these things without having to call on your designer or web developer for each little update.
A Low barrier to entry
Setting up shop with Etsy is an easy and free way to start your career as a small biz owner. Anyone can start a shop with minimal design, business, customer support, or sales knowledge. You can learn as you go, sell what you want, and have a hands on experience running your business without debt or a large cut into your savings. This allows you the freedom to learn invaluable skills, make some money, and dream big for the future!
Easy Digital Distribution
Although it was originally designed as a marketplace for handmade physical goods, Etsy now supports mouse-made digital products. The beauty of selling digital products is that every time you make a sale, the files are automatically and instantly delivered to the customer without any action required from you. Whereas some wool mitts might require a few days to knit plus a trip to the post office, digital distribution offers the opportunity to easily scale your work and support your business (and yourself!) at the same time. Which leads us to…
Oh yeah, the money!
Let’s not forget the reason we start businesses – to make a living for ourselves! Yes creating great work is rewarding and helping others is fulfilling, but at the end of the day paying the bills is always priority number one. Most of the work on Etsy is done up front; if you can gain some relevancy in the search rankings (more details in part 2 of this post), it’s easy to turn your Etsy shop into a passive income stream that could pay dividends for years to come as you grow your business in other areas.
Now I may sound like a bit of a fangirl of Etsy. To be honest, I’m not; there are some things like their inconsistent search algorithm, cash grabbing promoted posts and some overly saturated product categories that have me cursing their name. But! That doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome place to get started and try your hand at running your own business. So where do you begin and what are the important areas to focus on when opening your first shop? Check out Part 2 for all the nitty gritty and a free workbook!
Do you run your own Etsy shop? If so, how has the experience been for you? If not, are you interested in starting your own shop? Let us know in the comments below, and share links to your Etsy shop – we’d love to hear your ideas!