Once I was done with my online market research, I decided to take the plunge and just have fun with it and see what comes of it. My plan was to upload as many designs that I could come up with and offer my customers a nice competitive price. I was not looking to make a profit at first, only to enjoy it and learn from it, just as long as I was breaking even at the end of the month, or at least keeping my out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.
Fortunately, I did make a small profit by the end of the first month. I made about $75.00. That’s after my expenses on Etsy and Paypal. I did not include the cost of materials during this first month because the materials were already purchased and included as part of my initial investment. And if my investment worked, then that was the cost of starting up my business. If by the end of a year I made that money back, then I was fine with that. Of course, every purchase of materials and anything related to my wall decal business after that first month was included as part of my expenses.
Now, it felt okay at the time, but considering how much work I was putting out during my first several sales, I really wasn’t feeling all too profitable. I say this because this was all new to me including the creation of wall decals. The only thing NOT new to me was the use of technology. I did, however, have to learn how to use the vinyl cutter, weed the design, apply the masking tape and ship the decal out to customers all over the world. All this was brand new to me and it seemed like a lot to take in at the time. Of course, I decided to stick it out for better or worse.
I knew that making sales at first was going to be an uphill climb. You have to think that you pretty much start with zero sales and zero feedback. People tend to shy away from places if no one else seems to be buying from there. Besides, who wants to take a chance on you… rookie?
So, this is how I went about it. I decided to be patient and give every customer my best. I always had a short, pre-typed letter to my customers and I added a written thank you note to it, and regularly included a little token decal for free. Or if they purchased the small decal sets, I would always send extras. My idea was to be as personable as possible in order to get them to give me a positive feedback. In time I figured out that most of my customers were first time Etsy shoppers. So I knew that getting feedback from newbies or transient buyers would be difficult. And it was. But I stuck it out and tried to net as many as I could.
My current feedback (124, 100% positive) is not out of this world, but considering that this seems to be the nature of many of my Etsy customers in general, I’m not feeling too bad right now either. And if you look around, you’ll notice that many Etsy shops don’t have the numbers that a shop on eBay may have – not even close. But Etsy is relatively new and still up and coming, so I see lots of room for growth and a little more prosperity. In time, we can evaluate my predictions.
Now, I’m still working the numbers and I do notice that my sales are more regular now and slowly rising. I believe that as my scores go up (feedback score and number of total sales) I will continue to see a gradual increase of monthly sales with time and numbers under my belt. In fact, it also doesn’t hurt that my customers can see how long I have been opened for business on Etsy. All the information is there right on my store page.
At the time of this writing, I have been selling on Etsy for 1 year and 4 months. I’m not too shy to say that I currently net anywhere from $400 to $600 dollars every month and that does include all expenses. Now, whether you think that my profits are pretty good or pretty pitiful, just keep in mind that I do this as a part-time from home. And when I mean part-time, I mean only when orders come in - and I can push out a wall decall in a matter of minutes. Especially now that I have mastered the art of creating wall decals and shipping them like a pro. I can’t really tell you exactly how much time I actually spend working in my shop because I do like to play in there on my off time.
However, things are much easier now and I can slowly see my profits increasing. So, my idea is to continue giving my best to those who entrust me with their purchase. That means that if I notice the smallest goof-up on my part, I will be willing to scrap it and start all over again until I get it just right. As long as I’m giving my best and my numbers continue to accumulate, I believe I will continue to see increases everywhere. At least that has been my experience thus far.
So, my advice to those who wish to start selling on Etsy, or for those who are selling on Etsy but feel you are losing steam while others in your niche are profiting more and more every day, don’t lose hope. Let the numbers accumulate with time and I believe potential customers will begin to feel more and more comfortable purchasing from your Etsy shop, as well.