Friday, May 29, 2009

Some Secrets of My Success

Since I consider myself a successful Etsy seller, I'm taking the opportunity of my 2nd Etsyversary to share some thoughts. While I know everyone finds their own path and my experience won't reflect everyone's experiences, I hope you find this interesting or even helpful.

When I started making jewelry based on molecule shapes, I expected it to be a hobby. I was planning to work freelance writing jobs for a living and sell jewelry to produce some retirement savings. Yet within a year the jewelry became my full-time job that pays the bills. The freelance writing I do is extra.

I believe much of my success comes from having an unusual offering. At first, I thought my jewelry would appeal to a very small niche. I was uneasy about joining Etsy because I thought people interested in my stuff would not find me here. I was wrong. First, my work appeals to a wider audience than I suspected, and, second, people found my stuff through searches and - more importantly - through other people. Despite my expectations to the contrary, having such a narrow focus in my work has been a benefit.

I'm a generalist and I love making all sorts of things, like textiles, sculptures, and paper goods. But in my Etsy store, I've largely remained focused on just the jewelry. Every once in a while I'll throw something else in, but I think having a focused inventory looks professional.

Since this is my job, there are things I love to make that don't make money, so I can't offer them in my shop. I don't like that this is true, that I need to pay attention to profit margins. But it is necessary, especially since my extra time has been dwindling.

I love what I do. I have even found ways to enjoy the more business-sided aspects. It's important to have passion about your work when you work for yourself. I work long days [disclaimer: I still need to figure out work-life balance!], but often it doesn't feel like all I do is work when my hobby and my work are one and the same.

Every day I am thankful to have stumbled upon this way to make a living. I'm also very appreciative of Etsy and the Etsy community. Through Etsy forums I've learned the importance of great customer service and how to sell in person. I also appreciate the camaraderie in the Forums and in the street teams.

Thank you all, and good luck in all of your Etsy ventures!

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