Wishing you had a more steady stream of orders on Etsy? Yeah, I’ve been there too, friend. In fact, my very first Etsy shop failed entirely, but it taught me valuable lessons about what NOT to do in business. So I took those lessons, started all over again, and grew a multi-six-figure small business on Etsy without relying on social media.
From mindset shifts to strategy and creating an accountability plan, I’m here to share pivotal changes that will supercharge sales in your business — the same changes that took my Etsy shop from zero to becoming my full-time job!
I’ll be sharing specific Etsy insights, but everything I’ll cover applies to selling anywhere online, regardless of your product or service. Because really, the principles of making sales online are all the same.
Before diving into the three pivotal changes that made all the difference, let’s begin with a quick summary of my story.
A quick summary of my story
In 2015, I immigrated to Canada and launched an Esty shop. Even though my first shop made very few sales, it did teach me some valuable lessons. For four years I was stuck in the immigration process, using that time to explore different business ideas on the side.
But it wasn’t until I got married in 2019 that I got serious about making my business a full-time job. I started a wedding gift business and within two years, I was able to generate $700K in revenue. I knew I was onto something!
That’s also when I started helping other Etsy shop sellers grow their own shops too and eventually grew this community. If I had to break it down, there were three major changes that catapulted both my wedding business and small business community in a big way.
Ready to go over them together? Let’s dive right in.
A change in mindset
Whether I like to admit it or not, the truth is, I treated all my previous business ventures like hobbies while expecting business-level results.
I kept avoiding the hard stuff that would drive progress in my business, like taking time to really understand Etsy keywords or understanding exactly who my ideal customer is. Instead, I spent waaay too much time (and money) on the “fun” stuff in business, like creating graphics, updating my website, and buying pretty packaging products for my shop. That’s because I was naturally good at the fun stuff. The fundamental things that would bring sales to my business felt too challenging.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with working on the “fun” stuff in business. And if you want to keep your small business as a hobby, that’s totally valid!
But if you want to build a business that replaces your full-time income, that means you have to make consistent sales. And if you want to make consistent sales, you can’t skip the business fundamentals: marketing your products, choosing a niche, knowing your ideal customer, and so on.
Rather than taking the time to sit down and master the fundamentals, I kept chasing after random tips on Instagram or YouTube, hoping they’d magically grow my business. I had no plan. I had no strategy. I was simply building my business on hope and luck.
It wasn’t until I needed my business to become my full-time job that I dove into researching how successful businesses truly operate. That’s when I discovered that successful businesses aren’t built on hope and luck. They’re built on research, online marketing, understanding your ideal customer, and strategically positioning your products and services.
It’s no wonder I wasn’t making any consistent sales! I was focused on all the wrong things. If I wanted my business to be successful, I’d have to change how I approached business altogether.
So, I made a commitment to learn all the important skills I lacked as a business owner, put them on my calendar, and made time to actually apply them to my business.
No more being a busy bee without a clear direction. Once I shifted my mindset and finally treated my business like a real business, that’s when more orders and results came rolling in.
A change in my product
I’m a bit embarrassed to say this, but I think it’s something many online small business owners can relate to. In my previous attempts of starting a business on Etsy, I made the mistake of looking at what others were selling, creating my own versions, crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best. I didn’t have a clear concept or niche in mind. I would just sell anything and everything I could make that I saw was already working on Etsy.
But let me tell you, that didn’t work out so well.
The businesses I tried to replicate had their own branding, their own customer base, and their own unique concept. I, on the other hand, had products that were just a jumble of everyone else’s ideas. I didn’t have a specific ideal customer, and I most certainly didn’t have a unique selling proposition (which is essential for standing out in a crowded marketplace).
My only “unique selling proposition” was offering cheaper versions of established products already out there. And trust me, people weren’t flocking to my shop just because I was the cheaper option.
Turns out, price isn’t the only factor people consider when buying a product. The best-selling, well-established products in a certain niche always show up first in an Etsy search. And since my products weren’t unique in any way, they constantly got buried beneath the competition.
When I started my wedding gift shop, I knew I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I noticed that successful businesses all have a unique concept that sets them apart, so I researched and strategically chose my own unique product to sell too.
I let the market guide me and focused on creating best-selling products that had less competition. This way, MY products showed up on the first few pages of an Etsy search, which drastically boosted my sales. For the first time, instead of selling whatever I wanted to sell, or trying to replicate what other shops were doing, I had a unique product and a strategy built to help me stand out.
A change in taking action
This pivotal change was probably this one for me. With all my previous business ventures, I always had one foot in and one foot out. I waited for the sales to magically pour in before fully committing time and energy to my business.
But what I didn’t realize was that to make more sales, I’d have to commit time and energy to the business first. Mindset alone wasn’t enough.
I had to start taking action (and I did).
I created my very own printed-out 30-day calendar on Canva, and each day, I’d write down exactly what action I would take to grow my shop.
Since Etsy’s algorithm prioritizes new listings, one of my first big goals was to add as many new listings as I could to my shop. You see, when you enter a specific niche, you’re competing with other sellers who have 100+ established already in their shop.
Now, I know you might think, “How can I have 100 products in my shop? That’s too much!” But as a reminder, on Etsy, you don’t need a new product for every listing. You can have multiple listings for one product, each with different variations, keywords, and cover photos. (ex. if you sell T-shirts in eight different colors, that counts as eight different listings!)
So as a shop owner starting from ground zero, to stand a chance against more established shops out there, I had to get strategic. In my 30-day plan, on Sundays, I’d take plenty of photos for different product listings. On Wednesdays, I’d spend an hour on keyword research. For every day of the week, I had a specific goal for how I’d show up in my business.
This approach to goal-setting transformed the way I took action. It gave me something to work toward instead of always wondering what to do next.
And let me tell you, all the work paid off! On day seven, I got my very first sale, and the sales kept coming in every single day after that. I’m not saying you should expect the same results for your own shop because everyone’s business and journey is different.
But I am saying that you’ll grow your business if you’re less worried about the results and more committed to tracking progress and taking action. Especially if you don’t see progress right away, it’ll keep you from getting discouraged and give you the motivation to keep going.
To wrap it all up, these three changes helped me make more sales in my Etsy shop, and they will help you too
Number one, if you want to make more organic sales from Etsy’s search, don’t try to be a small fish in the big ocean by replicating what the top sellers are selling. Find a gap in the market and be the big fish in a small pond.
Number two, don’t let your mindset trick you into thinking you’re working on the business by only focusing on the “fun” stuff. Write a clear plan and strategy to focus on taking action that drives sales directly to your business.
And number three, hold yourself accountable. Create a calendar, cross off the actions you take, and focus on progress instead of waiting for results. I promise by focusing on your actions and progress, the results will come.
If you want to more juicy details on how I went from $0 to $700K in revenue on Etsy, tune in and learn more in today’s podcast episode here 🎧.
Until next time,