etsy shop help :: ten mistakes i’ve learned from

| handmade | indie biz

etsy shop help

when it comes to selling online, i’ve made so many mistakes it’s a wonder i’m still afloat.  here are what i think my top ten have been and how i’ve learned from them.  i’ve also mingled in some dad’s day goodies- it seemed fitting since he’s always helped me learn from my mistakes!

Vintage Tennis Rackets

vintage tennis rackets

1. practice time management. sometimes i can be the ultimate procrastination station and it’s just not a good habit. running in an all out sprint to make it inside the post office door in time is just not professional (or fun).  my advice: schedule your days on paper and try your best to stick to it.

2. follow through. i’ve been called out before for not following through on something i promised.  people will hold you accountable and it’s embarrasing to be caught slacking off.  my advice: always be a person of integrity and own up if you end up not following through on a promise.

 Vintage Mounted Trophy Antlers

vintage mounted trophy antlers

3. be present. i once forgot to update my ‘vacation announcement’ and have even accidentally misplaced a convo before without answering it- never good! my advice: make communication and up to date announcments a priority.  getting to know your customers will always be beneficial (and fun!).

4. photos matter. i’ve said this before, but having great photos really is the most important factor for an online business.  i’ve certainly posted pics that i’m not proud of, and guess what? the items never sell! my advice: get a good camera and don’t rush through snapping pictures of your products.  if you need help editing, seek help!

Docking Station Steampunked Royal Typewriter with Speakers

docking station steampunked royal typewriter with speakers

5. pursue publicity. at first i assumed that press and publicity would just come knocking after i opened a shop- oops was i wrong!  my advice: you need to put yourself out there to get found.  contact bloggers for write ups and self promote your work via your blog, twitter, facebook or the like.

6. be truthful and complete. i’ve forgotten to add the sizes of a product or gotten questions to things that should have been obvious.  it’s never good when a customer is surprised at what they recieve or can’t find the answers they are looking for.  my advice: make sure you’re proud of everything you put your name on.  having complete, truthful and thoughtful listings will only improve your customer satisfaction and business reputation.

 Attache Case

attache case

7. research research research. i’ve certainly learned that researching how to do something before i get started is the ultimate way to success.  my advice: look at what other sellers are doing and notice what works and what doesn’t.  take note about what etsy prefers to feature and read all the material you can get your hands on (starting with the storque!)

8. relist, relist, relist. i boycotted the idea of relisting items for a long time.  after a bit of experimenting, it’s fair to say that i always sell more when i relist items on a daily basis.  my advice: relist 3-5 items every day when you’re just starting out (that’s $0.60 – $$1.00 a day) and count it as part of your marketing/start up costs.

Wood Parts Bin

wood parts bin

9. be original. there’s a big difference between getting inspired by something and straight up copying it.  i’ve struggled before with feeling original, because everywhere i look there seems to be another ‘me’.  my advice: learn how to tune out other ‘yous’ and try not to refer to other’s work when you sit down to sketch/write/brainstorm.

10. take a little, give a little. one of the best lessons i’ve learned is to always give back. my advice: don’t be afraid to ask for freebie advice or help, but always try to find a way to return the favor. i think this should be called ‘how to be a friend 101′.

so there you have it! my mistakes and how i’ve learned from them.  what are some of your most learned from mistakes?


  • Great suggestions. Thanks so much for the post. I’ve been afraid to directly contact someone with questions and they’re always appreciative and eager to tell their story or help me out with my question.

  • thanks for the advice and encouragement! very helpful column and i really appreciate your taking the time to help me and everyone else:)

  • Thank you for sharing your insight and learnings. We all could give back and mentor others more.

  • I’m brand new to Etsy and, I’m sure, am making mistakes daily. My very first listing made it into a treasury and sold that very same day. But since then nothing else (granted it’s only been a couple of weeks here).

    I’m going to keep plugging away, learning and hoping for that next break.

    Thank you for these tips!

  • I’m new to etsy too and I have become addicted to Bonnie’s Etsy tips. I can’t believe they’re free. I am sooo happy to have found this blog. Fan for life from now on :)

    • hi mayi! aw, thank you. ;) keep up the great work!

      xo! bonnie

  • Ditto Mayi. I’m going through all your business posts. Many thanks!

  • I just hearted your adorable set of pyrex, Shalet! :)

  • Thank you!! Wonderful advice and a great blog to follow!

  • Great, great tips…I’ve been open for almost a year but it’s so helpful to revisit these principles every so often to keep your shop tip-top. I think I’m going to reshoot some photos tomorrow…thanks for the inspiration Bonnie!

  • great article! Good Advice, I have been in a Gallery for 3 years now on consignment, so for those that decide to do consignment, be patient. Not everything sells overnight in Brick n Mortar shops either. If your consigning locally, visit the shop and see how your placed and make sure your out where you can be seen. Items in a retail shop do get damaged, they are handled a lot more, so make sure your stuff can take it and if it can’t that the store owner knows that. I have had items that were delivered to a shop and they never put them out for sale… so keep an eye out.

  • This is an awesome article, thanks for the great advice. I think you are definitely right about the researching aspect, it is very very important! ;)

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