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How to Start an Etsy Shop with 40 Free Listings

Did you know that you can start an Etsy shop with 40 free listings? All you have to do is click the link below to get your free listings!

You’ve got the free listings, now what? Here’s a quick checklist of what to do when starting your first Etsy shop and my best tips for success.

To help you get started, I’ve outlined my top 5 tips for starting your first Etsy shop. I started an Etsy shop in late 2016 and have since grown it to over 45,000 sales, 6,000+ 5-star averaging reviews, and 7 figures in revenue. You can do it too, and these are a few things you can do to start seeing success immediately!

1. Think of Your Etsy Shop as a Business

Instead of referring to your Etsy Shop as a “Etsy Shop” or to yourself as an “Etsy Seller”, create a strong brand around your new business. Call your Etsy Shop by your business name. For example, my shop is “SimpleSentimental” but our brand name is “Simple & Sentimental” because Etsy doesn’t allow ampersands. I still refer to the business as Simple & Sentimental on Etsy because my business is more than just an Etsy shop. You need to create a brand to see repeat customers and draw new people in to purchase your products.

To create a brand for your Etsy shop, open social media accounts, create a logo, order business cards, and develop a mission statement to keep yourself on track.

When you run your Etsy shop like a business (because it IS a business), you will also consider your product prices, the cost it takes you to make products and do business and your profit margins. Before pricing your products, calculate how much money it takes you to create your product including shipping, materials and time. This way you can ensure your prices reflect the cost and time it takes you to make a product. Your products should be sold for at least twice the cost it took you to make them.

Remember, a hobby costs you money and a business makes you money.

2. Get Specific with What Your Etsy Shop Sells

You may have a lot of different directions that you can go with the products you sell. It’s tempting to try to create many unique products so that your shop could appeal to anyone, but the best strategy is to get specific with what your Etsy shop sells.

To narrow down your product offering, think about your target customer. What is the main demographic you are trying to sell to? For example, a business that sells gym equipment could consider “Men ages 30-55 living in the United States with household income of $50,000+” their target customer. It really depends on what customers you are creating products for.

3. Think About The Customer First

This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to get so wrapped up in creating products that you forget about the person buying them. Think about the customer first in every aspect of your shop. When you develop processing times for products, protocols for handling customer concerns, listing descriptions, and even listing layouts, think about what would most benefit your customer. How can you best serve them through your Etsy shop?

This may mean it takes more work to get the perfect listing photo or you may have to work harder to have a shorter processing time. Meeting customer expectations is vital, especially with so much competition on Etsy. “Build it and they will come” is not the right mentality here.

4. Invest Your Time Well

Dedicate time to researching different aspects of owning an Etsy shop. Chances are, you aren’t well versed in each area. There are many free resources online on customer service, saving money on shipping (and how to ship things), taking great product photos, and other business advice.

Learning these things up front will help you when you face unexpected scenarios and help you to set your shop up to avoid some issues from happening in the first place.

I write blog posts with free business tips and resources very often. You can read them on the Taylor Walden Blog.

5. Make Your Mark

Copying another Etsy shop is easy. Rewriting their listing descriptions, shop policies, and recreating their products to mimic their success may seem smart, but in reality it will hurt you more than it will help you.

First, it’s someone else’s hard work that you are stealing. This is not a case where “imitation is the best form of flattery”. People have done this to my shop countless times. It isn’t flattering, it’s rude.

I used to get upset when other people would copy my products or my shop, fearing that I would lose business as a result. But I quickly learned that those businesses had little to no impact on my sales. It still gets on my nerves of course, but if you copy another business you are setting yourself up for failure from the start.

Why? Because the product already exists in the market place. Making an exact copy does not serve a new need because that need is already being met. The business selling that product has a reputation and is known for that product, that design, that idea already.

The better thing to do is to come up with your own idea, or take an existing idea and put your own spin on it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Find an idea or a product that isn’t sold on Etsy, or find one that could be done better. And by better I mean in a completely different way.

Make your own mark. Come up with your own unique spin with your Etsy shop, your customer service, the products you sell, and how you do business. It will serve you well and take you much further than copying something that already exists.

Want to get more tips and tricks for starting a successful, profitable business?

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5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Instagram Right Now

Want to improve your Instagram but aren’t sure where to start?

Instagram can be so overwhelming. There are so many varying opinions on what works best to increase your following and build an online presence. Today I’m diving in to 5 tips that you can implement RIGHT NOW to improve your Instagram. Nothing complicated, just fast and practical ways to make your Instagram:

  • Easy for your target customer to understand
  • Approachable
  • Interesting
  • SEO friendly

1. Improve your Instagram by using keywords in your profile

The words used in your Instagram profile name are one of the ways people can find you by searching different keywords on Instagram. If you aren’t familiar with what a keyword is, checkout this article on keywords.

You’ll only want to optimize the “Name” portion of your profile for Instagram search. I attached a screenshot of an example below. You can see that I have my business name that people may be searching for, followed by the word “Gifts”. If I had more space I would put “Personalized Gifts” or other keywords that my customer might be searching on Instagram.

Keep in mind that using other keyboard fonts or emojis could hurt your profile in searches because Instagram’s algorithm does not recognize them as letters or words. Some people choose to type in different fonts for aesthetic purposes but don’t miss out on the SEO opportunity just for looks!

2. Include a “call to action” in your Instagram bio

A call to action in your Instagram bio asks your followers to do something. A few ideas for a call to action that you can include in your profile are below.

  • Get 10% Off Your First Order ⬇️
  • Use #YourBrandHashtag for a chance to be featured
  • Get Your Free ____ ⬇️
  • Join Our Community ⬇️
  • Email For Custom Orders 💌 you@email.com
  • New Collection is Live NOW 🥳 Shop on our website now!

Below are real examples of profiles that each include unique calls to action!

3. Post an Instagram story

Do you post Instagram stories? If not, you may be missing out. Instagram stories provide an opportunity for your followers to have “live looks” into your life or business and get to know the person behind the screen.

Stories allow you to post multiple times a day without having to create a lengthy caption or curate a photo to match the rest of your feed. They can also be interactive, encouraging your followers to engage with your account!

Yes, like many things in business they are intimidating, but with a plan and some practice you will have it down in no time.

Try to post an Instagram story once a day. It could be a fun quote, a behind the scenes photo, a new product, or a quick video showing what you’re up to behind the scenes of your account. You can ask questions or post polls to learn more about your followers. Take the leap and post a story today, and try to post every 24 hours so each time a follower visits your profile you always have something new for them to see and engage with.

4. Update your profile photo

When it comes to choosing the right profile picture for your Instagram account, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Are your posts and stories written from your personal perspective using personal pronouns and some photos/videos of yourself?
  • What type of business/account do you have?
  • Is it important that your profile picture shows your business logo?

I ask these questions because when it comes to profile pictures on Instagram you really have two options as a business. You can choose to use your logo, or a professional photo of yourself, the owner.

For most small businesses, influencers, podcasters, writers, and entrepreneurs, I recommend using a professional photo of yourself. Why? Because it makes your account more approachable and easier for followers to connect with you and your business.

Make sure you are the main subject of the photo you use for your profile, and that the look of the photo matches your brand and your Instagram profile. A smiling face invites people to follow both you and your brand. Social media is supposed to be “social” after all, and many people are looking to connect with others.

There are some industries or types of small businesses where it may be more beneficial to use your logo as your profile picture. Examples could include restaurants where seeing the logo helps customers recognize the brand while driving around town and on social media, or graphic designers who perhaps create logos and want to show off their style.

Below are some examples of headshots that work as great Instagram profile photos!

5. Spend time engaging with other Instagram accounts

Like I mentioned earlier, Instagram is a social platform. Engaging with people who you follow can lead to them engaging with your posts in return. Plus, the Instagram algorithm loves seeing your account engage with other accounts through likes, comments, DMs, and stories. It can increase the amount of people that your posts and stories are shown to.

The trick with this tip is that it is a long run game. A good strategy is to dedicate a certain amount of time daily to watching and engaging with other account stories, commenting on posts, and building relationships with your followers and accounts you follow. Anywhere for 10-30 minutes can make a difference. For example, many business and influencer accounts will return the favor of you commenting on their post, especially if you do it consistently. You can even make a short list of accounts you want to build a relationship with and turn on post notifications for their account so you can comment on their posts and interact with them regularly.

Looking for more social media tips?

I hope these tips help you improve your Instagram account! Get more social media tips on the Taylor Walden Blog.