Change in Plans! Vacation still on, but the Etsy shop will stay open. And you can buy at a discount!

In the run-up to my first extended family vacation in 7 years on Etsy (or ever for that matter), I did a lot of research about how other sellers have used the Vacation Mode on Etsy and whether or not it would be a good idea to pull my shop offline for a few weeks.

Originally, I thought I would shut the shop down for a bit. But as I got more info on best practices and such, I am now of a mind to keep the shop open, and just do my best to let folks know that there will be a delay in shipping before they place an order.

Due to an awesome bulk editor for Etsy called BETSI, I can update all my listings with info about the delay and also with a special coupon code for a sale I will be having to thank folks for their patience. It would not be possible without this app.

I don’t run sales anymore, and won’t be doing another one this year, so this will be the best time all year to buy some of my work. Coupon Code is SUMMER and it will get you 20% off your entire order as a thank you for your patience.

Anyone who placed an order before 11:59pm on June 15th will get their order shipped before I exit the studio on the 20th.

Whimsical Art The Enlightened Fireflies Firefly by johnwgolden.

Are you a machine? Do you want to be? When your online craft/art business starts to thrive!

If you are fortunate to have your sales of your work take off, you may get to experience a level of producing your work that can feel very much unlike creating art or anything at all creative.

I try to use the problem-solving skills that I have learned from the creative process to approach the drudgery that a thriving business can become. Finding  joy in developing an efficient way to manage one’s order fulfillment/shipping is a skill one should develop if on the path to starting a business with a bootstrap mindset.

I never envisioned my current online business as anything other than a new career path, so I can’t really speak to envisioning one’s hobby or talent as a sideline only, but the business was a sideline until it overtook my other sources of income. And looking at the business as an eventual full-time venture helped to plan out adaptable systems for handling the day to day tasks that the business, sideline or full-time, required.

All that stuff is really exciting, i know 🙂 How about we talk some about what it is like to be a successful enough single-person Etsy shop to make a living? The intangibles of keeping all the plates spinning and the fires put out?

In my experience, it  beats digging ditches, but it has as many challenges and aggravations as your average job. But it also has a few unique challenges too.

One of the biggest challenges is the work ethic. It’s a doozy. You have no boss or co-workers to keep you on track, so it is all down to you. You have to be willing to do it all, at all hours, 7 days a week. That’s not to say you will always have to work that much. You just have to be willing to do it when the situation calls for it. And to be able to know when the situation is calling for it. You will come to appreciate the days on end of work, work, work when the situation is not calling for it.

I have had spells where I had pipe dreams of a 4-hour work day, but at the same time I pushed my business away from the manageable task of producing paper prints for sale toward more production-heavy items like mounted prints on blocks and boxes. The business called out for new, more finished product, and I wanted to put more of myself in the final product, so the pipe dreams lost out. A decision made for me more than one made by me, but one I hand a hand in, just the same.

So, are you a making, listing, marketing, communicating, shipping machine? If you are willing to be one, and your work connects with customers you may just get the chance to find out.

Robot Art Retro Robot Stan Jr. Medium Triptych by johnwgolden.

The one in which the dying Etsy Shop didn’t go belly-up – 7 Years on Etsy Part 2

Continued from previous post…

When the moment came that I stumbled upon that tiny little piece of someone’s shared wisdom, I did not know it. It took applying that knowledge to the another little bit of knowledge, which led to me putting pieces together. Every once in a while an idea sprang up as my understanding grew.

An old Etsy friend and I began talking, which led to a day’s discussion of how to become more visible on Etsy again. I shared what I knew, she shared what I knew. Explaining concepts to her helped me to understand and apply them better. Through helping someone else understand these ideas, I was increasing my own understanding.

And then something amazing happened. After spending an entire day doing nothing but focusing on helping someone else understand what I just beginning to understand myself, the following day I had my best day on Etsy in all my 6+ years selling there. And not just by a little. It was better than one particular month I had on Etsy in 2012.

Was it because I helped someone else toward their success? Was it that I suddenly understood this new way of handling listings that had escaped me for so long? Who knows for sure, but I like to think it was a little of both. I am a firm believer that you get back what you put out there, and that if you want success to come to you, you have to embrace and encourage it wherever you find it. At least put up no barriers to success.

Regardless of whether is was good karma or just happy coincidence, it would not have happened if the Etsy shop was not beginning to gain traction again.

So, at the end of 2012, I finally started to effectively correct the course of my Etsy shop, and the listing and shop views and sales have begun a climb back to normalcy. It was a monumental task, but I have begun to clean up what I realized was my mess. The thing about tweaking tags, listings, etc. and testing the effectiveness of your changes is that it is ongoing. It never ends. And it is very complicated.

I am working now on a way to help sellers understand what I now understand, even if it is just a little tidbit of info that sparks the very tiniest grasp of the ideas I have learned these last 6 months. I will share here when I feel like I can explain it 🙂

Clean Up Your Mess Print 6 in x 10 in Playroom Art by johnwgolden.