It is no secret to everyone who knows me a little that I love Etsy. I bought items on Etsy. I feature my favorite Etsy sellers on my main blog, At Home with Kim Vallee. When I talk about the business opportunity of the Web, Etsy always comes to my mind. Etsy opened the doors to many women, and men, by giving them access to a suitable marketplace. The past business model was solely based on local market and exhibiting at flea markets and fairs. By running an online store, more people could buy their products.
Let’s be clear, most Etsy sellers do not make a good living and will probably never will. But with hard work, a business plan and perseverance, you can do it. The New York Times published a good article on how people turned their hobby into a business on Etsy. Towards the end, the article missed the boat. Being a small entrepreneur asks for sacrifices at first. As a Web developer, I recalled doing rush jobs once in a while that meant working 16 hours a day.
Starting any mom and pop shop requires a lot of work, regardless of the products or services you sell. The sellers mentioned on the NY Times articles seem to be at a transition point where they moved from a mom and pop shop to the SOHO stage. Once their employees or freelancers are trained, they will be able to get more free time. In fact, this already happened for Ms. Vasquez.
Mixing Life and Business at Home
About that quote “At dinners, she and her husband talked only about business.”, it is normal at this stage. It requires discipline to find other topics to talk about. For the last 15 years, I have a business with my husband. We make sure to find time every day to talk about something else. We make sure we have hobbies outside our business. But it is also good to exchange about our respective business projects, where we want to go and to dream together of a successful outcome. It energizes us. Plus, talking about it ensures that we are both comfortable with the way we live together.
But you also need to network to grow your business and for your well-being. Meeting people provides new conversation topics. If you do not go out enough, it is not healthy.
If you are thinking about selling handmade products online, I suggest to any creative sellers to do three things:
- Have a blog where you not only talk about your products but also about other people products, design ideas that you like. There is an Etsy widget that will allow you to feature on the sidebar a few products from your Etsy shop. Make sure to add the Etsy widget to your blog.
- Open an Etsy shop. Bloggers love Etsy and being active in the social media community is key for promoting your shop.
- Use Facebook and Twitters. Make connections with people online and offline.