Make Money With Folksy and Etsy

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Many people enjoy making things with their hands. Mothers that knit or make quilts for their children. Fathers that build a chest of drawers from the garden shed. Even the little ones that like to finger paint or glue macaroni pictures. Most of us love making crafts. Making crafts is also a fun way for you to make extra money on the side if you enjoy crafting.

Crafting is becoming more and more popular these days. Websites like Etsy and Folksy are booming, and there are people who make decent living selling sorts of crafts. Unfortunately, there are no people who have become millionaires yet from Etsy or folksy, but you can definitely make extra money if you have quality products and market yourself properly.

If you are going to make money selling crafts, then you are going to have to treat this as a business and not just as a hobby that you enjoy. By that, I do not mean you have to act all corporate, but you will definitely have to have a plan and make some calculations. Otherwise, you will just be like most of the people selling one item, maybe 1 every few months.

Most people selling on craft sites are hobbyists, and there is nothing wrong with that. That is the purpose why these sites were made. The problem is that most hobbyists do not really realize what their goods are worth. Because it is a labor of love, most people do not think their crafts are worth much. Once you break down actually how much time you spend and what the total cost of all your material, transport, and postage costs are, how much everything actually adds up. There are a lot of people out there who are selling at a loss, and they do not actually realize this.

Etsy Folksy Business Plan

A business plan for selling things I make as a hobby? Yes, remember you are going to do this as a way of making some extra money, and the best way to achieve that is with some sort of plan. You can make it up as you go along, but if you would take the advice of any person that has found some success in business, then you will make a plan.

There are countless benefits to planning out your craft business plan.

A few of those benefits are:

  • You need to know what your business is about. If you do not know, how can you expect your customers to know?
  • It will make you set well-defined goals. This will help you stay focused on what you want to achieve and how to get there.
  • It will show you at which point you are in your business.
  • You can plan for eventual difficulties before the time. It is better to have an action plan in place for emergencies than to just take things as they come.
  • Make you take action.
  • Provides you with a practical guide on various aspects of your business

Defining Your Product

Your product will obviously make up the most important part of your business. Without it, you have nothing to sell. Etsy has literally hundreds of subcategories in which to list your products, and listing them in the correct product category will help people to find your product. Most of the sites where you can sell crafts have rules that apply to what you can and cannot sell. The rules generally are that you can sell handcrafted items, crafting supplies, and things that have been repurposed or upcycled.

What type of materials will you use, and what type of quality will your product be? In general, people like quality and are willing to pay for it. Also, you naturally will make something that you will be proud to sell and be proud to tell other people about. All these small things about your product that only you know the intimate details about are very important. You can use that to describe the details, and people will see that you are very knowledgeable.

Know Your Market

By knowing the type of customers that will buy your product, you can position yourself in the best possible way to attract your customers. This is not only for the people that might buy your products on Etsy or Folksy, but this will help you identify other places where you could possibly sell your products.

You will need to know what it is your customers want. Do they buy your product as a luxury or as a necessity? Are they able to buy something similar down at the pound shop? Will they buy it as a display item? There are many factors to consider like this. Your best bet is to make a list and put yourself in your potential customer`s shoes.

How old are your potential customer? Are they male or female? Do they live in the city or the country? Do they have children or not? Yet again, there are many factors to consider. You can imagine what type of a person it is that will buy your product, or if you have already sold to some people, you will have some type of idea of what your customer base will be like.

Check Out the Competition

Competition analysis is very important. Even though Folksy and Etsy are very community-type sites, you still need to see who the competition is and what you will be up against. There are basically 2 types of competition, direct and indirect. Direct competition is people that sell products that are very similar to the products you will sell or already sell. Indirect competition is products that are not too much the same but will fall into a very similar category.

Here are some things to look out for in your competition:

  • Can you determine their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Exactly what do they do well?
  • Is there anything that they do you can do better?
  • Do you have more experience than them in certain aspects?
  • What will set you apart so the customer will choose you?
  • What is their pricing strategy?
  • Who has the better quality product?
  • Do they have a brand?
  • What target market are they trying to fill?
  • Do they advertise? How? Does it appear to be working?
  • Are they on all the social media platforms, and are people engaging with them? Is Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest doing the most for them?
  • How long has their business been in operation?
  • What can you learn from their business?

You can also look at another business that is successful and try to implement some of its ideas. This does not have to be a related business, as a fresh look at things from another industry could just be the thing that could set you apart from the rest.

Develop Your Business Strategy

A business strategy is a pivotal part of your business plan. Strategies are there to take you toward the main goals of your business and to implement your ideas.

One of the things you will need to incorporate in your strategy will be to find a niche you can succeed in, have influence in, and become the go-to person in that area. This could be something like Egyptian cotton baby quilt sleeping pouches. Making yourself an authority in a niche does take a bit of time sometimes, but this is where your strategy will come in and if well planned and executed should make you the authority.

What are your social media strategies going to be? Will you focus on one platform like Pinterest and try to make your presence felt there, or are you going to branch into other social media platforms and see which one you like best and which your potential customers use more? One thing I have noticed with people is that they only seem to engage with similar people. By that, I mean other people are trying to sell the same sort of things or provide a similar service. While this is all good and well, you are not engaging with potential customers but only with other people trying to achieve the same thing as you.

What type of brand are you going to build? You need a brandable name. Loads of people like to use animal names, especially the badger. I think they like “The wind in the willows” illustrations. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you want to set yourself apart from the rest, then you need to think a bit differently than other people.

Remember, your uniqueness is what will count in your favor if you want to be seen as the person that knows their stuff.

Think of a brand you want to build that other people would like to imitate. Put yourself in that mindset and let your imagination flow. Suppose you need to invent a persona. Companies have done it for a very long time; look at aunt Bessie. They had to invent a persona for anyone trying to eat what they were selling.

Branding is an important part of your business, and you should really spend some time and work out what look and feel you like to give yourself. Make sure your website and social media pages all have that branding incorporated.

Planning Your Operations

One of the main things will be how you will fund your business. Are you willing to go into debt, and if so, how much? Do you have some savings you put away specifically for this purpose? Did you set a limit on how much you are willing to invest before calling it quits? A lot of people say to never give up, but if you are putting in £500 a month to fund your business and you only get £200 back out, and you do not see how you can make any more money, then you can call it quits.

It might not always be easy, but smart people know when to cut their losses and learn from the experience, and then carry that experience forward into the next venture.

You will need to find suppliers. This is yet again another important aspect. Going for the cheapest option is not always the best. As we all know, you get what you pay for in life. Depending on what type of crafts you plan to make and sell, you can ask around if people can recommend a supplier. Look on the net or even the yellow pages.

Are you only planning to sell on Etsy or Folksy? I believe in diversification. Remember that you will be building a brand for yourself, and you will be wise to sell your goods on your website as well. Etsy is a good place to start, but you can use that as a starting place for your website. You can also look into craft fairs and other places people sell their goods. Not only will it create another revenue stream for you, but it will also put your face with a face will like-minded people.

It is extremely valuable to talk with other people in the same sort of business face-to-face. You get to share ideas and what has worked and what has not worked. You can share other tips and ideas, which will benefit not only you but those you engage with as well. You can then also refer your “real-life” customers to your website and your social media pages.

You also need to set goals for your business. These need to be realistic goals and within your control. You cannot say that you will make 5 sales today. That will not be within your control. However, you can say that you will promote your craft store on 5 Facebook pages that have something to do with crafts. When you reach your goals, it is important to reward yourself. This will reinforce in your mind that what you are doing is pleasurable, and you will be rewarded if you continue this. Believe me, this works, and all the people who are experts in goal setting will tell you the same.

You will also be wise to keep some sort of planner with the daily tasks you need to do. This needs to be kept where you will see it. If you work from a table, make sure that it is on that table and that you cannot ignore it. You can also tick each task off as you have completed it. This again will put in your mind that you have made progress, and you will carry that momentum forward into the new task. At the end of the day/week/month, go over what you have done, and analyze where you wasted a bit of time and where you accomplished the most.

This is the 80/20 principle which you have probably already read about. By seeing the tasks that produce the most results, you can focus more on them and get better returns for your time. If you can afford to do so, you can outsource certain tasks you are not too good at or take up too much of your time.

Marketing Your Etsy/Folksy Craft Store

It is quite obvious how important marketing is. Long story short, if people do not know about you and what you sell, then they cannot buy from you, and then you will be out of business. There are a wide variety of marketing tactics you can use. The main thing is to try what works for you. Too many people try one tactic, see that it does not work, and then give up. If you are going to do that, then you won`t have much success. You will see what works for you, and perhaps you will put your own twist on a certain method, and that could pay dividends.

You will create a Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest account along with your website. This is the basis for an online presence these days. I will not go into all the details about online marketing, as it can easily fill a large book on the subject.

How can you market your Etsy or Folksy store online?

You can blog about your products and other products. Write about your processes and how you make your stuff without giving away too much info. Where do you get inspiration from? How to use the products, or how to display them for the best effect. What other things could complement this type of product? I am sure you can come up with more than enough to write about. Just try to post on a consistent basis. If it is once a week, then it is fine. If 2 times even better. Just keep it consistent.

Conclusion

There are still many topics to cover regarding selling crafts online. The main thing is that you get started. You can find most of the information you need online. It is mostly geared towards Etsy, but you can use the information if you sell on Folksy as well.

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About Maki Hojo

Maki Hojo is a student at the University of Michigan. A foodie since birth, she enjoys cooking, eating, photographing, reading about, and playing with any and all types of food. Her idolization of culinary delights is complemented by her active spirit - she enjoys running, swimming, barre classes, and even spontaneous bursts of interpretative dance if the mood strikes her.