@soon2bhis: Taking inspiration from others is definitely okay, I mean, who hasn’t?! But I wouldn’t make a blatant rip off and definitely add some personal touches to make it stand out and make it your own! I’d have to say though, having a “signature item” that isn’t readily available on Etsy is the best thing for your shop. You need something to draw people in so they have a look at what else you have on offer! I totally agree with Kristen though, if you do have something similar to other shops, stay close to their price point and don’t under cut like crazy. It’s generally not worth your time to sell things for dirt cheap, you do have to pay for your time and materials after all.
I do it as a full time gig. BUT I have other sources of income, so it’s more like a part time gig the majority of the time. I would not be able to do this as a full time job and make a good enough earnings to live off. For what I offer, purchases tend to ebb and flow depending on the time of year. Right now things are pretty quiet which I’m 100% happy with considering it’s the lead up to the holidays and I have a lot to do around the house, shopping, etc. A couple months ago, I was working 8 hours a day filling orders. It really just depends on what you’re offering (seasonal or not) and how labour intensive/complex your items are.
My first order was within a week of first adding items to my shop.
I would have to disagree with Kristen on one point: Don’t purchase their ads. They do not work. There’s a lot of threads about them in the forums business section, and I read up A LOT on them. 98% of the people who posted did not get one sale from the ads. I figured I’d give it a whirl and purchased $5 worth. I got nothing. Zip. I did far better just with good tags through searches.
For me, the key has been having great product photography. PM me and I can send you a link to a great lecture from Stillmotion about doing product photography and how it can impact your sales. You don’t need a fancy pants camera, you just need an afternoon, some natural light, and a backdrop (mine is kraft paper that I clip to a bulletin board and drape down onto my diningroom table beside a window).
I also notice I get sales when I’m listing new items (they show up in the feed at the bottom of the front page). I think a lot of sellers unlist and re-list items a lot to get traffic. I don’t have that kind of time, but when I do list a bunch of items at once, I do notice I get more clicks/sales.
Definitely do have a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. I don’t tweet a lot, but I still have one. My Facebook page is a must though. I don’t have tons of fans, but I like the opportunity it gives to be more personal and have a “behind the scenes” peek at what I’m doing every now and then, or to promote any publicity, blogs, or treasuries I’ve been featured in. I’m hoping that now that Etsy is linked to Facebook pages I’ll be able to grow the number of fans I have for my page.
Personally, I find being attentive and very customer oriented as a person rather than a business helps me. But my target market is one that wants that sort of personal attention. It really depends who you’re marketing towards. When I shop on Etsy, I like reading the profile of who I’m purchasing from (so definitely develop your profile!) and knowing who they are, where their inspiration comes from, and that they’re not a huge faceless companies. I think that’s the charm of Etsy. It’s very person to person, and I like being the artisan behind what I’m creating and sharing that with my customers. I’ll do anything and everything I can to make my customers happy 🙂