I get asked a lot how I’ve grown a tiny quilted ornament hobby into a
multiple six seven figure business.
I know there’s a lot of information out there about how to grow a handmade business…. and it can be a little overwhelming.
Every business is different – but there are a few things that I believe are necessary for any handmade seller looking to grow their traffic and sales.
#1. Be Etsy Independent.
This is the #1 thing I did to turn my “business” into a real business.
Here’s the thing: Even though there are so many successful businesses on Etsy, you’ll find that most of these businesses are actually creating their own success – rather than hoping that Etsy will bring it to them.
In fact, they are the ones bringing the business to Etsy.
What does this mean?
It means these businesses are not relying on Etsy for their sales. Relying on Etsy could look like re-listing your products over and over, or creating a zillion versions of one product to increase your chances of getting found in the Etsy search.
That stuff works sometimes, but you have to do them over and over and over again…. all the while, hoping for those every-once-in-awhile wins.
Etsy-independence means investing in the things that’ll grow your business for the long-term…. things that, although you might have to spend a little extra time on them now…. will continually bring you new traffic and sales, again and again.
Even better, these things build on themselves, to grow your traffic and sales exponentially over time.
This is stuff like investing in your own platform (like your own website), blogging, and building an email list.
#2. Have a presence.
And by that I mean, a presence that is yours. (Your Etsy shop is not yours.)
I cannot recommend enough, that you get your own self-hosted website. When you have your own website, you are at no one’s mercy. You don’t need to worry about someone else’s rules, changes, overcrowded-ness, or any of that junk.
Your website is your very own marketplace. And, it’s unshakeable – no matter what else happens around you, it’s still yours.
Want to start your own website? Guess what? It’s not hard! On this website, I’ve got tons of free tutorials that will show you how to create your site from scratch, how to set it up, and even how to add your own shopping cart. You can get started right here.
#3. Create avenues for people to find you, all the time.
There are endless ways to do this. The way I do it is through blogging. (The dreaded B-word!)
Blogging creates pathways that allow potential customers to find you. And, the beautiful part about these pathways, is that they are permanent.
You sell handmade wedding accessories, and on your blog (the one that you own, of course), you create a checklist for brides-to-be. It’s a checklist of all the things that a bride-to-be will need to remember to do while she’s planning her upcoming wedding.
One day, a newly-engaged little lady is surfing around the internet, getting ideas and making plans. She comes across your checklist through a Google search. It’s exactly what she needs, and she’s pretty excited that she found it. She is now on your website, where pictures of your beautiful wedding accessories are gleaming up at her from the sidebar. She clicks over to your shop.
She might buy something from you. After all, you haven’t enticed just anyone to your blog. You’ve enticed someone who is an ideal customer. Someone who may have otherwise never even known you existed.
But, maybe she won’t buy anything. Maybe this particular bride-to-be isn’t ready to buy right now, or she can’t afford to, or she has some other reason keeping her from going through with a purchase. But, she likes your website, because you have just given something to her that she can actually use. And so, she pins an image of your checklist, onto her “OMG I’m getting married!” board on Pinterest.
That one avenue for people to find you (the checklist you put on your blog), just turned into another avenue (the checklist on her Pinterest board). And now, each time someone re-pins it, you have another avenue back to your blog. And, to your products.
Now, other brides-to-be will be given the opportunity to come across your checklist. Every interaction with your website could lead to countless more interactions, thanks to the power of the internet.
And, this all stemmed from just one thing you’ve posted on your website. Imagine that you have a year’s worth of blog posts….and all the Google searches, pins, Facebook shares, etc, that could be leading people back to your site and products, every single day….because of them. (No product re-listing necessary.)
It’s pretty incredible!
You might not sell handmade wedding accessories. But you can do this for whatever you make. All you have to do is brainstorm topics that your ideal customer might be looking for in internet-land.
I’m kind of a nerd about blogging. If you’d like some more blogging-for-business advice, I’ve got lots more right here.
Building a business from scratch can definitely be overwhelming. Believe me…..I understand. (<– dude. I got married at 20 yrs old and never finished college. If I can do it, so can you.)
It starts by just taking the next step. Here are a few possible next steps:
- Start building your website. It’s really not hard, I promise. Just take it one step at a time, and before you know it, your new site will be humming along. This video will get you started.
- Start learning about email list-building. (This page will help.)
- Learn more about attracting customers through blogging, right HERE.
Laurie WaddellMarch 7, 2016
I want to be on your email list. When you have it up and going, will you add me? My web presence is also http://www.lauriesrockpaintings.com/
Staci Ann LowryMarch 10, 2016
Thank you Laurie! Here’s where you can join the email list. I’m just now getting it going again (I had it down for a bit so I could work on it):
When you join, there are a few audios and videos you’ll get sent to – I hope you enjoy! 🙂
Louisa de HaasMarch 27, 2016
Hi Staci, I’m enjoying your site! Can you tell me.. Do you simply share your blog posts with your email subscribers or create a separate newsletter? And what timeframe do you suggest? I have a bespoke handmade jewellery label. Many thanks, Louisa
Staci Ann LowryMay 2, 2016
Hi Louisa! I’m sorry for the slow reply. I do a little of both. When I write a new post, I do share it via newsletter. But, I don’t blog as often now as I used to…. but I do still try to send a newsletter once a week. So, for the times I don’t have a new post to share, I send other things that are relevant at the time, or share pictures, etc. I also sometimes send a newsletter about a blog post that I’d written in the past. What helps me keep all this from overwhelming me, is a marketing calendar, which I wrote a post about right here: https://staciannlowry.wpengine.com/create-a-marketing-calendar .
As far as timeframe, I do try to send an email newsletter about once a week. I sometimes mess up and don’t get one out, and sometimes I send on a different day than normal, if there’s a special reason to, but once a week is generally what I go for.
Pepper R.July 15, 2016
What do you think about online store platforms like wix and shopify? Are they any more or less useful in creating a brand and having an online presence relevant to marketing your craft business/passive income? Thanks~
supsAugust 25, 2016
Hi Staci, I just bumped into your page and it’s more than amazing. All the more inspiring too.
My main concern is the large scale production. Do you always make all articles yourself or you employ staff to do this? If yes then don’t you think it’s risky to give away skills? or do you get this done partially..
I myself started my journey just recently and this one thought has been haunting me.. too scared to employ others but if I don’t then it would be hard to scale up the business…
Will wait to hear from you 🙂