Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FREE: Tutorial - QuickBooks Simple Start Online - Make It Work for Your Etsy Shop

Written by Holly from Accounting SPOT

I have posted time after time about my love for QuickBooks. I am now offering my Tutorial on how to make QuickBooks Simple Start Online (the free version) work for your Etsy shop, for you to download for FREE! See below for details, Enjoy! :)

{Download tutorial HERE. Sign up for QB Online HERE}

-Due to many pictures and links, the download takes a couple of minutes.

*Are you looking for a free accounting solution?

*Do you have a modest amount of transactions?

*Do you want to use a tried-and-true accounting program?

*Are you unsure of how to make the free QuickBooks® Simple Start Online work for your Etsy shop?

If you are answering YES to these questions, THIS is the solution for you!


Simple to read, step-by-step tutorial on how to make the free QuickBooks® Simple Start Online work for your Etsy shop (product created in excel).


QuickBooks® Simple Start Online (free from Intuit), click HERE to view.


The QuickBooks® Simple Start Online tutorial provides directions on how to make the program work best with your Etsy shop. Using the QuickBooks® Simple Start is an easy way to track sales and expenses. All your finance information is organized in one place, so you can easily stay on top of your business and be ready for tax time.

What isn't always easy, is knowing how to set it up and make it work for you.

This tutorial gives you easy to understand, step-by-step directions (with pictures!) from setting up your company to posting transactions to reconciling to reporting. Start-to-finish!

If you've found this tutorial helpful, I'd love to hear your comments! Also, if you have a business blog, feel free to post a link so your readers can enjoy this tutorial as well. Thanks!

Holly Neitzel

MBA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Accounting SPOT

P.S. (For the sake of full disclosure: I am a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Affiliate. I receive a small reimbursement if you sign up for QuickBooks® Simple Start Online using my link. This is not WHY I am offering this tutorial, but it is why I am able to offer it for free. Yay!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What: What program should you use to track your bookkeeping?

There are many different levels and options to choose from. It comes down to both your business needs and how your brain processes information. In this post I will run through the general options, giving pros & cons of each.

(I would like to add another post at some point that reviews specific programs. If you have an accounting program you would like me to review, please post in the comments!). Hopefully this will provide you a good starting point for making the best choice for you and your business!

Please share in the comments what program you use for your accounting and what you like/dislike about it.

{Pen & Paper}
Options: General Ledger paper book, #2 Pencil (or a trusty ol' Bic if you prefer)
Price: Inexpensive
Pros: If you are not computer savvy, this might be up your alley. It is all right in front of you, straight forward. Many people just work better in this way.
Cons: You will need some accounting knowledge to get it set up properly. Also, maintaining can be pretty time consuming if you have to hand write everything. Making changes and adjustments can also me difficult as you have to erase, rewrite and hand adjust every entry effected.

Options: Excel, Open Office, Accounting SPOT: Free, Inexpensive
Price: Free - Inexpensive
Pros: Spreadsheets can be very automated and easy to use when set up properly. Entry and adjustments are quick and easy to do. Can be set up to your specific needs and very versatile.
Cons: You will need some accounting knowledge to get it set up properly if you are doing it from scratch. Can mess up the functionality of the formulas if you aren't familiar with excel.

{Free Software}
Options: QuickBooks Simple Start, Outright, MicroSoft Office, For Mac: TinyBooks
ATTN: Outright has an option to download PayPal transactions. It is a great option, HOWEVER it is not currently working correctly for the Income items. I have contacted them and they are working on a solution. So, do not yet use that function.
Price: Free
Pros: Well, Free is a pro! Automated accounting programs make the process so very easy. They are set up and ready to use. Just plug data and review reports!
Cons: There are some limits and boundries to what free software will do for you. Although for many small business owners, there is plenty of function to meet your needs. You will need to review on a program by program basis to determine if it fits your needs.
Other comments: QB Simple Start is the only one of these programs I can vouch for from actual use. I have reviewed the others, but not used them. Please use your own research and judgment before making your choice.

{Purchased Software}
Options: QuickBooks, PeachTree, MicroSoft Office
Price: $90+
Pros: Very automated. The versatility of accounting software is usually beyond the needs of many of us small business owners. But, that is a good thing, because more often than not the program can be set up to work for your business in just the way you need.
Cons: Can get pricey. Can be confusing to set up (see my Etsy shop for help on this).

So, there is an overview of options for how you can track your accounting. Please post any questions in the comments, I'll respond asap. In the next installment, I will try to give you some direction when it comes to the dreaded and oh-so-complicated, TAXES.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why do you need to do your bookkeeping?

Written by Holly from Accounting SPOT

{Intro: Welcome to the Accounting Simplified series for small business!}

Welcome! I am Holly, owner of Accounting SPOT. My focus is on helping small business owners get their accounting and bookkeeping organized and maintained. I am putting together this series to help simplify this task which many business owners tend to avoid.

Maintaining your books can be daunting and is often a procrastination point. It does NOT have to be this way! I am going to try to lay out the process as simply as possible, so as to help you WANT to do this fun (ok, so maybe I am the only one who considers bookkeeping FUN!) task.

This series will cover:
  • Why: Why do you need to do your bookkeeping?
  • What: What program should you use to track your bookkeeping?
  • Taxes: What do you need to know about taxes (or where should you look)?
  • Profit Equation: How do you determine profit?
  • Income: How do you track income?
  • Expenses: How do you track expenses?
  • Left Overs: What else do you need to know?
My hope is that this series will alleviate some of the anxiety often associated with accounting/bookkeeping. I am a numbers girl, so writing is not necessarily my forte. I hope my thoughts come across clear and helpful!

If you have any thoughts, tips or questions, please post a comment to this post. I will include relevant info (with a link back to the commentator's shop) in the series finale 'Left Overs'.

{This series is directed at sole proprietor businesses who use the cash method of accounting.}

{Please be sure to contact your tax professional if you have any questions/concerns regarding taxes.}

{WHY: Why do you need to do your bookkeeping?}

Bookkeeping is such an important task for a business to maintain. To fully know and understand your income and expenses (and the difference between the two!), allows you as a business owner to make better business decisions. Plus, when maintained properly, tax time is a breeze because you already have the information in a usable format.

You know it is good practice to keep your bookkeeping updated. But do you know why you should be doing that? There are both internal and external reasons for doing so.


Internal - When your accounting is up to date, you know your profit, you can view where your income is coming from and where you are spending your money. These are all things that help you make solid business decisions. Pricing, product changes, spending reviews are just a few of the decisions that updated financials can help with.

I want to really drive home the point the keeping your financial information accurate and up-to-date is first and foremost done for you as a business owner. Many owners do their bookkeeping 'for' the tax man. This is backwards. You do your bookkeeping for YOU and as a result, can easily share the required info with the tax man.
So, that brings me to:

External - Taxes and banking. Keeping proper bookkeeping records allows you to easily transfer your data to your tax forms. No need to sweat it during tax time, just plug in the info you already have or send your completed reports to your CPA.

Also, if you are ever in need of business financing, your bank will need financial reports. By keeping your bookkeeping up to date, these reports will be readily available.

I am sure there are many more reasons that I haven't touched on here. If you want to share the benefits you have encountered from properly maintained financial records, please post a comment to share!

We are just warming up, I promise the series gets more beefy as I get in to it :)
Stay tuned for a detailed review of small business accounting programs!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Written by KreatedbyKarina

There are tons of ways to promote..and even MORE threads on "the right way" and "the wrong way". While finding the most possible places to hawk your wares may seem like a brilliant idea, the results you get aren't always going to be the same as the person who swore up and down that it worked for them. Why? It depends on the type of budget you have, what kind of items you sell, and the audience seeing your promotion. My best tip is to figure out your target audience and promote directly to them.

Promoting to a wide audience is fine, but in the end you'll save yourself a lot of time, money and energy focusing your advertising strategies on those people who are more likely to purchase your products.

Think about the ideal person who would shop in your store---how old are they? What sort of websites/blogs would they most likely visit? What kind of magazines do you think they are more likely to read? What areas of the city would they live in? You can expand to other brainstorming questions but those few should give you a good start in figuring out the type of people who frequent your shop (as well as the type of people you want to direct your items to). Once you've figured out your target audience, you can then take out ads on those same blogs/websites/magazines etc.

Another tip I have is to stop thinking like a seller when listing items/promoting and start thinking like a buyer.

For instance...when trying to figure out how to tag your items, think of how YOU search for items when shopping. Do you search by color, or by certain keywords you find yourself using over and over? If so, use them in your tags as well. A great way of figuring out how to describe/tag your item is to ask friends and family. Let them take a look at what your selling (or give them a sample!) and ask what single words they would use to describe it to others. Pick out the most relevant and common ones and use those as tags if they fit, or incorporate some of their suggestions into your item descriptions.

Lastly, think about what sort of promotional tactics work on YOU. Do you sign up for lots of newsletters? Maybe it's time you offered one of your own to your customers. Do you find yourself throwing away business cards, but keeping magnets and always reminding yourself "to check out that store" everytime you see it on the fridge? Invest in getting some promotional magnets made to give out with your orders or to people you meet.

Promoting is the bread and butter to being successful in any business---putting your best foot foward is important, yes, walking in the right direction is too. Best of luck with your shops!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Facebook Share Button HTML

Written by beckykazana

One of my favorite ways to network and market my shops, blog and website is Facebook. I personally find it really fun to see what other people in my life are up to and I like sharing what's going on in my world too.

However, nobody likes a Facebook friend who is endlessly marketing themselves- it gets tiresome quickly. So instead of constantly linking to my listings or blog posts, I share links that I think are interesting. Perhaps it's an amazing pair of Louboutins that I could never afford but am drooling over. Perhaps it's a cool Cole Porter number on You Tube. Or even an amazing DIY project from one of my favorite bloggers.

This way, I stay on people's radar, but it doesn't turn in to drudgery for me or them. You can't reach people if they are bored or aggravated and block you from their newsreel. And my contacts are more likely to peek on the occasion when I do share a new listing or blog post of my own.

My secret weapon is the share button I've added to my toolbar. This way I can link to Facebook from anywhere on the web. Whether I'm reading through my blogroll, shopping for curtains online, browsing Etsy or tracking down a recipe I can share it in a few seconds by just clicking in my toolbar and adding a little note to make it personal. Give it a try and be sure to check back and let me know how you like it! And add me as a friend while you're at it. I'd love to know what you're up to as well!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Search Engine Optimization for Dummies

Written by Crochetgal

There have been many questions asked regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is what has worked for me...
1) Use relevant words in your title. for example.. call a bracelet a bracelet. You may refer to it as 'a moment in time' but its a bracelet. I don't search for 'a moment in time'. Titles are searchable!
2) Use the first characters of your description to describe the item, using as many adjectives as you can. Keep the whimsy to later on. The first 140 - 180 characters of the description are the most important!
3) Use your tags effectively. Select tags for your items that describe the item.
4) Use titles on your shop sections that make sense for searching. If you have a section for purses, include the word purse in the section.
5) Make sure your shop title is relevant and relates to what you sell.
6) Use the first few sentences of your shop announcement to accurately describe what your shop is about. Those characters are searchable. So for example, 'welcome to my shop' really doesn't help your shop, but
"Crochetgal carries one of a kind crochet items, hand made soapdishes, and yarns at affordable prices" tells exactly what it is you do.
Thats about it in a nutshell!
For more information, check out Google's SEO Starter Guide
or TechCrafter's notes on SEO Optimization
Part 1: What is SEO?
Part 2: 10 things that will hurt your site
Part 3: Understanding Keywords

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flash Ad how to HTML

Written by beckykazana

I've just learned how to make a quick, professional looking flash ad to run on Project Wonderful and I thought I'd show you how to do it too!

Before getting started, I cropped my photos to 125 pixels square using Flickr's editing program, Picnik, but of course, you could do it in Photoshop too. If you want to add text, do that ahead of time as well. Choose at least two photos you like, and then head to Picasion.

Simply upload the photos from your computer, or import them directly from Flickr. Choose the size of your photos and the speed at which they will scroll. Click "Create Animation" and wait while it creates your customized code. You can save it to your computer or copy and paste the HTML code as you desire. I like to have a copy on my computer for future reference.

Now head on over to Project Wonderful to create an ad and begin bidding. Yet another great way to meet other artists, bloggers and talented folks. If you're curious, here's my completed ad:

If you finish an ad, be sure to post your link in the comments. I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A warning to Etsy Sellers

Written by Anna from TheHouseofMouse

As users of the internet most of us are aware that we should protect our personal information as well as we can. But as there is a new scam happening with increasing instance on Etsy I thought that I should post a little reminder....

The scammer(s) on Etsy are convoing sellers to ask for personal information to apparently pay for items by cheque or bank transfer BEFORE they have actually bought anything from the store. They are asking for Name, Address, phone number, email address and bank details! My advice is to stick to PayPal as your preferred method of payment (which is relatively safe) and if you receive a convo like this then reassert your payment policies and forward the convo to abuse@etsy.com

You should never take part in business transactions you don't feel comfortable with, nor reveal private information to those you don't trust.

I guess because my husband is a computer security expert I am more aware of this stuff than most. For instance did you know that posting your full name, telephone numbers, email addresses, home address and birth date on your Facebook info page is a welcome invite to identity thieves! They will happily use them to create bank accounts and other fraudulent accounts like credit cards and phone bills in your name. Even worse you can hand over your bank details, social security numbers of drivers licence numbers to anyone who feels like going through your trash... Always shred any information like this before throwing it away. Identity theft is ugly when it happens, and as it is increasing all the time so does the chance that it will affect you.

Written by Anna from TheHouseofMouse

Monday, September 14, 2009

Etsy Rearrange Shop Feature

Written by sandrassatchels

I am so excited about the new "Rearrange" feature. In the past, as you know, once an item is listed, it could not be moved -- It was almost like having a store window, that once you place something in the window, you could not change it to accommodate coordinating pieces as they would come into the store.

I have up to 20 different fabrics at any given time, and 7 to 10 items in each fabric. Before the "Rearrange" feature, my customer who wanted a "large double pocket" shoulder bag in the Obsidian fabric, would not see all the accessories in the same fabric on the same page. Especially since I keep adding new items. Now, I have been able to arrange all of my Obsidian in a grouping. This is like showing the fries with the burger. This will promote multiple item sales. Instead of just a handbag, the customer will decide on a coin purse to go inside etc.,

This announcement was emailed on September 3, 2008. Follow this link. This is the simplest update I've ever enjoyed.

Thank you Etsy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Photo Saga

Written by beckykazana

You've heard it over and over again: One of the greatest challenges to selling products on the web is good photography. Despite a few college photography classes (we were probably the last in history to learn on regular SLRs!) I have struggled long and hard with getting good shots, particularly of my pipe cleaner gals. They are a quirky product and I knew that they needed the right kind of photos to showcase their particular little personalities, but I was continually frustrated. I wanted to share my saga with you, because I really do believe that I've finally had a breakthrough.

I'm going to skip my efforts with my pocket sized Cannon. It was a great little camera for travel, but I had no control of the zoom function and images of these small objects were often blurry or focused on the wrong parts.

The shot above was taken sometime in November with my new Nikon D40 . This is a complicated piece of equipment, but the image quality was noticeably better, even with the camera hand held on auto. Christmas is obviously a good time of year for ornaments like these and I wanted to set the mood properly, but a lot of the detail and color is lost.

A later effort where I tried to take advantage of the lovely diffused light that enters our apartment in the late afternoon. Though you can actually see the gal better this way, the details in the background are still distracting.

My next brainwave was an outdoor photo shoot with the incredible blooming rosemary bushes dotting our apartment complex serving as a backdrop. I thought it might give that garden fairy ambiance I was looking for. Instead, the direct light cast harsh shadows and gave an amateurish backyard feel that I hated.

I had tried using a light box with mixed success while we were in China. Eric helped me rig up a rickety approximation and we clamped the lights directly to the sides, which had the same effect as the outdoor lighting; garish shadows and washed out color.

This time he constructed me something really marvelous. He cut out panels in an ordinary cardboard box, hot glued white fabric to these windows to diffuse the light, bought some halogen work lights (oi! Do those suckers get hot!) and also invested in a tripod for my fancy new Nikkon. (Thanks for all that hard work Mister!)

These shots are an improvement, but I was still disappointed with the contrast and detail. I had to start playing with the settings and reading the darn manual- a recipe for a big headache, but also the key to success. It is important to me not to have to fiddle with photo-shopping my Etsy listing images- to do that with five images for every single listing at the volume I have in my inventory makes me absolutely cringe. I just can't do it. So I wanted to get good shots on the first try. My next thought was to switch to a colored backdrop, adjust the f-stop and exposure time.

After reading this post, I decided to take the plunge and bought a few sheets of colored Canson paper at vile Michael's, adjusted my light meter and went through lots of trial and error, but I think I've finally arrived at a winner here. There is no distracting background, good contrast without any fiddling around in Photoshop, bright vibrant color that sets the playful tone and looks great in thumbnails. I'm a very happy camper. I know I still have a lot to learn about my new camera and photographing for the internet, but the flush of success feels good after all this time!

Here are a few of the other new shots just for fun. It's made a great difference in the look and feel of my shop. Any suggestions out there from others doing product photography? I'm all ears!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You’ve Got Your First SALE! Now What?

Written by Kim from UnemployedDesigner

I see a lot of elated new sellers come to the Etsy forums looking for the answer to this question right after they’ve gotten their first sale, and just as many who simply want to know what to do so they’re prepared ahead of time, so I thought I’d put my personal step-by-step process together here in hopes that it would help!

1) First and foremost, do the happy dance!

2) Make sure you’ve gotten paid. Go to your sold (orders) page and look at the status box in the right-hand column. If payment was made with PayPal, the received payment box will already be checked, but I still advise that you log into your PayPal account to verify that funds have been received (JUST in case there was a glitch!).

If sufficient time has passed and you don’t yet have Payment from PayPal, or if you accept other forms of payment, such as checks or money order, you will need to contact your buyer to arrange payment. But wait until you check on a couple of other things first…

3) Compare the mailing addresses on both Etsy and PayPal, if that’s how you accept Payment. If they match, great! If not, I suggest clarifying with the buyer which one is correct before sending. (Note: PayPal only offers seller protection if shipping to the address on record with PayPal, though you may elect to forfeit this coverage by shipping to the Etsy address.) But before you do that, check one more thing:

4) Check the message from the buyer section of your receipt page – there may be a request or other special information that you need to pay attention to in that section as well.

5) Now is when I contact my buyer to acknowledge the order and thank the customer.

If everything is all good with steps 2 through 4, I also let them know when I expect to ship their item and how to reach me if they have any questions in the meantime. (When I happen to be able to ship the same day or within 24 hours, I generally combine this “acknowledgment/thank you” and the “your order has shipped/tracking” info all together into one contact.)

If there were any issues (Not paid yet? Address discrepancy? Need clarification on that note to seller) I first address those issues and follow up with shipping info once settled.

6) Package your items. Include any thank you notes, business cards, coupons or other literature that might go with the order. I suggest also including an itemized packing slip. You can print these automatically via PayPal, and they can be set up with a personalized message to your buyers. It’s a nice opportunity to give the customer important information, such as how to reach you if they have a concern about their order, maybe reiterating your return policy, and just thanking them for their order again – look at the packing slips you get from big retailers for ideas of the type of information to include.

7) Optional happy dance.

8) Arrange shipping with delivery confirmation to protect yourself against claims of non-delivery, and insurance, if the cost of the item is higher than you’re willing to take a loss on in case the package is lost. If PayPal is used to print shipping labels, then delivery confirmation will be added automatically.

9) If you didn’t provide this information when you first acknowledged the order, follow up with the customer to confirm shipping and to provide carrier and tracking information, if available. If you’ve printed your shipping label via PayPal, then an email with the tracking information will automatically be sent to the buyer. There’s also a spot where you can personalize a message to the buyer in this email as well (I use it to – guess what? – thank the buyer for their order and let them know how to reach me. It’s repetitive, I know, but you never can tell which of these communications get read by the customer, or which they will have handy if they do decide to contact you).

11) Try to remember to go back to your sold items page and check off the “shipped” box in the right-hand column.

12) Do one last happy dance.

13) Try to calm down.

14) Okay, one more happy dance won’t hurt anybody.

Okay, did I leave anything out? Please feel free to comment below with any questions or additional advice for handling first time sales!

[About the Author: Kim from www.UnemployedDesigner.etsy.com is a mother and wife, freelance apparel designer, fashion illustrator and teacher living in NYC, and an avid crafter since childhood. She and her husband share, among other things, many years of retail experience between them, in addition to her extensive internet shopping habit.]

Saturday, June 27, 2009

How to Make a Treasury and Save it for Later.

There are two spots in Etsy where you can feature items you enjoy. The main treasury and treasury west. Space is limited and snagging a spot can sometimes be a race. To increase your chances on a Front Page selection it is best to plan ahead and start piecing together your selections now. A great way to do this is by using the Poster Sketch tool provided by Etsy. [Bookmark this link as it is hard to find] Below I will show you how to use this tool to organize your picks and copy them to a treasury when the time comes.

Go ahead and open your poster sketch in a new tab or window. This will make for easier transition back and forth from your search results. From the previous window, search for items that fit your theme or desired look for your treasury.

After you have chosen your item you will need to copy and paste the listing numbers into your poster sketch. Listing numbers are located in the listing URL and below the seller information along the lower right side of the listing. [Highlight the numbers, right click to copy]

Go back to the poster sketch (tab or window) and paste your numbers into the appropriate box. The first three listings in each row will be the featured items and the last will become your alternate. Now Click okay and your listing should appear.

Keep doing this until all spots have been filled. Etsy automatically saves your picks...however you can copy all the listing numbers from the bottom of the page and save them into a word document. [I do this if i have more than one treasury in mind]. You are done.!! All you have to do now is wait for the treasury to open a spot. For more details on how to make or snag a treasury please read here....

About the author: I am Amanda, owner extraordinaire of Sygnet Creations. I have been selling on etsy for almost 2 years now and I loving it! I am a full time mom and military spouse. I tend to know a little about everything and I am always a friendly ear and convo away. Ask me anything.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What are banner ads good for?

(by Judit from vadjutka)

Let me start with a personal confession: back in my technology journalist past, I was clearly against banner ads. "No one clicks on them, and they are rather a nuisance than something useful for the internet users" I thought. Now, as I manage my own online business, I changed my mind. They definitely do have a place under the Sun, but they are not going to bring traffic and sales directly. So what are they good for?

The success of a banner ad is measured by the so called Click Through Rate (CTR): through the years it has declined significantly from around 5% (in the 90s) to less than 1% (nowadays). This CTR number is the ratio of the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page and the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions). According to a longitudinal analysis of 5000 websites across Europe, done by tech group Adtech, the performance (CTR) of ads are low: they vary between 0,35 and 0,24%. Not much, hm? Experts say, that it can be much higher (1-2%) if the ad runs on a targeted site: for example in the case of a banner of a film on a movie site. Also, the performance of the banner depends on number of other factors, like the design of the ad, the size of banner, the place of the banner on the site.

The table below shows the click-through trends of the last four years

(by Adtech)

This means, that we should not expect sales directly from a banner campaign. I think that banners are good for showing your face to the public, to show that you and your shop exist. It is good for image and branding purposes, as part of a mid-term strategy; or at least this is what my experiance of using banners says. (I had banner campaigns on several sites like Glibea's Blog, Indie Shopping Blog, Scoutie Girl and Paper'n'Stitch.) Spending your money on banners systematically may result in sales, but first of all: visitors of the hosting site will learn your and your shop's name slowly.

OK, so if you decided to run a banner campaign what factors you should consider when choosing the host for your banner?

- type and thematics of the site

If you have a jewellery shop - like I do - it is more likely you will be noticed on site about fashion, lifestyle etc., though you may consider running a banner on a paper art site...after all its readers are likely to be interested in jewellery as well.

- traffic of the site

The more popular site you use, the more chance you have for being noticed. BUT: usually these sites have more banners than others, so the "banner noise" is bigger.

- cost of the banner and additional services

Some of the sites - with themes about handmade, fashion, design etc - offer blogpost mention or some kind of mention embedded in the content.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Time Management and Etsy

Etsy and Your Full Time Job
Keeping up with your Etsy Shop when working full time can be overwhelming, however a little planning can go a long way. Start with a list of the hours a day that you can dedicate to Etsy related activities and be realistic about it. Once this is done, you can assign time slots per day to the different tasks to be performed. Now you can focus and stick to your plan for a while to see how it works. Pretty soon you will see your accomplishments and feel good about it. Remember, you can always adjust it!
Author: Patricia from www.karmacrochet.etsy.com

Etsy and You Part Time Job
If you are like me and have a part time career unrelated to Etsy (I’m a scientist) but you are also a seller for the rest of your part time, we probably face the same two major challenges every week: Managing Time and Keeping Focus. Since we have just part of the week to dedicate our keyword is organization! This presentation was first meant for Holiday time management I find it a very useful guideline for every day organization. My personal favorite time saving tip is to prepare the coming week listings all at once. How? Create a listing but don’t click Finish, copy and save the URL as text somewhere (you can even send it to yourself by email in case you want to use it far from your computer). Later, when you want to list your new item, just paste the URL in the navigation bar, click enter and tatata!: your listing is still there, all you need to do is click Finish and you have your fresh new listing. (discovered by www.Littleputbooks.etsy.com )
Author: Fru from www.Fruccidesign.etsy.com

Etsy and full-time student life
Running a successful Etsy shop while attending the University full-time can seem somewhat daunting. For many students / Etsy sellers, it is a way of supplementing income and gaining real-life experience in business. The key is learning how to prioritize projects while never loosing focus on the larger educational goals. Being honest with both yourself and customers will only benefit in the long-run, by making sure never to take on too much or agree to overly ambitious custom orders during exam times.
Many students have dual work / study spaces, keeping both organized will save time and headaches. Same goes for your computer, it is super-helpful to keep all Etsy-related files, photos and more separate from coursework. This also makes it easier when you need to focus on your studies with no distractions!
Author: Monica from www.UrbanBead.Etsy.com

Time Flies When You’re a Stay-at-Home Parent
Being a stay-at-home parent is a 24/7 task. As the mother of two small children, I admit it is a challenge. The first question I encounter when I tell someone about my home based business is “How do you have the time to do that?”
• Take some time in the morning to decide what you want to accomplish for the day.
Make a list of things you want to accomplish and separate these items in order of urgency and importance. Be realistic about how much time you have.
• Utilize nap time to the fullest extent.
When nap-time comes, immediately tackle your high-priority items. Don’t have nap time? (I rarely do) Have activity time where your children can create along side of you. This will allow you to work, even in short bursts.
• If you have a partner, encourage them to be on board with your business plan.
When your partner/spouse is supportive of your business, you can utilize some time at night and on the weekends without having it interfere with family time.
• Utilize the resources available to you.
USPS Carrier pickup the best example of this. Then you only go to the post office if you have an international package. All other packages are picked up from your front door. http://www.usps.com/pickup/welcome.htm
Author: Jessica from www.buggalove.etsy.com

Time Management Tips for the Full Time Etsian
Managing a full time Etsy shop is quite a task. Here are some creative ideas I use to keep up with the 40+ hours I work on my shop and manage my home and family.
  • Allow only so much time for “surfing” per day. Research and online chitchat are real time eaters.
  • Create an Order Summary Spreadsheet: I fill this out for every single order. It tells me at a glance where I am on order fulfillment, packaging and shipping.
  • My fields include: Date, Item, Buyer, Address, Paid (yes/no), Shipping Label Printed (yes/no), Item finished (yes/no), Item Shipped (date)
  • Batch printing of Shipping Labels (via Paypal) – a great time saver.
  • Create a Shipping Center - Make sure to always have plenty of shipping supplies on hand – running to the store or waiting for a shipment causes unwanted delays.
  • Make sure to let your seller know in a convo or email your ship date. This helps keep procrastination at bay. A high level of customer service will bring buyers back for more.
Author: Steph from www.SStargell.etsy.com

7 Timesaving Firefox Add ons Every Esty Seller Should Use.

You will need to download the current Firefox web browser to use these.
  • Sxipper This will save you from having to type in your password each time you want to log in to Etsy or anywhere else.
  • Morning Coffee Opens the web pages you use daily (email, Etsy, your blog, etc.) with one click.
  • Plain Text Links This allows you to right click on any plain text link to open the URL.
  • ReminderFox allows you to set simple reminders for anything you need to remember. It’s simpler than an online calendar and easy to use.
  • QuickNotes is like a little post it pad for your desktop. It saves automatically too.
  • PasteEmailPlus lets you save text that you use often and paste it anywhere. If you have text files saved (think email to buyers thanking them or letting them know their order has shipped, etc.) this will streamline the process to one right click.
  • GreaseMonkey allows you to run Etsy Hack scripts, designed especially for Etsy sellers.
  • For full instructions & more about EstyHacks go here
Author: Andrea from www.kitsandcaboodles.etsy.com

Our Top 10 Tips for Time Management

  • Organize your work space and daily routine.
  • Be realistic with your time.
  • Focus on your goals.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Take one step at the time.
  • Create “me” time when family and friends know not to interrupt you.
  • Create batches of time for certain tasks. For example take all your photos for the week in one session.
  • Use all the resources you can to save time.
  • Make lists to stay on top of your daily tasks.
  • Relax! Don’t work yourself too hard. A stressed out seller makes more mistakes.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Etsy Sellers Tip #6 - Featured Items

Below is a tutorial on how to activate and edit the featured items in your store, if you already know how to use this feature then skip to the end of this post where you will find a couple of tips on how to use your featured items more effectively.

How to activate and edit your Featured Items

The featured items in your Etsy store allow you to show off 3 listings of your choice right at the top of your page. Unlike your other listings that are ordered by the date they were listed, these 3 are hand picked by you and seen first by visitors to your store, like a shop window.

To choose your featured items, first log on to Etsy and then click on Your Etsy at the top of the page.

Each of your active listings will be displayed here, you can select a featured item by clicking the star next to it so that it turns green. Choose at least 3 items to feature. When you have made your selection you can rank your featured items by clicking rank featured.

On the next page you can move the listings up an down as you wish. The first 3 items are the ones that will appear on your shop page, if one of them sells then it will disappear from your featured items and the 4th featured item will move up to replace it.

Tips on using your featured items more effectively

Choose more than 3 featured items. This will help you avoid a blank space when one of them sells.

Choose listings that show a variety of prices in your store. For the best effect on your sales choose the most expensive listing, the cheapest listing and one from in the middle. Most customers like to buy a middling price item - not too cheep, not too expensive - and seeing the whole price range easily like this will help them choose quickly. When I started doing this is had an immediate effect on my sales.

Use your featured items to make your Etsy Mini look like a treasury. Did you know that if you have an Etsy mini, the items in it are always from your featured items first, and then from your recently listed ones? This way you can make all your Etsy minis look beautiful no matter if they are on your blog, website, myspace, facebook or anywhere else! Choose a colour theme or show off all the items from a certain section. Change them up often to keep your viewers watching!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.
Do you have other tips on using your Featured Items?
I love to learn more!


About the Author: Anna has been running her store The House of Mouse for just over a year, for more information please check out her blog.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Etsy Sellers Tip #5 - Promotions

Photo by MajoReyStore

For most creative people the prospect of promoting our work is just plain scary. We hate shouting "Look at what I made!" because it feels boastful and takes us way outside our comfort zone. But the truth is that if you don't shout about what you do then no one will.

I know from experience that you can get past the shyness and awkwardness that comes when you start marketing your product. There are literally hundreds of ways to tell the world about your creations and you can start with the ones that you feel most comfortable with and work up to the ones that scare you.

I certainly don't recommend that you try to do all of these things for your store at once. Some of them are time consuming, especially to set up. Allot yourself a certain amount of time per day/week to spend on promotions and don't allow yourself to spend all day on your computer. Get yourself set up with Google Analytics so that you can see what promotions are working for you and which aren't. then you can spend your promotions time much more efficiently by cutting out the sites that don't bring you views.

Your choices for promotions will depend on many different factors; time, money, confidence, target audience etc. I have tried to include a little run down on the pros and cons of each one so you can pick an choose what works best for you. I have also included links to posts on how to get the most out of each promotional tool where I have found them.

Twitter - Social Networking Site
How to use Twitter as a marketing tool
- Free to use
- Fast and easy to set up
- Very popular right now
- Simple and easy to use
- Share links and chat
- Build a fan base quickly
- Limited message size
- Only use links, no space for images
- Saturated by other sellers
- Addictive

MySpace - Social Networking Site
How to use MySpace as a marketing tool
- Free
- MySpace groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Share images, videos and other embedded HTML
- Post bulletins, blog, photo albums and chat
- Possible to get a large number of sales and hits from MySpace
- Your page is totally customizable making branding much easier
- Time consuming to set up
- Posting comments regularly is also time consuming
- Need to learn some basic HTML to get the most out of it

Facebook - Social Networking Site
How to use Facebook as a marketing tool
- Free
- Relatively easy to set up
- Facebook groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Facebook applications make it possible to share images
- Chat and comment
- Improvements being made to the site all the time
- Site is less geared towards promotion than MySpace
- Takes a while to figure out
- Addictive

Flickr - Image Sharing Site
How to use Flickr as a promotional tool
- Free
- Quick and easy to set up
- Flickr groups makes it easy to find your target audience
- Share comments
- Easy to network
- uploading new photos is quick and easy
- Friendly artist community
- Not allowed to overtly promote your store on this site. You can leave links in your profile but you will get removed from the site if you advertise in your photo descriptions.
- Addictive

DeviantArt - Artist Community and Gallery
- Basic package is free
- Easy to set up
- Have your own gallery and sub galleries
- Share comments and network with other artists
- Get critiques and advice from other artists
- Features include a blog/journal newsletters and forums
- Can post links to your store in photo descriptions
- Friendly artist community
- Sell prints of your work through this site
- To get all the features you have to subscribe
- Print shop takes large commission on any sold prints
- Has some mature content (there is an option which allows you to block mature content)
- Addictive

The Ning Network - Collection of Social Networking Sites
- Free
- Easy to find your target audience
- Share photos and comments
- Endless ways to take part in your community
- Reasonably easy to set up
- Make contacts and network
- build your own Ning network if you want (LOTS of work to do this)
- Photo sharing is slow to upload
- Some Ning networks are better than others - takes time to find the good ones
- Addictive and easy to waste time here

Word of Mouth
The easiest way to gain a reputation is my word of mouth. To make sure that they are the right words work on making your customer service and packaging the best it can be. Make sure that your buyers will want to tell their friends about your product!
- Free
- Easy
- Probably the best advertising there is
- To get it right you must have great customer service skills and beautiful packaging helps too!

Blogging - Online Dairy
Blogging tips for beginners (Blogger)
There are several different pieces of software for blogging but the best one for beginners is Blogger. it is easy to use and does not require that you understand HTML coding to get a good looking page.
- Share your experiences and new listings
- Helps your buyers get to know you
- Comment on other blogs to make connections
- Share photos, video, stories, anything you like
- Add advertisements and even make money from blogging
- If you love to write this blogging is a lot of fun
- Time consuming
- Requires continued input to be successful
- If you don't like writing this isn't for you
- Customizing your blog takes time
- To get the most out of it you need to learn some basic HTML

Blog features - Getting Featured
Being featured by another blogger is one of the best ways to get sales, especially if their blog is a popular one. However getting that feature can be hard work. It requires time and effort to write to other bloggers and tell them about your work, most of the time you won't get a reply but occasionally you will get that feature. Personally I think the time spent on this is worth it. Sometimes bloggers want free samples for the feature, it is up to you to decide if that is worth it.

Business Cards
It is so simple and yet many Etsy sellers forget this wonderful marketing tool. You can get some great deals on business cards from vistaprint and you can Google for some great coupon codes for massive discount. Keep them with you all the time and hand them out to anyone who is interested in what you do.

Forums - On Etsy and Off
- Free
- Make friends and network
- Share your knowledge and advice
- Gain a reputation
- Find forums for your target audience
- Connect with people of similar interests
- Easy to waste time in forums
- Forums can get nasty, learn to walk away when the claws come out

Paid advertising
(not a lot of pros and cons here because I don't have a lot of experience with this medium yet)
- Target your advertising to the right people
- Gain large numbers of buyers
- Prices to suit everyone
- Millions of places to advertise
- Cost (be smart and find slots that fit your budget)
- May get more sales that you can deal with

Craft Fairs
- Meet people face to face
- Network with your local community
- Make a large number of sales in 1 or 2 days
- Have a fun day out
- Organization to get set up
- Confidence to do your first one
- Fees to rent your stall (these vary wildly so do your research first)

Wholesale - Pitching your product face to face
If you have enough stock then you are ready to sell wholesale. The best way to get interest here is to walk into your local stores and present yourself (I know, seriously scary stuff)
- Make BIG sales
- Gain a reputation locally
- Make contacts with local store owners
- Takes lots of confidence
- Need a lot of stock
- Set up contracts and legal agreements

General tips for marketing
- Have great photos. Most of marketing is a visual experience, make sure your images are the best they can be. Take the time to learn how to get them looking great.
- Choose a marketing style that you are comfortable with. You don't have to be like that pushy sales guy at the car dealership, you can be more subtle and advertise your work with great photos, humor and genuine interest in other people.
- Don't let marketing take over your life. Allot a certain amount of time per day/week to promotions and stick to it.
- Build friendships with those you meet on social networking sites, it is not about the quantity of friends you have but the quality of those relationships that is important.
- Always keep your communications professional. Don't become whiny, rude or argumentative - this will quickly damage all the work you have put into it.
- Once you have built a reputation and people know about you, you don't need to spend so much time on marketing because Word of Mouth will do a lot of the work for you.

Other places to advertise
(no pros and cons here because I have not tried them properly yet)
Project Wonderful

More advice on promotions


About the Author: Anna has been running her store The House of Mouse for just over a year, for more information please check out her blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So you want A Shop Critique!

Everyone wants an individual shop critique, but there are a few basic things that will apply to almost every shop. Here is my list of the main things to consider.

1) Banner and Avatar - do they relate to your products in some way? Is the text clear and easy to read? Your avatar can be used very effectively as part of your ‘brand’, so select it wisely. I’ve kept the same avatar as long as I’ve been online.. people recognize me by my avatar. Others like to change theirs on a regular basis. There is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do it. You just have to do what works best for you. I personally like to see an avatar that reflects in some way the product(s) that you sell, but that is my personal opinion.

2) Shop Title - This appears directly below your banner and is updated in the ‘appearance’(insert link here) section of Your Etsy. The shop title is also known as your ‘tag line’. Use it effectively but keep it short.

3) Shop announcement - Please don’t tell me your life history here.. I don’t want to know. I do like to see a short (few lines ) about your shop and any current ‘specials’ you may have. Also, be absolutely sure that any links that are on your shop announcement are not broken. And be aware that if you do have an active link here that I just may follow it and get distracted elsewhere. Don’t tell me about every team that you belong to here... unless you don’t want me to look at your product.

4) Featured Items - A great place to show off your different styles of work. Use items from your earlier pages (people can already see what’s on your first page). A variety of items and prices is always nice. Remember, that when people ‘heart’ your shop, these three items are their reminder! Keep them fresh.

5) Profile - Tell me about yourself. How did you get started in your art form, what inspires you, etc.

6) Shop Policies - This is one of the most overlooked sections by Etsians and is by far (in my opinion) the most important. Having good shop policies in place can help to avoid situations down the road. It is strongly recommended that every shop have policies in place for payment , shipping and returns/exchanges.

7) Location - Another very useful piece of information. Etsy is an international site, so please list your town (or the nearest larger town) , your state, and your country. I’ve been to Paris but not to France, I love Melbourne but I’ve never been to Australia. Sydney is a beautiful stop in Nova Scotia (Canada) . By putting your complete information in your location it makes it much easier for others to use the ‘geolocator’ to find you! And you are looking to be found are you not?

8) Shop Sections - Shop sections are a great way to organize your shop. Use them to your advantage! You have complete freedom to choose how you want your sections to be set up so have some fun!

9) Photos - everyone wants a critique of their photos. Make sure that the photo is clear and crisp, and use as many photos as you can of the item. Inside, outside, upside down, you get the idea. Unless you are selling a rug, please don’t put your item on the floor. Natural light is best, and avoid a cluttered background. If you are unsure of a particular photo, have someone look at it and tell you what caught their eye in it. If its not the item for sale, its not a good photo.

10) Tags - One of the most misused and abused features (in my opinion) on Etsy. When selecting tags, try to pick words that you would use to describe the item to someone who cannot see it. IE paint a visual picture. Don’t forget to include the colour! Please make sure that the tags are relevant though. Everything can be a gift, so ‘gift’ is not a relevant tag. ‘Stocking Stuffer’ is a tag that gets used during the holidays. As soon as someone can define accurately exactly what a ‘stocking stuffer’ is then it will be able to be used. But until then let’s just leave it off.

11) Materials - This is one of the most overlooked sections in a listing. Be as detailed as you can in your materials listing. There are 13 tags available for materials so don’t be afraid! Also, people can search by material so keep that in mind..

12) Feedback - Some sellers are concerned because they don’t have any feedback. Personally I enjoy buying from an ‘undiscovered’ shop. However, if you are concerned about not having any feedback, I strongly suggest that you make a small purchase from a fellow Etsian. Besides the feedback, you will also get to experience the thrill of making a purchase (and the steps involved).

Other places for information:

There are some absolutely wonderful reference sites right on Etsy. All are accessible from the ‘help’ tab at the top of any Etsy page.

Etsy Help Guides

Frequently Asked Questions (about selling):

Etsy Do’s and Don’ts - learn what you can and cannot do

Terms of Use (TOU) - the basic rules for using Etsy

And of course, there is the Storque, Etsy’s mega blog. I think that just about every topic on Etsy is covered at least once in the Storque!

Please note that the opinions expressed here are the opinions of the writer and are NOT necessarily the opinions of Etsy.

About the author: Valerie has been a member of team SASsy since the beginning, you can check out her shop here and her blog is full of useful tips

Friday, April 3, 2009

Drawing conclusions from Shop Statistics

I have been collecting data on my store The House of Mouse for a few months now and decided to share some of the stats for March with you. The resources I use include; Google Analytics for information on visits to my site, page views and percentage of new visits. The heartomatic for my daily Etsy hearts, front page and gift guide features and the Craftopolis site to quickly see which treasuries I am in. Here is my data (click the images to see larger):

Site Visits:

Page views:
Percentage of New Visits:
New Store Hearts and New Item Hearts:
Red for Store, Green for total number of new Item hearts.
Number of Tresuries I was featured in per day
(includes Treasury west)

Daily Listings and Sales

More relevant information:
Dates I was featured on the Front Page of Etsy:
2nd, 6th, 8th, 11th and 25th of March

Dates I blogged on:
3rd, 15th (3 posts), 18th, 23rd and 29th March

Blog features I am aware of:
4th: Nerdaproved, 7th: Fanboy, 30th Whipup, 31st: Wren,

Other information: on days that I list a new item I do a lot of promotions for this item on the web. This is automatically increase the number of views/hearts etc.

Conclusions I have drawn from this data
1) A feature on the Front Page dramatically increases the number of Store and Listing Hearts received. It also increases visits, page views and the percentage of new visits to my store. However it does not always result in immediate sales.
2) An individual Blog post does not increase traffic to my store, however frequent blogging does help. Blogging does not currently directly affect sales.
3) Listing new items increases store hearts, treasury features and sales.
4) Relisting increases item hearts and sometimes the number of treasuries I am in. (I have also noticed if I relist 2 or 3 items a few hours before the treasuries open this also improves my chances of being featured in them)
5) The more treasuries I am in the better my chances of getting on the Front Page.
6) Blog features increase stats only when it is a well known blog, if you get on a really popular one it can make your views and sales go through the roof! (April 1st I had 11 sales, I think this is from the Whipup and/or Wren blog features)
7) Listing or re-listing once a day is a good habit to remain in the view of buyers and treasury curators.

About the Author: Anna has been running her store The House of Mouse for just over a year, for more information please check out her blog.