The Business of Being in Business: Research

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm going to provide some write-ups about things that I've done along my way as a new seller on Etsy. I posted a list of numerous items, in no particular order, but the first one DOES belong at the top of the list: research.

I had never heard of Etsy until I joined Flickr. I was looking for a place where I could post photos of my work, and for those who wanted to order custom pieces, they could go to my Flickr page to get an idea of what they might be interested in. Once I started joining groups, I saw the Etsy name scattered about...mostly in discussions. Anyway, that's how I found it, and that's where the story starts.

I quickly learned that I could sell my wares on this wonderful new site, and I was also exposed to a whole other shopping experience. What I liked most about it was that I could shop for items that I'd only run across at music festivals or similar events. So, it was like a little hub for "festival-ly," crafty little items, right on my computer! Very, very exciting. I signed up as a member in June, thinking that I'd start listing items about two weeks after that.

I'm glad I waited.

The reason is, there is sooooooo much to learn in order for a seller to do this right. Things that I wouldn't have even thought of were brought to light: What about international shipping? What will my policies be? Are my descriptions accurate? Are my photos "clickworthy"? I found answers to all of these items not by guessing, but by reading. I mean ALOT of reading.

I started by participating in the Etsy Forums. I would read and contribute to threads for at least an hour or more every evening, providing input where I could (mostly on jewelry related items), and reading other shop owners' critiques. As time passed, I really didn't have a need to ask the questions I listed above, because there was always a thread that would answer the question.

Of course, there were other sites I used for research, too. First, the EtsyWiki is loaded with pointers, tips, information, and resources that can answer just about any question an Etsy seller would have. If you haven't been to that site and read all of the sections in their entirety, get there immediately! There is a wealth of information available, all nicely indexed and organized.

Another resource is Etsy's DOs and DONT's. These guidelines are the be all end all for selling as well as buying. Written by Etsy admin members, they provide information related to site usage, member accounts, buying and selling, reporting items, communications, and feedback. It's a nice read, because it's written all "Etsy-esque," giving readers a warm fuzzy feeling and letting us all know that Etsy loves us (even though they're layin' down the law!). You should file this web site at the top of your bookmarks, and refer to it whenever you get ready to ask, "Can I...?"

A final resource that I'd like to mention is Etsy for Everyone, brought to us all by strumpfkunst. Here, posts related to marketing, selling, promoting, and doing anything Etsy can be found. In addition, Etsy for Everyone includes updates from the Storque. Finally, strumpfkunst refers to Seth Godin quite a bit, who I'm finding to be quite an interesting and helpful read when it comes to marketing and selling.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. It rambles on enough, but I think I gave you some info you can use. Now, don't you have some reading to do? Enjoy.

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