Do What You Love, Love What You Do Wall Art by mateoandtobias
Adapting Your Etsy Shop to Your Life
When I finally got my Etsy shop up and running and had a steady stream of business, a tiny seed of panic started to grow deep down. What happens if I can’t check in on my shop one day? What if I want a vacation? What if I’m sick or I decide to start a family? Life happens. The wonderful thing about being your own boss is that you can prepare your business for life’s changes and adapt your work to fit your life.
After years of scrimping and saving, my husband and I are finally able to make our dream of home ownership a reality. Our rental house is a complete disaster zone right now as we wade through boxes and piles of stuff to prepare for our move next week. Since I work from home, the big move has inevitably had a huge impact on my ability to run my Etsy shop. For just about any business owner, there are times when life gets in the way. Here are some tips to prepare your handmade business for life’s big changes.
Be realistic about what you can handle. I have a tendency to aim high, and while that can be a great quality in a small business owner it also pretty regularly stresses me out. If you’re handling a major life change, you may have to say no. It’s really hard to turn down a custom order or special request, but sometimes the smartest business decision is to keep things manageable. Do only what you can do well under the circumstances. Sending out work that’s not your best is more damaging to your reputation than saying you’re too busy to fill a request.
Create and maintain an inventory of what you’ve made. I have all of my products in labeled plastic bins, and I also created an inventory on the computer of everything I have available for sale. I’m leaving all these bins, my shipping materials and my computer out until the day we move so I can leave my shop open as much as possible. After all, an open shop means possible money for new furniture!
Make lists and give yourself deadlines. List writing is like having an external hard drive for your brain. When things get busy, I find myself forgetting things I can normally remember. By making to-do lists and giving myself deadlines for tasks, I avoid the panicking feeling of missing something. Most of us are visual and I know lists and charts really help me wrap my head around what I need to do. Visualizing tasks by writing or drawing is a great way to manage all aspects of your shop, especially in a time of transition.
Tailor your shop policies to include any information your customers need to know about your special situation. If you are working full time and only able to ship orders on Mondays and Saturdays, it’s a good idea to clue in your customers in your shop policies and message to seller at checkout. If you’ll be away from the shop next week, mention it in your shop announcement and inform customers if there is a deadline to purchase before you leave. Try to anticipate any issues that would arise from your absence so you can contact customers before hand and ship orders in a timely manner. This may mean putting your Etsy shop on vacation before you actually leave to go on vacation.
Be honest about turnaround time. If you are busy and it’s taking three weeks to fill an order, it’s probably a good idea to include this information in your item listings. Many shoppers do not read shop policies, so anything really pressing should be outlined in your item listing.
Wish us luck as we move our home and studio next week! I’d love to hear any tips for how you adapt your Etsy shop to your life.