Thursday , 17 October 2019
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.

Adapting Your Etsy Shop to Your Life

do what you love

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. 

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10 comments

  1. I will be moving house in a couple of months so this is excellent and really timely advice, thank you!

  2. The key sentence: “Do only what you can do well under the circumstances”

    I should even print it or write it and put it on the wall of my creative room. It’s a very good reminder to not go overboard and either produce cheaply or get totally burned out.

    Great advice in this post !

  3. Great post, practical and hands-on!! And it works – I practice what you preach! Fun timing, we just moved last weekend and started a new job, with me working also. Reading this was VERY timely – thanks!!!
    Kari

  4. Wishing you the best of success and happiness in your new home!! How exciting and fun to have a home you can make your own without worrying about a landlord! I understand perfectly. And I’m also a list maker, not only as a reminder of what I need to do and prioritize, but crossing off each item as it’s accomplished motivates me to keep going and is a small bit of psychological satisfaction.

  5. I hope your move goes smoothly! Good Luck!!
    We moved last year, and my shop things were set up right after the kitchen and bathrooms.
    (gotta have that shower and coffee first and foremost)

    I managed to only be down about a week and a half, and we moved 5 states, 3 kids, 3 pets, and a ton of crap in a U-haul and truck with trailer. I don’t want to do that again soon….

  6. My advise is when moving, there is a death in the family, sick-whatever I have found that HONESTY is the best. You don’t have to tell some one your life’s story, but a brief explanation helps. My mom & my aunt both died within 9 months of each other and I was in chrg of both estates. One estate was 2400 miles away! It did put time stresses on my work, but I chang’d my policy from 3-4 week turn around to 4-6 weeks and that extra time helped a lot! (In fact I still have that time frame and LOVE it) There was only one customer that I had trouble with and after trying to work things out-I walked away from the order. It was a big one-for a commercial business and could have potentially landed me more business. But I knew I would spend more time trying to “make up more time”! It was a great decision for me. Having said all that-Be open, be honest and do what you do best!

  7. Good luck with the move. Great advice too! It seems that every time I am ready to go away for a few days, that’s when I get a huge order. Go figure! but I am always honest with my customers and their expectations. And they are usually patient with me too. Thank you for the advice.

  8. Good luck with your new home, and with your move, Anne! It’s so exciting :D

  9. Lists are like my life saver…great tips! Congrats on your move!

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