Thursday , 15 April 2021
We are, each one of us, creating something out of nothing. We are artists. Two years ago, I didn’t have a small business. I just had an idea. I invested my time, energy, and a little bit of money--just as you did.

What I’ve Learned About Perspective After 2 Years of Business and Thousands of Etsy Sales

Camo Unakite and Pave Swarovski Bracelet for Personal Transformation

What I’ve Learned about Perspective after 2 Years of Business and Thousands of Etsy Sales

It’s the Energy Shop‘s second anniversary, and I love to write a big post every year to celebrate how far it’s come and what I’ve learned.

To organize the information, I decided to break the post up into 3 stages. This seemed fitting, as new shops tend to go through varied stages of growth. Stage 1 was about the foundation: the attitude you bring to your handmade business. Stage 2 was about the building: the marketing of your products. Stage 3 is about the details: those daily highs and lows and long-term goals.

So, this being the grand finale and without further ado, here’s what I know for sure about perspective after 2 years of business and thousands of sales.

Stage 3: Focus on the destination, but enjoy the journey. 

Choose role models and learn as much as you can from their experience. I rarely think of “competition” unless I’m writing and I have to reference the traditional definition of the word. I truly believe there is room for everybody and every business to have abundant success. I don’t waste any time looking over my shoulder, and this keeps me working full steam ahead.

However, as part of my marketing research, I have identified a few role model businesses in my field. I always choose role models off Etsy because I envision myself outgrowing the handmade market. I highly suggest you choose your role model businesses off Etsy as well–it reduces the temptation to compare yourself.

Once you’ve chosen your role models, you will want to study their results. Benefit from their marketing expertise and advertising dollars. Where are they finding their customers and how can you modify that approach to find yours? What do their policies look like? What are you doing better than them? What are they doing better than you? How does their “About” page read? Where are they gaining press?

When I study my role model businesses, I see them taking full-page advertisements in magazines. Those ads costs tens of thousands of dollars, if not more! While print advertising is still out of my league, I always have Facebook. How can I reach the same market on 1/1,000th of the budget? I can create a Facebook ad to target those who “like” the same magazine where my role models print advertisements. I can reach the same audience at a fraction of the cost.

Have a plan to expand. To begin, I suggest you buy the domain name for your business and build an independent website. I made the leap this year by building, and I’ll admit, starting a second site is overwhelming. In fact, I tried it before and had given up on it. However, when Etsy suspended my shop, I knew I needed an alternative landing page for my business. I was thankful to have already owned the domain name, and my commitment to start a second site paid off.

In building a second shop on an independent e-commerce site, there were kinks to work out. I wasn’t used to the set-up or design, I was adding more payment options, and I was figuring out how to redirect my traffic. At this time, I was grateful that my Etsy shop was still up and running. Create your plan to expand at your own pace, with your own interests in mind (not out of panic, as I did :)).

As I expanded, branding became very important to me.

Build your brand. You want your customers to always count on your brand to be everything they expect or more. For example, I’ve eaten at McDonalds in Pittsburgh, Paris, and Porirua (NZ). No matter where you are in the world, the hamburger is the same. Customers have learned to trust that their experience with McDonalds is always going to be exactly what they expect it to be, and it’s quite comforting to buy with a sense of familiarity already established.

When I opened two shops, I knew I needed to assure my customers that wherever they shopped, they could expect the brand they’ve come to trust. The Energy Shop needed a logo, and I finally hired a graphic designer to help me build a logo that represented everything I believed about the Energy Shop. That logo now appears everywhere my jewelry is displayed, and my customers become more familiar and comfortable with the business every time they see it.

Adopt a bird’s-eye perspective. The first three years of business is just planting the seed. Like anything else, you have to start at the beginning, and the beginning of business is always laying the foundation for a promising future of growth. That’s just realistic, and most people don’t come in expecting to pay their dues. This is just one of the reasons you’ll hear so much moaning and groaning in the handmade forums. People want success yesterday already; but if you enter the marketplace prepared for the long haul, you’ll survive: outwit, outlast, and outsell the complainers.

This is not the time to be impatient. This is the time to allow yourself the space and grace to begin. Anybody can want success yesterday already, but very few are actually willing to work and prepare for it! If you’re feeling frustrated or stuck, take a step back and realize how far you’ve come–and what you’re already doing that most people don’t have the courage to try!

And keep your chin up.

” . . . we always envy others, comparing our shadows to their sunlit sides.”–Margaret George, The Autobiography of Henry VIII

Please remember that in my anniversary post, I’m absolutely sharing my sunlit side. In the last two years, I can’t count how many times I’ve felt like giving up. I know what it’s like to feel frustrated and in a rut. It’s perfectly natural, and there’s something you can do about it:

Take action. There’s no better way to slow down and grow frustrated than to stop production. Sometimes, sales slow. Keep working. Keep creating. Keep plugging away. If you’re miserable in business, it’s typically because you’re waiting for something to happen. Stop it. Get moving, and go make something happen.

In the opening of Kevin Hart’s movie, Kevin Hart: Seriously Funny, he and his entourage shout: “Everybody wants to be famous! Nobody wants to do the work!” With the smash success of movies like Justin Bieber: Never Say NeverBeing Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, and the aforementioned Kevin Hart documentary (if you haven’t seen these movies, go rent them right now!), people are waking up to the fact that greatness awaits, BUT YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK. Outlast the quitters, and you’re already famous.

My dear friends, take advantage of this. Please DO: realize that two years is longer than most will stick with it. Please DO: realize that the only people achieving their dreams are the ones who worked hard for them. Please note:  I’m writing to you from a place of “dreams manifest into reality”–not because I’ve realized all of my dreams, but because I pay attention to every step that gets me closer to them.

The point I don’t want you to miss is that we are, each one of us, creating something out of nothing. We are artists. Two years ago, I didn’t have a small business. I just had an idea. I invested my time, energy, and a little bit of money–just as you did. It’s something to be proud of, whether you’re waiting for your first sale, or celebrating your first thousand. You are creativity, and I want to thank you for bringing all of that fantastic energy here and sharing it with me! Until next time, Lisa Jacobs 

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  1. Thanks for the words. It IS frustrating. And we DO compare (“why are they selling but mine is better and I’m not”). Ugh. Ha. Just keep going. Just keep going…

  2. Very interesting and thanks for all the great tips!

  3. I am surprised you have the time to invest w/ 4 little ones!
    I sell just enough to make it worth it & keep me happy :) No stress & I have a ton of time for my little one. I admire your work & ethic! When my babe gets older I would love to devote more time to my work :) & hopefully then I will have the success you have.(only after all the hard work of course ;)

  4. Lisa-
    Thank you for sharing your story and future endeavors.
    It is always a pick-me-up knowing others are growing and having success.

  5. Hi Lisa
    I discovered you through handmadeology. I loved reading your story and journey to date. I have just set up a folksy shop (UK Etsy)and have sold 2 items! But I am really excited about its potential growth. I have 3 little boys who take up a lot of their Mummies time but the time I do have i enjoy spending creatively.I am determined to make my new venture work, and wish you all the best for the future of your business

  6. Way to go, Lisa! You are an inspiration.

    For people who don’t want to build a separate e-commerce site just yet, but want to build their brand and have their own domain I recommend CraftLaunch. It automatically showcases your Etsy shop listings in a customized, fully branded, professional website for your business. We offer a free trial and also offer free Expert Setups.

  7. Great post, Lisa! I have quoted you and linked to this post on my facebook page: Thanks for being so helpful, thorough and informative! :)

  8. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Thank you all for such lovely comments and feedback! Best of luck in all of your endeavors!

  10. Lisa, these are wonderful words for each of us to remember. My son helped me build a website on and I love it. Check it out. My shop name is papermajik.

  11. Thanks so much for that! It really was an encouragement. I just started my destination/era oriented jewelry shop a couple months ago, and I’m still working hard, trying new things, figuring out what might work for me. It can be so frustrating, so overwhelming–but I have my passion. And that fact that I’m a stubborn mule, so that’s on my side. I’m determined to grow! There are so many things I want to do throughout my life, but I want to be able to say that I gave each my best–starting with my jewelry shop!
    So thanks very much for the boost. :)

  12. This really hit home, thank you for sharing such sensible and grounded advice. I read this just at the right time, it has motivated me to keep going.

  13. Comparing ourselves, our work and our shops to others is so easy to do, and it never helps, especially when things are slow or I’m feeling low. Looking for inspiration gives me a new perspective and more respect for the shops I admire. Sometimes I just have to step away and take a break, take a breath and relax. My shop is almost 4 years old and I’ve had 115 sales. What I haven’t done is a separate website, and maybe it’s time!

  14. It is hard not to compare! Especially when there are so many other jewellery sellers out there. I do my best these days to not compare, and instead look at what I like/don’t like, so I can get ideas on how to improve my marketing, my photos, etc.

    Thank you for your article, and here’s to your next three years!

  15. I really enjoyed reading your article. I only started my handmade business less than a year ago and it’s inspiring to think where I might be on my two year anniversary, too! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  16. Thanks for your article!! It is such inspiration for me. I’m entering my third year and can relate to so many of your in sites. Will be saving it, to read again for “the push”.
    I still have the passion for my product, brooch bouquets. My headaches have to do with needing to totally learn technology. (couldn’t even use a computer) So social media/ marketing is so overwhelming. Yes, making a website was a milestone in my life.
    Tenacity is one of my best features. So year three is the make it or break it time. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  17. I so appreciated this article:) As small creative business owners, we do function based on our own internal motivation and pure will power. We are still working out the kinks and could so relate.

  18. It’s certainly encouraging words. Thank you from a very new business. Sarah:) x

  19. Thank you for the hard work and effort you put into bringing this knowledge to us! Knowledge is power and you have enlightened me!

    I feel like i can apply this to my studies, i want to go into stem cell research. The problem is i get overwhelemed and impatient! Your wise words have made see the world in a different way!

    I feel inspired and hopeful for the first time in a lobg time! Thankyou!

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