This is a guest post by fellow blogger and Etsy shop owner Laura, about how to start an Etsy shop especially as a student or busy young adult and how her Etsy business has created additional income.
I’m Laura from www.thriftylondoner.com, and I started my small Etsy craft business 3 years after I graduated from university – but I wish I had started sooner! At the moment, my Etsy business provides me with an additional income stream on-top of my full time job – it’s an income stream which would have been super handy to have when I was a student.
When I was at sixth form and at university, I didn’t even consider the fact that there could be another part-time job that I could do that was on my own terms. Instead, I stuck to waitressing and shop work around my studies and in the holidays, which although supplied me with the extra income that I needed, meant I worked some unsociable hours at times. I particularly remember a summer where I worked 6 nights a week- and all my friends (and family) at home had full time 9-5 jobs so it was really isolating to not be able to see them very often, it was a very long (and lonely) 3 months!
How to start an Etsy shop as a student
I’m here to tell you that there are other options when you are looking for a job that you can do on your own terms, alongside your studies. If you’re creatively inclined (and even if you’re not), starting an Etsy shop could be the key to getting that all important income whilst you study and provide you with some amazing experience to add to your CV.
What employer wouldn’t be impressed by the fact you’ve had the initiative to start up your own small business?
The great thing about setting up your own Etsy business, is that the start-up costs are extremely low. So low, in fact, that it only costs $0.20 to create a listing. You can have 100 units and only spend $0.20 to list all of them – how great is that?
1. The first thing you will need to do, is to set up your store . You will have to choose the name for your Etsy shop, describe the products that you are selling and design a logo (my logo was designed in Paint, so there’s no need to spend any money on anything fancy). You could design yours on Canva, a free website that lots of bloggers use to create Pinterest images and logos.
2. Take a moment to consider what the name of the store says about the products you are selling, the key colours that you decide to use, and any message that you want to convey through your store.
3. You’ll want to start your store with around 3-5 items, all within one product niche. This is so that when someone lands on your page, they are not overwhelmed by lots of different products and they are more likely to find something that is suitable for them in your shop.
You might be thinking – but what product should I sell? Which brings us onto the next point…
Deciding on your product
Your product needs to be something that doesn’t require a ton of money to be spent on stock or materials before you even get started with making money. You could start with a budget of £20 (or less!) for start-up materials and go from there.
Etsy has every product you can think of listed on their site, and the good news is that you don’t have to be a master at knitting or crafting to have a successful Etsy store. Etsy is often thought of as a crafting paradise (which it can be), but you can also have a lot of success with other products such as printables or cards- so if you’re handy with a computer, this could be the product for you.
Creating something like printables or cards is also a fantastic way to start creating a passive income stream, which essentially means that you create the work once (when you create the printable design, for example) and you continue to make money from that work for months- and maybe even years- to come, without having to lift a finger. It’s the perfect student job!
When you are deciding on a product, it’s important to do some research to see where you can stand out amongst the other Etsy store listings and do something different. Take a look to see where you could do something better, whether that’s having clear and enticing photos in your listings, giving the option to have your product personalised, or simply offering a new and exciting product that isn’t already available on the site.
Make sure that once you have your Etsy store up and running as you would like it, you share your Etsy store on your personal social media channels with all of your friends and family- they are likely to be the first people who want to support you and buy from you. You could even ask them to share the page on their own social media accounts to try and help spread the word.
Once you have your friends and family on board, it’s time to set up social media pages for your Etsy shop. I would suggest that the best social media channel to use to accompany your Etsy store is Instagram. Instagram is very visual, which lends itself to uploading photos of your product, and being able to show your followers any new products or updates very easily. It also means that new customers can find you through Instagram- almost all of my customers at the beginning came to me through Instagram, check out my blog post all about this.
Your Instagram page is such a great accompaniment as it allows you to build connections and engage with your customers, which will hopefully make them come back and place repeat orders with you. There is also a big community of crafters on Instagram, if you search through some relevant hashtags for your product, you will soon find some kindred spirits who also have Etsy stores- and hopefully some new customers too.
Instagram is also a great tool you can use to get in touch with bloggers to help increase the sales of your product. Send some of your favourite bloggers a message asking whether they would like to receive a sample of your product- and see if they say yes! More often than not they will be delighted to share your gifted product on their page or Instagram stories, this provides you with some great exposure and hopefully some new customers.
So there you have it – how to start an Etsy shop as a student! It’s certainly something I regret not doing sooner, especially as Etsy has just grown and grown in the years since I have graduated and it shows no signs of slowing down. If you do decide to take the plunge and start your own Etsy shop, please feel free to get in touch with me with any questions that you may have and I will be happy to help where I can.