Something has been on my mind for a while – a long while.
Let me take you back to my very first sale on Etsy. (Wow, if you can find it, you’ll laugh! There’s so much very, very wrong with that item listing.) I remember the high I got from that Etsy Order Confirmation email. I screamed, jumped up and down, and did “the first sale dance.”
Now here’s the rub: after I got that first sale, I made a lot of mistakes trying to chase that high. I kept my prices low for too long; I didn’t even care if what I was doing was actually making a profit. I loved the gratification that came from connecting with a buyer. Thankfully I quickly realized this was not a sustainable way to run a business.
However, there was one more sneaky little addiction: the number-of-sales addiction. Oh, it’s a nasty one. When I was up to a dozen, I felt over the moon. I started wanting to hit milestones, 25, 50, 100. When I hit them, I’d celebrate with a sale and buy something fancy from my Favorites. Now, there’s nothing wrong with setting goals – but I wasn’t setting smart goals. I was setting arbitrary goals.
Let’s say I sold six $20 necklaces; great, that’s $120 in my PayPal account. That didn’t even really make me that happy, I was more excited about those six items sold that would show up on my sold page. Silly! Instead, I should have been selling three $40 necklaces. Same $120 in my PayPal account, but more profit in my pocket. (In fact, I started raising my prices and noticed I had buyers investing in my work for special occasions, something that didn’t happen in the $20 price range.)
How else do the first sale high and addiction to number of sales affect the way we run our Etsy businesses? Have you ever set an impromptu discount just because you haven’t had a buyer purchase from you in the past few days? Do you tweet links to single item listings to your Twitter followers, hoping you’ll sell that one item? Doesn’t that seem like a waste of your time (a valuable resource)?
Learn from my early mistakes. If you really want to grow your business, you can’t react to every single sale, positively or negatively. You should instead be proactively plotting out your weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. And you shouldn’t be planning your marketing efforts around a single sale in your Etsy shop. Your creative powers could be put to much better use!
Next time you start to freak out about lack of views or sales on a certain Tuesday, take a step back. Crunch some numbers. Instead of panicking and sending out Facebook pleas for attention, take that time to work on your holiday marketing plan – this type of work will plant the seeds for greater success in your future. Don’t give in to those nasty addictions!
Consider the Etsy Success team your support group. If you start to panic, come on by and start a forum thread. We’ll get you through it.