• Tara

Business Series 4 : How to start selling

Updated: May 7

How to start selling?

How does one go about it ? You've done all your research, you know what you will sell and have a plan in mind. So what now? I would strongly suggest you open a buyer's account on Etsy to get a feel of things.

How to start selling

1. Opening an Account with Etsy:

You would need to go to Etsy's homepage and open an account with them. It doesn't cost to create an account. Once you create an account, go through seller handbook and read . I highly recommend reading and re-reading these articles. They also have many videos on YouTube on how to get started including the technical details. There are also many YouTubers out there who take you through it step by step.


2. Dream Customer exercises:

What is a dream customer exercise? It's a worksheet where you jot down, well your ideal or dream customer. Who they are, their age, why they buy from you etc etc.

You can find excellent free resources at Aeolidia . Click here to go to their Blog. They have so many free resources for people who are just starting out. I just love their free articles!


3. Read up on SEO:

I cannot stress this enough. This is one of two things that can make or break your shop. the other being good Customer Support, but more of that in another post. There is just so much information on Etsy and YouTube and the internet in general about what constitutes good SEO. It would be best to start closer to home, home being Etsy. Find out how to write your Tittles. Your Tittles should be reflected in the first sentence of your product description and the tags for that product. Things like this and much much more can really help drive traffic to your shop.

Better still, look at how other shops are writing their product tittles, descriptions and tags. Be inspired but do not blatantly copy!


4. Set up your payment :

When Etsy first started, there was only Paypal, then there was a choice between Paypal and Credit cards and now you can pay only via credit cards. Set up your billing account with Etsy and make sure you have all the details down correctly. Set yourself up for success!


5. Be transparent about your shipping times:

There is nothing worse than ordering something online and thinking it will arrive in a week , only to receive it 3 weeks later. If you deliver promptly, customers will keep returning. I have customers who first shopped with me in 2015 and are still with me today.Being transparent is the general rule to live by, not just with regards to shipping times. Etsy allows you to set shipping by country and category. You will find a lot of information on Etsy itself in the Seller Handbook.


6. Ready your Product:

Once you have all the above figured out, it's time to have your product ready. If you're selling supplies, you need to have your stock photographed and inventoried. If it's Handmade then you need to have a bit of leeway between production and when it's ready to ship. It may be better to make five of each product and list them online as ready to ship. This makes customers want to buy it from you more because they know they don't have to wait too long.


7. Photography:

Things are not the same as in 2010 in terms of Photography , but there are still a few key rules one should follow. Keep it simple, a plain white background with just your product is best. Take a pass on any effects or cool and loud colours. They would only serve to distract potential customers from your product.


8. Listing your product:

Once you have studied your SEO basics and done your research and have photographs ready, it's time to list. This is the most exciting part of the whole process, just before it goes live! Fill in all the input fields, assign correct categories , quantities and variations and click to publish your listing. It costs $0.20 cents (USD) to list a product and another $0.20 cents to renew it when it expires. It expires every 4 months, so be careful with the renewal fee or you might incur a lot of costs.

You remember the hidden costs I mentioned a couple of posts ago? This is a big one! If you sell supplies, this can be a real issue!


9. Promote your shop:

It is important to tell people about your online shop and that you are now a proud business owner. Post about it on your social media, tell your family and friends about it. Do not however be tempted to spend money on advertising just yet.



10. Sit back and relax :

There is a saying that goes," A watched pot never boils", so go do something else in this time. Sometimes, it can take a good week or two to get your first order. It takes longer with handmade products. Don't waste this time. There are many other administrative tasks that can be done.

I used to frequent the forums a lot when I first started out. There is a wealth of information and other seller's real life experience. Many people hang out in the forums hoping to get a sale, but that doesn't work. You may get a few sales but I highly recommend not wasting your time and energy doing that.

Talk to other sellers instead and learn from them.


I hope you found this helpful. I have only briefly listed the main steps as a checklist of things to keep in mind when opening your shop. There is a wealth of information online and especially on Etsy itself.


Next Tuesday's Topic : Handmade or Supplies