Running a Business is such a fulfilling, but difficult job. Here’s how, over the years, I have created a full-time income from my Online Shop. I have found that it takes a lot of consistency and willpower in order to succeed! So if you have that, you're already one step closer! I started my online store, Quinn’s Pins, back in late 2018 with just one product. Here's a few tips I have on how you can have a full time Etsy/Online shop too...
The Beginning – Etsy to Full Time
A little back story to how I actually got started. I was 21, working in Retail, and was looking into the idea of starting up a business. Working for someone never appealed to me, I wanted the freedom to work when I wanted, how I wanted. I just didn’t know what to do…or how! I collected Enamel Pins on my apron and lanyard at work and really wanted a Cheese one to add to the collection (I love cheese). Alas, one to my liking didn’t exist! I’d looked into product design before and thought maybe I could give designing my own Enamel Pin a go. So, I got my pencil and paper, doodled a few designs, and got to perfecting my work on my iPad. (see my first ever product here!) I researched how to make your own Enamel Pins (I now have a blog post about that here) and managed to find myself a manufacturer that looked friendly enough for me to ask a few questions.
Of course, I had to fund these Enamel Pins, but I didn’t know if they would sell?! So…I got my very limited Photoshop skills together and designed a mockup of my design, made a quick Etsy shop, and created a listing of my fake Pin Badge, letting potential customers know it was a preorder. It took a while, but after tweaking SEO and waiting a few weeks I’d made 4 sales! I used the money I’d saved from my retail job as well as the money earned from pre-orders, to put the Enamel Pins into production, and just like that, the beginning of Quinn’s Pins was born.
My Tips and Tricks for Growing your Business for making a Full-Time Income from an Online Shop.
From starting Quinn’s Pins in retail as a side hustle to it now being my full-time job, I’ve learned a lot along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to grow a lot more, but here are some tips I have for you if you’re wanting to scale up your business to a full-time job.
Reinvest your Money
If you’re just getting started, or maybe you’ve been running for a while and you’re struggling with funds, it’s vital that you’re reinvesting your money. It can be so tempting to take the money your business is earning and run with it. BUT, if you’re wanting to grow your business, the one thing you NEED to do is to reinvest that money. Your business isn’t going to grow unless you’re willing to be out of pocket for a while. Whilst your business is a side hustle, take that advantage and reinvest all that money back into the business for new products/services or Ads. When I first started, I reinvested all the money my shop earned me on more products and marketing (e.g Facebook, Instagram ads). As a general rule to help budget, around 10% of your revenue should be used on marketing your business!
Updating your SEO!
Getting a full-time income from my Online Shop is touch, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a big part of running and building IT, it’s a painfully long task that can also be very boring, however unfortunately it has to be done! Ensure that you are checking your stats, whether that’s on Etsy or your own website. Use tools such as SEMRush or erank to check what keywords/tags are working well and implement them more into your listings. (Your Title, Descriptions, and Tags on Etsy) Make sure you are doing this regularly and you will eventually see results.
Build a Brand for your Business
Having a solid brand for your business is the best way to gain trust with your customers and be memorable. I saw a great increase in interest/sales as soon as I started taking my branding seriously. Take some time to create a stable Brand, including; a logo, color palettes, clear photography, fonts. Your brand’s message/vibe is a big selling point to potential customers. The way you act within your business is also your Brand. How you speak to customers, showing behind the scenes, how you come across on your listings and posts. If you work on your Branding and you’re consistent, you’re taking a big step in the right direction!
Choose your Niche - Etsy Full Time
You’ve probably heard the word ‘niche’ thousands of times, but it really is a great way to narrow down your target audience. Of course, it’s important that you’re selling products/services that you love, but you also need to think about your audience. What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)? Who are you wanting to sell to and what do they need/want? For example, a lot of my products are based on self-love/motivation, which you can see an example of here.
It may take you a while to find your niche, which is totally ok! Experiment and find what works best.
If you are already running your business on a platform such as Etsy and this is working well for you. You may find that your own website will benefit you too. Etsy is a great place to sell as customers are already using this platform. However, owning a website too allows your business to have more freedom with the look and feel, as well as not having to pay fees each time you sell. You can either have a go at designing a website yourself, or you can have a designer do it for you for a one-up cost or monthly fee. Personally, I outsourced my website as I felt it was in better hands with a professional. Dan at Developer Rocket made my website for £25 a month, I highly recommend him!
As well as selling platforms, being active on Social Media is a big must in today’s world. Be sure that your business is set up and active on Instagram. Build a community and make friends with other fellow business owners. Shout each other out, even make a group chat to send your posts into to ensure you’re all supporting each other. Places like Instagram and TikTok are amazing for your business right now, so be sure you’re utilising them.
Consistency is Key!
You may have read those last points and thought “but that’ll take ages! I want the money now” and I feel you. However, the reality of it is that it does take time. If you really want this to be your full-time thing, this commitment, patience, and consistency is important. Success doesn’t happen overnight and making a full-time income from my Online Shop took a long time!
Staying consistent in your business is key. On social media platforms, SEO, designing, and brainstorming. All of it must be kept up in order for you to grow. If something in your business doesn’t seem to be working, take a step back and see how you could change it to work better. The road is long, but the reward is worth it! If you can stay consistent to your brand and fight through the slow times, you’ve got that business owner fight in you!