Last year when I was in France, studying with Julie Arkell, one of the other students said she wished she could do as I did, make a living from her creative endeavours. I had seen her work in class (stunning!) and suggested she open an Etsy shop and give it a burl. The great thing about a shop on Etsy is that you don’t have to pay any rent and there’s no need to take a huge risk, so if the whole venture fails, you haven’t lost much. But what you’ve got to gain is immense: employment doing the very thing you love most.
We got talking about what’s involved, how much time is really needed as a minimum, how to build up a customer base and make items that are likely to actually sell.
Opening an Etsy shop is pretty easy. Etsy leads you through the steps of collecting information that will enable them to pay you, and creating your first listing. I did it on a lazy Sunday morning and it took about ten minutes. I even had a few sales right away, and that was very exciting. However, to be honest, not much happened in my shop until I figured out how to really make it work. And then it took off, and these days my Etsy shop brings in a serious amount of income for my family. It provides me with a steady stream of creative work that makes me incredibly happy. As I chatted to the other student in France, I realised that I have actually amassed far more knowledge than I’d thought. I had lots of tips for her in how to create the kind of shop that would actually sell stuff.
Strangely enough, since that day in France, I have held the hands of several people while they launched their Etsy shops and started on the path of making money from their creative endeavours. It actually got so that I wrote a list in my journal of all the things I needed to remember to tell people when I helped them, such as how much time you need to devote to it as a minimum, what kind of marketing options there are, what percentage of time to spend on making versus administration, and even how to make sure the business side of things is streamlined.
You know I love making zines? I couldn’t help myself, I wrote it all up nicely, added lots of artwork, and now I’ve got a little zine on the topic. So if you are thinking you’d like to earn some money from your creations, this zine could be just the ticket to make it all actually happen. If you’d like the zine, it’s right here in my Etsy shop, Fixie’s Shelf.
Do you earn money from your creative efforts? I’d love to hear from you what you feel works and what doesn’t. What things have made the biggest impact when it comes to getting sales?