Friday, June 13, 2008

Keep Your Day Job - A Farce...Or Not

When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job?

It started as a hobby, a way to support my crafting habit, but then I saw Etsy as a stepping-stone, a way to work towards running my own business. The community was so encouraging in that regard and every where I turned I was told that that’s what I should aspire to.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Oh, I don’t have time to create things anymore. I spend all my time on the Etsy forums in promotions. I also relist 35 times a day, but I can’t tell if it’s helping my views.

How long were you selling on Etsy before deciding to switch over to Etsy full time?

It wasn’t a conscious decision. I found myself needing to renew items, respond to emails, and track the status of my items constantly throughout the day. With customers waking me at 9am because they couldn’t tell if they had paid for their purchase, even after I had worked all night and gone to bed at 6am*, it was a necessity rather than a choice. I even have a friend helping me answer emails and ship and it’s not enough*.

What made you decide to keep your day job?

I have to pay my Etsy bill somehow. Unfortunately, constantly checking my email at work gets me into trouble.

How have you promoted and marketed your Etsy business?

I spend about 4 hours in the promotions section bumping my own thread, but it’s better to bump others’ threads. It looks less greedy. I also set my alarm for an hour before the treasuries open up so I can get one of them or when ad space spots are going to become available. Littering business cards where people will find them has actually worked out better than any of these techniques, though. So now I spend several hours a day dropping them from random places. The $4,700 in listing fees* I spent last year can hire a plane and I get a larger audience by dispersing them over the county.

Can you walk us through what a typical workday might entail?

Sure. I put on the coffee, turn on the computer, and check my email. I then sacrifice a walmart smiley in effigy to the Etsy Gods. Before going to work, I check to make sure what’s going out that day is ready for the mail carrier. I go to work for 8 hours, come home, and get orders ready to go out the next day. After comparing the Etsy and paypal addresses on every order* that came through I send a convo thanking the customers. Once a week I have to make time to call my credit card company to make sure Etsy hasn’t double charged my fees.

What goals have you set for the next few months and year?

To set up my own website with a shopping cart that’s fully integrated with Paypal*. I figure it’s a step up, and cheaper, than my current situation.

Do you foresee quitting your day job anytime in the future?

No, I’ve already had to sell my cat’s toys as supplies, take out a second mortgage, and take on a second job as a phone sex operator to pay my listing fees and advertising costs.

Any other thoughts?
The biggest problem I face with Etsy is that people think that because I'm the individual artist I will bend my policies, or prices. They see people that will do work for between 1-5 dollars an hour. So when you charge a mark-up on supplies, and charge labor rates above slave labor, people take offense.


Thanks to a Bitches Aux for the last quote, which, unlike Etsy's Day Job series, is not bullshit.
*Inspired by true events, unfortunately.

36 Comments:

spetsy said...

How can there NOT be another site that does it better? WTF?? This is so true it's literally painful to read.

But hey, just keep laying down your .20 so admin gets their big fat checks every week, what do they care?

SewCrazyDogLady said...

To set up my own website with a shopping cart that’s fully integrated with Paypal*. I figure it’s a step up, and cheaper, than my current situation.
===================

OMG! I'm doing this RIGHT NOW! evidently I sacrificed enough smilies to the Gods because I'm getting out before it gets worse!

impetuous said...

Listen, all you need to do is read a few posts in the forums to see that most sellers on Etsy don't know how to manage a business. Should Etsy really be telling people that with a little spit polish they can take this kind of financial risk?

I think it is colossally irresponsible of Etsy to keep selling this idea that you can quit your day job for your Etsy shop.

They know that people idolize them, they have the pies to prove it. Etsy should be more responsible and realistic with the ideas that it puts out.

Go ahead and profile the shops that are doing well, but this "quit your day job" series is misleading.

duh said...

well, thinking that promoting on etsy will get you sales, esp in the promo section WILL cause you problems. That's a no brainer

lessa said...

Listen, all you need to do is read a few posts in the forums to see that most sellers on Etsy don't know how to manage a business. Should Etsy really be telling people that with a little spit polish they can take this kind of financial risk?

*******************
My favorite is the question: 'Oh my God! I just sold something, what do I do now?'

Um, if you have not thought as far as what happens when something sells then maybe you should close your shop til you figure that out. I mean seriously, if you don't know what to do when something sells, what are you going to do if they want to return it or it gets mutilated in delivery?

People jump right in without taking a couple days to think things through. Sounds like they are perfect for Etsy since that is what Etsy corp does all the time.

just bitchy said...

What REALLY pisses me off is the people who post constantly in the forums, thoughtlessly dispensing questionable/wrong/irresponsible business "advise" who have horrible feedback and have been selling for only a year. WTF?

The constant posting for veiled promotion of one's own store under the guise of "helping" people is ridiculous.

The misinformation that people post as fact and that people swallow hook, line and sinker is un-fucking-believable. And it's going to get someone in trouble one day.

If you have a question about Paypal, call Paypal! The shit people tell other people about Paypal's rules on the etsy forums is horrifying.

Paypal has a handy link on their website about their TOS and rules. READ IT!

WTF!?

just bitchy said...

And, if you are serious about your business WhyTF would you spend time and money advertising etsy instead of your own store?

Etsy has closed store mistakenly. Some get re-opened, some don't. If all you advertise is your etsy URL you can be put out of business overnight.

Don't rely on etsy as a way to quit your day job! EVER!!

JustSaying said...

oh yeah.. and spend the $10 for a domain name and point it so you don't get screwed when etsy crashes and burns. (your shop)

forum rubbernecker said...

And, if you are serious about your business WhyTF would you spend time and money advertising etsy instead of your own store?
_____________________
YOU are the only one who is going to bring buyer to YOUR shop, asking Etsy to advertise to bring you buyers in the hopes that they will find your treasures among the 35,683,434 listings of crapola is just ludicrous. And not to be rude, but let's face it, MOST of these people are not cut out to run a full time Etsy business. Always in the forums asking about the littlest thing about running a business does NOT inspire confidence among your customers. Just sayin'. I don't know if I am cut out to do this full time or not, but no way will my customers find me asking lame ass questions about how to run a business. I can read, I will find he answer without looking like a fool.

The Righteous One said...

whew....you all ran with it :) Excellent *evil pyramid fingers*

You all have great points as to why that series is so ridiculous. Based on the grains of truth smattered in the entry, a top seller can't handle the top for long. It's too much with Etsy's current system and the revenue too little versus expenses.

The encouragement to rely on Etsy, support Etsy, promote Etsy, and sell your soul to Etsy is just wrong.

Diversify, grow, and brand!! But don't quit your day job!

ebbandflo said...

excellent article!

etsy makes it hard to work smarter and more efficiently, to streamline and grow - and thus quittng your day job and selling on etsy is a bit of a fable

j. hart photography said...

brilliant!! that's so true. i don't think it takes long to wise up to the fact that etsy is not going to help you quit your day job. did anyone read the post about the "yart sale"? the one asking how people were doing? it was several pages of "haven't sold anything yet".

woolies said...

I think I need to start my own URL.
I think that's what I'm reading here...

but anyway this had me laughing..

Faith said...

Totally laugh out loud funny and so, so true. I now go to the forums for my daily entertainment and tips on how not to run a business!

maillemystique said...

A breath of fresh air. Somewhere you can actually post and say what you are thinking without getting slapped on the wrist. Oh, thank you, thank you.

Recycled Booty Bags said...

I would love to do this full time. I know though realistically that keeping my bags made by me I wouldnt be able to do the volume required to pay the mortgage. My bag business keeps me in hobby money LOL!

hijinx said...

Love the content
Love the opinion
Love the banner ... you could sell it on Etsy :)

Jenifer said...

OMG.. I am your bitch.LOL



I never thought I would be anybodys bitch.LOL


Awesome site!

LittleSun said...

i thoroughly enjoye your post

shadejewelry said...

I really do have to say, although i am a full time etsier, I love it more then the other jobs a 20 y/o usually has.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Righteous One said...

Anon @12:56

Sorry, but due to confusion we can't have anyone posting as anonymous.

Pick a name, any name - may I suggest "crybaby" or something of the like.

For fairness, this is what anon said "No need to be nasty bitches about it"

Actually, yes, yes we do :)

The Righteous One said...

Oh and to quell speculation, the $4700 figure is an actual annual Etsy bill accumulated by a seller who did not renew, only listed and sold. They aren't a top seller but do decent business since they offer lower priced items (meaning there's a slim profit margin, which is acceptable based on the product, trust me - or don't)

It's expensive to do well.

tiina said...

I wish I had £1 everytime someone sent me a nice message to tell me my work is overpriced :)

Oops, I forgot, the almighty $ is the only currency for a 'global' site. (Even if it wouldn't buy me two peanuts to rub together over here.)

I'm very happy to be keeping my day job, thank you. :D

radcow said...

am I stupid or something? I just dont get why yall are so grumbly. so what if you havent been able to quit your day job. Do you think it happens over night? just be thankful we have a place to hawk our crap.

MajorFuckingEtsyBurnout said...

Seriously.

You start to feel grumbly once you have been on Etsy long enough to have it have it take over your life.....you believe it. Everything isn't perfect but hell what is, right?...

Then you have some "issues" arise, that seem pretty cut and dry: then you see that admin will not support you in any way shape or form, replying only in cryptic form letters, when all along they have fed you the lie that yes, we are all a community, we have your back when the crazies show up, we're on your side and will always support you and your shop policies, we'll remove unfair feedback, drink the kool aid kids drink the kool aid!

You do, and it's delicious at first! Then add to the mix: having basic website functions fail or break every other week, requests ignored, complete shit communication, the realization that your shop policies mean NOTHING, (insert 30 more fucked up things here that I am too tired to even type) and you have ZERO real support when the shit hits the fan.

Well, the kool aid is a little rank now, and I can taste the arsenic. I'm fleeing this Jonestown mess. And you can keep you fucking plush Swimmies!

Listen kids, have URL, will travel...

Lisa said...

""My favorite is the question: 'Oh my God! I just sold something, what do I do now?""
________________________

YES YES OMG YES! That always bugs the shiete out of me in the forums. Why the heck do you want your potential buyes to know you have no clue what you are doing?

impetuous said...

radcow said...
am I stupid or something? I just dont get why yall are so grumbly. so what if you havent been able to quit your day job. Do you think it happens over night? just be thankful we have a place to hawk our crap.
_________________________

Yes, you are stupid.
No one is grumbling because they can't quit their day job, fucktard. Go back and try again.

The Righteous One said...

*hands Impetuous a cookie*

That was damn funny!

Lisa said...

As long as we are bashing etsy in general, can someone tell StrawberryAnarchy to quit freaking spamming the forums with her thinly veiled promos? No dear, "Wow 1 more sale to get to 100" does NOT belong in site help, you dumbass.

jkziel said...

too funny!

just bitchy said...

There are a couple of etsy shop spammers who are simply shameless, posting constantly with supposedly "helpful" links to their blogs and reviews of their store on other people's blogs. It's so fucking transparent and disgusting.

One brought a private matter to the forums over the past few days. She is still posting away shamelessly without any consequences except for a well deserved lock.

Why are some people bitch slapped by admin for one small thing and others allowed to run fucking wild on the forums with no consequences?

I can't believe the immaturity, petulance and downright meanness I see daily on the forums from people who are supposedly trying to "help" other sellers.

Get a clue and grow the fuck up...

impetuous said...

excellent use of profanity, great point, I give it an A

just bitchy said...

Thank you imp.

I was feeling particularly bitchy.

just bitchy said...

I just had an idea for an Etsy Bitch avatar. I'm sure these clever folks could come up with something fun.

Here's my suggested tag line....


"Etsy Forums are NOT your BLOG, asshat."


(or dumbass if you prefer)

Go...........

yippee-ki-yay-mutha-fecka said...

"One brought a private matter to the forums over the past few days"

Which one was that? I think I know which one that was, maybe.