How I Turned My Small Business Into A Full-Time Income: My Story
5 years ago I had the idea to create my own little business. It wasn’t based online or in stores, it was just a small cart I carried around with me and sold out of – at my dads office, to family & friends, at the wine & liquor store in Fishkill with my cousin for the Holidays and even at a flea market where I was able to set up a small booth with my friends display! I made some money and did quite well for myself as a 14 year old and was having fun! But then one day I had the urge to expand. An ad came across my computer screen for a site called Etsy and after some research and help from my sis, also an Etsy seller, I decided to launch my shop in 2019! I hit a few snags along the way and I ended up not being able to start officially selling until 2020 but once I launched my first product in January of 2020, I was in it to win!
Now at 19 years old I run a successful blog, a 5 star Etsy shop that ships worldwide and I am on my way to even BIGGER THINGS!!!!
You can view my shop here: http://withlovefromttoyou.etsy.com
Naming my shop
Naming your shop can be daunting and I wanted it to be something special. After brainstorming and searching, the Beatles song with the lyrics “with love from me to you” came to my mind and I knew I had it! So I named my shop “With Love From T to You”, I’m T! Theresa!!!
Behind the scenes
Starting an online shop is a lot more work then one might think. You need to buy the shipping supplies, cute baggies for your products to be displayed in, a shipping label printer, scale, rulers, tape (SO MUCH TAPE!), and so many other cute things to make your shipping and display look FUN & EXCITING! Plus don’t forget about having to take the pictures of your products…the lighting….uploading….editing……it takes time. Would you be interested in me posting about all the supplies you need to start your small business? Leave a comment!
My first product
Before I started my shop, I had an idea of what I wanted to sell. I’ve always loved reading so bookmarks were a must. I love jewelry so earrings also had to make an appearance! Also, I love recreating Harry Potter props so potions, Hogwarts acceptance letters, earrings….were other items I started working on.
The waiting room
It took me about 3 months before I saw my first sale, I remember it was a Harry Potter Bookmark. And it’s okay if it takes time. Not everything will be a hit your first go around. You may need to reevaluate some of your products and see what is not selling. Somethings will not be a hit.
I didn’t plan for my shop to hit it big. To be honest, that wasn’t ever something that really crossed my mind. But trust me, I’m not complaining! My shop was doing well with a steady business since opening. Then, once Covid hit in March of 2020, the online market boomed and my products started flying off the shelves, once product in particular, my Harry Potter earrings, bookmarks & keys. These items started literally flying off my storage shelves & into packages because of how popular they were! This also made my shop BOOM and then once my shop started receiving more sales & views my other items started selling as well. Like my earrings, magnets, invitations, home decor…Now, I average around 20-30 sales a week and am making a nice buck! And I’m having FUN!
- Give it time: If you don’t see a sale within the first few months don’t give up. Maybe what you’re selling just isn’t popular right now. However, if you don’t see a sale or any real activity on your shop within 8-12 months, then your products just aren’t reaching people. Somethings don’t sell. For example, my polymer clay earrings, though they are cute, don’t sell on my shop. I have nice pictures of them, good tags, and I market them…. they just don’t sell. So, I added new products to my shop, tested them out to see how they were performing until I found what’s HOT & what’s NOT!
- Pictures: Take nice pictures of your products with good lighting & a clean background. PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING!!!
- Use social media: Use Instagram, Facebook Pinterest….to market your products to reach an audience.
- Put more then 1 item up: Don’t just list 1 item, if you can put 5,6,7 or more items up. Your chances of reaching more people go up!
- Find the right platform: Use a reputable selling platform like eBay, Etsy, Instagram, Shopify, WordPress’ Woocommerce (these ones I can name off the top of my head). Etsy is affordable and doesn’t cost anything to open your shop. It’s only .20 cents a listing.
- There really is no secret: Sometimes things just workout in your favor and other times they don’t. But if you work hard and really pour your heart into it then the work will show. There’s no secret ‘thing’ you need to do to have a HIT shop, just work hard on your craft. Don’t give up when it gets tough.
- Have fun: If you’re not having fun then stop. I’ve gone through dry periods where I’m just not feeling my shop and that’s okay. Sometimes I’ll take the weekend off to just regroup.
My shop- With Love From T to You.etsy.com
Thanks for reading! I’ve been taking some time off cause I was overwhelmed with all the work I’ve had going on so my blog posting will still be a bit sparse but I will try my best to stay more consistent.