I think a lot of people have the idea, when they start their Etsy shop, that they will be an overnight success.  That beautiful beaded bracelet, or the crocheted hat, or the all-natural bug spray that you have created is going to be selling like hot cakes.  In fact, you may have even gotten so wound up about how in the world you will keep up your supply with all the demand, that you have spent hours and hours making sure everything is up and running properly and that you have at least 50 of your item ready to sell the minute you open your shop.

And so you open...

And day one goes by with no sale.

So does day two.

Crickets chirp.

cricket on white background

You start to get discouraged.

Then, finally!! Cha-ching! You've made your first sale, and you are back on track again making 50 more of your item just so you can stay ahead of the game.

But it happens again.  Days go by before your next sale happens.

Yeah, starting up on Etsy can be like that.  That's how it was for me.  That's how I am pretty sure it is for a lot of people.

Etsy can be a slow burn for many shops.  It can take years before you feel like you have a business to actually call "a business."

But I am here to tell you, "Don't give up!  You've got this!"

Granted, you may have the type of product that fulfills an immediate needs or wish, and you may have a shop that takes off within the month.  If not, consider this a time of business building and learning.  

The time between cha-chings is just as important as the time spent filling orders. Here are three productive actions to take when sales are slow.

womans hands sketching fashion designs with pencil and tape measure

Create, create, create.  

When I first started my shop, I had five items.  Those five items with their tags and keywords had to be the ones driving all the traffic to my shop.  That was a lot for those poor five things to do!  Now that I have over 400 items, there are a lot of different tags and keywords being searched that show up in the feed of potential buyers. 

If you have already had someone say to you, "Oh, I'd love that item if it were in red (or purple, or blue), take that as a clue that other people would probably like it, too, and make the item in that color and other colors. The ideas of other has been a key part of my production process over the years.

Keep in mind that you need room for storing the things you make!  For my shop, I take some great pictures of new items I make and then store them for up to a year if they are relatively small. For bulkier items, I store them as long as I have room and then I bring them to a local university where I work during the morning to give away to co-workers and students.  As long as I have pictures and know I can make them again, I don't mind gifting people with my creations.

keywords pictures variation with a computer and smart phone

Review your listings

Take a look at each listing to make sure the description is clear 

  • Have you used all 13 tags (plus all 20 characters!) to describe your item.  What terms would you search to find items just like yours? Make sure you are using these same keywords. Check your Stats for search terms used to find items in your shop and make sure you are using terms listed there.
  • Are your pictures clear with a lot of bright light?  Try to take pictures outside in the early afternoon on a clear, but not super sunny day.  If you can, try to keep use the same backdrop so that your listings look consistent and matching on your site. This looks much more aesthetically pleasing than a bunch of mismatched backgrounds. I use a white fence for my banners, garlands, and paper medallions. For your jewelry, vintage items, etc, you may want to simply use a white posterboard. Or check out some pretty scrapbook papers at your local craftstore for paper with a wood design, or burlap design to add some color and uniquness
  • Create variations of color for jewelry, clothing, party decor or accessories. Create variations of length for party garlands, necklaces, or purse straps. Carefully think through how you can customize your items to fit the various needs of your clients.

facebook instagram and pinterest logos

Build a business page for your shop on different social media sites

Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest all have the option for creating pages for business where you can post pictures of your listings and link them back to your shop. Using social media sites as "for business" instead of using your personal page, helps to develop your brand and allows you to keep your life activites separate from your business creations. While you have a bit of time off from fulling orders, learn how to set up each of these accounts by reading the following articles:

https://www.facebook.com/business/pages/set-up

https://business.instagram.com/getting-started

https://business.pinterest.com/en/creating-your-account

As you create (in step number one), start filling up the pages of your account with some great pictures of your new listings.

Gradually the time between sales will become smaller and smaller, and you will be glad for this time that you spent creating and building.

If you liked this article and would love more streamlined action tips, click here to add your name to my mailing list. You will receive my free 13-page pdf of Monthly Action Tips to Grow Your Etsy Business. You'll also be added to my bi-monthly email newsletter to inform you of my latest posts.

Thanks for reading!  I welcome your comments in the disqus box below.