Since this is my first year at Etsy during the Holiday season, I have decided to dedicate myself to their “Holiday Boot Camp”, where they give out weekly goals, tips and business practices to help sellers have a successful season. I am always trying to make my business run smoother, and make myself run smoother, and hopefully this is the sort of motivation I need to push forward and get off the ground.
Since this is only the first week, the goals and tasks are a little light:
Read Etsy’s blog post “A Flying Start”- DONE
I have to say that I am a little disappointed. The post did focus on using the Budget Worksheet, in order to fully understand your costs and the season’s selling potential, however I was a little confused by these points:
- Offering customers express shipping options at higher rates so you aren’t left paying for rush shipping/mailing.
- Being clear about order cut-off dates so that you aren’t paying too much for help to rush through last-minute orders to meet the demand.
- Offering custom wrapping as a separately paid add-on to help cover some of your costs.
As far as I know, Etsy does not allow different shipping options and having separate listings for shipping is against Etsy rules.. so how are we supposed to offer rush and express shipping? (Not to mention the fact that my shipping costs are already higher than I’m charging…)
I do agree that I need to figure out cut off dates well before the Holiday season is upon me. I really hope that Etsy helps with figuring this out, since I don’t have a lot of experience shipping, let alone shipping during busy Holiday season.
Again, offering custom wrapping as a separate paid add-on is against Etsy rules and will result in your listings being removed… or are we allowed to do this during the Holidays? I simply don’t know why Etsy would recommend things that are directly against their clearly stated rules. Based on the comments from other sellers, a lot of people have noticed this and asked about it, but no one has answered (yet). I would certainly like to add custom gift wrapping as a separate listing, but at the risk of my store.
Holiday Budget Worksheet - DONE
Now I have to admit, I haven’t filled out Etsy’s Worksheet, I did look at it though and decided that I prefer my personal balance sheets over theirs. This step seems a little redundant and unnecessary for those who already keep track of their finances.
Print and Apply boot camp stickers Okay.. maybe I did miss something somewhere? I don’t remember stickers being mentioned (in fact sticker isn’t mentioned in the blog post at all). Is this boot camp supposed to be helping new sellers? Shouldn’t these steps be explained a little? What are these stickers for? The day each week to have all the tasks done by? What ever.
Find a boot camp buddy - DONE! I did leave a post looking for another plushie maker to be a boot camp buddy (although I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the term buddy, I feel a little stupid even posting that). However, I don’t see this as a necessary aspect, although I agree that having someone to support/ encourage me through this could be helpful (especially when Etsy provides tips that are less than helpful themselves).
DOUBLE UPDATE HELL YEAH:: So, as it turns out people on Etsy *are* friendly, despite my initial unease. Its nice to be talking to a few people though, who know about much work goes into being a Solopreneur. Roxie is Canadian, and she makes adorable fancy hats and felt accessories.
UPDATE:: I would say that I found a fellow Etsian, but truth is she actually found me (even on the Internet, I’m probably too shy to approach people). Any who, she makes OOAK Cloth dolls, and I’m looking forward to learning to having someone to talk to a bit more about the pains/ triumphs of Etsy and this “Holiday Boot Camp”.
Share personal Holiday goals
Now this is the part that I think is the most helpful. I have some high hopes for this Holiday season, but I need to work work work. Here are some of my big goals for the next few months:
- Maintain my blog with at least two posts a week, and update my website at least once a month.
- Online Roller Store Catalogue.
- Produce small series in time for Halloween.
- Introduce a new product series for Christmas.
- Sell Sell Sell!
I am trying really hard at balancing what is actually a reasonable amount of work for myself, and pushing myself to really excel during the months ahead. I frequently get in over my head, and have recently been pulling in the reins and accepting that I can’t do everything all at once. Of course, I also have to accept that this is the BEST season to sell hand-made items and I don’t want to waste it.
And so, all the best of luck to those following the Etsy Holiday Boot Camp. I hope I can keep up with it, and I hope that I don’t lose my sanity by 2012.