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Ask Jane: Can I Make $1000 per Month Profit with an Etsy Account?

I received a message on one of the forums I regularly follow where people ask questions about their creative product/craft businesses. I thought it was a very timely question for everyone because so many of you are getting started or are in the process of supplementing your incomes and want to have answers to THE HOW part of your business. Though I've changed the question slightly, essentially here was the question asked and my answer:
Dear Jane: Agatha-Cat
I have a line of jewelry and I have started an Etsy account. I need to make $1,000 a month profit, can I do it with the Etsy account or should I sell to local stores instead? Deena
Dear Deena:
I certainly think it is possible to make $1000 profit per month. I also think it is possible to do far better than that. Since you don't say what you are making right now or what your margins are, I am going to assume that you are at ground zero for answering your question.

Here are my immediate suggestions:

1. Etsy is a great way to start. Get your items up with good descriptions and good photographs. In order to get more people to go to Etsy you will need more Internet marketing skills - so you'll need to hone in on those skills. There is a real misconception that your product will do the selling, when it is really your marketing. Remember the people purchasing from you online do not know you and it is your job to tell them about you and your products.
2. If you're thinking about Etsy also consider ArtFire which though newer than Etsy is a very viable and upcoming alternative.

3. Start a blog and from there you can drive people to your Etsy or Artfire listings.  You can also use your blog as a website where you can and should sell your own products.
4. Build A Website.  I would also build your own website and not solely count on Etsy or Artfire - you can do this within your blog or separately.
5. Affiliate Programs: Also in a blog or website you can add affiliate programs in order to have additional income. When you are an affiliate you earn commission for products. (For example we offer an affiliate program selling several of our products) That is a bit more advanced for the purposes of this answer, but not hard at all to set up once you get your blog or site going.

6. Start Social networking on the Internet. This is a way to interact with others who might be both interested in you and your products. People like to buy from others whom they Know, Like & Trust. Setting up both a Facebook account and Twitter will help you with this interaction - but you do have to use them, you can't just open an account and not be active.

7. At the same time I would most definitely sell to local stores at the wholesale level. You will need to make sure your pricing is good at the wholesale level (which by the way is the way I always suggest my students price their items).

8. Work backwards in figuring out when you want to be at the $1000 per month level. And by that I mean how many units would you need to sell; what are your cost of goods and how much profit (on average) are you going to make per unit. Setting up a simple spread sheet for the next 12 months will really help you to make a plan for 2009.

This is just a thumbnail sketch of what is possible. I would encourage you to go for it and make a plan of action for 2009 so you can make it happen. The $1000 per month is very doable - and honestly you can probably do far better than that if you structure your marketing well. One other thing to consider is that certain products have a seasonality to them. (For example Christmas ornaments sell well in the 4th quarter and usually not the rest of the year) And if you need a dependable income all year 'round then you may need to diversify your products.
Love and Success,


Jane Button


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