Lesson 2: BWAH! Why isn’t anyone buying my stuff??

6 Feb

Welcome to Wry&Ginger’s Lessons on How to Suck It Up in Business.

This is a series that discusses some common complaints that we hear when doing business on Etsy. And when I say ‘discuss” I mean “I will honk on at length about various things, tangents included at no extra cost.”

Today’s Topic: You DO realise you have to work to sell, yes?

A common complaint heard here in the Etsy forums is “I’m not selling! Is this worth it??” (and add capslock to that if you want a really authentic feel)

Very often, the complainant has had a shop for a short period of time, has low views, few to no sales and they are feeling low. Discouraged, Beaten, Hard done by. Ska-rewed over.

Should they feel this way? Is the discouragement justified? ?

The short answer: No.

The long answer: The expectation that you would set up a shop here and just KaPOW sell stuff is unrealistic. If it were this easy, would any of us be working a day job? Not likely.

It takes many elements to make a successful shop. Let’s look at some of them.

Sweat:
Well, you have to make things. So That’s your effort being put to good use. Get ready to sweat! (cue: small fuzzy haired man in weirdly short shorts to enter and begin exhorting us all to SWEAT)

Time:
It takes your time to make things . It takes time to promote the things you made. It takes time to learn how to promote them (see Know How, below). It takes time to settle in to your groove here. It takes time to network with people. Time time time. And your time is valuable, don’t forget that. Time = Money, or in the Billy Crystal method, Mime=Money. I can explain that later. Without using words.

Know How:
This plays in to the sweat and time, above. You have to learn your craft and learn it well to impress the buying public. There are a lot of people selling their goods here – and most of them really know their biscuits. So it pays to know yours. And to share. Pass me a custard cream, would you?
You wil also, over time, acquire know how in areas like promoting your business and learning to target your market effectiely (and the forums here are a gereat resource – just search the topic). this doesn’t come overnight- there is always something new to learn. Check out the posts made in the Etsy foums (and on his blog) by TimothyAdamDesigns. He gives out scads of great knowledge, helping many here (yours truly included) while at the same time demonstrating my next point…

Cleverness:
Yes. Let us not underestimate cleverness. One of the most important elements of a successful shop is the originality of the work being sold there. Are you coming up with unique and original things? Are they the same as many other sellers here? Are they something that people either feel they really need, or really want? (BTW that feeling of want, if strong enough can sure feel like need, which is great for a seller. Damn you B&B makers!! You make me NEED. ) And cleverness isn’t just about what you make, either – it’s about how you present what you make. Sell it! And I do mean that in a slightly whore-ish way. If your product is good, and you know it is, then get out there and hustle! In fact, hustle is so important, let’s make that a topic.

Hustle: It is hard to describe exactly what hustle is (outside of an embarassing group dance craze which some of us may have participated in but hey that is no reason for you to look at me like that you think you are better than me? I bet you did the macarena you stuck up cow)but hustle is crucial to your biz. And hustle comes in many shapes. For some people, it’s always having a business card to hand when someone compliments the item they are wearing, which came from their own shop, of course! For others, it’s taking the time to approach boutiqe owners about carrying their products. Everyone doesnt’ hustle the same way, and with the same intensity, so it’s just a matter of finding your groove. And don’t be embarassed if that invovles some amount of pelvic thrust.

These are some of the elements of a successful shop – and no one should set up a storefront here and expect success without giving these some consideration.

So the next time you are thinking of posting that thread wailing about low sales, especially if you are a new kid on the block, ask yourself  “Should I regroup and consider my strategies, should I look at some successful shops here and see what they are doing, or should I hurl myself to the ground in a fit of self pity and bemoan the fact that buyers aren’t just showing up at my door, hurling wads of cash at me?”

You know what I think you should do?

Pull up your socks, wipe the teary snot from beneath your nose and get back to work! That shop ain’t going to run itself.

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