Friday, February 3, 2017

How I Got My First Sale On Etsy

If you're reading this, you're probably in one of two situations.

A) You're about to open or just opened your shop and you want to get a running start and sell as quickly as possible.

B) You were person 'A' but it' has been awhile since your shop opening and you haven't sold anything yet and you need advice to sell that first item.

I was person 'A' and 'B' a one point. I was filled with extreme optimism that I would open my shop and my products would fly off the shelves. One month later I was frustrated that, despite all my work, nothing had sold. There were three key changes I made that changed this. And these were the changes that got me my first sale.

Better Pictures

This was the first step I took toward getting my first sale. I sell prints of my art and let me tell you, how I presented it affected views on my products. Originally, I had one photo up of the original artwork, and that was it.

Mistake #1 was that I only had one picture up and didn't use all five slots. Mistake #2 was that my picture was dark. Like, embarrassingly dark. No matter what lighting I used I just couldn't seem to make it brighter. But then I discovered how to edit the picture properly, improving the quality tremendously. Just look for yourself.
After fixing all of my photographs, I realized that all others selling prints and art showed their work in a mockup. A mockup is basically showing what your product would look like in a real life situation to give your customer more purchasing confidence. For artists, this typically means displaying the art in a frame. For crochet or knitting, this could mean showing your items on a model (or willing friends and family).

I went through three different mockups before settling. That's because I learned a lesson with each one. My first mockup was against a grey brick wall with a black frame. This looked wonderful in theory, but it turns out that people have a tendency to click on bright, eye-catching photos. So then I switched to a light off-white wall with a cream frame. While this one was brighter, it didn't stand out in any way. Basically, it was blah. Then I reached my final mockup. It was bright, eye-catching, and simple. And that is the perfect mockup formula. Here it is.

Now self-evaluate your photographs and see what you can do to improve them. Make them bright, simple, and enticing to get those views! If you need inspiration for your photos, you can check out what I've done HERE.


If you're a newbie, you're going to hear this over and over again. When I learned about and improved upon my SEO, more people were able to find me through search, and that's what we want. There are many paid sites out there that will help you with SEO but I use a free site that gives you almost all of the same features a paid one will. It is very helpful and eye-opening. You can read all about how I use it HERE.


This is the final step I took in my shop, and it's the step that truly led to my first sale. Promote your work! Now, this doesn't have to be paid promotion, because I don't use it. There are plenty of free ways to get your work out there in front of potential customers. The site that got me my sale was (drumroll please) Facebook.

There are groups on Facebook all about Etsy. I joined a couple of these and started promoting (posting to the group) once a day with a different product. When I post, I usually get some likes, occasionally a comment, but always click-throughs. Even if nobody buys your item, you'll rank better in results because of increased views. Then, one day, it happened.

I was posting a Valentine's Day card in a group and a woman commented on it asking if I had a version with a hedgehog. At that time, I was actually planning on making one, so I told her I would have it up tomorrow. I made it, posted it to the group, and she purchased it that same day. Not only that, but she ended up looking at my other cards and purchasing one more!

Join groups and Facebook and hen discover other ways to promote that work for you. Social media is the most common way: Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are usually the go-to for most sellers. Experiment and find what works for your specific market!

I was so excited when I got that sale, and I'm excited for you to get yours as well. Be patient, and be optimistic, it will happen. Your small business is only as good as the care you put into it. Nurture your shop, and it will grow! If you want to read about how to start and run an Etsy shop for free, read THIS

Do you have any questions about selling? Or, have you already sold your first item? Share your experiences in the comment section below. And don't forget to subscribe for more Etsy and small creative business tips!

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