Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to Not Get Discouraged Playing the "Numbers" Game

When I first started out on Etsy I remember seeing at the time that one of my favorite illustrators, Nan Lawson, had over 8,000 admirers on Etsy. (Now, 2 1-2 years later she's up to over 17,000)

I was all like "Ok, I am never ever going to see that number. Ever". 2 years later and I am over 6,000 admirers (you guys know how to make a girl's heart go lub dub)

Sometimes when other sellers out there browse Etsy they see a few numbers that stand out to them: The number of sales the person has made, the number of their admirers (people who like their shop) and the number of their followers (people who follow what they do on Etsy). You need to realize a few things before you get wrapped up in the "holy cow this shop has 4,000 sales and I only have 29" game.

• When did their shop "open up"? If your shop is only 1 month old and you're checking out a shop that is 5 years old then they will most likely have more sales than you just due to the fact that they have had a longer time frame selling their items.

• What is the price point of their items? If you are making handmade furniture and sell your items at $2,000 each then you only need to sell 1 item to make about $2,000, whereas a shop who sells book marks at $1 each needs to make 2,000 sales to do what you just did in one sale. Its all subjective.

• I know I've said it here before but the saying "don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle" totally rings true here. We've all had zero followers. We've all had zero sales. We've all had to invest personal money into our business before our business was making a profit and we can start to use "business money" for business related items (advertising, supplies, craft booth fees etc)

• Don't get wrapped up in the numbers, and if you do take a step back and reevaluate why the shop is as successful as it is. If you are comparing your hand bag shop to another hand bag shop who has comparable items to yours (price point, materials, style) and you can't understand why they are getting more sales than you it might be something as simple as how you are photographing your items. We are used to "instant gratification". If an app takes longer than 5 seconds to load on my phone I am over it. If you are taking bad quality photos of your products I am not going to sit there and examine the photo and realize "oh, ok, they took these at night, with their cell phone, on top of a pile of dirty laundry. But hey I SEE the potential here!" no. not gonna happen. You need clean, nice looking photos from the start or else you're going to lose a sale.

I know a lot of "Etsy Tips" out there are to "see what other sellers are doing out there and take note of what their doing to be successful". Tread lightly here, its great to follow people on twitter and on Instagram who you admire and who you think are successful. If these successful shops are posting a lot of their products on instagram then maybe you should do the same. Or maybe they are polling a lot of their facebook following and they are getting a lot of interaction that way, then of course you can take a tip from then and poll your facebook following too. But DO NOT actually "copy" their products thinking "oh hey their items are selling really well, I'm just going to do that too". When people say "follow shops to see what they are doing" take it from a marketing stand point and NOT from a "what they are selling" stand point. Copying is NOT flattering, its laziness.


  1. preach it girl!

    and it is hard not to get caught up in the numbers game with everything-- not just etsy.

  2. This is great advice!


  3. you are so wise. you are my hero. muwah!

  4. Thanks for this reminder that we often forget! I'm soon opening a new Etsy shop & even though i'm prepared for it to take awhile to make sales, I definitely needed to hear this :)


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