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Thread: Turning a Hobby into a Job

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    #1

    Turning a Hobby into a Job

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    Everyone knows Etsy and all the crafty people on there. I sew quite a bit and love to do it. Has anyone sold stuff they made on etsy and how did the manage the business part of it? I'm looking into selling a few things I make like dog beds, tutu's, blankets, aprons. Thanks!
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    i would recommend you go on their community forums and their groups. Right now its really rough because they aren't defining "homemade" versus "factory made" and other issues with the possible company going public on wall street and what that would entail with sellers. I was thinking about it but there is a lot of turmoil. They have "mentors' that can walk you through opening a shop and helping you start (you bringing in your customers by advertising, listing, getting good pictures and descriptions, etc)
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    #3
    I don't sell on etsy but I do sell on FB through a business page. The only fees are the paypal fees and everybody's on FB. I actually have two businesses although both are pretty much in hibernation until after Emmett comes and we get settled now - my cake decorating business and knitting/sewing business. Paypal makes it easy because you can invoice them, print shipping, and then track shipping all the way through to them. They also protect you (and the customer) from scams or mishaps, as well.
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    #4
    I've been selling on Etsy for a while now. It's a LOT of work. If you have the time, it's rewarding but there is a ton more to it than just putting items online and waiting for them to sell (if you actually want to make a sale). The business part of it requires a lot of effort.

    For taxes, you need to be able to do your accounting. You need to register for a business license, file with your state to collect tax (and learn how to give it to the government), and based on your income, you need to file quarterly taxes with the federal government. Most of this isn't actually that hard and theres lot of info on the internet to help. The most important is being able to properly do your income statements and stuff for tax season. You need to know how to figure out your cost of goods sold, which is a complicated thing. Proper accounting, budgeting, and receipt keeping is really important, even for small time stuff.

    Look around for similar items to what you're selling and price around there. Don't underprice-- I find on Etsy that quality tends to be measured by the customer in terms of photos and price. High priced things sell-- so don't undervalue your products. Don't charge anything that isn't fair, but come up with an adequate price based on the time it takes you to produce an item, the cost of materials, and any other costs you have like taxes, marketing, general supplies, etc. Don't forget to consider all the time you're going to be spending on accounting, photography, listing editing, promoting, etc. when figuring a price either.

    Your photography needs to be excellent-- this is the most important part of your business. Second to that is being able to effectively utilize tags on Etsy and SEO. That's how people find you. And if people find you, but your pictures are bad, then you won't sell anyway.

    If you want more info I'm happy to talk with you privately. It's a tough market right now, there is a lot of competition from resellers and factory type merchandise on there, but there is definitely still room for individuals selling a great product and putting in the effort.
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    I sell on Etsy, but for me it's really more of a hobby so I'm not terribly disappointed with my few sales, instead I celebrate each one. I got my business license, both a state and city license (because depending on where you live, you may need more than just a state license). In my state, new businesses like mine file taxes every month. I agree with FruitPunch. that photography is key, and I'm still working on mine. Depending on what you sell, it can be really hard to make your business stand out. At this point, I'm happy to turn a slight profit because really what I do is for fun rather than for my livelihood.

    If you have any questions feel free to PM me.
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    #6
    there's also another site that some etsy people are going to with this new change, its called zibbet? not sure if its a better alternative, for a while many claimed Artfire was but after things changed over there they seemed to flood back to etsy.
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    #7
    I'm thinking about selling on etsy as well but I'm currently overseas so I'm totally at a loss about the taxes :/ If you are willing to put in the effort I think it's a great option, but I wouldn't expect it to be your main income. Perhaps selling through word of mouth, friends and family might be the way to go in the beginning.
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    WOW! This is all some really great advice. I'm glad TigerLily asked! LOL.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by TigerLily1989 View Post
    Everyone knows Etsy and all the crafty people on there. I sew quite a bit and love to do it. Has anyone sold stuff they made on etsy and how did the manage the business part of it? I'm looking into selling a few things I make like dog beds, tutu's, blankets, aprons. Thanks!
    Selling on Etsy is pretty straight forward. The hardest part is reading through the Community section or articles on Google to learn the best way of doing things. In the end it is more time consuming than hard. If your products are really unique then you can do great things with Etsy. A lot of people get hung up on that part when they try selling things that everyone else is already making. If you do what everyone else is already doing, then you're not really providing value to your customer which means you can only compete on price, and that isn't a good way to compete. Providing value is the name of the game and it comes in many forms. For instance you can make something similar to others, but something about it needs to set it apart from the others or else customers will have no reason to choose your item over another. Or you can provide value by making something super unique that no one else has (or has the ability to replicate). By the way I'm not suggesting your stuff isn't unique (I don't even know what it is lol!).

    The taxes, and business side aren't all that complicated either. Mostly its a process of trial and error as with any business. If you take it one step at a time, learn as you go, and read up on it, then you can definitely turn it into a profitable business. Oh yeah, and don't quit if it doesn't work out at first. Picking yourself up to try again after a failure is the ultimate key to success.

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