A few days ago I wrote a post that departed from my normal tone. I was a little gruff; a little direct. Maybe even a little condescending. None of those are what I want to be and I thought about deleting my post before too many people saw it!
This quote from that article will give you an idea of the tone:
“Getting a Sale on Etsy Is Like Winning the Lottery”
No, it isn’t. It’s one sale and you should expect it to happen pretty darn quickly. If it doesn’t then you need to go into the bathroom and look in the mirror and have a talk with your staff.
That post is all business and not wrong. Not entirely.
Here’s where it fails: It neglects to talk about the deep non-business connection you have with your Etsy shop. It forgets that your reasons for doing this go far beyond earning some cash.
In short, I forgot I was talking to an artist. A creator. Someone who gets as much joy from the love of making (if not more) than she does from the cha-ching at sale time.
It’s Not All About The Money — Not Even Close
Less than 6 hours after I wrote that bit of greed-laden, heartless, soulless business advice, I was providentially shown the glaring error of my ways.
Kim and I were on a little husband/wife trip to the stunning, tree-covered mountains of North Carolina to celebrate her birthday. We visited Asheville, ate some amazing BBQ at 12 Bones, and then went to the River Arts District.
The River Arts District is sort of like a little “real life” model of Etsy. Building after colorful building is filled with “working artists studios” where you can not only buy the art, but you can meet the artist and, if the stars are aligned and your timing is right, you can watch the creation process happening before your very eyes.
It’s fun. It’s inspiring. And it is a real reminder that it’s not just about the money.
There are successful artists who will sell you a photograph for a few hundred bucks or a painting for a few thousand. But if you look closer you’ll find that everyone is represented. We found one area that had the work of a budding mixed-media artist, we presumed a teen, who had wonderful work on display priced at just a few dollars.
The most impressive thing is that no matter what, whether making $500 an hour or dreaming of making $5, the absolute passion for the art was clearly evident in every artist and every piece of work on display.
The focus on the art was so great at times that sometimes even the customers browsing through were somewhat of an annoyance!
The creation was the main pursuit. The money was secondary; an afterthought.
Etsy Mixes Business and Art
If you’re looking to be a starving artist then my writing probably won’t really be your favorite because, for the most part, I’m talking about how to make money.
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was about 14 years old when I sold my first house painting job. Before that I cut lawns. I’ve always loved it and the excitement I have about the opportunities online is so huge I hardly sleep at night.
So that’s what I write about here.
But I’ll try to never again sinfully forget that Etsy isn’t eBay. It’s not about selling just to sell. It’s not about marketing for marketing’s sake and accounting as a cure to boredom. Etsy is a place to share your creations and your exciting vintage finds with the world.
It’s a magical and wonderful and inspiring place where you can mix your greatest love with your need to earn a living. You can create and you can sell.
It’s awesome and I hope I can always be helpful on the business side. I’ll leave the whole artsy fartsy thing to my wife, Kim@EverythingEtsy (blog) (pinterest) (facebook), who didn’t need to see a physical Arts District to be reminded… because it’s just who she is.
Me, I’m about the opportunity of it all. It’s just so huge.