Zero to 10k Etsy Challenge – Progress Report 1

Welcome to my Zero to 10K Etsy challenge progress 1 report!

As the headline indicates my goal is to start and launch an Etsy store and grow it to $10,000 a month in income. Ideally with profit margins around 30% to 50% mark, which from the research I’ve done is possibly a bit ambitious, but we’ll give it a go and see where we end up!

The rules of the game are as follows;

  1. Start and grow an Etsy store to $10,000 a month income by the end of 2024.
  2. Achieve profit margins in the region of 30% to 50%.
  3. Do this in my spare time in and around my main business – The Working Traveller website and newsletter – my family, and our traveling lifestyle kicking off full time in June this year.
  4. Grow it on a shoestring budget to minimize costs as much as possible. This means using as many free or low cost resources as possible, such as training from YouTube, any free software tools etc.

Step 1 – To Niche or Not to Niche, That is the Question!

It’s been a bit of a slow start, mainly due to the fact that I really dislike product research. 

I remember feeling the same when I started my first Amazon business back in 2015, but within 12 months we’d turned over 7 figures so we must have done something right.

I’ve also been unsure as to whether a general store or a small specific niche shop is the key to success on Etsy, and to be honest, the jury is still out on that. 

Some teachers on YouTube swear by creating a brand and building a niche store. Some teachers say the complete opposite and recommend starting a store that sells a variety of products to test which ones sell the best.

As my goal with this project is to actually build products that will complement my overall brand, and to test which products sell well so that I can potentially sell those products on Amazon and on my own site moving forward, I have decided to start a niche store around a very specific topic.

However, I’ll also be adding some unrelated products to a dummy store to use as my main examples for these progress reports. So I guess I’m probably doing a little bit of both.

The reason for this is because even though it’s quite obvious what my niche is, I don’t want to use those products as my examples as it could negatively impact my conversion rates etc, if readers go searching for my store and products out of curiosity and don’t buy.

So I’ll be using a dummy store to demonstrate the details of how I’m doing my product, research, listings, promotions etc.

(I’ll laugh if my dummy store outperforms my niche store!)

To be honest, I’ve picked a bit of a challenging niche as I want to do something related to travel, which is not necessarily one of the most popular niches on Etsy. Something like weddings, pets, babies or beauty has a better chance of reaching a broader audience, but, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge!

However, this is something to bear in mind if you’re following along and building your own store at the same time.

Step 2 – Product Research

So let’s start with the complexities of product research on this platform. 

Ironically, although much riskier financially, I found Amazon product research much easier. Because you were buying in bulk and shipping product from overseas, there were a set of very specific rules to minimize cost exposure and mitigate risks.

However with Etsy because your products are either handmade items that you’ve made yourself or you’re selling print on demand there’s far less risk and so you have a much broader selection of products to choose from.

Therefore, I found it difficult to get a specific set of criteria to identify potential products.

Also, when researching product selection on YouTube, every video I watched was completely different. For example;

  • One seller recommended using Sale Samurai and doing all of your product research based on the most popular keywords
  • Another seller recommended the drop-shipping method and simply identifying best sellers on the platform, and then seeing if they were for sale on Alibaba and creating similar but different listings
  • Another seller discredited all of the tools that have been created over the years to help with product research on Etsy, and said that research could only be done inside of the Etsy platform. He then proceeded to walk through a complicated strategy that would take hours to go through hundreds of listings and shops manually. (Quite possibly the best way, but I don’t have the hours to spare).

The strategy I chose to follow was actually a combination between the lady who talked about keyword research, because that’s what I’m used to with my blog, and another seller who recommended using Everbee to have a look and see which are the highest selling products in my niche of choice.

So I signed up to the $29.99 monthly subscription service with Everbee, typed in the main keyword for my niche in the search bar and set the criteria to;

  1. Identify stores that had only been open for the last 12 months (shows me what can be achieved in a year)
  2. Highlight products that were making over $1000 of sales per month
everbee-criteria

As my business model of choice is going to be print on demand, I then made a big list of all the products I thought would fit this model.

I then went to Ahrefs, which is the keyword and SEO tool I use for my website and cross referenced the products with potential keywords on Google.

I’m making a rather sweeping assumption that if they are popular on Google the chances are they reasonably popular on Etsy. However, I think I’m going to have a quick look at Sale Samurai also, as recommended by the keyword lady, and just cross reference the main keywords to see if they are popular search terms on Etsy. Just to be sure.

There’s no point selling something that no-one is looking for!

Step 3 – My First 10 Products

So with that being said, (not withstanding further keyword research), I have created a list of the first 10 products I will start designing and listing on Etsy.

My job over the next couple of weeks will be to launch my store, design my products and create my first listings!

Here is a link to my dummy store which myself and my daughter started a couple of summers ago with big plans to start selling, planners and journals, but we never really got off the ground. It’s been sitting there ever since, and this is what I’ll use to demonstrate what I talk about in these progress reports.

Jo’s Dummy Store on Etsy

Your Turn

If you’d like to follow along and launch your own store, here are my steps for getting started up to the point of the product selection;

1. Pick a niche you’re interested in. Personally I’d start reasonably broad but fairly specific, so if you love Yorkshire Terriers, maybe start with dogs to get a feel for the whole dog niche. Or if you love the thought of designing greetings cards, maybe start with weddings to get a feel for that specific market.

You may not stick purely within the niche you choose, but you have to start somewhere and trying to decide on your products from the whole mix on Etsy is too difficult. So pick something you’re interested in and start product research from there.

One Etsy video I watched, the seller recommended starting with thinking about your ideal customer. Who do you want to sell to? That’s always a great start for any niche. So if that feels good, start there.

2. Sign up for Everbee and install the chrome extension. Then when searching for products on your niche, you can views sales volumes etc. Please note, it comes with training videos on how to do product research using the tool, so go and watch all of the videos that show you exactly how to use the product analysis tool and understand the numbers that you’re looking at.

3. Make a list of the first 5 to 10 products that you want to sell.

Summary

So that’s where I’m up to. As I said above the next job is to create the store, design the products, and then create the listings which I expect to take the next 2 to 3 weeks given my current work commitments.

However, as I design my products I will list them directly on the platform. I won’t wait until all 10 products are ready. I’ll do them one by one as they’re ready to go.

So my next update will be as and when I’ve listed my first product and simultaneously listed a product on the dummy store so I can walk you through my process of design, listing and Etsy SEO.

In the meantime, here is a list of excellent teachers that I have found on YouTube that aren’t just creating crappy videos for views, but are actually walking you through very specific steps to grow and launch your Etsy store.

Tia TXMy Favourite – she just gives away the farm without any big sales pitches (or none that I’ve seen).

Brand Creators – Scott has a background in Amazon and does some of the Everbee videos for them.

Dylan Jahraus – She pitches her coaching quite a bit, but also gives a lot of great info on her free videos.

Wholesale Ted – Sarah talks about all things ecom, but if you’re going down the print on demand route, she’s definitely the one to listen to.

So that’s it!

I hope that this has been helpful, or at the very least interesting and I look forward to updating you again soon!

Thanks for reading!

Jo 🙂

About the author

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