Friday, 30 December 2011

How Etsy Gambles with Your Business: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself

Etsy is not just a host for millions of stores, they are also a business and just like each one of us Etsians, their aim is to attract customers and make money. Their customers are us.

Yes, their customers are us! This is something we tend to forget. When we pay our seller fees we are paying for a service, which they provide.

The problem for us is that like any business, it can go bust. 

Things in the real world sometimes mess it all up and there’s no predicting when something is ever likely to go wrong.

We are the last people they are going to tell if some calamitous event is occurring behind the scenes simply because they wouldn’t want us closing down our stores in droves.

That would be bad for business.

So I personally have been working on 5 things, which I feel would protect my business should something drastic ever happen to Etsy.

Sell Items on Other Handmade Venues
There are countless sites out there, which have developed the same theme as Etsy by focussing on the handmade market.

MISI, Folksy and Not on the High Street are just three examples. Some are less established than others, but if you work hard to list all of your items on multiple platforms, the few sales gained from each will combine to give you a successful income.

And Not on the High Street have one of the biggest advantages over all others, they advertise! And the results prove that it works.

Sell Items in Bricks and Mortar Stores
While the online world is great for reaching a global audience, it doesn’t beat having customers who can pick up your item in their hands and get a real feel for it.

Building up a list of real stores that sell your items will not only provide you with more revenue streams, but they will be your back-up plan should your online world collapse.

Set Up Your Own Website
This is one of the most important things any seller could do for their business.

Not only does it give you somewhere to direct people when they ask for your website, but it also puts you in the control seat with regards to what you can/cannot do.

If you only have an Etsy store, then your options are limited to what they allow you to do.

Stop Promoting Etsy, Inc. and Start Promoting Your Business
One of the services Etsy doesn’t include is advertising. Etsy doesn’t spend the fees we pay on advertising and they don’t need to for one reason only:

They can count on us doing plenty of advertising for them. And we do!

How many times have you told people about your ‘Etsy Store’ and called it that rather than its official name?

It’s something we all do at first, but you must stop supporting Etsy and start supporting your business.

And finally...

Think Like a Lone Wolf

That’s right, as a work-from-home handmade artist, you are a lone wolf.

When considering your business plan, remember that you are working on your own. You might be an Etsy member, but Etsy is not going to get those sales for you and they will not bail you out if your business goes bad.

By placing all of our eggs in the one Etsy basket, we are gambling with our success because we are not in the control seat.

As long as we remember that Etsy is merely a tool for building on our success and not the entire basis of it, then we can’t go far wrong.

What are you doing to protect yourself?

If you found this article useful, please share it with others.


  1. Not a darn thing! and it is time to do so. My store has only been open for 6 months, but I am already wondering about other avenues. Thanks for the advice.

  2. Agreed, I havent done anything else online, primarily because sites like ArtFire charge a monthly fee, and making my own website means fees plus I need to be a programmer which I am not. I make jewelry not codes!

    I sell locally and at a seasonal farmers market which is great and hand out those business cards people! They work! Give them, pin them up wherever you can!