Sidehustle Log 06: Progress
… Or just a spike in the statistics?
I am still afraid of believing the numbers I see are going to last, but I’ll certainly be happy about them!
Welcome to my sidehustle log series. A real-time experiment in striving for financial independence online. I don’t know what the answer to this series will be any more than you do!
Other instalments the sidehustle log series can be found here:
- Sidehustle log 01: Beginnings
- Sidehustle log 02: Christmas market
- Sidehustle log 03: Launching Etsy
- Sidehustle Log 04: March Update And A Website
- Sidehustle Log 05: Going Digital
I know we are only halfway through July at this point, but boy am I excited!
For the last week, there has been a sale in the shop almost every day, and even though we are only half-way through July, FrugasaurusVault has already earned more than twice what it did in June!
How do you ask? Well, through the magical powers of… vacation.
Make no mistake though, my shop is still a tiny thing. 200 NOK ($25), up from 100 NOK ($12.5) in revenue is certainly nothing to live off of. But as they say, and progress is good progress, right?
So let us take the tiny wins where we can find them, and let you know how it happened.
The first and most important thing was perhaps that I enjoyed a few weeks of holiday and had the time and energy to tinker around with Etsy and update listings, test different keywords, look into the competition, etc.
The second thing I did was to create a sale.
I figured July is the summer sale season for physical shops, so why not extend that to my little shop as well? I put 20 % off on everything for a month (until July 26th), and watched tiny trickles come in as people were attracted to the green prices.
I also tried out a couple different keywords and replaced some that weren’t driving traffic, using the Etsyrank keyword tool.
There was definitely some increase in sales at the reduced price, but I didn’t have much time to analyse the impact of the alone, as I also decided to give promoted listings a try.
I’ve been nervous to try it, since it means Etsy would take a bigger piece of my profits. but spend money to make money, right? If it didn’t work, I could always just turn it off again. I put it in my calendar to review promoted listing performance after a week, and then a month.
How it works
Etsy being a business, they naturally have some suggestions for how you should promote your listings. You set a maximum budget per day, and let Etsy know how much you are willing to “bid” for each listing being seen (you can promote as few or as many listings as you like).
This bid is your competition with other sellers. Very competitive keywords and popular items will have high suggested bids from Etsy. If you have a very low bid, you risk not “winning” and potential customers will not see your product.
I decided to just ignore Etsy’s advice about competitive bids and put both my daily budget and the bid for my chosen listings as low as possible, at $1 per day and $0.02 bid per listing.
Choosing your listings
I do not promote all my listings, especially since items like my editable mason jar series are all very similar products. I pick what I believe to be the best, most searched for and relevant selection from the different items in my shop. Here it is obviously important to put your best foot and ensure pictures are crisp, clean and accurately portray what it is you offer.
I do not know if this is the best strategy, but one week into the experiment, I have at least earned much more in the few sales I made from the promotion compared to what I paid.
This is still very much an experiment. I might hike up my bids later and see how that affects sales and if it is worth it.
Cleaning up the shop
Perhaps the most important advantage of a few weeks of honeymoon and holiday, has been the time and energy for bigger tasks.
Such as going through all my listings and making new images to ensure the shop follows a similar style choice. Even with only a small shop of currently 28 listings, this was a daunting task I could not muster the energy to deal with until now, but I am so glad I did! The shop looks a lot cleaner and more professional now. And if nothing else, me and my love for systematization is at least happy I did it.
What drove traffic?
The majority of the pageviews came from Etsy itself and Pinterest (which is automatically scheduled with Tailwind), with a small spike from twitter. I think twitter could do better if I utilised it more, but I am still a bit nervous of “bothering” people.
Instagram took a nosedive after I merged my regular Frugasaurus account and my previous FrugasaurusVault account. I attribute this to getting a linktree in the profile to link to both the blog and the Etsy shop, plus perhaps being more timid about sharing advertisements for my shop on my blogging and general fun encouragement account.
Still, I do not really consider it a loss, as the stress from trying to post regularly on two accounts was getting to me, and I much prefer a simple life. Maybe it’ll pick up again further down the road.
Want to open your own shop?
As you can see from my own experiments, it is easy and fun to get started with an Etsy shop. If you want to get started on the right foot, please consider using this link to get 40 free listings from the get go. I get the same boon, and together we can figure out this online entrepreneurship business!
That way you can explore if an idea has potential before actually investing money in it.