Etsy is a popular store designed to sell products that people have created themselves. When you think of it, you’re more likely to think of handmade jewellery, knitted or crocheted items, paintings, clay modelling stuff, glass items, etc.
You know… trinkets.
(Can you tell I don’t spend much time on Etsy?)
So, when I came across an article about a woman using her maternity leave to start a $9,500-a-month business on the website, I had to read it.
The first thing that surprised me was that she wasn’t selling those stereotypical products. She was selling printables that she created on Canva.
Rachel Jiminez had a full-time job as the director of alumni engagement at a university. She was also studying on the side—Positive Psychology. Her blog and Etsy store were, in her own words, “side hustles”.
Ms Jiminez explained that her Etsy shop was consistently getting her around $50 a month. She just didn’t have enough time to invest in it. It was when she was on maternity leave with her second child that she started putting work into it.
In the article, she explains how she built her business.
Tips For Expanding an Etsy Business
According to Ms Jiminez, building her business was a four-step process. Here’s how it started.
Developing the Growth Mindset
When starting your own business, it’s easy to take failure personally. Once you do that, you’ll give up at the first sign of trouble.
That’s why Ms Jiminez considers the first step of her journey the one where she stopped thinking that she wasn’t good enough and focused on figuring out the problem.
Learning From Others’ Successes
When you’re on a platform like Etsy, you can see how other sellers are performing. Again, it’s likely that you see others doing better than you and feel jealous.
What Ms Jiminez did with that emotion was to use it to learn from the sellers she perceived as more successful than her.
She says she’d “…study their strategies, devour any podcasts or blog posts they created, and put their tips and recommendations to the test.”
Testing and Tweaking Periodically
No matter how well a strategy works for someone else, it’s possible that isn’t suitable for you in the least. When Ms Jiminez saw a strategy failing to deliver, she’d “try to get helpful data” from her failures.
One of the questions she’d ask is whether it was a marketing problem or a product problem. For example, say she had high volumes of traffic to a product page, but not enough conversions. That told her the product wasn’t appealing enough.
On the other hand, if she didn’t have many people visiting the product page, but those who did ended up buying more often than not? That meant she wasn’t marketing it well.
Considering the Customers’ Needs and Wants
Customers tend to vote with their feet. If they don’t like the product, no matter how well you sell it, they won’t buy it. That’s why Ms Jiminez decided to find out exactly what customers were looking for.
She says she looked for “clues in Facebook Groups and online forums, noticed what was trending in stores, and used tools like Google Trends and Pinterest Trends.” She even used paid tools, such as eRank.
This research helped her identify the problems her customers wanted to solve, which she then used to design her products.
Why Digital Products?
I discussed this in another article about Digital Products UX Trends in 2023 in greater detail but a digital product is any product that is built, delivered, and consumed online.
As Ms Jiminez explained, “a digital product can be a PDF, a JPEG image, or even an Excel spreadsheet that you make once and profit from forever.”
Of course, if you’ve read my previous article on digital product trends, you’d know that it also includes other online consumables like audio files, videos, apps, software, templates, plug-ins, and more.
However, the key point is the latter half of her description… make it once and profit from it forever.
A digital product doesn’t need a warehouse (or a workshop cupboard) to be stored in. You don’t need to ship it physically to a customer. You don’t need to build a copy every time someone orders it.
In short, it doesn’t have much overhead.
How Can You Create Your Own Digital Products For Your Business?
In the article, Ms Jiminez says she used Canva to design both her products as well as her listing images. Other people might use Keynote, PowerPoint, PhotoShop, or Illustrator. Others might use Notion, OneNote, or Excel.
Of course, if you wanted to design a digital product that required more technical knowledge, you might need to hire a digital product development company, like Luminos Software.
It would depend on what you want to design and sell. You might want to do your own research to see what customers want and need. Or, you might have a brilliant idea but you aren’t quite sure how to market it.
Hopefully, Rachel Jiminez’s story will inspire you to give it a go and provide you with enough pointers to get you started on your path to success.