Welcome back! 🙂 I know it’s slow going here, but I can’t tell you how busy a church secretary-by-day and crochetaholic-by-night can be to a degree that you’d understand. Oh, all the things…
So we’ve started our little Etsy shop in our own little corner of the webiverse, and we’ve listed a few items. Now we’ve got some less fun stuff to plow through. We’ll start with the final steps of shop set-up, and then talk a little bit about what I’ve learned about shipping, payments, and policies.
The Final Countdown
Okay, so this page, obviously, isn’t one that I can give you a lot of screenshots for. 🙂 But I kinda halfway feel like I’m insulting your intelligence when I do that anyway. I’m a visual learner, and a BIG planner, so I like to know everything I’m getting myself into when I do certain things. That’s why I’ve been giving y’all such detail all this time. I’m sure I’m not the only person on earth like this. Moving along… you’re going to decide some things here about how to handle your money and how Etsy and you are going to get along financially. I’m not even going to tell you what I did here, because it’s A) personal preferences, and your preferences may be different from mine, and B) been several days (if not weeks) that have passed between when I did this and when I finally sat down to write about it. One thing you’ll learn really quickly about me (if you didn’t read it in the “About Me” section) is that I have the world’s worst memory when it comes to semi-important stuff. I don’t remember anymore what I did when I went through this part, but I feel like I probably did mostly default stuff.
I had a separate bank account set up already from a previous business venture that ended early last year. Since then, I’ve been calling it my “yarn account.” Any money I’ve made or spent in relation to yarny endeavors has basically gone through that spare account. So it was only natural that it would be the one I connected to my Etsy shop. You don’t have to have a separate account. It’s just as easy to connect to your regular checking account, but I have to have things separated. It’s part of how I organize.
Oh my goodness, y’all! We did it! 🙂 It’s my very own little shop! I never really thought I would do this, but now it’s done and it’s kind of exciting! Now, I said previously that my little shop is currently in vacation mode, so if you go looking for me now (around February 2016) you probably won’t see anything fun. I feel like I owe it to myself and any potential customers to have my stuff together before I open up for real. I want it to be a pleasant experience for everyone. So now we’re moving on to policies, payments, and shipping:
This part is so hard for me. Coming up with “rules” in advance of incidents makes me feel like I’m expecting the worst. :-p But I suppose it’s one of those situations that’s better safe than sorry? Anyways, I’m also the kind of person who would never dream of starting an Etsy shop without having some policies in place. As hard as it feels to write up policies, I absolutely feel like they are invaluable to both shop owners and customers. It’s good to know what to expect when you’re shopping, right? You want to know how you can pay and how soon to expect your beautiful handmade goodies, don’t you? I know I do!
So in approaching shop policies, I read up about it here, and then looked at a couple of the linked shops’ policies as examples. It doesn’t look that difficult to come up with some general “this is how I do it” rules, and I can always adjust them as necessary. I’ll be optimistic that any customers I might have will be understanding and grant me a little grace if something unexpected happens.
Paypal is a beast I’ve yet to tame when it comes to accepting money. I’m sure it’s easy enough; I’ve just got to take the time to learn it. I use it for purchasing, and I have used it in the past to send money as a gift, but I really want to know all the ins and outs before I start using it to accept payments. I know a lot of people seem to use it, and I prefer it myself when I’m purchasing, so I do want to offer it at some point, but for now I’m sticking with what I feel is easiest for everyone.
After writing that last paragraph, I read up a little on Direct Checkout on Etsy, which is what I’ve decided to use for my shop. Apparently with Direct Checkout, customers can still use PayPal to checkout? At least, that’s what it sounds like from what I read on this page.
The main way to get paid on Etsy! Offer your buyers the ability to pay via:
Etsy Gift Cards
iDEAL (buyers in the Netherlands)
Sofort (buyers in Austria and Germany)
I’m sure there’s some reason that people wouldn’t opt for Etsy’s Direct Checkout, but for my purposes, I can’t see why you wouldn’t. At least, not starting out. Maybe I’ll discover a reason later on, but for now it sounds fine to me.
Obviously, we all know that the most basic and simple way to send something to someone is typically through the mail (or “post,” if you’re across the pond). At least, I assume this is also true across the pond… haha. My local post office is not only just a few miles away from my home, but it’s also on my route to work. And the employees have always been super helpful and friendly. So why do I get nervous about the idea of sending stuff to people?
Side note: I’m starting to feel like I have a real problem with fear and anxiety. :-p This may well be a real thing, or maybe I just need to put on the big girl panties and stop fretting over stuff that’s not such a big deal.
Popular alternatives to mailing items in my area are UPS and FedEx. The nearest drop off points for these are quite a ways off from my house, and if you’ll remember, I’m trying to keep things as simple as possible. Joy of joys, Etsy has a solution!
You can read all about Etsy’s shipping policies here, but the short and sweet of what I’ve decided to do: Etsy Shipping Labels. Basically, Etsy lets you purchase shipping labels through them in order to send items via the USPS. It’s based on destination, weight, and package size, and you print the labels at home, so you’ll have to know all of that information for each listing. You may want to round up a little bit to account for packaging as well if you don’t have a complete package ready for shipping.
Now, I know there are other places (e.g. Stamps.com and the like) that you can also use to purchase postage. I don’t know a lot about those places, and full disclosure, I’d intended to educate myself on them before making this post. But I feel like that has turned into an excuse not only to postpone writing about this, but to delay getting my shop up and running. So for the time being, I’ve decided to go ahead with the Etsy labels. I may look into other places in more detail in the future and who knows? I may change over. If that happens, I’ll be sure to share about it here. But it’s time to stop pushing things off, right?
My final note on shipping: We’ve covered before that when you list an item for your shop, you have a place to enter a shipping cost, and even an additional shipping cost for multiple-item purchases. After asking around a bit, the overwhelming consensus seems to be that people prefer free shipping. I get it. I love free shipping too! I like to see a price for something and know that it’s the final price, ya know? Now, I couldn’t tell you at the moment if Etsy charges any taxes on purchases, but I know I am able to make the shipping free and it’s as simple as changing the amount where we previously entered figures while setting up listings.
That was a lot of information! But I think that now I’m as ready as I can be to get this show on the road. This week, my goals are to get a postage meter to weigh my items, figure out what kind of packaging I want to use for mailing, write out my policies and “About” sections and update my shop. With any luck, I’ll be open for business for real by the end of February! (Oh, don’t let that time frame discourage you. That’s me… I need time to accomplish those goals and if you’re serious about opening your own shop, you’d probably breeze through this part. 🙂 I’m just giving myself a little grace). Thanks for sharing the startup journey with me, if you’ve been following along! And if you’re preparing to open up a shop of your own, I wish you all the best! Feel free to check in now and then because I’ll continue to share any new developments as I go, plus some more (less boring) yarn-related stuff.