Etsy Jam

Episode 60: Are you an amateur or a professional?

How serious are you about your Etsy shop? Would you consider yourself an amateur or a professional? In this jam, we look at 14 different opportunities for self-reflection which will help you have a better understanding of yourself and take your shop to the next level.

Asking questions

A friend of Gordon’s shared with him the article we’re basing this jam off of. Gordon found it very interesting and if you’d like to read it for yourself, it can be found here.

This particular article is called “The difference between amateurs and professionals”. It really helps you take a step back and ask some solid questions of yourself. If you’re more in line with what the article calls an amateur but you aspire to be a professional, to take your shop to the next level, or to take your Etsy shop to full-time, the points we’ll go through will be right up your alley. There were lots to choose from, but we chose the following fourteen points because we felt they would be most relevant to Etsy sellers. We hope some of these will resonate with you and give you ideas and tools to help you go from where you are now, to where you want to be. If you’re not wanting to grow your shop and are happy where you are, this might not be the jam for you. For those that are looking for that next level, read on!

Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day. 

This is SO important. Some even say it’s 9/10ths of success. To have true confidence in what you’re doing you have to actually, well, do it! Just like with riding a bike. Do you forget how to ride it? No. But if you haven’t been on a bike in ten years, how confident will you be compared to someone who’s been riding every day? It’s the same with whatever you’re doing business wise. Show up consistently and be proficient in your craft. It makes all the difference in the world.

Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term. 

We do tend to be wired for short-term gratification, but there is a lot to be gained by looking beyond the here and now. We’re huge fans around here of living in the moment. It’s important to remember this. However, even in this, balance is key. You can’t live in the moment so much that it’s at the expense of the next moment. You can totally live in the moment, but don’t expect to make huge strides forward if that’s all you ever do. It’s easy to look at your Etsy stats for the last day or even the last week and put a lot of weight on those. But you’ll probably get a whole lot further by focusing on those stats long term. What were they last month, last quarter, last year? It’s better to look at these numbers than to work yourself up about much shorter chunks of time.

Even traffic can be a short-term vs long-term thing. People often get caught up in trying to jam a ton of traffic into a day. But what you really need to be asking is: Are these people actually going to do something for you as a seller, or are they literally just traffic? Another thing to think about is how you’re measuring things. This is very important, especially in e-commerce. Don’t just measure small chunks, you need to measure enough to see if the things you’re trying out are really working for you. Haven’t had any views in the last hour and feel like the sky is falling?? Probably not the case. Look back at a larger chunk of time and see how things measure up then.

Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process. 

So maybe a goal for you is to make as much from your Etsy shop in a year as you do at your day job so you can get the heck outta there and do Etsy full time. Unless you have a structured way of achieving this, a process, something you can combine with that whole “showing up everyday thing”, then it’s really just something nice to talk about. Just because you have a goal that it’s gonna be sunny every day for the next year, and you say it, and it’s on your vision board…that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. A goal on its own isn’t going to fulfill itself. But a process that allows you to show up every day and forwards you along your path to achieving your goal is where it’s at. 

Amateurs think they are good (or bad) at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.

These are the things you excel at vs the things you aren’t fantastic at. Both of these are totally ok, but you have to be aware of them. You can’t get caught up in either of these. No one is absolutely good at everything. No one is absolutely horrible at everything. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Having a good understanding of these things is very important. Identify what your strengths are and run with those!

Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.

We’ve definitely talked about this concept before. In fact, there’s a book called “Strengths Finders” that we highly recommend on this topic. It goes through and helps you identify your strengths and grow them. One thing the book touches on is: If you come across an area where you’re weak, do you immediately rush out to find someone to do it, or do you take a long hard look at it and weigh in the balance how necessary that particular thing is? Yes, there will be times when you need to find someone to come alongside you and fill in the gaps, but there is also value in taking a step back and really thinking about letting certain things go if they aren’t a strength. Those things might not be that important.

A great example of this was in last week’s jam with Rachel from IndigoTangerine. We talked with her about how she doesn’t have a website. She readily admits to not being the most tech-savvy person in the world. Could she run out and find someone to build a site for her? Absolutely! However, for the time being, she’s decided that it honestly isn’t that important for her where she’s currently at. Clearly, this isn’t having a negative effect on her growth at all, and though she might need a site one day, for now, she’d rather focus on growing her strengths and continuing along the path she’s on.

Amateurs take feedback from amateurs. Professionals know which feedback they should pay attention to.

Very similar to parenting, you’re always going to get advice especially from people who haven’t done what you’re doing. This would be the time to find a mentor. The way to find a great mentor is to look at those who are doing what you’re doing and then find someone who is a level above where you currently are. This keeps the gap between you and them smaller, assuring they remember what it was like to be where you are. If someone is too far ahead of you, there could be a lot of “Hmm…I think I did this or that” and not as much practical advice.

Another thing to think about is that amateurs aren’t the best at taking criticism. Especially where feedback from customers is concerned. A serious seller will take a long hard look at feedback, think about what’s going on with the comments that are negative, weigh if this person really knows what they’re talking about and if so, figure out how to turn those negative comments into positive results?

Amateurs value isolated performance. Professionals value consistency.

This goes back to measuring things. Don’t pat yourself on the back for small pockets of success, instead measure if you’re consistently able to deliver at this level. Now, if you do happen to have, say, a week of amazing success, what can you learn from that? Go back and try to find what you did differently than other weeks. Maybe it was being more on top of convos or keywords or whatever but try and identify this. Again, on the flip side of this don’t get down about isolated bad performance. Some things are simply out of your control. Concern yourself with learning from your successes and mistakes and applying those lessons to the future.

Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.

This goes back to our very first jam! We had an entire jam on failing forward and how these are opportunities to learn and grow. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in them. Everything won’t go amazingly all the time, but these failures can be our best teachers.

Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do. | Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance. Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.

There is definitely a pattern here. You get this by measuring things. You know what numbers are important to keep track of and you keep track of them. Otherwise, you’ll have those amazing weeks in sales and you’ll have zero ideas of why it was so good.

Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice. | Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.

We see this a lot on our facebook group. The people who understand what they’re doing and who have been successful with Etsy are way more willing to jump into a convo and give feedback. It’s awesome to see this happen! There are probably a lot of sellers out there who think knowledge is power. They may lurk around Facebook and other forums trying to simply learn what others are doing, thinking they’ll make a super shop from all the knowledge they’ve gleaned. But you know, it’s night and day when you see a seller that’s successful jumping in there, freely giving all they know, the best they know how. We see them seriously building up other sellers and not falling into the trap of negativity, even when things aren’t going swimmingly.

Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility.

It’s easy to blame others and point fingers when things are going wrong. Maybe the reason things aren’t going great isn’t totally your fault. You might only be partially to blame. It’s hard to admit that, but when we accept our own part in whatever it may be, it can be a wonderful lesson. Even when something is totally our fault, accepting responsibility for whatever the situation is will only bring freedom and positive lessons in the future.

Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.

It’s kinda that whole goals and process thing. It’s like hey, the process worked! Now, can we make it even better? Let’s say you set a goal that this year you’ll pay for your family’s summer vacation with what your Etsy shop brings in. Sweet you hit that goal! Now, don’t see that as the end, this is just the beginning. What’s the next goal? Make it bigger whatever it is. Set up your goals so they fall into sequence with each other. Always look at the next step and how you can grow what you’re doing even more. If you’re not working at being better and growing whatever you’re doing, you must not be that into it. So….not professional;)

Final thoughts

Again, if you’re interested in reading the full article where we found these awesome tips, you can find it here. As always, thanks for reading/listening/watching! We hope these points help you to step back and reflect on how you’re doing and where you’re at. Make sure to listen to this week’s jam! Also, check out the Strengths Finders book that Gordon mentioned and when you find out what yours are, we’d love to hear about them!

Happy selling everyone!

How serious are you about your Esty shop? Would you consider yourself an amateur or a professional? In this jam, we look at 14 different opportunities for self reflection which will help you have a better understanding of yourself and take your shop to the next level.


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