In this episode, we talk with Dalia from The Handmade Mastermind – formerly known as Etsy Seller Mastermind. She covers a TON of great topics like how she handles planning, how she feels about Amazon Handmade, important lessons she’s learned from her previous life in retail, how she uses social media and Periscope – and more!
Hey everyone, Dalia here. I’m also actually an Etsy seller. I started selling on Etsy and over time, I felt like I could teach other people to sell as well! I also wanted to help people build a really good business such as what I did. I have two kids, and I do this full time.
How long have you been doing Etsy full time?
A little over two years. I used to work as a full-time retail store manager.
What’s your favorite part about being full time on Etsy?
That I don’t have to work for somebody. I think people might have different reasons but I think I did really well in the outside world. My bosses loved me, I was getting promoted – I was doing well. The issue stands that I have ADD and sometimes it could be difficult for me to finish projects. When I have many things going on in retail management, it was really frustrating and very frustrating for my boss to see that I wasn’t completing things.
So having to do things on my own terms is one of the reasons why I love working for myself. Eventually when you got used to it and realize that it is now your own money in your pocket, you know you gotta shape up and figure out how you focus more. And I have come a long way.
What systems did you find to work well for you?
The biggest thing that I always talked to my group about is planning. So I tend to plan out my whole year (this is intense so when people first begin I tell them to do it a bit less). I talk about big goals I want to accomplish and then I break them down into smaller tasks. Because what I find is that I have this huge project that is so hard to attack and I get frustrated because I don’t know where to start. By breaking it down to smaller tasks, you can then refocus and go back to your list. If I’m not in the mood to do one of those things, I move on to the next. Planning has been one of the biggest things I have done to help me with that.
I always tell people that sometimes you completely feel like a big flop. You don’t want to do anything no matter what is on that list. What I then do is go to my no-brainer list. These are simple things like restocking envelopes. If I don’t feel like doing work, I still find myself productive by doing something that I can never find time to do because it’s not as important.
What are the top challenges you have in your business right now?
I find that one of my biggest challenges is time. I wish I had more of it. It’s not because I don’t get a lot done (I do) but because my goal list is so awesome I wanna do it all tomorrow! I want to finish it all tomorrow! However because time does not allow it; I find myself upset and frustrated.
But some things do need time. SEO, retaking photos, etc.. it takes time. If you understand the importance of it, you know it will take a lot of time. So that’s one of the challenges I have.
Another one is that I handle my ecommerce business as well as the coaching. Some days, one takes a lot more time than the other and a big challenge for me is how do I give enough time to both so they both can grow on a good path. Right now, I’m heavily focusing on certain big projects for The Handmade Mastermind and that’s great but then my Etsy and Amazon shops take a little backseat. It does fine on autopilot but there’s no staggering growth that’s happening.
What’s your quick feedback on Amazon Handmade
I love it! My feedback on it is that it’s doing fantastic for me. I tell people that if they are able to sell on there, why not. I was able to more than double my revenue because of Amazon. So I think to myself what people are missing because they’re so scared of a few things.
The differences I see across platforms is people that shop for wedding, baby items etc.. are of course gonna go straight to Etsy. People in those markets might find that they do better on Etsy than Amazon.
If you sell something that is better for the older customers and more professional ones, you might find that Amazon might be better for you. I rarely get the older customers on Etsy. Usually it’s in the range of 25 – 40 year olds for me.
The biggest things that helped you get sales online
The biggest thing that helped me sell online is customer service. Customer service is one of those things that can and will set you apart from your competition. I’ve taken that so much from the places I’ve worked at. Treat your customer with respect and treat them like they are your first customers.
I’ve learned how to build relationships from the places I’ve worked before. I took that with me and applied it online. I know I’m always behind the scenes and my customers can’t see me but I make sure they could always feel my customer service.
What are the most common things that you find people doing that you correct when you’re helping them with shop critiques?
The most common things I’ve seen are SEO, photos, and descriptions.
SEO – It’s a very popular topic. It’s unfortunate that they don’t know that their SEO is bad or not as great as it can be. When somebody just genuinely wants to find something, they are going to search for it and hopefully they run into your product and hopefully they purchase it because then you’ve converted them. That is why you take SEO very seriously.
Photos – People are having trouble with lighting often. They buy those light boxes but they are still having trouble with exposure. I tell people to not underestimate a good photo editing program. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in these type of things. Photoshop Elements for example. It is decently priced in my opinion but of course there are other free platforms that you can use to help you edit photos.
Descriptions – Describe your item, make it enticing, and connect with your target customer. What you want to do is you wanna tap into their reason of why they are buying it and use it in that description. The next thing you want to also be careful with your descriptions is formatting. People are on their mobile; people are on a hurry nowadays so format your descriptions so people could see what the listing includes, the features, and what’s important to the customer. Formatting is a very big deal as well.
Those are couple of tips to help people out because sometimes they don’t know the importance of it.
What are your experiences with Periscope?
I still use Periscope but I use it as a platform for my coaching business only. I’ve used it and it was really great. I’ve actually gained a lot of members this way. They found me through Periscope – I don’t exactly know how but I use it because I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy sharing my knowledge; it was simple as that. When I first started, I did it twice a day. I just love sharing my knowledge and what I love mostly was that people got value out of my knowledge and I kept doing it.
What are your thoughts on “Sales fix everything”? Do you agree on that?
Sales are not always king if you’re not making good profit. If you have a good profit margin, then sales are important. But what I learned in my retail position is that customers are always first, and then sales.