The Jam

Side Hustle To Full-Time Etsy Seller In 3 months – Carly From Pendantplacestore

In this episode, Gordon and Richie chat with Carly from Pendantplacestore! Carly took her shop from being a side hustle to full-time Etsy seller in just three months after consistently using Marmalead every day! We can’t wait for you to hear Carly’s story and we hope you are as inspired and encouraged as we were by her Etsy shop success!

Starting from the beginning

We want to start back at the beginning of Carly’s story and how she got into selling on Etsy. It all started for Carly several years ago, when she took a class on how to make charm bracelets from her local jewelry store. As she was checking out, she noticed a One Direction (the band) picture pendant. Carly thought the small picture charm was really cool! She asked the lady checking her out how to make them, but was told she didn’t know and she’d have to go home and look it up. Which she did! She enjoyed making the picture charms so much, she made them for everyone in her family for Christmas that year. 

Getting on Etsy

After making the charms for her family members, she started to wonder if there was some way she could sell them. She can’t remember who, but at this point, someone mentioned Etsy to her. She got really excited thinking about having her own online business! So she uploaded all her images to Etsy in her first Etsy shop…and it didn’t go so well. She says she didn’t really know what she was doing. Soon she was frustrated enough to close this shop.

Another try

A few months later, she decided to give Etsy another shot as she’d learned a little more about the process. She was also renting a flea market space where she was selling pre-made pendants of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. This second Etsy shop also didn’t go exactly as she’d hoped, and she closed this second shop. 

Third time’s a charm

Carly landed on Pendantplacestore on her third try at having an Etsy shop. This time she was a little older and more patient. Along with this, she was determined to take her time and with some serious determination, to get this shop to where she wanted it to be. A couple years later, she has seriously found amazing success with Pendantplacestore! Carly says this obviously wasn’t easy and she has spent the last couple years with this shop as her side hustle, until recently! 

Before going full-time

Originally Carly was working two jobs to support herself while trying to grow her Etsy shop. Her schedule insane and she was working constantly. She says she knew what she needed to do to take her shop from being half of her income to being her full income. It was a matter of taking the leap she knew she needed to in order to reach this goal!

Taking some advice

The first step Carly took was to schedule a coaching call Dave Denard from Add To Cart. Dave is amazing and has been a guest on our Jams before as well as doing being a guest blogger for Marmalead! If you’d like to learn more about Dave’s story, check it out here.

Dave really got Carly pointed in the right direction. Everything Dave told Carly to do, she applied and one of the big suggestions Dave had for Carly was to use Marmalead consistently and to really learn about SEO and the tools we offer. Carly says she started to see her shop really move once she started to consistently do this!

Covid and a push

Once covid hit, Carly did another coaching call with Dave and at this point, really started using and implementing what she’d learned about Marmalead and Dave’s other suggestions every single day. Once she did this, her shop went in one month from needing a second shop to being a 100% full-time Etsy seller! 

Take the leap!

Carly says that if there’s anytime to take the jump and get serious about your Etsy shop, it’s right now. Marmalead is now a part of Carly’s morning routine! Every morning, she will go into her Etsy shop and pick one to five listings to change the SEO on using Marmalead! She said that updating her SEO on a few listings with Marmalead is one of the biggest changes she made in her shop. This is what has made a huge difference in her shop’s success. 

Doing it daily

Carly says that using Marmalead everyday has really made her learn how SEO works for her particular shop. She says that since this is the main change she’s made and she’s gone from doing ok to explosive sales, for her, it really proves how invaluable the Marmalead tools are for Etsy shop owners. (Don’t mind us, we’re wiping happy tears away over here!)

She also says that using Marmalead daily and really learning the tools has helped her SEO process get faster! It does become easier she says, as she now doesn’t have to spend hours on SEO, but daily chooses just a few listings to change. It’s also great to do small changes daily as opposed to changing a massive amount of SEO and confusing Etsy’s algorithm.

One thing at a time

Carly says it can be super easy to get overwhelmed as a seller with all the things you feel you need to do in your shop. It can tend to feel like the list just grows and grows! But the key for her is to try and find balance. One thing that really helps her is blocking out her time. She schedules a certain amount of time to certain things and suggestions doing things in order of importance. And definitely take it one thing at a time.

Other changes

Another change Carly made was to have professional photographers do her product photography. Mostly concentrated on polishing her descriptions and SEO. Another large change Carly had to make recently was to find new suppliers because of all the changes that have happened with Covid. She was already sourcing from the US. But she still had to reach out to suppliers and ask that she be put on a waiting list to be notified as soon as her suppliers had what she needed again. 

The concept of SEO

Carly says that learning to concept of what SEO is and how to think outside the box with her keywords using Marmalead, is ultimately what took her to being a full-time Etsy seller (be sure to listen to this episode of the Jam as Gordon dives into explaining this a bit more)! She says you can’t be afraid as an Etsy seller, to open your mind up to SEO and try new keywords you might not have used before!

It’s all about learning your audience and thinking about how they are searching for your items. You have to balance your keywords between being generic and niche and finding what fits where. Identifying that, exploring new keywords, trying them out and finding what works for you and what doesn’t by making small changes consistently is key. 

Carly’s annoyance 

One thing that Carly says really annoys her is seeing other sellers complain about the fees that Etsy takes from sales. She says for her, it’s not “screw you Etsy, you’re taking all my money!” It’s about Etsy trying to help sellers because that is what ultimately helps them. It’s about viewing yourself and Etsy as a team instead of seeing Etsy as the enemy. Carly says that if a seller had a stand-alone website, they’d be paying a lot more in advertising (she knows because she’s done it) to get the same amount of customers, that Etsy is just bringing to you for a couple cents per sale. A couple cents per sale is a lot less than Carly was paying trying to figure out Facebook ads on her own. 

It’s pretty fair

In Carly’s opinion, Etsy taking a fee once the seller gets a click or sale is pretty fair for all the advertising they’re doing. Etsy is paying for advertising all the time where the seller may not get a sale and Etsy just eats the cost. When Etsy does take an extra 2% for advertising, Carly says this is invaluable because as sellers, having Etsy doing this work on their end frees up sellers to not have to do that advertising all on their own. Which frees up time to make products and work on SEO. This is Etsy’s way of working with sellers and being a team with sellers. 

Carly does promoted listing and advertising with Etsy. If it’s not working on a particular listing, she’ll take that listing off. She does feel that she still has control to a certain extent over this. She can still look at her items and if a certain one is priced at $15 and she’s spent $17 on advertising and she’s only sold one, maybe this isn’t a listing she should be throwing into the ring of Etsy advertising. 

Having control

You can control how much you’re spending per day. Etsy doesn’t just take your money and run with it. Carly thinks a lot of sellers feel they don’t have control any longer since Etsy started social media advertising, but in her view, you still do. You can see what you’re making versus what the advertising cost was and you can remove that listing if it’s not working. 

Going into the Holidays

We asked Carly what she’s most looking forward to in the upcoming Holiday season! She said she’s most excited to see which customers will be repeat buyers. She’s also excited to see what relationships she can build with these customers. The goal is to have them return again in the new year. This is a great thing to track as a seller! Also, Etsy tracks who is returning to your shop, so having repeat buyers also helps with Etsy promoting your shop. 

The stocking issue

Carly said she’s also interested to see what happens with being able to stock supplies. She feels this year will be different than any other year because of Covid. She’s curious to see how it will operate differently because of the difficultly already being had in getting supplies. Stocking up as an Etsy seller as much as you can will really help in the upcoming Holiday season. In the past, we saw online sales go up. This year could very possibly be the largest year yet with shoppers not wanting to go out and avoiding crowds because of Covid. Carly really thinks this will be the biggest year to date on Etsy because of all that’s happened this year. We definitely agree with her.

Don’t let fear hold you back

Carly says if you’re someone who has an Etsy shop that’s on the cusp, she wants to encourage you to not be afraid to pull the trigger of working for yourself. She says what held her back the most from making that jump to full-time sooner was simply the fear of letting go. She says to let go! Let go for one month and work on your shop every day. Work on it all day. Do all the things you need to do (learning SEO, maybe booking a coaching call, learning the Marmalead tools inside and out), and just see what happens. Carly said if she had done that a year ago, she would probably have been working for herself for a year instead of just a few months. 

Trusting yourself

At a certain point, you have to learn to have trust and faith in yourself and what you’re doing. You can’t always let other things control you. And Carly want to encourage you that there will always be other ways to make extra money to supplement here and there if you need it while you’re growing your shop. If being a full-time Etsy seller is what you’re wanting to do for your life, do it, try it, be aware that it won’t work not the first day and will take some traction to grow, but at least try it and see what happens.

While she can’t promise…

Carly does say that while she can’t promise that the work you do will have the same results the work she did will, she does truly believe that if this is something you really want, you can make it happen. She says if she can, you definitely can! Now, with that being said, if you don’t have enough money set aside to support yourself while your shop is growing, Carly isn’t telling you to quit your job. You have to be smart and make the decision to take the leap to full-time when you’re ready. But, when you are, don’t let the fear of what might happen keep you from trying. Give yourself the opportunity to at least try! Go after what you really want.

Final thoughts

Carly ultimately wants sellers to not be held back by fear. To run after their dreams because you never know when your ultimate Etsy shop success is right around the corner! If you’d like to hear more from Carly, we have two other episodes you can find here and here. We got the opportunity to chat with her a couple years ago!

As a team, we are beyond excited and thrilled to see how much success Carly has found with Marmalead! It is Carly and all of you in our community that make Marmalead the success that it is. We certainly do not take this lightly but are extremely grateful that we get to partner with each of you on this Etsy journey. 

Be sure to check out Carly’s shop Pendantplacestore and on her Instagram Pendantplaceetsy

Happy selling, everyone!

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