We’ve seen many stories from new and seasoned Etsy shops as to why they decided to close up shop. If you’re in it for the long haul, this episode of The Jam is for you! We discuss why Etsy shops close and how to avoid closing the doors on your Etsy shop for good.
Here’s why Etsy shops close
Today, we are talking about some reasons that we’ve seen why Etsy shops close up shop and how you can avoid those!
Burnout is a bummer
Jumping right in, the first one is burnout. This can be a sneaky one. Things might be going so great in your shop, you find yourself working full-time! But, maybe even going a little too good, you’re burning the candle at both ends. So, while things are going fantastic, that doesn’t mean you won’t hit a point of burnout. It could be that while things are great, you’re just not finding them to be fun anymore.
Not everything is fun
You’re burned out. Things are going awesome, but you’re just not having fun. So how do we avoid that? Keep it interesting in your shop. We understand that not everything is going to always be fun. In our Etsy 101 series, we chat about things like accounting and taxes. Is that fun? No, not for us, and we’re guessing not for most people (some people might enjoy it, and if you do more power to you).
Switch it up
If you get bored with creating one product, switch it up and start creating something different. Bring elements from your original product over to your new product. Maybe you got into Etsy in the first place because you enjoy creating new things. Now that you’ve been making the same product for a while, you might just feel less than inspired again. One of the reasons we created Marmalead to begin with was for the market research component.
It’s not just about keywords, it’s about what else can you make? What else are people buying? What else is out there in the market that you can put into your shop?
Balance in all things
Another reason for burnout could be that things are getting too stressful. So how do you avoid this? Make sure that you’re keeping a good work-life balance. This can be tough! Especially when you consider people working from home. When you work from home, it’s not as easy to separate the two as much as when you have an office job and daily commute to mentally and physically separate your home life from your work life.
Practical advice for balance
Try keeping office hours for example. Also try to avoid working when you’re outside of those hours. It can be a tough thing to do. You know we’ve talked to Kyle in the past, who during the busy holiday season, makes a concerted point of saying, “OK, I’m going to figure out how much am I going to sell this holiday season? I’m going to prepare those things ahead of time and when I sell out, I sell out. I’m done. At that point I know I’m done for the holidays.”
He doesn’t stress out about having to scramble and create a bunch of extra products because orders are still flooding in at that point. This is another thing that you can do to maintain your sanity, especially during the holidays.
It’s important to set limits. Some of us are better at limits than others. Richie says he falls into the camp of not setting great limits. He doesn’t do a lot of these things. Richie doesn’t keep good office hours. He doesn’t take breaks. He’ll eat lunch at his desk. He says he definitely can see the value in setting limits, and he thinks that it would overall be better to do that as opposed to not.
Playing catch up
Another reason you might get burned out is that you just can’t keep up. This is a great problem to have, especially from the outside. But when you’re in the thick of not being able to catch up, it’s awful. So how do you avoid it?
Consider hiring an assistant for your shop to keep up with fulfilling orders. If not being able to keep up is a seasonal problem and you can’t have an assistant year-round, that’s ok! Just plan on needing to hire extra help before that crazy busy season hits your shop. You’ll want to have a plan in place for this before this season hits for you. Factor this in. Make sure you know your prices and that you can afford to hire someone. Plan ahead. Make sure that when things get to the point that you can’t keep up that you’re going to be able to maintain your sanity.
Sales and all they entail
Another big reason that Etsy shops close their doors is due to sales. This can be broken down into a number of different sub reasons also. Your sales could be way down and you just can’t afford to keep running your business the way that you have been. So how do you avoid this? Make sure you’re keeping up with trends on your products. Don’t be afraid to switch things up in your shop if suddenly your products are no longer selling. This could be a good time to look into some other products.
Do some product development. See what might be gaining traction now. It’s a hard thing for a lot of Etsy sellers who are very passionate about the art of their craft to say, “From a business perspective, I can’t sell this thing anymore. From a personal perspective, I have so much joy in making this!” A lot of times, that’s where you have to find a middle ground of, where does your joy and passion meet with the business need for things?
We guarantee there’s something out there that people still want and need that you can still make that’s not going to be that far of a departure from where you are now. You have to keep that in mind. If you’re not getting enough engagement in your shop, if things have just kind of fallen off, jump into Marmalead and see how your keywords are doing. Or even email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can see what we can do to help out with your keywords.
Expectations vs reality
Another reason (and this one comes down to having patience and not having a need for instant gratification) could be the expectations you’ve set for your shop and how many sales you feel like you should already have.
It’s been 2 weeks since you started your shop and you only have one sale. Or maybe you have no sales. You could have 10 sales and still not be meeting your expectation depending on what those are. The big thing here is how to avoid that. An honest answer is that Etsy just isn’t a get-rich-quick sort of deal. Honestly, anything long-term isn’t.
It takes time
Having a bustling shop is going to take time. It’s going to take research. It’s going to take strategizing and evolving your shop. But that’s part of the fun, right? You’re not in this for just some set it and forget it situation. It’s an Etsy shop. It’s unique, it’s handmade, it’s vintage. It should be a balance of work and fun, but it should still be enjoyable for you. If you want to learn more about strategizing, involving, staying up on things, check out our Etsy 101 series. Make sure you have everything dialed in for your specific shop.
Be realistic but have goals
Again, temper your expectations because you’re not just going to come right off the starting line and be right where you want to be long term. Have reasonable goals. Think about where you want to reasonably be after a month, six months, a year, or after five years. You won’t reach these goals overnight. Yes, we’ve had a lot of success stories where success does happen quickly, once people buckle down and start ( in their own words) using Marmalead and focusing on their shop as a real business.
We see huge success where some sellers have gone full time after three months. Some of these sellers are even on their way to a six-figure salary this quickly. It happens, but it takes a concerted effort and the overnight success story is not the general rule.
Another sales-related reason that causes some people to close their Etsy shop is that they find nobody wants to buy their products. How do you avoid this? For this, you need to make sure that there is a market for your product and ideally, this is something that you do before you invest time in acquiring materials and creating your product, and listing those things online. Be sure to verify the market first. If you haven’t done that, you should probably go back and make sure that that makes sense, and there’s a market there.
So many fish in the sea
Now, even if there is a market for something, it could be that competition in this market has skyrocketed. You know, maybe you were in a nice niche market, and you were perfectly happy to be there, but other people have discovered that market. Now you’re faced with so much competition, there’s three times as many sellers in that space, and three times as much competition for you. So your sales have gone down three times.
You’re at 1/3 of where you were before. This is a very real thing, and in that case you need to go verify the market. You need to find out how you can be competitive in that same market. Or try to find a new market and attack that market. How can you niche down even more and find something that’s more exclusive? Again, maybe there are only six hundred shoppers there, but if you’re the only person selling a particular product and you’re getting six hundred orders a month from those shoppers, that’s still pretty good.
Another reason shops often have to close is simply because life happens. At the end of the day, uncontrollable circumstances can pop up and they can make you move on from Etsy and your shop. This may require you shifting your focus onto other things.
But the beauty of the Etsy platform is you can always pick it back up in the future. Now, you might have to start from zero again (depending on how you left it) but, if there are greener pastures on your horizon elsewhere, good luck! Make the most of whatever those pastures may be! The nice thing about the Etsy platform is that it allows you to be independent. You’re your own boss. You set your own hours.
If you have to shift, stay positive
Understand that if Etsy is a side hustle and you’ve got a big promotion at your full-time job, you may have to shift your efforts towards that job. Or maybe you’ve got to move (a lot of people are moving right now) and you’ve got to close your shop for a little while as you make that move. The bottom line is life happens. We think what’s most important is to keep a positive outlook. Be present as much as possible while keeping an eye towards the future and your goals.
So those are our tips to keep in mind about why other Etsy shops may have closed their doors in the past.
Maybe these things aren’t affecting you, but it’s still a good idea to be vigilant for them. Be aware that these things are out there and these signs are there so that when you detect something like this is going on, you have the opportunity to catch it before it snowballs. Catch it before it gets to the point where you need to close your Etsy shop and you know.
As we mentioned earlier, maybe there’s nothing you can do about it. Maybe life just happened and that’s the way things are. That’s how things go sometimes. But if it is something that you can do something about (trying to attack a different market for example), you should be aware of that and think through that before it gets to the point where you need to pay bills and you’ve got no money coming in to do that. It’s super important to always be vigilant for stuff like that. Hopefully this helped you guys!
Happy selling, everyone!
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