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The First Step Towards Freedom from Etsy

I’ve said this already, but it bears repeating. Rage-quitting Etsy is a bad idea. Instead, it’s a decision that should only be made after some thought and consideration.

The first step to finding freedom from Etsy is to think long and hard about the answers to the questions that will follow, for your business specifically. It will help you come up with a strategy that will work for you, to be able to leave Etsy behind, permanently.

How many of my sales come from Etsy?
How many of my sales come from my own marketing and promotion?
Can I afford to lose the sales that come from my Etsy shop, and still pay the bills on the sales that come from my own marketing and promotion?

Your situation will vary depending on your answers to these three questions. I’m going to talk about the most common scenarios in this post.

Scenario 1: I drive most of my own sales, and I don’t depend on the income to pay the bills.

Congratulations, you’re in the best possible situation! You have zero reasons to stay on the platform, unless you like it, in which case you aren’t likely to be browsing our site! Leave Etsy. Yesterday. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Scenario 2: I drive most of my own sales, but I depend on the income to pay the bills.

In this case, your best bet is to keep your shop open on both Etsy and your chosen alternative platform for 3-6 months, to ensure that your new platform will perform as well as you hope. This will give you the data you need to make your final decision.

Scenario 3: Etsy drives most of my sales, but I don’t depend on the income to pay the bills.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Are you short on time? It will take quite a commitment to get your business established as a solo site, or on a different platform. Will it be hard for you to keep going with less customers purchasing your products? Personally, I get a little high when people shop from me, or when they leave me a nice review, and that’s part of what helps me stay creative and motivated.

If you’re in scenario 3, rather than quitting cold turkey, you could benefit by keeping your Etsy shop open, at least until your alternative is established and you are certain it will bring you enough off-Etsy sales.

Scenario 4: Etsy drives most of my sales, and I depend on the income to pay the bills.

This is the worst scenario you could be in – but you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. I talk to a lot of indie sellers in my volunteer work for our nonprofit org, and there are quite a few of us in this boat.

It’s still possible to find freedom from Etsy, even if you’re mostly to fully dependent on it. You just have the longest path ahead of you to be able to do so.

And there are a lot of us (myself included) who will be joining you on this journey. I’m somewhere between Scenario 3 and Scenario 4. I’d say that Etsy drives about 90% of my sales, or it did before the strike. I don’t need to earn a fulltime income from my business though. I’m a part-time work-at-home mom, part-time caretaker for my kids. My income is my family’s savings and entertainment budget. It sucks not to have it, but the pressure is much less than if we needed it to pay the bills.

I put my Etsy shop in vacation mode on April 11, along with so many others, but unlike many others, I have yet to reinstate it. The store on my website is open for business, and I’ve been very busy with my volunteer work for the Indie Sellers Guild!

My business has a content plan for social media that I’m able to follow to consistently post. My largest social media following is on Facebook, where I have 16,900 fans. My website with my standalone shop gets about 1K visitors per month. Yet, I’ve looked over the numbers, and realized that I am going to need to reopen my Etsy shop if I want our family to have savings and an entertainment budget.

I think that most people who managed to grow their traffic and social media followings to my extent would be already be free! But it happens that I make things people tend to purchase only once-in-a-lifetime. That is, Gothic/Victorian/Steampunk wedding dresses and fancy costumes! It’s so much fun, and I’m very passionate about what I do. It means, however, that I must factor repeat customers out of my financial equation. I do have a few of them, typically performers who like to wear my items on stage – but they aren’t the bulk of my shoppers!

For me, the path to freedom from Etsy is a lot steeper than it is for many others. It’s kind of perfect, because it puts me in a great place to help. When I share a strategy that works for me, it might work even better for you!

The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that success isn’t a solo operation. Human beings are social creatures. We do best when we’re working with other people towards a common goal. At the very least, we need support.

That’s what we want to provide to people here at the Indie Sellers Guild. Support, community, and camaraderie with an incredible group of indie online sellers. We have active communities on Reddit and on Discord. We’re hoping to get our Facebook group up and running soon!

Join us today, and let’s work towards finding freedom from Etsy, together.

This post is part of a series I’m calling “Freedom from Etsy.” You can read the first post here. I’m hoping to not have quite such a long delay between this one and the next one! Things got busy. :o) Up next: Social Media Content Planning for Creative Businesses

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