How to Create an Etsy Shop and More

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frustrated AprilMoney sucks!  Choices would be simpler without having to worry about money, so I decided to figure out how to create an Etsy shop.  And, yes, I am living a pretty good life in an RV, especially considering I am writing this beachside in Jacksonville, Florida.

Still, money sucks!  It is my constant companion when making choices of where to stay, how far to drive, what to buy, what to work on for the day, what bills to pay…you get the picture.

First, I need to change my attitude about money, but that’s a story for another blog. Second, I need to take control of my money.  One way that I have decided to do this is to create an Etsy shop to sell my art. I know you’re curious, so click here to see what I am selling.

Etsy, familiar to some, a strange sounding word to others, is an online store meant to help artists sell their art. “Etsy is the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. It’s home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures.” (Etsy)

LASL Cards

What it is to me, is my first shot at making money while living on the road. I have been taking pictures for years, and in the past, I was even a professional wedding and portrait photographer (You can still hire me for that; send me an email if you are interested.) I decided I didn’t like the business portion of it, so in my true nature, tried something totally different.  I went into teaching.  Today, ironically, I am back to being an entrepreneur, and I’d better learn to like, or at least tolerate, the business side of being an artist, or there shall be no business.

So, since Etsy is a well established online marketplace created for artists, I decided to give it a try.  By no means, am I an expert at this.  This is, in fact, my first rodeo, and I simply want to share what I know with you. What follows are the steps I took to get my store started, along with my struggles, doubts, and frustrations.  I am hoping for success to follow.

Step One – Create something

creating cards

I have always wanted to make handmade greeting cards out of the thousands of images I have in my catalog.  I also complain a lot about buying expensive greeting cards, because most people usually throw them away after awhile.  Most times, they just aren’t personal enough to keep along with the thousands of other items that we pile up and put into storage, never to be seen or heard from again. I also love the idea of being able to purchase art from locals, but most times, it is way too expensive, so I wanted to make affordable art.  Not cheaply made, just inexpensive and simple.

My end result?  4×6 photographic images mounted onto decorative cardstock and folded meticulously into personalized 5×7 greeting cards, finished off with a matte finish for protection. Inside is blank for your own personal message to match the image.  Simple enough and small enough to fit into any 5×7 frame and keep as art instead of tossing it secretly into the trash or hiding it away into the confines of your basement.

Step Two – LASL cards bikes Others have created something, too

The biggest thing holding me back from creating these cards was the fact that there are so many greeting cards in the world today, including online options, why would anyone buy mine?  Now, I don’t know yet if anyone will buy mine, because  I am launching my store with this article, but nobody will ever buy them if I don’t try to sell them.  And as some famous RV’er once said, “If it hasn’t been done by you, then it hasn’t been done.” (Heath Padgett, RV Entrepreneur)

So, recognize that there are likely to being many products out there similar to yours, but also recognize that your style is unique to you, and your product could be the one product that that one person has been looking for.

Step Three – Do the work (the research)

There are many online selling options available, so don’t just assume Etsy is right for you without doing the research first.  

A few other examples to check out are: WooCommerce, Printful, Shopify,  Square Space, etc.  These all offer a variety of options for you to sell your products.  You need to put in the work to determine what works for your needs and goals.

I decided to start with Etsy mainly because it is simple, and it already has shopping carts, customers set up, and you do not need your own site.  

We also have a website, obviously (you are reading from that right now).  Part of the work (the research) that we did when set up our business was to research hosting sites, which basically means once you have a website set up (we went through WordPress), you need a company to give you a space to store everything and maintain the infrastructure of your site.  Many people recommend SiteGround for this when you are ready for more than just Etsy. And when you are, I recommend A Fearless Venture for care and maintenance of your website.  If you have a site, you have probably put a lot of work into it, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want it to crash.

Because, yes, you can, and should, have more than one place to market and sell your goods.

Step Four – Sign up

Silverton LASL cardsThis was the biggest hurdle for me.  Why?  If I sign up, then I actually have to share my art with the world.  What if it doesn’t sell?  What if people don’t like it?  What if I’m not good enough? I actually created an account, added a product, and then didn’t touch it for a few months.  I was that nervous.  Then I got over myself.

Who cares what other people think.  If you are putting forth your best effort and learning from the mistakes that you make on the way, then you are on the right path.  If you’re  like me, a rookie at all of this entrepreneur stuff,  it is daunting, but it is possible.  Just do it.  Debating whether or not you should do it, will end you up with nothing.  Creating an Etsy account will cost you nothing but possible success and a mere 20 cents per listing.

So, how do you sign up?

  1. Stop watching Grey’s Anatomy or the Walking Dead (two of my guilty pleasures) or whatever it is you do when you are unsure of something.  Quit putting this off and do it.
  2. EtsySet aside a couple of hours and be prepared to write about yourself and your store.  Be authentic and purposeful. You’ll see what I mean once you get into the meat of the registration process.
  3. Go to
  4. In the upper right corner click on the “Sell on Etsy” link and register.
  5. Follow the prompts to set up your store.
  6. Take your time.  Don’t rush.  It may take you a couple of days to set this up.  Not because it is hard to set up, but because it is hard to sell yourself (or at least it was for me).
  7. Market your store everywhere and often: social media, your website, conversations, ask people to spread the word.  

Step Five – Market the hell out of your product

Remember when I said selling yourself is hard.  For me, selling my products are even harder.  My doubts override my knowledge, so I find myself holding back on marketing my products.  Not good for business.

ConvertKitI am not a marketing expert, I simply know that you cannot sell what people don’t know you have.  So, let them know what you have. Don’t give up. Instant success is rare, so put in the work and keep on marketing your products.

Ooh, but don’t go broke doing so.  If you want to spend money on marketing, again, do the research, there are a lot of free and inexpensive marketing options out there.

One great resource that we use for marketing is ConvertKit, an email marketing software that is simple to set up, simple to use, and has given us a great tool to connect with our readers. Even if you don’t have a website, you can build a landing page through ConvertKit, giving you the opportunity to build your audience.  Have no idea what any of this means?  They also offer free webinars and several paid courses to help get you started. Click here for more information on ConvertKit tools and resources.

LASL YouTube

Step Six – Realize there is more 

As a teacher, I am also always a student, learning new techniques, new topics, and this holds true for a new entrepreneur. You are a student.  Learn new things to make your business work. As we learn more, we hope to pass on the skills to you, so stay tuned to our site by signing up below for our newsletter and by subscribing to our YouTube channel (shameless plug).

LASL cards OurayStep Seven

Buy my greeting cards and make money suck less.

Check out my Etsy shop by clicking here.

If you like what you see, then buy something, spread the word, and write me a review.

I can use all the help I can get.

Let’s head down the rabbit hole together!


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