Career Money Now + Beyond

Your ultimate guide to opening a successful Etsy shop

Do you design amazing tote bags that your friends and family can’t stop raving about? Or have other awesome products you want to sell but aren’t sure how? Etsy might be the perfect place for you to start your creative business.

Starting a business online is exciting and offers potential income. But there’s also a risk of your products disappearing into the sea of thousands of other businesses and not getting the sales you want. We’re here to help you get your business started and make sure your shop stands out.

1. Do your research

A woman looking at her phone saying "I'm gonna look that up."
[Image description: a woman looking at her phone saying “I’m gonna look that up.”] Via Giphy
Start off with familiarizing yourself with Etsy’s rules and guidelines. Here you can find out Etsy’s seller policies and what you can and can’t sell and get an overview of Etsy’s policies.

Next, research your product market. The best way to draw in customers is finding a niche. For example, jewelry is one of the most saturated markets on Etsy. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell jewelry, but it means you should think carefully before starting a jewelry business. It’s always a good idea to look through similar businesses to see whether your idea will stand out from the rest. If not, think creatively about ways you can make your products different.

2. Take photographs

A man taking a photograph with a camera.
[Image description: a man taking a photograph with a camera.] Via Giphy.
Found your niche? Your next step is carefully planning how your store will look to shoppers. You can do this using photographs. Bad photographs will deter customers. Check out Etsy’s recommendations about how to take appealing photographs. Key tips include making sure your photographs offer enough information about the product, the lighting of your photographs is good, unnecessary clutter is eliminated and your photographs aren’t blurry or poor-quality.

3. Open your shop account

A woman pointing to the camera and saying "yes bitch".
[Image description: a woman pointing to the camera and saying “yes bitch”.] Via Giphy.
Now, it’s time to open your account! To do this, you’ll need to register an account on the Etsy website. Etsy will then ask you to name your shop. This is the identity of your business and will be displayed at the top of your shop’s webpage and in the URL of your web address. Your shop name should be unique, relate to your business, and less than 20 characters. When brainstorming ideas, it helps to ask friends or family for feedback.

4. List your products

A smiling woman holds her laptop while typing on it.
[Image description: a smiling woman holds her laptop while typing on it.] Via Giphy.
After naming your business, Etsy will ask you to start listing products. Here, you will upload your amazing photographs. Next, you’ll add a title to your listing. When you do this, think about what you’d search for if you were shopping for this item. Avoid creative and individualized titles like Jane’s badass feminist tote and focus on descriptive words of your product that are likely to be searched for like blue linen tote with a feminist slogan.

You will then answer questions on the site about your product. This lets shoppers know details like whether your product is handmade or vintage. You’ll also choose a category that your product will fit into. So a tote bag, for example, would fall under the category of bags and purses. The category you choose will ask you to add more details about the product including size, color and whether it makes a good gift. Fill in this information carefully as this will help Etsy guide shoppers to your product.

5. Price your item and add a description

A man asking "how much?"
[Image description: a man asking “how much?”] Via Giphy.
Now, it’s time to price your item. When doing this, factor in your different costs (such as materials and time) and do your research! It’s important to get a sense of what other businesses are charging before deciding on your own price so that you can be competitive. After you’ve done this, you’ll write a description of your product. Make sure this is well-written and clear. You want shoppers to understand what makes your product unique and special. Etsy offers further tips on writing good product descriptions.

6. Add shipping costs

Cardboard boxes ready for shipment accumulate on a pallet.
[Image description: cardboard boxes ready for shipment accumulate on a pallet.] Via Giphy.
Etsy will also ask you to include shipping costs. Contact local post offices to get an estimate of what your product’s weight will cost when shipped to different locations.

7. Insert descriptive tags

A man with the word "programer" lunges at a man with the word "SEO Expert" and is knocked out.
[Image description: a man with the word “programer” lunges at a man with the word “SEO Expert” and is knocked out.] Via Giphy.
Lastly, you need to insert descriptive tags. This is important for Search Engine Optimization. In other words, these tags are what will lead shoppers to your listings. This is incredibly important and can make or break your business. Read up on how Etsy’s search works for help creating effective tags.

Now that you’ve done this, you can do it all of over again for your next product listing!

8. Add your payment information

A woman moves her hands to symbolise money.
[Image description: a woman moves her hands to symbolize money.] Via Giphy.
Your final step is entering your payment information. Here, you need to enter information about your bank so Etsy can set up payments. The processing system from here is simple and lets you accept payments from Etsy Gift Cards, PayPal and major credit cards.

Yay, congratulations! Your shop is ready to be opened. Share it on all your social platforms and all your friends, share it with us! We’d love to see your amazing creations!

Work Career Advice Now + Beyond

The 5-step guide to starting your own business – even if you’re broke

Like many other women I know, I’ve had a great idea for starting my own business. I’ve seen an opportunity and believed I had the skills and the passion to turn it into a reality.

Yet every time I started to move forward with my idea, I got stuck. I realized that I didn’t know where to begin, and I got overwhelmed by indecision, worry, and questions:

What kind of business structure is right for me? What kind of funding do I need? Who can I ask for help? Am I making a terrible mistake?

This uncertainty drove me to research and learn what steps are needed to start my own business. By mapping out a plan and taking small but concrete actions, you can also make significant progress on launching your small business.

1. Do your homework and workshop your idea.

be a man homework GIF
[Li Shang from the animated film Mulan pushes his staff out. Caption: Let’s get down to business.]
Take the time to research your business idea thoroughly before going any further. When you’re excited about your idea, it’s tempting to rush through this phase. But it’s a crucial step to reduce your risks and confirm your venture’s viability.

Ask yourself these and other questions to better understand your potential customers and competitors:

  • How does my product or service solve a problem or fill an unmet need?
  • Will my business operate in a specific geographic area?
  •  Do I need a brick-and-mortar space? Will the business exist only online?
  • Who are my customers? What are their priorities and concerns?
  • What other businesses are already doing something similar? How will my business stand out among competitors?
  • Will people be interested in what my business offers? What will they be willing to pay for it?

2. Work out your business structure.

big brother pop GIF by Big Brother After Dark
[Image description: a woman sits on a couch and says “ooh, we got options”.]
When forming your business, you can structure it in many ways. Review common types of business structures – such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations – to find the best fit. Your decision affects important factors like your taxes, your personal liability and your funding options.

Once you choose a business structure, you can file the paperwork necessary to start operating. Depending on where you live and what type of business you’re running, you may need to register your business with the state, obtain a tax ID number or file for specific licenses or permits.

Search online for your state’s requirements.

3. Develop your business plan.

curvy do it GIF
[Image description: a woman poses in yoga gear stating “there’s nothing you can’t do.”]
Now it’s time to put all of your research into a cohesive business plan. You can take many different approaches to this plan, and tons of helpful, free templates are available online – from the detailed traditional business plan to the simplified one-page plan.

The most important part of writing your business plan is that you clarify your vision and goals and that you outline strategies to execute them. Your business will likely evolve over time, but you can continuously update your plan to reflect any changes and refocus on your new direction.

4. Find the funding you need.

confused math GIF by CBC
[ Image description: A man counts on his fingers as mathematical equations pass by.]
When you’re establishing your business, you may be able to get started by using personal savings or investment from family and friends. But what do you do when you’re ready to expand? How do you obtain more capital without taking on unnecessary risk?

Once you reach the point where funding is holding back your business’s ability to grow, a small business loan is a good option. Obtaining a loan from a large bank or credit union might be a challenge, but other lending services cater specifically to small businesses. Compare small-business loan offerings from different companies, weighing factors like interest rates, approval time and minimum and maximum loan amounts. Find a lending solution that best suits your short- and long-term needs.

5. Find support and hold on to it.

women support GIF by buzzfeedladylike
[Image description: a woman stares at her phone worriedly and then her group of friends pop up around her to help her.]
Just because you’re starting your own business doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. Recognize where you need extra help, and seek out people and resources to support you.

For example, if you struggle with organization and deadlines, test out project management software or time tracking tools. Or if you routinely avoid certain important tasks, see if you can outsource them. Hiring a part-time bookkeeper or assistant could improve your productivity and save you money in the long run.

Now that you’re open for business, don’t forget to throw one hell of a launch party!

The Tempest Radio Episodes The Expose Show Audio + Visual

THE EXPOSÉ | Episode 31 | “There is No Glass Ceiling”

From the work family balance to the effective leadership styles, what do the ladies think about women in leadership?And how to we make leadership theory practical?  And how do minions fit in? Are we making this all up and it’s just in our head? You might want to listen in because we definitely have an opinion about this.

Shakira – Dare
Rihanna – Don’t stop the music

If you’re looking for some more songs to move your hips to, here’s this week’s playlist to match your vibes:

Subscribe to us on: Stitcher | iTunes | SoundCloud

Press Love Life Stories

Why I really started The Tempest

I’ve been asked the question a time too many: what made you decide to start The Tempest? It’s an answer that still takes me back for a brief second, causes me to flip back through my Rolodex of memories, fitting the right one into place.  

There’s always a pause before I answer – but the funny thing is, my decision to start the company came without a second thought – it just was, and it began. The inception came with a question: why weren’t we hearing about the world and all of its intricacies from the vibrant, authentic and varied women from underrepresented backgrounds? Why is it so hard to push beyond what we’re expected to talk about, to what we truly want to discuss?

Figuring out what led me to that decision, though, always takes me back to being that awkward, slightly pudgy, verbose self that I was at fourteen years old. Always on the fringe of the social circle, I spent much of my childhood moving around the Northeast and struggling to find friends who accepted me for what I was: homeschooled, feminist, independent, and always coming up with the next idea to change the world.

I remember reading about the once-elegant and internationally renowned World Fairs that took place all over the world, bringing in the latest in progress and innovation to the fair-goers. So I decided to start my own in my family’s garage. I had a fire for figuring out the gaps in the market, which led to my starting a multi-location operation at my local faith centers, selling craft supplies to the bored but voracious consumers while the adults attended spiritual lectures.  

It was with that kind of “what if?” attitude that I approached every initiative I undertook. There were no limits, as long as I believed in the potential impact and had the fire underneath me.

Yet there was a constant current running throughout: where would I find those who accepted me for who I was, quirks and all? As a teenager, I vowed never to allow those who felt out of place to sit alone once I was older.  Too often growing up, I found my heart speeding up entering a center where I didn’t know if I would find someone who I could call a friend, a feeling I learned later in life simply to embrace.

But it wasn’t a feeling I ever wished upon anyone else. That lack of community, people who understood you, empathized with where you were coming from – if not with where you were going – all of those factors influenced the decisions I made in life. As a visible minority, an American Muslim woman who had chosen to cover from ten years old as a bet with my mom, I found that there were layers to my identity and life experience that took years to begin unpacking. On top of that were the boxes those around me put me in: boxes that were difficult to break out of, but boxes that I simply refused to operate within.

It all led back to the question: why did I begin a media company that had now morphed into an international movement for diverse millennial women to be exactly who they wanted to be – themselves? Crazy as it sounds, I did it because it needed to be done. The Tempest – formerly known as Coming of Faith – began out of a lifetime of personal experiences, experiences that I saw reflected too often in those around me, time and time again. It was a battle getting the first submission – five weeks and a whole lot of pushing – but the responses from our audience were almost immediate. I knew, no matter what struggle lay ahead of us, that we’d hit upon the pot of gold.

Instead of speaking for diverse millennial women, we were giving them the chance – finally – to tell their own stories through writing, videos, audio and music, and the results have been inspiring – in growth and in reach. Rather than creating a set narrative and fitting different people into what we deemed “the right box,” we were giving them the ability to own their experiences, voices, and stories.

Now, I wake up every morning full of fire for something greater.  With more than 300 writers in more than fifteen countries, the articles flowing out of our space are fresh, engaging and truly unconventional. Our content isn’t found anywhere else. Why?

Simple: we’ve tapped into a core of unmatched diversity, made up of a team of passionate, dedicated staff and writers telling the most impactful stories, creating incredibly authentic conversations, and representing the wide range of voices that make up today’s world. Headed by my co-founder and myself, the company brings in millions monthly, powered by a shoe-string budget and a national team dedicated to the vision of something bigger and better for millennials and women.

Rather than paying lip service to minorities, millennials, and women like many networks and media properties tend to do, The Tempest talks the talk – and walks the walk. We mean business.

I think a lot about whether my younger self would befriend the person I am now. I believe she’d give me a chance.