Back in November, I published a post called The Best Investments I’ve Made in My Business. It’s all about which blogging investments have yielded the greatest return, or have best set me up for growth.
I got some great feedback on it, and some of you asked for me to share some similar thoughts but as it relates to my Etsy business! So in today’s post, I’ll be covering the best investments I’ve made in Kate Lauren Design.
The stickers generally fall into one of two categories: functional stickers (like habit trackers), and decorative stickers (that are pretty and more for looks).
It may seem like a very niche business, but “glam planning” as it’s called, is more common than you’d think. It’s a way to decorate and customize your planner, making it somewhat like a scrapbook or memory book. And the process of planning can help reduce anxiety, and be very therapeutic.
Think of it as the intersection between planning your week and scrapbooking.
To make my own planner stickers, I use digital paper, clip art, and my own designs in a software program to create stickers. I then print the stickers out on adhesive label sheets, and use my cutting machine to cut them.
Here’s an example:
I created this sticker sheet by writing out the months of the year, applying different colours, and then creating what are called “offsets” around the letters for my cut lines. The thin red and blue lines don’t print – they simply tell the machine where to cut. So the thin red line is where the “kiss cut” is (where you can peel the sticker off the sheet). And the thin blue line is a “full cut” that cuts through the entire sheet of label paper so that the sheet is small and manageable.
In this case, I can fit multiple of these colourful Months of the Year sheets on one sheet of label paper.
Here’s what the listing looks like on Etsy.
And how a customer used the stickers in her planner.
Hopefully that helps provide some context around what I sell and how it works!
Now, let’s dive into the best investments I’ve made in my Etsy business.
Digital Paper and Clipart
Cost: Varies (normally $2-8USD per pack)
While many of the stickers I make are like the month stickers above (as in, designed by me), they aren’t all like that. I often use digital paper and clip art for my listings, which help me achieve a certain look and feel to the items I sell.
I’m not an artist by any means, so it’s incredible to be able to purchase art from other makers to then use in my products.
I may pay $5 for a pack of 8 digital papers in the same colour scheme. I can then create a few different sticker sheets from it, selling each for $3-5. It pays off quite quickly. And given my skillset (and lack of raw design talent!), $5 is a better deal than me spending hours trying to make my own digital paper.
Most of my clipart and digital paper comes from other sellers on Etsy, so it’s easy to find!
Cost: Varies (daily minimum range Etsy offers is $1-100USD)
As I mentioned in my post Making Money on Etsy: How I Doubled My Income on the Cheap, Promoted Listings have played a big role in my Etsy success.
If you’re not familiar with this tactic, Etsy allows you to promote either all or select listings from your shop. You simply set a daily budget (mine is set at $1-3USD most of the time!) and Etsy showcases your listings prominently in search results.
In the image below, for example, you can see that the first listings that come up in the top row all say “Ad” in the top left corner. This means those shops promoted those listings.
Looking at my results from the last 7 days (at the time of writing), you can see I’ve spent $5.96USD on Promoted Listings to yield $42.02USD in revenue. And that $42.02USD in revenue is directly attributable to the promoted listings (in other words, my weekly revenue overall was higher than that). This allows me to clearly see the ROI of Promoted Listings.
This is a profit of $36.06USD, though I also need to take into account cost of goods and other business expenses. Even factoring those in, it’s a strong ROI.
Moving forward, I’ll be testing out increasing my investment in Promoted Listings to see if the ROI increases with it.
High Quality Materials
Equipment and Supplies
When creating a product, the equipment and materials you use play a massive role. They impact the quality of the finished good, and the details that go into making it special.
For this reason, I’ve been choiceful in the paper, ink, printer, and cutting machine I use for my products. I’m also particular about what I use to pack and ship my products, as I want them to arrive in perfect condition.
By investing in these items and not skimping, I’m able to ensure consistency in product quality which is really important to me.
The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
Current cost: $17.39USD
I mentioned this book in my post about my best blog investments, and it applies to my Etsy business too! The 12 Week Year is one I highly recommend, and talked about at length in How to Create a 12 Week Plan That Will Rock Your Goals. It presents an incredible framework for goal setting and managing your weekly tasks.
Before planning in 12 week cycles, my work week was all over the place. I got a lot of things done. But they weren’t always the right things in the right order at the right time. I didn’t know how to measure success, and felt lost.
Now I have a clear plan at all times, set realistic, achievable goals, and focus on the right things.
For my shop, for example, I can use the concept of 12 Week Planning to set goals for new product creation, listing management, and marketing. And then spread them out over a timeline that makes sense for me, based on my other priorities.
Those are the four investments I made in my Etsy business that gave me the greatest return on my investment. I see them as the foundation that allows me to run my business day in, and day out. Hopefully they offer some guidance if you’re looking to start (or grow!) a product-based business yourself.
If you’re a side hustler or entrepreneur, what have been the best investments you have made in your business? I’d love to know! Let me know in the Comments below.
(And if you’re just starting to think about selling on Etsy, join as a seller through my link and get your first 40 listings absolutely free! That’s enough to build a solid product line and show prospective customers what your shop is all about. And it will save you some money in getting your shop up and running. You can sign up here.)