The organized road map for taking you step by step from hobbyist to shop owner, guiding you through important tasks and decisions before starting all the way to launching your first products out into the world.

Why Etsy?

Since you're here, it's safe to assume you either have a product you want to sell or a product idea you want to pursue.

But why Etsy?

That, my friend, is a fantastic question! There are a lot of ecommerce option
s out there, right? Why should you start on Etsy?

Melissa Kaiserman headshot

Allow me to answer by sharing my story.

Hi! I'm Melissa Kaiserman, owner of ATime4Everything on Etsy - a shop with over 15,000 sales. In 2010, I was a stay-at-home mom of four, ages 9 to 2. I was tired of digging around for white paper envelopes in my purse, so I made myself a cash envelope system wallet from laminated cotton. It was the first time I had ever put in a zipper, and by the time I finished I wanted it to be the last.

I made the mistake (?) of showing it to friends and to my blog readers, after which a bit of begging ensued. Long story short, I agreed to make about a dozen and then a few months later decided to sell some more from my blog as I had the time to make them, using PayPal "buy buttons" which were a pain to code.

This whole time, I had a friend who kept gently nudging me toward selling the wallets on Etsy. And I kept gently ignoring her. I had four young kids and was homeschooling the two oldest. In my mind, I didn't have time to figure out how to sell there. (Apparently I thought it was easier to wrestle with html.) 

I did, however, do bits of research over the course of a few months just to get an idea of how Etsy worked. You know, just in case.

In October 2011, I finally gave in after attending a craft retreat where I was able to make up a bunch of inventory. The day after I got home, I started listing items.

Fortunately I already had many ducks in a row (business license, sales tax permit, etc.) since I had been selling from my blog, so I didn't make the HUGE mistake of jumping in without taking care of super important details. And I had that little bit of research under my belt.


During my first two weeks on Etsy, I had more sales than I'd had in the previous nine months selling from my blog. So yeah, there was a little bit of regret about dragging my feet and letting fear of the unknown hold me back.


Here are some things I learned right away:

  • Setting up a shop on Etsy and listing items wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, but it did require having some things ready in advance.
  • It was much nicer having all of my sales listed in one place instead of dealing with PayPal emails that I could easily overlook.
  • While sales certainly weren't guaranteed, it was far easier to get traffic to my shop on Etsy than to my shop on my blog. We're talking exponentially easier. People who are familiar with Etsy often go straight there to search for handmade items.
  • As a mom with four young kids, Etsy was the PERFECT solution for me to have a handmade business without a ton of overwhelm. In fact, it still is five years later!

In various spots of the online world you'll hear people saying, "Oh, you need to get off Etsy or at least have another shop in addition to it! No one will take you seriously. You can't run a successful business on Etsy! It's great for beginners, but not for people who want to grow."

Eh, blanket statements. I am proof that it's possible to have a successful business only on Etsy, and I know many others who have done the same.

Some people are in a season of life where they have the margin and aptitude to set up shop on a platform that requires being a bit more tech-savvy and putting in more work to drive traffic since nobody's going there to search. Or to pay someone else hundreds or thousands of dollars to do it. That's awesome!

But I know a lot of you aren't. Whether it's because you have kids at home, are working full-time, are caring for an ailing parent, or are in the midst of other circumstances that are putting a high demand on your time and resources, you just aren't going to go for it.

In fact, you might be thinking you don't even have the margin to go for setting up a shop on Etsy. I totally get it. 

That's why I created Etsy Essentials.
(So you don't have to use what little margin you have figuring it out on your own.)

For nearly two years now, I have split time between running my handmade business and educating, equipping, and encouraging other Etsy sellers as they navigate setting up and growing their shops. I have a degree in education, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to use it in conjunction with my handmade business. I get to do two things I love.

As a thinker and analyzer, I have spent considerable time listening closely to what sellers describe as their pain points. I have used that information for blog posts, video tutorials, and topics for livestreaming on Periscope, (the former) Blab, and Facebook Live.


One thing that has stood out to me is that many of those pain points could have been avoided completely had the seller thought through the process and planned ahead before opening a shop. I knew I had a lot of insight and experience to teach brand new sellers to help them start smart and grow well.


After I finished creating this course, I was curious to know if what I had observed online and via direct conversations  - and subsequently covered in the course - matched what other sellers would say in retrospect.

So I asked my readers what they remember as some of their greatest fears or roadblocks in the early days of setting up a shop.

Here are a few of their answers:

  • My biggest fear when opening my shop was not knowing where to start.
  • My biggest mistake was not knowing my target market before I opened my shop.
  • My greatest fear was navigating the packaging and shipping aspect of the business.
  • My biggest question was how many products I needed to have ready to list.
  • I never opened one because I already knew how many jewelry designers were out there. 

I was thrilled when I read the responses, because guess what?

I covered every single one of those fears and roadblocks in this course, plus a whole lot more.

Read on for an overview of the modules, the course options, and testimonials from other Etsy sellers who have worked with me.

Etsy Essentials course

Etsy Essentials: Laying a Strong Foundation

Etsy Essentials Starting Smart

Module 1: Starting Smart

7 video lessons + related downloads

Etsy Essentials Setting up Shop

Module 2: Setting up Shop

10 video lessons + related downloads

Etsy Essentials Understanding Search

Module 3: Understanding Etsy Search

6 video lessons + related downloads

Etsy Essentials Adding Listings

Module 4: Adding Listings

9 video lessons + related downloads

Etsy Essentials Bonus Materials

Module 5: Bonus Material

5 bonus lessons + related downloads

Basic Course

Hesitant to spend too much money before selling anything?

The self-study basic course provides the guidance you need to work through setting up a shop on your own, at your own pace, at an affordable price.

You will have access to all lessons and downloads without the handholding.

Always available for purchase

Includes:

  • Lifetime access to course videos, downloads, and other materials, including any future additions
  • Monthly live office hours for all Etsy Essentials students, both self-study and VIP

Exclusive Package

Ready to get started selling on Etsy but weighed down by the knowledge that you're not likely to get it done without someone there to hold your hand every step of the way?

This exclusive VIP package was designed exactly with you in mind. You will have so much access to me, you may start to feel like I'm a roommate. (I'm organized, though, and a fabulous baker. You won't want to kick me out. :) I'm currently limiting the exclusive package registration to 50 students per "session" so that I can really serve my VIP's well.

NOTE: One major goal of the VIP track is to guide you from no shop to a solid, fully-functioning shop as quickly as possible. To that end, the VIP Mastermind will last for two months. The limit is to help motivate VIP's to get the work done and also allows me to pour all of my energy into new folks so you can get up and running. Someone whose shop has been open for six months will have different questions and issues that would not fit with the goal of the group and might overwhelm the poor newbies.

Two months should be more than what you need, but I've included a little padding for reassurance.

The current session runs April 1 through May 31. After it fills up or April 5 has passed - whichever comes first - the exclusive package option will not be available again until June.

Limited to 50 students at a time

Includes:

  • Everything listed in the basic course, PLUS...
  • A private 2-month Etsy Essentials Mastermind on Facebook where I personally spend time every day (Mon-Sat) assisting and answering questions + a weekly Facebook Live Q&A exclusively for VIP's. I'm here for you, every step of the way!
  • A 10-minute video shop critique right after you launch! Getting feedback from me after you've done the work will both encourage you and help you fine-tune.

$299

The April/May 2017 VIP mastermind begins on April 1 and will remain open for enrollment until full or through April 5, whichever comes first.

You will have full access to the actual course immediately upon purchase.

Testimonials

from Etsy shop owners who have worked with me

Dot GalfondLicense to Kiln

I’m really not sure where to begin, so I guess I’ll start with a big ‘Thank You!' I feel so, so blessed to have found you and taken your Etsy Essentials course - it has made all the difference in my shop! As you know, my shop had been open for a couple of years before I took your course, but life happened and I really didn’t have the time or knowledge to get it up and running. I tried, but no sales and nothing really happened with it. When I was ready to start my business, God decided it was time for me to take care of my mother for a few years who was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. I wouldn’t trade that for anything, as our family has also lived by “A Time For Everything.”

As a creative person, I am totally right brained! I just cannot believe all the business steps that I had NOT done when I initially set up my shop - ARG! It would have been SO much easier to do it right from the beginning, but I feel so much better now knowing that I am totally in line with all business aspects. I now have a true business, not a hobby selling things on Etsy. Whew! You just don’t know what you don’t know!

Since finishing your course (actually even before I finished), sales in my shop started really taking off! I have sold more each month (including three $172 wall sculptures!) and just finished a custom commission piece for over four figures! My largest sale to date! Amazing!! I just can’t thank you enough for all the wonderful advice and support you have/do give!

Amy GabrielGabriel's Good Tidings

Melissa is incredibly knowledgeable about all of the intricacies of Etsy, as well as Google SEO. She speaks clearly and plainly, as one who is well-versed in this subject matter, yet she is so easy to understand. Her suggestions are specific and direct - making it easy for me to follow through and complete each assignment. She is inspiring and encouraging, giving me the push and boost I needed to stop dragging my feet and actually get busy selling. 

Rhonda SmithRestore and Sparkle

I just wanted to let you know that your advice really helped and I've made some changes. I've reached a lot of goals in the short four weeks since your critique: 12 orders in one day, 100 sales, and 200 sales. I had around 90 sales when you reviewed my shop. It took me about a year and a half to accumulate those. I now have 201!

Danielle ArranNarra Nest

I feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn from Melissa. Looking at my listings with her, and hearing her advice about my tags, titles, and descriptions was particularly awesome... I read a LOT and listen to a ton of podcasts about improving my business, but here's the thing - none of them can really compete with Melissa's advice, because she has done this successfully! She's juggled motherhood with building her handmade business, and she gets it. I know there are bloggers and social media experts and lots of people out there with really great info to share, but honestly, Melissa has done EXACTLY what I hope to do. That makes her opinion invaluable to me.

Helen XiaLetter and Adore

Melissa is truly an expert on running a successful handmade business, which is reflected through her own Etsy shop. More importantly, I was drawn to her passion to help others succeed.

Katie ClarkKatie Did Productions

I'm getting ready for a 3-day pop up shop this weekend and another one day shop the following weekend. I've been sewing like a crazy lady to have as much inventory as possible. In the meantime, my Etsy shop is blowing up. Headbands are flying out the door faster than I can make them! I partially blame Melissa Kaiserman, because traffic started picking up after I began implementing her advice.

Jessica DaleyTwigs & Needles

When I decided to quit my day job, I knew I needed to become more aggressive in getting my Etsy shop to start working for me. I knew I needed someone with experience to help me and Melissa was just the person. Her knowledge of SEO, titles, tags and descriptions was invaluable to me. I still have a lot of work to do to my shop but I have already had an astounding increase in views, likes and sales since implementing the changes she suggested. I have a few areas that I have not changed yet and I know once I do the results will continue to reflect positively in the success of my business. I will recommend Melissa and her service to anyone I know who wants to improve their online shop.

Don't miss out!

You'll easily make the money back in the time and stress you'll save not having to research and figure everything out yourself. And hopefully you'll make even more back in sales as well!

You can get your shop up and running before the kids are out of school and the activities of summer fill your schedule. What are you waiting for?