I sat lingering over breakfast one morning in the RV, pondering what goal I should tackle next: I knew that I wanted to create more passive income in my business and promote awareness for my brand.
As I sipped my favorite smoothie, the idea hit me: an Etsy shop!
It was the perfect solution. I’d always wanted to learn how to open an Etsy store, and the income from a new shop would free me up to work on other parts of my business, and help me feel less stressed about our finances.
Besides, this booming ecommerce site generated 1.7 billion dollars in revenue in 2020, over 100% from the previous year. I wanted a share of that growing marketplace and knew exactly what I wanted to sell—printable planning inserts to help productivity nerds like myself build the planner of their dreams.
Maybe you’ve thrown around the idea of creating an Etsy shop yourself.
“Oh you’re so creative,” friends and family gush, “People would totally buy these!”
You’ve secretly shared the same thoughts, and decide to go for it. (<– this link gives you 40 free listings!)
But after you’ve entered all your login information and see all the empty listings in the back end of your Etsy shop dashboard, you begin to question…and even doubt.
- How do I go about opening my Etsy store?
- How much does it cost to have an Etsy shop?
- How do I sell successfully on Etsy?
- Is selling on Etsy worth my time?
And you talk yourself right out of it!
I won’t claim to be an Etsy expert, BUT… while you can read hundreds of posts on how to start an Etsy shop, this is probably the only one that will help you break down this goal into manageable, weekly, action steps using a proven framework, The Six-Week Sprint.
Wait, What is the Six-Week Sprint?
The Six-Week Sprint provides the perfect blend of flexibility and structure that I find most goal-setting systems lack.
I came up with this system based on my own goal-achieving failures. Read: I set dozens of goals with the best of intentions, but rarely saw the finish line on any of them. What can I say? I get caught up in the excitement of the new year. 🤪
Now I know better.
Planning for a full year (or even 90 days at a time) won’t keep you laser-focused. These time frames actually do more harm than good. If you’re interested, my book, Practical Dreamer, reveals more of the science behind this.
That’s why I use the Six-Week Sprint as the foundation for every goal I set. The Six-Week Sprint guides you toward continued progress, week after week. It offers a built-in deadline that will keep you from procrastinating because the finish line is already in sight!
Are you ready to go deeper inside this framework?
Let’s walk through a case study together: how to open an Etsy store using The Six-Week Sprint.
A Case Study: How To Open An Etsy Store in Just Six Weeks
First, some prep work.
Before beginning my Six Week Sprint with this project, I set aside some time to work through this goal in my Six Week Sprint Goal Planner. In it, I wrote out my desire behind wanting to start an Etsy shop, my A.C.T. UAL goal (more on this in Practical Dreamer!), and my “why” behind setting this goal.
It’s also smart to think through any potential obstacles you might encounter before starting a new project. That way you can brainstorm solutions ahead of time, and figure out how to manage those problems before they ever even present themselves!
I came up with two of these.
Next, I wrote down all of the action steps needed to reach my goal of creating an Etsy store. Then, I plotted out what tasks I should accomplish in each week of my Six Week Sprint in order to meet my deadline.
Some of my action steps were:
- Research Etsy best practices
- Upload listings
- Write welcome copy
- Create a printing guide
- Write shop policies
It helps to write down your action steps in as much detail as possible, using an action verb at the beginning!
Finally, (and most importantly!) I chose my reward for completing this project: an Apple pencil! I’d had this on my wishlist for quite awhile, and I knew it would serve as the perfect motivation to keep me moving through my action steps each week.
Now onto the week-by-week breakdown!
Week 1: Research Best Practices
One problem that I identified right away was that I didn’t have any experience selling on Etsy. But I knew that with enough research, I could minimize my learning curve and get enough information to learn how to open a successful Etsy store.
I dedicated the entire first week of this sprint to doing just that, and researched like crazy! I learned all about SEO best practices on Etsy, and found out what makes an awesome product listing that people will actually buy.
Here are some things I learned from the Etsy Seller’s Handbook:
- Etsy Fee: $.20 + 5% of listing cost (Get 40 free listings when you sign up HERE)
- The more images you have, the better.
- The more products you offer the higher they can rank your store as they see you as a potential seller that can attract several customers (and sales) and not just one.
- The keywords you use in your tags, titles, categories, and attributes work together to match your listings with shoppers’ searches.
- Use all 13 tags and refresh tags often on listings that don’t get much traffic
Week 2: Upload 15 Printable Listings
Armed with my completed research, I decided that I would try to get 15 listings uploaded to Etsy this week. I thought this would be manageable since I already had the digital files created, but unfortunately I forgot that I needed to make the cute graphics for the listing cover!
That took way more time than I expected because I had to teach myself Photoshop. We also wound up doing a huge road trip that week and I had to work in the car while we traveled, which is never quite as productive as when I’m able to sit and focus at my desk.
In spite of those obstacles, I still managed to get 8 done out of the 15 I had planned.
Week 3: Upload More Listings
In the third week of this sprint, I hit a bit of a rough patch. I managed to get caught up from Week 2, but didn’t make any actual progress towards my week 3 action steps. I’ll be honest – I felt pretty discouraged!
But that’s OK.
The beauty of the Six-Week Sprint is that its there to serve, not dictate. Life got in the way for me this week, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If you don’t get to a task on the week you assign it, you can always migrate it over to the next week (bullet journal style). The Six-Week Sprint discourages you from doing this because you don’t want to overload the next week with last week’s tasks and then fall behind.
But if it happens, it’s not the end of the world.
Even though this week wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, I still made forward progress—more than I would be if I wasn’t using the Six-Week Sprint at all.
Week 4: Upload Listings + Write Policies/Printing Guide
This week was exciting because not only did I bounce back from previous weeks and get most all of the listings uploaded to Etsy, but I also finished some of the less glamorous tasks like writing the welcome copy, creating a printing guide, and writing my shop policies!
I was feeling much more at peace with where I was at, and looked forward to heading into the next week.
Week 5: Create Etsy Freebie + Draft Email Marketing Sequence
One of my goals as I learned how to open an Etsy store was for it to be a marketing funnel in addition to an income source.
My membership site, The Brainbook Printable Library houses over 160 planning printables and I wanted my Etsy shop customers to know this option was available if they didn’t want to keep purchasing individual printables.
So I created a freebie (the “Hello” planner cover printable below) to incentivize customers to join my mailing list. Once they are on my list, then I can send them some information about the Brainbook Library to see if they’re interested in a membership.
Week 6: Upload Final Listings + Plan Shop Promotion
For my final week, I uploaded three remaining listings to reach my final 30 listings, then strategized how to promote this new shop to my readers.
I wrote a couple social media posts and drafted a few emails to my list, then scheduled them to publish on the appropriate days during launch week.
And just like that, I completed my Six-Week Sprint.
Here’s a look at my brand new Etsy Shop!
Don’t Forget This Part
Arguably, one of the most important pieces of The Six-Week Sprint Goal Planner is the review process.
I found it really helpful to think through what went well, what didn’t, and how I could have approached things differently in learning how to open an Etsy shop.
For example, FULLY thinking through how long it would take to upload a listing before saying I could publish 15 in a week!
Looking at this big picture helps me approach my next Six-Week Sprint in a more thoughtful, intentional way.
My Reward: An Apple Pencil
And of course, one of the best parts—redeeming my reward!
I’ve had to charge my Apple Pencil multiple times already because I’ve used it so much. I purchased an eBook version of a Bible study for my small group and have enjoyed “writing” in the workbook sections.
I’m also using the pencil to help fill out digital printables for The Brainbook Library. So it will help streamline my business too!
My Hope for You
Even if you have no desire to start an Etsy shop (congratulations for reading this far!), I hope you see how vital the Six-Week Sprint is when applying it to your goal.
- Do a fitness challenge for six weeks
- Declutter your bedroom
- Build a capsule wardrobe
- Build an emergency fund
- Assemble a family photo book
Anything you want to do that is above and beyond your normal everyday responsibilities should go into a Six-Week Sprint. Because that’s how things get done. 🙌
What goal are you thinking about that would make the perfect Six-Week Sprint?
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.