How I built a Full Time Business with Etsy

Here’s the total, true story on how I got to this place of freedom.

When I built my first Etsy shop I was working in New York City, commuting up to 3 hours a day, wondering why I had rushed out of college to do this.

On the weekends, I would go to my favorite thrift store, purchase jewelry, and re-purpose it. I was telling my husband about this new hobby when he said, you should sell it on this new site, called Etsy.

My first thoughts were I don’t know if I can start a business, don’t you need a lot of money or a lawyer? I’m not a jewelry designer either, would people really buy this?

I looked into it and found I didn’t need all that stuff; I just needed a logo and products.  I took the dive and opened my first Etsy shop selling re-purposed vintage jewelry. Within a week of opening, I got my first sale. A bracelet that I had purchased for $2 was being sold for $30.

Immediate Freak out. 

What if I get a bad review? What if they think I'm a fraud? I'm not even a real jewelry  designer! OMG when am I going to get to the post office!?   

Eventually I got the bracelet in the mail and got my first (positive) review.

From my first sale, things got better, I learned more about marketing, photo’s, and shipping. For a little bit I expanded into clothing and that was a lot of fun. I was still working in NYC and thinking how to get this bigger.

When one day a family member asked if I could sell wooden roses, he had bought a whole bunch of them and couldn’t sell him at his store. I was game for anything at that point, I was addicted to the rush of the sale. I knew Etsy wouldn’t let me just sell the roses, I had to make bouquets.

I did it and applied all the knowledge I had been reading about and applied to this shop. Holy shit balls this shop took off much faster.

It was perfect timing because things at my NYC job were getting worse; office politics, more responsibilities, no pay raises, etc. I decided to find what Marie Forleo’s calls a BJ. A bridge job. I found one with a much shorter commute (a 10 minute walk) and better hours. I would work 40 hours in 4 days and get Tuesdays off. 

Working at my new job and building my Etsy shop was going great, I had made my first $5,000 and even had a local bride ask if I could do her whole wedding.

That bride ended up going with fresh flowers but instead of feeling rejection, I understood this was holding me back from expanding.

I took a fresh flower course online for $100 and started a website. Soon I was booking photo shoots, weddings, and even a bat mitzvah.  Again, applying all the business tactics I learned in my Etsy shop to my new fresh flower business.

A year later, I quit! By this time I had started freelancing for other floral designers, writing for wedding blogs, booked 12 of my own weddings, and made over $10,000 in Etsy orders.

It was incredibly hard to stay motivated and taking the leap, was terrifying.

I think most people dream of the day when they say “ I quit!”

While it’s excitement, it’s a real question of how much you believe in yourself.

You have to believe in yourself enough to know you will make your own money and you will make your own way.

Ready to start your Etsy biz?