5 Reasons Why You Aren't Making Sales on Etsy

Hello. Hello! Kasey here! I am trying something new and I'm turning my blog posts into a combined blog and audio post. So from what I've heard from all of you, you all are busy moms, your stay at home moms, your work at home moms, your work out of the home moms or you're not moms at all and you are just busy women in general and you prefer audio. So I am adding audio to my site, for this one reason. And then secondly because I really enjoy talking over writing. It's a lot easier since I am a busy mom too, as many of you know, I have two toddlers. I own this online business. I am really involved in church and just everyday responsibilities so doing this audio recording I think will save me time. 

 I'm still going to have the blog posts so those of you who prefer to read, that's not going anywhere. It'll just be in a more "script style" layout.  So let's give this a try and see how it goes. I think we'll both enjoy it.

In today’s post….

This is an area I have quite a bit of experience in. As many of you know, Etsy is where I started online and where I know many others do too. I feel it's the first step into online business for many people, but at the same time, it's also not as easy as many people think.  They put all this work into their products, into their shop, into perfecting it, into launching it, and they expect sales right off the bat. 

Instead what they get in return and what I see with some of my students is crickets. To make it worse, they stop and they wait and they wait for the sales to come in and then they wait some more. And still none come so they ask themselves, what did I do wrong? I think this is actually the absolute worst thing that can be done is just sitting there waiting instead we need to be hustling, right? This is where the real work begins is after the launch!! We get more into this, like I said, but I want to preface this post because 99% of business success is based on your mindset; combined with some good tips, tools and strategies along the way but the bulk of it and my opinion, success is based mostly off of your mindset towards your business.

When I launched my Etsy shop, I unknowingly made some right decisions that I didn't know were right at the time. We're helping get sales. I'm getting me sales early on that I'm going to share with you. And these eventually led to me replacing my income from my day job. I was able to do that within six months. I really wasn't expecting that, but I contribute this success largely to simply having the right mindset when I launched. which like I said, I didn't even know was helping me at the time. For one, I didn't expect sales to, immediately come in or really I didn't expect sales to come in at all. It was an experiment in my mind, launching an Etsy shops.

So each sale came as a surprise even though the sales were little 99 cent sales because that's what my price point was at the time.  I was so happy about that because it meant that it, that it was actually working and that my shop was improving and that I was succeeding in a small, small way. But I have seen with my students and new shop owners who get caught up in the.. "Woe is me! I don't have any sales coming in. I only have a 99 cent sale that happened today. This is so hard." They have all these huge expectations in the beginning and they're sitting there watching Billy Joe's success on Etsy or they see it and they think, "I can do that. Let's go, let's go. I can do this. I'm going to be Billy Joe. Rah Rah, Rah! Let's go!" Which is good to have energy and to believe in yourself, but they do this without realizing that Billy Jo, that girl that they're comparing themselves to, it took her hours and hours and they beginning and Billy Joe has been doing this for five years. 

They are comparing their beginning to her end.

For many people this is enough to convince them to never even try and for the ones who do try and then don't succeed right off the bat, it's like a slap in the face for them. They give up and they throw in the towel because it's a lot harder than what they thought it would be.

But if you change your mindset going into it and if you go into it knowing it will take awhile knowing that it's okay if the sales don't come in immediately. Knowing beforehand that you need to keep your head down and go to work! Don't even pay attention to the sales. This is what those who succeed do!!

It's funny, I was actually just looking at my notebook from when I launched my shop. I kept track of each and every week with how many listings I was adding, how many views I had, and what my sales were every single week. I looked forward to to tracking these. It was like my own little weird geeky thing that I did. 🤓But it actually really helped me. I was just looking over the numbers and looking at them and only them. One week all I learned was $5, that's it! Another week was $7 and then another week was $10, and then maybe $15 the next. I was putting in all of these hours but still hardly making anything. Right? I remember being so excited about these little numbers and telling other people about them and being like, "Yay, I made like 20 bucks this week!" To only have them respond and be like, "Wow, that's it.....and you've been working how long?"

But I had fire under me and I would respond, "Yes, but that's from me adding 30 products in a month, so if I can continue to do this and see the rate of gain over the next six months and continue straight on this upward climb and continue to add products consistently, I should see the same return and at that point it'll be $2,000 in x amount of months instead of $20!!!!!"

I was on fire.  There was nothing that was going to stop me and that is what drove me and continued to drive me. I was not listening to other people. I was not listening and looking at other people's wins. I just kept my head down. I kept watching my little, little itty bitty steps that continued to climb up and up and up. I didn't listen to what other people were telling me wasn't much of a success.

This is what I tell and encourage my students to do. To focus on the wins. Focus on the wins people!

Not the failures, not the time suck, not the negative, not the hours that you're putting in! What are you improving at? What successes have you had? Focus on the improvements that you're making. Think of it like a little math equation. Like it's an experiment instead of, "Well, Fred. (my hick accent coming out.) I put in 25 long hours this week and only gots $5 to show for it."

This is so easy to do, right?

"This isn't worth it. This clearly is not adding up. It's not worth the investment."


....when we can broaden our vision and when we love what we do, it's so much easier to just continue on and keep on doing it. When you can look past this tunnel vision that naturally comes to us when we fail or when we only have a little itty bitty win that's not a huge win. Which is what we hear about, right? This is what we hear about all the time online.

When we can look outside of this, THIS is where you will start finding traction.

So I'm prefacing this post with first and foremost, get your mindset in the right place with your current shop or before launching your Etsy shop! Know that the work continues and the hustle BEGINS after launching.  This is important that you don't think too much and that you don't drain yourself before launching your shop. You know, launching the shop should be a minor thing. It should just be an itty bitty step to your big overall plan. It's the after part that you have to hustle, that you have to work, that you have to start doing. I'm not discrediting making that big step and launching a shop because that is a huge step and a huge accomplishment. But don't let it drain you! Don't let it suck out all of your energy and don't make it bigger than what it needs to be. Jump into it. Don't think too much on the name, on your strategy, on your branding, on your logo. These are just little things in the background that, in my opinion, don't have a ton to do with your success on Etsy. These can all be tweaked later on. Get your foot into the door and then start HUSTLING.

So I guess we could just be done right now. Right?

That was a lot and I kind of got up on my soapbox, but I'm coming back down and now let's dive into those..

5 Things That Might be the Reason Why You Are Not Generating Sales

Reason 1: Your shop is not optimized.

For about five years. I did SEO on other websites, so on other company's websites. SEO stands for search engine optimization. In short, it means you place keywords that people search in the search engine such as Google and you place them into your blog post or your listings or your landing page or whatever it may be. In this case we are referring to Etsy listings. You place these keywords there, the same keywords that people are searching and this is how you are found.

This is why I put it as number one because I attribute a lot of my success to knowing SEO. This is one thing that I drill into my students is SEO, SEO, SEO, get your keywords into your listings. This is something I did automatically when I launched my own shop without even thinking that actually ended up really helping me. Find the keywords that your customers are searching and place these same keywords in your listing and Bam! You can be found on Etsy, okay?

Reason 2: You're listing products that your buyers are not interested in.

I don't care how good your SEO is, if nobody is searching for that item, sorry, it won't sell! This is why you really have to be in tune with what your buyer wants. Know what they are looking for and give it to them.

Then the SEO will do its job and they can find your listing.

I challenge you to become an expert in knowing your target audience and there in will lie success. Find the products they are interested in. Design those products, make those products. Know your audience so, so well that you know what they are thinking. Talk to your audience. Get to know them. Go to places where they hang out and then you will understand what their needs are and be better able to serve them.

Reason 3: You do not have enough inventory on your shop people!

The more products you have in your shop, the more Etsy will reward you and give your shop a boost in the results because of this. If you have more to sell, then you can make more money, and you can specifically make more money for Etsy! Etsy is automatically going to boost your results over others because you have more and can earn them more money!

The more products you have, also the more reach you will have on Etsy because this automatically expands your reach. Right? Also, the more people will be wandering through your shop, looking over your items and buying things! The more products you have for them to look at, the better. This also allows you to offer more sales and coupons that will appeal to people because now you can sell them 5 or 10 things from your store and sell them those 5 or 10 things at a discount!

Instead of them going to let's say Billy Joe's shop. Remember Billy Jo? Instead of them looking at her inventory and buying one from you and one from Billy Joe, they'll instead buy more from you since they have a coupon.

You have a coupon going on for 40% off of four items. "Heck yeah, I'm going to buy from that shop!" Especially if you're a business, selling supplies to business owners or items that business owners will use. They are all the time looking for commercial license. Like our SVG files my buyers are all the time looking for deals that they can use to build their tee shirts, to build their frames, to build their wood cutouts and to build their physical items and then resell to their audience.

So they're all the time looking for deals and where to get commercial license files from and where to get good quality and a good price on designs. So, more inventory gives your shop an extra boost in multiple ways!

Building up your inventory will:

  • give you a boost in the Etsy algorithm
  • encourage shoppers to stay on your shop longer to buy things
  • give you the capability to offer sales and coupons.

Reason 4: You are not listing any or enough new products on a consistent basis.

One thing I have seen over and over and over again on my own Etsy shop is when sales are starting to dip and I like to think of my shop and Etsy shops in general as a rechargeable battery. You have to keep the battery charged for it to continue to make sales. When it starts lagging is when you need to charge it. When your sales are starting to taper off, go and add new products! And I actually recommend to not even wait until the sales start tapering off.

Aim to have so many new products on your shop each week. I recommend to add new products every four to five days to your shop and this will keep it up and high in the Etsy search algorithm as well. And just like with the larger inventory, Etsy rewards shops that keep adding new products, have new inventory, are updating their shop, and have new things coming through. This also expands your reach when adding new products.

Reason 5: Your products aren't trending or aren't needed.

I know this is kind of similar to, to number two where I said the buyers are not interested in what you're selling, but I want to dive a little bit deeper with this one.

Etsy is a very competitive marketplace so if your item or your designs or whatever you're selling isn't trending or is not needed, then they aren't worth your time.

There I said it.

Honestly. Don't put your time into them because you're just setting yourself up for failure. (In many cases.) The market could be so, so small for those items that there aren't enough pieces of the pie to go around. I have a friend who started a business a while back that has tried and tried and tried and struggled and struggled and struggled to make the sales that she needs to make for her and her family, but they eventually had to close down their business and stop altogether. All because, and what they concluded, it was a dying area and they weren't aware of it when starting. The items that they were selling weren't trending and over time sales kept on getting worse and worse and worse. So make sure there's proof that the area you're interested in is profitable and that there is a need for it. Preferrably before going into it.

The way that you can do this is by looking to see if there's others in the area in the same area selling the same type of thing that are successful, that are making good money selling that same thing.

This is a really good sign for you. And word of advice, don't be discouraged when you see other people success when you're searching in this area. That just means that you can be successful in it too! I think that it's easy to do. To look at other businesses and get discouraged and be like, "Oh, you know that Billy Joe....she has 100,000 sales and I only have like five."

But that just means that Billy Joe has stuck with it this long because it's working!

Another way you can check the area... Have you asked people in this same niche if this is something they're interested in? Maybe this is you. Maybe you have experience in this area and if you do...

What have you seen in the product lines?

Have you seen a trend?

Do you seen a need in it? 

What are the numbers saying?

Are there stats? Is there research you can look up?

Is there proof that shows that this area is trending and that it's on the rise and that this is a good area to be in right now?

And like I said, do this before deciding if possible, do this before deciding to launch an Etsy shop and before deciding what to sell on your Etsy shop. If you already have an Etsy shop, and you are not seeing the sales that you want, be looking at this stuff and asking yourself these questions. Get outside of your bubble and start talking to people, get on the phone with people. I know that that's like harder and harder to do, where we are just doing everything by text and over the computer, but get on the phone with people and actually sit down with them face to face of possible and get inside their minds! Really. Get to know them! Get to know what their needs are! Again, these are people in the area that you're interested in pursuing. Really at be asking these questions. 

As far as the numbers and the stats go and the research... this is actually something that we're going to dive into a little bit more in next week's post in the cutting industry. We're going to look at all of the trends that we are seeing in the statistics and the research and what we can valuate and assume based on this research. Specifically with cutting machines, cutting programs, cut files and the trends that we're seeing there.

Okay. Let's recap. So the five reasons why your Etsy shop is in generating sales:

  1. Your shop is not optimized. Make sure that you get all over SEO, learn about it, become familiar with it and then make sure that you put the keywords into your listings.
  2. You're listing products that your buyers are not interested in. Make sure that you know, whatever you're designing, whatever you're creating, that this style or this design is something that they are interested in and that there's hard evidence out there that that proves it.
  3. You do not have enough inventory on your shop. Get your numbers up, people add, add, add, add it! Get products on your shop. It expands your reach. It helps you in the search algorithm and it helps people stay on your shop longer.
  4. You're not listing any or enough new products on a consistent basis. Make sure that you make yourself a plan, each and every week be adding new products.
  5. Your products aren't trending or aren't needed. If you get down to this number five and all of the rest have proven to be true, look at the research, look at the numbers, look at the proof that this area is trending and if you don't find it, it might be time to switch to something else.

Okay. That is it for this, this week's post! I hope you guys enjoyed it, especially the little audio element I'm adding. Feel free to comment in the comments below at the bottom of this post and let me know how you liked it.

Last but not least, if you are interested in learning more about Etsy and I'm specifically learning the 10 proven steps to launching a successful Etsy shop, I have a free guide. These are the same 10 steps that I use, some of which we went over today, but I list these out one by one and there's really some juicy tips in this one. It's what I used when I launched my shop. 

Have a great week everyone. Bye!




Kasey | Pen + Posh.

Hi Dan and Mariana, and Michelle. Great question.
It’s a combination of a few things…I watch what is in the big box stores like Hobby Lobby and Target. I also watch what designs and items are trending in the Facebook groups within your area. I also will watch competitors on Etsy and watch what sells on their shop. For hard evidence I use the Etsy Search bar to see what is trending and what users are searching since this is where I sell. I also use https://www.statista.com to find stats and also trends projected over the next several years that supports my area. Hope that helps!

Dan and Mariana

We are wondering what are the tools or processes used to search the trends?

Michelle McCallum

How do you research what is trending?

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