Etsy—open a shop or build your own website and kick a#s! The whole reason we sell our handmade goods online and offline is to make a little extra money on the side. I think most makers would agree that they would like to eventually quit their 9-5 jobs and launch their own handmade shop. Unfortunately, many makers won’t due to marketing challenges and technical factors involved.
All too often I hear makers sharing these fears about leaving Etsy. Why are they so afraid? It’s simple—they won’t venture away from Etsy to start their own website in fear they won’t be found in the big World Wide Web. And of course, they have every reason to be fearful, after all, it’s their small business on line. Among these fearful makers, many don’t realize the long-term harm their causing.
How could that be? Think about it—the larger Etsy’s seller platform gets, the more makers selling on Etsy. With more sellers, comes a waterfall of product listings. Product listings that may very well be in direct competition with your product listings. Oh, and don’t forget changing algorithms and updates which then result in decreased search rankings for some shop owners. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at Etsy’s forum threads:
Sadly, this is just a sliver of unhappy sellers on Etsy.
“I was a cheerleader for this site for years and the changes that keep being made have drastically changed my mind. It makes me sad because it use to be pleasurable to work on my shop but now more time is spent trying to figure out what the latest change is and how to cope with it.”7:37pm Nov 15, 2018 EST
‘Im a long termer, coming up on 10 years, and Im struggling like you. Trying to look for something positive today : )’7:52pm Nov 15, 2018 EST
“Same here! I don’t want to leave etsy, but not sure how much more I can do. I’m not a big money making shop and now im not sure how I can hold up with these changes. The billing changes hurt me the most. When I was in control of that I paid a little toward the balance with each order, now I cant do that & I have a 200 balance that grows everyday&no orders. Who knows when Ill see any profit again..”10:55pm Nov 15, 2018 EST
I can’t wrap my mind around these constant changes as well.
“It consumes much of the time I could spend on my items and household instead.
“What annoys me the mosts is how Etsy wants a bite of everything, even of our shipping costs.”2:09am Nov 16, 2018 EST
“Same here. I’ve been here a long time, and it’s no longer fun. Always changes I don’t have time to address right away, and more and more fees. I’m thinking it’s time to go.”12:53pm Nov 16, 2018 EST
“This is my boat, it was so great, now i have to work 20x harder just to ‘maybe’ be seen. Makes me sad, I love Etsy, the thought, waht used to be so simple… grew and grew. Such as life. I am not going anywhere, just wish it wasnt so hard”10:31pm Nov 26, 2018 EST
“Add me to the queue. This last fiasco of overcharging non-US sellers the so called 5% we are supposed to pay according to Etsy’s own TOU and the retrospective changing of prior accounts is really the absolute pits. I’ve been here for 9.5 years and, yes, the fora has always been mixed, but I think relations between a lot of sellers and Etsy is going downhill rapidly. The trust is now gone.”3:38am Nov 27, 2018 EST
“I’ve been here a long time and I agree with what’s already been said. It has been desperately disappointing to watch Etsy become just another online retail site. It used to be very special.”6:05am Nov 27, 2018 EST
“Agreed. I understand the payment account changes and accepted long ago that it was coming; but the timing, unfortunately, shows me that those in charge at Etsy are WAY out of touch with their customers (sellers AND buyers). This time of year, a hit to sellers’ finances results in fewer new listings, shipping delays, and a general lack of enthusiasm from sellers. I’m just really really sad.”9:11pm Nov 15, 2018 EST
“The new Payment Account hit the less funded here hard.
“But the fee increases to foreign sellers, undisclosed and unrecorded is totally unacceptable. Etsy is literally stealing 0.2% on the item transaction fee and the Shipping fee – charging about 5.2% on each instead of the stated 5%.
Over millions of transactions it can be millions of dollars skimmed illegally.”12:00am Nov 16, 2018 EST
“I’m hurting enough that I may have to close up shop after almost 7 years. If Etsy is actually skimming unethically (illegally?) that much more than they should, some savvy lawyer(s) will eventually start a class action suit to get it back.”6:47pm Nov 26, 2018 EST
“Etsy killed my hobby my passion and desire to work! I am going more toward vintage Things.”8:04pm Nov 26, 2018 EST
Very contradicting in my books—so, let’s just continue struggling, just because ETSY gets a high volume of traffic. ETSY’s high volume of traffic means diddle squat to you the seller if customers end up buying from another vendor (due to product comparison or suggestion features). I’m telling you right now (and I know I’m not the only one), relying purely on these online marketplace platforms is ludicrous. Wake up, it’s totally putting you at a huge disadvantage from marketing and selling point in comparison to maker’s who simply run their own domain and website shop or their own website shop in addition to these online marketplaces.
It’s REALLY sad, it really is. And don’t forget, this is coming from someone who completely built their own multi-vendor marketplace. I know the struggle is real in the handmade niche’. I’ve lived it! As an ex-Etsy seller who once had a very successful Etsy shop shutdown out of nowhere, without any reason given—is beyond devastating. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Etsy has your back because you’re a seller making them money. Oh no, that’s not how it is at all—so you need to have your own back.
Now, don’t get me wrong—this isn’t the case with every seller on Etsy. Many Etsy sellers will continue to be successful and that’s great for them, but what about you?
The Wonderful World of Rankings
One of the biggest factors in determining search rank is link juice (back links pointing to your website). To say it’s a pain in the A#* would be an understatement. Regardless, it’s something you need to do in order to be found online. It requires constant hard work, dedication, and patience. Why waste your blood, sweat, and tears on ETSY? In the end, the only beneficial outcome is better search rankings for Etsy? Why not invest it in your own small business website? Always make your own website/domain priority and online marketplaces last.
There’s nothing wrong with having your own website as well as branching off to online marketplaces to earn some extra money. Just remember to put you and your business first.
I’ve heard it time and time again, ‘Well, Etsy’s good for makers just starting out’. OK sure, I get it—but how many sellers do just that and before they know it, its five years later and their still solely relying on Etsy? It turns into an addiction doesn’t it?
It’s Time to Take Hold of the Reins
We only get one life and we need to live it by our own rules, on your own terms. Because. If you decide to take my advice and venture off on your own amazing journey—you’ll look back someday and you’ll be very happy that you did. Do it for you, do it for your loved one’s—just take that scary step and do it.
Any ex-Etsy sellers (or current sellers) care to share their thoughts? Did you leave Etsy to build your own website? If so, drop us a line—we want to hear your story!