TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 16 Planning and Goals for the Year

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com.  
If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!

We have new sellers joining our Bootcamp all the time, so never fear if you're just starting and we've reached Class 16. You can complete the classes at your own pace. The entire series so far: Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class 5, Class 6, Class 7, Class 8, Class 9, Class 10, Class 11, Class 12, Class 13, Class 14, and Class 15.

In today's class we'll cover the typical pattern for sellers in a given calendar year and strategies for being prepared and meeting your goals. So this class is suitable for all new sellers, and is hopefully a useful review for more experienced sellers. You will want to have the first steps down. So, please be sure you've at least followed the first few classes, especially opening your shop, listing items and writing policies:

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3 Shop Profiles Bios and Photos
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 4 Make Listings Tempting
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 5 About Pages

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 6 Shop Policies
Have a cuppa, and re-group with Tea Time screenprint by Riempie
Once you've been selling on Etsy a few years, you find that there is a pattern to each calendar year. January can be moderately busy, what with the Boxing Day (or Month!) sales and a sort of hang-over from Christmas. February is traditionally a bit slow. Sales tend to pick-up in the spring and continue to be moderate until the fall when the rise to a crescendo of buying for the holidays, peaking in December! There are variations, of course; maybe you sell something which is closely tied to summer months, or say, Hallowe'en, or maybe you live in the southern hemisphere and have reverse seasons. On average, however, you are very likely to find that patterns in terms of views, favorites and sales, are very similar, year to year... though with any luck - and effort! - you'll see that a consistent rise each year. So, since February tends to be a bit slow, now is the time to re-group and set some goals.

What are your dreams for your shop?
Love Wish Dream card by StacyCraftStyle

One of the nice things about Etsy  is that you can define success for yourself. Is your small business a fun hobby, or a part-time job, or your dream second career, or your retirement plan? It's up to you. Be honest with yourself about what you want to acheive and take this time to set some goals for the next year.

Here's a sketch of the sorts of things you can do with your Etsy shop this year to help grow your business. If these plans resonate with you, write them down and add your own. Plan to do a few manageable tasks each month. At the end of each month, check off those tasks you've acheived. If you need to, revise your list for the following month to include tasks you have not yet completed.

Gold Bar Earrings by ShawnPattDesigns
  • Valentine's Day can drive sales. Do you have any products which tie-in? Both Valentines and anti-Valentines sell and get featured on blogs and other media. Be sure to feature these items and tag them 'Valentines'.  See Class 4 for instructions on tagging listings. You might also want to shoot new Valentines Day listing photos or use a seasonal shop banner. See Class 2 for how to make or update your shop banner. Find some of our Newbies' Valentine's items featured here.
  • This year, the Winter Olympics will also be dominating news this month.
  • This is a great time to review your pricing. Are you charging enough? You'll want to be reviewing your prices on a regular basis.  Note that Canada Post and the USPS both put their rates up. Update your shipping rates using Shipping Profiles. See Class 8 for details on Shipping Profiles and Class 10 on pricing.
  •  Does your shop lend itself to springtime items, themes or trendy animals? Start thinking about products you'll feature in uncoming months.
  • Take this slow month to work on your social media strategy, and schedule future posts. See Class 9 for tips.
  •  The most well-known holiday in March is St. Patrick's Day, so expect, and make green treasuries.
  • March sees the beginning of spring (in the northern hemisphere, where Etsy buyers are concentrated). So themes to feature include spring clothing, spring break, daffodils, blossoms, or baby animals.
  • Time for spring cleaning! Freshen up your shop and listings' appearance. See Class 2  and Class 4 for tips.
White Fluffy Cat print by IllustratedByAnya
  •  April starts with April Fools Day, includes Passover and Easter, as well as Earth Day, Buddha's birthday and ANZAC day. There are a number of holidays you might want use as a theme, depending on your location, background and products. Treasuries with eggs, bunnies and Easter colours are a likely bet.
  • Spring is in full force here, so continue with spring themes. 
  • It's tax season. US sellers can find tax tips here. All sellers will need to make sure their bookkeeping is in order. You can read more on the Etsy blog.
  •  May starts with Mayday, which is Labour Day in many European countries, treasuries. The Mexican Cinco de Mayo is growing in popularity beyond Mexico. Here in Canada, we look forward to Victoria Day (May 2-4!). The holiday likely to drive sales is Mother's Day (in North America).
  • Spring continues in the north, but it's time to prepare for Summer! Get all your fun fashion, summer colours, vacation, outdoors and ocean themed items prepared and featured.
  • This is when the spring craft show season gets really active. Make sure you have a calendar of events and vendor calls which interest you and get all your applications in on time. Take advantage of Etsy Local - see Class 15.
  • Since the year is well underway, why not take the time to make sure you have mastered all the metrics and read up on Shop Stats. See Class 11.
Vintage 50s Organza Wedding Dress from DistinctivelyElegant
  •  June is full on summer in this part of the world. June 20th is the Summer Solstice (or Winter, south of the equator). It will be Father's Day in many countries, like Canada. June 20 to 29 is WorldPride in Toronto, and June is LGBT Pride Month in the US. In Quebec, the 24th is Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.
  • June is a big month for weddings!
  • Remember that magazines and even some blogs are working months in advance, so it's not too soon to list fall or even winter holiday items.
  • This is a good time to think about how to get your items in front of more eyeballs. Brush up on how to get your shop some press. See Class 13.
  •  The month starts with Canada Day on July the 1st, followed by Independance Day, July 4th in the US.
  • Those of us in Toronto will be trying to get away to cottage country - lakes, summer camp, woodland creature themes abound. 
  • People are busy trying to get some vacation time. You might consider a Christmas in July sale! Check out Class 14.
Heart pocket watch necklace by EarthlyBijoux

  • Summer holidays wrap up and thoughts turn to fall and Back to School. Feature things for kids, learning, books, school, kits and back to school fashion.
  • Have you skipped one of our classes? Now is the time to catch up. Complete outstanding tasks.
  •  Autumn is here and the kids are back in school, right after the Labour Day weekend! Fall colours, leaves, and fall fashion is front and centre. We start thinking about the harvest, and planning for Oktoberfest and Hallowe'en.
  • Buyers do not want to be hearing about Christmas this early, but sellers need to be prepared. If you want to catch some press you already have your items listed. Make sure your shipping policies and strategies are in order. See Class 8 and Class 6.
  •  Canadian Thanksgiving is October 14 and then we focus on Hallowe'en! Hallowe'en can also drive sales. If you stock anything which might be part of a costume or decor put it front and centre.
  • This is the calm before the storm. Make sure you are streamlined and efficient! Check out our guide to holiday prep, shipping, and communication.
Knit Headband by Waysofwoodfolk
  • The Hallowe'en vibe can continue through Día de los Muertos and Guy Fawkes Night (in the UK and some Commonwealth countries). Skeletons and bonfires. November 11 is Remembrance Day (or Vetran's Day the US). South of the border they celebrate Thanksgiving, which leads to the major sales events of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Be prepared and consider hosting your own sale. See Class 14.
  •  Sales crescendo in December, driven by Christmas! There are many other holidays being celebrated as well, including Boxing Day and  New Year's Eve. This month is a good time to hunker down and just focus on shipping your items and customer service. It will be busy. In Canada, Boxing Day is a big deal.
  •  Some people celebrate Christmas in January and Boxing Day can often stretch into Boxing Month! Time for sales and winter items for the northern hemisphere. 
  • Think about New Year's resolutions and what it might lead buyers to seek.
  • Look back and see how far your shop has come. Did you meet your goals? What goals do you want to set next?  See Class 11 for shop stats tips.

Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here. 

 The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!

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