Are you ready to sit for hours in front of the computer, updating your website every hour because it is already outdated? Are you ready to communicate with up to 1000 people per day via email and social media – sometimes at midnight or even earlier than that?
Can you deal with complaining customers who want their money back because they bought a print file instead of the real thing (canvas, fabric)?
Do not assume that selling art is like selling t-shirts. Many artists work part-time jobs and sell art through marketplaces like Etsy for ‘survival.’ It’s hard work! The more successful designers use professional printers, so they don’t have to upload files for each order (they use an online print shop like Printful) and focus on creating art instead.
You need to know how to run a business.
Do you already have the necessary business knowledge? Are you familiar with taxes, social security payments, or other legal obligations?
If not – contact your local Chamber of Commerce for more information.
You need to know what licenses are required in your city/country/state.
What do you need to run an Art & Crafts store? Do you even need to get into that topic, or is it better for your business partners to get the licenses while working under their names/businesses?
Do you need an exorbitantly expensive business license?
You might have to set up a separate bank account for your art & craft business. You will also need to file your taxes correctly – which is not always straightforward if you sell digital items.
Do you know how much time it takes?
Are you prepared to spend hours every day on social media, answering customer requests, or uploading new designs? Is this even something that interests you? Are you willing to learn the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator during quiet periods in the shop?
Be aware that running an Etsy shop will require a lot from your side – from DIY product photography to engaging with customers via email and social networking sites.
Can you handle the extra workload?
Are you ready to be tied to your computer 24/7 and only go out for food or other essentials? Are you prepared that your shop closure will mean no money coming in? And are you prepared that if something breaks down (computer, printer) – there is usually no replacement until next payday?
Do not underestimate legal issues.
As mentioned earlier – using an online print shop like Printful can save you a lot of time dealing with customers, but it also allows your suppliers to do their own thing. This means they don’t have to take orders from you! You may need to sign contracts with them saying how much work should be done by each side, which means that you will have to go back to the books. Do not underestimate legal issues!
Research your competition.
You can learn a lot from what other successful Art & Crafts shops are doing – but also about their mistakes.
If you are not experienced with running an online shop or are currently involved in another business that does not need up-to-date social media accounts, join Etsy’s forums and ask questions there.
Do not simply copy your competitors’ work by using the same sources for supplies, settings, etc. When someone has copied, it is easy to spot, so this will not help build your brand. Be aware of copyrights. As mentioned before – it is not always advised to upload other people’s designs because of the high risk of getting into legal trouble.
Know that success will take time and effort.
Unless your store becomes popular in a matter of days – it will probably take months before you start earning enough money to call yourself an entrepreneur.
Do not set up a store unless you are ready to get stuck with it, and do not expect positive feedback from customers every day either. The more challenging your products are (limited editions, high prices), the fewer customers you will have – and you will likely have to deal with a lot of bad reviews. Learning how to handle criticism is difficult but important for your future career as an entrepreneur.
Know how much money you need.
This is probably the most obvious piece of advice on this list – but new business owners can easily overlook it. You might want to add extra months’ worth of living expenses into your budget, just in case , things go wrong.
Do not underestimate shipping costs.
Unless you plan to sell locally, you will need to figure out how much it costs to send your products worldwide. Packages of more than 1kg are expensive- so use this as a rule for your shipping strategy.