The Truth About Online Business
So today we're talking about the truth about online business and I'm just gonna take a minute to introduce myself in case we're just meeting for the first time. My name is Lisa Jacobs and I'm known for turning $100 worth of supplies into a top-earning Etsy shop. The name of my Etsy shop is Energy Shop. And I started online business as early as 2008, a couple years before I tried Etsy, a couple years before I even knew that market existed. And I remember creating my first website and feeling like the whole world would see it as soon as I pressed publish. And I know that's something that we all start out with online. We get really nervous about starting, we get really nervous about showing our products, because we think as soon as it gets onto the internet, the entire world will see it and everybody will know what we're doing. And we all know after trying and trying and trying, that that's a very far fetched perception, that there's a lot more that goes into that. And that's what I learn...
ed for the first couple of years with various websites before 2010. And in 2010 I started my Etsy shop. And by that time I knew it was gonna take so much more than listing products for sale online. I knew it would take so much more than starting an Etsy storefront. And so I was already on it, as soon as I opened the shop I was looking for customers, I wanted to find my own customers, I wanted to market, I wanted to convert visitors to actual sales and get them into an email list. I knew the whole thing from trying and experimenting in two years of trial and error before my Etsy shop stuck and took off for me as a creative business. So I made over 100 sales within the first month of starting online with Etsy. And that was an accomplishment in itself. That was good and I knew that I, it made me feel more confident. It validated my efforts, but more than that, it meant I have something here. I get chills, I'm getting chills thinking about it. It meant that if I got one sale I could get 100 sales, I could get 1,000 sales. It meant that something that I was doing, something that I was creating, was connecting. It meant my dreams of becoming a work-at-home mom were becoming real, and I was going to build a second income from home while still taking care of little toddlers in the house and have this business that ignited me. And it was a dream come true when I started making sales on Etsy. And since then, that's my love affair with Etsy, and since we're talking about the truths of online business, I want to also disclose that I've had honest ups and downs with Etsy. I have been shut down by etsy.com without warning. And I am dead set against spreading panic in creative business. I never wanna do that. I think it's something we do way too often because everything's so personal and passionate for us and we're scared when we start business online. And so I'm telling you this not as a warning because it's very rare what I'm about to tell you, but as a cautionary tale, that we still own our own business. But in 2012, a couple years after I'm running on Etsy, I'm getting sales, I'm depending on the income, I am counting on it as the second income for my family of six, I have a large family, and I woke up to discover my entire business was gone. Just completely disappeared. It was replaced by one of Etsy's, uh oh a stitch has gone awry 404 pages. The Energy Shop was gone. And I was scrambling to try to figure out what to do, and I'm looking up Etsy online, they don't have phone numbers, they don't have phone responses. I started this frantic email back and forth. And there was no reason for it, it was, the moral of the story is it was recovered and I had my shop reactivated within 24 hours of the whole thing. But I can tell you there was some weeping and some (laughing) serious on my knees breakdowns going on once everything had disappeared, not only that, not even the files. I didn't have access to the pictures I'd taken or the listings I took or the customers I had accumulated. It was gone. So I tell you that again not as a warning. That's not gonna happen to you. It's very rare that it happens, but as a cautionary tale. I learned some valuable lessons. I started out telling you, I know Etsy's a hangout, it was for me too, but that was the moment that I realized, this is business. I'm in business. And I better respect my business as a business and stop treating Etsy as my friend but as rather as their own business. There's no hard feelings. In fact I absolutely love Etsy, but it helped me realize that Etsy is in business for Etsy. They're looking out for number one as we all should be looking out for number one. And the key takeaway, if I have any tips about that, it's pointless, it was only 24 hours, I've told this story enough, but if you want to do something to protect yourself, if you wanna do something that will help you treat your business like a business, buy your own domain, make sure you have a URL to share. In that case when my shop was gone, even though I had an email list, I had no way to send them anywhere else because the only place that I had up until that point was energyshop.etsy.com. So I have my own domain from that experience. And the second big thing I would say is back up your work. I know that when I lost my photographs, I like to repeat designs, and when I lost those photographs I lost thousands of hours of work. So those two things I would take away is treating your business like a business, protect yourself, remember that this is your business and Etsy is their business.