June 16, 2008

Successful Mom Home-Based Business

Today I am featuring a very successful mommy with a wonderful home based business that she has created with the help of Etsy.

Meet mommy Nili of The Portland Beanie Company!

Nili sells beautiful handmade crocheted beanies, scarves, and slippers from her Etsy store, which she opened October 7th, 2006.

Nili says she had played around with the idea of opening an Etsy store for a few months before she actually took the plunge and opened Etsy store. Ad within 10 minutes of opening, she made her first sale! That was motivation enough for Nili to continue.

It's been a little over a year and a half now since Portland Beanie Company opened, and Nili is proud to report over 3100 sales!

Nili has agreed to share some of her thoughts and tips with us 'wannabe wahm mommies' hoping to create our own successful home-based businesses. Enjoy!

What do you think your key to success for selling on Etsy has been?
There are certainly a lot of things that are involved in becoming a “successful” seller here on Etsy, and I probably couldn't narrow it down to one key thing... But to name a few: working hard to develop a great product, having eye-catching photos, listing often and providing fantastic customer service (even to the most difficult customer! Remember, the most difficult customers will probably be the most vocal about their experience to others. If it's a good one they will certainly point others your direction).

What are the best and most effective ways you have promoted your shop?
Listing frequently has certainly been an easy and effective way for me to promote. Also, opening a Flickr account has brought in a lot of business. I have to admit that I don't spend a lot of time trying to promote my shop. Instead, I use the majority of my time developing a great product that will promote itself. I have lots of people find me just by word of mouth. Also, I've been fortunate enough to be featured in Parents magazine, Interweave Crochet Magazine and in several popular blogs. If you work hard to develop a fantastic product other people will want to talk about it for you.

What is a typical day like running your business?
Here is a day in the life of a Pdxbeanies order: I have a chime on my email (oh, what a happy sound!), so I usually know right when an order comes in. I read it immediately and address any questions or comments in the “message to the seller” section. Then the transaction email will sit in my inbox, usually until the next morning when I print out packing slips for the previous day's orders. After printing the packing slip I move the transaction email to its appropriate folder, “to be shipped” or “waiting for payment." That way I know that all the orders have been processed when my inbox is empty. I then use the packing slips as a reference to collect or make-to-order all the products that were purchased. Once all the orders are assembled I log on to Paypal and use the handy-dandy “Multi-Order Shipping” tool and print out my shipping labels. Then I slap the label on the package and take a trip to the closest mailbox! After the order is shipped out I move the transaction email from the “to be shipped” folder to the “filled orders” folder in my email. I also go into my sold items on Etsy and check the “shipped” box next to the order. Doing these last two things is part of my “no order to be left behind” act to help ensure that I don't miss anything.

How and Why Did You Make The Decision To Work From Home?
Being able to stay home to raise my children has always been very important to me. My husband and I decided that we would make the necessary sacrifices to allow me to quit my job after I got pregnant. After our daughter was born I started thinking about ways that I could make a little money from home to supplement my husband's income. I had been crocheting since I was a kid and thought that this might be a skill I could use to make a few dollars here and there. At that time I had no idea how large the business would become. Now, The Portland Beanie Company provides a full second income for our household and I am still able to be a full-time mommy. The best of both worlds. Thank you, Etsy!

Best advice for a Newbie to Etsy, or Someone Thnking About Opening Their Own Etsy Shop?
Selling on Etsy takes a lot of hard work, discipline and dedication. It is not for the faint of heart! Be willing to go without sleep. Don't get discouraged easily. Be flexible.

Visit Nili's store on Etsy, The Portland Beanie Company, and enjoy her wonderful handmade creations!

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