As my sales increased on Etsy I found it was an exciting time. Was I ready to go full-time? If I was ready to make the leap what new issues and challenges will I face as a full time seller?
Although being full-time has great financial benefits there are so many things to consider. From tracking your income, setting up a home office, and scheduling your day transferring from a part-time to full-time seller can be a challenge.
Let’s Get Started!
When becoming an Etsy seller, it usually – with few exceptions – takes time before you make enough money to become a full time Etsy seller. Or you might be in a situation that you have enough savings and you want to switch to making your Etsy store a full-time job. In either way, it is still a job and with a job comes responsibility.
There is a lot that you have to think about before your Etsy store is up and running full time. Next to the fact that it is not easy, it will also take a lot of work. But in the end, all the perks of being self-employed, working from home and doing something you like, most definitely apply too. As you go through this process there are many factors to consider when moving to full-time self employment on Etsy.
Track Your Income
When you become a full-time Etsy seller, your income will become your revenue – that’s your income of which you still have to subtract your business costs. Part of your business costs will also be your salary, meaning what you earn every month before you meet your private payments as well.
This all seems very cumbersome, but it’s important to have all these costs and income separated. So that you know what you should sell and have as revenue by the end of the month. You can also have an accountant to help you with that.
How I Track Expenses Daily
TRACK EVERY EXPENSE! I don’t mean to yell but…. Can I repeat that? Track every expense. In the past, I would have several books to track my expenses. I decided to consolidate all my books into one. I now use a Happy Planner daily planner. It’s critical to see where funds are going daily.
Here is the planner and monthly budget sheets I use every day to track my expenses.
This is the happy planner system I use for my Etsy shop. I love this planner as it has several sections you can add as you go. I also love that the pages pop out effortlessly. After you edit and update a page you can pop each page back into your planner with ease. You can purchase this Happy Planner HERE on Amazon.
Monthly Budget Sheet
My accountant was overjoyed once I started using this monthly sheet.
I needed a simple sheet to mark down all the funds going into and out of my Etsy business and this sheet fit the bill. You simply use one sheet per month. The top of the sheet you mark all your income from Etsy sales. The middle of the sheet you enter all your expenses such as product supplies, Etsy fees, etc. Finally at the bottom you can see at a glance your profits each month. Brilliant! You can find this Monthly Budget Sheet HERE on Amazon. Well worth the small expense for piece of mind not to mention it’s pretty handy come tax time.
Why Is Income Tracking Necessary?
By knowing what you need before all business costs, you will be able to focus on your revenue and you will know how much you need and how much you have to push your sales. You will also be aware when you are selling very well and you will not find yourself with unwanted surprises. It’s important to keep a month by month track on your finances to ensure you’re on the right path.
How Do You Track Income?
Make a list of all your business costs, this may include:
- Packaging/shipping costs (bubble wrap, Shipping boxes, Shipping tape)
- Marketing costs (Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest ads, business cards)
- Etsy fees (Understanding Your Etsy Fees)
- Office Supplies (Shipping labels, paper, pens)
- Your salary
If you sell items handmade items, you also have to add material costs. I suggest creating a separate spreadsheet with a detail list of material needed to produce your item. It’s important to know your actual profit margin.
This list is not conclusive but are some suggestions and ideas to get you to the right direction. If you have other costs, make sure you add these on this list.
When recording these expenses find a system that works best for you. I found that tracking my expenses on my phone with an app called EveryDollar works best for me.
The EveryDollar app hooks up to my bank account. EveryDollar tracks all expenses go in or out of my business account . It is my job to send each transaction to a designated category as they come into my app. It’s very helpful to be able to print out a monthly report of income and expenses. See below for an example.
There are many applications available to help you track your income such as Quickbooks Self Employment and EveryDollar. You could also opt to track your income the old fashion way by pen and paper in a ledger. Whatever you use to track your funds ultimately you need to find the system that works best for you. By tracking your income and expenses monthly you can clearly see your profits. Having your records in order for your accountant makes tax time a breeze.
Do you need an Accountant?
Having an accountant is more than just someone that can help plan your tax liability and save you some time, which is really valuable speaking from my own experience. However, an accountant can also help you with filling in your tax bills correctly and advise you about which costs are billable in your taxes and which are not.
This matters, because working from home makes your house your office. This means that some of the costs that you have at home can be considered business costs, this not only helps you pay less for these costs – since these are taxed payments – the costs also move from private to personal. Which gives you, more money to spend personally if you keep the same amount of salary that you used to make to cover your bills.
Setting Up A Home Office
When you sell full-time on Etsy, you might want to set up a home office. Setting up a home office has its advantages, because you have a separate room where you can put away all materials that you need to get your job done. This means no more laptops, paperwork, clutter and big mess on kitchen tables, in the living room and everywhere else, only in your home office. Having a separate home office also helps you focus and get away from distractions. However, just having a home office does not immediately help you focus. Here I will try to help you get to that point and give you tips based on my experience.
If you can, try to set up your home office in a separate room. If you don’t have an extra room, set it up in a separate space in an exciting room. I know that it can be hard to focus and stay focused on your work when working from home, so separating your office from the other area(s), can help you go into “work zone” as soon as you take a seat and start working.
Office Workspace Necessities
An office workspace is important because the time that you spend on payment, taxes or other admin increases when you start selling full-time. The important items that you need for this workspace are: A computer or a laptop. If you are using a laptop, you might want to consider to use an extra monitor, a separate keyboard and mouse. You need a good office chair and a table that has your hight which is ergonomic. An ergonomic office is important because you can experience back problems, neck problems or other Repetitive Strain Injuries when you have to work on office supplies that are not.
Another necessity is good lightning – as we have built our house to life and not to work, the lightning that we have chosen might be very warm, soft, yellow and cosy. Because of these types of lightning you can’t see the small details or it makes the light that comes out of your computer brighter. These effects make your brain work harder to focus and ultimately can cause headaches. It is no luxury to find out what works for you and what you type of lightning you need in order to help you work comfortably. Day light is always the best light, so if you can, make your office the room that has a window.
Paperwork vs. digital
It’s the biggest habits issue when it comes to working in an office. Personally, I like to mix it up. I have my calendar digitally and synchronized with my phone, so that I can search for items when necessary and I can get a notification about a meeting or call. I also keep my to-do list digitally, because I like to add items to my to-do list whenever something comes up. This can be anywhere, while I’m in bed, doing some grocery shopping or working on something else.
My daily notes I like to write in a Happy Planner Notebook. There is something about writing that helps me focus and helps me remember to find the note on another time or situation. All of my financials are written manually which keeps me focused on my goals. I also like to keep a whiteboard next to my desk, I use the whiteboard to write things up that are relevant for that day or week, whenever I want to celebrate something or if I want to be reminded of something.
Make Your Office Look Nice
Your new home office will be the place that you spend lots of time a day. So it is important to make sure that it is a place that you like to stay in. Decorate the walls with nice paintings, place a plant next to your desk or have a nice rug on the floor. There are plenty ways to make your office look good. For inspiration you can browse through the thousands of profiles in Pinterest that share office impressions and photos.
Scheduling Your Day
Scheduling my day means starting and ending my day every day at the same time – this way I know when I am overworking and helps me create boundaries. I also time block types of work. For example, photographing my items needs to be done in bright daylight and things that I need to focus on are best to schedule early in the morning, when my brain is still fresh. As I don’t have to do much thinking with posting items to the shop and this part of the job makes me happy.
Assigning My Week /By Theme
Scheduling your day helps me become more focused and eventually more productive. Try to find out which type of schedule works best for you. Put together your day in a way that you can balance home and office time.
I found the best way for me to stay on task is to assign each day of the week with a certain theme. For example Tuesdays are my Etsy Posting Days and Saturday’s are my Product Photography Days. This stops me from trying to bounce around and mult-task. I think I can muti-task well but my husband thinks otherwise. This schedule keeps me focused.
The Theme Method
We all have repetitive task that need to be completed throughout the week.
Each day I could look at my calendar and know exactly what needed to be done. I created a schedule in blocks based on a theme. If you would like to try this approach here is how you get started:
Make a list of repetitive weekly tasks. Here was my list for reference.
I needed to make time for my blog writing, My Etsy shop and of course keeping up with house work. Your list of tasks will be slightly different.
- Create two outlines for two blog posts
- Spend two full days writing
- Create pins in Canva for Pinterest for my blog
- Post at least 3 Etsy items into my shop
- Work on Pinterest Tribes
- Etsy product photography
- Etsy Inventory
Once I created my list it was time to make a weekly theme schedule. Here is a copy of my theme schedule I keep by my desk. I hope this will inspire you to create your own weekly schedule.
Are You Ready To Create Your Schedule?
CLICK HERE to download your free blank copy of the Scheduler.
Don’t worry I won’t make you sign up for my mailing list and ask for your email address. ( although you can). I’m looking for your to get motivated and start your own weekly schedule as soon as possible.
Getting Your Supplies in Order
The last tip is about buying in bulk. When working from home, you might need pens, markers, post-its, printer paper, shipping supplies or other materials. Buying your supplies in bulk and ahead of time decreases your costs. You can now shop around for the best price and even buy them overseas straight from the supplier that your supplier buys his stock.
Make a list of what you need and make sure you have these in stock. You don’t want to be rushing to a deadline and find out that you are missing something. This may cost you lots of stress and may cost even more in a professional situation.
Here is one example of why buying in bulk ahead of time will benefit you.
When selling on Etsy was my a part-time gig I would buy a roll of bubble wrap at $15 a roll on Amazon. I would run out of bubble wrap every two weeks and then order more as needed.
Now that I am full time my sales have increased and so has my need for bubble wrap. I searched around and found the best deal was to buy 4 rolls of bubble wrap at once and get the 5th roll free. I get that storage may be an issue for some. For me buying all my office and shipping supplies in bulk ahead of time has saved me over $50 a month. When you come into Etsy as a full time player these money saving tips add up over a year.
Congrats to you for taking the leap to being a full-time Etsy seller. Being ready with your records for tax time, setting up a sweet home office and facing your daily schedule head on will set you up for success.