• Are Gym Memberships Worth The Money?

    For the past 8 months I’ve paid $150 for a gym membership. It’s the most I’ve ever paid for a gym membership and a number of times on my budget videos people have questions whether the gym membership was worth it or if I could get out of it. It’s made me wonder monthly if gym memberships are worth the cost in general.

    Why pay for a gym membership?

    Unfortunately, as most of us get older we start to gain a few pounds or find it’s harder to lose weight than it once was. Now that my friends and I are in our 30s we have to focus more on what we eat and how much we workout. Being active is important to not only our physical health but our mental health as well.

    While being active is very important many wonder why you need to pay for a gym membership when there are plenty of ways to workout for free. If you can do free workouts via YouTube, run through bodyweight exercise or go for a run outside, why would you spend money to achieve fitness?

    For many of us we struggle to workout at home and motivate ourself to be active. There is not an internal drive to be active especially when we view our homes as a sense of calm and relaxation. To achieve the level of fitness we need we must instead seek out an environment that encourages action – hence paying for a gym membership.

    Personally I’ve got to stay active to help with my mental health and dislike working from home. While I do go for walks often I struggle with running and find myself much more active in a group class environment or with a personal trainer at a gym. Since I know my personality and need to stay active this means I need to belong to a gym.

    I’ve had a lot of experience trying to decide if I want to keep my gym membership or let it go to help reduce budget expenses. Ultimately I’ve always decided that the gym membership has been worth it for me, whether I’m paying $10 a month or $150 a month by asking myself a set of questions regarding each membership.

    Questions to answer about the cost of gym membership:

    When trying to determine whether or not your gym membership is worth the cost, you should ask yourself the following questions:

    • How much does your gym membership cost?  Deciding whether or not a gym membership is worth the cost involves look at exactly how much it costs. There are a variety of gym types that cost different amounts. Your local 24/7 basic gym will cost less than a YMCA membership which will cost less than a Crossfit membership. My current gym costs $150 per month but previous gym memberships cost me $10-$25 per month. Whether or not your membership is worth it depends on both the amount it costs and if that cost fits in your budget or not.
    • How often do you use your gym membership? Gyms make money by selling memberships that are never used. This is a well known fact and they depend on it to stay afloat. For every one person in the gym they need to have memberships for 5 more people that never come in. It’s a strange business model but it works and keeps many gyms in business. If you want your membership to be worth the cost then you need to actually get in the gym and use what you pay for. I believe my gym memberships have been worth the cost because I utilize the gym anywhere from 3 to 6 times a week depending on my schedule. There has not been a week where I’ve used it less than 3 times and since I struggle making myself workout at home the gym membership solves my issues because I will actually use it.
    • How convenient is your gym membership? If you use your gym membership regularly then you need to also consider whether the gym is convenient enough for you. Is it close to work or home? Do you have to go out of your way to get there? Even if you use a gym a lot there may be a more convenient option for you that is cheaper. If you have a gym membership that is so convenient it seamlessly fits into your routine then it is likely worth the cost.
    • Do you have the money for a gym membership? This is the most important thing to consider when trying to determine if the cost is worth it. If your gym membership will make it hard for you to get by each month then it is not worth the cost. You shouldn’t have to choose between a gym membership and necessities like food or utilities. If you don’t have the money for luxuries and consider the gym a luxury then you should not have a gym membership. Getting into better shape does not have to cost any money at all. However if it is instead a necessity for you because it is the only way you will stay active then you should try to find a low cost membership that fits in your budget.
    • Will you be stuck in a contract for a long period? Unfortunately gym membership contracts are one of the downsides to joining a gym. You sign up for one year or more in many locations before you are certain that the gym will be the right fit long term. Remember to consider not only if you can afford the gym for the first month but 12 months down the road. Before signing up look into what options you have in case you change your mind or no longer feel the gym fits your needs.

    Those are the things that I think you should consider when trying to decide if a gym membership is worth the cost or not. It’s how I looked at the question and decided my gym membership was in fact worth the cost in most situations.

    Do you actually need a gym?

    So maybe you are considering a gym membership but you are on the fence. You don’t necessarily think you have to have one or you aren’t sure the perks are worth the cost. Do you have to actually belong to a gym to be fit?

    The answer of course, is no! You don’t need a gym membership to be fit at all! In fact, there are plenty of reasons to skip it altogether.

    Reasons why you might want to skip a gym membership:

    • Skipping a gym membership will save you money
    • You won’t have another monthly bill
    • Gyms can get boring over time
    • Working out at home can save time
    • There are a lot of germs in gyms and they aren’t always clean
    • There are many free or lower cost ways to workout without a gym membership

    Here are a few ways to get fit without belonging to a gym:

    • Do YouTube workouts that are put out there for free
    • Join a free local running club that meets weekly (or more) for accountability
    • Buy a bicycle and join a regular cycling meetup to get fit in a group or just bike along on streets or trails
    • Play loud music and dance around by yourself or with your family every day
    • Find ways to be more active naturally like walking more to complete errands
    • Buy a treadmill or elliptical for your home (even one for $2,000 will pay off after just a couple years)
    • Buy home gym equipment you can use to workout with daily

    Having a home gym or being able to workout regularly at home for free comes in handy especially during times when gyms may be closed. You will never lack for a workout during a holiday or when gyms are forced closed by natural disasters or health emergencies.

    Answering the question about whether gyms are worth the money really comes down to your personal situation (like most things in personal finance!). It depends on your situation, your health, your motivation, your budget.

    Whether or not a gym membership will be worth the cost to you is only a question you can answer because there is no right or wrong answer to the question!

  • What To Do During A Job Loss Or Financial Crisis

    Have you lost your job? Was your income cut in half by a lost contract? Was your entire department laid off? There are many ways you might end up in a financial crisis but regardless of how it happened there are a few common things you should do to make it through.

    Your budget priorities during a crisis like a job loss or coronavirus mean you are covering the basics and moving into survival mode. This is based on Dave Ramsey’s four walls ideas with a few extra ideas of my own thrown in based on losing multiple jobs in the past and going through a recession when I first graduated college.  This is advice for anyone facing an unexpected loss of income and stuck in a situation that is a financial crisis. 

    Don’t panic. 

    The initial instinct after a financial crisis like a job loss is to panic and default to anxiety about the situation. This doesn’t help and you need to do your best not to allow panic to set in. Learn how to handle uncertain times and do your best to be alert, not anxious.

    • Finding yourself in a financial crisis after a job loss feels scary, but don’t panic. People go through this and come out the other side all the time. It’s possible. 
    • Give yourself some time to feel upset or have a good cry. Seriously get those emotions out. Allow yourself a few hours or even a full day to just feel what you feel. Then, let that go. Getting it out does help, promise.
    • Take action. You can definitely get through all this.  Be alert and active, not anxious. 

    Compile your resources.

    Calmly compile all the resources available to you and can expect to come to you in the coming weeks or months.

    • Add up all the money you’ve already saved for a rainy day if you have any and see how far it will get you. 
    • Calculate how far that money will cover your immediate basic needs. 
    • Look at what you already have on hand like pantry food and make a list to see how far it can stretch. 
    • Review any ways you are currently bringing in any amount of income like side hustles and any money you may have coming to you like a tax return. 
    • File for unemployment if you lost your job and disaster relief if you are able to because it’s available. I will leave links for sites in the descriptions

    Pause all extra debt payments.

    If you have been working the debt snowball, it is time to stop making extra debt payments. Survival mode budgeting is when you cut out all extras from the budget which includes making extra debt payments.

    • During a crisis / storm you will pause Dave Ramsey’s baby steps or whatever debt payoff plan you are following.
    • It is not the time to pay off extra debt. What you should do is pay the minimums if you can after taking care of your four walls.
    • Call your loan company and ask if you can defer due to hardship. If you know you won’t have the money to pay the bill, tell them. It is much better to be proactive than to just not pay and destroy your credit.
    • Make a survival budget. This should include the four walls I’m going to go over and very little besides it. In an emergency you don’t stress about how to pay your cable bill. 
    how to budget for a crisis if you lose your job

    Budget Priorities During A Crisis

    When you are thrown into a financial crisis, you must adjust your budget. If you have lost your entire income due to a job loss then you are in an emergency and your emergency budget needs to have different priorities than your normal monthly budget.

    Your emergency budget during a crisis should focus on making sure the basic necessities in life are covered first. That means you need to cover 4 things before everything else. Your money needs to cover those things in order and then move on from there. It is a great time to learn how to live frugally and improve your budgeting skills.

    So what should you pay for first in your emergency survival budget? Keep reading.

    Take care of food basics first

    Eating food and drinking water is essential to life so this needs to be the number one priority in your survival budget during a money crisis.

    • Make sure you are feeding your family so that you are heathy and functioning. 
    • This means making food at home on the cheap. 
    • Lean how to cut that food budget and make cheap meals at home. There are tons of frugal ideas on YouTube and Pinterest. 

    Next keep your utilities on.

    After you have made sure your family is fed and healthy, you need to prioritize keeping your utilities going so you have lights and water.

    • Keep your utilities paid so you have lights and water
    • Call the utility companies and see if they have ways to postpone or skip a payment due to hardship
    • If its a national emergency or disaster then there is often also special help for these. Call and ask.
    • Find ways to lower the utility bill over all and run the heat or air less so you don’t have to use as much money for this. 

    Then take care of shelter next.

    The next budget priority during survival mode is to pay for your shelter – either rent or a mortgage payment.

    • It is easier to manage life and move through a crisis if you aren’t in danger of being homeless. 
    • Use all possible money to make sure you make your mortgage payment or pay your rent. 
    • Again if a national emergency or disaster call your mortgage company or landlord to see if they have relief options to help with making the payments.

    Finally take care of transportation.

    The final budget priority during a financial crisis is paying for transportation so you have a way to get around as needed.

    • This means either paying for your car and gas or finding out how to pay for public transportation.
    • You need a transportation source generally to get to a job or to get out and get groceries.
    • You don’t need a huge care payment and this can go if you are in a huge crisis. You can get a beater that gets you from point A to point B. 

    Everything else besides those four things can wait or be delayed in your budget. 

    Make money however you can.

    During a financial crisis where you’ve lost your income, you need to focus on bringing in money in any way you can.

    • File for unemployment if you lost your job and disaster relief if you are able to because it’s available.
    • Deliver pizzas or find whatever you can. Drive uber eats. Sell hour long remote coaching sessions in your field of expertise. 
    • Right now stores like Kroger and Costco are hiring for immediate starts. If you just lost your regular job, go straight to a store and apply.
    • Start a side hustle to earn money if you’ve been thinking about one.
    • Make enough money to survive and pay for your four walls that are most important to get you through until you increase income and things return to a new normal.  

    Finally take care of your health.

    Health is wealth. That statement is true and making it through a financial crisis means you need to take care of both your physical health and mental health.

    • It’s easy to fall into bad routines and bad mental health when you lose a job. Be alert and aware of that happening and act to prevent it.
    • Stay active however you can with your abilities. There are tons of free workout videos on YouTube.
    • If medications are part of your mental health routine, they need to be priority number 1 just like food. 
    • If you go to therapy, that might need to stay a priority in your budget as well. You need to protect your mental health over paying something like a cable bill. 
    • And find ways to take care of yourself – pray, meditate, practice gratitude, complete acts of kindness, call a friend, take a walk in nature. Do all the things that might not feel important but will lead you to stay healthy physically and mentally. 

    Those are just a few ways to make it through a financial crisis like a job loss, temporary layoff, or any other sort of disaster like the current pandemic hitting the world hard. It is important to buckle down and go into survival mode so that you can make it through to the other side.

    Time like these or any financial crisis are a great reason to pay off debt and a good reminder why we all budget and save emergency funds.

    Remember that storms don’t last forever and that kindness can be shared even without an income. Take care of yourself and those around you. 

  • Financial Steps For Coronavirus

    I wrote about how to handle uncertain times in the time of a global pandemic over the weekend, but today I want to specifically share more financial steps you can take during an emergency like Coronavirus. There are things you should do with your money to put yourself in a better position!

    how to handle money for coronavirus

    Only pay debt minimums

    Student loan interest is currently paused by the administration and while that is helpful, you should also cut back your debt repayment. If you have been throwing big amounts of money toward debt, now is the time to stop. Only pay your debt minimums when there is an emergency.

    Pay only the minimums on your debt and take all the extra money to save toward your emergency fun.

    Add to your emergency fund

    If you don’t have months of your income saved, now is the time to add to your emergency fund (while you still can, if you still can). You should work to add as much as you can while you have income coming in. We are in a national emergency so you should make this an emergency in your own financial life.

    The goal for your emergency fund should be 6 months of expenses, but if you’ve been paying off debt and only have $1,000 because of the advice of certain experts, then you should try to pile up as much as possible. Jobs will be lost and we are likely headed to a recession. Cash will be key and it is best to be on the side of caution.

    Negotiate your bills

    Some companies will be offering delays or deferrals if things get bad, but you can be proactive and negotiate bills right now to save extra money! You can call and as the provider if there is anything that can be done to lower the bill price overall. If true you should mention you are a loyal customer and never pay late but are thinking of switching. Many companies escalate these calls to teams designed to keep you by offering discounts.

    If never hurts to try and negotiating your bills can save you a lot of money every month! This is smart to do any time but majorly important in times of an emergency.

    Make or adjust your budget

    If you have never made a budget before then you should immediately make one to follow. If you have been budgeting, then you should make cuts and enact an emergency type budget.

    You can use apps, a spreadsheets, or my budgeting printables. Or you can write it on paper or a white board. However, you want to do it… make a plan for your money and start tracking where it goes to make sure you are following the plan. Being intentional with your spending is crucial during a downturn or emergency.

    Reduce your outings

    Due to the nature of coronavirus, staying home and not going out is a way to help the country as a whole make it through this emergency.

    Staying home will keep you safe and your neighbors safe, and it will also reduce your spending so you can save more of your money. Savings as much of your money as you can while staying home will help your ability to make it through this emergency.

    Save money on groceries

    There are a lot of ways to reduce grocery expenses but in these times we all need to also realized many people have gone above stockpiling to hoarding and created shortages as stores. Make meal plans based on essentials you already have and plan your meals around cheap staples like rice and beans (really, Uncle Dave has a point here!).

    You can also get discounts like $10 off a $50 Walmart pickup order via my referral link which can help you add up the amount you can buy with your money.

    Invest if you can handle it

    With all the volatility of the stock market, things are hard for casual investors or those new to investing in the stock market. If that is you or you don’t have an emergency fund, you should do all of the tips above first.

    However, if you are debt free with an emergency fund, now is a great time to invest. Stocks are deeply discounted due to panic selloffs and a fear of the recession to come. If you have money around to invest or have been investing already, it is a good time to invest in companies you believe in that you believe will have long futures and growth beyond this volatile season.

    If you are looking for invest platforms I like, I currently use all of the following (affiliate links):

    Stay calm and practice self care

    The final financial step to take is to stay calm. It can be a very anxious time right now but you don’t need to panic. Follow the best practices for your lifestyle and your money.

    Remember to take care of yourself so you are able to stay calm. Exercise. Eat healthy. Practice gratitude. Do deep breathing. Stretch and do a yoga routine. Take care of yourselves!

  • How To Handle Uncertain Times

    I recently shared a video with some of my thoughts about how we plan to weather the potential effects of the coronavirus as it sweeps through the United States. There is a lot of uncertainty right now and people are panicking and buying unnecessary supplies and generally don’t know how to act. While there is a need for concern and cautious, responsible action – there is no need to panic.

    I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me about stopping debt payments and if it’s ok to do or not. In the times of unprecedented issues, yes it’s ok. In fact when we see other countries completely shutting down and businesses closing for extended periods – it is necessary to prepare for a loss of income and to change our normal plans and routines.

    Be prepared, don’t panic.

    We recently started an emergency stockpile of supplies in our home because we saw this coming a few weeks ago. A couple weeks later people are starting to take this more seriously and people are panicking and buying all the supplies they can grab – leaving shelves empty and stopping others from being able to get the supplies they need.

    It is important to be prepared but there isn’t a need to panic and put others into a bad situation. Be smart about your purchases and take what you might need for a week or two at a time but don’t clear shelves.

    Pile up money for the storm.

    Emergency funds are super important and I admit we have been lax on rebuilding ours. Now I’m regretting that decision because… there is a storm coming. With many businesses already struggling and potential bigger effects coming in the weeks and months ahead – many of us have job loss worries. This is the time to have money saved or to pile up money as quickly as possible.

    For now that means we are going to stop paying our debt payments beyond the minimum. All extra money will be sent to our emergency fund. We would like to pile up as much as possible in case one of us loses a job. We would like to have a pile of money in case we have medical expenses. Money acts as security in times like this and we would like to build that security.

    Listen to the experts.

    Regarding this particular global pandemic, it is important to listen to the experts and those who are telling us how we can prevent making this worse. Experts are recommending hand washing and better hygiene practices along with social distancing to flatten the curve and reduce demand on our healthcare system.

    My company was ahead of the curve and sent nonessential employees to work from home, something they never have or never would have done in the past. Our school systems and our daycare has closed. As a family we are taking this to heart and practicing social distancing – not going out like we normally do and planning to stay at home for the most part.

    Remember that storms don’t last forever.

    Change can be comforting because it is the one constant thing we can count on. Change will come. Things may get worse before they get better but they will eventually get better. You can be prepared and plan to make it through the worst because no storm lasts forever.

  • March 2020 Online Income Report – $1,483.94

    I’m a couple months late, but I’m finally sharing my March 2020 monthly online income report! I’m diving into how I make money online selling digital products and making videos about our personal finances on my YouTube channel.

    I share monthly income reports here on the blog and on YouTube. I share what I earned from online endeavors like this personal finance blogmy YouTube channel, and my Etsy shop because I like to be transparent and reading income reports inspire me to start my own online endeavors. I like sharing real numbers to inspire myself and others and I value transparency which this report allows me to give you.

    I’ve been slowly building online income over the last two years while working on my blog and YouTube channel part time during my off hours after working a full time job. Sometimes I work on this income and sometimes I don’t, but I usually spend 5-10 hours a week on it.

    Reasons why I’m trying to make online income:

    It’s been a lot of work in terms of a side hustle but I’ve enjoyed both earning income and helping people by sharing what we’ve done financially.

    Why Share An Online Income Report

    I’m sharing my online income reports as a YouTuber and blogger to show people that it is possible to make money online in a non-sleazy way that helps people.

    Lots of people want to know how much small youtubers make and if you can make money from a small audience online. Fellow YouTubers want to know how I make money with affiliate marketing and digital products not just ad revenue.

    Income reports allow me to share what I’m doing while building my online income so other creators can benefit and it lets me be fully transparent with my audience about how much I am making.

    While I’m not earning a full time income online currently, I am happy to show that I’ve grown my income to hit that original online income goal and I’ve been able to help a lot of people along the way. It’s amazing that we can earn money creating and sharing content online.

    Previous Online Income Reports

    If you’re interested in past income reports, you can see all of them here:

    As you can see from past income reports, my online income in 2019 has been trending much higher than my income last year. The growth is not viral or explosive but it has moved up and is consistently over $1,500 each month.

    I’m consistently earning $1,000 a month now when I was only earning $300-500 last year when I started tracking my online income. That might not seem huge since it’s small numbers but that means I have doubled my monthly online income!

    I like sharing these numbers to show small YouTubers what is possible with a channel that isn’t huge or growing by hundreds of thousands of subscribers in a year. While that would be amazing, it is possible to still earn income as a small channel and blog.

    Seeing these numbers in this format helps me to see the growth I’ve already had and inspires me to keep growing.

    Mary 2020 Online Income Report

    Here are the main income sources broken down by what I earned for the month of February. I’ve included referral links to each if you want to join too!

    Advertising Income – $923.20

    • YouTube Advertising Channel 1 – $809.31
    • YouTube Advertising Channel 2 – $102.32
    • Adsense & Sponsored – $11.57

    Affiliate Marketing Income – $162.50

    • Amazon – $101.76
    • Awin – $43.71
    • Impact Radius – $0.00
    • Shareasale – $0.70
    • Rakuten – $0.00
    • Capital One – $0.00
    • Robinhood – $16.33

    Product Sales Income – $397.94

    • Etsy Products – $397.94

    Total Income: $1,483.64

    This is the amount earned in March 2020 before any fees, expenses, or taxes.

    That means this amount is what I earned but not what I keep. I will only keep 70% of this income after taxes and expenses.

    There are multiple expenses I’m now paying for each month:

    Another thing to note is that this is not what I received for the month of March but instead what I “earned” through my efforts. This means depending on the income source, I’ll get this money anywhere from the day I earn it to 90 days later. Most pay out a few weeks or the next month.

    However, I must say with much excitement I am thrilled at my continued income earned each month! I am hovering around the $1,500 mark each month now and that feels quite sustainable and very exciting for our family.

    This is very exciting because this has been a very consistent amount for the last few months.

    I keep hitting the goals I set and I’m incredibly excited about it! When I originally started YouTube I wanted to earn $600 to pay for our daycare costs. Then I hit that amount and thought, maybe I could earn $1,000 a month. Then I decided to aim higher and try to aim for $2,000 a month or $24,000 a year. It’s a big goal but I’m sure that I can hit it since I’m continuing to hit every goal!

    What I Worked On In March 2020

    March was a very strange month because it started out like a normal month and then turned into anxiety city like coronavirus. Personally this cause me to struggle

    I did still create a few videos in March that went well. Here are a couple of the March videos that performed well and I’m very proud of producing!

    I didn’t do much on my blog but I was pretty happy to product multiple videos in the month of March!

    More Popular YouTube videos on my channel:

  • What I Wish I Knew Before Starting An Etsy Shop

    Starting an Etsy shop in 2019 was a wonderful addition to my online business. It helped grow Pennies Not Perfection by leaps and bounds and also gave me a new creative outlet that I fell in love with.

    Etsy fulfilled many personal and business needs for me, but I wish had known more about Etsy when I started. Today I’m sharing a few of the lessons I wish I knew before I started my Etsy shop.

    So what lessons did I learn after 450 sales in the first few months of my Etsy shop? These are the top 4!

    SEO Is Very Important For Etsy Success

    I get 55% of my traffic from Etsy, not my Youtube channel, my Instagram account or my blog. The majority of my traffic comes from Etsy itself and much of that is from search.

    Some of that search traffic is from people searching for my Etsy shop because I’ve created a strong brand. Minus the people searching specifically for “Pennies Not Perfection” there are many many more who are searching for keywords to find items they want to purchase. Because Etsy functions as a marketplace driven by search, it makes sense that a big chunk of my Etsy traffic and sales comes from people using the search function.

    Because search is so important that means SEO (search engine optimization) is important to a shop’s success. Knowing how SEO works and how to create good on page content for your listings is very important.

    Your Effort Level Determines Your Success

    Your Etsy shop succeeds based on the level of effort you put in to making it succeed. This has been very evident to me after many months of experience, experiments, and observation.

    I’ve never been super pushy or sales focused because that’s not my natural personality. I love making helpful tools and want to be compensated for the work and value I provide, but being loud about my products is not my style. However, I’ve watched people in my Etsy groups who focus on promotion and they’ve gotten three times as many sales in the same amount of time.

    Promotion matters. If you really want to succeed you have to promote your listings. You need to find ways to share and get your products out there into the world, either on Facebook or YouTube or Pinterest or wherever.

    I’ve also noticed that the level of effort you are putting into your shop with adding listings and doing sales and being active will affect your sales numbers. When I’m actively adding new listings and updating things in my shop I make more sales. When I’m ignoring my shop the number of sales drops. The level of effort I put in during a month definitely changes the amount of sales I make.

    It Is Just As Easy To Sell Expensive Items

    When I started selling on Etsy, I was scared to sell anything over $2 or to ever raise my prices. Because I wasn’t confident in my ability to create and sell, I told myself the false story that it is easier to sell cheap items.

    As it turns out, it takes just as much effort to sell a more expensive item than a cheaper one. While it might take more effort to create the more expensive item because you are putting more value into it – the effort to sell it on Etsy is pretty similar to selling something cheaper.

    This revelation only came recently – 6 months after I started an Etsy shop! I played it way to safe in the first 6 months of my shop and my revenue was much lower because of it. Once I started higher priced items packed with value the amount I was earning went up. In fact, the best seller in my shop is one of my most expensive items!

    Etsy Controls Your Shop

    Unfortunately the last thing I wish I knew before I started selling on Etsy is not a positive one but it is true. Etsy controls your shop and can change the rules whenever. This is true whether it benefits your bottom line or not.

    Recently Etsy enacted a change with mandatory off site advertising for your listings if you make over $10k a year. It’s not something you can opt out of and you have no choice whether or not your shop participates. This has led many people to plan on leaving Etsy because that type of advertising is not part of their business strategy and the 12-15% fee that Etsy will collect means their profit margin drops drastically.

    Using a site like Etsy has many positives but you are giving up a level of control in order to use it and benefit from their marketplace. Unfortunately that means at any time Etsy can make a change that benefits their business model without your consent. Ultimately all the benefits of having an Etsy shop can be wiped out if they make a decision that negatively affects your shop strategy.

    This is actually one of the reasons I recently started selling budgeting printables on my own website via Shopify which allowed me to keep more of the money from my sales and have more control over my marketing.

    shopify store vs etsy shop
    starting a shopify store to sell printables

    Opening An Successful Etsy Shop

    Those are a few of the things I wish I had know before starting my Etsy shop in 2019. However, despite the good and bad, Etsy has been an incredible addition to my online business! It’s been a great way to get started with selling products and interacting with customers in the marketplace.

    If you are interested in opening your own Etsy shop, I’ve shared instructions in the video below.

    You can use this link to get 40 free listings on Etsy when you start your shop. When you open a new shop Etsy recommends starting with at least 10 listings but I have started both of my shops with 1 item.

    Tips I’d recommend for building a successful Etsy shop from the beginning:

    • have a strong niche where your products are very focused on either one niched area or style
    • create a strong brand story and share that in your shop and listings
    • continue your brand elements throughout the shop via colors and fonts
    • share photos that clearly show your items and how they can be used
    • make your descriptions clear and very descriptive – the more the better when you are explaining what comes with your item and how it can improve someone’s life
    • clearly articulate your shop’s policies if you don’t offer refunds or have specific policies that a buyer needs to share
    • build your shop with more listings to bring in new buyers and more traffic
    • make sure you promote your listings both on Etsy with seo and ads and off Etsy with social media

    Those are a few of my best tips and I hope your new Etsy shop thrives!