Category: Selling Guides

how to write a product description

How to Write a Product Description that Sells

Running a successful online business isn’t just about creating amazing products. You also need to write epic product descriptions that sell your products. A picture is worth a thousand words and is the first thing that draws potential customers in. The product description, however, is what seals the deal. It provides additional information and details that browsers can’t discern from your photos alone and helps them determine whether a product is right for them.

In short, product descriptions are really important!

If you are hanging your head right now and feeling like you’ll never have a successful online business because you aren’t a good writer, stop.

You don’t have to be an amazing writer to put together good product descriptions that will sell your products. All you need is a grasp of basic spelling and grammar, a little bit of creativity, and some simple marketing know-how.

Are you ready to learn how to write a product description that sells? Keep reading!

Understand Your Audience

Before you type a single word, you need to know who you are trying to sell your product to. Developing a solid buyer persona helps you figure out what information you should include in your description. Doing so will also guide your word choices once you start writing. Figure out who your ideal buyer is, why they are shopping for products like yours, and who they are as individuals. The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better it will guide you as you write your description.

Understand Your Product

When you create a project using your own two hands, you know basically everything about it. You know what it’s made from, what techniques you used, and what the product is used for. Jot down important specs like materials and features. Now, refer back to your buyer persona. What are their buying motivations? Figure out which features, benefits, and other details speak to their motivations and needs. If, for example, stay-at-home moms are your target audience, you’ll definitely want to mention safety features or the use of non-toxic materials.

Choose the Right Words

how to write a product descriptionWhen trying to figure out how to write a product description, it’s important to understand the impact of the words you use. Some words are more powerful than others. According to Buffer, there are even certain words and phrases that grab shoppers’ attention and encourage them to buy.  A few of the most persuasive and influential words in the English language include…

  • You
  • New
  • Free
  • Now
  • Amazing
  • Introducing
  • Easy
  • Hurry
  • Quick
  • Easy

There are words that you should avoid, too. It’s not that these words are necessarily “bad”. They are just so overused that they no longer have much impact on buyers. A few examples include:

  • Expert
  • Stunning
  • Breakthrough
  • Market-leading
  • Driven
  • Innovative

Spend some time researching powerful marketing words. Jot down some of your favorites to use in your own product descriptions. Just make sure to only use those that accurately describe your products or business.

Tell a Story

Consumers are tired of being sold to constantly. They want businesses to connect with them in meaningful ways. Telling stories in your product descriptions is one way to do that.

You don’t need to be a master storyteller. In fact, your story should only be a couple of sentences long.

Instead of just listing out benefits, tell a story about the type of problem your product solves. Tell the story of your business. Get creative, and come up with a story that will make your customers feel more connected to your products and your business.

Make It Scannable

Very few people want to read through huge blocks of text when they are trying to learn more about a product. They want to be able to scan through the description quickly to find the information that they are looking for.

A good format for creating a scannable description is a few sentences followed by several bullet points. Tell your customers what a product is and why they need it first, then include things like dimensions, materials, etc. in a bulleted list.

Optimize Your Description

A good product description should make your item more discoverable for people and search engines. If you aren’t familiar with search engine optimization, or SEO, it may sound complex. In reality, though, there are plenty of simple things you can do to optimize your descriptions.

Think about keywords: the words and phrases that buyers might search for when shopping for items like yours. If you are selling a handcrafted kitchen table, for example, you might want to use keywords like “farmhouse table,” “rustic kitchen table,” and “handcrafted table”. Sprinkle those keywords in your product description (and the product title!) in a way that sounds natural. Don’t go overboard, though. Doing so will make your description seem spammy and could cause search engines to penalize the listing. You can use keywords in your product tags, too.

Use a Spelling and Grammar Checker

how to write a product descriptionYou’ve written up a description you’re feeling pretty proud of. You considered your target audience, listed out all the relevant details about your product, and write a captivating short story. You’ve even done a bit of optimization to make sure both people and search engines can locate your products.

You may be thinking you’re good to go at this point, but there’s one more step that you should never forget.

Always proofread and use a spelling and grammar checker before putting your product description online. This is one of the most important aspects of knowing how to write a product description. Grammarly is an excellent tool for this. You can check your text using the online Grammarly app, or you can download a Grammarly plugin for Microsoft Office, Chrome, or Windows. Whichever option you choose, this powerful tool does a great job of picking out typos and spelling and grammar errors. It’s much better than the built-in spelling and grammar check tool in Microsoft Office because it typically picks up word choice errors, like when you type “if” when you meant to type “is”.

Making sure your descriptions are free from spelling and grammatical errors makes you look more professional. And customers are, of course, more likely to buy from someone who seems like a pro.

Manually read over your listing, too, to make sure that there are no errors in your product specifications. Incorrect measurements in your listing, for example, could be a huge problem when a customer buys a product and it doesn’t meet their expectations.

Congratulations! You Now Know How to Write a Product Description

Even if you don’t consider yourself a skilled writer, the tips listed above should help you create captivating descriptions that will sell your products. Don’t be afraid to experiment to determine what works best in your business and what doesn’t. One way to do this is by creating two listings for the same type of product and writing a different description for each. See which description performs better. This will help guide you as you write descriptions for additional projects.

Don’t give up. It may take some time to nail the perfect description, but once you do, you could find yourself selling more products than you ever imagined!

small business week

3 Ways Your Online Business Can Celebrate Small Business Week

Are you celebrating National Small Business Week in your online business?

If not, it’s not too late to start!

This year, the event runs from May 5th through the 11th, and it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate your own small business and grow your customer base.

Here are a few quick and easy ways your business can celebrate.

Share Your Story

Sharing your business’ story is one of the best and easiest ways to celebrate National Small Business Week. You started your online business for a reason, and that reason is probably still what drives you to get out of bed every morning. Tell the world your “why” and why it’s so important to you.

You don’t have to be an amazing writer to tell your story. A few paragraphs about why you launched your business, why you’re passionate about what you do, and why you keep working to improve your company is all you need.

Need some inspiration? Check out the #MySmallBizWhy hashtag. Don’t forget to use the hashtag when sharing your own story!

Expand Your Knowledge

In honor of National Small Business Week, the Small Business Administration and Constant Contact are offering a wide range of free webinars, seminars, and one-on-one coaching sessions. Whether you are interested in learning more about search engine optimization, social media, or email marketing, this week is the perfect time to gain some new knowledge.

Several other coaches and entrepreneurs are offering free and discounted trainings throughout the week, too. Check in with some of your favorites to see what they have going on. You may be able to score a great deal on a training that you’ve had your eye one.

Say “Thank You”

Without your customers, you wouldn’t have a business. Use this week as an opportunity to reach out to them and extend your gratitude. Consider sending out an email with a coupon code that can be used in your online shop this week. You could also offer a freebie along with any orders placed during the week.

Don’t forget to thank the other people who have helped you build a successful business. Take time to show your employees a bit of appreciation. Have a mentor who has helped you out along the way? Make sure to thank them, too.

Chances are, making your business possible takes a lot of people. Small Business Week is a great time to let them know that they are appreciated. Sending tokens of your gratitude or even hopping online and posting a “thank you” video is a great way to make your appreciation known.

Happy National Small Business Week!

From all of us at Rustiqued, we would like to wish you a happy National Small Business Week! We would also say thank you to our vendors and our customers for helping us reach our own small business dreams. We are incredibly grateful for those who choose to do business with us.

sell handmade items online with rustiqued

How to Sell Handmade Items Online with Rustiqued: The Definitive Guide

When you want to sell handmade items online, Rustiqued is a great place to start. We’ve created an affordable and easy-to-use platform that enables you to reach a huge audience and make money doing what you love. Whether you build furniture, create fun home décor items, or make just about anything else, Rustiqued is the perfect place to sell handmade items that are rustic and unique. If you aren’t sure how to get started, keep reading to learn how to sell handmade items online with Rustiqued!

Decide What You’re Going to Sell

Before you can start selling, you need to figure out what type of product(s) you want to offer. If you already have a product that you love making, this step should be easy. If not, think about the types of crafts you love doing and which ones would likely sell well. Be sure to come up with an idea that is unique! Even if you are making something that lots of other people make, putting your own spin on it will make it more likely to sell.

Set Up an Account

Creating a Rustiqued account is easy. Start by heading over to the “Sell on Rustiqued” page. There, you will need to create a username and password. You’ll also need to provide additional information, including your full name, email address, shop name, and your phone number. You’ll get to decide on a unique URL for your shop, too. Check out our Terms of Use after you’ve entered your information, and if you agree, click on the “Register” button.

Go Through the Shop Setup Wizard

Once you’ve registered, you will be taken to a wizard that will help you set up your shop. Completing this step is optional, but it makes it a lot easier to at least tackle the basic parts of getting your shop up and running. Inside the wizard, you can set up things like your shop’s physical address, payment methods, shop banner, etc.

List Your First Item

After setting up your shop, go to your Dashboard. On the left side of your screen, you should see a menu. Click on “Products”. Once the page loads, click the “Add New Product” button in the upper right corner. This will bring up a box where you can enter a product name and price along with photos, tags, and a description. This is also where you will select a category for your item.

Choose a photograph that clearly shows your item. Be mindful of the background, and make sure the item being sold is the star of the show. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take good pictures, but understanding a few basic rules do help. (Check out our product photography guide to learn more.)

Write a compelling title that accurately describes your product and draws viewers in. Then, write an equally compelling description. List all important details such as materials, care instructions, etc. Try to use keywords or phrases that people may use to search for items like yours in the title, description, and tags. (We have a guide dedicated to writing great product descriptions, too!)

Fulfill Orders

When orders start rolling in, they’ll show up under the “Orders” section of your dashboard. Fulfill those orders in a timely manner, and you’ll be well on your way to receiving your first awesome feedback!

Sell Your Handmade Items Online with Rustiqued Today!

When you want to sell handmade items online, Rustiqued makes it easy and affordable. You can set up shop and list your first item in just a few easy steps, which leaves you plenty of time to work on your creations or market your new business on social media.

pinterest marketing

How to Market Your Business on Pinterest

Every brand has a story to tell. Unfortunately, today’s consumers are inundated with so many stories and so much information every single that that making sure yours is heard is becoming increasingly difficult.

One way to make your story shine is through the use of visual marketing. And Pinterest is the ideal platform for launching a visual campaign. With Pinterest, you can tell your brand’s story using compelling photographs rather than trying to tell it entirely with words. Pinterest is an ultra-popular social media platform, and if you aren’t using it to market your products, you could be missing out on a lot of business.

You probably already have your own Pinterest account, but you might not be sure how to use it for business purposes. Here is some helpful advice on why and how to use Pinterest to market your business.

Why Pinterest?

Pinterest has been around for less a decade and boasts more than 200 million users and a mind-boggling 100 billion Pins. Photos take center stage on this popular platform where users “Pin” things they love to virtual boards. Pins and boards are shared and reshared time and time again, potentially allowing a single Pin to be seen thousands – even millions – of times. Pinterest users are extremely active and engaged, so using the site to build awareness of your brand and your products only makes sense.

Many brands have been quick to adopt Pinterest as a tool for visual marketing, and for good reasons. Pins are 100 times more shareable than Tweets, and the half-life of a pin is 1600 times longer than that of a Facebook post. For these reasons alone, Pinterest should be your business’ best friend. Convinced? Here’s how to get started.

Open a Business Account

Whether you already have a personal account or you are brand new to this platform, you will need to set up an official Pinterest for Business account. Signing up is easy, and doing so gives you access educational marketing materials that help you learn how to market your business. You’ll also gain access to Pinterest Analytics, and the team at Pinterest is working on developing new tools and training materials that are geared toward helping businesses succeed.

Create Searchable Pins

Think of Pinterest as a visual search engine. Users search for the things they love, and the results come back in the form of Pin-able images. When you write blog posts or content for your website, you use keywords and other elements that are recognized by Google to help users find you, right? The same thing needs to be done for Pinterest.

When writing titles and descriptions for your Pins, think about the words and phrases users may use when trying to find something that is like the products you sell. Pinterest users love arts and crafts, so if you are selling, for example, handmade furniture, you would want to focus on keywords that let consumers know that your products are not mass-produced. Skip the “cutesy” product names and go with descriptive words that people are likely to search for.

Use Captivating Images

Clear, high-resolution images look professional and are visually appealing. When photographing your products, arrange them in front of a plain backdrop, and use soft, attractive lighting. Lighter images are typically re-Pinned 20 times more than darker ones, and images without faces get about 23% more re-Pins. Keep your images simple and crisp so viewers know exactly what your Pin is about at a glance.

The size of your image matters, too. While all Pins have the same width, the length is unlimited. A good size to shoot for, though, is 736 x 1102 pixels. This size is not too large or too small, and it is typically considered the unofficial standard size.

Make Sure Your Pins Are Seen and Shared

You have the perfect image and you’ve already written searchable titles and descriptions. Now what? To ensure that people actually see and share your Pin, you need to optimize for engagement.

For starters, pay attention to the habits of your target audience to determine your optimal posting times. The exact best times vary for different categories, but on average, the best times to post are between 2 PM and 4 PM EST and between 8 PM and 1 AM EST. The absolute best time to post is Saturday morning.

Make it easy for visitors to your website to share your content on Pinterest by adding a hovering “Pin It” button. Pinterest offers a tool to do this, or if you use WordPress, there is a plugin. Whichever option you choose, adding a “Pin It” button is easy (even if you aren’t a Web developer), and doing so makes it simple for users of your website to share your content with their followers. There may also be tools or plugins for e-commerce platforms that enable you to add this useful feature.

Stay Active

Adding a few Pins then disappearing isn’t going to do much to build your follower base or spread awareness of your brand. To be successful on Pinterest, you need to share content regularly and often. When trying to get new followers, you should be posting 5 to 30 Pins every day (not all at once, though). Pinning your own content is extremely important, but it’s also a good idea to re-Pin relevant content from other users.

Engage with your followers by responding to their comments. Reach out to your followers directly by commenting on their pins as well. Engagement is a two-way street, and consumers love brands that take the time to connect and engage rather than only pushing out their own content.

Spend some time checking out popular boards that are related to your products or business, and engage there as well. When you comment on popular Pins, your brand name will be seen by their massive audience, and you could gain some new followers.

Making Pinterest Your Brand’s Marketing Powerhouse

When it comes to visual marketing, Pinterest is the place to be. Users are searching for products, brands, information, and more every single day, and by creating useful, engaging Pins, you can put your products and brand right in front of your target audience. Pinterest is a remarkable tool for marketing, and as the company continues to develop new tools and training for businesses, and it becoming even easier for even individual artisans to have a huge impact.

craft product photography

How to Master Craft Product Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words. And when it comes to selling handmade products online, a picture can be worth a lot of money, too. Whether you make furniture, home décor, jewelry, or any other type of hand-crafted item, successfully selling it online requires good photography. After all, your potential customers can only see your products through the photos you share. Simply put, low-quality photos won’t sell your items – no matter how nice they are.

The good news?

You don’t have to hire a professional photographer, nor do you have to be an expert yourself. Here are a few tips to help you master craft product photography and take high-quality images of your handmade items.

Use a Decent Camera

You don’t need a top-of-the-line camera, but you do need something a bit better than that old digital camera that’s been lying around since 2002 or a cell phone that’s several generations old. If you have a newer iPhone or high-end Android device, you can probably get away with using it for your product photography. If it’s in your budget, though, we recommend investing in a decent mid-level digital camera.

Look for a camera that has adjustable settings and creates crisp final images. A DSLR is a solid investment for anyone who sells products online. All the features can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you take the time to read your manual and do some online research, you can be snapping products like a pro in no time.

Learn the Rule of Thirds

Even if you don’t know anything else about design or photo composition, learning the rule of thirds can help you take your product photography to the next level. This rule states that a photo should be imagined as being divided into nine equal parts by drawing two equally spaced lines horizontally and two equally spaced lines vertically. Important elements in your photo should be placed along those lines or where they intersect.

Simply put, the rule of thirds encourages you to not center your product in the middle of your photo. Instead, set it slightly to the side and angle it a bit. This results in a more interesting and visually appealing photo. Most cameras have a grid setting that you can use to compose your shots without any guesswork.

Shoot in Good Light

Think your camera’s flash is a sufficient substitute for good light? Think again. Photographing products in good, direct light is one of the most important steps in capturing amazing images. Taking photos outside on an overcast day is perfect. When it’s a bit dreary outside, you will have plenty of soft, direct light that isn’t too bright. If it’s raining, your windowsill will work, too. For best results, remove your curtains or blinds.

If waiting on the right weather conditions isn’t an option or you need to be able to take pictures at night, building your own lightbox is a fairly straightforward process. This tutorial will help you make one for just a few dollars.

Keep Your Backgrounds Simple

When photographing products, you want your handiwork to be the star of the shot. Taking photos with a simple background ensures that the viewer’s focus will be on your product instead of getting lost in whatever is behind or underneath it. Plain walls and flat, solid surfaces are your best bet. Things like grassy fields, brick walls, and wood floors work well, too. Avoid patterned fabrics, busy scenes, clutter, etc. If your background detracts from the item you are trying to sell, you need a new background.

Use Props the Right Way

Craft Product PhotographyLike a busy background, too many props – or the wrong kind – can draw attention away from what you are selling. When you use them correctly, though, can help buyers better understand what you are selling and imagine how your product would fit into their lives. If you are selling handmade ceramic bowls, fill one with some delicious looking fruit for a photograph. Add a few bottles of wine to your handcrafted wine rack. Photograph your wall art hanging on the wall in a nice home. There are a lot of great ways to use props to make your products pop. Just don’t go overboard.

Edit Your Photos

A few simple changes can make a world of difference in terms of the quality of your photos. Adjust the lighting and contrast to make colors look more like they do in real life. Crop out any extraneous background and anything that doesn’t belong in the picture. When editing, remember that the goal should be to make the image of your product like as true-to-life as possible.

Good product photography is more important than many artisans and crafters realize. Your product pictures can make or break a sale, and they can even influence how much you can charge since high-quality photos give products a higher perceived value. Do you have any of your own tips or tricks for taking amazing photos of your handmade products? Share them in the comments!

tax tips for selling handmade items

4 Tax Tips for Selling Handmade Items Online

Selling handmade items online is awesome. Whether you’re just trying to make a few extra dollars here and there to support your hobby or you’ve turned your talent into a full-scale business, online marketplaces like Rustiqued allow you to sell your products to people spanning the globe.

For many crafters and artisans, though, there is one major challenge: Taxes.

No one particularly enjoys paying taxes, but unfortunately, they’re a mandatory part of life. No matter what your goals may be or how much income your handmade business is bringing in, it’s important to figure out your tax requirements right away. Failure to do so could set you up for some unpleasant surprises from the IRS, and no one wants that.

Here are a few tax tips for selling handmade items online.

Understand What You Need to Pay

When you sell handmade items online, you are working as an independent contractor or a sole proprietor. You are self-employed, and you have full control over the products you make, how you many them, and where to sell them. You are also fully responsible for taking care of your own taxes.

Generally speaking, you will need to pay federal, state, and county income taxes on the money you make from your online business. If your annual profit exceeds $400, you will also need to pay self-employment taxes.

When it comes to sales taxes, selling online is kind of a gray area. Right now, as long as you are shipping your item to a customer who resides in a state in which you do not have a physical location for your business, you do not have to worry about collecting sales tax. If your business does have physical locations, though, you will need to collect sales tax for any purchases that are shipped within the same state as your location. This can get a bit tricky, so if you sell online and at a physical location, we highly recommend consulting with a tax professional.

Report Your Income

You are responsible for reporting all income from your handmade products to the IRS and to the state in which you reside. Depending on how much money you earn and what platform you use, you may receive a Form 1099-K that lists your income. Even if you don’t receive this form, though, you are required by law to report your income on your tax return.

Take Advantage of Deductions

tax adviceWhen you sell handmade products online for a profit, you can deduct a lot of your expenses. Things like the materials you use to make your products, shipping costs, advertising expenses, etc. may be deductible. If you work from a home office or workshop, you may also be able to deduct a percentage of your utilities. Taking advantage of these deductions is a great way to lower your net income and ensure that you aren’t responsible for paying any more income taxes than absolutely necessary.

Keep track of all of your expenses. Hang on to receipts. You will need them if your business is ever audited.

Keep in mind, though, that if the IRS classifies your business as a hobby, you will not be able to take business loss deductions. To avoid having your business classified as a hobby, it is important to show a profit for at least three out of five years and keep precise business records.

Talk to an Expert

If you are a brand-new business owner, talking to a tax professional is highly recommended. Tax law is incredibly complex and constantly changing. Working with a tax professional is the best way to ensure that you are properly reporting your income and paying your taxes. It’s also the best way to identify deductions that could save you a lot of money.

Conclusion

Having to take care of your own taxes is one of the few drawbacks of running your own business. Figuring out what you need to pay and when can be daunting, but it is a task that you should not put off. Take some time to learn about your tax responsibilities when you are getting ready to launch your business, and you will be much less likely to run into problems in the future.

Pricing Handmade Items in 5 Easy Steps

Pricing is a huge source of stress for many crafters and artisans. Many creative people struggle to put a price on their handiwork simply because they have no idea how to put a value on the time and effort that goes into each piece. They also fear that, if they price their items incorrectly, they won’t make any sales. If they price their products too high, people may look elsewhere for a better deal. But if they price them too low, potential customers may view their products as low-quality. Pricing too low also hurts fellow vendors and sets you up for a number of other problems.

If you are having a hard time pricing your handmade items, don’t worry. The team at Rustiqued has put together this blog post to provide some guidance on the often-mystifying process of pricing handmade items. Whether you sell large pieces, like handmade furniture, small home décor items, or anything in between, keep reading to discover a few easy steps for pricing your products.

Step 1: Determine the Cost of Your Supplies

Before you can figure out how much you can sell your products for, you need to know how much it costs you to make each piece. Make note of exactly what you use when making one of your products, and keep track of how much you use. If you make furniture, this means keeping track of every single nail and how much paint or stain you use on each piece. Many artisans make the mistake of only keeping track of the larger materials they use. While you probably spend a lot more on paint and wood than you spend on, say, glue or staples, the costs of even the smallest supplies do add up. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep track of everything if you want to turn a profit.

Step 2: Decide on Your Hourly Rate

This is where it gets a bit trickier. Hourly rates are fiercely debated among crafters and artisans. Some are comfortable with basing their rate off the minimum wage in their area. Others, however, charge much more. After all, making things is a specialized skill that is worthy of more than the absolute minimum, right?

Consider the amount that you would feel is fair for an hourly rate, then think about how long it takes you to complete each product.

Step 3: Do the Math

Now that you know how much your supplies cost and have a rough idea of how much you would like to be paid for your time, it’s time to do some math. The basic formula is:

Cost of Supplies + (Your Hourly Rate X Hours Worked) = Price

Let’s say you knit hats. Your yarn for each hat costs $5, and you would like to make $10 per hour. Each hat takes you two hours to knit. Your formula would look like:

$5 + ($10 X 2) = $25

Step 4: Check the Market

It’s all been straightforward up to this point, but there is where it gets a bit tricky. Before you list your hat for $25, you need to do a bit of market research to be sure that your pricing is appropriate. If you sell too cheap, you could be hurting yourself and your fellow artisans by undervaluing your work. And of course, if your price is too high, no one is likely to buy it.

Spend some time looking at handmade items that are similar to yours. Write down the prices for several, then add them all together and divide by the total number of prices to come up with an average selling price. There will probably be products that are much more expensive or much cheaper than the rest. For the most accurate results, try to compare ones that are around the same price point.

Step 5: Compare and Adjust

Look at the average selling price and your estimated selling price. Are they close? If so, you’re in luck. That means that your selling price is right on target. It’s fair to you, your fellow artisans, and your customers. Great job!

If there is a huge discrepancy between your estimated selling price and the average price, you may want to reevaluate. Is your price significantly lower? If so, you might be undervaluing your work. If your price is higher, you could be charging too much. Keep in mind that, if you work faster or slower than the “average” artisan in your field, your price could vary drastically.

Take a close look at the numbers, and adjust accordingly. If you feel like you need to lower your price, look for ways to reduce the amount you need on supplies. Finding a different vendor could save you a lot and allow you to produce your items cheaper. This would, of course, enable you to sell at a lower price without lowering your hourly rate.

Be realistic. Everyone deserves to earn a fair wage for their time, but keep in mind that artisans with highly specialized skills generally earn more per hour than those with more basic skills. If you are struggling to come up with a fair hourly rate for yourself, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has statistics for over 800 different industries. These stats may help you in coming up with a rough estimate of what others in your field make. Networking with your fellow crafters and artisans is another great way to learn more about pricing.

There are a lot of different formulas out there for pricing handmade items. With the five steps listed above, however, you can sell your handmade items on Rustiqued at prices that are fair to you, your customers, and your fellow artisans.

5 Steps to Starting a Successful Online Shop with Rustiqued

So, you’ve decided that you want to start selling your handmade products online by setting up a shop on Rustiqued. Awesome!

Now what?

While it isn’t quite as intimidating as setting up shop as a brick-and-mortar establishment, starting your own online store can seem a bit overwhelming, too.

Relax.

Selling with Rustiqued is easy. With our simple signup process, you can open your own shop in minutes. There are no startup costs to worry about. In fact, you don’t have to worry about spending a penny until you make a sale. And when those sales start rolling in, our transaction and payment processing fees are affordable. In fact, we charge less than a certain big-name online marketplace for handmade items, and selling with us is 100% risk-free.

Ready to get started?

Great! Here are a few steps you need to take in order to start a successful online shop with Rustiqued.

Step 1: Create Your Account

Head over to the “Sell on Rustiqued” page, and create your account. To sign up as a vendor, you will need to create a username and password. You will also need to provide your email address, your full name, your shop name, and your phone number. You’ll also need to choose a URL for your shop and accept our terms and conditions. When you’re finished, click the “Register” button, and you will be directed to a setup wizard.

You can skip the setup wizard, but we highly recommend completing it. It takes just a few minutes, and when you’re done, you will be ready to start listing your first items.

Step 2: Establish Reasonable Goals

Before you start listing products, think about your goals for your shop. To set yourself up for success and avoid burnout, come up with reasonable, attainable goals. Rather than focusing on your big, long-term goals, think about the smaller milestones you will need to hit in order to build the business of your dreams. Even if you, eventually, want to turn your Rustiqued shop into a full-time job, you need to make that first sale. Make it your objective to sell your first product in the first three months. Or set a goal to add five new products to your shop each month. As you meet those smaller goals, you can start making larger ones.

Step 3: Photograph Your Products

starting a successful online shopWhen you are selling antique or handmade goods online, you don’t have the luxury of your audience being able to see your products in person. Instead, you need to rely on pictures. If you are not a professional photographer by trade, you’re going to want to do some research on product photography. Taking pictures that are crisp, clear, and illustrative is the key to selling in an online marketplace, so this is definitely something you should learn to do before you start worrying about writing product descriptions. This guide to mastering product photography on a budget is a great place to start.

Step 4: Learn About Keywords and Write Descriptions

When people shop online marketplaces like Rustiqued, they often do so with specific products in mind. They go to the site, enter what they are looking for in the search box, and browse through the results. As a seller, you need to think like your target audience and come up with keywords and phrases that they would likely use when searching for products like yours.

Check out our guide to choosing keywords for handmade products, and make a list of words and phrases that are relevant to your product. Circle the strongest ones, and implement them in your product titles, descriptions, and tags. You should also use these keywords when sharing your products on your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media profiles.

Step 5: Get the Word Out

Once you’ve set up shop and created your first few listings, start spreading the word! Let your friends and family members know about your new business venture, and encourage them to share your shop with others.

Building a strong presence on social media is a great way to expand your audience. Set up Facebook and Instagram profiles for your business, and share listings, product photos, and behind-the-scenes looks at how your business runs. Be sure to add your shop link to your Facebook and Instagram profiles! Check our blog for more tips and advice for marketing your business on social media.

Selling with Rustiqued

That’s it! At Rustiqued, we’ve made it our goal to create a marketplace for rustic, unique, and antique items that is simple and affordable. By following the steps outlined above, you will be well on your way to launching your own successful business.

starting a business

Starting a New Business in the New Year

It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is behind us, and we are already a couple weeks into the New Year. If launching a new business is one of your 2019 resolutions, the clock is ticking. Sure, you can launch your business anytime this year, but the sooner you get the ball rolling, the greater your chance of actually sticking to your resolution.

To help you get started, we are going to be sharing some content that will help you launch your own business selling handmade items. In the coming weeks, we will explore things like opening a shop on Rustiqued, branding, pricing, and more. This week, though, we’d like to share some general guidelines to help you get started. Ready to take the first step? Let’s get started!

Figure Out Exactly What You Want to Do

If you have given any thought to starting your own business, you probably have at least a few ideas of what you want to do. You may not, however, have narrowed your ideas down enough to form a solid foundation for a business. If you want to sell products that you make, that’s great! But you still need to figure out what type of products you want to sell.

Even if you are multi-talented and capable of making a wide range of different products, it’s best to figure out a specific niche to fill. Keep in mind that is much better to be amazing at making one thing that it is to be mediocre at making several different things. If you are good at painting, knitting, and sculpting but you make absolutely amazing furniture, forget the other stuff and focus your business on making furniture.

Whatever you are the best at and most enjoy making, make that the focus of your new business.

Start Talking About Your Idea

Now that you have an idea of what you want to do, start talking about it! Sharing your idea with others helps you refine them and make them more concrete. It also provides an opportunity to find out what other people think of your idea, which could help you assess whether it is worth pursuing.

Talking about your idea with friends and family members now drives generates interest in your new business and kickstarts the networking that you will need to do in the future. It also makes your plan more “real”, and when other people know what you are planning to do, it makes you more accountable.

Take a Few Baby Steps

Starting a successful new business doesn’t happen overnight, so quitting your day job and spending a fortune on start-up supplies at the beginning is highly ill-advised. Instead, now is the time to take a few baby steps. Start working on your logo, sketch out what your first product will look like, brainstorm ideas for naming your business, or start shopping around for the best prices on the supplies you will need. Anything that brings you even a tiny step closer to your goal of launching your own business is a step in the right direction, and at this stage, there is no reason to do anything drastic.

Take Care of the Important Paperwork

Filling out legal forms is every entrepreneur’s least favorite thing to do when starting a new business venture. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil. Putting paperwork off is rarely a good idea and exposes you to unnecessary risk, so talk to a lawyer early on in the process.

While it’s possible to handle all the legal paperwork on your own, talking to a lawyer is the best way to ensure that all your ducks are in a row. You may even be able to find an attorney who specializes in start-ups and would be willing to work with you in terms of payment until you get your business off the ground.

Figure Out Your Financing

Starting a business takes money. Depending on what type of product you are making, it could take a lot of money. Are you able to cover your start-up costs out of your current bank account, or do you need to take out a loan? How much money do you need? How will you sustain yourself financially until your business starts turning a profit? These are all extremely important things that you need to think about early in the planning process.

Read, Read, Read

No matter what type of business you are starting, do your homework. Look for books that are related to your industry or to entrepreneurship in general. Scour the Web for articles about starting online businesses. Check Twitter and Facebook for business-related groups and groups that are relevant to the type of product you will be making. And of course, follow Rustiqued so you won’t miss out on all the business-related content we will be sharing over the next few weeks!

holiday shipping deadlines

Important 2018 Holiday Shipping Deadlines You Need to Know

For many crafters and artisans, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. Customers are on the lookout for unique gifts for their loved ones, and your handmade products are exactly what they need. When you sell those products online, though, you need to make sure you can get them to your customers in time for the big day.

With more and more products being purchased online, the holiday season puts a serious strain on shipping carriers. In response, these carriers release holiday shipping deadlines to help ensure that orders, gifts, etc. arrive on time. Here are some important deadlines you need to be aware of for shipping gifts within the US.

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

If you plan on sending orders via the United States Postal Service, here are the dates you need to ship by to ensure delivery by Christmas:

  • Retail Ground™ – Friday, December 14
  • First Class Mail® – Thursday, December 20
  • Priority Mail® – Thursday, December 20
  • Priority Mail Express® – Saturday, December 22

FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines

  • SmartPost® Services – Monday, December 10
  • Ground® – Friday, December 14
  • Home Delivery® – Monday, December 17
  • Express Saver® – Wednesday, December 19
  • 2Day® Services – Thursday, December 20
  • Overnight® Services – Friday, December 21

UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

  • Ground® – Friday, December 14
  • 3 Day Select® – Tuesday, December 18
  • 2nd Day Air® Services – Thursday, December 20
  • Next Day Air® Services – Saturday, December 22

Establishing Order Cut-Off Dates for Your Business

As a business owner, you want to make as many sales as possible during the holiday season. That means you probably want to keep accepting orders for as long as possible. Keep in mind, though, that if you want happy customers, you need to be able to fulfill those orders in time for Christmas.

When establishing order cut-off dates for your business, take a realistic look at how long it takes you to prepare items for shipment. If you have several products in stock that just need to be packaged and dropped off with the carrier, you may be able to get away with selling right up until the last minute. If you make items to order, though, or it takes you a few days to get packages ready to go, give yourself a bit more wiggle room.

Keep in mind that the dates listed above only apply to packages shipped within the United States. For international shipping deadlines, visit this page.

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