The Etsy Experiment: Month Four (Or, What Not to Do)

About four months ago, I opened an Etsy shop to try to sell some of my oil paintings as an experiment. I’ve been tracking and reporting the results of the experiment here ever since, and will continue to do so for the first six months of this year.

What I did in April

The short answer to “What did you do for your Etsy store in April?” is “Not much.” And that’s definitely a what not do to.

The longer answer is that I tried a couple of small things, but without really putting a lot of effort into it. I set up a Facebook page for my art, based on recommendations I’d read. Then I tried promoting it with a Facebook ad. Out of 93,856 impressions, my ad received 6 clicks. So, not very effective. A better ad and more content on my Facebook page might help, but I’m still not sure exactly what to put there. I did find some good information related to promoting with FB though:

The bottom line is, if you want to succeed in a business, then you’ve got to actually work at it. Things don’t happen on their own, as if by magic. They take regular, continuous work, a lot of persistence, and a dash of luck. Generally speaking, the harder you work, the luckier you become.

Stat time

Alright, enough about what I worked on for my shop during April. Now it’s time for an update on the shop stats.
I’d listed 9 of my paintings at the tail end of December, and did not sell any paintings during January or February. I sold my first (and only, so far) painting in March, but had no sales in April.

By the end of January, my starting stats had looked like this:

$9 spent. (All on Etsy fees.)
$0 earned.
1 shop category.
7 shop admirers.
9 items listed.
145 total item views.
11 total item admirers.
0 treasury lists.
0 sales.

Now they look like this:

$16.35 spent. ($9 on Etsy fees, $7.35 on shipping.)
$43 earned.
1 shop category.
12 shop admirers.
10 items listed (which takes into account one item sold, and two items added).
489 total item views.
30 total item admirers.
1 treasury lists. (down from 2)
1 sale.

If you’re curious about how things went in previous months, you can click on the Etsy category.

May’s plans

Since it’s already the first week of May, I had better get cracking on May’s plans. Of course, I’m working on more paintings so will probably be adding those to the shop once they are done. I’m also thinking of interviewing someone who has a successful Etsy shop — which means I need to spend a little time on Etsy looking at the other painting-related shops. That may give me some other ideas right there. Beyond that, I’m not sure, so if you have suggestions I’m open to them!

Are you working on promoting a small business of any type? How is it going for you?


  • Looks like you are moving forward. My mom handmakes jewelry and I want to open a shop for her, but I’d have to run it because she’s not very tech savvy. Keep us posted!

    • Filling out the forms on Etsy is very easy — it’s more getting good photos & promoting it that’s hard, I think. Let me know if your mom does set up a shop!

  • When I saw that your treasury list number had gone down from two to one, I wondered how that could be. I had included one of your paintings in one of my treasuries so I went to check my treasury to see if was still there. It wasn’t, so I added it back. You should be at 2 again.

  • Shannon

    Just a note that you’re spelling “Etsy” as “ESty” in the Month 3 and Month 4 titles.

    I find these updates interesting and I’m definitely filing the information away for when I take the plunge to work to get a little side business going someday soon. Thanks for sharing this information!

  • Thanks for sharing your Etsy experiment with us. I have wondered how successful Etsy shops are and what exactly goes into running them. It looks like you still have some work ahead of you, but you are also learning and moving forward well. Great job and I can’t wait to read more about what the future holds for you and Etsy.

  • I thought about joining etsy myself a year or two ago but got overwhelmed at the amount of competition. I knew I’d have to put a decent amount of time in marketing myself and my products so I decided not to do it. I’m much happier putting my time into blogging while I’m still working full time and my free time is limited.

    • Sounds like you’re good at prioritizing :)

      I’m kinda trying to kill 2 birds with one stone here (selling paintings & exploring other ways of making money) so it’s been worthwhile to me.

  • Jackie, I just came across this series and found it interesting. You definitely have an entrepreneurial spirit and I like that! I’ve never heard anyone say this but it stuck with me today: “Generally speaking, the harder you work, the luckier you become.” Maybe there are some lessons learned in there as well and we become smarter with experience, but sometimes, just sometimes maybe one idea or article takes off and the rest is history.

    • Glad you like the series. I think that working hard on the *right* things, plus a little bit of luck makes a big difference.

  • Kristy

    I just found this series.. Good stuff. I’ll be back to check in on your tips and your progress.