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1. Sell what you sell

If you cannot make a sale, you may not be in business long. Before starting a business of any kind, you may want to make a plan. Are you repurposing awesome antiques or peddling handmade silk petunias? Regardless of what it is you plan to do, you need to understand the numbers, have a plan for marketing, acquiring customers, selling, and competing in your market. To stand out, being an expert at one thing can actually work if you do that one thing in a way that customers like. That one thing can often be enough to support a business, or even to fund other other projects.

The more planning and research you do, the more insights you may gather to help you develop, update, and deliver on your Business Plan. Remember, plans can change, and if you are in business, you may want to be ready to update those plans on paper to keep you focused and on track.

2. Choose a business name

Picking your business name is one of the fun parts, but it may also be one of the hardest. It can help if you choose something that is directly related to what you are selling. And it is also good to have something that stands out. Names are tricky.

Making matters even more challenging, you may not want to change your shop name on a whim. Take your time to figure out what works best. You want to be findable when your customers are ready to come back, so you may want to look into protecting your name and brand with a trademark.

3. Set your business goals

To set goals for selling on Etsy, or any other platform, first, define what you want to measure. Is it selling a particular amount of items? Are you looking to make a certain amount of money? Make sure to pick something realistic and have a way to measure it. This can help keep your business on track. For example, do not set a goal of delivering 100 products in a month when you can only produce 10. 

The trick is to monitor your goals, and make continuous adjustments until you find the recipe that works. Often, this involves expanding your marketing efforts to different social media channels or through networking. If sales pick up, or you meet your goals early, you may want to reassess, and consider growing or scaling your operation.

Here's where we get more technical. Etsy or any other online shop can typically choose between a few different business structures:

  • Corporation.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC).
  • Sole proprietorship.
  • General partnership. 

If you are not already a corporation, LLC, or partnership, and do nothing more than just sign up on a platform to start your business, then you are more likely than not going to be considered a sole proprietor. If you have a partner and do nothing to formalize the business, the business is likely to be considered a general partnership. 

Depending on what you are selling, you may want to consider incorporating in order to limit your personal liability.

5. Protect yourself

Now that you are officially in business, you may want some help to keep the business going. From hiring workers to getting legal advice or setting up contracts for shipping, marketing, or with another vendor, the right forms and documents can help make sure you are protected in case something goes wrong. While it may seem like an extra step to make sure you have secured contracts for your business's needs, or asking a lawyer to review those contracts before you sign them, you may be saving yourself a lot of time, money, and headache down the road.

Depending on your business operations, you may also want to consider business insurance.

Once you are in business, it is time to start selling, shipping, and keeping the operation running. If you have legal questions, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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