Five Tips for Entrepreneurs

Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero.
Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

Etsy hosted its first ever conference in New York recently, so I went over to check out some of the panels because I had a feeling there would be some news that I could share with you. Because Etsy is for entrepreneurial, creative people who like to work closely with their customers, and very often might be going it alone, I knew there would be content that would apply to the travel advisor market in particular.

The opening speaker was “decluttering” expert Fay Wolf, who offered practical tips for creating an environment where you can peacefully hone your craft. In my mind, that could be creating jewelry, doing fashion illustration — or designing amazing travel itineraries. She spoke of living in a studio apartment where she kept one space absolutely clutter free to easily sit down at any time and practice her art, which was playing a keyboard. This barrier-free setting gave her no excuse to avoid playing, and within several months she had surprised herself and written several songs. She also gave us the three-basket technique for clearing out clutter from a room: One is labeled “throw away,” another, “give away,” and the third, “other rooms.” It’s that third one I like; it’s to prevent you from walking a book into the living room, getting distracted by all the work that needs to be done there and hence forgetting all about that first room you were working on.

I was happy to sit in on a social networking panel where several successful Etsy sellers spoke of using Instagram and Pinterest to attract buyers. They pointed out that many young parents are on Instagram, posting pictures of their children and perusing their feeds at the same time. My tip is to hashtag relevant travel photos on your feed with #mommyblogger or #daddyblogger if you’re trying to attract young families. New parents also tend to visit Pinterest, but more so to plot out the décor of their nurseries or kill time while they’re nursing. The panel noted that it’s much more acceptable to post frequently on Pinterest, whereas on Instagram you should try to avoid overloading your audience with too much content in one day.


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In a session entitled, “Creating Customer Personas,” Katie Corrigan, who owns the Etsy shop, Pop O’ Color (custom pillows), spoke of pricing your product and services. “The only way to give yourself a raise is to make more money,” she said. “When someone asks you for a discount, you’re saying to yourself, ‘I don’t want a raise, I don’t want to make more money.’” Corrigan said those who shop at her store frequently ask for a discount, which she politely declines to give them. She noted that 99 percent of these people still go on to buy from her, they just felt they had to ask for a deal.

As for developing customer personas, Corrigan said you should create an avatar of who your ideal customer is. You can do that by looking at past sales. Go online to find a picture of what your average client might look like, give her a name and a personality. Write down her emotions, needs, fears and aspirations. Research which bloggers are influencing them. Have this “cheat sheet” at your fingertips so when you’re working on your product line of offerings you’ll know exactly who your client is.

Why is this important? “You have to understand what your customer needs, not what you want,” said Corrigan.


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