how to sell your art (online)!


hi everyone I hope that you're doing

well I know it's been a long time since

my last video I apologize for going

missing for so long but I've been really

busy this month working on at my shop I

just launched a new a spring collection

so there was just a lot of work to do

with that which I was really excited to

do but unfortunately I didn't have time

to make youtube videos but I am excited

to be back I hope that you're doing okay

you've been with everything going on in

the world I know everything is just kind

of weird and uncertain right now and

you've probably been stuck inside like I

have for quite a while now so I hope

you're doing okay but I'm excited to be

back making YouTube videos again because

I've been in the midst of working on my

shop as you can see probably a little

bit behind me my desk is kind of messy

because I am shipping lots of orders and

getting all of my new stationery out and

I was just thinking that it would be

perfect to talk about starting an online

shop because if you guys have been

following me for a while you know that I

don't just do YouTube I'll set design

stationary and that's a big part of my

work and my job and I want to share how

I can help you start your own business

or start selling your own art if that's

what you're interested in so this video

is just going to be full of tips on how

to start your own online shop and how to

start selling your art so I'm dividing

this video into two parts just to make

it easier for you to understand the flow

so part one I'm going to kind of explain

my story and how I started my shop and

then part two I'm going to give you all

the tips I asked on the Instagram for

questions and I'm going to answer some

of your questions and just talk about

more of the details of how you can start

your own online shop I hope that I can

help you out with this video because I

remember how overwhelming it is in the

beginning when you want to start a

business but you just have no idea where

to even begin you don't have any

resources you probably have very little

money to start with that's where I was

at least so if you're there

hoping that this video will give you

some tips to get started and I'm hoping

I can explain my process and the things

that helped me along the way so let's

start with my story and how I started my

business so I actually first started

selling things in the autumn of 2016 I

was in college and I really wanted to

start a sticker shop I had had this idea

for so long and I didn't have any

resources at all I barely had any money

I didn't have a sticker machine or

anything so I actually started by

designing a few stickers and cutting

them out by hand and selling them in

packs on my Etsy shop and that didn't

really work out for me

I actually didn't sell anything at all

which was disappointing at the time but

it was for the best because then I just

took a step back and started refocusing

on really what I wanted to do but that's

that's where I began was having a failed

sticker launched in the autumn of 2016 I

was just so busy with college I decided

to put that on pause and then when the

semester was over I was going to refocus

on my sticker shop so for Christmas that

year I asked my parents for a silhouette

machine which if you don't know that's a

machine that can cut stickers cut like

sticker sheets so I knew that I needed

that so I could make like

professional-looking stickers so they

gave that to me for Christmas and then I

had just decided that by February of

2017 I was gonna open my sticker shop

and I spent the entire month of January

designing stickers working on my

branding everything that goes into

starting the shop and I launched it

February and I think that I got a couple

sales my first week but really not much

if any at all I at the time I didn't

have a social media following I didn't

really have a customer base so it makes

sense that I didn't really sell anything

but that's where I got my start so I

made a plan for myself I knew that I

needed to find my customers and to do

that I needed to be in social media so I

told myself I was going to post on

YouTube every single week and Instagram

so those are the social media platforms

I really focused on and that's what I

tribute to growing my shop was working

on growing my social media following

because that's where I was able to find

a community of people who were

interested in what I was making and they

would become my customers so honestly in

the beginning my designs weren't that

great I wasn't in love with my products

and what I was making because I had this

vision in my head of what I wanted to

make but I just couldn't quite make it

yet I didn't have the skills but I knew

that I just had to keep making things in

order to get better so I let myself make

designs that I wasn't totally happy with

because I knew as I kept doing that

further down the line I would get better

and better and they would become what I

was envisioning in my head I think a lot

of people get stuck here where they want

to sell their art but they feel like

they're not good enough yet so then they

put it off and wait thinking that maybe

there's gonna be just one day where all

of a sudden they have all the art skills

in the world and that's just not gonna

happen you're always going to be

improving and you're always in a way

gonna be unsatisfied with your work so

you just have to start where you are

with the skills that you have and trust

that as you keep making art you are

gonna get better and your style will

improve so for the next several months I

honestly didn't make that many sales in

my shop I think over the first six

months I maybe made 15 or 20 sales if

that it was a lot and honestly I was a

little discouraged but I knew that my

shop wasn't going to instantly

be successful this was something I

needed to grow and work out every single

day consistently in order to make it

into what I wanted to be so I kept

working on my social media I kept

posting it on YouTube and on Instagram

and I grew my customer base that way

because people were interested in what I

was making in the content that I was

creating and that they naturally went

over to my shop and that's how I started

to grow my shop so it's almost a year

and a half later around the summer of

2018 that I finally reached my first

goal or my first milestone which was

1,000 sales in my Etsy shop and I

honestly could not believe that I had

reached that it did take over a year for

me to reach that milestone but I was so

excited and it was at that point that I

decided to move on from Etsy and open my

own website which you guys have seen

today I moved to Shopify and I was

really nervous about leaving Etsy just

because I didn't know if my customers

would move from Etsy to my website I

didn't know if they would trust my own

website because as he has that name that

everybody knows so I was a little

nervous about that but I really wanted

to have my own website and had always

been my dream to have my own brand that

I own and I didn't want it to be

associated with Etsy so that's why I

moved and it ended up working out well

for me I continued to work on social

media so that I was putting out regular

content and I was able to make my

website and - exactly what I wanted it

to be and of course my art improved a

lot over that time period as well

because I was consistently making new

things and learning new skills and

getting closer to making the things that

I was envisioning in my head so you just

have to remind yourself that this is a

process you're not going to be perfect

overnight you're not going to be able to

create everything you want to create

right away but if you let yourself have

the time

you need to go on that journey and go

through that process you will come out

of it making a better art than when you


so that's my story about how I started

my shop and now I want to give you some

tips and answer your questions about how

to sell art and start your own online

shop so before we get into the questions

I just want to give you my number one

tip and that is just start now don't

wait don't put it off

don't spend months planning you're never

gonna know everything you'll never have

a roadmap to starting an online business

or to selling art you just need to start

now and figure it out as you go because

there's always going to be questions you

just have to take them as they come and

figure it out and know that you have the

ability to figure anything out that

comes your way you just need to start by

making art which you probably are

already doing and then you'll decide on

the platform that you want to sell your

art on and then you figure out how to

take photos of your art and then you

figure out how to ship everything and

all these things will come but please

don't try to have everything figured out

before you get started you're gonna make

mistakes along the way and that's okay

let yourself make mistakes but know that

you can figure it all out and everything

will fall into place as it needs to so

now let's get into your questions like I

said I asked on Instagram for you guys

to submit any questions you have about

how to start an online store so I've

gathered together the most asked

questions and that's what I'm going to

be answering right now I will have

timestamps in the description if you

want to jump to a specific topic so this

is probably the most asked question

because it's the biggest unknown like

how how do you know how to start an

online store if you haven't done it yet

obviously like I said my number one tip

was just to get started and figure it

out as you go and that is true but I

will tell you a little bit more about

how to get started I would recommend

that you have a little bit of money

saved up you don't need to have a ton of

money to open an online store I had very

little but you do need to have something

to work with once you have a little bit

of money saved up you can budget that

and decide how you're going to use that

in your business whether you need to buy

supplies to make your products or maybe

you need to pay for your website or pay

for shipping materials or whatever it is

and see it's a great option when you're

first starting out since it's free and

you don't have to pay to make a website

this is really the part that you have to

figure out what is going to work best

for you so maybe if you don't have a lot

of money you could try selling digital

items like prints or principals or

things like that

and save up money from your digital

sales and then you can put that money

back into your business and start

selling physical products starting a

business is just like creating art where

you're starting with essentially nothing

and building it into something for me

personally the expenses that I had when

I first got started were basic supplies

like sticker paper packaging materials

shipping materials like mailers things

like that I spent as little as possible

because I didn't have a lot and I bought

very small quantities of everything just

because I didn't know how much I was

gonna sell so save up whatever you can

before you start your business but know

that you will have to spend a little bit

up front the second question is what

platform should you use to sell your art

or open an online store


as I mentioned earlier I started on Etsy

and I think that's a great first step if

you don't have a lot of money to put

into your business upfront or if you

don't have a lot of customers yet or a

lot of people following you I think Etsy

is great because you don't have to spend

a lot to use epsy first of all it's

basically free to start a shop you do

have to pay a listing fee per item that

you or per product that you put on Etsy

but it's very minimal and then whenever

you actually make a sale they do take a

small percentage but if you don't make

any sales you don't have to pay anything

so that's why I think that sees a great

option if you're first getting started

and then once you have a customer base

or a steady stream of orders you could

consider moving to your own website

that's hosted by a platform like Shopify

or Squarespace I currently use Shopify

for my website and I love it so much it

does have a monthly subscription fee

that you have to pay so that's why I

think that maybe it's not the best place

to start with because you don't want to

pay for your website if you're not

making any sales but look into all the

different shop platforms and their fees

and everything and decide what would be

best for you

the next question I got is how do you

find your customers and actually start

making sales

so the answer to this is honestly social

media that's how marketing is done

nowadays you have to have our presence

online in order to find your customers

especially I mean obviously if you have

an online store you have to market

yourself online my advice is to pick one

or two social media platforms that you

want to focus on and make the best

content that you can for those platforms

I personally it started on YouTube and

Instagram that's still obviously what I

do and I love it but pick whatever

platform works for you share unique and

creative content that isn't just trying

to promote whatever you're selling

because I think people can tell right

away when they're just being marketed to

you want to create a genuine connection

with people and you want to create

content that engages them and makes them

interested in you not just makes them

want to immediately go buy something

I've always just tried to make videos or

online content that I personally would

want to see something that I would click

on so I love our tutorials I love

sharing inspiration with you guys and

just giving you whatever knowledge I can

and sharing that with you because that's

what I like to see from my favorite

creators you don't want your content to

just be one giant ad so make fun things

that you would watch yourself and then

let your audience naturally become your

customers okay next so many of you guys

had questions about the legal side of

running a business taxes finances

bookkeeping all of those questions so

let's talk about that


so obviously I am NOT an expert in any

of this I'm not an accountant I'm not a

lawyer I can't give you any actual legal

advice but I can give you a starting

point because I know how overwhelming

all of this is in the beginning when you

just have no idea where to get started

but I will say just please and do your

own research because like I said I'm not

an expert and I don't know everything

that you need to do for your business

okay so getting started with the legal

stuff how to make your business

legitimate obviously I can only speak

for the United States because that's

where I live but I would say the first

place that you should start is by going

to your state's Department of Revenue

website they will have a list of all the

requirements that you need to do to

start your own business whatever

business licenses or applications you

need to fill out they will let you know

so they are the best resource to get

started every state is different so you

have to go to your specific state

because they have different rules and

different applications you'll need to

decide what business structure you're

going to be so if you're starting out

really small like I did and it's just

gonna be you then you'll probably just

be a sole proprietorship this means that

you are the sole owner of your business

any money that your business makes any

profits losses debts anything is all

going to be under your name it will be

your responsibility any money that your

business makes will be filed as your

personal income tax I will leave a link

to a government website with more

information about this just so you can

read more because like I said I'm not a

lawyer I don't know the specifics but at

least now you have a place to get

started your county or city that you

live in might have even more

requirements for starting a business you

might have to get like a business

license for your specific city so also

look into that but all that information

should be on your state's Department of

Revenue website so that's really why I

tell you to go there because they will


everything that you need to know as for

taxes if you are a sole proprietor which

you probably are then you are just going

to file taxes as usual when tax season

comes along whatever money your business

made is just filed as your personal

income but this means that you have to

save money for taxes throughout the year

because unlike a regular job where they

take out taxes from your paycheck it's

your responsibility to pay the taxes on

whatever money your business makes so

for me personally any money that comes

into my business I save thirty percent

of it for taxes so if you're

self-employed you're supposed to pay

quarterly taxes throughout the year so

there are four tax deadlines throughout

the year and the idea is that each

deadline you pay a quarter of what your

estimated to Oh in taxes that way when

April comes around and you file for

taxes you don't owe a ton of money you

should have been paying it throughout

the year now for bookkeeping this is

probably my least favorite part of

running my business I love the creative

side but I hate the paperwork and the

numbers side and all of that but if

you're self-employed this is just

something that you have to do it comes

with the territory so what's been

working for me is actually just to have

basic spreadsheets on my computer to

keep track of all the numbers and I just

make sure to update these spreadsheets

every single month so I have a

spreadsheet for my business income and I

have a spreadsheet for my business

expenses things that like supplies

things that I spend money on that could

potentially be written off on my taxes I

use the app capital to save money for

taxes and this isn't sponsored at all

this is just the app that I use but they

link to your bank account

and you can set rules to take out a

certain percentage of whatever money

goes into your bank account so for

example I have a rule set for any

deposit that goes into my bank account

capital it takes out 30% and puts it

into a savings account so that's what

works for me and I don't even have to

think about taking the money out

it just takes it out for me so that I

can save that and know that

going to have enough to pay for taxes

your specific bank might actually be

able to do this already on your bank's

app so check that out see if you can do

that and if not maybe see if capital

would work for you so that's all the

illegal and financial talk I'm going to

give you I know that I didn't give you

that many specifics but you're gonna

have to do the research for your

specific business depending on where you

live and what you're doing but hopefully

I was able to give you a starting off

point because I know that it's really

overwhelming and kind of scary because

you don't want to do anything wrong

especially with like taxes and the

government that's kind of scary but

don't worry you can figure this out and

I hope that I gave you a good place to

get started with all that and the last

topic that I'm going to talk about is

how to ship your products you guys had

so many questions about the shipping

process everything from how to buy

shipping label to what shipping

materials to use or how to deal with the

post office all these things so I'm

going to try to answer your questions as

best as possible first what are you

selling and how are you going to get it

safely to your customer can it be mailed

in a flat cardboard envelope or can it

be mailed and a padded mailer or do you

need a box that will just depend on your

specific product okay once you've

decided on how you're going to package

your item then you have to decide what

shipping provider you're going to use

unless you're shipping something really

heavy or really large you'll probably

just want to go with us PS and of course

this is specific to the United States

because I'm not sure what shipping

providers there are in other countries

so you can look up a shipping calculator

online and estimate the cost of shipping

for your products based on how much they

weigh in your packaging and then you

know how much to charge your customers

for shipping now you don't need to go to

the post office to buy shipping labels I

had a couple questions about this you

can actually buy shipping labels online

so if you're using Etsy you can buy

shipping labels directly through Etsy

you'll go through their process looks

how to do that if you Shopify like I do

you can buy shipping labels directly on

there I believe the same as for


or there are shipping apps online for

example I recently started using ship oh

and that integrates really well into

Shopify which is why I love it but I use

Shippo to buy all of my shipping labels

and it's great I love it you can look

that up if you're interested so you buy

your shipping label you print it out you

put it on your package and then you can

drop that off in a mail box or you can

drop it off at the post office so I'm

just going to walk you through my

process for shipping orders because it's

kind of confusing if you don't actually

see it being done so let's go through of

my process first I open the order on my

shipping application which like I said I

use ship oh I just do one order at a

time and I will start by packaging all

of the items then I weigh the package I

input the weight and the dimensions of

my package into my shipping app and I

purchase the label then I print out the

label and put it on my package and then

I drop off the package at the post

office so I hope that is answered your

basic questions about how to start an

online store there's so much more

information that I could give you but I

just can't fit it all into one video so

if there are more topics that you want

me to talk about let me know in the

comments and maybe I can turn this into

a series and make more videos about

specific topics that relate to starting

an online business or selling art I want

to make another video sharing all of my

tools and supplies that I use in my

business so let me know if that's

something that you would be interested

in seeing I hope that this video was

helpful for you I'm so excited for those

of you who are inspired and motivated to

start your own online store and I'm just

happy to help however I can

so let me know if there's anything else

that I can share my knowledge on but

thank you so much for watching this

video I hope that you're staying healthy

and safe and I will see you again soon

with a new video