Girl Boss in Less Than a Year (10 Tips)

When I first opened my little Etsy shop, never in my life did I think I would be my own boss at age 27. Although having a successful business is not always puppies and cake, it is worth it. Want to know how I did it? Read on to find out!

1. Sell something that people want to buy.

When planning my wedding last Fall, I couldn’t find anything that I loved for wedding stationery; not to mention I couldn’t afford spending $1,000+ on invitations so I decided to design and print my own.

I found my niche by offering affordable (yet high-end looking)  printable products that brides can purchase to do themselves. Not only did I find this service to be affordable for budget brides, but I made sure the products I was offering were unique and on trend.

Offering the ability of customization is in my opinion the key to success in the Etsy community. All of my designs can be customized by wording or color to fit each buyer’s individual needs and aesthetic.

2. Get organized from the start.

This is one I can’t stress enough. I started my business out as a hobby just by putting some cute designs up on Etsy for some extra spending money. Now that I’m earning a full-time income, using apps to help keep track of my business expenses has been a life saver.

An app like Wave can directly connect your business accounts to your Etsy account which  will make your life a lot easier when balancing your books and paying Uncle Sam at the end of the year.

3. Have a wide selection.

Offering a wide variety of products will not only double your chances of being found on Etsy, it will also allow loyal followers to come back and fulfill other needs in other ways down the road. Although weddings are main sellers on the site, I offer printable art, baby shower products, and even products for birthday parties! Usually, clients I work with on one project will come back and work with me on their next design need.

4. Have great customer service.

I learned from my very first sales job the importance of a happy customer. Not only is offering a high quality product important, it’s the way you speak to people that will keep them coming back for more or telling their friends about their online shopping experience. Always reply to customers with kindness, it’s the new black.

5. Take good product photos.

Enough said. Since I don’t have a professional background in photography I rely on professional product mockups from experts like Shay Cochrane or Diva Gone Domestic  to help me showcase my work.

6. Have long-term goals.

For me I started out with no goals. Just putting up a few designs to grab some extra spending money. Now I’m thinking long-term. I eventually want to be a full-service print shop offering a select variety of printable products through Etsy. Boom.

7. Brace yourself for a lot of long nights.

I think people assume that when you are your own boss you have all the time in the world to dedicate to things OTHER than your business. “You’re so lucky you have all the time in the world to shop and go to Starbuck.” *Insert cricket noise here. Let me tell you… owning your own business is hard work. It takes time away from your family, your friends, your life. You are on beckon call 24-7 and most days working LATE nights. At first, you will be working your butt off to make a name for yourself, but I promise with hardwork and a little faith you’ll get to where you want to be. Some things worth having do NOT come easy; remember that.

8. Find your brand.

From your color palette to photos your brand should have a consistent and cohesive feel to it. From the start you should be thinking about the overall style, look, and feel of your brand. This way if someone were to look at your photo, they can immediately associate your brand with your work!

Building a solid brand also let’s buyers know you are a serious seller and can be trusted. My business soared when I began to coordinate all of my products by look in my shop. For some brands it takes years to find their look. Don’t get off on the wrong start. For newbies, I recommend this book by Fiona Humberstone: How to Style Your Brand

9. Community over competition.

Being original is oh-so important. I see so many copy-cats on Etsy and I’m not going to lie, I’ve caught myself in the comparison game a time or two. What has really driven my success is doing my own thing. Now, I don’t even consider fellow shops as competition. They are just other girl bosses doing their thing. My business literally multiplied as soon as I stopped worrying about what other shops were offering.

It’s also important to remember to build others in the community up. I follow new shops daily and continue to support them when they are posting about their business over social media! I’ve also joined some groups in the area to get to know other creative professionals. It’s important to put yourself out there!

10. Be Bold + Take Chances + Trust God.

If you are a God fearing human my advice is to pray, pray, pray. For me learning to trust what God has planned for me gives me comfort comfort knowing that I can’t mess this business thing up. And if things don’t work out,  I understand that better things will come my way. If you have that little voice in your head telling you to do something. Listen to it. You can make that little dream happen with a little faith and a lot of work!

Have you recently hit an Etsy milestone? I would love to hear from you! Email me at and let’s connect!


My name is Karly, and I’m the owner and designer behind Karly K Designs - a wedding stationery boutique located in the midwest. Feel free to keep up with the latest happenings at KKD, browse our posts for wedding inspiration, and more. I’m thrilled you are here!

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