The Back-Up Plan: 4 Alternatives to Etsy

I recently posted List of Top 10 Blog Post Lessons from Folded Shops while I’m sure each case is even more complicated than the posts revealed, one of the recurring reasons for shop closures was Etsy themselves suspending or terminating service due to violations in theis Terms of Service. If youre like every single alive person, you dont read Terms of Service Agreements, I know I don’t. Disturbingly many of the bloggers I featured had not even violated the ToS but rather were just accused of doing so (often by automated research) and suspended just-in-case. To boot, theres no real recourse to get ahold of Etsy or hold them accountable for anything. So here I am posting a list of sites like Etsy. Check them out and consider diversifying and protecting yourself with a back up plan.

 

Artfire

Art Fire offers commission free sales for a monthly fee. Every plan is commission free and includes access to the ArtFire Marketplace ranging from $20-$60/month with the top tier offering your own branded domain and unlimited lisitings.

Luulla.com

They have a pay-as-you-go structure where you can purchase 100 listings for $30 USD. It costs $0.30 USD to list an item for 4 months as well as a monthly plan at a flat fee of $14.90 USD per month with unlimited product listing. They charge a 6.5% selling fee on the item’s sale price. In addition they have coupons, an Express Product Listing feature, a Guest Checkout so customers dont have to have an account to buy, an integrated Facebook Page Application and Social Sharing tools for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Zibbet offers an online marketpalce with similar SEO and coupon code perks to the other sites listed above for $0-$8/month. But the best part is, if you already sell on Etsy, there’s no need to re-list all your items again. They can copy them over to Zibbet for you.
Storenvy offers a marketplace as well as custom storefronts with a focus on branding. You pay transaction fees for PayPal or Stripe. For every sale Storenvy’s marketplace drives your business, they keep 10%, while you keep 100% of the sales on your custom store.

Expensify: Useful Links, App

Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 5.04.11 PMIn an earlier GYST post on tracking expenses I noted the importance of getting into the habit of keeping up with receipts and noting your mileage and casual expenses to make tax time easier. Recently I have begun using this app and its companion web-based organization portal: Expensify & I love this App!

I tried 3-4 other of these types of apps before I settled on this one and I have to say for a free app this is crazy valuable.  If you have a smart phone I would highly recommend downloading this free app. (I am in no way sponsored by Expensify to say this I genuinely have found this app useful and the version I’m using is free!) I’m using it on an android phone so the review below is based on my experience in that platform, I’m not sure if there are any major differences but it is available for all you iPeople as well:

Expensify for Android

Expensify for Apple

In addition to the app. It has a mother website which I’ve just begun exploring where all your input and photos are stored cloud-style in your user account. Evidently you can do quite a bit of organizing and reporting with it and have multiple people attached to one account. (I believe there are some upgrade fees involved for larger operations but I haven’t paid anything yet to keep track of my basic receipts and mileage for my one-woman-show).

Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 5.05.02 PMThe app interface is super simple and clean, exactly what I want to see when I’m dealing with the hassles of accounting! Open the app and it gives you 4 giant button options to: SmartScan, Add Expense, Track Time and Track Distance.  I mainly use the Add Expense and Track Distance Features.

Add Expense

When you click add expense it takes you to another clean, hassle free window where you enter the Merchant and total and can add a photo with one click that seamlessly integrates with your camera function and brings you right back to the Expense page one you take the photo. It auto loads the date (which you can still easily edit if your doing a week at once. It also gives space for a comment and an option to attach it to a specific report (for those of you way more organized than I am)

Track Distance

The Track Distance function is great and I have finally gotten in the habit of setting this as soon as I get in the car on a ‘hunt’ for my vintage shop. I mainly use the Odometer function (which has the same easy to use photo integration) but there is an option for GPS distance tracking where you just push start and go. Once you open Track Distance it automatically brings up your latest entry to complete at the end of the trip.

Track Time

Right now I have no use for the Track Time function but I can see how it would be great for freelance work and might think about tracking this as I develop and streamline my businesses. It wouldn’t hurt to have that kind of data and this is so easy to use there is no excuse.

Smart Scan

This is possibly the coolest feature of this whole system. It allows you to take a photo of the receipt and be done with it. You click the SmartScan option and immediately brings up the camera, auto scans the receipt and fills in the info on the Merchant, Date and Total all on its own. Its literally 2 clicks. This was pretty impressive when I first tried it. The only drawbacks are you are limited in the free version to a number of these a month and it takes some processing time for it to show up. At the rate I’m going its not that big of a deal to enter the merchant and total and when I’m entering the receipts I like to immediately see them all logged in so I can forget about it so I haven’t taken much advantage of this cool feature.

I haven’t needed to make a report or try much out on the web-based account side of it but it looks pretty easy to navigate. I’ve just starting using this app this month. The last tax year I used pencil and paper, glued the receipts into a notebook and logged the info into a Google Drive datasheet which worked okay for the small scale at which I was operating. I’m looking forward to seeing how this app and online service develops as my business does and have high hopes. Will keep you posted on what I learn as I use it.

Fivver.com: Useful Links, Service

Screen shot 2014-01-19 at 2.10.59 AM Fivver.com is a microjob site. Individuals post jobs they would be willing to do for $5 and you can contract them through the site to do these tasks for you.

If you take some time to dig around you’ll find it pretty spectactuar the variety and specificity of things people propose doing for $5 but for someone starting up a small buisness this is a great resource for those little tasks that would be no trouble to the right person but could be a roadblock given your skillset or software.

Its a great way to dip your toe in the pool of outsourcing and see what its like to contract. Need a banner? a logo? a product review? There are plenty of great design and advertising gigs offered to help you get up and running on a tight budget. Its not just for $5 jobs, larger gigs are possible with an add on feature.

Be sure to check out the whole subcategory of online marketing which has gigs for researching keywords, blog mentions, twitter and social media mentions which helps connect you to the right people to spread your word through simple tasks like posting a product mention to the right facebook page.

Here are a few of the jobs people will currently do for you for $5:

I will write descriptions for 4 of your etsy items for $5

I will tell 14,000 Twitter followers in the art craft world to check out your Etsy shop for $5

I will find You Active Dropshippers or Wholesalers for $5

I will impose a word of your choice on wooden blocks for $5

I will edit up to 20 of Your Product Photos for $5

If you have a good skill on Etsy such as making treasuries or editing photos or have a well developed social media network you would be willing to advertise to, try posting your own gig. Note: you get paid $4 after fivver’s cut.