Resources To Help Start & Grow Your Creative Business

This list contains affiliate links, and I may get a commission if you click on them. As a rule, I don’t recommend products or services that I don’t use or haven’t tried myself. 

Managing Your money

Keeping track of the cash that goes in and out of your business is one of the most important things you can do as a creative business owner, and the faster you get started, the faster you can start meeting more of your money goals.

Paper + Spark’s spreadsheets and tools keep your money management simple and are hands-down the best financial resources for running your Etsy business. 

Paper + Spark

SEO + Tools for Etsy Sellers

eRank

eRank isn’t the only SEO tool for Etsy sellers, but it’s my favorite. (And it’s the only one I’d pay for.) While the Pro version is completely worth it, most of eRank is actually free. 

I like eRank because I truly believe this company cares about Etsy sellers, and this is important to me.

Scheduling your social

Smart business owners aren’t on social media all day long, even if it seems like they are! I personally use Tailwind to schedule all of my Pins and to keep traffic coming to my shop on autopilot. Get started with your free trial here. 

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

Email Marketing

MailerLite

MailerLite is my favorite email service, and I use it for all of my shops and for this website. It is the simplest email service I’ve tried, but it has incredible functionality.

  • Email design that’s easy and pretty? Check.
  • Simple sorting of subscribers? Of course.
  • Automations. Yep.
  • Cool stuff like handdrawn signatures and embedded surveys? Uh, yeah.

Plus, you’re getting all of that for free until you reach 1,000 subscribers. (And even after that, it’s half the price of other providers.)

MailerLite Email Marketing for Small Business

Print On Demand

Opening an Etsy shop using a print-on-demand service is a fantastic (almost) passive way to build a creative business. 

Printful has a user-friendly interface and integration with Etsy.

I also like Printful because:

  • They consistently provide a high-quality print. 
  • If for some reason there’s a problem, they take care of it right away. 
  • You have the option of using different shipping speeds.
  • They provide clear communication as to where your orders are in processing.

Canva

Canva is a favorite of creative business owners! You can use Canva to design social media graphics, Etsy banners, pins, and anything else you may possibly need to run your shop. 

The best part is that Canva is free to use and the paid features are very affordable. 

Check out this logo video tutorial I made using Canva!

Adobe Creative Cloud

Getting a monthly subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud is probably the best way to go pro with your creative business. 

You can edit your product photos, design graphics for social media, create banners for your Etsy store, and organize all of your photos with Adobe products.

I love my Creative Cloud plan because I use Adobe Illustrator to design products. If you want to save money though, consider the Creative Cloud for Photographers plan. It’s only $9.99 a month, and it will provide you with access to Lightroom and Photoshop.

Design Bundles & Font Bundles

Is there anything better than getting a great deal on graphics and fonts? I think not. Check out Design Bundles for affordable commercially-licensed designs and fonts for your creative business. 

Creative Market

Creative Market  is my go-to for fonts and graphics. You can grab some free goodies below.

You can also check out my favorite fonts for handmade business owners here. 

Powered by Creative Market

 

Websites

When you are ready to start your own website, I recommend two different methods.

Option A) Buy hosting + Use WordPress.

I would enthusiastically recommend this option over any other option. This gives you full creative control over your website, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. While it takes a good deal of time and regular maintenance, I feel that it is well worth it.

  1.  The first thing you will need to do is purchase a domain. You can do this through Google Domains, SiteGround, or really any other domain service.
  2. Then you need to purchase hosting. I use SiteGround to host my own websites. I was with Bluehost for a long time, but my website was really slow and sometimes it would go down for hours or days. Since Bluehost forces customers to pay for long-term subscriptions (without the option of prorated refunds), I actually lost some money when I switched to Siteground, but I’ve been SO happy with it.  It may also be worth noting that I have used GoDaddy to build websites for clients, and I absolutely hate it. 
  3. Install WordPress. If you happen to get your hosting from SiteGround, they make it really easy to install WordPress on your site.
  4. Purchase and install a theme. A premium theme will make your life 1000% percent easier than trying to make a free theme work for you. I download my themes from Envato Market. My favorite is definitely Flatsome. I also like X Theme.

Option B) Set up a Shopify Store

Setting up a Shopify Store is really simple. It’s also virtually maintenance free, and I would recommend it if you aren’t technically inclined or don’t have the time to worry about your website.

Go to Shopify’s website, create an account, and you can have your own store up and running in a few hours.

Shipping

The first thing you definitely need to get if you are going to be shipping your items is a postal scale. This is important because you will want to print your labels at home (it’s cheaper and much easier than buying labels at the post office). In order to buy your labels at home, you will need to know exactly how much your packages weigh. You don’t want your customers having to pay extra to pick up their packages!

This is the postal scale that I use. 

Etsy shipping

Shipping Labels

If you’re printing shipping labels on your ink-jet printer and taping them on your packages, it’s time to look into some different options. This is never the cheapest way to print labels, and it is more time-consuming than you might imagine.

Lots of handmade business owners use a DYMO thermal label printer. These label makers are cost-efficient because they do not use ink. I don’t personally use one, but I know lots of Etsy sellers who love them.

And here are the shipping labels you will need for this particular Dymo.

Dymo labels for etsy shipping

I am more of a laser-printer girl myself. Brother sells a super affordable, really reliable wireless laser printer. I never thought that I could afford a laser printer, but I was pleasantly surprised when I did a little bit of research. printing etsy labels

This little guy has jammed only once (it was easy to fix), and after almost 9 months of solid use, I still haven’t had to replace the original toner (the starter toner that came with the machine!).

I also use these internet shipping labels. I just print, peel, and stick them to the package. It really can’t get any easier than this.

shipping labels for etsy sellers

While the DYMO has a smaller footprint, the Brother Laser Printer can be used to print labels plus whatever else needs printing (though just in black and white.)

 

Photography

Photography is one of the most important parts of your handmade business if you are selling online. You can rank up there in the searches, but if your photos look horrible, no one will want to purchase your items.

While you can get by using your phone’s camera for a long time, a DSLR camera can be a game changer. I didn’t realize how lackluster my photos were until I purchased my camera and learned how to use Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop. Honestly, I still don’t consider myself a great photographer; but the DSLR helps!

I currently use a Canon Rebel T6. It was pretty easy to learn (even with photography being my worst creative skill!)
DSLR for handmade business

If you use nothing else for product photos, get some white foam core board. You can set this on the floor next to a window and take flat lays of your product.

This 50mm f/1.8  lens is a game-changer. It’s a nice starting lens for taking photos of your products. I pretty much just keep it on my camera all of the time.

I just got this lightbox, and I LOVE it! You can wait for the right natural light…Or you can just use this.