Marketing and Heart Podcast

Why Etsy Sellers Need To Set Boundaries With Customers

July 28, 2022 Jacqueline Fatica
Marketing and Heart Podcast
Why Etsy Sellers Need To Set Boundaries With Customers
Show Notes Transcript

As a handmade business owner or Etsy seller, you may be used to saying yes to every single request that comes your way. Or cow-towing to every nasty customer demanding unreasonable requests of you.

This can lead to burnout and resentment from both you and your customers. It's so important to set boundaries with your customers in order to maintain a healthy balance in your business and life and to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed. In this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of setting boundaries and how to do it effectively.

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Jackie:

Welcome to the Marketing and Heart podcast. A show for handmade sellers like yourself. That's filled with tips and tricks to help you build a solid foundation for your business. I believe if you made it by hand that you should market it with heart. Now let's get on with the show.

Well, Hey there and welcome back podcast friends this week. I'm going to change it up just a bit because I had an experience this morning. So let's get on with it as a handmade business owner or an Etsy seller. You may be used to saying yes to every single request that comes your way or cow towing to every nasty customer, demanding unreasonable requests of you. This can lead to burnout and resentment from both you and your customers. It's so important to set boundaries with your customers in order to maintain a healthy balance in your business and life. And to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed in this podcast, we'll discuss the importance of setting boundaries and how to do it effectively. I want to make this more about the personal experiences I've had since I started my own jewelry shop. And most importantly, how I myself have changed over the years and learned the hard way, just how important it is. to set boundaries. But not only that to set those boundaries and not feel guilty. Or harsh about it. My hopes are that when you get a nasty customer, you'll just laugh it off at how incredibly rude people can be. And remind yourself that it's not worth your time and energy to try to please everyone. I remember when I first started my jewelry shop on Etsy, I would say yes to every single customer request that came my way. If someone wanted a specific design, I would do everything in my power to make it happen. Even if it meant working a 16 hour day to get it done. It took me too long to learn that this was not sustainable and that I needed to start setting boundaries with my customers. Now don't get me wrong. Custom requests can be really fun and rewarding, but there comes a point where. You just have to draw the line and say, no, it's so important to set those boundaries early on, or you'll quickly find yourself resentful and burned out. There are a few key things to keep in mind when setting boundaries with your customers. Be clear and concise when you're saying no to a customer request, be as clear and concise as possible. There's no need to explain yourself or make excuses just say no. And don't take it personally. It can be easy to take customer requests or demands personally, but try not to. I remember that this is your business and you have the right to set boundaries. As you see fit. And be polite, even if a customer is being rude or demanding, always remain polite and professional. This will go a long way in diffusing the situation and maintaining a good relationship with your customer and keeping your good reputation. Handle every communication, knowing that they can screenshot what you say and share it online, do not give them ammo. It's okay to say no. This is probably the most important thing to remember. It's perfectly okay to say no to a customer request. In fact, it's nest. Necessary in order to maintain a healthy balance in your business in life. Now I want. To talk about my very first problem customer. This goes back to about 2013 ish. I didn't have very many sales in my Etsy shop back then. In fact, I think I only made less than $700 that year. When you're a new Etsy seller, you unfortunately become a target. There are groups online that teach others how to manipulate new sellers into free product discounts and unnecessary refunds. And they will go to great lengths to get what they want, even if it means threatening and or verbally abusing you. Back to the story. I had sold a size seven, one of a kind ring to a customer. A couple of weeks later, this customer reached out to me, sweet as pie, letting me know that the ring didn't fit. Rather than standing by my own listening description and policies. I wanted to please her. Even though it wasn't my fault. I wanted to fix the issue. Nevermind. The fact that the real issue is that the customer should not have bought a ring that didn't fit them. So I made her a brand new ring, free of charge while I was making the ring. She was repeatedly sending me five paragraph essays about how crappy her life was. Now it's not for me to judge whether or not any of that was true, but I quickly realized that something is wrong with her. After a few of these massive messages, she eventually told me on her own. That she was trying to emotionally manipulate me into giving her a free product. And like an idiot. I was shocked that someone would do that and then actually fess up to it. I never responded to that message. And I did not send her the replacement ring. That she never deserved in the first place. A few weeks later, she messaged me asking where her ring was. So I put my big girl panties on and I told her I wasn't going to be sending her the ring because of what she said. I never heard from her again. And in the end, I not only lost the cost of materials, but I lost so much time and endured so much unnecessary stress. I wish I'd have known right from the start that the best course of action was to tell her, to ship the damn ring back for a refund. And that would have been the end of it. But instead I wanted to be a people pleaser and all I wound up doing. Was hurting myself and learning that my Goodwill was being abused. Over the years though, I got better at standing up for myself and I also learned. That you need to set boundaries with everyone in your life, including your customers. People are going to take as much as they can get out of you and that you allow. So it's important to establish those boundaries right away. If I am being 100% honest, I think my people pleasing attitude was mostly about my own insecurities. And I wish I could tell you some magic trick that makes it all go away. But the only thing that changed me was when I started becoming successful. And by that, I mean, it, in this way back then, I felt like I was begging people to buy my jewelry. Now it's the other way around not to toot my own horn or anything. If I could tell you one thing right now, don't be like, I was, your products are worthy just as you are. It is a privilege to be a part of your world. I feel like the more you actually believe that the less you attract the nasties into your Etsy shop or website. When you put out this energy that let's face it desperate for sales, you attract the worst type of people. Funny how that works. So why am I bringing all this up this week? 'cause I got a nasty person this morning and I felt so good to respectfully and tastefully tell them off. If you're a reasonable and of sound mind, they will quickly realize what a jerk they were. If not, they'll just go find someone else to harass. And may the force be with that shop owner? Look over the years I've had people tell me they were embarrassed to give my jewelry as a gift, been emotionally manipulated called racial slurs, slandered lied to. And just today I was told that the customer is speaking here. That she can repackage and label 1000 plus orders per day with three kids being a single mom, and that I can do it too. Sorry, lady. I don't resell and mind your own damn business. Thank you. When I got that message. All I did was laugh at it. 10 years ago, I would have bent over backwards to accommodate this person, but not today. I hope you understand your worth and that you don't waste years of your life, trying to help people who are only trying to take advantage of you because when you're a new Etsy seller, your sale count is a single factor that will attract these people like a moth to a flame. And that's the truth. The wicked Griffin is not my only shop. I have another where I make jewelry supplies. I opened that shop in the summer of 20, 21. And shortly after I naturally attracted one of these people. He was trying to convince me that her charm arrived totally broken in half and that she wasn't going to send me pictures to prove it, that I will see it when she ships it back. I told her I don't accept forced returns and that all I needed was a photo to help me for my records. And I'd be more than happy to refund. No surprise that I never heard back from her. And that's how you need to handle these people. If they want to play the game, you play it right back. I hope that by hearing just a little of my own experiences that you can see through the BS when it happens to you and not feel bad about yourself. But rather understand that you've simply attracted a nasty and that you can make the nasty disappear by setting boundaries and being firm.

Jackie:

Thank you so much for listening. If you're looking for more ways to grow your handmade business, why not head over to my website at www.marketingandheart.com. See you there.