How I used ChatGPT and AI art tools to launch my Etsy business fast

  • Once upon a time, there was a little dog named Yap Yardarm who had an incredible spirit. Yap was no ordinary pup – he sailed the high seas with a daring crew of pirates. His small size did not deter him from adventures that would make even the bravest shiver. Yap's love for the ocean and his fellow pirates knew no bounds, and together they explored uncharted lands, discovered hidden treasures, and faced fearsome creatures. Yap Yardarm, the tiny dog with a mighty heart, proved that size was no measure of courage.
  • Imagine a rabbit named Hector Hare, who lived during the time of pirates. In the spirit of Jules Verne's stories, Hector was as tough as can be. He may have been a rabbit, but he had the heart of a lion. With his quick reflexes and sharp wit, Hector outsmarted every challenge that came his way. He navigated treacherous seas, fought off fearsome buccaneers, and even discovered secret pirate codes. Hector Hare, the fearless bunny, stood tall in the face of danger, proving that even the smallest creatures can have the strength of giants.
  • In a land veiled in darkness, where steampunk technology ruled, there lived a rabbit named Hector Hare. Rugged and resilient, Hector was no ordinary bunny. He donned a metal exoskeleton adorned with gears and clockwork, giving him incredible strength and agility. With his piercing steely eyes and a fierce determination, Hector faced countless dangers head-on. Protecting his fellow rabbits from wicked creatures and sinister forces, he became a legendary hero. The tale of Hector Hare, the indomitable steampunk rabbit, serves as a reminder that valor and perseverance can conquer any obstacle.
  • Once upon a time, there was a cat named Boots Clockpurr. Despite his adorable appearance, Boots possessed a personality as tough as nails. Alongside bands of roving pirates, he explored vast oceans and untouched islands, daring to dive into the unknown. Whether it was fending off rival pirate crews or negotiating with sea creatures, Boots fearlessly embraced challenges. His fierce loyalty and fearless attitude made him the most trusted friend to his fellow seafarers. Boots Clockpurr, the adorable yet fearless feline, showed that true strength came from within.
  • Breaking news! In a world of wonder and enchantment, a remarkable clockwork robot skull named Stanley Chortlehoot emerged from the depths of a forgotten laboratory. With an ever-present grin etched onto its metallic face, Stanley captured the hearts of all who laid eyes upon it. Gifted with a perpetual source of energy, Stanley could recite the latest news from all corners of the realm. Its wide grin and curious nature enchanted both young and old, making it a beloved figure in the realm of mechanical marvels. Stanley Chortlehoot, the animated clockwork skull, charmed the world with its endless tales.
  • Embark upon an extraordinary adventure through the captivating world of Jules Verne, where the eccentric Abner Squawkwell awaits. This clockwork clown skull, adorned with big and menacing teeth, wields a wide, almost terrifying smile. With a red nose that sparkles under the moonlight, Abner is a mesmerizing spectacle to behold. Possessing an uncanny ability to amuse and entertain, Abner spins tales of wonder and mystery. Its animated presence brings joy to all who encounter it, but it is wise not to underestimate Abner's mischievous nature. In the realm of clockwork wonders, Abner Squawkwell, the enigmatic clown skull, reigns as the embodiment of both delight and a touch of unease.

In addition, a study published in the Journal of Leisure Research discovered that working on jigsaw puzzles alongside others can result in heightened communication and social interaction. This, in turn, can facilitate the development of a stronger sense of community and belonging.

Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Leisure Research found that working on jigsaw puzzles with others can lead to increased communication and social interaction, which can help to foster a sense of community and belonging.

Furthermore, for those who are alone, a study published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy found that completing jigsaw puzzles can provide a sense of accomplishment and distraction from feelings of loneliness. It can also help to improve mood and self-esteem, especially in older adults.

Now, here's where marketing and journalism part ways. Knowing full well that ChatGPT doesn't always cite valid sources, I left the sources in the above product description because the journals actually exist and the findings make logical sense.

Also: How to make ChatGPT provide sources and citations

For my experiment, I was looking at how to produce this sort of work fast, which is how I expect most people will use the tool. It's not great, but it is a realistic observation. Since I didn't have access to individual paywalled journal articles to find exact quotes, I left the citations as ChatGPT provided them.

The rest of the story

So there you are. In less than a week, I created a unique-looking Etsy store with a complete identity and a lot of unique text and art—almost none of which I created myself.

That's not to say it wasn't a lot of work. I edited everything ChatGPT produced. I played a lot with MidJourney to get to know it. I used Photoshop to convert images to formats I needed and Eagle to organize all my art assets.

Plus, the process of setting up a store, each product, and each listing on Printables and Etsy is rather tedious. I found no way to automate the process or pull listing information from one Etsy product into another, so I spent an inordinate amount of time filling in forms. For this extensive and unpleasant task, the AIs were no help at all.

What about my bottom line? I had no sales in the first month. In the second month, I sold two T-shirts to one buyer. And I had no sales in the third month.

To be fair, Etsy is huge and product discovery is difficult. To make matters worse for new stores, the social proof of lots of positive comments doesn't exist because the customers aren't there yet. So it makes sense that a customer might buy a steampunk cat T-shirt from a vendor with hundreds of positive reviews and skip a vendor with no reviews.

Also: This free iPhone app lets you video chat with a ChatGPT-powered digital avatar

I did try ads for the second and third months, but even though I allowed for a fairly hefty ad spend, Etsy didn't serve the ads all that often. I allowed Etsy to spend up to $20/day on advertising but wound up spending a total of $16 for the two months, total. I've since turned the ads off.

SEO was clearly a big issue, as was my rather niche product selection. Unfortunately, ChatGPT wasn't able to help me with SEO at all. With short prompts, it just produced short, relatively unusable results. I don't know enough about Etsy SEO to train ChatGPT to produce better results with more extensive prompts.

As for the AIs, there's a lot to think about. MidJourney is astonishing, but it's also a bit stubborn. It really likes putting characters in images. Convincing it to produce exactly what you want or to work on variations of a similar scene or character is a lot of fiddly, arcane work. In some ways, it's a lot like working with a temperamental human artist.

ChatGPT took on a lot of work that, back in the day, would have been perfect for an in-office or virtual assistant. I can certainly see handing a junior product manager or intern all the products and telling them to produce product descriptions in the style of Jules Verne and Jony Ive. So, in that context, ChatGPT can do the work of some humans and can definitely impact job security.

On the other hand, I haven't had an assistant or virtual assistant in more than a decade, and I'm unlikely to hire one in the future. So having ChatGPT to help crank out all those descriptions was a help and didn't put anybody out of work. And, if I'm being honest here, it was fun interacting with the AI and getting back a wide range of answers that I could then transform into final copy. It felt like a real collaboration.

As a guy who's been exploring AI for my entire professional career, I experienced collaborating with these AIs as something far beyond the basic Turing Test and something of a dream come true. It was also a bittersweet feeling because I'm fully aware of the implications of what generative AI can do to many professional careers, and that scares me.

So what are my final conclusions?

  • Starting an Etsy store and doing print-on-demand products is easy, if tedious on a product-by-product basis.
  • MidJourney can produce astonishing images, but you need to guide the AI and know how to use those images. Plus, you need to manage their curation and be able to Photoshop them until they're appropriate for use.
  • ChatGPT can be a great brainstorming tool and bulk writing assistant, but you'll need to be involved in editing and tuning to get what you want.
  • Getting actual sales on Etsy is disappointingly difficult, even with cool products and a multi-month ad commitment.

For now, I'm keeping the store running. I might even add a few new designs. But I'm not advertising anymore, and I probably won't put much more energy into it, given it's not producing any real benefit other than a bit of job-related entertainment.

Do you have an Etsy store? What did it take for you to get it up and running? How long did it take for you to get sales? What tips do you have? Have you used ChatGPT or Midjourney to augment your content efforts? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Articles

View More >>

Unlock the power of AI with HIX.AI!