Seeking some advice. I kind of just fell into this.
I run an Etsy shop that I started four months ago. I sell 3d printed items that I designed myself in a very very niche industry. I started the shop because I wanted to buy some 3d printed items, but couldn’t find anywhere on the entire internet that sold them. So I bought a 3d printer and got a student-license for Fusion360 and taught myself how to make the things I want. People liked them, so I started selling them. I am currently making $1700+ a month from this. I still work full time in a tech job (completely unrelated to digital/CAD design).
The people in /r/Etsy and /r/Etsysellers are not much help, it seems everyone except me is a struggling artist selling homemade jewelry and complaining about no sales – I have the opposite the problem. I just bought a second printer to keep up with demand and I’m a few orders away from buying another one. I know I’m not making a lot of money, but I think it’s pretty good for a side gig and the amount of work, while small, time-wise, is quickly approaching a volume where I’d rather not have to share so much of it with Etsy.
My question is, when do I know it’s a good time to become a “b u s i n e s s”, instead of just an Etsy shop? Have any of you turned your Etsy shop into a fully-fledged business? I have no FEIN, no tax ID, no copyrights or patents or anything. Some Chinese injection-molding company could put me out of business any second now. I already own the domain and the social media accounts for my company name.
Have any of you ever “graduated” away from an online marketplace to your own company? When do I know if it’s time? For now, I like that Etsy handles the messaging, purchasing, and reviews, and such, but I can’t help thinking that I may be able to create something to supplant/complement what they offer for me and my business.
Any advice is appreciated.