If you’re like me, you would be happy spending all your spare time finding ways to be creative. You could buy craft supplies and paint one day, and then start building the next day. But you want to use your talents to make great stuff.
The problem is you need to pay those nagging real-world expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, and other debts. If only you could find a way to merge your talent with making money.
You are not alone in your wishes. Fortunately, at least one company has answered the call. What started as a small online marketplace, Etsy has turned into a powerhouse for creative designers with the talent to sell what they make and see big profits.
By the end of June of 2021, Etsy had over five million active sellers. There are over 60 million items listed on Etsy. But don’t let these numbers scare you; let them excite you. Buyers want innovative, unique products and gifts that they can’t find in the local big box store.
Small business owners, like you, want to get their items to the masses and be rewarded with a payment that represents the time and effort you put into creating them. Etsy helps both buyers and sellers get what they want.
Like any other online platform, there is a process to becoming successful. However, there are steps to take that can set you up for higher sales and become one of the top Etsy sellers.
Sure, you can jump on the Etsy business site, open an Etsy account, list a product, and start selling. And you will likely sell your item. You will not be so lucky every time, however. Take it from me.
But if you follow the steps below, you will learn how to avoid the same mistakes I made and build an Etsy store that attracts buyers, builds relationships with customers, and enables you to grow to any level you desire.
How To Make Money on Etsy
You have likely shopped on Etsy or at least explored the website. You have seen millions of fabulous items for sale, including vintage items. However, Etsy seems more like an online boutique offering accessibility to talented people worldwide.
It’s time for you to join the list of Etsy sellers and start making money with your creative products.
Keep reading to learn specific ways to make money on Etsy, from the basics and beyond.
Cover All the Basics
Writing about yourself and your store are the last things creatives like us want to do. We want to show off our art, not spend time filling in boxes about where to send our massive payments or building our profile sections. However, these are a must-do for Etsy shop owners.
It is these basic setup processes that make your Etsy store complete.
So, start with registering your account and opening your store. Unlike building your own website, registering your account is simple. You just fill out your name, email address, and create a password.
You will then be taken to your Etsy page. Here you can create your profile, add a profile picture, and tell buyers about yourself, your talents, and your store. Fill out all the sections. It would help if you only did this once, and it will help you win over customers who want to feel more connected to the artist.
Once you have created your account, it’s time to become familiar with all things Etsy. I know you are ready to start listing. But, be patient for a bit longer. Learning all you can about the platform can help you increase your sales: meaning more money for you.
Get To Know Etsy
Etsy is an excellent selling platform because they want you to win. When you win, they win. Therefore, they provide you with a helpful education on being the best. There are multiple learning outlets: podcasts, online forums, and even the Etsy Handbook.
Podcasts are fun listening and educational and leave sellers with tips to succeed.
Online forums ( e.g., the community page) put you in connection with buyers and sellers. This is where you can learn from your peers about the challenges, tips for success, and encouragement needed in any business.
The Etsy Handbook provides you with information on how to help buyers find your products, pricing, taxes, branding, marketing, and so much more. It’s the go-to guide for any question regarding selling your products.
Once you have gotten to know Etsy, you can move on to introducing your talent to the world; you can now begin listing.
List Items the Right Way
This is your time to shine. Mistakes in your listing can dim your light. I’m not going to let that happen, though. I want to teach you how to list your handmade items the right way.
First, click on the “Your Shop” tab at the top right of your screen. Then choose “list item.” This will take you to the most straightforward step-by-step guide to creating a listing page. After that, you will fill in the blanks with questions asked by Etsy.
You have to provide information on who made the item, the year you made it, and if it is a finished item or a supply. Then, use the drop-down tabs to fill in additional information like what type of item it is and any variations available. You will also need to upload photos.
Photos are essential. Refer to the handbook on how to take the best Etsy photos for your customers. Poor images can cost you a sale.
Describing your item means giving as much detail as you can so the customer can make a good decision on whether to purchase or not. Your description should be positive and encourage the customer to buy.
You will then be asked to price your item, as well as assign a shipping cost.
You can add tag words to describe the item that will help buyers find you when using Etsy’s search bar.
You will quickly get the hang of listing items and may find yourself listing some items using the desktop version. You can also list products using the “Sell on Etsy” app for Smartphones. Note that you will pay a listing fee of $0.20 for each item you list on Etsy stores.
If you don’t receive a sale right away, don’t worry. It will happen eventually. It may take some time for your customers to find you. If you don’t like waiting, you and I could get along just fine. How did I solve this problem? I chose to advertise my items on Etsy.
Advertise on Etsy
Successful shops on Etsy advertise. Thankfully, Etsy’s fees are affordable, and you set the price and terms of how much you spend. Some choose to pay just $2.00 a day, and some spend much more. The payoff for advertisements can be quicker connections with customers, higher visibility among millions of products, and the potential for much higher sales.
Advertising on Etsy is not the only option. You can promote your product on all social media channels. This could be a Facebook page or group, and by word of mouth.
Furthermore, you can offer discounts for first-time buyers, holiday specials, and even freebies for people who join your email list, which can give you one of the best ways to promote your store and get feedback from your customers. Note that for every sale you make on your Etsy store, you pay a 5% transaction fee of the price you display for each listing plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping.
Communicate With Customers
Listen to the feedback your customers give. They will tell you what they want and don’t want. Of course, they want you to succeed as well and will offer suggestions for products.
They may even request special orders or custom, personalized items. Providing these options could lead to another source of income for you or allow you to charge higher prices for an existing item.
Communication isn’t just online. When a customer buys your product, and you mail it to them, include a letter or note that tells them how appreciative you are of their purchase.
You can also include further information about your work, studio, or other services.
Stand Out from the Competition
With millions of items listed, it is very likely the products you make will be similar to that of other Etsy sellers. Therefore, it will be up to you to stand out and shine brighter than your competition.
To do this, research your competition. Check out their Etsy shop, the number of sales they have had, and read customer reviews. Then, use this information to your advantage and find ways to differentiate yourself.
What can you do to make a customer choose your product? Change your pricing? Add better photos? Improve your product descriptions? Or, maybe it is something as simple as choosing better keywords or adding more products to your store. But, whatever you do, don’t give up.
You can also try the Etsy advanced shop customization if you’re on Etsy Plus. It gives you multiple banner options and new layout options for featuring listings. In addition, you can feature specific listings or shop sections.
Don’t Give Up, Get Savvy
The final tip on making money on Etsy is never to give up. If the owner of the Etsy shop Bohemian Findings had given up, they wouldn’t have realized the success they have today, selling over half a million charms and small items.
If you find yourself frustrated with low or inconsistent sales, this does not mean you should close your store. Instead, figure out what is wrong and make corrections.
Improving sales on Etsy may mean spending extra time figuring out what products your customers want. It may also mean a few selling attempts may be chalked up to trial and error. Keep in mind that you are learning something new each time you do not make a sale.
Take what you learn and apply it to your next listing.
Get more creative in the products you make—research which items are selling most and apply your talents to create new products or enhance existing items. Gain knowledge on search engine optimization (SEO) to help buyers find you online.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations as I did, like you will make six figures your first year. Boy, was I disappointed. Instead, set doable goals, keep improving your skills, and adapt to the market.
Lastly, if it seems too hard, connect with the Etsy community and join the conversation with millions of sellers. You can learn a thing or two on how to sell on Etsy and make money from your online store.