How To
8 min read

How to Start an Etsy Shop to Make Money Online for Beginners

William Ellis

August 19, 2022

Since starting up in 2005, Etsy has gradually become one of the top shopping destinations on the internet, where one can find almost anything you could want. 

Need something monogrammed? A new shirt, piece of jewelry, or even a rare Pokemon card? Etsy has it all. 

It would be easy to say that Etsy has become the internet's favorite boutique thrift shop.

Alt text: become an Etsy seller

On Etsy, you can find everything from people selling vintage clothing to items that they have hand-crafted at various price points. The difference between Etsy and other online stores, such as eBay, is that no bidding process is involved. It is a place for people with items they know are unique and worth something to somebody.

If you have a keen eye for special items, you may have considered selling some of those items online. Maybe you collect vintage items and want to find good homes for those items, or you have handmade products that you create that you want to sell online but do not know if creating a website is the best option for you. 

Here are some reasons why Etsy just might be the solution you are looking for.

Why become an Etsy seller?

According to Thrive My Way, Etsy had $10.28 billion in sales in 2020, with 4.36 million active sellers. Their sales were up 106% from 2019, so it’s clear that becoming an Etsy store owner has profit potential to make money online.

Etsy is the perfect platform for the person who creates hand-crafted items and has become practically synonymous with the online crafting scene. Crafty sellers know it's a great platform to sell on, and buyers looking for something unique and made with a human touch know that it is the place to find it. It can be more cost-effective than creating your website, as the platform is already set up and the customer base is established.

Cultivate your brand

Etsy is not like eBay, where your unique items may get lost in the shuffle of constantly updating and ending auctions. It is a platform where your items have a better chance of being seen because they are rare and stand out. It allows you to cultivate your brand story as a small business by serving as a home base with a system that allows you to focus on creating your products instead of maintaining your own site 24/7.

Keep your costs low

Selling crafts on Etsy
Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/3cIvvzjE6Lk

If you sell a one-of-a-kind craft that has your personal touch, then you already have a budget that you have to allocate towards crafting materials. This means spending money on hosting a website, and other costs can eat into that budget. 

With Etsy, it's true that there is a fee for listing your items. Etsy fees are twenty cents for four months for the Etsy listing, plus 6.5% of the sales price as a transaction fee after selling an item.

Adding Etsy seller fees of twenty cents per listing and 6.5% of your sale to the cost of the items you sell is justifiable in the long run, and it will still likely cost you less because you do not necessarily have to sell pre-made items. 

If you have a craft that you make that is easy for you to create promptly, so long as you make it clear in the product description, you can list the product for twenty cents while selling multiples of the products listed.

How to start an Etsy shoptore

Setting up your Etsy store is a straightforward affair. First, go to https://www.etsy.com/sell.

Getting started as an Etsy seller

Select “Get Started.” 

Creating an Etsy seller account

You then register your e-mail address to start creating your Etsy account. 

Create your Etsy account

You then enter your name and password and set your shop's language, country, and currency. 

Etsy seller questionnaire

You can then choose to either fill out or opt out of Etsy’s questionnaire. 

\Etsy seller questions

You then get to begin setting up your shop.

Enter in your shop preferences.

Lastly, you choose your shop name. 

From there, you enter your Etsy products for sale and your billing and Etsy payment preferences.

You will be able to accept Etsy Payments, which will allow you to accept debit cards, credit cards, store credit, or Etsy gift cards. Other payment options include PayPal, money orders, or check if you choose to accept those Etsy payments.

Choosing your shop name

One of the most important things you must do when opening your Etsy shop is to give it a name. Your shop's name must be easy to remember for Etsy shoppers so they can refer other people to it. You need to go with a name that you are comfortable representing your brand and Etsy business. 

Look at the items that you want to sell. What sticks out about them? What are their core characteristics? Take inspiration from that to pick a memorable name.

If you find that you are still having a hard time choosing an appropriate name, then do not worry. You can fall back on using your name. You can also use a business name generator to enter the characteristics you feel your shop has or should have. A business generator will take those descriptors that you put in and create many possible names that can work for you.

How do you list products on Etsy?

For new Etsy shop owners, listing a product is relatively straightforward. 

You simply go to your shop and click “Add a listing.” Then you will add photos of your product, including the thumbnail that people will see first in their Etsy search results or when they visit your store. Then add your listing's overall information, including how long the item will be listed.

Product descriptions

Writing a good product description is one of the most important things you must do on Etsy if you want to get buyers interested in your product. This requires describing more than just how the product looks or what it does. 

You need to describe the materials it is made of, how old it is, and what makes it unique compared to other Etsy products that can be found on the website.

If you’re selling handmade items, you should briefly describe the process of making the product so that the potential buyer understands that they are not just buying some mass-produced item that was cranked out in a factory. This adds value to your product in the eyes of serious buyers. Bonus if you provide pictures of the process in the product listing.

Also, keep in mind you'll want to be as exact as possible when listing sizes. This helps the buyer understand the shipping costs and gives them a better idea of what they are purchasing. Make sure to include weight as well as length and width.

One of the best things about how product listings work on Etsy is that you can copy your listings for similar items. This simplifies the process, especially when your shop is primarily known for selling a specific type of item or similar product. If you are having difficulty writing your product description, then some tools can help you generate product descriptions.

Photography

If you have a great product description but no pictures of the product, then you are putting potential buyers in the position to decide whether your product is worth taking a risk on. Excellent pictures to go with your product description give the potential customer something to compare.

You want the pictures of your products to be in fantastic lighting so that the details can be seen from all important angles. You want the details of your product to be evident. If possible, get a picture of your product being held by someone or next to a common item so that there is an understanding of the scale of your product.

For most people, the photos of the product will be their first impression of it, so really strive for an accurate representation. 

Make sure to include photos of each type of product you offer. If the product comes in five different colors, include a photo of each color, so the Etsy buyer doesn't have to rely on their mind's eye to make a decision. Saying something is pink or blue doesn't help when there are so many variations of each color. A photo goes a long way toward clearing up any confusion.

Prices

One of the toughest things for many sellers when they first start selling on Etsy is putting proper prices on their products. So many people start Etsy stores and lower their prices, hoping potential buyers will be drawn to the lower prices. 

There are several problems with this approach. The first is that you're going to make mistakes. Buying the wrong shirts, accidentally misprinting your products, or even something getting lost in transit. All of these possibilities need to be included in your overhead.

The other problem with this approach is that they risk undervaluing the item they sell. Anyone who peruses Etsy for any time will likely notice that they do not typically find things for bargain bin prices. This is because the demographic that most often shops on Etsy are women with disposable income who know the value of the things they buy.

If you sell a hand-crafted item, then you do not want to lowball your prices because, at the end of the day, you are undervaluing your craft. Crafting anything, no matter how simple it may seem, is a skill that takes a considerable amount of time to do. Then factor in the amount of time you spent learning how to do it, which adds even more value. 

As the old saying goes, you aren't buying the artwork itself when you buy a piece of art. You're buying how long it took the artist to master their craft to make the artwork.

How do I promote my Etsy store?

Now that your store is up and running and you have items for sale, you have to tackle the hard part of marketing. Simply putting your wares online is not enough to garner attention and stand out from other sellers. You must do what you can to develop a following of repeat customers. Here are some of the things you can do to promote your store.

Social media

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are great, particularly Instagram. You can upload pictures of your products and use hashtags to ensure they are seen. Just be sure to use a link in the description area above the hashtags that you use.

Video

Video is a fantastic format to show off your product because it gives the viewer an accurate idea of what the product looks like in person. It’s always best practice to have someone using the product.

Etsy's Advertising Program

Etsy has its built-in advertising program in which your products will rank higher in certain search results and can get featured in Etsy ads placed elsewhere on the internet. 

While this can be considered a form of pay-to-play, if you have the disposable money to try it, you can see if it gives you the results that help put your store in a better position.

Etsy SEO

Etsy SEO (search engine optimization) works similarly as a website does with SEO for search engines like Google. Etsy search also works as a search engine, which means you’ll want to optimize your listing. 

Some best practices for Etsy SEO would include your main keywords at the beginning of your titles and listing. Do some keyword research about your product to find what relevant keywords are searching the most and make those the main keywords in your listing, title, tags, and description. 

You can also optimize your listing and syndicate it on Google Shopping, which will reach a much wider audience using offsite ads than the Etsy marketplace by itself.

Etsy Plus

Take your Etsy business further by joining Etsy Plus, a paid monthly subscription for $10/month that gets you more features and credits towards listings and Etsy ads. Other features include domain discounts if you want to create multiple shops, alerts for Etsy users when your products come back in stock, more customization options within your shop, and discounts on promotional materials and shipping boxes.

To sign up, log into Etsy and go to “Shop Manager”. Then click on “Settings”, then “Your Subscription”, and go to “Etsy Plus” and finally “Upgrade”.

Note that not all features of Etsy Plus are available on the Sell on Etsy app, so you may need to access certain features on your desktop or mobile browser.


Conclusion



While there are many options when looking to start a small or home-based business, few compare to Etsy as a great place to launch your product line.

Etsy is a sales platform that embraces the quirkier side of the internet and allows people to sell unique creations and collections. Setting up your own Etsy store isn't difficult, but you must do it properly to have a successful Etsy shop. 

Once you open your shop, making your creations easily available to shoppers and promoting them is the best way to increase your sales. If you follow these steps and have a great product, then all you have to do as a successful Etsy shop owner is enjoy creating what you love and selling it to others who love it.

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