How Can You Make Money From Etsy?
(This is the NZ version of this post)
Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, you’ve probably heard of Etsy. Maybe you have visited and bought from the Etsy website. However, do you know how to Earn Money on Etsy?
For the uninitiated, Etsy is an online e-commerce platform where sellers can offer unique, hand-made, or vintage goods for sale. The emphasis is on the uniqueness of individual items. (Etsy’s definition of “vintage” is anything over 20 years old.)
If you visit the Etsy website you’ll be able to browse through literally hundreds of categories and thousands of items from hand-made jewellery and clothing, ceramic goods, digital products, to antique or vintage furniture and loads more. If you have a hobby or pastime which involves creating anything chances are you will be able to sell those goods on Etsy.
Please note: I’m not an affiliate for Etsy. This article was written solely for informational purposes.
You can read the Etsy Seller Policy with this link. It covers just about any questions you may have as to what you can and can’t sell. It’s OK, it will open a new tab so you can come back afterwards. I’ll wait for you here.
But wait, I hear you say, I’m not the arty-crafty sort.
What could I possibly sell on Etsy?
Well let me give you a jewel of information. Repeat after me, Digital Downloads.
If you can create simple quotes or designs like these then you could be showing and selling them on Etsy within minutes. Literally.
The Lemons and Vodka quote above took me less than three minutes to create using Canva’s logo template. If I was going to list it for sale, I’d probably add a pic of a lemon and maybe a vodka bottle and Bingo!, we have a downloadable product.
Your designs could be used for all manner of applications. Mugs, T-shirts, posters, the list is only limited by your (or your customer’s) imagination.
How to create digital products for sale on Etsy
A great platform to use to create suitable items is Canva.com. Canva is an online resource that works a lot like Photoshop, and it’s really easy to learn and use. It’s also FREE. It’s truly amazing just what you can access online for free these days.
Once you start setting up your Etsy store Canva will also come in handy for creating a unique logo for your business.
Are you a keen photographer? You could create posters or prints and sell them as digital downloads. Of course, you could also print them out and sell them ready to mount, but for this article lets concentrate on digital products only.
In order to offer printed products, you would need to invest in some fairly sophisticated equipment. Of course, there’s no reason why you couldn’t go down that road at a later date.
The biggest benefit of selling digital goods is that you only need to create a product once. You can then continue to sell digital copies of that same item until the cows come home. In the meantime, you simply go on to create other digital products to add to your range. It’s the old “rinse and repeat” formula.
Does the idea of making money with an Etsy store appeal to you?
Well here are a few statistics you may be interested in:
- At the time of writing, there were around 2 million sellers on Etsy, and just under 36 million active buyers from a membership of over 54 million.
- Roughly 86% of all sellers on Etsy are women. Many of these are just everyday mums and nanas who knit, crochet, quilt, draw, do woodwork or other crafts in their spare time. They then sell their creations on Etsy to subsidize their hobbies. Etsy is dominated by women, both as sellers and as buyers. You’ll need to keep this in mind when thinking about what you may choose to sell.
- You will need to spend a little money upfront before you can start earning. There are fees and commissions involved when selling on Etsy. I’ll go through these in a bit more detail further on in this post.
How Much Can You Make Selling on Etsy?
Every Etsy Store started somewhere, usually as a small at-home business. How much you can earn depends on how much you are willing and able to put into growing your Etsy business. Most Etsy stores, however, will never be more than a part-time business.
This isn’t because the Etsy platform doesn’t work, or that it’s too hard. It’s just that the Etsy model doesn’t suit everyone. Not every person who sets up an Etsy store is looking for a full-time business.
How to Set Up an Etsy Shop.
Setting up an Etsy shop is a fairly easy process, and can be broken down into a few simple stages:
- Find a suitable product to sell. Something you make yourself or vintage items you can source elsewhere. Browse the Etsy website for ideas.
- Decide on a name for your Etsy Store. Keep it simple and don’t try to be too clever. Your Etsy Shop name won’t have a huge impact on sales initially.
- Arrange for some high-quality images of your products. Without clear and attractive images your items will likely fail to attract attention.
- Work out a budget. Selling on Etsy is not free. You will need to factor in the selling costs as well as production costs to set your final retail price.
- Research your delivery or postage costs. If you advertise your goods as postage free you will likely attract more buyer interest.
- Now let’s look at each of these points in detail …
Products You Can Sell on Etsy.
As I mentioned earlier, my best tip is to start with digital downloads. Unless, that is, you happen to be a gifted craftworker, photographer, or whatever. In which case, you probably won’t need my help deciding what you should be selling.
Remember that Etsy is really set up as a platform for people to sell their own individual creations or genuine vintage goods. Don’t assume you can simply buy cheap craft goods from India or China and onsell them on Etsy. They will find you, and will probably ban you for life. (Including any future store you try to establish from the same IP address)
What to Call Your Etsy Shop.
You could spend days wracking your brains over this one. If something doesn’t come to mind right way, it’s probably better to leave it for a bit. When you come up with ideas, try them out on your friends. Write them down to see how they look in print.
You’ll need a logo for your Etsy shop, so visit Canva.com and try some basic designs using the names you have in mind. Maybe inspiration will strike.
(As a side note; I was a semi-pro musician for several years and believe me, deciding on a name for a band often had us tearing our hair out also.)
Make sure to google your chosen name to make sure it’s not already being used. (Etsy will allow you to change the name of your store once only)
Also, I’d recommend registering a domain name for your Etsy store. It’s not expensive, and it could avoid huge problems later on if you decide to branch out on your own. Also, there’s little point in building a business if someone else is able to grab your domain name and cash in on your hard work.
What Costs Are Involved in Setting up an Etsy Store?
(These figures are in $US, were valid at the time of publication, and may have changed)
As I said earlier, selling with an Etsy shop is not free. Etsy will charge you 20c US or the $NZ equivalent for each listing as well as a commission of 3.5% on each sale. Small change, I know, but it all adds up and will have to be factored into your final selling price. Each listing fee is valid for 4 months or until sold.
With regard to the 20c listing fee, Etsy treats each sale as separate. This means that if you have 50 identical items for sale they will charge you 20c on each item, or $10 in total. (Plus the 3.5% commission)
If you use Etsy Payments, which is Etsy’s own in-house payment system, you’ll be charged a further 25 cents plus another 3%. This is pretty much on par with PayPal’s handling rates. Etsy Payments takes care of all aspects of the transaction, making it a true hands-off experience.
The other thing you’ll have to take into consideration is postage or delivery fees. You might choose to use the Post Office or a private delivery service. Of course, if you take my earlier advice and opt for digitally downloaded products, delivery costs won’t apply.
Etsy Plus is an upsell that gives you access to extra benefits, like
- More shop customisation options.
- Featured listing options.
- 50% off a custom .com address, or a free .store address for 12 months.
- 15 listing credits and a credit for promoted listings each month.
- Special discounts on custom shipping boxes, business cards and other marketing material.
Is Etsy Plus worth it?
That’s something you’ll need to decide for yourself. I only mention it in passing. Personally, if you’re going to set up an Etsy shop I’d suggest starting without Etsy Plus. You can easily add it on later.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Selling on Etsy?
First, let’s look at the Pros of selling on Etsy:
Etsy has an edge over other selling sites like eBay or Gumtree in that buyers are more focused on the quality and uniqueness of each individual listing, rather than price or location.
When a customer does a search on eBay or Amazon the results will usually be shown in a page listing identical or similar items from lowest to highest price. In Etsy, because of the type of products promoted, it’s unlikely the visitor will see a full page of products all competing for attention.
This makes it much easier to get noticed if you’ve created something unique, regardless of the cost.
When you start selling on Etsy, you will create your own shop. You’ll be encouraged to add a logo, a banner and a description, including social media links to help you build your business’s profile.
By contrast, eBay seller pages can be plain and anonymous. There are heaps of ways for you to add a personal touch on Etsy.
To build a successful Etsy business you can use all of these features to create your own recognizable brand that people will search out by name. You can have your own .com address to link directly to your shop (for a fee) directly through Etsy.
Because Etsy is geared towards selling individual hand made items, pricing is less competitive. Customers generally accept that your goods may be more expensive than imports and individual items may take longer to produce and deliver.
(Again, most of the above won’t apply to digital products)
What Are The Cons of Selling on Etsy?
Firstly, you aren’t paid instantly. You choose how often to have payments credited to your account, but even then it can take several days before you receive payment.
Etsy is primarily a US website.
For those who run an Etsy business from the UK, Australia, or any other zone, you may have to deal with increased shipping time to international buyers, more expensive postage or that prices may show up in USD on site.
Fees are charged monthly. You may find it hard to keep track of all the listing fees, commission and payment charges once your shop is up and running. These fees are charged in one big chunk each month.
Remember to set money aside to pay them. For a newbie business owner, it can be tempting to treat everything you’re getting paid from Etsy as profit.
You don’t have complete control over your Etsy store.
Having an Etsy shop is not the same as having your own website. You don’t have total control over every aspect of the design, and it’s not as easy to develop your own personal brand.
Also, Etsy can technically kick you off the site at any time (that shouldn’t happen though, unless you break the rules)
An Etsy store often isn’t considered as ‘professional’ as having your own website. While an Etsy shop is a great way to start your own business, if things really take off you may want to migrate to an independent platform. This is why I recommend owning your own domain right from the get-go.
Extra Tips For Setting up an Etsy Shop.
In addition to creating or sourcing your products, you will need to Promote your Etsy store. This can be as easy as simply using Etsy’s own Promoted Listings feature. For a small fee, Etsy will show your products in the first position when visitors search for a listing that matches what you are selling.
Set up social media accounts in your business name and work at building a following. Here’s a link to a Wealthy Affiliate post on the subject
As a Premium Member of Wealthy Affiliate, I can give out links to some of their material. This link will open a new tab. You can come back here afterwards by closing the tab.
Social Media is one of the most undervalued tools we have for promoting any type of online business.
Well, that’s it for this post. Did you find it helpful?
What are your thoughts on setting up an Etsy store? Have you had any experience with online selling?
Join the chat below and leave me your thoughts.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Etsy Program Quick Review0.00
Ease of Use9.0/10
Quality of Members' Sites8.0/10
- Very easy to set up.
- Ideal for selling unique items.
- Good reputation, established clientele
- Etsy shops present well
- Can be slow to pay out.
- Need to monitor monthly fees.
- Limited control.
- May be seen as less professional.