How To Start Selling With Etsy and Make Money Online




start selling with etsy
Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Making money selling on Etsy is based on the same principles of selling on eBay, Amazon, or any of the other reselling marketplaces.

I personally really enjoy using Etsy over eBay or Amazon for purchasing vintage or hand-made items like crafts and furniture.

I think it’s the look and feel of Etsy that really makes a difference.

Etsy picked a theme for its website and mobile app which is minimal, but elegant and really brings a vintage feel to everything.

Etsy also put a big search bar at the top of the site, inviting the end user to search for something unique and special.

All of these elements are important for a reseller because Etsy has done the hardest part of your job!

They designed a highly engaging e-commerce store/marketplace with lots of traffic to show off your products and generate sales for you. Then only charge you a small fee when a transaction happens.

With all that said, let’s get into How To Start Selling With Etsy and Make Money Online.

Best Tips To Have Success With Selling On Etsy

  • First: It’s very important for you to take things slowly in the beginning and find a niche you are interested in.
  • Second: Practice and experiment with taking various kinds of product photos, having quality photos to show off your merchandise is a must.
  • Third: Find some friends and family members that you count on to support your endeavors, positivity is a must for success.
  • Fourth: Create a marketing strategy for your products using sites other than Etsy. Try Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube Shorts, and Tik Tok.
  • Fifth: Make sure you manage your time efficiently, it’s going to take a lot of hours to get your products designed and listed for sale.
  • Lastly: Don’t let bad reviews get you down, Etsy is just a marketplace and you can’t make everyone happy. Take the feedback into consideration and decide if you need to make a change. It’s up to you to make changes or not.

Is Selling On Etsy Worth It and How Much Money Can You Make?

Most people want to know if you can actually make money selling on Etsy? You absolutely can make money on Etsy, either as a side hustle or full-time income.

The average Etsy seller will make enough money to supplement their income, and if you can be a top Etsy seller, you’ll make a full-time income.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact breakdown to accurately report how much every Etsy seller makes. But, there is a survey report provided directly by Etsy themselves that says over 12 Billion dollars was generated on the site in 2021 by approximately 5 million sellers.

To read more about the Etsy survey, check out:

Etsy Helps Drive the Year of the Great Renewal for Creative Entrepreneurs

Based on these numbers of 12 Billion in total sales and 5 million sellers. You’d definitely have to be in the top 20% to make a full income of 5 thousand dollars per month in my opinion.

If you are making 10k a month on Etsy, expect to be in the top 5 percent of sellers. These are just my estimates thinking about these numbers in terms of the 80/20 rule.

How Long Does It Take To Make Money On Etsy?

Lots of people want to know how long it will take to make any real money on Etsy.

There’s a few factors that come into play for predicting how long it will take to make money. 

Let’s go over them below.

How Unique Your Product Is and Its Market Demand

Are you selling a unique product with a high demand? If so, you’ll likely have little to no sales competition so you’ll be selling a lot of products to buyers.

If the demand ever wears off or other sellers start saturating the market for your product, your sales could begin to slow down unless you are selling the best version of your product.

A Product Which Is Already Common In The Market

To build off our previous example, if your new product is for sale in an already established market with a balance of supply and demand for that item, it will take longer to make money because you’ll have to show you have something better to offer than your competitors.

You’ll have to offer a competitive price and get reviews for your product before other buyers start taking a chance with you.

Once things pick up though, you would have proved yourself to the marketplace and should get continuous ongoing sales as long as the demand for your product continues. Not to mention you can also slowly start increasing your price to get more profit.

Calculating Your Start-up Costs

The last point for figuring out how long it will take to make money with an Etsy shop will be figuring out your start-up costs.

You’ll need to invest in the following:

  • Supplies and time to build your product.
  • Shipping supplies like boxes and tape.
  • Photography lights and camera to take quality photos of what you are selling.
  • If you are buying something already made to sell, like antiques or vintage collectibles, you’ll have to factor in the cost of buying those items ahead of time as well.

All in all, in my opinion, if you start part-time and don’t over-invest in the start-up costs we just went over, you’ll be profitable in a short amount of time.

It Will Take 3 – 6 Months To Be Profitable

You should be able to get a profitable Etsy Shop in your first 3-6 months of operation.

The reason this can happen so quickly is because Etsy is able to collect a fee from you and bring you lots of traffic without you having to spend a lot of extra money advertising and marketing to get traffic to your store.

Later on, after you are established, you can do extra advertising and marketing to accelerate your sales, but that is not a requirement to become profitable. The same concept applies to reselling on other marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, that’s why it’s easier than ever to start an e-commerce store these days and make money online.

What Types Of Products Sale For The Most Profit On Etsy?

There are many products to resell and make a profit on when selling on Etsy.

The best way to determine the profit of an item is to research higher-end items selling in the following main categories on Etsy.

  • Jewelry & Accessories
  • Clothing & Shoes
  • Home & Living
  • Wedding & Party
  • Toys & Entertainment
  • Art & Collectibles
  • Craft Supplies

Once you select a category, select and apply a filter to only show you items above a higher-end price point like $50, $100, or even $500 dollars.

After some research, figure out an estimate for you to buy the supplies required to build an item that is selling for a high dollar amount.

Related article: How To Make Money Selling Hand-Crafted Items Online

Research Market and Competition by checking sold comps, and reviews on other sites like amazon and eBay.

If you want to make money on Etsy flipping vintage items and don’t want to hand-craft anything, you can do that too. Just research Etsy and eBay to see what types of items people are buying and for how much.

eBay is a good resource because you can research their sold comps, but still list items on your Etsy store.

Be sure to check out my article about finding things to sell on eBay to learn more about what types of vintage items are popular for making money with.

Lastly, you can also invest some time into researching a problem to solve. When you can come up with a product that provides a solution to someone’s problem, you could sell quite a bit of that product profitably if there is a demand.

If it turns out that the demand is really huge for your product, you may even want to get a patent and trademark for it before putting it up for sale on Etsy, eBay, or even Amazon to reach a bigger audience than Etsy can provide.

Choosing The Right Etsy Name For Your Shop

Before opening up your new Etsy shop, it’s really important to think about your store’s name.

Choosing a name can be tough. To make it easy I recommend you get a paper and pen ready and start writing some ideas out. To find inspiration, you can view other Etsy Shops and get examples.

If you want your Etsy Shop to be personal to you, consider using your name as a starting point for your Etsy Shop’s name. Like “Jenny’s Vintage Items” or “Mike’s Vintage Bike Parts”.

Once you’ve got some ideas written down, go ahead and search Etsy to make sure your name is not already taken.

If you plan on selling on multiple platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, you might want to search the availability on those platforms as well for your name and reserve it.

How To Open up an Etsy Store and Get Started

Setting up an Etsy store is pretty easy. The best way to get started is to follow the directions on this Etsy page:

Learn How To Sell on Etsy

Etsy Fees

Lots of people want to know about Etsy Fees and how much percentage they charge sellers. To my surprise, it’s actually pretty low compared to the average 12% eBay charges or the 15-20% Amazon collects.

The final percentage that Etsy collects as of right now in 2023 is 6.5%. There is also a 20 cent listing fee. Check out the following article direct from Etsy to find out more:

Etsy Fees & Payment Policy

Etsy Sellers Handbook and Resources

Etsy provides a really good resource of articles and tools called the “Etsy Sellers Handbook”, which helps sellers with everything from running sales to setting up shipping labels. I highly recommend you follow it for their latest articles and updates.

Etsy Sellers Handbook

Some other perks of being a seller on Etsy include:

  • A reseller forum
  • Etsy Summit, an annual community education program
  • A newsletter with seasonal tips and insights into Etsy selling trends

Items That Can’t Be Sold On Etsy

What types of items can be sold or not sold on Etsy? It’s an interesting question to ask and you should know about the answers before you start listing any products on Etsy for resell.

Check out the following legal notice directed toward all Etsy Sellers (direct from Etsy) to find out more:

Etsy Seller Policy

The main takeaway after I read it was that everything listed on Etsy must be handmade, vintage, or a craft supply.

So for vintage items, that means you can resell just about any product that is not handmade as long as it’s 20 years or older. Some examples would be cassette tapes, records, lamps, and vintage furniture, etc.

The other big item to pay close attention to on Etsy’s legal notice is the items that are strictly prohibited. Such as Alcohol, Drugs, Dangerous or Hazardous items, and anything that promotes hatred.

To get the full list of prohibited items, check out:

Etsy Prohibited Items For Sale

After Your Etsy Shop is Open, Consider These Additional Things

After your Etsy Shop is open for business, you may want to consider these additional things to help boost your sales.

Get a Logo Made

Getting a logo made for your shop can really help you make a brand for yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on getting a logo made either.

You can make one for free yourself using Canva, or better yet, you can spend a few hundred dollars and have a designer do it for you on 99 Designs.

Create an Easy-To-Follow Etsy Shipping Profile and Postage Plan

Figuring out your product dimensions, weights, and box sizes ahead of time, then, making an Etsy shipping profile and postage plan will make your shipping very easy and pain free.

I say pain free because it hurts thinking about all the shipping costs after you sell something and you realize it will cost more to ship the item than you planned on.

So to make the shipping process as streamlined as possible, do your research for ordering the properly sized boxes ahead of time. Also get bubble wrap, kraft paper, shipping tape, and a shipping scale.

Then set up all the proper shipping options and services through Etsy by setting up a shipping profile, find out more here:

Etsy Shipping

Be Sure To Check Out Etsy Plus

It’s hard to believe that Etsy has over 2 million sellers now from all over the world. When I found that out from Etsy’s help page which talks about Etsy Plus, I have to admit, my jaw dropped a bit.

With so many sellers on the platform now, Etsy wanted to have a way for sellers to stand out! 

So they started a subscription package for Etsy Sellers called Etsy Plus, which helps you to jumpstart the growth of your Etsy store.

You can find out more about Etsy Plus here:

Etsy Plus

Some benefits of Etsy Plus include:

  • A monthly budget of credits for listing and running Etsy Ads
  • You can get a discount for setting up a custom web address for your Etsy Shop
  • You get advanced customization options for your Etsy shop.
  • Discounts on custom packaging and promotional materials like business cards, boxes, and signage.
  • Lastly, your customers can submit a restock request for items which have sold out.

Becoming an Etsy Star Seller

After you’ve been selling on the Etsy platform for a while you’ll have the opportunity to become a star seller. The opportunity only comes for Etsy sellers who have been providing their customers with excellent customer service.

For those Etsy sellers that have a good track record of providing exceptional customer service, you can get the following benefits:

  • Badges for your shop for things like Smooth Shipping, Good Reviews, and Speedy Replies.
  • More chances to be featured in Etsy’s Marketing to its customers.
  • More traffic and sales with more listing views.

To learn more about being a Star Seller on Etsy, check out:

How to become a Star Seller

How To Create an Etsy Product Listing That Will Sell Your Items Fast

I’ve set up thousands of product listings for sites like eBay and Etsy. In my first-hand experience, the following things are mandatory for a listing to perform and generate a high sale-through rate.

  1. Have good photos of any used item you are selling. Take multiple shots from various angles to show off its condition, etc. Have good lighting for your photos!
  1. If you are selling a one-of-a-kind hand-made item, take real pictures and show the buyer exactly what they are getting.
  1. Have a proper and detailed product description that highlights all the benefits of the item you are selling.
  1. Have a descriptive headline to generate interest and have people want to read your product’s description.
  1. Use SEO Keywords for your item in both your Headline/Title and Product Description. This way people will find that item when searching for it. You can browse similar items for sale and gather keywords being used by your competitors.
  1. Make sure you don’t overprice your items or they won’t sell. Make sure you properly do research for comparable items and price your products for what they are actually selling at. If you have a one-of-a-kind item, you can obviously price it whatever you want, as long as it can be sold.

There is a lot of time and research that goes into making just the right product listing which will perform well for you. So don’t be afraid to play around with various types of pictures, titles, descriptions, and product price points.

Marketing and Advertising Your Etsy Shop

A quick note before you start reading this section:

Marketing and Advertising your Etsy shop will take time and some investment of money, this is totally optional when you are first getting started. It’s very possible that you will get plenty of sales by just the organic traffic that is on the Etsy platform.

If you are in a competitive product category, it’s more than likely your competitors are advertising, so it’s good to know and understand how the marketing and advertising works, so you can decide later on if this is something you need to do for your Etsy shop to be a success. 

In most of my reselling experience on platforms like Craigslist, eBay, and Mercari, I’ve had great success relying on the organic free traffic that the platform provides, without advertising. On occasion, I will pay for a promoted listing, to get a quicker sale on a high-end item, and it works out quite well.

There are a lot of ways to market and advertise an Etsy Shop. Some people use a Blog to drive traffic to their Etsy store, while others have a YouTube channel.

If Blogging or YouTube is not an option for you try Social Media sites like Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, and Pinterest instead.

Regardless of which method you choose for building an audience, by creating content, just keep in mind that it will take time to build a loyal following of people who will buy what you are selling.

You’ll have to experiment with various types of content to grow an organic audience, then experiment with offering them your hand-made or vintage products to see what sells or does not sell with them.

Instead of building an organic audience, you might be better off buying ads to drive traffic to your Etsy Shop.

An option for advertising could be running ads directly on a social media platform like Instagram or Pinterest for example. This will give you the option to promote whatever product picture you want.

But then, you’ll be spending money directly on Instagram or Pinterest regardless if it converts to a sale or not. The same is true for any Social Media site.

You could also try working out a deal with a Social Media Influencer or Blogger, if their following is large enough. Most Influencers and Bloggers will gladly promote your products for a fee.

An even better option might be if you advertise directly on Etsy, we’ll cover this next.

Etsy Makes Advertising Easy For You

You can advertise your products directly on Etsy with a minimal budget. Etsy makes it very easy for you to get started and has a pretty easy-to-follow process. Learn more about getting started here:

How to Set Up and Manage an Etsy Ads Campaign

The key takeaways for Etsy Advertising is that it starts with a default minimum daily budget of $1.00, and your product ads will be shown throughout the entire Etsy website, including search.

Etsy Off-Site Advertising

Etsy will sometimes advertise your products off their marketplace with Etsy partner websites and through Google Ads Display Network, but you’ll pay a fee for when a purchase happens.

Etsy makes it very clear, they’ll advertise for you automatically, at their discretion through various partner websites.

You can find out more about how this works here:

How Etsy’s Offsite Ads Work

You do have the option to opt out of this program, and not have your products included with advertising off the Etsy website. Just go into your Shop’s Settings Options, and go to Offsite Ads, then select “Stop Promoting My Products”.

Building Repeat Business To Your Etsy Shop

Over time, you’ll start building a community of loyal followers and customers for your brand. Just make sure you keep inviting people to follow you on Social Media or sign up for your Email Newsletter.

Also, encourage people to follow your Etsy Shop by making you a favorite.

You can offer customers and followers special deals, and coupons, and maybe host an event for them.

The possibilities are endless, just try different things and see what the feedback from your customers is, then keep doing what works best for them! Their feedback will come back to you via sales or maybe they’ll send you a message or leave a positive review.

Pros and Cons of Selling on Etsy

The pros and cons of selling on Etsy are pretty straightforward, here are some things to think about.

The Upside of Selling on Etsy

Etsy has an incredible audience size, so you can sell your products to both International and U.S. buyers. You won’t have to invest a lot into building your own audience.

Etsy provides you with all the tools necessary to list and sell your items in an online shop. You don’t have to build a website.

The Downside of Selling on Etsy

The downside of selling on Etsy is the fees that are charged to you and the fact you are on a third-party platform with strict policies that you must follow, or you may get kicked off the platform.

Some Last Minute Tips To Remember!

As you begin your reseller journey on Etsy, I want you to remember these tips, which apply to all types of online reselling.

  1. Determine your costs and overhead as far in advance as possible. Proper planning will avoid wasted money being spent and higher profits.
  1. Remember to check out the analytic reports that Etsy provides to you so you can track ways to optimize your sales with your Etsy shop.
  1. Keep an open communication with any production or sourcing partners you come across, these connections are key, so you don’t run out of supplies for creating your hand-crafted items. (You also need good sourcing partners for finding large amounts of vintage items to flip and resell.)
  1. There are Etsy Alternatives, make sure you check out eBay, Shopify, Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, eCrater, and other marketplaces.

Final Thoughts

I hope you got something out of this guide about reselling on Etsy.

Remember! There is nothing easy about selling on Etsy. You’ll have to put in a lot of upfront work, research, and learning to discover what products will sell and not sell in the marketplace.

You’ll also have to build up your reseller reputation by getting positive reviews on the platform, so people trust buying from you.

As you list better products to sell, with more reviews on your Etsy shop, you’ll be able to raise your prices.

If you keep at it and grow your sales over time, eventually you will go from small to big, and in no time you’ll have a full-time income for yourself.


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