How to Start and Sell on Etsy for Beginners

by Leigh Oates
How to sell on Etsy

Last Updated on July 23, 2022 by Andrew Shih

Have you ever thought you might want to sell on Etsy as a side hustle? Do you wonder if selling on Etsy is worth it? Millions of people use the popular e-commerce website. If you have an artistic eye and a passion for unique finds, this site may be for you.

Etsy Home Page
Etsy Home Page

What is Etsy?

Etsy calls itself “the global marketplace for unique and creative goods.” No newcomer to the online selling game, the site launched in 2005, giving it a relatively senior status amongst online selling platforms. Shoppers are familiar with the online retail site and often turn to Etsy when purchasing gifts and collectibles for friends and family. 

Per Wikipedia, as of 2021, Etsy had 7.5 million sellers and 96.3 million shoppers. Sixty-one million items were listed on the platform with a gross sales of 3.93 billion, making it a leader in online sales, although with a much smaller reach and sales level than competitor eBay.

Sellers range from the hobby “side business” sellers to thriving full-time shops with employees doing over $100k per year. Other sites like Etsy include eBay, as previously mentioned, and Amazon Handmade, a “makers only” branch of the retail giant.

What is Etsy
What is Etsy

What To Sell On Etsy

Popular selling categories include jewelry and accessories, clothing and shoes, home and living, wedding and party, toys and entertainment, art and collectibles, craft supplies, vintage, and gifts. Top selling items on Etsy include crafts, handmade items, and wedding essentials.

Finding things to sell on Etsy can be as simple as looking around your house or tapping into your favorite hobby or hidden talents. Know how to knit or crochet? Make hats and scarves. Do you love photography? Sell prints. Have a passion for woodworking? Create cutting boards or shelves. The possibilities are limitless, limited only by your inclination and imagination.

Etsy is also a popular place to find fun recycled and upcycled goods. The website appeals to shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind finds.

Vintage collectibles, clothing, and home decor also form a large part of the Etsy market. Etsy defines vintage as any item made twenty or more years ago.

Etsy Art and Collectibles Category
Etsy’s sample Art and Collectibles Category
Wedding Favors are popular items to sell on Etsy
Wedding Favors are popular items to sell on Etsy

Starting An Etsy Shop

Starting an Etsy shop is as simple as having an email address and a bank account. The great thing about setting up an Etsy shop is free. Freel free to check out my Etsy shop.

Etsy sellers create a personal profile and a shop page. The shop page contains a shop name, logo, and description. Etsy guides new sellers by setting up shop policies for shipping, returns, and payments. Once you have gathered inventory and have the basics of the shop set up, it is time to start listing. 

Etsy shop page
Etsy shop page

Creating The Perfect Etsy Listing

Etsy is a place for the arts. Shoppers want to see beauty and style in the listing. Photos tend to be more artistic or editorial, and aesthetic presentation is better than a plain commercial format.

Attractive images are crucial. Sellers can add up to ten photos per listing.

Each listing must fully describe the item and include details about what it is, the maker, and when it was made. Savvy sellers make sure to add up to 13 tags on their item listings to increase the likelihood of being found on the site. Since handmade items are heavily featured, Etsy also allows you to tag the materials used to create the object.

Packaging with additional touches such as careful wrapping, bows, and thank-you cards will be appreciated by your customers. The platform highly encourages free shipping, and Etsy asks that sellers consider including their shipping costs in the item price for an improved shopping experience.

Etsy photo recommendations
Etsy photo recommendations

Etsy Fees, Selling Costs, and Billing

Each Etsy listing is subject to a $0.20 listing fee. The listing is live for four months and will either auto-renew or expire at the end of the time frame.

When you make a sale, Etsy takes 5% of the item sale price and the shipping cost as a transaction fee. They also collect 3% plus $0.25 as a payment processing fee when using Etsy Payments.

Etsy also encourages sellers to promote their listings by using optional Etsy Ads and Offsite Ads promotions. For Etsy Ads, the seller sets a budget, and Etsy will promote your listings on the Etsy site. Offsite Ads will advertise your listing on major search engines like Google to drive traffic to your shop. Offsite Ads cost a 15% fee, and you only pay when the ad leads to a sale. Although Etsy automatically adds sellers to the Offsite Ads promotion, you can opt out of this program if you have a small site that makes less than $10,000 per year.

A seller may also choose to subscribe to Etsy Plus, which offers selling tools and costs a monthly fee of $10. Other possible charges include in-person selling fees and optional website creation fees.

Etsy will deduct all fees automatically from your payment account balance. If your Etsy account balance does not cover the month’s costs, you will receive an invoice on the first day of the month due by the 15th.

Etsy Fee Details
Etsy Fee Details

Here you can see listing fees being charged as listings auto-renew, the fee for a shipping label being deducted, and a daily deposit being sent to my bank account. You will find all this information on your Etsy dashboard under the main heading, Finances, and then under Payment Account.

How to Get Paid On Etsy

Now that you have your open Etsy shop and made your first sale, you may wonder how I get paid?

Most buyers use the Etsy Payments program. When your buyer makes a purchase, their funds are deposited into your Etsy Payments account on the Etsy site. The selling fees are automatically deducted at the time of the sale. Other fees, like listing renewals, are also deducted from the Etsy Payments account.

Any remaining funds are your profit. The funds will be automatically deposited to your bank account daily as long as you meet the minimum for your country. In the United States, the daily minimum is $25. If your account does not have $25, then the funds are deposited once weekly.

The funds may take 3-5 business days to reach your bank account after initiating the deposit.

Etsy Payments options
Etsy Payments options

Promoting Your Etsy Shop

In addition to Etsy’s promotional tools, many sellers choose to create social media accounts for their shops to promote and share their listings. Listings can also be shared on personal Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts.

Etsy Listing Share
Share directly to Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter by using the icons at the top of the listing.

How Much Can I Earn With Etsy?

Your earnings on Etsy are limited only by your time and effort. Find a winning niche, and you can see huge profits start to roll in. Some sellers find ways to automate the process for nearly passive income by coordinating efforts with third-party partners for print-on-demand dropshipping services with items such as photo prints and tee shirts. Other sellers painstakingly labor over every single listing because it is a unique work of art. Scale it up with volume, or let it cruise and earn side income for gifts and vacations. It’s really up to you, the seller, and your personal goals.

Etsy Seller Handbook
Etsy Seller Handbook

Start selling on Etsy

Ecommerce is a great way for individuals to dive into self-employment and side hustles. Etsy provides Seller Handbook with all sorts of tips to grow your business. Etsy is a trusted and well-recognized site that offers a unique platform for sellers who choose to focus on unique, handmade items. Learning to sell on Etsy can open the door to profits for the motivated merchant.

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