How to Make Money on Etsy

Chris Cerny

If you’re a crafter, you have probably heard of and thought about the site Etsy. “How do I actually make money on Etsy?” is a question frequently asked by people who have crafts, handmade goods, and vintage items for sale – because while it’s easy to sign up and get started, turning a profit can be more of a trick.

Etsy isn’t your traditional e-commerce site or craft shop. There are a few things you need to know before you get started, though, such as:

  • How to set up an Etsy store
  • What can you sell on Etsy
  • Etsy fees

To become successful on Etsy, it’s important to look into these details – among all the other FAQs that go with the process of trying to sell stuff online.

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How do I Set Up an Etsy Store?

A key component to making money on Etsy is your online store front. Your Etsy shop isn’t too hard to set up, but it does take time and effort. This step is where you’ll be able to create a company name and logo for yourself. One tip is don’t overthink this process since it won’t have much of an impact on your sales. However, you only get one chance to rename your store, so consider your branding wisely.

Here are some tips for naming of your store:

  • Be simple and snappy
  • Don’t be too obscure or clever
  • Research your name to make sure it isn’t clashing with other businesses

Once you’re done creating your name, you can make a custom logo on a design site like Canva. This won’t do much for sales either, but it may help bring in new customers. Make sure the logo is something that you like and relates to your shop.

Listing Your Items on Etsy

Another very important part to your Etsy store is how you list your products. You need to set up your listing in such a way that it completely describes the product. It should provide every possible piece of information that a client or potential customer will be interested in.

Considering the following when you’re ready to start listing your items:

  • Take high-quality pictures of your product: Post at least five to keep shoppers engaged. Etsy’s website has further tips for how to take and post your photos for the best results.
  • Write a descriptive product copy: This is where you fill in all the details about your listing. Make sure you sound like you.
  • Write for the buyers who take the time to read everything: Not every buyer wants all the details upfront – but for the ones who do, excluding the information can hurt your sales. It’s better to include too many details than too few.
  • Use short paragraphs, concise sentences, and lists: You’re writing for an internet audience, which means things should be scannable and easy to understand.
  • Name your items clearly: Not everyone knows what a lemniscate is, Joanne. Just call it an infinity symbol like everybody else.

Going through this process properly takes time and effort if you want the best possible results. However, putting in this time is an essential part of making money on Etsy.

How Much Work Does It Take to Run an Etsy Shop?

Making money from your Etsy shop will require a lot more time and effort than other e-commerce sites, like Amazon or eBay. Unlike other popular e-commerce sites, you can’t just throw something up on Etsy and forget about it. A shop on Etsy requires attention, which means that it’s important that you treat it like a real business to make any real money.

To be successful on Etsy, one thing you should keep track of is search engine optimization (or SEO). SEO will help your Etsy shop attract more potential customers that are looking for the things you’re selling. It includes working with keywords in your titles and for your products. SEO also requires that you “write for the internet,” which means using shorter paragraphs and sentences, as well as “scannable” text, as I mentioned above.

What Makes Money on Etsy?

Figuring out what to sell and what will make money on Etsy is the hardest part.

Etsy is a site open to anyone who wants to create a shop for homemade products. However, Etsy is not just a site for handmade goods – there are ways to make money through several other ventures.

One thing that many people recommend doing to get inspired is to look on Etsy and see what is already making money. Before you start, research what other Etsy shops are doing, get inspired by them – but do not duplicate them.

In fact, one of the keys to making money on Etsy is for the things you sell are unique to you.

Buy Stuff from Thrift Stores and Flip Them for Money on Etsy

You don’t technically have to be creative to make money on Etsy. There are many ways to get around making your own things. One way is buying items at a thrift store, such as clothing or housewares, and reselling them for profit.

In order to earn and boost your profits, you need to buy products that are in demand and also cheap. For this reason, thrift stores are your best option. The hard part is shortlisting products and then procuring them.

If you have troubles with that, you can look at the competition on Etsy to make sure you have a narrow niche. This is important so you can be more specific and know who you are competing against. Furthermore, by focusing on a targeted market, you don’t have to worry about competing as closely with the “big guys.”

Create Digital Products

Another idea that makes money on Etsy (and is simpler than trying to buy relevant items in bulk) is creating digital products. If you create, promote, and sell digital products you won’t need to create any handmade products. Another great advantage of digital products is that you’ll never run out of stock. Inventory always remains high, and you don’t have to worry about physical issues like poor quality damaged goods or lost items.

In fact, the only things you need to create digital products are a computer, a free or purchased software, and the time to work.

There are free tools, like Canva and PicMonkey, that can help you create great digital products. These sites require zero investment and have products people are interested in. Also, they require no shipping hassle and charges since everything is made and sold online. It is better to select and stay with a niche that you have a personal interest in, so you won’t have a distracting mess of a storefront.

Is What You’re Trying to Sell Profitable?

To ensure that you can make money on Etsy, you have to be sure that what you want to sell is going to be profitable. Another important factor is that the product is something you care about but make sure it’ll actually sell.

The quickest way to figure if the product you have is going to sell is by going to Etsy and doing a quick search of the item. To calculate if the product you want to sell is profitable, walk yourself through these steps:

  • Figure out the cost to make each item
  • Research the competition
  • Factor in Etsy’s fees, which will be talked about later
  • Consider whether you or the customer is going to pay for shipping
  • Evaluate the numbers

After all, it’s much easier to make money on Etsy when you know how much it’s going to cost to be on Etsy.

Etsy’s Fees

Unfortunately, selling through Etsy isn’t free.

There are a few site-mandated fees that go into setting up an Etsy shop, as mentioned earlier. These include their:

Listing Fees: For every object you put on Etsy, you pay a $0.20 listing fee

Transaction Fees: This 5% charge is applied to every sale you make on the site. You also have to pay for any additional shipping or wrapping fees, as well. (You can make up some of these costs by calculating them into the price of your item).

Subscription Fee: This fee costs $10 for month for anyone who signs up for Etsy Plus, which provides users with additional features.

A Final Word on Making Money on Etsy

Making money on Etsy is possible with some time, patience, and a little crafting or shopping know-how. The venture can be worth it if you’re willing to make money a few dollars at a time, or if you plan to aggressively chase your dreams of becoming a professional crafter.

As a rule, though, Etsy is best for those who want to make the investment as a side hustle, rather than quitting their full-time job (at least at first). However, if you’ve recently found yourself out of a job, crafting for Etsy may bring you a decent sum of money, providing you’re willing to put in the effort.

Mostly, Etsy is a great way to make money if you’re a creative person who wants to share your passion – but that’s not the only way to earn.

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Chris Cerny
Chris Cerny is currently a student and intern based out of New Jersey. He has written many articles for Financial Professional. He has been investing his money in the stock market for the last 3 years.