Are you a crafter? Do you love to make things? Are you running out of space to store them?
Maybe it's time to Start an Etsy Shop!
Etsy is a community of people from all over the world with at least one thing in common, we all love handmade!
Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate relationships include, but are not limited to, Amazon Associates, Walmart.com SM, and Etsy.
How do you Start an Etsy Shop?
The Benefits of Having an Etsy Shop
Selling on Etsy Doesn't Take Much Time
That’s what I love about it. You get to decide how often you create an item to sell. After you have made the item, it doesn't take long to snap a photo with your Smartphone, add some words about it, price it and save it and your handmade item is out there ready to go to a new home!
Then, you can put an app on your Smartphone and set it to make a “cha-ching” cash register sound when someone makes the purchase (this can be disabled in settings if you prefer not to hear this). When you hear “cha-ching”, you know you have made a sale and you need to ship before your pre-stated deadline. You can go into your account and tell how much the package weighs and what size.
Then print a USPS label from your printer that you purchase online through Etsy, package the item and if it is small enough (and you live in the USA) put it in your mailbox with the flag up and you never even had to leave your home! If your packages are larger, you can arrange for USPS to pick them up from your home as well.
Selling on Etsy is Easy
If I can homeschool, blog, take care of a large family (8 kids) and find time to create items for Etsy and ship them, I bet you can do it too and probably much better because you may have more time than I do to create the items!
You are the Boss and Decide When To Sell on Etsy
You get to decide when to sell – If you want to sell at a craft or art show, you have to reserve a spot, put it on your calendar, load the stuff in the vehicle, get there and set up and sit, then load non-selling items into the vehicle, put it all back where it was stored, etc. And, if you were scheduled to sell at a show and an emergency comes up, you lose your deposit. You can still do this on top of selling on Etsy and even check people out on your phone in the Etsy app, but you don't HAVE to do it that way.
With your Etsy Shop, you can close it down if you want a break, or if you will return in time to ship or can have someone else ship for you, stay open because it keeps selling no matter what you’re doing. I love being at Chuck E Cheese with my kids for a party and I hear my Smartphone say, “cha-ching” and other people will say, “What was that?” I can say, “I just sold something on Etsy!” They often ask for my site name in those situations to check it out for themselves and I have had my children's friends' mothers later purchase from my Etsy shop from those type of situations.
When our family went on a long vacation, I changed my shop to only have my e-books and digital products for sale because no one was at home to ship and the e-books and digital products get shipped automatically to the buyer's email.
You Can Sell Handmade Items, Digital Products, Vintage Items, Printables and Craft Supplies on Etsy
Yes, you can even be an author and sell your e-books on Etsy. It's handmade too! You can also sell antique or vintage items over 20 years old. And, you can sell your leftover or unused craft supplies to help pay for your next project if you want to keep the crafts or like to make them for gifts. You can also sell SVGs, digital wallpaper for your phone or laptop, wall art printables, printable bookmarks and more.
You Don't Have To Leave Your Home To Sell On Etsy
My favorite part is that I don't ever HAVE to leave my home. I can order my crafting and shipping supplies to be shipped to my home, make the items at home, sell the items at home, get paid right to my bank account, and ship all from my home! I am needed in the home so this is a way I can be home and earn money! Etsy allows me to reach a whole world of customers right from my home. I live in the United States.
Recently, I shipped a large box to Canada and I printed the shipping label at home and it was picked up at my home. It saved me gas, time, energy and I had happy little children because they didn't have to be hauled somewhere. Even if the items do not fit in your mailbox, in the United States, the postal service will pick up packages from your home at no extra charge, you just need to schedule it.
An Etsy Shop Can Be A Part or Full Time Job
Part or Full Time? Some sellers only sell once in a while when they have an overflow of crafts or supplies to sell. Some sellers sell on Etsy as their full-time job. You can be part-time one month, closed another month and full time other times, it's up to you. Some seasons of my life are too busy to make new crafts so I sell what I have until they are gone.
Your Reputation Can Be Awesome on Etsy
Your reputation is built with feedback – After your customer receives their package, they can leave a review or feedback about their experience. By doing a great job for your customers, you will achieve great feedback. This helps the next buyer to know they can trust you and whether others are happy with your products. The toughest part is getting the first sale and getting them to leave feedback. In my case, I advertised my Etsy shop to everyone I already knew. My relatives, friends, homeschool groups, children's club friends' moms, all my social media places, etc.
Finally, after almost two weeks, someone took a chance on me and made a purchase. It was not from a relative! I guess because they thought they already had everything I made from past birthday and Christmas gifts! My family doesn't really get into the social media thing either. The only person I knew “in person” in my first 1,000 followers on Twitter (@NeededInTheHome) was my husband, he was my 1,000th follower!
The Design of Your Shop Has Already Been Done For You
Setting up an Etsy shop is very simple (you can open an Etsy shop in minutes!) because Etsy handles so much for you. You don't have to purchase web hosting or a theme and design web pages and be sure your buttons all work. It's already done and set up for you. You can have a website with Pattern through Etsy if you want to though. Or, with Etsy Plus or Etsy Premium, you can design your shop page to be unique to your business and stand out from the rest. Etsy Standard is enough for me at this time as I am only doing my business part time.
Receive Payments Through Etsy
The payment is all handled by Etsy too. Etsy is a trusted and well-known name (it's the first site people think of when they want to buy handmade items) which helps you sell more. Notice that I don't sell my Etsy items right from my own webpage? There is a “method to my madness”. Yes, I know I can save money on commissions, etc.
But I myself don't trust small websites with my credit information so I really feel that people would rather have their payments go through a trusted site with lots of security and Etsy accepts so many forms of payment. For me to offer all that would take hours of getting approved from each card company, etc. But I do have a nice little button that says “Shop” on each of my blogs that attaches to my Etsy Shop!
Etsy Analytics and Stats Tracking
You will have stats to help you see which keywords are working for your listings and find out what else your customers are searching for in case you want to make that too! It is possible to be “discovered” by magazines and retail stores searching on Etsy for great products. Etsy is not paying me to say all this, but I just love it and want you to have as much fun as I am.
Very Low Cost To Start An Etsy Shop
If you use my referral code here then you and I will each get 40 free listings, so I am sort of paid that way (you save me money on my listings) or if you click on an ad or link on this article and buy something, I will be paid a small referral commission at no extra cost to you. It is a very low cost to TRY. If you don't use my referral code and get the free listings, as of today, it is 20 cents per listing. Etsy will charge fees when a sale is made.
20 Steps to Start and Promote Your Etsy Shop
1. Find some crafts you have already made to sell or make some crafts to sell. You can also sell antiques (must be older than 20 years), craft supplies and digital products on Etsy.
2. Think of a name for your shop. Really think it over and do not include the word “Etsy” in it. You will notice Etsy shop names are all stuck together, but can have capital letters. For example, my shop name is NeededInTheHome. Someday, if you get a website or if you have social media for your business, you want to have that name on every platform. For example: on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. This makes it easier for your buyers (or readers if you start a blog) to follow you everywhere.
Go to Etsy.com and search for the name you are thinking of to see if a shop already has that name. If not, great, now go to the social media platform you are thinking of promoting yourself on, like Twitter, and see if someone already has that name there. If all is well, write it down, you will need it in a future step. Now search for your second best name in case the first one is not available. Seriously, the first name I chose looked like it was available, but then when I went to check availability, it was taken. That shop owner may have just not had products selling in their shop at the moment or something.
3. Take some beautiful photos of your products. Photos are what helps buyers decide on your product compared to someone else's on Etsy. I still feel I need to improve in this area, but I am working with the camera and lighting that I have. The lighting (natural light if possible or lighting to make your item stand out) needs to be good and a close up is best. You can use photo editing to crop, sharpen and brighten your images. Add photos from different angles and include a close up shot. Take a look around at the photos from popular shops on Etsy and see what they do.
4. Use my referral code to get on Etsy.com. Once you’re on the home page, look for “Register” at the top, right-hand corner. Click on it.
5. Click the button that says, “open your Etsy shop”.
6. Decide how you will connect to Etsy and fill in the information required.
7. Enter your shop preferences. Then click “save and continue”.
8. Now go back to the shop names you wrote down. Type it in the search box and check its availability. In the Username section, that is going to be the name of your Etsy Shop. Click “save and continue.”
9. You will need to agree to their terms and conditions. Etsy will have you add your listings. You just click the “+ Add a listing” button and follow all the prompts. You will enter your photos in this section too. Use up all 13 tags that are available to describe your product. These are search terms shoppers will type in to find your item.
10. You should receive a confirmation email with directions to activate your Etsy account. Complete the confirmation email activation directions they send to activate your account. They will need your billing and payment information, etc. You will need to set up a way for Etsy to pay you and to deduct your fees (I have it go right to and come out of my business checking/debit account at my local bank. Set up a way for your customers to pay Etsy which is called Etsy Payments. They accept at least eleven forms of payment including PayPal. By the way, I do not even have to have a PayPal or these credit card accounts myself to receive money through Etsy Payments.
11. The next screen will be your shop. You will want to edit your shop to have your photo, logo and more information for your shoppers to read about your business. There are many options, so look around and try a few different things. You might want to start with the “Info & Appearance”, “About Your Shop”, and “Shipping Settings”. Come back to this area once in a while as they may offer something new. This is good advice for myself too. I was just looking at it to write this post and realized I can now offer gift wrap!
12. Get the “Sell on Etsy” app on your smart phone. On my Android smart phone, I went to Google Play Store to do this. You will have to enter your Username and password that you use for your Etsy account. (There is now a new updated version of the app that is called Etsy Seller. Both are currently available at the time of me posting this as the new one is still in release. In my opinion, I feel like the new one is just an update – a few new features, things in different places on the screen. I am not sure why they needed a new app. The old app logo is white with orange letters, the new is blue with white letters.)
13. List Your Items! Where I list from depends on where my photos or documents are stored. Usually, I take photos with my smart phone, so I would list from there in that situation. When I do list from my smart phone, I will someday go back in on the computer to check that it all translated well. Sometimes, the shipping has been lost in translation and I just click it. Sometimes I can't choose colors or holidays from my smart phone and I have to do that from the computer. But Etsy is being updated and made better all the time, so that may not be your experience.
When I have a long description that needs measurements, more details, etc., I will start on my phone then save as a draft and finish on my desktop or laptop because my fingers type faster on a keyboard.
A. From the computer: From the “Shop Manager”, click “Listings”, then click “Add a Listing” (upper right corner).
B. From the smart phone: Click on the “Sell on Etsy” app, click the lines in the lower right corner, click “Listings”, click the plus “+” symbol in the upper right corner.
For both: answer any questions you see at any time, for example, “who made the item?” or “who made it?”
Some tips on listing:
Photos: This is where you will upload your photos for your listing. Click the “Add a Photo” button and locate the image on your computer. Then click the “upload” button.
Title: Be Descriptive. Try to use all the characters with keywords. Most people don’t take advantage of this and have a hard time getting found.
Description: This is your sales pitch for your product. Make them want it! Use as much space as you need to accurately describe your item. Write a description that tells more than the facts. Share a story about your inspiration for the item. Take a couple of hours and read descriptions of some top sellers and you might gain a new perspective on what an awesome description can do for your item. You may want to describe the size and washing instructions, mention that it is a NEW item. Some buyers are used to eBay or Amazon and wonder if it is used or new. If it comes from a smoke free or pet free home, tell them.
Materials: Use words, separated by commas. For example: cotton fabric, thread
Tags: Tags are keywords that help someone find your item. Choose the first tag in the main category you would like your item listed in. Choose wisely. If you are unsure of what to choose, maybe you can see what others are using that are selling similar items. You might be surprised at how many tags you can come up with after a while. If you have handmade reusable cotton rounds, you might use tags like these: reusable cotton rounds, makeup remover pads, zit pads, face rounds, toner applicators, etc. Tags are very important!
Shipping Options: Fill in the shipping information for the item. If you would like to save shipping information to use on another item, go to “Shipping Profile.” Just click “create” and fill in the information and name the profile. You are not required to set up a profile, but it might make the listing process faster in the future.
Alt Text: On the desktop, when you hover over your listing images, just click the little pencil. Then you can enter alt text to describe the photo. This makes you images accessible to blind and low-vision buyers. Adding alt text to your listings may also help increase chances of being found on external image search engines. Some tips when using this: use descriptive words and phrases that will help people understand what your listing looks like, your text should make sense to a blind or low-vision user who is hearing it read out loud to them, avoid keyword stuffing with words and phrases already in your listing elsewhere that will also be read out loud to them.
Check All The Other Options, including quantity, options may vary depending on your category.
14. Review and Publish: Review your information and then click “Save as a Draft” or “Publish” If you don’t do one of those, all the information will be lost! You can edit your listing after you click “Publish” so don’t worry if you find a mistake later. Your listing will appear in your shop.
15. Make and list more items: A shop with a few items will make it harder for you to be found. Work you way up to 100 items and you should have at least a sale a week after you have some positive reviews. 200 items and you’ll be BUSY! All those items have tags and help your shop be found from search traffic. Once potential customers are at your shop they will look around and may buy more than one item.
16. List one new item per day: In the year that I made the most money on Etsy, I was adding at least one new listing every day from Monday to Saturday. I took Sundays off. I am in a busy season presently and can't do that, but it seemed to bring me a lot of sales at the time. I aim to try it again if things slow down around my busy household. (Presently, we have all eight kids living at home for the summer with a few broken vehicles this week, the county fair going on that we are involved in and three of my kids attending Vacation Bible School for four days, so I feel like a chauffeur!)
17. Share on social media and tell your groups (that allow advertising) about your Etsy shop. The Etsy app makes it so simple to do this and you can even share quotes from positive reviews with your public.
Share on your smart phone with Shop Updates right from Etsy! Basically, you go into your Sell on Etsy app on your smart phone, click the lines in the lower right corner, then select Shop Updates from the menu.
Click on the camera icon in the upper right corner, select documents if you have already taken a photo and find the photo you want and select it. Pinch and zoom your photo to get it just right, then click Next.
Tag photo – that means you will touch the screen where you want to put a little orange tag on the object you are selling. This is useful if you make cotton flannel napkins and you show a photo of your little boy holding his popsicle with the napkin wrapped around the bottom. The napkin would have the tag on it showing that is what you are selling and not the shirt or hat he is wearing.
Scroll down your listings to find the one you are promoting. Click on the listing. At this point, if you don't like where the tag is on the photo, you can touch it and move it. Click Next.
Now add some words to say what is happening in this photo. I might say, “Every little boy needs a cotton flannel napkin with a dinosaur on it, get one at my Etsy shop!” Click Done.
Check that you like what you see because you can't change it after you share. Click Share on Etsy.
Now it has been shared with anyone that follows your shop. Under that, it says: “Share this update – share with:” You see logos for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, basically, whatever you have loaded on your smart phone.
Decide where to share and click the icon. After going through that, click back to that screen and pick another icon, etc. Learn more about Shop Updates here! With Instagram, presently, I have to go in and do those by hand with my Etsy shop address because the photos don't show up at this point in time from Etsy and I like to show photos.
The more you put into this side of promoting your business, the more you will get out of it. Being consistent will make all the difference in the world. Your stats will tell you where your traffic is coming from. Some days about half of my traffic comes from social media so this is an important step.
17. To offer a coupon or discount on Etsy – Go to the shop manager and click “Dashboard”.
Click Marketing/Sales and coupons.
Decide if you want to offer a percentage off or choose a discount. Click continue when you are finished.
It then will show you the name of your sale and all of it's details.
18. You may want to start your own website or blog to promote your Etsy shop, especially if you plan to make your shop a full-time business. For steps how to do that, please read:
19. Shipping Mail out your items in secure packaging. No one wants a wonderful item that has been damaged in the mail. I send a thank you note and a little something extra in their order as a gift. It’s small, but customers have told me they love to be surprised like that. Keep it simple. Shipping can be a challenge for some shops. I like to sell smaller, lighter items that fit easily in my mailbox so I can put it in there and put the flag up. Yet even with smaller items, when a lot of them are sold in one day, I still need to have them picked up.
I know this post got very lengthy, but I want you to have every bit of information at your fingertips. I hope you hear a “cha-ching” soon!
Purchase this PDF guide from me on Etsy which includes all of the above information and the following FAQs…
- I made my first physical product sale, now what do I do?
- I made my first digital product sale, now what do I do?
- How do I select tags for what I am listing?
- How do I select a category for what I am listing?
- How do I make sections for my different products?
- How do I give someone the link to my Etsy shop?
- How do I create a special order on Etsy?
- How do I change the announcements for my shop?
- What do you do with your Etsy shop when you go to local craft shows?
- How do I deactivate my shop if I am going on vacation, need to catch up, need a break or am selling at a craft show?
- How do I reactivate my shop after a break?
- How do I run a sale on my Etsy products?
- How do I use Etsy Ads?
- Where do you buy items for your family or business?
Click this link or the photo below for more details…
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