How to Make Money on Etsy [Step-by-Step Guide]

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You need to know how to make money on Etsy if you have any sort of eye for decorator items and fashion. For launching a business selling one-of-a-kind home goods, jewelry, clothing and art online, Etsy is the best place to be seen by your ideal customers. Here is how to make money on Etsy.

Since its inception as a virtual craft fair in June, 2015, Etsy has grown to be an ecommerce publicly-traded powerhouse worth more than $16 billion.

With that kind of traffic, Etsy is a foolproof way to make money whether you’re crafty or not. You just need a plan.

dressmaker and mannequin

Does Anyone Make Money on Etsy?

There’s a bit of work to do before simply listing a few items you’ve found or made for sale. You also have to consider what you’ll be selling and what it will cost you in labor, handling and listing fees. Read on to find out how to make money on Etsy.

Determine How Much Your Item Cost You

For example, if you’re making jewelry, figure out how much money you’ll pay for the materials, such as gemstones, beads, wires and tools.

Consider how much time you’re using in making the pieces, uploading products to your store, and handling packaging and shipping. You’ll also pay taxes on every sale, so you need to research your tax liability.

Scope Out Your Competitors

Look at their products and how they’re listed and priced. Read the descriptions and see the type of photography that best shows the items. Check your competition outside of Etsy as well on sites like Amazon.

Figure Out Your Take

After you’ve analyzed the market, you should have an idea of what people will pay for your item. Take that number and subtract the cost of your materials, labor, taxes and all the listing and transaction fees.

Consider your time from the start of your product to the finished version. If you find you’ll turn enough profit at a competitive price, you’re ready to make money.

Best Things to Sell on Etsy to Make Money

Etsy is well-known as a marketplace for all kinds of handmade fashions, craft items and home decor. But what are the most popular items to sell? Which ones are the most profitable? These are the items to consider if you want to know how to make money on Etsy.

Jewelry

Some of the top sellers on Etsy make unique pieces of jewelry from high quality materials that are meticulously designed and crafted.

Sheena Purcell, of Sheena Fine  Jewels, says improving her photography, “has been one of the most important aspects of running a successful Etsy shop.”

Since people only spend around one second scanning the photos of items for sale on a store’s page, she says, “it needs to pop!”

Purcell also considers lighting to be important and she spends some of her time editing colors and cropping the images.

“I use a photo editing app called A Color Story. It’s mostly free and easy to use.”

But Purcell credits using professional photography for her success in selling her rings of antique lace cast in silver or gold. “It made a big difference in my sales.” Professional photography showcases ring of antique lace cast in silver

Craft Supplies

Understanding craft supply buyers is the key to doing well in this category. The subcategories for this niche are almost endless.

You need to know how to write detailed product descriptions in the form of lists so your buyers know exactly what they’re getting. It’s also important to study what tags and titles your customers use for searches so you can capture as much traffic as possible.

Wedding and Party Supplies

Handcrafted and elegantly designed invitations, centerpieces, dresses and decor are big sellers on Etsy. Something useful to know about this category is that you can package almost anything as a wedding essential.

Handcrafted items can be sold as wedding party gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen, while inexpensive, mass-produced baubles will work perfectly as favors. Otherwise, people planning special events are looking for paper products, decorations, accessories and more.

Average Income From Etsy Shop

What can you expect as far as money from your Etsy store? Estimates say anywhere from $100 up to six figures annually. Many factors are at play in this area however.

Your chosen product should be in demand and priced in a way that is competitive and allows you to grow. Do your homework on how to make money on Etsy with branding and marketing your store.

How to sell on Etsy and make money all depends on how well you set yourself up for success from the beginning. Your store is a dynamic one and needs constant attention and adjustment.

Treat every customer like they are important by promptly answering questions, resolving issues, providing detailed product descriptions and using high quality photos.

Case Study: The Importance of Good Photography in Selling Art

Cara Williams is the talent behind Cara Rose Design. Williams uses Etsy as a way to sell her custom paintings and designs. One of the strategies of her success is the use of photography to make her artwork business stand out above the others.

A good photograph is the most valuable asset in marketing! It’s the first interaction my customers have with my product. Click To Tweet

“A good photograph is the most valuable asset in marketing! It’s the first interaction my customers have with my product,” Williams says. “That first impression is what prompts them to click on my listing instead of my competitor’s.”

She notes she has many competitors on Etsy and says, “It’s also important I show my client an example of a finished piece that is as accurate and true to the original as possible so there are no surprises when they open their package.”

She shares an excellent tip: “If you wish to sell on a platform like Etsy, pay attention to their tips about photography. If you comply with their requirements, they are more likely to promote and advertise your work!”

Williams advises those new to Etsy to pay attention to the elements that make an excellent photograph, which include, “natural light, good focus, and minimal distractions.”

William says, “I sometimes like to shoot my product in a flat lay setting and have a natural element in it like a plant or flower. I often place my hand in the photograph to appear like I am in the process of painting. It’s also a great reminder that my work is handmade by me and unique. Tell a story with your photographs!”

As for equipment, Williams uses only her iPhone 8+. “When I’m ready to shoot a painting, I try to find a spot in my house that has as much natural light as I can. I often shoot close to a window. If it’s too dark inside my house, I shoot outside! Natural light is the best because it shows your products’ true colors.”

She says she rarely needs edits with the right lighting and loves the portrait mode for the closer, detailed focus. “Be sure to tap on your product in the image screen before you take the photo. That will put your product in sharp focus, and give the background a softer focus.

If I do need to edit a photograph, I use an app called Snapseed. The first thing I do is correct the white balance using the tools feature. Then I brighten or saturate colors where needed. Never over edit or add a filter as this will give your customer a false idea of what your product looks like!”

Williams sums up her experience relying on photography to make sales saying, “I have seven listings for house portraits in my Etsy shop, but one listing does vastly better than all the others. I believe the reason is my cover photo for that particular listing! It’s bright, shows my product well, and has appealing flowers in the background. I think it stands out among other listings offering the same product.”

See Related: Top Side Jobs for Nurses

How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy

Cara Williams acknowledges she faces heavy competition by her fellow artists and her use of photography gives her the edge she needs to succeed. But there are some strategies you can use for success when you want to sell your art on Etsy.

Research what products sell the best on Etsy and match the results with your talents and passions. Whether it’s photography, watercolor or pet portraits, it will be something you should enjoy spending time on and already know how to do. You should also check other artists’ offerings so you know how similar art pieces are priced.

Stagger your new postings. Etsy lists postings in date order so it doesn’t have the same impact if you post several new pieces at the same time. Let one piece snag the top place at a time and spread all your listings out over a period of several days.

The best way to make money selling your art on Etsy is to find out what tags your ideal customers are searching with. Avoid getting creative with these and stick with the basic descriptions.

Also, use the social media share buttons Etsy provides to let your audience know what’s new in your shop.

artist

What to Do Before Opening an Etsy Shop

Before you even make a sale on Etsy, there are steps to take that will set you up for success. Start with knowing what you want to sell and then follow these guidelines to get you selling your creations, supplies and collections fast and for real money.

Research the Competition

Browse your chosen category in Etsy and take notes. You’ll get valuable information this way about what sells and for what price. Get an idea of the quality customers are expecting.

Read through your competitors’ policies on shipping, refunds and other documentation. Scroll through reviews too so you can see what buyers value as they look back on their transactions.

Figure out how to make money on Etsy by looking at hard marketing data available on Craft Count. Their tables will show you top selling stores by country in each category. Learn what these sellers are doing and offering to be so successful.

See Related: Best Side Hustles for Teachers

Choose a Shop Name and Start Branding

You should also note the store names that caught your eye. Do you want to include your personal name or a variation of it, or keep it product related? Whichever your choice, start using that name on all your social media and signatures. Also, write down the colors and design elements you liked when you were researching competitors.

Branding is a fancy name for visual promise, meaning that what people see and read on your Etsy page is what they’ll expect when buying from you. Start by thinking about your story and what led you to creating or sourcing the things you sell.

What do you love about plants or knitting or painting?

Handcrafted leather boots

Then consider the voice of your brand. It should be organic and convey the emotion of your brand. Are you bright and bubbly, spiritual and centered, or a lover of tools and metalworking? Make sure you write in that voice so people connect with your store on an emotional level.

Finally, you’ll want to sit down and figure out the visual representation of your brand–your logo. For example, if you’re selling handmade baby clothes, think of the colors, images and fonts that make people think of cute, cuddly babies.

You can design your logo yourself or hire someone to create one for you but you’ll want to keep it simple and something you can use in a variety of formats. What looks good as an Etsy store banner may not always scale to social media, your website or your packaging.

See Related: How to Sell Jewelry Online

Open a Bank Account for Your Store

Keeping your business and personal bank accounts is a smart way to handle your finances from the beginning. You’ll also see at-a-glance how much money you’re bringing in and how much is going out in the form of expenses.

Taxes will be easier to handle too (when you get to that level).

Create Your Free Etsy Seller’s Account

Sign in or create an account, then click “Sell on Etsy.” Click “Open your Etsy shop.” Choose your language, country and currency. Select and save your shop name. Selling on Etsy Page

Start Listing Your Products

Take high-quality photos or videos of your products. The first one you load will be the thumbnail and should fully represent the item. You can add photos straight from your desktop.

Write a title that is descriptive and searchable. You’ll be more visible if you research keywords ahead of this step and include them at the beginning of your title.

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Choose appropriate categories when prompted. Know where your potential buyers are looking for these items.

Add attributes to your products when prompted to drill down the final details of your product, like color and materials. You’ll also want to use as many keywords and details in your actual product description.

Tell your story here and connect emotionally with your buyers. What do you love about what you’re selling and why did you choose to sell it?

See Related: Best Side Hustles for Single Moms

How to Make Money on Etsy Without Making Anything

The good news is you don’t have to be crafty to start selling on Etsy. Collections, kits and vintage items are also big sellers on Etsy. If you can curate what people are willing to pay for, you can find success.

Can anyone make money on Etsy selling these types of items? If you do your research by looking through Etsy or Amazon, tracking Google Trends and searching Pinterest, you may find you can turn something you’re interested in into a profitable Etsy store. Antique toy tin car

Case Study: What sells best on Etsy when you’re not making anything?

I have always looked to sell items that are unique and special to me first. I wouldn’t list an item in my shop that I wouldn’t put in my home. Click To Tweet

Anything vintage according to Glittery Moon Vintage shop owner Stephanie Dupont:

I have always looked to sell items that are unique and special to me first. I wouldn’t list an item in my shop that I wouldn’t put in my home. It makes it so difficult to sell some of the pieces, because I love them so much!

Mid Century decor has always been a favorite of mine, because of the versatility of the pieces. They are so classic and look wonderful no matter what your home decor style is! Selling what you know and love also helps you sell vintage items on Etsy.

Searching for vintage treasures is such a fun part of my job! Thrift stores, antique stores and estate sales are my favorite ways to find pieces for my shop! You can find estate sale websites by doing a quick online search.

I also love finding estate sales by driving around on the weekend and looking for estate sale signs. It is such a relaxing and fun thing to do!

Once I find vintage pieces for my shop, I clean them really well and check for any damage. Then I research the item. It is really important to do a lot of research about the piece.

I always put in the work and study online about the items I’m selling. There are many websites that are dedicated to porcelain signatures and stamps, but you can also get a lot of information by asking questions at estate sales and antique shops.

The logos, signatures, brands, anything that can tell me about the history and craftsmanship; all of this I take into account when determining pricing on Etsy.

Something that I learned while working with Etsy, was that the photography of the items is the most important aspect of online selling. It’s also my favorite part of selling vintage pieces!

I’m able to show off my creativity presenting my listings in my own home. When you are photographing items, it is important to show at least one image of the full item, another image showing closeup details of the item and another that shows the scale of the item.

I will usually hold an item in hand to show scale or put it next to a common everyday item. Lifestyle photos are extremely important because customers want to see how they can style the items in their home.

I love having the items next to plants or in groups for that reason. It’s a great way to find your own style and for your personality to really shine through!

Whatever you find to sell, build your store and your brand around the things that speak to you. Partner with a source and start making money.

Make Money on Etsy

Conclusion

As far as side hustles go, Etsy has a low barrier to entry with great potential to make you money. It allows anyone with a hobby or interest to turn their passion into a business. There are more than a few Etsy store owners who report making six figures dealing in what they love to do.

There are so many ways to make money on Etsy. With a few clicks, a little creative writing and a camera–the one on your phone will work–start listing your creations or collections for sale.

Even if you don’t want to make anything, people selling vintage clothes and accessories, old records and books, and toys are enjoying great success.

Spend a day or two looking at what others are doing and you’ll find yourself inspired to try it yourself.

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