How to Make Money on Etsy

make money on etsy

One of the more popular side hustles right now is selling products on Etsy. It’s an online platform for selling unique goods. These could be handmade items, craft supplies, vintage items, and digital goods. Etsy stores are run by independent sellers, not large companies. Almost anyone can open an Etsy store and start selling today. 

Making money on Etsy involves coming up with a profitable idea, selling enough to cover your costs and time, setting up an Etsy store, and promoting your store in order to get buyers. Then evolve with the times, constantly updating the items in your shop and finding new ways to reach buyers.

How to Make Money on Etsy

Coming up with Profitable Ideas

Anyone can make products to sell on Etsy. The trick is making something that is profitable. How do you do that? You could start with a brainstorming session to come up with as many ideas as possible and then weed out the good ones.

It’s important to spend time on Etsy doing research on the market. Look at similar products. Look at different shop pages. How many sales have they made since opening? If they have tons of sales, it shows there’s a market for those types of products. 

Ask yourself questions throughout the idea process. Who do I want to target with my products? Why do they need what I’m selling? How will it help them?

Determine Your Costs

Once you have some solid ideas, you need to calculate if you can actually make a profit logistically. This starts by figuring out your costs. What will it cost to make my products? Get pricing for the supplies you need and then determine the cost of making one item.

Something else to consider is the time involved in making your products. If your products are labor-intensive, there might be a more profitable use of your time.

When you create digital products, there may not be any cost of goods, but you’ll need time to create them. If you create something that people love, though, you can make passive income off of it long after you’ve created it.

Other factors to consider when determining profitability are fees and taxes. Etsy charges fees for every listing and sale. As a business, you will also need to pay taxes on your Etsy income. 

Not every idea you have will end up being a profitable one. It’s important to take time to evaluate and be honest with yourself. Let the numbers speak to you on whether you can make money with a particular product or not.

How Much Money can you Make on Etsy?

This is somewhat of a loaded question. There are popular Etsy stores that bring in millions of dollars in revenue annually. There are also Etsy stores that won’t make a single penny this year. It’s hard to know where you will fall on that kind of scale.

What I can say is that the market is there with the right products and some hard work.

  • Is your Etsy business a side hustle or is it a full-time job?
  • How much time can you devote to creating products and selling on Etsy?
  • Where are you marketing your Etsy store and products?
  • Do your products take a long time to make?

All of this can factor into how much money you’ll make selling. If we’re honest, there’s probably some luck involved.

The right person comes along and makes a purchase at the right time. You share a product on social media and it goes viral. It’s hard to predict the future when starting an Etsy business.

How to Sell on Etsy

How do you start selling on Etsy? Follow the steps below.

Sign up to become an Etsy seller

Signing up to be an Etsy seller is easy. Simply click on “Sell on Etsy” and enter your email address, name, and pick a password. Once you confirm your email address, you are ready to set up your own Etsy shop.

Set up an Etsy Store

You can set up your own Etsy store in minutes. What’s involved in setting it up? Once you’ve set up a seller account, Etsy will walk you through this setup process:

Set your preferences: Pick your location, language, and desired currency.

Choose your shop name: Follow the on-screen directions as you come up with your own shop name. Get creative with your shop name or pick something practical. It’s up to you as long as the name is available.

Create your first listing: This is where you set up your first product to sell. Hopefully, you have a product ready to go. Go through the listing form and enter info about the product you are selling, add a photo, set a price, and add shipping information.

Set your payment method: Here you’ll choose how you want to get paid. You will also select a billing method for paying Etsy seller fees. 

Click “save” and you’re all set. You have your own Etsy store now. You can go back and add more products to sell if desired. You’re on your way to making money on Etsy.

Etsy Seller Fees

Similar to other online selling platforms, there are fees associated with selling on Etsy. Creating an Etsy account is free. After that, there are three selling fees you’ll see.

Listing fee: $0.20 per listing published. Listings last up to 4 months or until your product sells.

Transaction fee: If your product sells, you’ll be charged 5% of your product’s sale price (including shipping).

Payment processing fee: If you accept payment through Etsy payments, you are also charged a 3% plus $0.25 fee when your product sells.

Etsy Seller Tips to Make More Money

Like anything else, the more you learn and grow as an Etsy seller, the better you’ll get at selling. There’s a learning curve with Etsy, but once you’ve figured it out, you will be on your way.

There are some tools that you might find helpful before and after you open your Etsy store.

Etsy’s Seller Handbook

There’s a section of the Etsy website called the Seller Handbook. It’s full of helpful articles for sellers to read. Many of the articles are written by successful Etsy store owners. Topics include:

  • Branding & Marketing
  • Getting found
  • Photography
  • Shipping
  • Legal
  • Pricing
  • Growth strategies
  • Productivity

If you’re looking to learn the ins and outs of selling on Etsy, the Seller Handbook is a good place to start.

Etsy Profit Calculator

If you do a quick google search, you’ll find links to several profit calculators that can help you determine your profit levels for a particular product.

This is a great way to double-check if you’re going to make a profit on an item or not. Then, you can adjust or scrap a product as needed.

Here’s a simple Etsy Profit Calculator you can use.

Blogging

Many Etsy store owners are also bloggers. This isn’t a requirement but could be a great way to market your products. You’ll have a dedicated place online to advertise your store. Plus, you can create content about your products.

Social Media

Besides posting photos of vacations and your kids, you could be using social media to market your Etsy store. This could be on your personal social media accounts, ones tied to your blog or accounts specifically for your Etsy business. This is a great way to get your products seen by a wider audience.

Etsy Printables Course

If you’re interested in learning how to make and sell printable products on Etsy, check out the Etsy Printables Course.

Created by Julie Berninger and Cody Berman, this Etsy course will walk you through the entire process from creating products to marketing them effectively.

The course features six modules that come with video lessons and readable content. There are also 13 bonuses thrown in from expert printables experts. There are printable lesson plans to help guide you towards creating printable products that will sell. 

Can’t think of any good product ideas? No problem. They include over 50 product ideas for you to consider.

The Etsy Printables Course is designed for users to go through over the course of four weeks. To pair with the course, you also get access to the course’s VIP Facebook group for 30 days free.

You’ll be able to speed up your learning process by asking questions you’ve thought of as you go through the course.

Find out more about the Etsy Printable Course

5 Critical Lessons from Etsy Entrepreneur Kimberly Palmer

Want more help getting started selling on Etsy. Successful Etsy seller and author Kimberly Palmer has contributed five critical lessons that will help you succeed on Etsy. Here’s Kimberly…

When I first got the idea to launch my own Etsy shop, I thought it was going to be pretty easy.

I’d read success stories on blogs before, where a busy mom or frustrated artist starts sewing baby clothes or carving furniture and a few weeks later, they’re quitting their job because the orders just keep coming in.

Well, I learned first-hand that it’s not always quite so easy to make money on Etsy. Getting the initial idea for my shop–digital money planners based on specific life goals–was the easy part.

Creating the products and setting up shop wasn’t too hard, either. That was all done within two weeks of my initial brainstorm.

The hard part was what came next–making sales. When my first one came in, about two weeks from my first launch, I was ecstatic. But the next one didn’t happen for many more weeks until I started doing some more serious marketing to my target audience of fellow creative moms through so-called “mommy blogs.”

Here are five lessons I learned the hard way from being an Etsy entrepreneur–I hope they can help you in your own entrepreneurial ventures.

1. Creating is the Fun Part

For me, the biggest rush still comes from getting my next idea for a new planner. I want to run away from my email and work responsibilities and just start crafting it. I enter that Zen zone where time disappears.

Like many creative entrepreneurs, this is as good as it gets, and it’s important to savor it because the other parts of running a business aren’t quite so tranquil.

2. Marketing is Everything

Without any outreach to blog or my target audience, my sales figures were less than sluggish–they were nonexistent. But as soon as I developed a pitching strategy of reaching out to blogs who might be interested in covering my planners, sales picked up.

In fact, I noticed a direct relationship: My revenue always seemed to hover around 10 percent of the total number of page views my Etsy shop received. That means the more publicity I do, the more sales I get.

I don’t exactly love marketing and it’s not something that comes naturally to me. But a fellow entrepreneur shared a secret with me that’s stuck with me:

You’re not selling a product just to make money on Etsy.

You’re doing it because you believe your product (or service) will help people and improve their lives, even in a small way.

That mindset shift helped me feel good, and not icky, about getting the word out about my planners (and later, my book).

How to Make Money on Etsy

3. Negative Reviews are Hard to Deal with But Inevitable

Usually, I love scrolling through my Etsy shop reviews. People tell me how much they love my planners, how they’ve helped them get motivated to manage their money, and how they look forward to sitting down with them with a cup of coffee nearby.

I love those stories.

But every now and then, a less-than-positive one pops up. Someone writes that they were expecting something different than what they got, or they didn’t find the planner helpful.

I’m not going to lie, that makes me feel really sad. For a brief moment, I question the entire worth of my planner shop, and whether I should just give up.

Then I snap to my senses, remember that the overwhelming feedback is positive, and try to shake off that criticism. The truth is, you can’t run a business (or write a book, or a blog, or do anything in public) without sometimes running into negative feedback.

That’s okay because it’s not possible to make everyone happy. You can just listen, take anything useful from the feedback, and move on.

Related: Self Publishing Amazon Kindle Books with Jay Herring

4. You Can Learn a Lot from Fellow Entrepreneurs

Some of my best and most popular planner ideas came from suggestions from fellow Etsy sellers. In fact, my annual money planner originated out of a suggestion from one of my first buyers, another Etsy entrepreneur.

I’m so grateful she took the time to share her thoughts with me, and think of her every time I sell another copy. Taking the time to brainstorm with people selling similar products to your own can generate new and creative ideas for both your shops.

5. The Most Successful Shops Constantly Evolve

My shop has undergone many transformations from those early days. I’ve expanded my line of custom planners, which come with half-hour coaching sessions, and built out my starter kits, which are bundles of planners around different themes, such as launching a business.

I even teamed up with my husband to create an Excel-powered Net Worth Tracker. Many of these changes came out of customer feedback. When I noticed people kept buying multiple planners at once, I put them into themed bundles with a discount attached and started selling even more.

The bottom line: Launching an Etsy shop can be an incredibly satisfying, lucrative new undertaking. It’s also a lot of work. But every time you get an alert that you made another sale and a customer tells you how much they love what you’re making, you know it’s worth it.

About Kimberly Palmer

Kimberly Palmer is the author of Smart Mom, Rich Mom and The Economy of You. She writes for Nerd Wallet, Forbes, and was formerly the senior money editor for U.S. News & World Report, where she wrote the popular Alpha Consumer blog. You can connect with her at bykimberlypalmer.com, where you can also download worksheets to help you build your own side-hustle.