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How do beginners sell on Etsy?

How do beginners sell on Etsy?

It’s a big moment, deciding to take the plunge and starting an online business. This moment of transcendence means discarding the directives of the traditional job structure and taking full control over your financial destiny.

However, this can be a daunting prospect; assuming command means that all decisions, ramifications, responsibilities, and consequences land squarely on you. On the flip side, however, this means that all the benefits become yours, too – profits, in particular.

The purpose of this article is to supply any merchant wondering how do beginners sell on Etsy with some helpful hints, tips, and tricks.


This article has a bit of depth to it. So, while you’re welcome to work your way through in a normal way, here’s a quick breakdown to help anyone seeking more information on how beginners sell on Etsy.

Introduction: Etsy is a booming marketplace within a rapidly expanding environment. It’s fertile ground to set up shop.

Choosing to work with Etsy: This eCommerce platform caters to a tight community of crafters, artisans, and artists. These individuals value a more personable feel relative to massive retail stores and distributors. 

  1. Remember why you’re starting a business: Put in the time and effort necessary to make things right. The best results come from passion, perseverance, and patience. 
  2. Sign up with Printify: This is a 100% free way to create entire lineups of ready-to-sell products. Furthermore, shipping is handled – leaving you the time to focus on product generation, marketing, or anything else. 
  3. Start your Etsy adventure: This section includes registration scenarios, tips, and setting information for optimizing an Etsy shop. The best projects are built on strong foundations. 
  4. Consider the cost of conducting business: There are more factors in play than just the selling price of a product. Please remember that while Printify requires no upfront investment, Etsy does have a fee structure that warrants attention. 
  5. Be proactive in making sales happen: No different from any other venture, continual management and an eye for detail makes all the difference in operating a lucrative shop. 

Common mistakes to avoid: This section shows a few errors that newfound entrepreneurs have made with their stores. Use their examples to escape similar situations. 

Stay the Course: Don’t get frustrated if sales don’t stack up in the first few days. Remember the effort it took to get where you’re at now. Making money is fun. But first, the groundwork has to be solid.

Why get involved with Etsy?

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In short, because it’s doing very well. Firstly, the eCommerce environment that Etsy occupies is absolutely thriving. By the end of 2020, overall global sales are expected to exceed $4.2 trillion16% of all retail sales.

On top of this already sizable segmentation, the United States eCommerce market is also experiencing some changes. Firstly online sales are expected to increase by as much as 18% relative to last year – making up 14.5% of all national sales. This development pairs with an overall decrease of 14% in physical transactions.

Pros of choosing to work with Etsy?

Etsy emerged on the eCommerce scene back in 2005. It was able to distinguish itself from other eCommerce giants like Shopify, eBay, ect., by orienting itself as a more neighborly option. Etsy is renowned for catering more toward a close-knit farmer’s market feel, rather than giant retailers slinging massive volumes of products in a similar setting to traditional, in-house vendors. 

By focusing more on artistic goods, crafting supplies, and vintage items, Etsy separates itself – providing an outlet for difficult-to-find and niche products. There’s also a large made-to-order market, serving the needs of especially personalization-oriented individuals.

Statistic: Number of active Etsy buyers from 2012 to 2019 (in millions) | StatistaStatistic: Number of active Etsy buyers from 2012 to 2019 (in millions) | Statista

Etsy currently boasts over 2.7 million sellers serving a community of over 54 million members. This means that there is more than enough traffic to search for, discover, and purchase from among the platform’s products (over 60 million). Furthermore, Etsy has enjoyed a popularity boost in recent months – growing by roughly 20% from last year alone. This growth is particularly lucrative for Etsy merchants, as over 40% of Etsy purchasers are reported to become repeat customers – phenomenal information for people wondering how do beginners sell on Etsy.

How does Etsy work and how do beginners sell on Etsy?

how to sell on etsyhow to sell on etsy

Etsy is an eCommerce platform specializing in allowing business owners and customers to buy and sell products –  particularly handmade, crafted, and vintage goods. The main differentiation comes in when people consider how do beginners sell on Etsy relative to other eCommerce platforms.

Here’s the thing, though. You’re not in the business of carving handmade wooden horses or reselling old items, you’re a print-on-demand merchant. This means that you’ll be filling the vintage niche – items that retain or hold their value. This is the idea you’re trying to cultivate; that your products keep their merit to the point of being worth buying for consumers.

So, while all platforms are vehicles for business owners to sell their products online, an Etsy vendor’s published items are shown to the public alongside the goods of other merchants – just like a local farmer’s market. This method has pros and cons. Firstly it can be difficult to attract the attention of consumer traffic, as there are so many bright, shiny things around warranting attention. However, the Etsy distribution pattern also means that there will always be a flow of consumers constantly circling nearby – just waiting to pounce on anything attractive that catches their eye. 

5 easy steps for Etsy beginners

1. Remember why you’re starting a business

There’s a fundamental, underlying reason behind your decision to begin researching the eCommerce environment. Maybe it’s just raw belief in yourself to succeed, a brilliant product idea that’s been buzzing around your head, a market demographic you feel is underrepresented, a niche that isn’t being filled, a message worth spreading, or any other stimulating idea worth pursuing. Even for those worried about how do beginners sell on Etsy, they just have to remember their roots.

If you’re ever in doubt that an Etsy journey is feasible, get inspired by one of these success stories.

Regardless of how you’ve found your motivation for online entrepreneurship, the key is always knowing that you have the right stuff to succeed. The understanding that good things are not just possible, but probable, once a little effort is applied.

2. Sign up with Printify

Most startup businesses break down due to a series of hurdles that can be entirely avoided. If this concept sounds too good to be true, we have some interesting news. Starting up as a print-on-demand merchant with Printify sets you up for your Etsy venture with speed. Those wondering how do beginners sell on Etsy can make the first steps easy by signing up with Printify.

Learn how to manage your Etsy orders on Printify in our guide: How to sell on Etsy.

how beginners can sell custom products on Etsyhow beginners can sell custom products on Etsy

First of all, you’re empowered with the ability to create an entire customized inventory line of over 250 products without putting any money down, storing those items, dealing with shipping, worrying about production, maintaining any physical location, and much more. In other words, this is a 100% gratis opportunity to secure the entire logistical chain – a potential nightmare when even one piece breaks down. 

Signing up for Printify is a quick, painless, and profitable process. It’s easy to create new products for free with our new-and-improved mockup generator. Get started on your expedited merchant mission today. 

Printify Premium: Once your personalized product lines start churning out profits, it might be worth it to invest directly toward lowering the bottom line. For only a few bucks a month, the production costs for all items are slashed by 20%. That means extra cash toward your wallet, marketing budget, decreased costs for customers, or any other avenue you’d like to apply those savings toward. This is a great avenue for consideration for those considering how do beginners sell on Etsy, as it can be applied in so many different positive ways.

3. Start your Etsy adventure

how to sell on etsy for beginnershow to sell on etsy for beginners
Source: blog.etsy.com

With the entire backend of business locked down through Printify, it means that you’ve got a near-limitless stock of ready-to-sell products just waiting for customers to discover them. This is the part that people wondering how do beginners sell on Etsy really appreciate. By gaining entrance to the community, all your listed items are welcomed into the platform’s traffic.

Get registered

Anyone playing with the idea of how do beginners sell on Etsy just has to sign up to get started. This is a fairly quick, straightforward process that only takes a few moments to complete. It’s also totally free. There are business costs, but the act of opening a store is 100% gratis. When setting up, only basic information and preferences are required like currency and language.

While obvious at first glance, this step is actually worth some consideration. See, it all depends on which markets you’re targeting. Certain currencies are more likely to attract a given customer base – as having to convert can be the difference between a sale or not.

Make sure the name is right

Keep in mind, the Etsy crowd is a herd of neighborly folk. There’s worth in choosing a name that would resonate with a more wholesome nature. After all, customers may be attracted to a store simply through a catchy, witty, or otherwise notable name somewhere between 4-to-20 characters. Furthermore, this name must be approved by the Etsy powers that be. This point is key for those wondering about topics like how do beginners sell on Etsy.

Start posting products

Now, it’s time to start making money. But that only happens if someone discovers it online, then chooses to buy it. It makes a lot of sense to put some serious effort into making sure things are attractive for prospective buyers. Here are some good tips to keep in mind when posting a product on Etsy or working toward solving the concept of how do beginners sell on Etsy:

  • Pick your classification: In order to post to Etsy, any and all items must qualify as Handmade, Vintage, Craft or Customized. Handmade means that an item has literally been created by the seller. The vintage label goes for pieces that are 20 years or older. Finally, the custom craft supplies classification means material that is designed with the purpose of making things.
  • Photo: The general recommendation is for a listed product to have five photos. Each of the posted photos should be at least 1000 pixels square. These are crucial factors in determining if a customer buys or not.  
  • Thumbnail: This is the premier photo of the product when it is listed. It’s the first thing a customer will see. As the first impression, it should be the very best you’ve got.
  • Product name: If you can get someone’s attention, do it. When the goal is sales, using a catchy or easily identifiable name is best. Just keep it within 140 characters.
  • Inventory details: This is a place for including standard information; things like unit prices, taxes, quantities, modifications (if applicable), sizes, colors, etc. 
  • Apply tags: This is a key factor. You can assign up to 13 tags for each individual item. This is a great way to increase a product’s discoverability. It’s a solid method to get a single product into multiple search categories with the right keywords. 
  • Shipping information: As expected, this is the place to include details about how items will be shipped to the customer. This pertains to mission-critical components of doing business, like forms of accepted payment, refund and exchange policies, shipping times, shipping costs, custom, and international fees, etc. 
  • Publish: One click and that product is now part of the Etsy ecosystem. 
  • Don’t forget digital: In addition to pushing physical products, Etsy supports the sale of digital goods like audio, text, images, etc.

4. Consider the cost of conducting business

etsy business fees beginners need to knowetsy business fees beginners need to know

Right off the bat, some easy-to-absorb information for newbies wondering how do beginners sell on Etsy is that opening up an Etsy account and listing a product only costs $0.20. With that singular investment, a product will be sent out online into Etsy’s natural customer traffic for four months or until the product is purchased. When that happens there is a 5% transaction fee relative to the sales price of that specific item. After a product is sold or its time runs out, the now-Etsy seller can choose to automatically renew that listing or handle it manually.

  • Automatic renewal: Great for anyone wondering how beginners sell on Etsy, this option keeps a product constantly renewed. There are no worries at all with this option. 
  • Manual control: With this option, Etsy sellers can choose which items are listed, and when. This is great for taking advantage of sales cycles, or for manipulating releases when a product is doing well or poorly.

Here, it’s worthwhile to consider how an accumulation of listings can affect business. Some key questions to consider at this point regarding how many items are intended for posting, how likely those products are to sell, and what are the total costs of making that action happen?

To generate those conclusions, some pretty specific data is needed. Here are the various fees that will have to be calculated when considering financial feasibility.

  • Listing: As mentioned above, there is a 20 cent fee for posting a product to Etsy. This listing lasts until the sale of the listed product or for 4 months. This fee must be renewed after it expires. 
  • Transaction: This is an applied 5% charge of the total cost during an item’s sale – including shipping and wrapping services. 
  • Payment processing fee: This occurs when a customer buys any product with a credit card through Etsy’s direct checkout service. Here, it’s 3% of the product’s full price and then an additional 25 cents. 
  • PayPal fee: As visible, this is the cost for PayPal transactions. The cost is 2.9% of the sold item’s full sale price and then 30 cents on the top. 
  • Shipping fee: This depends entirely on the sold product’s weight, size, and shipping destination. Etsy provides estimates for FedEx, USPS, and Canada Post
  • Advertising fee: This optional inclusion is for those merchants wanting to boost their visibility online. It’s accomplished primarily through the use of keywords and searches.

5. Be proactive in making sales happen

products to sell from homeproducts to sell from home

At this point, you’ve got a fully functioning eCommerce store bursting with personalized print-on-demand potential. Even if you’re just starting out, wondering how do beginners sell on Etsy, know that everything is all just waiting for customers to come through and purchase.

Having mentioned that, attracting customers is somewhere between art and science. Toward that end, here are some useful points of consideration regarding making the most of your online venture.

Stay organized

When you’re first starting out, it can be difficult to keep everything oriented in a clear layout. It’s super easy to lose track of things considering how easy it is to create a large number of new print-on-demand products with the new-and-improved Pintify mockup generator.

Develop your Brand

Consistency is key when it comes to branding. This can be a similar color structure, design, frequently releasing content, or just about any other method for building up your store, company, etc. This part is all about standing out from the competition in a way that makes them want to keep coming back after their initial experience.

While you might be a fledgling entrepreneur struggling with information like how do beginners sell on Etsy, here are a few methods that big brands all use to cement themselves in the hearts and minds of consumers:

  • Mascots: This one is easy – because it works. It’s very likely that you can name quite a few off the top of your head. 
  • Logos: If they’re catchy, explanatory, or funny, that’s great. If not, as long as it works. This is a great place to capitalize on whatever your identity happens to lead to.
  • Use a Slogan: Any business can be a great platform to spread a message. If people resonate with that idea – they’ll be more likely to buy, tell their friends, and expand that message. 

Continue making products

Odds are, any effort will eventually equal improvement. So, even while you might’ve made some great products already, it’s very possible that a bestseller is right around the digital corner. No matter if you’re a superstar or a hopeful youth struggling with ideas like how do beginners sell on Etsy, Printify’s catalog is continually expanding, meaning new product variations, and options. Staying on top of these trends can make the difference for a thriving store.

design your own products and sell on Etsydesign your own products and sell on Etsy

This could be as easy as introducing a few sweaters and hoodies during winter months, to busing out a few tank tops during summer. Remember, you can create as many Printify products you want, for free. With this deck, you can strategically release high selling items into Etsy during high sales periods, then withdraw them during lulls in the hype.

Include professional-grade photography

Your photos will be the first thing a customer sees when looking at your products. This first impression is among the most important aspects of your overall presentation, as it can easily draw a customer in, or turn them away.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean hiring a professional. However, that could solve most of your problems here. Otherwise, there are a few ways to make sure your photos are as attractive as possible.

  • Hero shots: Shot against a pure white background, these stylish introductions to a product give potential customers a chance to see the item they’re interested in full detail. To make sure customers have the ability to zoom in closely for comparisons, use high-resolution photos only. 
  • Lifestyle shots: These are photos that show the product in action – in a real-life setting. For example, if you’re selling clothing, these should show people enjoying themselves while decked out in branded content.
  • Take a second look: Sometimes, it’s easy to rush through a series of photos. Often, the best way is to take a break and then revisit your selections later on. 
  • Use proper lighting: While it’s always easy to snap a few photos, taking the time to present your products in the best lighting is a surefire way to make sure that you’ve picked the best one.
  • Pick your background: The internet is littered with hilarious (or tragic) mistakes regarding photographers so focused on the foreground that they forgot something important in the background. Done right, these selections can really enhance a product’s appeal. 

How do beginner sell on Etsy: Common mistakes to avoid

how do beginners sell on Etsy: mistakeshow do beginners sell on Etsy: mistakes

While starting a business on your own can be an entirely new experience, there’s some great news in the fact that so many other people have tried the same thing before. That means that you can easily benefit from their experiences – both good and bad.

Along the way, there are quite a few common pitfalls that can trouble new entrepreneurs working their way through Etsy. Make your life a lot easier by skirting the tricky problems below. 

Don’t use generic product names and product descriptions

Regardless of whatever you happen to be selling on Etsy, that item needs to stand out from the thousands of others. If an item is simply a stand-issue name template, it’ll be hard to differentiate from other similar products.

Try to personalize each of your listed items with a little creativity. In fact, Etsy has an official guide for helping merchants write their product descriptions.

Lagging on SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are just part of the eCommerce landscape now. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources out there to help people get better results – meaning their products show up more often in people’s searches.

  • Unique product descriptions and names: Being interesting and invested is a great way to boost search results. This means going as far as to full out the ‘About Us’ section on your Etsy shop’s page. 
  • Linking to other products: You can easily bounce similar products between different variations. Take advantage of pairing or offering suggestions. 
  • Blogging: Doing a little writing is a great way to increase consumer connectivity with your store. It’s not a stretch to discuss the reasoning behind including a particular product in your inventory, how something is decorated, or the underlying meaning behind a message, slogan, etc. Use the feature as a proactive asset, rather than a necessary evil. 
  • Singular keywords: Whenever someone looks up a one-word keyword, they will get thousands of results. This means that your products will be lost within a sea of other items. Make sure to stand out by using more descriptive keywords.

Stay the course

When you’re first starting out, things can seem unfamiliar and scary. Furthermore, it often takes some time for sales to start coming in. This is the testing period that separates merchants from hobbyists. If you’re serious about using Etsy to start an income stream, put in the time and trust in your process. Good things take time – it’ll all be worth it when your bank account starts skyrocketing.

Make it happen right now.

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