Can I Make Money Selling On Etsy?

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If you have a talent for creating beautiful handcrafts, artwork, or jewelry, you might be able to get paid for your goods on Etsy. While there are the traditional arts and crafts shows that communities and convention centers host, there is usually an entrance fee. With Etsy, you can attract customers that are looking for specific items to purchase that will be delivered directly to their home or business. The internet has made it easy for just about anybody to sell their handiwork. You may ask, can I make money selling on Etsy? Read on for more information.

History of Etsy

Etsy was founded in 2005 as a “peer-to-peer e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items.” At the end of 2017, Etsy stated they have 33 million active sellers. The total international gross sales amount in 2017 was $3.25 billion. Over half of the sales made were done through mobile phone.

The popular site Pinterest often includes links to Etsy shops. Most of the sites that rank higher than Etsy are search engines, social media, news websites, and other e-commerce sites.  In a nutshell, a lot of people visit Etsy on a daily basis looking to buy unique items.

What Can Be Sold On Etsy?

Individuals and business can sell on Etsy. You can pretty much sell anything on Etsy as long as it can ship in a box and fits in one of the following categories:

  • Handmade Goods
  • Vintage Items (at least 20 years old)
  • Craft Supplies

You do not need to have a finished craft to sell on Etsy. As a seller of supplies, you can sell items like buttons, painting canvases, specialty tools, etc. The sky is the limit for supplies and finished goods. Chances are whatever you are thinking of selling is already listed by at least one other Etsy shop. That is a good thing, it means that shoppers are looking to buy products similar to the ones you plan to sell.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell On Etsy

The first question that comes to most entrepreneur’s minds when wanting to sell their products is how much does it cost to list and sell the product. If you cannot make a profit because the commission and fees are too high, it doesn’t make sense to try selling on Etsy. Compared to Amazon and eBay, Etsy is pretty reasonable. Here is what you can expect to pay in fees for each product sold:

Etsy Fees For Each Product Sold
Listing Fee 20 cents (Non-refundable initial fee)
Transaction Fee 3.5%
Payment Processing 3.0% plus 25 cents

The listing fee is unavoidable but still affordable. It costs 20 cents per item listed (you will pay $1.00 to list 5 items), but the items will remain listed for four months. If they do not sell during that timeframe, you will have to pay the listing fee again to relist the item.

While these items can be sold on Amazon and eBay too, Etsy keeps less money than these two larger companies. People who visit Etsy are probably more serious buyers as they are visiting a marketplace that specializes in the items they are searching for.

How To Start Selling

Getting started on Etsy is easy. There are no application fees or recurring monthly membership fees. In a matter of minutes, you will create a name for your “Etsy shop” and list the types of items you will be selling. As long as you have a payment method for the 20-cent listing fees, you can start selling as soon as your account is set up.

With each listing you get the following to help optimize your products to attract the highest quantity of buyers:

  • Listing for 4 months
  • 5 photos to display the product
  • Item Title & Description that can also appear in Google Searches
  • Analytics data that shows how many shoppers have viewed your product

You will want to try your best to use relevant keywords to help attract people to your listing when they are browsing the search results either on Etsy or Google. Regarding photos, pictures with natural light are more desirable than those taken inside under a fluorescent or LED light.

All these little things will help your item “pop out”. People will click on your listing compared to the other results on the page. If you have ever shopped on Etsy, think about why you clicked on one listing instead of another. Did the item title or quality of photos attract you?

Tips For Being Successful on Etsy

While there is a better chance that you will get more visitors to your Etsy shop than a brand-new webpage that only you and a few close friends might know exists, there is still a lot of competition of Etsy. Established sellers with positive feedback and recommendations will probably rank higher in search results on Etsy.

Run Your Etsy Shop Like A Business

With any e-commerce sales platform, to make a consistent amount of money you need to invest time in your Etsy shop as a part-time job. Not a hobby. There are several different approaches, but the most important is to remember quality over quantity. Unlike Amazon or eBay that list the cheapest items first, Etsy has a different algorithm for ranking product listing. You can list 100 items and possibly not sell a single item if nobody clicks on them. A good title, description, and photos will improve your chances of making a sale.

If there are certain item listings that are getting lots of views, you can pay Etsy an additional fee to promote your listing to appear at the top of the search results pages. Only you can decide if the opportunity cost justifies the additional expense. It might be worth trying for one or two items as a test.

Competitive Pricing

The hard thing with handcrafts is pricing them low enough to make a sale but still high enough to make a decent profit. A lot of sellers feel a product should sell for more than listed because of the time and material invested. You shouldn’t try to undersell other sellers as people might not think your product is of high-quality, but it needs to be within the ballpark price of similar items.

Etsy Relevancy & Search Engine Optimization

When you type a keyword into Google, the top search results didn’t appear on page 1 by random chance. It took time for these companies to earn these coveted spots and it takes Etsy shops time to earn these top rankings too. The best way to accomplish these rankings is to be active on the Etsy platform by “liking” other Etsy shops and networking with others by joining Etsy teams. As more people visit your Etsy shop, your listing should rank higher in search results. This process might take several months to see noticeable results.

Market on Social Media

Probably the best social media platform to advertise on is Pinterest. You can find a pin for just about anything on Pinterest. Also, tons of people visit the website every day for recipes, craft ideas, and niche products. You might be able to convince people that it is easier to buy your work than to try and make their own.

Etsy allows you to directly share your listing on Facebook and Twitter, which can also attract visitors. But as Etsy is the go-to spot for people looking to buy handmade items, Pinterest is the go-to social media platform for handcrafters.

Can I Make Money Selling On Etsy?

It is possible to make money on Etsy. As it is an established platform, there is more competition between sellers. It is still possible to make sales if you are patient and commit. As the commission fees are lower than Amazon and eBay, serious entrepreneurs will be able to bring home more income. If you are on the fence, it cannot hurt to list several items and try to do some networking. For 20 cents per item and a few hours of time, you can be opening a new income source.

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