How to Make Money on Etsy

As one of the globe’s leading artisan marketplaces, Etsy can be a side hustle or a full-time occupation. Thrive My Way posts that Etsy has 4.36 million sellers (and over 80 million buyers!), and this competition can be overwhelming; how to sell on Etsy and turn it into something lucrative? The first thing to know is that it is not a free service, since there are fees charged for what the company provides. There are many ways to make an Etsy business grow, and some of the best tips come from those who have “been there, done that.”



How Much Does it Cost to Sell on Etsy?

The best place to learn about what the site and mobile apps charge is to go to the source: Etsy’s fees and payments policy page. As of 2022, sellers are charged $0.20 for each items listed for sale whether or not they sell; they can be edited for free, but renewing an item is also $0.20. This can get complicated when you are selling a lot and/or have multiple listings, so it’s important to understand how these work. The fees are deducted when items are published and renewed, and are not refundable.


Each time you sell something on Etsy, you’ll be charged a transaction fee amounting to 6.5% of the selling price displayed on the listing − this includes any shipping and gift wrapping charged to buyers. So if you sold a $50 item with a $10 shipping fee, you’ll owe Etsy a $3.90 for the transaction. The company also has a section devoted to taxes, so you’ll want to become familiar with that as well.


Etsy also offers fee-based advertising and promotional services that help sellers build their brands. Both work through their advertising dashboards in the shop managers, and are easy to use. With Etsy Ads, sellers decide how much they want to spend and with offsite ads, sellers only get charged when the advertising directly leads to sales. They also offer Etsy Plus, a subscription program with expanded selling tools; this is $10 a month. Other fees may apply for payment processing, currency conversion and operating fees.



How to Sell on Etsy for Beginners

Etsy is most suitable for independent artisans and creators and distributors of handmade, vintage and niche items. And according to eDesk, the site isn’t for mass-produced items but there are sellers to have small runs of factory-produced items. Most are run by individual entrepreneurs, and 97% do it from home so there’s often little overhead costs to worry about other than supplies and Etsy fees.


To set up an Etsy store once your inventory is ready to go, visit the website and scroll all the way down until you see the word “sell.” Click here, and you will be guided through the entire process of setting up a new shop. You’ll have to enter the location, language preference and currency type. A store name also has to be chosen, and it can be from four to 20 characters only. Think of something that reflects your brand in a creative way, but lets people know what you’re selling.


When the store is set up, you can choose the payment method and give Etsy your own identification and billing information. Your customers will be able to pay with credit cards, PayPal and Etsy Payments. You’ll also need to figure out the shipping fees and shipping times, which are also calculated at this point. Finally, you can start listing your products and accompanying photos.


Things to Sell on Etsy

One of the most popular product categories is Art & Collectibles, with different subcategories. If you want to know how to sell prints on Etsy, Acrylic Pouring offers some helpful advice. They explain that making prints of original artwork can be expensive, and advise creating and selling digital files that buyers can easily download and print on their own. It’s a good idea to offer both options; one price for the original piece and another for the digital prints. The digital versions will have to be high quality, so you’ll need a great camera, tripod and photo editing software.


Out and Beyond claims that stickers are another one of the best-selling items under Etsy’s art & collectibles category, but there are startup costs involved if you’ve never done this before. So how to make stickers to sell on Etsy? You’ll need a good all-in-one printer, an iPad+Apple Pencil, a cutting tool, sticker paper and design software like Procreate or Canva. To save money, you can get a Wacom tablet instead of the Apple. Design the stickers by drawing them or piecing together clip art, and format it onto the paper and print. They can be cut out by hand or with a sticker paper cutter like Cricut Explore Air 2; from there, you package the stickers up and ship them out when they get sold.



Optimizing Product Pages on Etsy

Etsy searches work with query matching (blue and yellow balloon stickers) and rankings. Etsy’s context-specific ranking shows buyers relevant listings that are based on queries and consumer shopping habits on their sites. Keeping this in mind, it’s crucial to understand how effective SEO (search engine optimization) can bring you product pages up to the tops of the ranking pages.


Determine which selling category your products fit into, and employ keywords into your title and product description; this will make it stand out from your competitors. So if you are selling handmade mittens, think about using words like “handcrafted,” “virgin wool” and of course, “mittens.” Etsy also lets you tag your products, so also choose these carefully as well. Be sure to use keywords through your product pages too for the best results.


Promoting Etsy Pages

There’s more to selling on Etsy than creating a shop and letting the products sit there until they get noticed. Adobe Express agrees about the importance of SEO optimization, and adds other tips to help Etsy sellers promote their goods. Although it costs $0.20 each time, it makes sense to update and repost products often since Esty pushes new ones up to the top of their search results. They also have an auto-renew tool which does the work for you. And to leverage email marketing, save every buyer’s email, store it in a database and send out email newsletters, how-to-guides and special offers; repeat business is good business.


To encourage word-of-mouth advertising, start with a referral program that gives special deals to customers who refer new customers to your shop. You can also encourage customers to share your products on their social media by holding contests and giving away prizes. Post regularly on social media too: Use hashtags, hold giveaways and share customers’ product reviews under your stories. And if you are able to afford the investment, the Etsy Ads are another good option.


If you need further inspiration, Practical Ecommerce shares a list of the top selling shops on Etsy. The number one is called PlannerKate, who sells stickers (no surprise here), albums, planner kits and other things. CaitlynMinimalist ranked second, and sells minimalist, meaningful jewelry. The next few were Bead Boat (jewelry products and supplies), ModPart (handmade part favors and gifts) and Yakatum (jewelry supplies).