Before I started my Etsy shop, I had a lot of questions about how I should set up my listings, how much everything cost, and all sorts of things. Now that I’ve been at this for a bit and have gotten a few sales under my belt, I want to share that information with you!
How much does it cost?
The startup cost to Etsy is on the lower end. For each listing, it costs $0.20 to make the listing live. If you have a referral link (you can find mine here), you get 40 listings free (an $8 value) and your referrer gets listings for free as well. Once an item sells, Etsy takes 5% of the total sale and charges a transaction fee. More information can be found here. So to start, it’s a fairly low cost. There are no monthly fees needed (premium features do have monthly fees but they are not necessary when starting out).
How much work is it?
Etsy isn’t something that you just put up a listing and it instantly sells. For some people, it’s a great hobby. And if that’s the case for you, the good news is that you can put in as much or as little time as you want. If you want Etsy to be more of a business, however, it’s going to take some time. I have a free chart for tracking what needs to be done for each Etsy listing here and a blog post to go with it. Essentially, you have to create an item, describe the item, photography, and then research the best way to get found. And then after you do all of that, you have to update the item as needed until you find what works for you (you can find suggestions for updates here). And then there’s marketing…
How much time does it take to create a shop?
Once you create your items, all you really need is a picture of your product and a description. Realistically, you need a lot more. What I’ve learned is that batching different activities helps me work faster once I got the hang of everything. You can create a bunch of designs all at once, do all your research at once, and do a bunch of your crafting at once. If I’m not batching, at this point it takes me about twenty minutes to create a listing. With batching, I can create about seven in an hour.
There are other parts of the shop as well.
How many items do you need to have?
It all depends on how saturated your market is. I sell in saturated markets so my goal is to have more than 100 listings for each type of item I sell. I’ve heard jewelry is another saturated market where the more items you have the better. If you have a less saturated market, then 40-50 listings
What tools are necessary?
In order to list on Etsy, you need a computer and an Internet connection. I recommend either a laptop or a desktop because certain things cannot be done from the Etsy app on a tablet or phone. You’re going to need something to take and edit pictures with (a
Do I need to be technology oriented?
I am a software engineer so this stuff must come easily to me, right? The answer is complicated. Software engineering doesn’t directly translate into using software that I haven’t written and some of this stuff is very different from what I’m used to. It certainly helps, but even I have to turn to Google and YouTube every now and then. The nice thing about Etsy is that there are a lot of resources out there to help you. Most of them are free, or you can take a course (I’ve taken two that a great for different reasons). It’s an entirely new skill set to expect there to be a learning curve no matter where you are in your journey.
Is Etsy the right place for a newly created business?
Absolutely! The thing I love about Etsy is that it’s a marketplace. That means that people search for something specific and Etsy is going to help users find your items. Because there are so many people already using Etsy, it means there’s a built-in audience. And because of the low fees starting up (most of your fees are paid after an item is sold, it’s a great place to try out new ideas and new products. There are other more expensive options out there (Amazon Handmade, eBay, and Shopify are a few examples), and those may be a better fit for your business down the road. But starting out I don’t think you’re going to do much better than Etsy.
Did I miss any of your questions? Ask away in the comments!
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