Sometimes, your next money-making idea doesn’t have to be so elaborated in order to achieve the desired results, especially when you’re just trying to make some extra cash or bet a long-term option to quit your full-time job or have your own business in the future.
Does this mean that anything can be done to make money? Even that idea you have in mind of selling your handmade products and items? Of course! Why wouldn’t you?
With the internet, there are many more opportunities now to sell things that it doesn’t matter what it is; you can rest assured you will find a place where you can get money for what you own as long as it is indeed valuable.
Handmade items are loved by many, and in our case, we are always spending money every month trying to buy details or some big products to enhance our homes, workspaces, or just because we like it at the moment.
This means the handmade niche is profitable because, just like us, there are millions of people doing the same while others are sporadic yet still consumers.
Taking this idea to how it is actually done, most people rely on Etsy as the main platform to sell handmade items, and if you are aiming for the same, this guide and information will help you to get started or decide whether this is for you or not.
Things First: What Is Etsy?
Before we start jumping to the side hustle and what it is about in specific (though we believe it is very straightforward), we need to make sure you’re familiar with the platform.
Have you ever heard about Etsy? Or is this the first time you start reading something related to it? Maybe you are a common buyer on the platform?
Regardless of your answer, we need to record how it works for the side hustle you will consider.
Etsy is an online platform and marketplace that allows independent artists and crafters to sell their products online by connecting them with customers.
The reason behind the mention of handmade items is because Etsy is associated with handmade toys and collectibles, art, home goods, jewelry, clothing, and holiday items.
Unlike Amazon and Walmart, everything on the site is created, collected, curated, and sold by its sellers, which makes it a specific place for those unique items you would usually find in some bazaars or specific places in a minimarket.
Independent business owners manage their inventory and orders, as well as produce the goods. Etsy is a middle-man that allows smaller independent creators to attract customers and provides a platform for them to do so. It is that simple.
Etsy was established in 2005. The site had more than half a million users during its first year, made $26 million in sales, and was still half-operating for the following years.
Today, the platform has over 3 million sellers and crafters that post around 60 million products as of 2021.
This platform’s rapid success was not due to its warehouses but rather through its independent sellers.
It is a group of online shop owners who women have dominated for many years. 87% of Etsy sellers were identified as female in 2019, and we all know that over 50% of this population is bound to spend a lot on handmade items as well, which increases the percentage of users buying on them.
How It Works: Getting Started on Etsy
Finally, reaching the part you are interested in, we will go over how Etsy works and how you can create your seller’s account to get started.
Selling on Etsy and knowing how the process work doesn’t need to be as complicated as some people make it look. Instead, we consider it is quite simple and basic.
However, here’s a warning: It does require a lot of work and attention from the seller to make listings searchable and attractive and to provide excellent customer service.
Basically, you need to put a lot of work into your store to work because, yes, Etsy is about creating your own online store but using the main platform to build it.
That being said, here are a few steps you can follow to start your own eCommerce and have a better idea of how Etsy works:
- Plan your approach and business.
The fact it is digital and involves a third party doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan things ahead or as much as you can.
One of the first steps during this plan and business option is to browse Etsy to view the creative goods that are being sold so you can have an idea of what is valuable on the site and work around those items or come up with a better option to hit the market.
To your plan, add this: Keep one item when starting.
It makes it easier for marketing, and you can focus your attention on making it as good as possible to increase your sales. You can also be original in creating custom clothing or other designs.
Anything that must be considered in any business, like your budget and regular options, must be included in this plan you are tailoring.
- Next, you start by registering.
When you’ve come with your plan, you can start working towards what is required to understand how Etsy works.
Go to the website and sign up for the service. You will need to choose a username and fill all the remaining fields, including name, details about what you will sell, and add a profile photo.
The photo must be about you since the one for your shop will come later on.
- Create your shop.
Once you have created an Etsy account, navigate to the bottom “Shop on Etsy” that is located at the right of any Etsy page’s search bar. There, you will create a shop.
During the settings and establishing the elements of your shop, you will have to choose your language, country, currency, and shop name. A professional logo or user photo is necessary to appeal to customers.
- Go back to research.
Before you start posting or uploading products for your shop, you need to go back to the planning phase and determine the right products, but along with them, you need to follow SEO best practices to appear on the search results.
For this, you can do research on similar products you will sell to determine which keywords you should target, and this process will also help you to determine your pricing.
- Sellers need to create listings.
Once you have your store set up, it is time to publish listings directly.
The listings are just the part of uploading your items, and for it, you should use high-quality photographs. Also, use your research to create searchable listings that include compelling descriptions.
You should set prices that cover both the cost of supplies and your time, as well as listing and shipping costs.
- Start selling.
Once you have created your listings, it is only natural for them to appear on the platform or, more like, be available for users to purchase them.
To know how well you are performing on sales, keep an eye on your account to determine how much traffic you are getting.
You might need to update your listings with more keywords and photos if customers are not finding your products and adjust your marketing strategies when using other platforms.
To drive more traffic to your listings, you might consider advertising for specific keywords that are usually long-tail ones.
However, this selling part is basically the process of the customers connecting with your products and getting your shop started.
- Handle shipment.
Finally, Etsy isn’t a platform that takes care of the shipment of the products since you are the one with stock. Thus, you need to ship them to customers.
Etsy customers can leave feedback about you as a seller or the quality of your product, and this usually includes your attention to detail when packaging your items.
This final part also includes providing professional customer support that involves telling your customers about the speed at which the item was shipped and how to contact you if the problem persists. You can even set a “send shipping notifications” option to allow customers to know where their products are.
So, basically, Etsy works and can be used like most selling platforms like Amazon and eBay. You create an account and start uploading your items.
However, what is interesting about the eCommerce platform is that you create an additional shop and don’t use your main profile to sell handmade items.
In other words, you have your account with the name, but the shop allows you to set a brand apart when building the shop and listings, which can be customized with different colors.
As for the rest, everything works the same:
- Upload your items.
- Market them.
- Wait for customers.
- Sell and ship the items.
What Do You Need to Sell on Etsy?
One of the best benefits of this side hustle is that you need almost nothing to start on it.
Of course, the materials for your crafted items that will be sold are the basics to get going with this option, but you won’t be dealing with the usual physical elements and logistics.
Everything’s online, which simplifies the process and allows you to work from anywhere in the world and just keep making your items.
You will only need a computer and smartphone to operate and take your photos to upload the listing while using the desktop page or the Etsy app for your Etsy shop.
But what about the skills part? Well, it is debatable.
You don’t actually need to know how to make handmade items since some Etsy sellers buy them to someone else for low prices and resale them on the platform. This is just like the usual buy-sell process.
However, if you are the one making the items, that would be ten times better for your future Etsy’s reputation, but in this case, it means you need to have a certain talent for something that can be crafted or made.
In our opinion, you can learn anything like painting, knitting, or maybe creating poems and selling them printed. Everything is valid on Etsy, and you just need to be creative.
Don’t feel limited with things like talent and special skills. As long as you work hard and are a bit creative to come up with ideas, everything can be done with this side hustle.
Now, before we go to our next section, the parts that involve equipment, materials, and maybe take some classes, how much would they cost? It all depends.
Usually, you don’t need to spend money on Etsy to get started except for the items you make or will resale. Basically, you only need the usual investment, but no fees are applied initially for those who want to join Etsy.
As for a smartphone or computer, this is pretty much natural today and just make sure you get the best out of your camera to take the products’ photos or ask someone else to do it or lend you the equipment.
Also, consider using the Etsy app to upload photos and do your listing on the spot when you find it uncomfortable in some situations.
Now, there’s something you will think we are missing here: Etsy fees.
Setting up the shop doesn’t cost anything, but the items you will list do have a price.
The listing fee per item is set at $0.20 and only lasts four months, which means you need to post the item once more and pay the fee after the period ends.
In addition, the transaction fee is set at 5% of the sale price per item sold.
Finally, you can choose an option to promote your items on Etsy like the usual ads on other platforms, and the minimum you can invest for this is $1 a day.
But How Much Money Can You Earn?
Just like every selling business, making money with Etsy isn’t that simple or more like fast. Instead, you might have to wait a few weeks until you see your first sale.
However, you can reduce those weeks to only a few days if you use the right SEO strategy, sell items that people are looking for, and dedicate some time to track your progress and reach.
Now, the cash you can make from selling depends on what you are selling and, of course, how much you sell.
Based on some averages and statistics, beginners or recent eCommerce owners make about $100 to $250 during the first three or four months in Etsy. However, many of them notice an increase to $500 during the following ones.
People who have spent a lot of time on the platform and have a successful store can easily reach the thousands of dollars mark.
The point here is: You can make more money and more than the usual cash you get from part-time jobs.
Thus, you can keep in mind these numbers to learn how much you can aspire for:
- First 5 months: Between $100 and $250.
- After five months: Can increase to $500.
- After a year: Some go up to $1k or even $2k+ depending on the items sold.
Etsy is a good option based on the fees and how specialized the niche is to avoid all the people on places like Amazon and eBay, but it is true it can be a bit saturated due to its growing popularity.
However, this side hustle saves you time, allows you to work from home, and can turn into a great full-time business as your main source of income later.
Just be patient and take the time to go over the steps and understand better how things unfold and continue to change and remember to check your sales history, set your bank account properly, look at your shop stats, deactivate items when necessary, and have a look at other small businesses.
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