What You Need To Know Before Starting An Etsy Shop

Starting an Etsy shop in 2019 was a wonderful decision that led to thousands of dollars in income. I made a lot of mistakes which is why I want to share what you need to know before starting an Etsy shop.

Etsy fulfilled many personal and business needs for me, but I wish had known more about Etsy when I started. These lessons will help save you money and time as you grow an Etsy shop.

So what lessons did I learn after 450 sales in the first few months of my Etsy shop? These are the top 4!

You Need SEO For Etsy Success

If you want to succeed on Etsy then you need SEO.

Etsy SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your product listings for search traffic.

I get the majority of my traffic and sales from Etsy, not my socials or blog. The majority of my traffic comes from people searching for products on Etsy.

Some of that search traffic is from people searching for my Etsy shop because I’ve created a strong brand.

Minus the people searching specifically for “Pennies Not Perfection” there are many many more who are searching for keywords to find items they want to purchase.

Because Etsy functions as a marketplace driven by search, it sends buyers to shops based on keywords they use to search.

Those buyers are READY to buy something and your SEO brings them to your products.

Because search is so important that means SEO (search engine optimization) is important to a shop’s success.

There are several parts of SEO but you can learn all about Etsy SEO in order to increase your sales.

Here are some related articles that can help you learn:

Your Effort Determines Your Success

Your Etsy shop succeeds based on the level of effort you put in to making it succeed.

This has been very evident to me after many months of experience, experiments, and observation.

I’ve never been super pushy or sales focused because that’s not my natural personality. I love making helpful tools, but being loud about my products is not my style. However, I’ve watched Etsy sellers focus on promotion and get three times as many sales in the same amount of time.

Promotion matters.

Your effort promoting your products makes a difference.

If you really want to succeed you have to promote your listings. You need to find ways to share and get your products out there into the world.

Some placed to actively promote your products include:

  • Facebook groups or pages
  • Instagram pages
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • An email list

In addition to promotion, the level of effort you are putting into your shop will affect your sales numbers.

When you actively add new listings and update things you will make more sales.

If you are in a period of ignoring your shop then it will become stagnate and sales will drop.

The level of effort I put into my shop responded in the amount of sales I received.

It Is Just As Easy To Sell Expensive Items

When I started selling on Etsy, I was scared to sell anything over $2 or to ever raise my prices.

Because I wasn’t confident in my ability to create and sell, I told myself the false story that it is easier to sell cheap items.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It takes just as much effort to sell a cheap item as it does a more expensive one.

While it might take more effort to create the more expensive item – the effort to sell it on Etsy is similar to selling something cheaper.

This revelation only came to me personally 6 months after I started an Etsy shop! I played it too safe in the first 6 months of my shop and my revenue was much lower because of it.

Once I started selling bundles and higher priced items my earnings went up. In fact, the best seller in my shop is one of my most expensive items!

The difference in effort to sell those more expensive items? Zero. SEO and promotions are all the same regardless of price.

Etsy Controls Your Shop

Unfortunately the last thing I wish I knew before I started selling on Etsy is not a positive one but it is true.

Etsy controls your shop and can change the rules whenever.

This is true whether it benefits your bottom line or not.

As an example, Etsy enacted a change with mandatory off site advertising for your listings if you make over $10k a year. It’s not something you can opt out of and you have no choice whether or not your shop participates.

Changes like that led many people to leave Etsy. Even if that type of advertising is not part of their business strategy Etsy required it and took the 12-15% of the sales price.

Using a site like Etsy has many positives but you are giving up a level of control in order to use it. You can accept this and deal with the changes as they come or you can look at selling on Etsy alternatives.

This is actually one of the reasons I recently started selling budgeting printables on my own website.

Selling printables via Shopify allowed me to keep more of the money from my sales and have more control over my marketing.

Sell On Shopify

Shopify takes care of everything from marketing and payments to secure transactions and shipping. Sell digital or physical products with ease.

I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Opening An Successful Etsy Shop

Those are a few of the things I wish I had know before starting my Etsy shop that can also help you as a new Etsy seller.

Etsy has been an incredible addition to my online business! It’s been a great way to get started with selling products and interacting with customers in the marketplace.

If you are interested in opening your own Etsy shop, I’ve shared instructions in the video below.

You can use this link to get 40 free listings on Etsy when you start your shop. When you open a new shop Etsy recommends starting with at least 10 listings but I have started both of my shops with 1 item.

Building A Successful Etsy Shop

Tips I’d recommend for building a successful Etsy shop from the beginning:

  • have a strong niche where your products are very focused on either one niched area or style
  • create a strong brand story and share that in your shop and listings
  • continue your brand elements throughout the shop via colors and fonts
  • share photos that clearly show your items and how they can be used
  • make your descriptions clear and very descriptive – the more the better when you are explaining what comes with your item and how it can improve someone’s life
  • clearly articulate your shop’s policies if you don’t offer refunds or have specific policies that a buyer needs to share
  • build your shop with more listings to bring in new buyers and more traffic
  • make sure you promote your listings both on Etsy with seo and ads and off Etsy with social media

Those are a few of my best tips and I hope your new Etsy shop thrives!

Learn How To Sell On Etsy

Here are some posts about starting and growing an Etsy shop and selling digital products that may help you:

Here are some Etsy seller posts that may help you:

Etsy Basics:

Etsy Resources:

Products to sell on Etsy:

Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.

Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.

Her favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, where she built a custom portfolio for free with no fees. She shares her portfolio growth and savings progress every month on YouTube.