Of course you can! Get ready to learn how in my Earning on Etsy series!
When I first heard about Etsy back in 2007, the entrepreneur and the crafter in me got curious. I wasn’t sure if I could make money. I didn’t have a business plan or goals. I wanted to try it, just an experiment. We were grateful for the success of my experiment when my Etsy income fed us during law school. Now it’s helping us as we continue to pay for law school.
I will tell you more of my story as my Earning on Etsy series continues, but for now, let’s talk about you!
Do you have a handmade specialty? Do you make jewelry? Do you sew clothes? Are you a potter? Are you a carpenter? Do you paint portraits? Whatever your crafty or artsy skills are, there is a way to market it on Etsy. If crafting isn’t your thing, but you frequent estate sales and have an eye for vintage treasures, you can sell those on Etsy too!
Etsy.com is an online marketplace for all things handmade. The possibilities really are endless. In addition to handmade, Etsy includes vintage items (at least 25 years old) as well as supplies for arts and crafts.
What should I sell?
Sell something that you enjoy creating. Something you’re good at making. Something that you’re proud of. Something that’s unique. If you can figure out how to ship it, then go right ahead and sell it. Browse Etsy to get your wheels turning. The sky is the limit!
Don’t let the logistics of shipping box you in, though. If it’s something you can’t ship, could you sell a pattern or tutorial to make it? You can sell digital creations on Etsy too, so patterns, photography, printables, web design and so many other ideas are fair game.
You have complete control over the price of the item and the shipping charges. You can decide where you are willing to ship. Many handmade items are made-to-order and production times vary, so you can specify in your listing how long it will be before the item is shipped.
Don’t let the price you think you should charge (whether high or low) dissuade you now. We will talk about pricing in another post. Right now, just brainstorm all of the possibilities of what you could sell.
How much does it cost?
- Etsy charges $.20 per listing. Each listing can include 5 photos and lasts 4 months or until the item sells. If you have more of the same item available, you can set your listing to renew automatically when an item sells. If you havent opened an Etsy shop yet, you can get your first 40 listings free.
- When a listing sells, you are charged 3.5% of the price (not including shipping). This is added to your monthly bill.
- Each month you get a bill from Etsy that included the listing fees ($.20 per listing), the transaction fees (3.5% of sale price) and shipping labels that you purchase through Etsy.
- You can determine the methods of payment you will accept. Paypal used to be the primary form of payment, but now Etsy has their own payment system, Direct Checkout, that also accepts credit and debit cards. You can also allow customers to send personal checks or money orders.
- PayPal charges a flat $.30 per transaction plus 2.7% of the total money collected (item price + shipping). Paypal takes the fees out and adds the remainder to your Paypal balance, which transfers easily to your regular checking or savings account.
- Direct Checkout charges a flat $.25 per transaction plus 3% of the total money collected (item price + shipping). Etsy takes out the Direct Checkout fees before making the remainder available in your Shop Payment Account. Deposits are made weekly into a bank account of your choice. With the push of a button, you can request that a deposit be made sooner though, if weekly isn’t soon enough.
For reference, eBay charges 10% of sale price+shipping price (and you are still charged PayPal fees on top of that)!
Etsy vs. my own website
- Etsy has lots of traffic. Etsy’s Alexa world rank is 136 (41 in the US), which is pretty awesome. You will not get anywhere near that on your own site.
- People looking to buy (and willing to pay for) handmade start searching on Etsy.
- Etsy listings show up high in Google ranks.
- There’s nothing wrong with setting up your own site (in fact it’s a great idea) and there’s nothing wrong with selling directly from your own site, but until you have a huge following, it will not be as profitable as your Etsy shop. And even if your site grows amazingly, you will miss out on customers who are searching directly on Etsy.
- Another thing Etsy really has going for it is trust. You can read reviews on the products and services of a specific seller. When I buy from a random website I am always afraid it might be some fly-by-night operation that has no reason not to just take my money and run.
- Etsy’s site is easy-to-use and streamlined. You would have to do a lot of design and coding to get something that looks as nice and works as well as Etsy. Some people complain that all the storefronts look too similar and aren’t customizable enough. Personally I think Etsy’s unified look is much classier than eBay, where stores have their own look.
You really can make money on Etsy.
Continue with the other 4 posts of the Earning on Etsy series where I will talk more about how to do market research, set up your shop, setting prices, marketing, and a whole slew of other tips and hints.
More in the Earning on Etsy Series
I am writing an ebook full of tips and success stories from some Etsy sellers who have it all figured out. I’ll also be going more in depth about some of the topics in my popular Earning on Etsy series. For notifications about my upcoming Etsy ebook (including a discount when it launches) please subscribe to my Etsy ebook mailing list below (which is different than my regular blog email subscription).
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