How to Make Money as an Etsy Shop Owner

By Lace Brunsden


Side Hustles

Lace Brunsden

Lace Brunsden

Writer & Career Coach

Etsy, a renowned platform for selling handmade, vintage, and unique items, has become a haven for creative entrepreneurs. In a growing trend, individuals are leveraging their creative passions to craft profitable side hustles in this thriving online marketplace. Join us as we explore the secrets to your Etsy side hustle’s success, from setting up shop to turning your artistic endeavors into a lucrative business venture.

Getting Started on Etsy: Setting the Foundation

1. Signing up for an Etsy Account and Shop

The first step on your journey to becoming a successful Etsy shop owner is to create an Etsy account. Fortunately, the process is straightforward and free. Simply visit Etsy’s website and click on the “Sell on Etsy” option, where you’ll be prompted to sign up or log in if you already have an account. Once you’ve signed up, you can start building your own unique Etsy shop.

2. Choosing a Unique Shop Name and Branding

Your shop’s name is more than just a label; it’s the first impression potential customers will have of your brand. Consider brainstorming a name that reflects your style, products, and personality. Keep it memorable and easy to spell, as this will make it easier for customers to find you.

Next, consider your branding. This includes your shop’s banner, logo, and overall aesthetic. These visual elements should align with the identity you want to convey to your target audience. Make sure they are cohesive and visually appealing, as they will play a significant role in attracting and retaining customers.

3. Understanding Etsy’s Fees and Payment Processing

Before you dive into an Etsy side hustle, it’s crucial to understand the financial aspects of running your shop. This is especially true if you are trying to figure out how to start an Etsy shop with no money, or very little money. Etsy charges various fees that you need to be aware of, including:

  • Listing Fees: Every item you list in your shop incurs a small listing fee, which is typically $0.20 per item. Listings last for four months or until the item sells.
  • Transaction Fees: Etsy charges a transaction fee of 5% on the total sale price (including shipping) for each item you sell.
  • Payment Processing Fees: When you receive payment from a customer, there is a payment processing fee. This fee varies depending on your location and currency but is generally around 3% plus $0.25 per transaction.

What to Sell on Etsy – 14 Etsy Shop Ideas

Choosing the right products to sell on Etsy is a critical decision that can significantly impact your success as a shop owner. In this section, we will explore a diverse range of Etsy shop ideas, from handmade crafts that showcase your creative talents to digital downloads that tap into the growing digital market. Whether you’re a seasoned seller looking to expand your product line or a newcomer seeking inspiration or trying to figure out how to start an Etsy shop with no money, this curated list of Etsy shop ideas will help you discover the perfect niche for your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Handmade Crafts to Sell on Etsy

Handmade objects can be a creative hobby or a lucrative Etsy side hustle. Here are a few popular crafts to sell on Etsy if you enjoy making things with your hands and want to figure out what to sell on Etsy:

  • Jewelry: Crafting unique jewelry pieces allows you to showcase your creativity and craftsmanship. Requirements include jewelry-making supplies, creativity, and a flair for design. Earnings can vary widely, but many jewelry makers earn a substantial income, with some reaching six figures annually.
  • Home Decor: Handmade home decor items like wall art, throw pillows, and decorative signs are always in demand. This category requires crafting skills, an eye for design, and materials. Potential earnings depend on the quality and uniqueness of your products, but successful home decor shops can earn a steady income.
  • Candles: Crafting candles offers a delightful sensory experience. You’ll need wax, fragrance oils, and creative packaging. Earnings vary, but successful candle makers can earn a comfortable side income.
  • Natural Beauty and Skincare Products: The growing demand for natural and organic skincare products presents a fantastic opportunity. Requirements include knowledge of skincare ingredients, safety regulations, and quality packaging. Earnings can range from a modest side hustle to a full-time income for established brands.

2. Printable Artwork and Digital Downloads

Figuring out what to sell on Etsy when you have no money can be difficult. But, printable artwork and digital downloads are often your safest bet. Here are a few Etsy business ideas that fall into this category.

  • Printable Artwork: Creating digital art and selling printable wall art, posters, and prints is a lucrative niche. You’ll need graphic design skills and software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Earnings depend on your marketing and design skills, but many artists earn a substantial passive income.
  • Digital Planners and Organizers: As digital planning gains popularity, offering digital planners and organizers can be profitable. You’ll require design software and organizational skills. Earnings can range from a steady side income to a full-time business, depending on your niche and marketing efforts.
  • Labels & Stickers: Crafting digital labels and stickers for various purposes can be a profitable venture. Graphic design skills and software are essential. Earnings depend on your niche and marketing, but it’s possible to generate a consistent income.
  • Digital Wallpapers: Designing digital wallpapers for computers and mobile devices can be a fun and profitable endeavor. You’ll need graphic design skills and creativity. Earnings vary, but successful wallpaper creators can earn a steady income.

3. Vintage and Thrifted Items

  • Clothing and Accessories: Selling vintage clothing, handbags, and accessories is a great way to tap into the nostalgia market. Requirements include sourcing vintage items and photography skills. Earnings depend on the rarity and quality of your finds, with some vintage sellers making substantial profits.
  • Toys: Vintage and collectible toys are sought after by collectors. Sourcing unique toys and knowledge of their value are key requirements. Earnings vary widely, but rare vintage toys can fetch high prices.
  • Books: Vintage and rare books, especially first editions, can be profitable. Sourcing rare books and knowledge of their value is crucial. Earnings depend on the rarity and demand for the books you offer.

4. Personalized Gifts and Custom Creations

  • Personalized Gifts: Creating custom-made gifts like monogrammed items, custom mugs, or engraved jewelry is a popular niche. You’ll need customization skills and quality materials. Earnings can be significant, especially during holidays and special occasions.
  • Thank You Cards: Designing personalized thank you cards and stationery items can be a delightful venture. Graphic design skills are essential. Earnings depend on your marketing and the uniqueness of your designs.
  • Wedding and Event Decor: Offering personalized wedding and event decor items can be lucrative. Creativity, crafting skills, and attention to detail are necessary. Earnings vary depending on the complexity and size of the projects, with wedding-related items often commanding higher prices.

Tips for Making More Money With Your Etsy Shop

Navigating the Marketplace: Research and Trend Analysis

  • Conducting Market Research: Before you start your Etsy side hustle, it’s crucial to understand the demand and competition for your products. Research similar listings, identify pricing trends, and assess your potential customer base to refine your strategy.
  • Studying Trending Items and Shop Niches: Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the marketplace. Explore trending categories and niches to see if there’s an opportunity to align your offerings with current consumer preferences.

Product Photography

  • Tips for Capturing Well-Lit, Clear, and Visually Appealing Photos: High-quality product photos are essential for attracting buyers. Invest in good lighting, use a clean backdrop, and employ professional photography techniques to make your products shine.
  • Importance of Multiple Angles: Showcase your items from various angles to provide a comprehensive view. Customers want to see the details and craftsmanship, so don’t skimp on showcasing your product’s unique features.
  • Editing Images for a Polished Look: Use photo editing software to enhance your images. Correct colors, adjust brightness, and crop photos for a polished, professional appearance that instills confidence in potential buyers.

Writing Product Descriptions: Storytelling and Details

  • Crafting Engaging and Informative Product Descriptions: Your product descriptions should tell a compelling story. Highlight the benefits and unique aspects of your items, addressing potential customer questions and concerns.
  • Incorporating Relevant Keywords: Optimize your product titles and descriptions with relevant keywords. This helps your listings appear in search results, increasing your visibility to potential buyers.

Pricing Strategies

  • Understanding Pricing Factors: Consider all costs involved in producing your items, including materials, labor, and overhead. Factor in a healthy profit margin that accounts for your time and effort.
  • Incorporating a Healthy Profit Margin: A healthy profit margin can vary widely depending on the industry, the size of the business, and other factors. However, a general guideline for a healthy profit margin is typically considered to be in the range of 10% to 20% or more. This means that after covering all expenses, including the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, taxes, and other costs, a business is left with a profit that represents 10% to 20% or more of its total revenue.
  • Offering Competitive Prices While Maintaining Perceived Value: Strive to strike a balance between competitive pricing and conveying the value of your handmade or unique products. Customers are willing to pay more for items they perceive as valuable.

Shipping and Customer Service

  • Setting Up Shipping Options and Rates: Take the time to configure your shipping options and rates accurately. Transparency in shipping costs helps prevent cart abandonment and fosters trust with customers.
  • Providing Accurate Shipping Times and Tracking Information: Be clear about estimated delivery times and provide tracking information whenever possible. Reliable shipping and communication contribute to positive customer experiences.
  • Offering Exceptional Customer Service: Go the extra mile to provide outstanding customer service. Address inquiries promptly, resolve issues professionally, and exceed customer expectations. Positive reviews and repeat business are often a result of exceptional service.

Marketing Your Shop: Reaching a Wider Audience

  • Utilizing Social Media Platforms: Leverage social media platforms to showcase your products. Share visually appealing content, engage with your audience, and use relevant hashtags to expand your reach.
  • Running Promotions, Discounts, or Special Offers: Entice potential buyers with limited-time promotions, discounts, or special offers. This can encourage first-time customers to make a purchase and foster loyalty among repeat buyers.
  • Collaborating with Influencers or Bloggers: Partner with influencers or bloggers in your niche for exposure. Their endorsements can introduce your shop to a broader audience and build credibility for your brand.

Challenges that You Might Face as an Etsy Shop Owner


One of the most significant challenges you’ll encounter on Etsy is the fierce competition. With millions of shops and countless sellers offering similar products, standing out can be a constant struggle. To overcome this challenge, focus on what makes your items unique and invest in effective marketing strategies to gain visibility.

Navigating Etsy’s SEO Algorithms

Etsy’s search algorithm can be both a blessing and a challenge. Understanding how it works and staying updated with changes can be daunting. To address this, invest time in learning about SEO best practices, optimizing your product listings with relevant keywords, and monitoring your shop’s performance analytics.

Handling Negative Feedback

Negative reviews are inevitable, but they can be disheartening. Dealing with dissatisfied customers and addressing their concerns professionally is crucial. Focus on providing exceptional customer service to minimize negative feedback and work towards resolving any issues that arise.

Seasonal Fluctuations

Depending on your niche, you may experience significant seasonal variations in sales. Preparing for slow seasons by diversifying your product range or planning marketing campaigns can help mitigate the impact of these fluctuations on your income.

Shipping and Logistics

Shipping can be a logistical challenge, especially if you’re selling internationally. Finding reliable shipping methods, calculating accurate shipping costs, and ensuring timely delivery are essential. Be transparent with customers about shipping times and keep track of shipping-related issues to maintain trust.

Legal and Tax Considerations

Running an Etsy side hustle means dealing with legal and tax obligations, which can be complex. Depending on your location and business structure, you may need to register your business, collect sales tax, or comply with other regulations. Consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure you’re meeting all legal requirements.


In conclusion, we’ve explored the exciting world of Etsy entrepreneurship, uncovering key strategies to help you thrive as a shop owner on this dynamic platform. We began by setting a solid foundation, from creating your shop to understanding fees and payment processing. Then, we delved into a variety of enticing Etsy business ideas, ranging from handmade crafts to personalized gifts, each offering its own potential for success. We also highlighted the significance of exceptional shipping, customer service, and savvy marketing techniques.

As you embark on your Etsy side hustle adventure, remember that challenges like competition, SEO algorithms, negative feedback, seasonal fluctuations, and legal considerations are all part of the entrepreneurial landscape. Embrace them as opportunities for growth and learning.

So, whether you’re an artisan, a craftsperson, or simply someone with a creative spark, now is the time to transform your passion into a profitable side hustle on Etsy. With dedication, innovation, and a dash of entrepreneurial spirit, you can turn your creative dreams into a flourishing reality. Your Etsy shop is not just a store; it’s your canvas for success. Start today, and let your creativity fuel your journey toward financial independence and artistic fulfillment. Happy selling!

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Lace Brunsden

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