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How to Make Money on Etsy

If you like unique, handmade gifts, then you’re probably already familiar with Etsy. Etsy is my go-to for personalized gifts, home goods, stationary, Christmas cards . . . you name it! Did you know that 86% of Etsy sellers are women?(1) And they’re using Etsy to sell handmade goods as well as vintage and digital items!

Basically, if you’re in a product-based business, Etsy is a great way to get started or gain extra exposure. So, let’s talk about how to make money on Etsy.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Started?

The barrier to entry is pretty low—just 20 cents per listing. And that listing will be good for up to four months. If you’re just getting started on Etsy, take advantage of their deal to get your first 40 listings for free.

Here are some other costs to be aware of:

  • When you sell an item, Etsy takes 3.5% of your listed price.
  • Shipping and handling will need to be covered, but you can set in the product listing that the customer has to pay it.
  • Your method of accepting payment will also have a fee. For example, Etsy’s Direct Checkout system charges 25 cents per transactionplus 3% of the total.

With that in mind, it costs you around 7% or more of your revenue to do business on Etsy. But here’s why it’s worth it: It’s the number one online platform for selling handmade goods. Etsy has 1.9 million active sellers and 31.7 million active buyers.(2) So Etsy can be a serious moneymaker!

How to Make Money on Etsy

If you’re just opening an Etsy shop, you can have a lot of fun building out your storefront. So go ahead and set aside some time to dream up what you want it to look and feel like and to dig into the details of your products. The more intentional you are with your product display and branding, the more sales you will see.

Follow These Steps to Make Money on Etsy:

  1. Take high-quality photos of your product.

The best place to begin is to add photos to your product listing. Photos are everything on Etsy because that’s what people are scrolling through to decide what to purchase. They also communicate your brand.

You get 10 photo spots per item, and Etsy recommends posting at least five photos to keep shoppers engaged and give them a good feel for your product.

Here are some guidelines and suggestions from Etsy on what types of photos to post:

  • a direct shot of your item captured in natural light against a clean, white background
  • a close-up shot that captures detail
  • a shot of your product in use
  • a shot that illustrates the scale of your item
  • an image of your product in a holiday setting or one that features any holiday gift packaging you offer

This is your first impression, so you want to make it count! It’s also the best way for your customers to understand exactly what you’re selling. Your product won’t be well-represented in dark, grainy pictures shot from a distance on a flip phone. However, some of the latest camera phones do an incredible job of taking high-quality photos in the right lighting.

The way you style your photographs matter, too. If you’re selling boot socks or vintage jewelry, style the rest of your model’s outfit to complement what you’re selling. If you’re selling handmade wooden signs to hang above a baby’s crib, photograph your example in a Pinterest-perfect nursery.

Once your photos are uploaded, it’s time to fill in all the details of your listing.

  1. Write descriptive product copy.

Your copy is the words you use to describe your product. This is where you fill in all the details about your listing. This is your opportunity to communicate directly with the shopper and draw them in.


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Your listings should sound like you, so use words that are in line with the tone of your brand identity. Don’t just copy and paste what other Etsy users have written. Putting your own personality into the listing will set you apart.

Related: For more on making your product stand out, check out my video, “Your Unique Position,” in the Business Boutique Academy.

When you write clear and captivating copy about your product, your Etsy listing will start making money for you! Here’s how to do just that:

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Write for the Buyers Who Take the Time to Read Everything

Many buyers want to do their research and read through every detail about your product. So, if you want to sell to them, you’ll need to write out all those details.

Try to paint such a clear picture with your words that if there were no photos to go along with your listing, someone would still be able to understand the product. If you include those details, not only will your buyer be able to make an informed decision, but you’ll also save yourself a lot of time answering individual questions.

Now with my personality, I won’t read all the details because I’m a fast decision-maker. But there are plenty of people who will, so write your description with the highly analytical shoppers in mind so they can get what they need out of it, and I can still make my decision based on the photo and the first line of text.

Use Short Paragraphs, Concise Sentences and Lists

My friend and Etsy expert Melissa Kaiserman says, “Even though you should be descriptive in your product listings, you don’t want them to be tedious for the shopper to read, so keep your thoughts succinct. Using lists in your description will make the details easier on the eyes.”

Name Your Etsy Product Clearly

Improve your search results by thinking about what your shopper will actually type into the search bar. Alicia Shaffer, who started the Etsy shop Three Bird Nest, said in an interview with Fast Company: “A huge mistake I see is lots of shop owners list products by the name they’ve given it, like ‘Juicy Frutti Tutti Garland.’ No one’s going to search for that.” Instead, Shaffer usually opts for something more generic, like “floral garland,” or “tassel birthday party decoration.”

By the way, Alicia was making up to $80K per month through her Etsy storefront before she started her own website. So she may know a thing or two about how to make money on Etsy!

Donald Miller, my friend and the creator of StoryBrand, explains it this way: “Clarity works. The most effective billboard I see when I’m driving down the road is hot pink with the words “GUN SHOW” printed boldly across the pink. That works. Cute rarely works.”

The bottom line is, when you keep your copy clear, you’re going to have better results.

  1. Track which products are actually selling.

Once your product is listed, don’t just leave it alone forever, sitting on your virtual shelf collecting dust. Etsy gives newer and updated products priority in search results. Your product has the best chance at showing up in the first few pages of results when it’s initially added to Etsy, when it’s sold and automatically relisted, or when you relist it manually.

When you appear higher in the search results, you’ll get more views—which leads to more sales!

When you appear higher in the search results, you’ll get more views—which leads to more sales!

Now, you don’t want to just renew your listing at random. Etsy does take into account which products are actually selling, so put some strategy behind the products you want to do better. Give an older listing some love by updating the photos or changing up the product copy before you relist.

Again, you don’t have to worry about manually renewing your popular products, because if they’re selling, Etsy relists automatically at no charge to you. So instead of focusing on every single item in your shop and spending money to renew items that aren’t selling, pay attention to the products that are. Consider creating similar listings and more products like that.

And having consistent products in your store will only help you make more money on Etsy. Angela Wator writes, “The most valuable thing you can do for your Etsy shop is maintain a strong, consistent brand and styling all throughout.”

Focusing on your popular products and selling things that are alike goes hand-in-hand with this idea. For example, if you’re selling Christmas ornaments, quilts and wine racks in your Etsy store, you may be confusing your customers. And my guess is that, over time, there will be a clear winner. Follow the sales: Find out what’s making you money and do more of that!

It’s hard to start a business, and it’s hard to keep it up and running while you’re in the trenches. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to be on this journey alone. With the right training and support, you can create a successful business—and you don’t need a degree to make it happen. 

For the complete plan on how to start or grow a business and make money doing what you love, pick up a copy of Business Boutique.

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Christy Wright

About the author

Christy Wright

Christy Wright is a #1 national bestselling author, personal development expert and host of The Christy Wright Show. She’s been featured on Today, Fox News, and in Entrepreneur and Woman’s Day magazines.  Learn More.

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