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How to Make Money on Etsy

Key Takeaways

  • Etsy is a great way to start marketing and selling your creative products for extra money.
  • To be successful on Etsy, you’ll need to be intentional about writing product descriptions and using clear, stylish photographs.
  • You’ll need to constantly review the success of your shop: track what’s selling, figure out what marketing messages work, and read customer feedback.

If you like unique, handmade gifts or décor, then you’re probably already familiar with Etsy. Etsy is the go-to place for digital items, personalized gifts, home goods, art, coffee mugs that say cheeky things like “This might not be coffee” . . . you name it!

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

How Much Does It Cost to Get Started?

It’s time to launch your handmade woodland creature business online. Good news is, the barrier to entry as an Etsy seller is pretty low—it only costs 20 cents to list each item in your shop, and that listing will be good for up to four months. And you can run your Etsy shop from home! Here are some other costs to be aware of before you start selling:

  • When you sell an item, Etsy takes a 6.5% transaction fee.
  • 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 transaction plus 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 7.5 million active sellers and 95.1 million active buyers.1 So Etsy can be a serious moneymaker!

How to Make Money on Etsy

If you’re just now opening an Etsy shop, you can have a lot of fun building out your storefront. So, imagine what you want it to look and feel like, and start brainstorming products to sell. The more purposeful you are with your shop name and summary, product photography, and listing descriptions, the more traffic and extra cash you’ll see.

So geek out. Get excited about your store! Once you’ve got a great idea in mind, follow these steps to make money on Etsy:

1. Run the numbers.

If you want to make money on Etsy, you have to figure out how much it’ll cost to set up shop. Making an Etsy storefront is free, but if you’re making physical products, you’ll need to know the cost of materials, the time it takes to make the products, and shipping costs (unless the buyer pays shipping). Toss in Etsy’s transaction and processing fees, and that’s a good chunk of change to account for! (But for goodness sake, do not go into debt to start your store.) You’ll have to price your products to cover these expenses and make a profit. Do some research on existing shops and popular products to find out what sells and at what price point.

2. Take high-quality photos of your product.

Once you’ve decided on a product and pricing, you can start a new product listing with photos and a description. Photos are super important on Etsy because that’s what people scroll through to decide what to buy. They also communicate your brand.


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You get 10 photo spots per item. 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 the 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, and you want to make it catchy! It’s also the best way for your customers to understand exactly what you’re selling. Your product won’t grab attention if the pictures are dark, grainy and taken from a distance. Come on, people, we’re not using that old Nikon Coolpix camera for this!

The way you style your photographs matters too. If you’re selling vintage bolo ties or clay cat earrings, style the rest of your model’s outfit to complement what you’re selling. If you’re selling handmade wooden signs for the laundry room (“Bless this mess” is a personal favorite), stage your example in the spick-and-span corner of the room before snapping pics.

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

3. Write descriptive product copy.

Your copy is the words you use to describe your product. This is where you add all the nitty-gritty details about your listing. Listen, people, this is valuable real estate to communicate directly with your shoppers and make money on Etsy! So take advantage of the space.

Your listings should sound like you wrote them, not ChatGPT. So use words that go with the tone of your brand identity. Don’t just copy verbatim what other Etsy users wrote because one, that’s stealing, and two, you’re more creative than that. Putting your own spin into the listing will set you apart.

When you write clear and captivating copy about your product, your Etsy listing will have a better chance of making money. Here’s how to spice up your product descriptions:

Write for the Buyers Who Take the Time to Read Everything

Lots of buyers do research before making a purchase. They read through every detail and customer review about your product. If you want to earn their stamp of approval and make a sale, you’ll need to deliver those details on a metaphorical silver platter with a towel on your arm. Make it easy for them. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Paint such a clear picture with your words that if there were no photos to go along with your listing, someone would still understand the product.
  • Keep sentences brief and to the point.
  • Include dimensions for the item you’re selling, especially furniture or home accessories.
  • Don’t forget to add brands, sizes and materials for clothing you’re reselling.

That way, your buyer will be able to make an informed decision, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time answering questions. And you know what they say about time . . . it’s money! And isn’t that what we’re after here? Yep, that’s what I thought.

Now, if I’m shopping on Etsy, I’m definitely reading all those details when I search for a Pride and Prejudice-scented candle for my wife because I like to make informed decisions. So on behalf of intentional decision-making people everywhere, write your description with us in mind. We’ll get what we need out of it, and the impulsive people can just check out the headlines.

Use Short Paragraphs, Brief Sentences and Lists

Yeah, details matter. But even though you should be descriptive in your product listings, you don’t want them to be a pain for the shopper to slog through. Here’s what I recommend you do to write an effective Etsy listing:

  • Use a bulleted list in your description space to make those details easier on the eyes.
  • Use keywords that Google likes—this is called search engine optimization (SEO)—to describe your products so people can find your listings easily.

See what I did there? I made it easier for you to understand what I’m saying just by using bullet points that guide the eye. And you can do that on Etsy, too!

Name Your Etsy Product Clearly

Improve your search results by thinking about what your shopper will actually type into the search bar (this goes back to our recommendation above about using keywords). No one is going to search for a “Juicy Frutti Tutti Garland.” Not in this century anyway. Instead, use a straightforward name like “floral garland” or “tassel birthday party decoration.”

Clarity—it’s a marketing principle as old as time. And it works.

Don’t complicate your listing. Keep everything obvious and easy for your audience. The bottom line is, when you keep your copy clear, you’re going to have better results.

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4. Track which products are actually selling.

Once your product is listed, don’t leave it to sit on your virtual shelf collecting dust. Etsy gives newer and updated products priority in search results. And remember that you’re up against millions of other sellers. Your product has the best chance at showing up in the first few pages of results when it’s first 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 making more money!

Etsy takes into account which products are actually selling, so put some strategy behind the products you want to do better. If a product isn’t selling well, try giving it some love by updating the photos or freshening up the product copy before you relist.

If you make some updates but a product still isn’t catching on, stop spending money keeping it listed in your shop and pay attention to the products that are selling. Consider creating similar listings and more products like that.

5. Stay in your niche.

When your Etsy shop has a strong, consistent brand and style, your customers know what to expect. And that begins with having consistent products in your store.

For example, if you’re selling Christmas ornaments, personalized cutting boards, and knitted emotional support pickle figurines in your Etsy store, you’re probably going to confuse your customers.

Even if you do start your store with an eclectic hodgepodge of products, over time, you’ll start to see a clear winner—a single product or product type that drives your sales. Follow the dollars! Once you discover what’s making you money, do more of that! Pay attention to what works, and you’ll gain traction over time.

6. Read the Etsy Seller Handbook online.

If you want an even deeper dive on making money on Etsy, check out Etsy’s Seller Handbook online. You’ll have access to resources on marketing, photography, taxes and sales insights as an Etsy seller. Plus, there’s a whole community of sellers you can tap into for extra conversation and sales tips.

Boost Your Income With Etsy

Like I said, whether you want to start a business because that’s your dream or you’re looking for a creative side hustle to make extra money and pay off debt, Etsy is a great platform to get the ball rolling. It's not the only way to earn extra money, though, so don't feel bad if you'd rather go in another direction.

If you want to see more options for potential side hustles that could increase your income while also fitting into your schedule, take my free side hustle quiz.

And If you want to learn more ways to take control of your money and create more margin with your finances, check out my new book, Breaking Free From Broke. I cover all sorts of money traps, as well as the best path to building wealth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sure! Top Etsy sellers can make up to six or seven figures annually, while many other sellers make anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per year.

Think craft supplies like beads, pins, pendants, stickers and vintage novels or collectible books.

It depends. Some full-time Etsy sellers make upwards of six figures a year. But if you’re just starting out, your revenue might range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars each month. Just remember—it takes time for your shop time to get up and running.

Yes, it’s possible to make $10,000 per month on Etsy. You’ll need great products and marketing to hit these numbers.

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George Kamel

About the author

George Kamel

George Kamel is the #1 national bestselling author of Breaking Free From Broke, a personal finance expert, a certified financial coach through Ramsey Financial Coach Master Training, and a nationally syndicated columnist. He’s the host of the George Kamel YouTube channel and co-host of Smart Money Happy Hour and The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk radio show in America. George has served at Ramsey Solutions since 2013, where he speaks, writes and teaches on personal finance, investing, budgeting, insurance and how to avoid consumer traps. He’s been featured on Fox News, Fox Business and The Iced Coffee Hour, among others. Learn More.

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