Things To Consider Before Starting an Etsy Business: Tips From The Experts

Etsy is a popular place to sell journals, planners and other printables. If you have tons of done-for-you content waiting to be used, you may decide that an Etsy store is the way to go. But there are lots of things to think about before you get going. Yes, you could take the long route and learn as you go. Or you can go into it fully prepared. To give you a head start, I've hunted down the best advice, from across the web, on all the things you need to consider before starting an Etsy business.

Things to consider before starting an Etsy business

The following may include affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links, I may make some commission. But this will be at no extra cost to you. I only ever recommend things I trust and use myself (or have used). You can use my full disclaimer here.

Etsy is amazing for creative entrepreneurs who want to sell their work and reach a bigger audience. However, with millions of sellers on the platform, it often becomes difficult to stand out from the competition.

I'll be honest, when I started my business, I pretty much winged it. I went straight to my own website and learned as I went along. I didn’t really have a plan other than "this will work". As it happens, it has turned out okay (phew). But, do I recommend that you adopt the same approach? Nope.

Things to consider before starting an Etsy business

If I was to start again, I may well try Etsy as a means to build up my business. Even now, I’m tempted to add an Etsy store to my business as an add-on. If I do, I'll be sure to record the process so you can see it in action.

Things to consider before starting an Etsy business

But for now, I've collected a stack of tips from Etsy sellers and experts from across the web. Full credit goes to these people who know a lot more than I do about the giant creative marketplace. Be sure to visit their websites or YouTube channels to get even more information from these amazing people.

This will be a series of blog posts. In future posts, we'll be diving a bit deeper into more specific topics. But for know, I hope you’re able to learn lots of helpful stuff from the resources I've found for you.

20 Tips for Selling on Etsy - Small Fit Business

First up we have an incredibly detailed post by Anna Dizon (a staff writer for Fit Small Business): 20 Tips for Selling on Etsy

Honestly, all the tips in this post are super useful and it is well worth a read if an Etsy store is on your horizon. However, for me, the stand out tips are:

1. Know What You Can and Can’t Sell

Etsy, like any other marketplace, does have rules about what you can and can't sell. You may think your chosen product would never fall into the "not allowed on Etsy" category and you're probably right. But it is always worth checking.

As Anna says, "it would be a good idea to know what you can and can’t sell. This will help protect you, your buyer, and the platform from legal issues, particularly against intellectual property..."

She’s helpfully provided an overview of what can and cannot be sold, plus a direct link to Etsy's Seller Policy.

2. Add Multiple Payment Options

This is such a useful tip that many people, including myself (oops) don't act on. In her post, Anna points out that multiple payment options decrease the chances of people abandoning their carts.

She suggests, "Etsy store owners should take advantage of Etsy Payments. This gives you the ability to offer a wide variety of payment options."

Anna gives further information on this in the post itself.

Read 20 Tips for Selling on Etsy by Anna Dizon for 18 more useful tips on starting an Etsy Business.

4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting An Etsy Shop - YouTube Video

Below is a 10-minute video by Mary from Pennies Not Perfection. Mary started her Etsy store in 2019 and it continues to grow now. But she says there are a ton of things she wishes she knew before opening the store, including:

  • How Etsy search works
  • Your efforts are a factor
  • and more

I love this video for Mary's honesty and extra mini tips. I highly recommend watching it. Especially if you're currently weighing up the pros and cons of starting an Etsy business.

How To Make Money On Etsy: 9 Tips From Shop Owners - Selena Marc

Just like my post, this post by Selena Marc, collects opinions from different Etsy Store owners. So, there are lots of valuable tips in one place. 

The contributors to Selena's post all have successful Etsy Stores and have been doing it a long time. Therefore, some of their tips may not be totally relevant if you’re only just starting out. But they are still absolutely worth bearing in mind. My stand out tips from this post are:

1. Have a plan

Selena quotes Brandi (from PuurBody) who says "Having a one year and a five-year plan is also crucial, that way you make every decision with that in mind.“

This sounds so obvious but a plan is absolutely something that people forget or think they don’t need (ahem, like me). Never start a business without a plan - trust me

2. Find a way to group tasks together

I loved this tip from Rosaleen (of WishCharms) who says "Don’t flit from one job to another, going from order to order. See if you can group activities together to make yourself more time efficient."

Again, it is a simple idea but could make such a difference.

Read How To Make Money On Etsy: 9 Tips From Shop Owners by Selena Marc for more useful tips on starting an Etsy Business.

Things to consider before starting an Etsy business

10 Things You Should Do Before Opening an Etsy Shop - Oh She Creates

Trina from Oh She Creates has written this really useful (and detailed) blog post. It has 10 excellent tips, although you'd be forgiven for thinking there are about 50 tips because there is so much extra information packed into the post. My favourite tips from this post are:

1. Research your ideas ON Etsy

Trina offers a mini checklist for how to see if your idea will work on Etsy itself. She says, "Some people might not think this is the right way to research – but really, it is essential to know where your sweet spot will be."

Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with idea validation at any point in your business - whether you're just starting or you've been going 10 years.

2. Open a separate bank account

I don't talk about money very often but, obviously, your goal will be to make some. The last thing you want to do is to lose track of it. Again, you'll have to trust me on this.

So, Trina suggests, "you will want to keep your money separate from the black hole called household bills..." Great tip!

Read 10 Things To do Before Starting an Etsy Shop by Trina from Oh She Creates for more useful tips on starting an Etsy Business.

What to do Before Opening an Etsy Shop - Alura

Next up, we have a blog post from Alura. Alura is an all-in-one platform for selling on Etsy: a useful suite of tools built by experienced sellers for sellers.

Straight off the bat, Alura say, "Opening an Etsy shop is a detailed process that requires a lot of attention to detail. However, as complex as it may be, it’s still not that difficult - only time-consuming. However, if you know the correct steps, then you’ll be able to play the field much faster." Of the five tips discussed in their post, my favourites are:

1. Decide on Branding

Ahh, the age-old question: what comes first, the brand or the product? Well, remember, not all your products need to look the same. So, for now, I'd say Alura is talking about branding your store. Remember, you would never open a physical store without some kind of signage/personalisation. Your Etsy store is the same.

Alura has a great list of branding to-dos because they suggest that "branding is an important part of your Etsy journey. It’s what sets you apart from the crowd and it’s what your customers will know you by... "

2. Research Third-Party Etsy Software

Now, I would suggest not overwhelming yourself straight away with potential tools you could use. However, it is helpful to know what is available to go, even if you don't need them yet.

Alura says it is "smart to invest in some Etsy tools that can help increase your engagement and return on investment. Nowadays, you can find a wide variety of software solutions that automatize and help with a lot of daily tasks."

Read What to do Before Opening an Etsy Shop by The Alura Team for more useful tips on starting an Etsy Business.

Five Things to do Before Opening an Etsy Shop - Zero To Biz

Here's a great post by Steph from Zero To Biz. In fact, she has quite a few posts about Etsy and you'll likely gain even more golden nuggets from the comments sections. Her post has five tips, but my favourite isn't actually listed as a tip, it is the introduction:

Things to consider before starting an Etsy business

"My advice to anyone when they’re beginning their Etsy shop journey is to “just start”. If you wait until you think you’ve figured everything out or have perfected your ______  you will never take the leap."

Her other 5 tips are just as useful and include:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Perfecting your products
  • Taking product photos

This post from Steph is definitely worth a read. Especially if you want an injection of positivity.

Read Five Things to do Before Opening an Etsy Shop by Steph from Zero to Biz for more useful tips on starting an Etsy Business.

Do THIS Before Starting your Etsy Shop in 2020 - YouTube Video

Below is a 14-minute video by Sally from Simply Sallie. Sally has run an Etsy store for around four years and has one thing she thinks you must do before opening a store. But this video has a lot more than one tip. This is well worth a watch, I learned a lot!

Sally says: "Considering opening an Etsy shop? Do THIS before starting your Etsy shop! In this video, learn a ton of tips from an Etsy seller of 4 years. I am by no means an expert, but I have found some success in my Etsy shop..." 

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Etsy Shop - The Handmade Mastermind

Next up, I love this post by Dalia over at The Handmade Mastermind. She helps handmade online business owners create a profitable business that they love! This post is a little older but she first started on Etsy in 2011. So, she knows her stuff, for sure.

My favourite tips from Dalia are:

1. Photos matter

It is important to remember that people buy with their eyes. People cannot physically see your products. So, you need your store images to work for you.

Daila says, " Customers can't touch or feel your products, they can only rely on what your photo looks like and your description to help them decide within seconds if your product is right for them. Talk about pressure, huh? The problem with photos is that most of us aren't photographers, we are just creative crafty people who want to make beautiful things and sell them." 

She has listed quite a few tips for your photos that are definitely worth a read.

2. Descriptions matter

Now, many people say that buyers don’t read sales text. I can tell you that this is absolutely not true. I have a lot of text on my sales pages and I know that if I forget to edit something, someone will get in touch to tell me!

Dalia says, "A well-written description will help the buyer trust you more because your shop and your brand will come off as more professional."

Again, she has a number of tips to help you rock your product descriptions.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Etsy Shop - Dana Nicole Design

My next find for you is from Dana over at Dana Nicole Design - a girl after my own heart. She explicitly says not to rely 100% on Etsy. Even though I don’t have an Etsy store, I would agree with this. And this all comes down to levels of control. I have 100% control over my website, whereas I wouldn’t on Etsy.

Dana, an experienced Etsy user, gives more detail on this opinion in her post. I do recommend thinking about this information carefully, in relation to your own business.

Things to consider before starting an Etsy business

Over and above this point of view, Dana does has a lot more useful advice. Although, this does come in the form of pros and cons of Etsy. Rather than specific tips. I absolutely recommend you read Dana's post in its entirety.

Read Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Etsy Shop by Dana from Dana Nicole Design for more useful information on starting an Etsy Business.

How to Start on Etsy for Beginners in 2021 (Fast) - YouTube Video

My last video in this post is by Sharon from Every Single Dollar. There is a workbook that goes with this video - "How To Start An Etsy Shop" - The link to this workbook is in the video's description, which you can see here.

This video is 22 minutes long and covers tons of information. Sharon says, "I'm starting to get into Etsy. I've been watching lots of youtube videos and I feel like no one really gets into the details. I've been doing lots of research and I've put everything I've learned together in this video".

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Etsy Shop - The Snugglery

My next discovery is Michelle from The Snugglery. She has two Etsy shops and a Handmade at Amazon store with almost 2000 individual sales. Her post is more directed towards people who sell handmade products, rather than printables and the like. You will still find it useful though.

My favourite tip from this post is the very last one. It is my favourite because I can absolutely relate. Michelle says:

"Friends and Family Will Think it’s a Cute Little Hobby: My immediate family was very supportive since I come from a long line of entrepreneurs... But from friends, other family and acquaintances, I didn’t always feel the love. You may feel the shade in a variety of ways."

Read 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Etsy Shop by Michelle from The Snugglery for more useful tips on starting an Etsy Business.

7 Things To Consider Before Starting An Etsy Shop - Influencive

My last discovery (apart from 2 pages from Etsy) is by Annabelle Short on Influincive. Annabelle is a freelance writer and blogger. In her free time, she likes to sew and make crafts - she is a seamstress of more than 5 years & a mother of two.

Annabelle says, "Etsy is a great platform to make money off the items you have created." In her post, she offers seven things you should consider before getting going.

My favourite of Annabelle's tips are:

1. Maintain a High Production Quality

In my own business, I am very strict on quality. If I create something and don’t like the result, it will not go on sale. So, I totally agree with this tip.

Annabelle says, Etsy shoppers will not "compromise on quality. This uncompromising stance has been the buyers’ tradition on the platform for a long time now, and as a shop owner on Etsy, you should make sure to meet their expectation of quality."

2. Know What the Business of Shopping on Etsy Will Cost You

I am yet to find a business that doesn't have costs. I said either that I have 100% control of my business because it is on my website but that doesn’t mean I don’t have fees. Etsy is no different.

Annabelle says: "Setting up a shop on Etsy costs nothing but to list your items, sell them, and process payment. You will incur some charges during payout. Listing an item costs 20 cents for four months or until..." Read her post for all the costs.

Things to consider before starting an Etsy business

Two must-read pages from Etsy Themselves

I recommend you read these two pages before starting an Etsy business:

  1. Beginner's Guide to Selling on Etsy
  2. 7 Steps to a Successful Start on Etsy

There is also the Etsy Seller Handbook that will give you tons of information. I recommend dipping in and out of this, as and when you need it!

Do you want to start an Etsy store? Hopefully, this blog has helped you recognise a number of factors that will affect whether you decide to do so. For example, how much do you really want to spend on your store, what’s the likelihood of selling things that you make or have made, and what competitive advantages do you have?

I'm going to have lots more specific tips in this Starting An Etsy Store series. Be sure to come back and check out future posts if you have more questions.

Do you have any burning questions about opening an Etsy Store? Let me know in the comments below...

The following may include affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links, I may make some commission. But this will be at no extra cost to you. I only ever recommend things I trust and use myself (or have used). You can use my full disclaimer here.

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