When it comes to the top ways to make money on Etsy, we know the marketplace is an online shopper’s dream, especially for shoppers who like vintage or handmade things.
But not only is it ideal for shoppers, it’s also great for crafters and makers. You can find digital downloads, handmade items, and even craft supplies on the huge online marketplace.
If you find yourself inclined toward handmade, you might be a great fit for selling on Etsy! Whether you like tinkering with digital layouts, making handmade products yourself, or simply providing materials for others to make their own crafty goodness, there’s a place for you on Etsy.
The Top Ways to Make Money on Etsy
From handmade to digital to vintage to supplies, you can find tons of craft-related and creative enterprises on Etsy. I personally have bought everything from felt scraps to (digital) invitation designs to artwork. There are four very broad categories of things that sell on Etsy:
- Handmade items — things like doll clothes, artwork, toys, quilts, jewelry, knitted shawls, soaps, and even edibles like candy
- Digital products — invitations, photo collages, custom posters, scrapbook layouts, and printable planners
- Vintage items — clothing, shoes, toys, accessories, and small items like buttons and jewelry
- Supplies — yarn, fabric, wooden rings, rhinestones, sequins, candy molds, beads, twine, patterns and stencils, scrapbooking paper, etc.
Whether you do custom portraits, pet bedding, fancy iced cookies, garden stones, embroidery, or business card design, there's a way you can make money on Etsy.
Digital Products Are a Great Opportunity
Etsy has a reputation for handmade items and craft supplies, but one of their lesser-known markets is in digital goods. Custom signs and posters are one thing that people will flock to Etsy and find, but there are tons of other digital products available on the marketplace, too. If you’re already making money doing graphic design on sites like Fiverr and Upwork, Etsy might be your next place to find work!
One of the benefits of Etsy for graphic design is that you can set your own prices. At the same time, one of the drawbacks is that your audience there might not be as big because not as many people think of Etsy as a place for business card designs or printable meal planners.
This could be a drawback if you don’t want to focus much effort on marketing your Etsy shop, but it also means there’s a lot of space for you to move in and get some great traction.
How to Get Started
The first thing you need to do when you’re thinking about selling on Etsy is find out whether there’s a market for your idea (and how stiff the competition will be). If, for example, you often go to thrift shops and estate sales, you might be best suited for reselling vintage items and supplies.
If reselling holds no interest for you but you do spend a lot of time sewing children’s clothes or knitting dish rags, you’d probably want to look into selling your own goods.
Whatever you’re interested in selling on Etsy, go to the homepage and do a search for that item. In your search results, you’ll see both regular listings and ads for related listings. Both of these will give you a good idea of what sells (or at least what’s available!). You may even want to check out some of the reviews that people have left for your future competitors’ items, so you can think about what you might do differently, or even better.
While you’re in research mode, check out some of the shops that might become your competitors. Click through to a few different shops. (To find the shop, go to any listing’s page and click on the shop name in the top left.) Once you’re at a shop’s page, you can see the total number of sales that shop has made, as well as how long it’s been open.
Once you’re ready, set up your own shop and start selling! Make sure your listings and item names have strong keywords related to the item as well as some of the characteristics that would bring in your potential customers. Setting up listings on Etsy is a pretty straightforward process, but there are plenty of tutorials online to help you with the technical aspects if you need them.
One Thing You MUST Have to Make Money on Etsy
Setting up your shop is a critical part of the process — you can’t sell anything if you don’t have one, after all. But once you’ve got your items and your keywords nailed down, your focus should be on good photography.
The better your camera AND the better your photos are, the more likely your items are to sell. Even if you make the best oatmeal-lavender soap this side of the Mississippi, you’ll have a tough time selling it if your photos aren’t good.
You don’t need a million-dollar camera and photography coursework to take good photos. One of the best things you can do is study by example. Take note of the types of images you see in your Etsy competitors’ shops to see what you like and don’t like. Read a few photography tutorials online to learn the basics of lighting and composition. With just a tiny bit of research and a little bit of practice, you can get great listing photos even with a smartphone camera.
Final Thoughts on Making Money on Etsy
Etsy is a great place for you if you’re a maker, if you’ve got an eye for vintage, or if you know where to find great craft supplies that you can resell for a profit. There’s a growing market for digital products and Etsy could be another helpful place to try to sell your graphic design services. There’s a lot of competition on Etsy, but that also means that there are lots of potential customers.
Check out this free upcoming webinar to learn more about setting up a successful Etsy shop.