Starting Out W/ Etsy + Free Etsy Checklist

Hey guys! Starting a business is a whole lotta’ work, am I right? I totally understand how easy it is to stress over things like starting out, photography, SEO, branding, packaging and shipping, and so much more. Tbh, it can be a big headache. Today Aria, Megan, Allison, Clara and I are coming together for one big collab to show you that starting a business doesn’t have to be a big headache and that it is possible!

For my part of the collab I’m going to be explaining how to start out with an Etsy shop. Etsy is a popular platform for handmade and vintage items. It’s relatively easy to start a shop and begin making money – but that’s not to say that it doesn’t take a lot of time and effort. Most people (even I before I started) think that all you need to do to be successful on Etsy is make something, snap a photo of it and list it.

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I’ve been on Etsy since I was ten. It all started when I began making American Girl mini doll clothes. I took the pictures with my mom’s old i-pad, and listed them. If the assumption above was true, I would be a millionaire right now. I am nowhere near being a millionaire. *cough*

The thing is, there is way more to Etsy than just 3 steps (making, photographing and listing a random diy) I mean sure – that’s the beginning, but people often think that’s it. That’s why it takes forever for most people to start being successful on Etsy. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to take you years to get your first sale on Etsy.

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Let me tell you a little story. I started selling doll clothes on Etsy when I was ten, then 2 years ago I started selling artist trading card supplies. I never sold a thing. Ever.

Last fall, I was more than determined to actually start selling things on Etsy. And I did.

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So what changed?

Well for one, I continued adding products. With my other shops I’d only added a product every few months, I think the most products I had was 3, right now I have about 30. Another thing was my photos, the first time I was taking pictures with my mom’s old i-pad and the second time it wasn’t much better. And one last thing: I didn’t know a thing about keywords. I just called the product whatever I wanted to.

I actually went on my old Etsy account and renewed the listings that I used to have, just because I wanted to show you what I was talking about.\

(also, I got rid of all of the stuff to make these when they expired years ago, so please don’t try to buy anything 🙃)

So for the other part of this post I’m going to give you 2 more things. 1) My three best tips for Etsy and 2) A free printable checklist for starting your Etsy shop.

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Etsy is a business too.

This (and the next two tips) are probably the most important tips I could ever give anybody about Etsy. Etsy is a business. They have to compete with Amazon, Ebay and so many others.

If you are posting junk on Etsy, then Etsy is going to put your junk on the last page. And who has ever looked at the last page anywhere?

If you don’t believe me then just look it up, try any category and you will see that the people with amazing products and more importantly photos are on that first page. Very rarely do you see an amazing product on the last few pages.

It’s common sense guys, Etsy has to compete with it’s competitors, and they aren’t going to put somebody’s junk on the first page, on their featured page, or on their blog.

When I first figured this out I was actually a little offended, but when I started thinking about it, it actually makes sense, I tried it quite a few times and it is so true.

So what is one to do? Give up on Etsy altogether?

Heck no. What you need to work on is first getting some amazing product photos, which is something that has always been hard for me, for some reason. XD The next thing you need to do is add more products, and fix your SEO, but seriously get your existing listings fixed before you try adding anything else.

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Consistently Add New Listings.

Guyyyyysssss, it’s easy to just get 10, or 20 or 50 products on Etsy and get into a process of making those same items, for forever, but if you have your 50 bestselling products how many products do you actually have on Etsy. Do you know how many products are on Etsy at this minute. About 30 million. Do you know 28.30 million people live in Texas? There are more products on Etsy then there are people in Texas. Do you think 10 people is a big chunk of Texas? No. What about 50? No, but it’s a start.

Now don’t go making 5 new products a day. That’s a really great way to get burnt out – and simply start creating junk. And we all know what Etsy does with junk. yeah.

So what am I saying? Maybe try for 1 product a week, or 3 products a week or 5 products a week. Just enough so that you still have free time and time to work on other things, but not only like 1 per month.

The point is, in order for you to get more views and visitors and ultimately sales on Etsy, you need more products. You don’t have to have a thousand products to get regular sales, but the more products you do have, the more likely you’ll be to get found on Etsy.

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Your Shop Needs To Be Cohesive.

Have you noticed something about successful Etsy shops. Yeah, they all have a unique “feel” they aren’t an eclectic bunch of junk. The pictures, text, and graphics all have a certain feel to them. One listing description.

this is is acute mug meant for yo and your blogging frens you should buy it..

and the other:

This fun Blogging Mug is the perfect gift for you (if you’re a blogger 😉) or a blogger friend!


-1 Ceramic Mug.

Making Process:

I first created the design with Photoshop, then downloaded it and sent it to a print company where they turned it into a mug for me.

Shipping Details:

**Mug comes in a very well padded Styrofoam box. The print company will NOT ship the mug to you, instead they will ship it to me, then I will package it in my packaging then send it to you**

Subscribe To The Mailing List & Claim Your 15% Off Today!


It’s like the first turnoff when I’m visiting a new shop. If everything doesn’t look and feel cohesive, then there is no way I’ll be buying from it.

Here’s a great example.* Check out her shop, and keep it up in your browser, because I’m gonna talk about it for a minute, even though I don’t crochet, or want a crochet pattern.

Did you notice anything when you visited her shop?

Here are a few things I notice:

  • Her photos are cohesive.
  • The image at the top communicates the entire shops feel.
  • Her writing style is cohesive.
  • Her products are all revolving around one theme: Crochet.

I’m gonna go into that last one for another minute. Wouldn’t it be kind of weird if she put a cake topper in her shop? I mean unless it was like something crochet, even then it would be kinda weird right?

Her shop is about crochet. Not cake toppers.

This is something that I totally didn’t realize when I first started. I was putting up custom envelopes in my home decor shop. What the heck?

To put it in short:

Your shop needs to have a “feel” to it. Maybe that feel is boho, farmhouse, country, cozy, cheerful, bright, or a combination.

This means the graphics, all photos, text, and everything else need to feel like one.

I’m honestly still learning how to do this, and don’t get me wrong. I know it’s hard, but it will pay off.

*I’m not sponsored or anything. My mom likes her shop, and it’s such a great example I thought I’d include it. 🙂

Those tips have been super helpful for me, so I hope they will be helpful for you guys too! 🙂

Here’s your free printable Etsy checklist! It’s in pdf format for super easy printing. 🙂 Grab your free printable Etsy checklist!

Make sure to check out Allison’s post about SEO here. Aria’s post about product photography here. Megan’s post about packaging here. Clara’s post about shipping and design here.

All of the bloggers above have small businesses as well, (they are all wonderful btw.) And as part of the collab we are all offering coupons for our shops (except Aria, who does photography sessions locally) The coupon codes are in their posts which are linked above. ^^^

I (and I’m sure they) would love if you checked out their shops! I can assure you they are all absolutely wonderful!

Allison‘s art shop: The Color Box Studio.

Clara‘s box for bloggers: The Blogger Box.

Megan‘s snail mail kits shop: Peach & Poppy Co.

And Aria does photography sessions locally, but go check out her gorgeous website for a little photo inspiration! 🙂

I also have my Etsy shop (as you might know 😉) and am offering a 20% off coupon for anything in the shop until the end of March. Enter SPHOME20 at checkout!

I hope you guys enjoyed this, and I’m hoping it answered some of the questions you guys have been asking me over the past few months! If you have any more, I’d be happy to try to answer them, just email me or let me know in the comments!


30 thoughts on “Starting Out W/ Etsy + Free Etsy Checklist

  1. Is it weird to say that a post about Esty is beautiful, because it really is to me. XD I have zero clue about anything business related- until now that is! 😀 Also I get another excuse to look through all your lovely products XD Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    this was super duper helpful!! I would love to start an Etsy shop one day and this was great 😀 I love your Etsy shop, and your mom’s as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Hannah! Thanks so much for joining the collab with us. 🙂 ❤ You have some great tips, especially about adding a lot of listings – that's something I'm still working on, ha ha! XD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This collab was amazing, Hannah! After reading all of the posts, I’ve been even more inspired to create a business, most likely local photography or Etsy. I have two questions about Etsy. First is, of the money you make, how much actually goes to you, and how much of that do you have to put to the shop? And also, how do you make such cool things? I mean, how are you able to print that stuff out? Thanks so much, this post was really helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ara! Great idea! To answer your questions: 1) There is a $0.20 listing fee that expires every time your listing sells or every 4 months. There is also a 5% transaction fee and a 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee. 2) Well, I like using Pinterest to get ideas and to see what’s popular. 3) I actually just bought some paper that you can iron onto fabric and print w/ your inkjet printer. It works pretty well for me, I mean there are some mess-ups sometimes, but other than that it’s great.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You could make bookmarks and sell them. All you have to do is find cards that don’t have anything on them and cut them up into bookmarks. There are a billion other ways to make bookmarks too. Or you could paint scriptures on rocks…. Just some ideas. 🙂 🙂


  6. This was awesome! I think that this is an awesome post to help people out!! And if I ever start an Etsy shop then I will have some awesome ideas! Great post!!! 😀

    -Laura ❤ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great tips! These will be good to keep in mind as I try to plan out my new Etsy shop. I think a big issue I have is trying to add new listings, and stay serious with the shop.
    That’s funny, I actually started an Etsy shop in 2015 as well, called Gracie’s Doll World! I guess we had the same idea! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for sharing your tips and checklist with us, Hannah!
    I’m still working on building my blog, but selling handmade items is something I am definitely interested in delving into for the future. 🙂


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