Ultimate Guide To Getting Started On Etsy

Hey guys! Over the past couple of months I’ve received a TON of questions regarding getting started on Etsy. I think that so many people are starting out on Etsy as a summer project this year, since so many other events have been cancelled and it’s a fun project as well as a way to earn a little extra cash! I’ve been selling on Etsy for quite a while now, and am going to walk you through all the steps you need to start a profitable and fun Etsy business!

What will you sell? If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I always like going back to the “why” so let’s take that into figuring out what you’ll be selling. What are you passionate about? Let’s just say that you’re super passionate about dogs & puppies. You love dressing up your little poodle with cute bows and clothes, but you DIY them because you can’t find any that you like. So maybe, you could start a business selling handmade, adorable dog bows! See where I’m going here!? What do people affirm in you? What get’s you excited? I’m sure you’ll find something unique to you that you can offer others and create value!

Registering with Etsy. I won’t go into too much detail here, because the process is pretty straight forward and Etsy has an entire guide here. It doesn’t cost anything to open a shop, but it does cost $0.20 for each listing, then when you sell one of your products, Etsy takes 5% as a transaction fee. I know that this can be a little confusing at first, so I’ll direct you to this Etsy guide.

Setting up shop. Now that you’ve made it through the more complicated technical stuff, you can finally start designing your shop! Create a logo, fill out your about page & bio and if you’d like, add a banner. Make sure everything in your shop feels cohesive and consistent to your brand!

Will you accept returns? What about cancellations? (Setting up your shop policies) Now we’ll step into some more techy stuff for a second here. I don’t think that you should think too much about this stuff, but definitely put some thought into it. For my shop I accept returns within 14 days of delivery, but I don’t accept exchanges or cancellations. This is what I do for my shop, this isn’t necessarily what’s best or what you need to do, it’s just what I do. You’ll need to determine what works best for you and for your shop.

How will you be shipping your items? Etsy provides shipping labels which are literally sooo handy for shipping your products. Honestly, shipping your orders couldn’t be easier with Etsy! Just download the label, stick it on and send! You can even request a USPS pickup.

For my shop, I don’t sell anything breakable, so I use poly mailers, which you can easily buy on Amazon. I wouldn’t recommend buying custom packaging, especially when you’re first starting out. Instead, choose some bubble or poly mailers or boxes that fit into your color scheme. If you want to personalize your packages, you can buy stickers or packing tape with your shop’s logo for much cheaper than custom packaging. I also like to include a cute sticker with all my orders! It’s a fun little thank you gift that works well with my brand!

Making your first product. There isn’t much to say here, because making your product should be pretty straightforward. Make sure to time how long you work for, so you’ll know how much to charge for your product.

Taking a killer product photo. Product photos are both the most important and one of the hardest parts of having an Etsy shop. When you’re scrolling through Etsy, the very first thing you see is the photos. This is why it’s so important to make your product photos pop! Make sure it’s CLEAR what is being sold. (so don’t include a ton of props)

For my Etsy shop, I like to take a styled photo of a person (me πŸ˜‰ ) either holding the scrunchie or wearing it. Then, I’ll also take some from a basic white backdrop. I would HIGHLY recommend buying a lightbox for taking white backdrop photos. It’s wonderful because it provides a consistent lighting throughout your photos, and if you’re a busy person, you can still take your photographs at night or early in the morning. Here is the lightbox I use.

Tags & keywords. Marmalead is an excellent program for generating tags & keywords, but if you don’t have much cash in the beginning, here is a free way to find tags and keywords on Etsy.

  1. Type in some keywords to describe your product. Be specific! (long tail keywords, like “rose gold scrunchie with bow” instead of “scrunchie” or “cute scrunchie”)
  2. Click on some of the top sellers for any particular keyword. (NOT the ads)
  3. Once you’re on the listing, scroll down to the bottom where it says, “explore more options,” these are the tags that the seller has used on their listing. You can use any of those tags on your listing that are relevant to that listing. (for example, don’t use “silk hair scarf” as a tag when you are selling a cotton hair scrunchie, but do use “floral hair tie” when you’re selling a floral cotton scrunchie)

Naturally, you won’t find 13 (Etsy’s limit on tags) perfect keywords to describe your listing, so it’s okay to go with some more general keywords at the end, such as “summer fashion” or “gift for her,” even though those keywords are much more broad, it’s much better to use them than not.

Listing your item. Etsy also makes listing your item pretty straightforward and easy, so I won’t go into too much detail here either, (this post is already getting pretty lengthy πŸ˜‰ ) but basically you just upload your product photos, enter in some listing details, write a product description, price your product and set up the shipping. I could write an entire post on any and all of these things, but for now, those are the basics!

Another thing to remember is to make your products quality. It can be tempting to put quantity over quality, but I really encourage you to focus on creating value for others and serving people. A good business both serves people and makes money, and yes, it is totally possible to do both. πŸ™‚

Completing the sale. You’ve made it! Congratulations! Their is always an exciting and thrilling feeling when you sell your first product! Make sure to get the order out on time and to answer any questions/concerns that the buyer has sent you!

Remember guys, you probably won’t end up with a bestselling product or tons of money at first, but if you persevere and keep going you can totally get there! ❀

I hope these tips will be helpful for you guys, and if you have any questions I’d love to answer them in the comments! πŸ™‚

❀ Hannah

P.S. If you found this post helpful and think others would as well, make sure to share to your Pinterest!

17 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide To Getting Started On Etsy

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I got really excited when I saw the title for this post. πŸ˜‰ I would love more posts on this topic (not necessarily Etsy, but on other small business topics as well).

    One question: do you need to list at least one item on a new shop before opening the seller account up?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed! I’m planning on creating more posts like this one in the future specific to different aspects of businesses. πŸ˜‰ Nope, you can open up a shop without any listings, but obviously, nobody can buy anything until you have listings. However, people can favorite your shop and message you.


  2. I swear, you literally read my mind everytime you post! XD I’m online shopping and you post a guide to summer stores, working with brands and you post a how-to, and now thinking about starting an Etsy shop and you post this! Thank you so much, I’ll definitely be using these tips if I ended up making one! I’ve wanted to have one forever, but now I finally have a product idea! I just need to practice making them a little more before I can get started. Thank you for the tips!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. These are all such amazing tips for starting your own Etsy shop!! Thank you so much for sharing, friend!! Awesome post! I love the Pure Vida bracelets and scunchies you used in your photos. TOO cute! πŸ™‚
    -kaelyn πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Hannah! I’m looking into Etsy and have a couple questions…what do you do about sales tax and income taxes?? Do you have to register for the sales tax and also keep record for income taxing?


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