February 16, 2012

How to Start an Etsy Shop - Part 1

Welcome to my quick and dirty introduction to how to start an Etsy shop. I've divided it into four sections:
  1. Lower your Expectations
  2. What to Sell
  3. Photography
  4. Pricing
Let me get something straight: I love Etsy! Running my Etsy shop is fun and earns me a little extra cash. But Etsy is not easy money.

There's always some newbie on the Etsy forums freaking out because it's been two whole weeks since they opened their shop and they haven't made a single sale. A lot of people think that all they have to do is post items for sale and the orders will come flowing in.

Reality: opening an Etsy shop is like starting a blog: no one cares. Just because you open a shop, that doesn't mean that people of the internet will find it. It's up to you to promote yourself, to get the word out there, and to make a good impression. Like any worthwhile goal, it's going to take time and effort. Don't give up if weeks or months go by without a sale. Use that time to work on promoting and improving your shop.

To learn more about promotion and the nuts and bolts of running an Etsy shop, I recommend browsing around the Etsy Business Forums and reading Etsy's Seller Handbook blog. If you're thinking about starting a shop, doing research can give you a more realistic idea of the kind of work that's involved.

One word of caution against the forums, though: while they can be very helpful, they're also full of whiners, continually complaining about Etsy and threatening to take their business elsewhere. But don't let them get you down. Selling on Etsy isn't easy, but it's not complicated either. I'm going to discuss some of the basic fundamentals of selling on Etsy that should get you off to a good start.

The next installment is going to be about what you should sell (or not sell) on Etsy.

If you're an Etsy seller, how long did it take for you to get your first sale?


  1. i'm glad you are doing something like this. i have a few friends who want to open etsy shops and i am excited for them and think it will do well, BUT they need to know what it's really like :) i got my first sale pretty soon after opening, but it was all part of my plan. i did a giveaway upon opening and that helped jump start my shop!

  2. useful stuff! I dont know that much about Etsy but am interested to learn a little to see if its something i would like to try.

  3. So true!! It took me... 2.5 months for my first sale... but 11 months for the first sale from someone that wasn't family or friend.

  4. I think 3 months for me.
    I checked constantly how many views I got and who 'liked me' :-)
    It was quite stressful lol!

  5. Yes, it definitely seems like it takes a few months to get going! I think my first sale came about 5 months after I opened. But after that, orders came more regularly.

  6. Love this series...and your candidness. You're right on about how starting an Etsy store is like starting a blog :D


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