Etsy can be a fantastic method for artists to make some money, whether as a side hustle, hobby, or even a primary source of income.
But how much money can you make on Etsy, exactly?
The amount of money you can make on Etsy varies tremendously. Some people will be doomed to fail and never make a cent, while others can make a six-figure income.
It all comes down to the work you put in, the demand for your item, how original your product is, and how well you promote yourself.
For the best chance of making your Etsy store a huge success, start right here with this article! I’ll go over what you need to know when it comes to making money on Etsy, as well as some of the best tips to get you started in the right direction.
What Is Etsy, and How Does It Work?
Etsy is an online global marketplace founded in 2005 that carved out a space for themselves by specializing in handmade vintage items. While they have since expanded the types of items sold, they are still best known for creative and unique goods.
The popularity of the website has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2021, 7.5 million sellers sold over $13.5 billion dollars of goods!
Sellers can quickly sign up and start selling items in as little as 10 minutes, making Etsy an attractive alternative to creating a website and marketing the business.
Etsy offers tools to help with store setup, promotion of the business, and stock management. They also have an online library of resources for sellers to educate themselves on running their business.
Etsy makes its money by charging fees to the seller for posting an item. There are also several fees if the sale is successful, which we’ll break down further on in the article.
The Pros and Cons of Selling on Etsy
- Quick and easy to set up a store
- Can start selling immediately
- Little-to-no technical know-how needed
- Access to resources and information
- Allows people to find your items by searching the site
- Many shoppers come to Etsy daily.
- Many fees are involved
- Limited freedom in developing your brand vs. building a website
- High competition with 7.5 million active sellers.
How Much Money Can You Make on Etsy?
Etsy does not publish statistics about the income of its sellers, but in 2020 the CEO said the average Etsy user makes $2,900 per year. However, this may not be useful in this case as many Etsy sellers are hobbyists, perhaps only selling a few items a year.
Average successful sellers appear to make around $45,000 a year, with some very successful shops making over $65,000 per month!
What you could earn depends on the following factors:
The Effort You Put into It
This one seems obvious, but Etsy income can vary dramatically between hobby sellers, part-time sellers, and full-time sellers.
The more work that goes into creating items, managing your store, and marketing your products, the better your returns will be.
How Unique Your Product Is
Many Etsy shoppers are primarily looking for unique finds.
Most people will go to Amazon or Best Buy for the best prices on run-of-the-mill items. Etsy products should be high-quality, artistic, and unique in some way.
The Demand for Your Product
There is a delicate balancing act between having a unique item, and there being a demand for it!
Some things can be truly special, but so niche that you only sell a few a year. Items that solve a common problem– or designs with obvious appeal– are likely to sell well.
How Well You Market Your Shop
While people can find your items within Etsy’s marketplace, marketing can help get people to your store.
This can include having a solid social media presence where you promote your items, using email mailing lists, and improving your SEO.
Doing all of this will help people find your Etsy store. Etsy also has a variety of tools to help you market your shop more effectively.
It’s possible to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of goods and not make any money if you have terrible profit margins.
As such, you need to make sure that you’re making enough money on each item to cover your time making, promoting, selling, and shipping goods. Around 10–20% is a good net profit margin to aim for with an eCommerce store– at least when starting out.
How Much Does It Cost to Sell on Etsy?
Here is a breakdown of the cut Etsy will take for you to sell on their marketplace:
- Listing fee: a flat rate of 20 cents per item
- Transaction fee: 6.5% of the cost of the item if it sells
- Payment processing fee: 3% of the cost, plus 25 cents
- Off-site advertising: 12–15% of the cost
- Only applies if the item is purchased from an off-site ad
- Using off-site ads is optional
- Larger stores will get the discounted rate of 12%, while stores making under $10,000 in the year will pay 15%
- Conversion fee: 2.5% of the cost if the buyer is international and uses international currency.
The Best Tips on Making More Sales (And Money) On Etsy
If you’ve listed items on Etsy and not sold much yet— don’t worry! There’s plenty you can do to help bring more people to your store:
1. Write Magnetic Product Descriptions
Not only does a compelling product description excite the person visiting your store, the terms used in your description also serve as keywords that help to boost your overall SEO.
Be as descriptive as possible, showing your passion for your product– but also be sure to include keywords that your target audience are using as well!
2. Have Professional-Looking, Eye-Catching Photos and Media
Nothing will turn off a prospective buyer faster than blurry, poorly-lit photos of your item with a pile of laundry in the background.
Be consistent: Use good lighting, and set up a photography area for eye-pleasing continuity!
A clean white backdrop is a great way to minimize distraction from your item, but you may also want to include a usage shot (for example, a close-up shot of a piece of jewelry hanging from someone’s neck). Some artists will also include behind-the-scenes photos to showcase the process of the item being made.
Luckily, most modern phones have amazing cameras that can perform nearly as well as professionals. If yours doesn’t, it may be a good idea to consider a decent-quality camera or upgrading your phone. Be sure to edit your photos for a final finish!
3. Etsy SEO
You can improve your SEO within Etsy by carefully crafting your listings.
First up is your item title: You only have about 50–60 characters that will show on search engine results, so make sure the most important keywords are placed at the front!
The title should instantly tell the person what the item is, and should also sound as natural as possible. Avoid trying to cram keywords in, as this will only result in a clunky-looking listing.
Second is your item description. Bear in mind that all the words here will have an effect on your ranking in Google and other search engines.
Configuring your photos optimally for SEO is also highly vital. Many people search Google for images of products, so it’s not only essential to have great pictures but also accurate and detailed photo descriptions as well.
For example, alt text descriptions should include a detailed description of the item, including color, materials, textures, function, and any other standout features.
Additionally, you may even want to look into creating videos of each item (if you can) as this can also provide a sizable boost for SEO purposes.
Finally, the importance of creating backlinks can’t be ignored!
The more links you can secure to your items and store from other reputable sites, the more relevant and trustworthy Google will find your offerings. This will have a direct, powerful impact on how highly you will rank in the SERPs.
Therefore, the more you can get others talking about your shop and linking to it, the better. You should also link your Etsy shop from your other website, blog, and social media pages.
Keep in mind that quality links are more important than quantity, so avoid the temptation of buying link placements from questionable vendors as this will often have a highly negative impact on your SEO.
3. Product Reviews
Customers are often nervous about purchasing an item with no reviews— and for good reason, too.
It can be difficult to tell the quality of an item just from a photo, in addition to having no idea whether the seller is reliable! Getting those initial reviews is therefore vital to your continued success.
Encourage buyers to leave reviews by actively reminding them after they receive the item. A little note with their shipment or an email can go a long way in prompting them into action!
It’s also a good idea to thank customers for a review, or even reward them for it. Of course, don’t try to cheat the system— but if you know someone who’d love your product, consider giving them a discount in exchange for an objective review!
4. Provide Answers to FAQs
Any extra information you give on your page could be the tipping point to getting a sale. Many times, people may have questions but just can’t be bothered emailing to ask— and so they move on.
If your item is new, try to anticipate what questions your customers may have, and answer them before it’s even asked! Then, as you start to get more legitimate questions, you can add them as well.
5. Offer Competitive Rates
It’s always important to look at the competition for similar items when considering your pricing. If you happen to have an item very similar to another seller, they will likely go with the option that is even just slightly cheaper (or offers cheaper/free shipping).
A few dollars can make all the difference. As long as it doesn’t reduce your profit margin too much, you’ll likely make it back in the total number of items sold!
6. Get a Star Seller Badge
Becoming a Star Seller can help to take your store to the next level. Star Sellers are rewarded by being featured more often, getting more traffic to their stores, enjoying higher sales, and being able to display a badge on their profile.
To become a Star Seller, you’ll have to prove yourself as a reliable vendor. Over a 3-month period, you’ll need to:
- Respond to all messages within 24 hours
- Average 4.8 stars on ratings
- Send all orders on time
- Have at least 5 sales worth over $300.
7. Have Social Media Presence
Social media is an indispensable marketing tool in the modern era. If you already have a decent social media presence, you should be talking about your store, sharing images of your items, and linking to your store as often as you can!
Be sure to find a balance, though. If you annoy your followers with constant sales pitches, you may end up driving them away instead.
If you don’t have a social media presence— or only have a small family network online— it’s time to start trying to build it up. Branch out, join groups of small business owners, follow new people, and create great content!
As with most things, you get out what you put in.
How much money you’ll be able to make on Etsy is dependent on a variety of factors.
Before you start to venture, consider not only what items you have that will generate a high demand, but also how much competition you may already have on Etsy.
Then, work out how much the item costs to make, the time it takes you to make it, and if you can add a decent profit margin to it.
Even if you think your item is a winner at this point, it doesn’t stop there! You’ll need to make sure people can find your store in a sea of millions of sellers. Make sure you have what it takes to promote yourself and market your item effectively via SEO and on social media.
It’s possible to build a business through Etsy— after all, millions of other sellers are doing the same thing. If your goal is to grow your store to a point where you can quit your 9–5 and be your own boss, you can certainly get there.
It’ll just take a little bit of hard work. Best of luck to you, and happy selling!