People often ask sellers how much do you make on Etsy. I will dive into what’s possible and how to get started easily.
Etsy is a great place to create a side hustle for a passive income stream. One of the best things is that it doesn’t take much money to start.
You should focus on best-selling printables for instant download instead of physical products. You won’t even have craft supplies to purchase.
An Etsy business can be a lucrative online business, but it may take a while to replace your full-time income. You could just jump in and go, but there is a best way to start. Starting on the right foot will increase your chances of success.
how much Money do you make on etsy?
The answer is as much as you want. As long as you can figure out what to sell, how to do SEO, and how to market your products.
What is Etsy?
Many of you may have heard of Etsy but are unsure what it is. Etsy is an online marketplace where sellers can connect with buyers to offer handmade items, vintage items, custom, and unique goods.
People tend to think of physical products, but Etsy is a popular digital product marketplace.
These include printables which can be many types of products like invitations or party games that you can print at home.
It also includes products like digital planners meant to be used with apps like Microsoft OneNote, GoodNotes, Notable, and so on.
Can I quit my job?
Start an Etsy Store and quietly quit your job.
I know of two Etsy sellers in the top 1%. One seller gained success selling physical products, and the other from selling digital downloads. The first person is a former coworker of mine. She quit her $80/hr nursing job in the Bay Area, selling jewelry on Etsy that she makes at home.
The other is Sasha Hutchinson. She became a top 1% seller selling printable products. She started with Gold City Ventures, which I’ll discuss below. She used to work full-time in accounting, a high-paying job and walked away from it.
The sky is the limit on Etsy, whatever path you choose. You can have wild success, but it’ll take time to get there. You should not quit your job just yet. This is advice I’m following myself.
Digital Products vs. Physical Products?
My wife has an Etsy shop that I set up for her recently, selling beeswax wraps. Beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap for food storage.
My wife loves creating these physical products. I prefer to make digital ones. Why? A digital product, like a printable, that the customer prints needs to be made only once.
My wife’s Etsy store, where she sales beeswax wraps
You might need to update a printable planner from one year to the next, but that’s about it. There is no inventory to manage. You can upload your digital files to Etsy and set your inventory to 999 (the max).
If your instructions are clear, you can sell your products without having to spend time answering customer questions, printing shipping labels, or any of that.
The customer purchases and downloads the file and takes care of the printing. You work hard up front to create a product and then can sit back and wait for sales.
The formula is pretty simple. You pick in-demand digital products and create a listing. You optimize that listing for Etsy SEO and take tips from successful shops selling similar products.
Do all of this, and you should see sales. Your product may take 60 days or more to gain a footing in the Etsy algorithm.
As Etsy drives more traffic to your posting, your likelihood of a sale increases. Traffic is the foundation of all organic sales. A typical conversion rate on Etsy is 1-3%. If 100 people visit your listing, 1-3 will complete a purchase.
There are quicker ways to get sales if you use social media platforms. My wife promotes her beeswax wraps amongst her Facebook friends and has sold way more than me in a much shorter period.
Her store does require a more hands-on approach, and I’m trying to stay more hands-off (as this is not my only side hustle).
With printables, once your listings take off and convert visitors to customers, it’s pretty close to passive income.
There is very little overhead besides Etsy fees and the cost of the tools you use to create digital printables. I pay for a Canva Pro subscription, eRank, and Adobe Pro. I use Adobe Pro to make fillable PDFs for sale.
If you could only afford one of these subscriptions, I would recommend Canva Pro; start with the free version of eRank and stay away from making fillable PDFs until you have built up some revenue.
I won’t go into every fee here, but the basics are this. There is no subscription or monthly fees. It costs $0.20 to list a product on Etsy. If you sell the product, Etsy takes a 6.5% cut.
The nice thing about Etsy is they promote your listings on other websites and social media on your behalf. A fee is also taken out if one of these offsite ads results in a sale.
Some people may not like that, but it’s probably a sale they would not have otherwise made.
Fees play a part in deciding how much to charge. When selling a physical product, you have Etsy fees and the need to maintain a supply of physical materials. You need materials so that you can keep making products.
The cost of these materials and the shipping supplies needed must be built into your price point. Physical products tend to mean more work providing customer service. You will likely also deal with things like shipping delays.
For me, this is a strong argument to focus on digital products.
Passive Income Potential
I don’t want to give the impression that it is easy or that no work is involved in making money on Etsy. You will have to spend time:
- Learning tools such as Canva Pro, Adobe Photoshop, or Illustrator to create printables.
- Learning keyword research using a tool like eRank for search engine optimization (SEO),
- Learning how to take better photos and how to edit those photos.
- How to create Etsy listing images. Yes, you should use all ten photos you are allowed in each listing.
- Determining what products sell and are worth pursuing (the most important).
It may sound like a lot of work, but it is a great business for people with little time. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme by any means. If you stick with it, you can add several thousand dollars to your annual income.
If you already have a job, this extra money could be used to invest. You could purchase a rental property or pursue myriad other activities if interested in FIRE (financial independence, retire early).
Best Selling Printables on Etsy
People have made much money selling everything from wedding invitations, guest lists, holiday printable games, and downloadable journals.
The trick is to find what is selling and “niche it down.” I mean, don’t just sell a generic planner for 2023. Sell a planner for 2023 targeted towards something like wellness or ADHD.
There is too much competition for planners, but not if you narrow the scope. The key is to find a tool that will help you do that. An SEO tool will help determine keywords you can use with decent search volume and low competition.
The tool you choose should be specific to Etsy’s algorithm. If you go after the keywords trending on Google, it might be very different search results than Etsy.
Etsy SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
A great resource for Etsy keyword research is eRank. It will help you narrow down the best keywords for the 13 tags Etsy allows in a posting. It will also provide data on price ranges for similar products.
You can also view listings of your competitors. All of this data can be used to make your listing stand out.
There is a basic, pro, and expert membership. All versions work the same, the only limit being the number of searches you can perform daily. The software functionality is not limited by membership level.
I use the basic version for $5.99/month. There is also a free version. The free version lacks features like a competition tracker, and it displays only the top 5 search results vs. the top 100.
Most people are better off starting with the free version and scaling up as their store grows.
The top keyword you find will be used in the title of your product listing (very important). It will also be sprinkled throughout the product description to fill the 13 tags Etsy allows for each listing.
More on Tags
Do not use single-word tags. Try to create 1-3 word tags. Be aware that ETSY only allows 20 characters for a tag. You have to get creative. For example, “bingo” is too broad of a tag. “Halloween bingo card” is targeted and much better.
Hand Made Alpha’s Starla Moore (who also works at eRank) has some great videos on youtube explaining Etsy’s algorithm and the best use of tags.
Starla explains that Etsy will treat a keyword in two ways. It will do a direct search (most powerful) of an exact phrase like “gray knitted sweater” and a broad search.
A broad search will look at all the possibilities but is less powerful. For example:
- gray sweater
- knitted sweater
- gray knitted
Product descriptions should also have some strong effort put into them. Unlike tags, your descriptions are not limited to 20 characters. You can hit many long-tail keywords that are too long to be a tag.
That “gray knitted sweater” keyword could be niched down further to be “gray knitted sweater gift for her.”
Gold City Ventures Can Help
As you can tell by reading this far, there is a lot to learn when starting your Etsy small business. There is no shortage of online courses dedicated to selling on Etsy. Some focus on handmade products, and others on digital.
Both types of products can have a high demand. Either way, you will have to do some market research. How do you learn to do this? When it comes to selling digital products, Gold City Ventures has been my go-to for information.
This company offers courses at different times throughout the year. They will teach you everything you need to know to sell printables on Etsy.
Cody Berman and Julie Berninger founded Gold City Ventures in 2018. When Cody was a guest, I heard about Gold City ventures on the Grant Sabatiers Financial Freedom podcast.
Cody had worked with Grant for a while when Grant traveled the country promoting his book Financial Freedom. This podcast interview sold me on Gold City Ventures, and I enrolled in their E-Printables Side Hustle Course.
They have a free video workshop to check if this side hustle is right for you. This free eBook is also a great resource.
What I liked was that they focused on profits first. They teach how to make printables. They also cover the most important thing, which is how to do keyword research. Marketing and pricing strategies are also discussed.
They will take you from start to finish and show you how to use Etsy, create digital products to sell, list them, use keywords, etc.
My e-printables Etsy Store
They have a VIP group with a Facebook community to go with the course. Membership in the group is covered for the first year. The $30-a-month membership fee is waived once you make 100 sales on Etsy.
That is pretty good motivation there to hit that milestone. They also host a podcast that highlights the success stories of their students.
Sasha’s Hutchinson a Student Success Story
I mentioned Sasha Hutchinson earlier. She was one of the original students in the Gold City Ventures E-Printables Side Hustle course. She was such a success that Cody and Julie hired her to help with their courses.
She also runs the VIP group, and every month, she drops a bunch of high-quality done-for-you templates that are free for commercial use. This is only for VIP members and is only available for that month.
You can take her creation, add some edits to make it unique, and list it as yours. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
Sasha also has her own course dedicated to creating fillable PDFs with calculations. Using Canva and Adobe Pro, you could create a product such as an auto-calculating PDF calorie counter or a bingo game with randomized game cards.
This is a great course, but only once you have some comfort using Canva and listing products for sale. Abode is great, but it is less user-friendly than Canva. It pays to have someone like Sasha provide tutorials on how to make various products.
Adobe Pro and the apps included with it will set you back about $20/month.
Another great resource for all things Etsy is Starla Moore’s Handmade Alpha’s YouTube channel. Check it out. Her focus seems to be mostly on handmade goods.
Final Thoughts: How long before you make a Sale?
As I mentioned. It takes time to get noticed by the Etsy algorithm, even when you have done everything correctly. Best practices include researching and finding a great product in demand but with low competition.
For your listings, you must ensure your top keyword is in the title and sprinkled throughout the product description. Use the other strong keywords you find to form the basis of the 13 tags Etsy allows you to use.
Make sure to use all ten listing images. Try to show your product in use and use the images to help you tell the story of what your product does. What problem does it solve for the customer?
Also, take advantage of the 15-second video you are allowed to post. You can use Canva to create all of this.
If you do all of this, then you will be promoted by Etsy’s algorithm, and more people will see your listing. The more people viewing your listings, the great the chance of making a sale.
Before you know it, you will have an Etsy income stream. As your total sales increase, you might become a full-time business.
Note: I am an affiliate for Gold City Venture, Your Frugal Friend, Topia, and Canva.