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How to Easily Start an Etsy Shop

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Etsy is a popular place to start a business if you plan to sell any of the types of products permitted there. It has the big-name factor that makes people instantly trust your stuff because it is on the site. It also has a range of features to help make setting up a store, running it, and making sales easier.

Here’s a simple guide on how to start an Etsy shop and what you need in place to get your store off to a good start. 

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Desk with notepad, pen, and perfume

How to Start Your Own Home-Based Etsy Business

What to do Before You Start

One big mistake people make is to start an Etsy shop then decide what to sell in it. But you definitely want to do it the other way around. That’s because everything from your shop name to the look of the store will be influenced by what you want to sell.

Etsy is often associated with handmade goods, but that’s not all you can sell through it. There are whole categories of non-handmade things or items you might not class as handmade.

Some of the top categories (2020) include:

  1. Art and collectibles
  2. Suits and tie accessories
  3. Beauty and personal care products
  4. Outdoor and gardening
  5. Drinks and barware

The top-selling store on the platform in 2020 wasn’t selling traditional handmade items – it was selling planners and printables! In fact, 7 out of 10 top sellers were in the craft and supplies category showing that you can make money selling things to people who make stuff to sell on Etsy.

Validating an Idea

If you already have an idea for something you want to sell, you can use Etsy to validate the idea and make sure it will work on the platform.

Search for the item and look at the first 4-5 shops that come up with similar items. Look at the date and how many items they have sold, and how many reviews they have. 

Also, jot down notes about their branding and how the products look. Finally, check out their social media platforms.

If they have a good number of sales and reviews and have an active presence on at least one social media platform, this might be a good idea to take further.

How to Start Your Etsy Shop

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to sell and your basic branding in place, you are ready to start the process of creating a shop. 

Etsy makes it very simple but let’s walk through the basics.

Step 1: Create the Shop

If you don’t have an Etsy account, sign up for one. If you do, click the ‘sell on Etsy’ option and select to open your shop. Set a few basics such as the shop language, country, and currency, then save.

Step 2: Setting Shop Preferences

Next, you will go to shop preferences, and here is where some of the information you already provided shows. Check that the information is right and also confirm your bank currency – this can be different from shop currency. So you may want to sell in dollars but receive payment in GB pounds if you were in the UK.

Etsy asks if you are a full-time or part-time seller. Answer accurately; it doesn’t impact anything.

Step 3: Choosing Your Shop Name

Next, you can name your shop. Remember to choose this carefully as this will be the website name and the address people will use to find you. You can choose something 4-20 characters long with no spaces or special characters. It can’t already be in use on another Etsy shop, and you can’t use a trademarked term.

Once this is set, save and continue.

Step 4: Make At Least One Listing

To start an Etsy shop, you need to have at least one item to list on it. This can be a physical item like a piece of jewelry or an intangible item like a downloadable printable.

You will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Add at least five photos, up to 10 in total. Try for different angles, close-up shots, or lifestyle shots. If there are different color options, include some of these.
  2. Adjust the thumbnail which pulls from the first image to make sure it shows up well in search results.
  3. Complete the details in the listing with as much information as possible. This includes a keyword-rich title of up to 140 characters and as many of the different sections as suit the item.
  4. Complete the inventory and pricing.
  5. Set the shipping price for the item.

You are now ready to list the item and move on with setting up your shop.

Step 5: Choose Your Payment Preferences and Billing

The final step is to sort out how to get paid and to pay any bills you might have.

To take payments, you can choose from several options, but Etsy does favor Etsy Payments, where they handle everything for you. This lets you accept credit and debit cards, gift cards, and more. There is an option to add integrated PayPal for some areas.

The process of setting up billing can be different in different places. Some locations are required to provide a credit card for authorization, while others allow auto-billing, so you don’t get your shop shut down for not paying any fees due.

Customizing Your Shop

Once you have completed these basic steps, you have started an Etsy shop! But there’s still more to do.

You need to customize a few things in the shop settings to get things running smoothly. These include:

  • Adding a bio and photo of yourself to connect with customers
  • Set shop policies such as shipping times and returns (Etsy helps with this)
  • Complete the ‘About’ section with information about you or your company
  • Set up your social media profiles to share from Etsy

As you start to list more items, you can also arrange them into categories, known as Sections. These show to customers as well as in the backend and can help people find things easily.

Start Selling Your Products

Now you are ready to start adding more products, promoting your shop, and getting those sales. Adding new products regularly can help boost your store, and using platforms such as Pinterest and social media can help drive people to it.

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