Is It Worth It To Sell on Etsy? Success Stories
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Yes! We absolutely think it is worth it to sell on Etsy. In fact, we think it can be highly profitable and you can make lots of money selling on Etsy!
We specifically recommend selling digital products on Etsy since they have low overhead cost. You don’t have to worry about inventory, about buying materials to make the product, and really about your margins when you sell the product.
It only costs your time and a few dollars to get started making a digital product on your computer. Then thousands of customers from Etsy can purchase that file without further action from you besides answering a few customer service questions from time to time.
The best part is that Etsy brings the customers to you so you don’t have to worry about marketing. That is a huge help when you are starting out and don’t have a huge customer base, email list, or social media following yet.
With that intro, here are some success stories of people crushing it making sales with digital products on Etsy. We know all of these people personally and have watched their success from new shop owners to successful sellers. Some of these lessons also apply to shops selling physical products so keep reading if that is your plan.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling on Etsy?
You could make nothing, a few hundreds dollars per month, or like some of our students, you can even make over $10,000 per month!
The answer to this question completely depends upon a handful of different factors including your niche, your time commitment, and your marketing.
We often tell new sellers that all it takes to earn an extra $10,000 per year is just $30 a day. That could be six $5 products, ten $3 products, or two $15 products. It all depends on what you're planning to sell.
Product selection can be a really tricky thing for new sellers but just know that you don’t have to commit to what you started with forever.
You can start with the idea that is in your head now and down the road, can always switch to sell different things if you change your mind or get feedback from customers that takes you in another direction.
Just starting is often the key, and from there, the possibilities are endless.
The Best Products to Sell on Etsy (in our opinion)
As we stated above, we think digital products will offer the best return on your time.
And if you want to make physical products, you could always add digital products to your Etsy shop too to supplement your income.
For example, the co-founder of Gold City Ventures, Julie Berninger, sold temporary tattoos as well as printable bachelorette party games in her shop, The Swag Elephant, for a long time before she dropped the tattoos to focus solely on digital products.
Her temporary tattoos were super fun to sell and she enjoyed making her customers happy. She had gold foil tattoos which were popular for bachelorette and kids' birthday parties. Since they were purchased for parties, she made good money on each sale.
She made about $15-20 per order when she was selling the tattoos. And the tattoos cost about $2 to manufacture per pack so it was a profit of $12-15 considering shipping (and not including a dollar value for her time).
She was still making money on each order of the tattoos, and getting five-star reviews, but felt that a digital product model was better for her long-term.
It took some mental energy printing out the shipping labels and checking to see if a new order had come in each day (as easy as Etsy makes everything by offering pre-paid labels and having an easy interface for order management).
Once Julie switched to digital products she never look back.
Now she makes about $5-$10 per order selling printables she makes on her computer but it’s much more passive and she can technically do an infinite number of sales.
She doesn’t have to facilitate orders anymore since the customers can download the PDFs she makes on their own without action from her. They get an email from Etsy immediately after purchase.
Digital products are an option for handmade sellers to add to their shop to make some extra cash and it can be easier to scale with digital.
Some sellers run out of time to make all of the handmade products once they get more popular on Etsy and have to enlist help which can be a lot to manage. This scaling problem doesn’t really happen in the digital products world since its the same thing to have 1,000 customers was 1 customer for the most part minus the customer service questions.
Either way, Julie is happy now to be on track for over $12,000 this year on Etsy in printable products even though she moved 3000 miles with her family, worked a day job most of the year, and has a toddler.
That’s the beauty of selling on Etsy because you can add to your family’s income without taking up tons of your time.
How Much Money Can You Make in Your First Year on Etsy?
Kristy of Print It Momma Etsy shop is an example of someone who crushed it right out of the gate on Etsy. She made $12,000 in her first year on Etsy selling seasonal digital products in her spare time.
Kristy is a stay at home Mom with limited time and she shows what perseverance and big goals can do when applied towards a new Etsy shop. She was thrilled at first to cover the family groceries and now she is making so much she has to figure out how to include the income in her tax return. Go Kristy!
Sasha from Your Frugal Friend Etsy shop sells budgeting templates and printables to help her customers improve their personal finances.
At the time of writing, she has over 7,800 sales on Etsy after starting just two years prior. Her results are amazing and a total inspiration to new people starting out with their shops.
In the first year, Sasha made over $4,000 selling part-time on Etsy. She has now left her job to do this full-time since her shop really took off after year 1 and she found it challenging juggling corporate, parenting, and the new challenges of the pandemic.
Her Etsy job now lets her travel in the US in an RV with her family. Check out Sasha’s Etsy journey story here.
What should new Etsy sellers know?
Kevin from the Debt Free Happens Etsy shop recommends using a tool such as eRank to do keyword research ahead of time before committing to making a product.
This simple step can help make sure you stock your Etsy shop with products that are in demand that thousands of customers are searching for each month.
Kevin has made over $19,000 in his Etsy shop, Modern Printable Shop, and he talks about his Etsy success in this blog post here.
Kevin’s other main point for new sellers is to consider how much of your sales are going to be profit. Out of that $19,000, just under $15,000 was his profit so he had $4,000 in expenses.
This is really important for new sellers to grasp because between materials, fees, and advertising costs, you can really eat into your sales.
Check out Kevin's full review of the E-Printables Course.
How much time does it take to sell on Etsy?
So there are three parts to being an Etsy seller. One is making the products. Two is marketing the products. Three is managing the shop.
Most people only focus on the first part but actually, you should spend time promoting yourself and also managing your shop too in order to have a successful store.
If you download the “Sell on Etsy” app for Etsy sellers, you will save yourself tons of time managing the store.
Besides the super cool “cha-ching” noise that the phone makes when you make a sale, the app also helps you respond to customer messages and quickly look at your stats.
You can do marketing and also edit products directly from the app too.
For marketing the shop, we recommend using social media such as Facebook groups and also trying to use Pinterest which seems to convert well for Etsy shop owners.
Some Etsy shop owners do zero marketing and still make lots of money because Etsy brings customers to you. If you have clear title names for your products and some common sense approaches to how you set up the listing, you can do really well with little effort on the promotional front.
That being said, we have strategies we share here at Gold City Ventures because a little effort into marketing can go along way.
How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?
Etsy charges 20 cents per listing and then a certain percentage of each transaction.
It seems like a lot but when you consider that Etsy is bringing millions of customers to the site each month, it’s definitely worth it.
Etsy also charges extra fees if you want to do advertising and that is optional for new sellers. Some of our students here at Gold City Ventures have had success running ads to seasonal products in the lead up to a holiday but then others haven’t had the best of luck.
It may make sense for your shop depending on your conversion rate of views to sales and the cost of your product. We discuss more about conversion rates in the E-Printables course and plan to do a video on our YouTube channel soon.
Can I sell on Etsy? Do I have what it takes?
Yes! Some people are super creative and know that selling on Etsy would be something they would enjoy.
Others just want to dabble in this side hustle because it sounds fun and see what happens.
One of our students, Cynthia, has made 3,000 sales on Etsy in her shop, EphemeralAesthetics, and it just shows what could happen if you start your shop today.
Elisabeth, has made over 1200 sales since starting her job, HappyFunDesigns.
We also have Jazinta who has made over 650 sales since starting her Etsy shop, CherryLittleDesignCo.
You don’t have to be a creative genius to sell on Etsy. You just have to take the chance to get started. If you need extra help for naming your Etsy shop, here are 99 Etsy shop name ideas to get you going.