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How to Sell on Etsy as a Total Beginner

  • Sabina Lohr
  • Etsy

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Can you sell on Etsy? Why yes, you can.

Over 7 million people from all over the world sell items they create on Etsy. Anyone can learn how to sell on Etsy, even if you’re a total beginner who’s never sold anything in your life.

Learning how to start selling on Etsy is one thing. However, understanding how to really succeed at it is another.

This will post will tell you not only how to sell on Etsy as a beginner but how to succeed at it.


Woman learning how to sell on Etsy as a total beginner, while holding Samsung ipad

What is Etsy?

Etsy is an online global marketplace where people sell physical and digital products they have created as well as certain other products. Each seller has their own individual online Etsy shop where they display their products with photos and descriptions.

Etsy is open to sellers and buyers from all over the world. Many Etsy sellers are professional artists. However, you do not have to be a professional artist to sell on Etsy.

What can I sell on Etsy?

While you can sell many things on Etsy, you can’t sell just anything.

Etsy is quite particular about what you can sell. On Etsy you may sell only the following three types of items:

  • handmade goods
  • vintage items
  • craft supplies

While this may sound limiting, if you’re familiar with Etsy you know that there are hundreds of thousands of items for sale. There are around 43 product categories on the site. Etsy’s average website traffic is over 377 million users per month. So while you may sell only the above three types of items, within those types of items lie almost limitless possibilities.

On Etsy you can sell:

  • arts
  • crafts
  • toys
  • gifts
  • self-care items
  • jewelry
  • clothing
  • shoes
  • furniture
  • and so much more.

How to sell on Etsy and earn income?

In order to make money selling on Etsy, you need to decide what you want to sell, you need to create what you will sell, and you need to open up an Etsy shop.

But that’s far from all you need to do. You need to take high-quality photos of your products. You need to upload those photos to your Etsy shop. You need to create keyword-rich titles, descriptions and tags for each product so that potential customers can find your products when they do a search on Etsy. It’s also a good idea to market your Etsy products on social media and elsewhere.

So while you can earn money selling on Etsy, it does take some work.

How much do Etsy sellers earn?

There is no specific amount of money you can expect to earn as an Etsy seller. If you sell nothing, you will earn nothing. If you sell a lot of items, especially if they are worth a lot and you charge a fair price for them, you can earn quite a bit of money.

How much you earn on Etsy depends on several factors:

  • your skill in creating products
  • your skill in choosing products to sell
  • your photography skills
  • your SEO (search engine optimization) skills
  • your marketing skills
  • what you sell
  • how much you sell
  • what you charge

Whatever you earn, Etsy does have fees that it deducts from sellers’ pay. These Etsy seller fees vary per country in which sellers are located. You’ll find the details of payment fees per country here.

What skills does an Etsy seller need?

If you’re interested in succeeding as an Etsy seller, you need to have the right skills.

Ideally, an Etsy seller will be skilled in:

  • product creation
  • product selection
  • SEO
  • photography
  • descriptive writing
  • social media marketing
  • customer service

Of course, most people are not skilled in all of the above. Many people don’t have any of the above skills at all.

If you’ve already got some or all of the skills it takes to sell on Etsy, there’s always room to improve those skills. You may find it helpful to read these Etsy seller tips to do the very best you can.

If you don’t have any of the skills you need yet, or you don’t have enough of those skills, the step below can help you.

How can I succeed in selling on Etsy?

If you’re serious about succeeding in selling on Etsy, you really need to know what you’re doing. This is true whether you don’t have any of the skills you need yet or whether you do have skills and want to improve them.

The Etsy website offers information on how to earn money as a seller. You can read their beginner’s guide here.

As a total beginner, you may want more more in-depth information about how to start an Etsy shop and succeed in selling your products. Fortunately, several successful Etsy sellers have created online video courses to share with you what they have learned.

Their courses will teach you a variety of skills that you need as a beginning seller. They are quite likely the best way to learn the most you can about how to succeed on Etsy.

The following 5 video courses by expert Etsy sellers offer a lot of great information about how you as a beginner can succeed in selling on Etsy.

  1. Etsy SEO 2023 MasterClass from a Top 1% SellerIn-depth SEO guide with practice lessons, how to sell with and without ads and how to make your product stand out 
  2. Sell on Etsy – How to Open a Successful Etsy ShopTaught by a full-time Etsy seller
  3. The Etsy Super Seller Master Course for BeginnersLearn the tips, techniques and strategies of 6-Figure Etsy sellers
  4. Etsy Shop 101: The Anatomy of a Successful Etsy shop listing – A beginner’s guide to Etsy shop listings
  5. Etsy 101: Set Up a Shop and Promote it on Social Media Learn how to sell on Etsy and what marketing strategies to use for Etsy success

Conclusion to How to Sell on Etsy as a Total Beginner  Pinterest image for how to sell on Etsy successfully as a total beginner

Selling on Etsy is a really fun and creative way to earn money. This is an awesome side gig and an excellent way to add to your income streams. Don’t worry that you’re a total beginner. You can definitely do this. If you’re good enough at it, selling products on Etsy can even become your full-time job!



Want to learn more about how you can earn income working for yourself? Enroll Get on the Right Path to Freelancing, my free minicourse here.


(This updated post was first published on August 12, 2020.)


Cover image by Brooke Lark

Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.

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