Working from home in 2020 is a huge goal for many individuals.
The lack of stress to commute, saving on gas, being able to care for your family or pets, and having freedom over your professional life is a huge dream that many people don’t think they will ever attain.
This is because many would-be entrepreneurs believe it is tough to work from home and difficult to start.
However, owning and running a small business online has actually become easier than ever. Over half of the population in the United States has access to the internet and is able to log onto a computer – whether at home, at a friend’s, or at their local library.
Because of this, beginning a shop online like an Etsy shop is just an email and a bank account away!
Is it hard to start an Etsy shop today?
While starting your Etsy shop may be quick and instant, being successful in your Etsy shop can take time, and beating the competition is going to require a lot of focus and effort. Be prepared for at least six months of hard work before seeing any profit from your Etsy shop.
In this guide, we will help you get the tools and knowledge you need to make advised choices about starting your Etsy shop.
Is it Too Late to Start a New Etsy Store Today?
It isn’t too late to start a new Etsy store.
In fact, if you really think that Etsy is the path for you, you should get started as soon as you can. Time is of the essence when it comes to starting a business, as getting your name out and garnering a customer or fan base can take months to even years!
Instead of thinking that it is too late to make a splash in such a big Etsy pond, consider beginning your journey toward starting your new business today!
How Hard is it to Start Today vs. a Couple of Years Ago?
Starting on Etsy today is a lot easier than it was to start a few years ago.
Etsy has nearly perfected its process for beginning and setting up your shop as quickly and efficiently as possible. With a bank account and an email, you could have your shop set up in less than five minutes!
However, getting your shop’s name out there and gaining the trust of customers is a lot harder than it used to be.
Because the metaphorical pond on Etsy has now become a digital ocean of thousands and thousands of shops, being found in any search result is going to require a lot of SEO phrases, keywords, and a great photo to catch a new customer’s attention.
If you aren’t prepared to sink the time and effort into getting your Etsy shop noticed, you may find it takes even longer to start making sales on the site.
So while setting up your shop is an incredibly fast process, getting your shop noticed over the competition is going to take time.
How Tough is the Competition Today on Etsy?
While it is true that Etsy is much more popular than it used to be, customers are always looking for new and unique shops to buy from.
Major Etsy sellers are reliable but can grow stale if they don’t constantly churn out new content.
This is where you come in.
Etsy is filled with hundreds of thousands of stores and shops that are all trying to become one of the more featured and popular shops on there today. This means that your brand new shop is competing with shops that have been there for years and have already garnered their fanbase.
However, this also means that more and more people are treating Etsy like the new Amazon when it comes to unique and handmade products. Etsy has a great reputation these days when it comes to customers, and while they’ve gone through a few new changes, they are still considered a reliable source of great products.
This further means that you and your shop are just the next success story waiting to happen. While your shop will take a few months or even years before it is popular enough to become a top-seller on Etsy, you may find that your unique style or product is loved by customers who are tired of the same old thing.
To stand out from the crowd, check out our article on How To Get Featured on Etsy now!
So, yes, the competition is tough on Etsy. You have to gain the trust of customers before they decide to choose you over the top-selling shops, but once you gain your own fan following and get a few good star-ratings, you may find your shop is on its way up!
What is Required for New Store Owners to Get Started?
New store owners need four very important things to get started in their shop:
- A Store Name
- An Email
- A Bank Account
- A Product to Sell
After that, it comes down to having the time and dedication to operating and keeping a strict eye on your shop at all times, working with customers, organizing your business, and taking great photos of each new product that you create.
We’ve outlined a few more things you may need in order to begin your shop:
When you begin your journey toward owning a small online business, you’re going to need to start with a workspace.
Working from home is a lot harder than people originally think. It takes time to find a balance between relaxation and work – often people will overwork at home because they feel that there is still something to get done.
This is because there is no 5-o-clock closing time when you work from home or own your own business.
Furthermore, creating your own schedule and space to dedicate entirely to work requires picking up healthy and consistent routines.
With that in mind, it is important to carve out space in your home that is dedicated to your work or small business.
If you can separate it into a back room, a garage, or even a finished basement, you’ll find that organizing your time and energy into your work alone is much easier!
Seed-Money and Investment in Your Shop
One thing that most Etsy shop owners forget is that Etsy charges fees even if you don’t make any money.
Listing your products to your Etsy costs $0.20 cents for each listing. Once you make a sale, Etsy will take out more fees for transaction costs and automatically renew your listing after it is purchased.
This means that if you have more fees than sales for the first six months to a year, you will need to invest a little bit of seed-money into your shop.
Furthermore, setting up your space in your home, taking time off of a full-time job to dedicate to your new shop, and other expenses may require a little bit of loss before you start to make a profit.
If you aren’t financially prepared to take time and money to dedicate to your shop, consider rethinking when you want to launch your shop.
Do You Need Help? Hire a Team
Many new Etsy shops don’t have a lot of customer traffic or sales right away.
However, there are some Etsy shops that begin with a large fanbase already.
For example, if you are an artist who has been posting their designs or characters online for years, you may already have a small to large social media following. Once deciding to announce your Etsy to sell prints of your art, you may find that the shop blows up much faster than you were prepared for!
If that’s the case, not only are you very lucky and on your way to a successful shop, you are going to need some help.
While you are the “owner,” Etsy shops have specific roles within them that you can fill with “employees” or team members. Additional roles are things like, photographer, shipping, customer service, maker (usually the person who puts together physical items like necklaces, knitting, etc.) and more.
Your shop may require more than one person running it in order for it to become a fully-functioning success. These roles can be unofficially filled by friends or family members who want to help you with your shop out of the goodness of their hearts or for fun.
These roles can also be officially listed in your shop if you hire employees!
Hiring help for these rolls is a great way to keep your shop running more smoothly, but it can also cost you more money to pay those employees.
Making a choice to get paid help comes after you’ve made enough profit that you can dedicate some money to someone else, hopefully boosting your profits even more with the added effort!
Photoshoots and High-Quality Edits
Any Etsy seller or forum will tell you that if your product photos aren’t good, your shop won’t get very far.
Great photos for products on Etsy will include:
- Plenty of Light
- Clear, High-Quality Detail
- Eye-Catching Color
- Graphics or Advertisements (text over the photo)
- The Essence of the Product (the customer should know what they’re getting into from the photo)
One of the biggest pieces of advice you can get when it comes to figuring out how to take photos of your products and how to present them to customers is to do your research!
If you have a specific niche that you want to sell in, such as digital art, knitting, woodworking, or whatever you decide to make, take some time to check out the top-selling shops in your category.
These shops will have fantastic photos for their products, detailed product descriptions, and careful marketing techniques that they have honed over years of selling on Etsy.
Shop around and consider using some of these techniques for yourself!
What Are Some of the Toughest Niches on Etsy Today?
The toughest niches to get into are also the most popular niches on Etsy.
Those niches are:
- Wedding or Bridal Party
- Digital Art, Downloads & Prints
- Charms, Bracelets & Necklaces
Obviously, there are hundreds of categories, some more popular than others, but these four are incredibly saturated with tons of talented Etsy veterans who have been at their business for years.
These niches are fun to operate in and are popular among customers; however, they have a lot of competition.
If you are still interested in opening a shop in one of these categories, consider shopping around and studying popular shops in these areas.
Once you see how they work, operate, and manage their shops, you can try to emulate their style!
Thinking Outside the Box
If you don’t want to start from the ground-up in an overly-saturated niche, consider thinking outside the box and explore something random!
As a person who writes a lot about Etsy, I’m on there all the time. This means that I’ve taken a lot of metaphorical rabbit holes down many different Etsy categories, and there are more than you could ever imagine.
From clay sculpting to fake food earrings and from dollhouses to plastic weapons for costumes, Etsy is full of options and opportunities to choose from when you decide what to do with your shop.
Check out our Six Clever Product Categories on Etsy (For New Stores) to find out what your new niche could be!
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd in a smaller niche, find out what speaks to you!
Can I Start My Etsy Shop From Home?
Almost all Etsy shops start at home!
If you’ve decided to make an extra income off your art, creativity, or hobbies, starting your Etsy from home makes a lot of sense!
You can use your home studio, hobby space, or personal time to create items to eventually sell – this would be hard to do somewhere public or in an office somewhere.
However, if you have an Etsy shop that requires a lot of inventory, working out of a small room in your house can be hard! Often you can rent storage space or use a garage or shed to keep extra inventory if you have too much.
Furthermore, if you are an artist who uploads their art and sells prints, you can use a third-party printer to send prints to your customers instead of having to keep hold of a lot of inventory at home.
So, as long as you have time and space, you can absolutely work from home when you start your shop!
What Legal Issues Should I Pay Attention To?
When you first start a shop on Etsy, please make sure to check out their rules and regulations as well as their New Seller FAQ and introduction.
This will help you better understand what you can and cannot do on Etsy, especially what you can’t sell.
While there aren’t many laws or legal implications when it comes to Etsy, obviously you can’t attempt to sell the following:
- Stolen or Copyright Items
- Illegal Items
- Human or Animal Parts or Remains
- Dangerous or Toxic Items / Chemicals
This is only a little piece of what you CAN’T sell on Etsy. If you are found in violation of these rules, you may find that your shop is deleted or discontinued by the site.
What Can I Sell on Etsy? (Rules, Bestsellers & Tips) – Check out our article for more information on this subject today!
Furthermore, if you sell something illegal, you could be reported, and therefore, legal action could be taken.
Finally, one of the potential things you should be aware of is taxes that you will have to pay when you start an Etsy shop. When you earn money from an at-home job or a small business, you need to make sure you are properly listing them on your taxes to the IRS.
If you arent’ sure how to do this, consider working with your normal accountant or a tax representative that accepts walk-ins and questions!
9 Tips to Help You Get a Successful Start on Etsy:
Getting started on Etsy is easy as setting up a shop – but getting a successful start on Etsy requires a little more planning.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started with hope for success:
- Know and Love Your Product
- Put A Unique Piece of your Creativity Into it
- Consider a Catchy Shop Name
- Invest in High-Quality Photos and Editing
- Think Outside the Box for your Category
- Research Sellers in Your Niche
- Invest Space to your Craft and Organize Your Time
- Post to Social Media About Your Shop
- Consider Hiring a Team or Asking for Help
Furthermore, make sure that you are putting everything you can into the success of your shop.
If you aren’t dedicating a good part of your daily life to your new business, it will never get off the ground. Instead, you may sell something there and there each month, or you may sell nothing at all.
Successful shops have dedicated owners who are constantly learning and adapting to Etsy and its bustling community of customers and sellers. If you are keeping up to date on trends, creating new designs or products and revamping old ones, you may have a shot of being successful.
Furthermore, being kind to customers and professionals online through social media will boost your reputation, and people will begin to trust you!
Most of all, love what you do and go do your best!