How to Set Up an Etsy Shop

Imagine a craft fair teeming with vendors peddling everything from lace headbands to vintage prints. Every booth is a new expression of creativity, and the buzz throughout the venue is energizing whether you’re selling or buying.

Imagine this community online, and you have Etsy – a vibrant collection of 30 million creative businesses and buyers. Are you a creative with an entrepreneurial spirit and something to sell? Here’s how Etsy can make it happen in four easy steps.

Step 1:  Choose your passion

To be successful on Etsy you need to be passionate about what you’re selling, and your product must fall into one of three categories: handmade goods, vintage items (at least 20 years old) or craft supplies. The home page showcases a variety of these items and changes them out frequently based on what’s trending and recommended by the Etsy community. It’s a great place to get ideas and see what sells. For more information on Etsy sales categories, click here.

Step 2: Stake your claim

Once you’ve chosen what to sell, you’ll need to register with Etsy. There’s no cost for this – Etsy makes money only when you stock your store or sell a product and collects by charging a credit card or a PayPal account you designate for this purpose.

After clicking the ‘open shop’ button at the bottom of the Etsy home page and the ‘open an Etsy shop’ button on the next page, you’ll be guided through the registration process. You can register independently, through Facebook or Google Plus. The benefit of registering through a social platform is that your business will be visible to contacts.

Step 3: Set up shop

If you don’t already have an established business name, now is the time to name your business. Your name should be original and indicative of your style. While it can be descriptive, it’s not a prerequisite for success. One of the most lucrative Etsy businesses, ThreeBirdNest, nets its owner, Alicia Shaffer, $80,000 per month selling fashion accessories to women. Fast Company profiles her success story here.

Etsy recommends vetting your name against its checklist to ensure that it’s memorable, not in use or registered somewhere else. While you can change your business name after it’s established (for instance, if you find another business with a similar name), it’s a step backward in your fight to gain traction in the name recognition department.

Stocking your Etsy store is a simple as uploading photos and providing descriptions – and the cost is a miniscule twenty cents per item. In return your product will be featured for four months or for as long as it sells. Once it does, Etsy collects 3.5% of the sale price while your cut is deposited directly into the bank account you provide.

Step 4. Sell, sell, sell

You’ve got your killer business name and killer products. Now it’s time to kill it on the balance sheet by marketing like a pro. Here’s where Etsy can really help you excel – offering guides on everything from photographing your products for maximum customer appeal to pricing them to sell.

They can even suggest terms you should use in product descriptions to help them show up in web searches. While most of these tutorials come at a price, the costs are more than reasonable – typically in the five to twenty-five dollar range. More often than not, these costs are tax-deductible business expenses.

If you’re creative, entrepreneurial and interested in new and innovative ways to sell your product, it’s time to consider being part of the Etsy phenomenon. It might just be your gateway to running a successful business!

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