Etsy How-to

Everything You Need to Know Before You Start an Etsy Shop

If you want to know how to start an Etsy shop, you’re in the right place! At Marmalead, we’re dedicated to helping Etsy shops achieve real success in eCommerce through search engine optimization (SEO). And when we’re not helping you optimize keywords to use in your shop, we spend the rest of our time providing valuable advice and insight into the world of eCommerce and Etsy entrepreneurship. If you’re new to selling on Etsy or think you might want to start your own Etsy shop, we’re here to help!

Etsy is a fantastic online marketplace to buy and sell unique, handmade or vintage items. And for an entrepreneur such as yourself, selling on Etsy can be a great opportunity to make some side money or even take the place of your day job if you go full-time! Etsy has seen its fair share of growth in 2020 and is expected to grow even more in 2021! So what better time to start a shop than now? But, if you’re not sure how to start an Etsy shop, it can be a little intimidating to start.

That’s why we’ve created this Etsy 101 Blog series to teach you everything you need to know about how to start an Etsy shop.

Before we begin

“Everything you need to know” — We discuss these topics at length right here on our blog and on our YouTube channel. The world of Etsy is constantly evolving as more buyers and sellers flock to the platform, and we strive to offer real, practical advice. If you have a question that you can’t find an answer to, reach out to us at

For those of you that are new to selling on Etsy, this blog series aims to help get you on your feet for a taste of that sweet success! Bookmark this page and come back anytime you need a quick refresher.

Etsy 101: How to Start An Etsy Shop

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about how to start an Etsy shop in 9 easy to follow blog posts. Start with the post you’re reading now, then move on to the next one on the list!

  1. How to Do Etsy Market Research for Your Products
  2. Know Your Etsy Shop Branding Before You Open
  3. How to Create & Maintain an Etsy Shop Aesthetic
  4. How to Master Your Etsy Product Photography
  5. How to Research Etsy Keywords
  6. Etsy Shipping Costs and How to Calculate Them
  7. A Crash Course to Etsy Taxes & Accounting
  8. The New & Improved Quick and Dirty Guide to SEO for Etsy

In this article, we’ll cover some basic Etsy pointers and link to more detailed content available to our readers. Some of the very first things you should know about how to start an Etsy shop include:

  • How to find a product to sell on Etsy
  • Starting an Etsy shop for the right reason
  • And the ongoing growth and success of your Etsy store

Start an Etsy shop with a good product

This cannot be overstated. On Etsy, your product is everything. 

Product is king. Know you product before you start an Etsy shop.

If you want to start an Etsy shop by selling a product that’s already available there in abundance, you may be disappointed rather quickly. 

That’s because Etsy is a fierce marketplace, and competition can be brutal. Without the right Etsy SEO tools and fine-tuned optimization, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. And sometimes, even when you are noticed on Etsy, it’s not always easy to land the sale.

One of the best ways to avoid competition is to “niche down.” If, for example, you specialize in selling “handmade leather accessories,” you’re up against a lot of competition. If you position your business as a specialist in “handmade organic leather men’s wallets,” then it’s much easier to stand out. 

The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” is applicable here. If you start an Etsy shop and become the go-to brand for a single product, you’ll dominate that niche. This will translate into not only more traffic, but a ton more sales.

Know why you want to start an Etsy shop and align your goals 

Why are you starting an Etsy shop?

For a bit of fun? To make some money off something that you enjoy doing? Because you’ve got an idea you know is profitable?

When you first start an Etsy shop, you won't find success overnight. But if you follow these tips, you'll be one step closer to success!

It’s crucial that you know why you’re going to start an Etsy shop. This helps you define your goals, and goals are important to justify the time and money you’ve invested in your venture. 

Maybe you’ve seen the stories of people creating an empire almost overnight by selling on Etsy, and you think, “Yup, I want to do that!. Well, the truth is that for every one of those “unicorn” stories, there are hundreds, if not thousands of sellers that don’t make it past the 6-month date. 

That’s because they start an Etsy shop with no planning, no goals, and no overall direction other than wanting to be the next “success story.”

S.M.A.R.T. goals are a great place to start to establish what you’re working toward. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
Even after you start an Etsy shop, keep your goals front and center on your mind!

So make sure your goals aren’t written down as: “I want to make a few extra bucks by selling on Etsy!” Rather, it should be: “I want to sell X number of Y products on Etsy by Z date to make a total profit of A dollars!”

Related: The Secret Formula to Etsy Promos Without Hurting Your Bottom Line

Working backward, you can easily define your version of success and then take small, manageable steps toward reaching that goal! 

Have the right tools

The most successful Etsy shops set high standards for themselves. They they meet that standard by using a wide range of digital tools to create the best product listings. 

These high standards include:

Every single one of these points is a separate topic on its own, and we’ve linked to some of the best resources for more details.

Hungry for more? Check out these Etsy tips for newbies!

The main point is this: there’s a wealth of information out there about starting an Etsy shop. So, do your research rather than blindly jumping in. This way, you’ll put yourself in the best position to make that first sale and increase your business’s sustainability.

Yes, you’re running a business.

Think like a business, not a hobby

Even if you want to start an Etsy shop for a bit of fun, you must think like a business rather than a hobby that makes a little cash on the side. 

The most successful Etsy shops think like this. Whether each product is handmade to order or sold in high volumes, it’s operated as a business, not a hobby.

The BEST businesses take an enormous amount of effort, time, and energy to make them successful. And there’s very little emotion. Ask yourself, how much emotion is in the production and sale of your Etsy product?

A little bit is good. In fact, a little emotion is important. But if you can’t look at your products objectively and try and find ways to improve, then there’s too much emotion and your shop might not make it. The fact is that data says a lot about your Etsy shop, your sales, and your products.

If you’re not willing to both look at that data and act upon it, then the growth and success of your Etsy shop will be hard to come by. 

Do you know how to start an Etsy shop yet?

Hopefully, this article has put you in the right mindset and given you the right resources to start your own Etsy shop, but there’s still more to learn!

Read through the next article in this Etsy 101 series to learn more: How to Do Etsy Market Research for Your Products

Research is undoubtedly the most important (and overlooked) part of selling on Etsy. And with the tools we offer here at Marmalead, you’ll learn just how to make your products stand out from the rest.

Learn how Marmalead can help you find your untapped potential!

Good luck, and know that we’re here to help you along your journey.

If you’ve enjoyed this article then you’re sure to enjoy reading The Squeeze, our weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs just like you. Stay up to date with everything going on in the eCommerce industry when you subscribe to The Squeeze below!

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