Business Life

What to Sell On Etsy to Create a Thriving Online Business

Etsy. You’ve heard the name of this growing eCommerce platform before. It comes up in conversation every once in a while and you’ve purchased a thing or two from the online marketplace yourself. You think, “These products don’t look too complicated to make… I should open up my own Etsy shop!” But here’s the catch, if you want to make real money, do you even know what to sell on Etsy?

If you’re reading this article, you’re one step closer to finding financial freedom, launching a successful home business, and turning your hobby into a money-making machine for you and your family. We envy you. Your entire future on Etsy is right in front of you, and all you have to do is brainstorm the best things to sell on Etsy.

what to sell on etsy - group of people brainstorming

Of course, once you know exactly what it is you want to sell on Etsy, there’s a to-do list about a mile long of everything else you need to get in order. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Sure, you can open up an Etsy shop right now, selling something you think will make a successful and happy business…

But without the proper research and planning, you’ll risk shutting down your shop after long months of only a couple measly sales. Avoid this by establishing a solid foundation in your Etsy shop, all before you even upload your first listing. And it all starts with finding the right product to sell on Etsy.

In this article, we’ll show you a handful of things to consider while brainstorming what to sell on Etsy.

What to Sell on Etsy: A Balancing Act

The premise of this entire article is “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” These wise words are echoed from household to household and are something you probably heard from your grandparents, right around the time you were old enough to land your first job. Do what you love, yes. But just because you love crocheting beanies doesn’t mean you’ll create your own Etsy empire.

The trick is to find a balance. The Japanese call this your “Ikiagi.”

Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day on your life.

-Literally, everyone’s grandparents.
what to sell on etsy - Ikiagi venn diagram
Via TherpayPosters on Etsy

In this case, you need to balance doing what you love, and getting paid to do it. Here’s a closer look at some important things to consider when trying to figure out what to sell on Etsy:

  • Get paid for what you do. Obviously, this is the most important step for any business. If you weren’t getting paid, it wouldn’t be a business. And if you’re losing money, your business will soon be an expensive hobby.
  • Make sure there’s a demand. If there’s no demand for your product on Etsy, then who are you making them for? If it doesn’t sell, don’t sell it. And if it sells slowly, make every sale count.
  • Love what you do. If you hate making sweaters, don’t sell sweaters. You’ll burn yourself out, which will only be detrimetnal to your health in the long run. Creat something you enjoy, and find a way to make money from it.
  • Be good at it. Like, really good. Anyone can be mediocre at anything. But when it comes to your business, you should be at the top of your game.

So, what do you love?

If you’re considering selling on Etsy, it’s probably because you enjoy making a particular item and someone once said, “You should sell those on Etsy.”

But first-time Etsy sellers will quickly learn these two things when it comes to selling on Etsy:

  • There’s no demand. The product you want to sell has little to no demand on Etsy’s online marketplace. This unfortunately means, either nobody wants to buy your particular product. Or they just don’t know they want to buy it yet.
  • There’s too much competition. When there’s an absolute flood of competition, there’s little chance your product will stand out from the rest. If the market is over saturated, you need to get creative and niche down or consider selling something else.

Either way you look at it, the profit margin in the two examples listed above is slim-to-none. And after a few months of hard work and little sales, your passion for selling dies, and so does the desire for creating. 

what to sell on etsy - man stressed about low etsy sales

This is why it’s essential that, before you start monetizing your passion, you make sure there’s demand for what you’re selling, and you can meet that demand.

What to sell on Etsy?

First, you need to find out what’s selling on Etsy. So go on Etsy and search for the products you plan to sell. 

How many results are there?

Take a look at these results and compare what you do to these products.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Why would someone buy my product over these products?
  • What have these sellers done to rank high in search results?
  • Do these products have good reviews? If so, how many?

If you’re finding that there are many search results for the product you want to sell, niche down. 

For example, rather than selling ‘Men’s leather belts,’ you could try selling ‘western-themed cowboy belts.’ While the number of people searching for these products might be lower, competition is also lower. Therefore, when anyone searches for this term, you’re the result that shows up! Thus, increasing your chances of getting the sale. 

From here on in, you can increase the range of products you sell, selling a more competitive product each time:

  • ‘Vegan leather belts’
  • ‘Wide leather belt’
  • ‘Women’s leather belt’
  • And so on.

Pro Tip: Check the competition of products you wish to sell using the tools availble to you in Marmalead

Finding the right keywords with Marmalead

Marmalead is a great tool that shares vital statistics for the products you’re thinking of selling. Type any product or keyword into Marmalead to see exactly how many people are searching for it. The expected engagement for that product over the next 30 days. And the amount of competition you’ll face selling a similar product.

Snapshot of Marmalead tools helps to determine what to sell on etsy

Alternatively, you can start from the other direction – look at popular keywords, and figure out if you can apply what you love to selling those products. 

Popular products to sell on Etsy

If you’re thinking about selling products in any of the following categories, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the most popular search terms for 2021. Before you open your business for a particular niche, look through the popular keywords in these lists:

Sourcing products to sell on Etsy

Several years ago, Etsy changed its rules allowing sellers to sell mass-produced and print-on-demand items. In other words, Etsy opened itself up to more than just handmade products by Artisans. 

This means that you, the new Etsy seller, can now sell products that aren’t 100% handmade by you.

what to sell on etsy - leather crafting

That’s not to say that you can buy thousands of products from AliExpress and start re-selling them on Etsy. But there are now more ways for you to source a product to sell on Etsy. 

You may buy in bulk from a local manufacturer and add your own custom or creative touches, or you can stick to selling products that you 100% make from scratch yourself. 

The point is this:

If you’re passionate about selling a product and passionate about that product, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to buy the equipment to make it. Let alone, spend years learning the perfect technique to create that product from scratch.

Get creative with the way that you manufacture and source your product, and you’ll be one step closer to selling a unique product with very little competition.

Wrapping up

If you’ve got that burning passion for a product, it’s vital that you do the market research to see if there’s demand for it on Etsy before you open your shop.

Similarly, if you’re passionate about creating or selling things, you need to ensure that people actually want what you’re selling. 

But most importantly, there has to be a passion for it. If you love what you do, you’ll enjoy it more. Using data from Marmalead, you’ll be able to ensure that your passion is profitable.

Grow your online business, develop your SEO, and launch your sales into the stratosphere.

Read The Squeeze each week to see what’s new with Etsy and the growing industry of eCommerce. There’s a lot of noise out there getting in the way of your success. Cut to the chase with tips and tricks you can implement in your business right now. Let The Squeeze be your guide.


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