10 THINGS You SHOULD Know BEFORE Starting An Etsy Shop

starting an etsy shop

My time on Etsy began back in 2011. That’s almost 12 years ago! After some time selling on Etsy there’s quite a few things I might’ve done differently. I discussed this with a few fellow Etsy selling vets, and gathered a list below to help you on your journey to starting an Etsy shop!

starting an etsy shop

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Etsy is a wonderful place to begin selling your creations online. Like with every new beginning though, things can be a little confusing. It is hard to know how to start, and if you are doing everything correctly. Can you become successful on Etsy? Absolutely, you can!

Along with my own advice, I also asked my members in my Facebook Group some advice they would give to a newbie.

10 Things you SHOULD know before you start your Etsy Shop:

10 Things You SHOULD Know BEFORE Starting an Etsy Shop

1. How To Take Good Product Photos For Etsy

how to start an etsy shop

Having great product photos when starting your Etsy shop will help your clientele decide if they want to purchase from you within seconds. That’s a lot of pressure! Don’t worry though, I’ve spent many long hours figuring out the best tips for creating a quality image for your Etsy listing.

These tips are great for taking product photos on your phone:

Don’t Use Flash

Use natural lighting as much as possible. Flash creates odd colors and harsh shadows that can warp your product.

Use Props & Backgrounds

Using props and backgrounds in your Etsy listing photos will help enhance your product.

Example: Would you buy a cute sweater, OR would you but a cute sweater on a girl cozied up with a cup of hot chocolate on the couch?

I’m not saying you need to get that fancy, but maybe ad a few things to your pictures to help your customer better envision themselves with that product.  

A great example of a BAD V GOOD product photo:

etsy seller tips
Image Soruce: @squareshot.com

It’s All About Angles

An awkward angle on your product photos is not attractive to customers. The best way to find the right angle for your product is honestly through practice. Treat this as a photoshoot and give your model (product) multiple angles to work with.

Photo Editing for Etsy Listing

You’re not done yet! You could post the image you took and it would be fine, but if you really want a professional feel to your Etsy shop, you have to edit. Editing photos is more of a learn as you go type of thing, however, there are so many resources online now to help you out.

Resources for Editing:

Using Stock photos on Etsy

In short, using stock photos on Etsy is okay. According to Etsy, “in general, listing images must be of the item itself, not a rendering or stock photo. When you upload images, you confirm that you have all necessary rights to those photos and are complying with our Intellectual Property Policy.” ( Etsy.com, 2022)

Stock photos can be very helpful in getting beautiful photos of your items up but I encourage you to always follow the rules.

Would Oprah Approve?

A final tip. Ask yourself “If Oprah asked to feature my item in her magazine, would I be proud of this photo?”

Photos are the lifeline to your shop – make them great!

If you’re feeling ready to jump into some more quality photos, here are some MUST HAVES to help you out:

etsy shop tips
starting an etsy shop with no money
starting an etsy shop as a teenager

2. Etsy Pricing Guide: How to Price To Make A Profit

what do i need to sell on etsy

This is a mistake I see often among new Etsy sellers, myself included.

Common reasons you may price your items low:

  • To get people interested
  • You don’t see the true value of your hard work
  • You’re unsure what the pricing average for that item may be

Reasons why you should avoid low pricing:

  • Tax season will bite you in the rear when your bank account doesn’t match up to your hard work.
  • You will need to buy more materials for your growing business.
  • If your product is too cheap customers might believe it is cheaply/poorly made.

I highly recommend my free pricing training to help you get started on the right path. You can access the FREE pricing training by signing up for my email list and getting access to the the free resource library!

Raising your prices may be the answer, but don’t forget to lower your expenses as well. I wrote a blog post on my best shipping resources to get the very best prices on shipping supplies, check it out here.

3. SEO for Etsy Shop (What is SEO?)

how to be successful on etsy

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This allows buyers to find your product when they are searching on any platform.

  • Benefits of proper SEO placement:
    • You are ranked higher on search engines
    • Easier to find – easier to buy from

Ignoring SEO would be like spending hours on a project, and then when you hold it up to show everyone they can’t see or hear you. It’s heartbreaking and I see it happening all the time to Etsy newbies!

I’ve built my whole 6 figure business on SEO traffic alone. So, please take my advice when I say LEARN SEO. You will thank me later.

If you’re ready to get serious about applying SEO to your Etsy shop, or want a more in depth explanation, check out my SEO webinar which has helped hundreds of people get to the top of search.

4. Join The Handmade Mastermind Group

how to sell on etsy

This piece of advice came straight from my members. If you're serious about starting and Etsy shop, and want more guidance throughout your process, I'm here to help!

Perks of Joining:

  1. I create/post classes/webinars about online selling that are easy to follow.
  2. You'll be part of a community of people with similar passions, questions, and problems. (Being an entrepreneur can be lonely sometimes, am I right?)
  3. No fluff (We troubleshoot immediately and don't waste any time)

This is a group for serious sellers who are looking to work diligently on improving their shop!

To join the 8.5K other members Click here

5. How To Create A BESTSELLER Every Time

how to open an etsy shop

I know you're not here to create a product that won't sell. We are all creative and want to create things that we love, but at the end of the day you have to consider what the people want.

How do I know what the people want?

  • Get to know your target market (babies, kids, teens, men, women, etc.)
  • Figure out what your target market is buying/searching for a lot
  • Explore what other Etsy sellers are putting out there (this does not mean copy!)

Questions to ask before putting your product up for sale:

  1. What will they use my products for?
  2. Why do they need my product? What problem does it solve?
  3. Do I know the demographic of my customers? (male/female/etc.? Age range? Married? etc...)

Once you get a feel for what your customer uses your product for, you can continue to create more products that they will love. Learn from them so you can help them!

Don't forget to check out my blog post on how to create a successful product line.

6. Don't Play Games to Gain Views and Likes

what should i sell on etsy

If you're wanting to be successful on Etsy, this is NOT it.


  1. Time Suck
    1. Starting an Etsy shop is time consuming already - don't waste it on this.
  2. False Hope
    1. This will skew your stats and make your views seem higher than reality.
  3. Decrease in Conversion Rates
    1. Engaging content = sales so if its 1mil views/1 actual purchase the search engines think you are not relevant enough to pop up on the web.

Search engines aren't dumb! They know the traffic you are getting all of a sudden isn't organic, so avoid hurting your business.


7. How to Write Your Etsy Product Descriptions to Generate Sales

More buyers than not will be reading your descriptions, and if they don't it is at least there to back you up in times of need. Trust me you'll be thankful it is there when that time comes.

Tips on Good Descriptions:

  1. Don't be lazy
    1. Just think about all the things you would want to know before buying something. Look to other sellers' descriptions for inspiration. They may have added something you never would've thought of.
  2. Make it seem like the customer NEEDS your product
  3. List out all the features
  4. Some people enjoy a step by step how to order in the description. Etsy can be confusing not only as a seller but a buyer as well.
  5. Organize the information in an aesthetically pleasing way for easier reading/understanding.

A well written description will help the buyer trust you more because your shop and your brand will seem more professional.

If you need more help with description templates check out my Rock Your Descriptions course here.

8. Don't Copy Other Shops On Etsy

what to do before opening an etsy shop

You definitely want to start out by creating a product that is high in demand for your target market, however, please avoid copying creations that someone else worked hard to make in high demand.


  1. It is not yours.
  2. You will set yourself up to fail.
    • If you build a business based on other people's creations, your shop will get taken down. Resulting in a loss of time, money, and hard work.
  3. It is offensive, not flattering.
    • The person you stole from will not find it flattering that you copied them.

If you need more info on what is protected by Trademark or Copyright, check out this blog post.

9. Easy Bookkeeping For Small Business

what do i need before starting an etsy shop

Tax season will creep up on you when you're not expecting it. Make sure you are keeping track of all your expenses throughout the year. I will tell you from experience it is not fun trying to play catch up.

Start with these simple Etsy bookkeeping practices:

  1. Save all receipts - File them my month
  2. Write need to know details on your receipts, so you can be reminded what each purchase was for.
  3. Follow my easy bookkeeping practices for small business

This is one task you don't want to procrastinate!

10. Don't Worry About Getting it Wrong, Just Start!

how do i start an etsy shop

There is no "right moment!"

If you keep waiting for the "right moment," you will never start.

I know it's hard to shake the hesitation of starting an Etsy shop, but you just have to dive in.

Even after 12 years of selling on Etsy, I still learn something new everyday about how I can better my shop.

The best way to learn is by doing.

I look forward to seeing your shop on Etsy! Don't forget to join our Facebook group for more insight throughout your Etsy shop journey. Good luck!

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