How and why to start an Etsy shop as a content creator

Etsy stores aren’t just for DIY & crafts – content creators can and should be selling their merch and services there, digital and physical. Check out our step-by-step guide to starting an Etsy shop!

How and why to start an Etsy shop as a content creator

Etsy stores aren’t just for DIY & crafts – content creators can and should be selling their merch and services there, digital and physical. Check out our step-by-step guide to starting an Etsy shop!

Today, we'll cover:

  • What is Etsy?
  • What can content creators sell on Etsy?
  • How much does it cost to make an Etsy shop?
  • How many items do I need to start an Etsy shop?
  • How much does Etsy charge you to sell?
  • Are there any extra fees on Etsy?
  • How do I start an Etsy shop?
  • Is opening a shop on Etsy worth it?

What is Etsy?

In case you didn’t know, Etsy is an online marketplace. Traditionally, it’s been used to sell handmade goods, vintage items, art, crafts, and general bric-a-brac.

What can content creators sell on Etsy?

But if you dig a little deeper, Etsy shops are being used successfully by digital marketers and content creators. People can buy digital versions of artwork and reading material – for example, cut-outs and PDFs – but that’s just scratching the surface. Fancy buying photo and video presets, color grading LUTs, custom videos, or even online courses? You can find it on Etsy!

How much does it cost to make an Etsy shop?

We’ve got some good news for you: it costs nothing to start an Etsy business. Zilch. Zero. Free as the air you breathe. You don’t need a license or anything like that.

How many items do I need to start an Etsy shop?

You can start running an Etsy shop even if you’ve only got one item in stock. However, that will probably look a little empty, and it’s generally accepted that more items = higher visibility. After all, Etsy prioritizes things like SEO and user-friendliness, which a well-stocked and managed storefront will help accommodate. 

Using Etsy to sell merch

How much does Etsy charge you to sell?

Selling on Etsy is a different ballgame to simply setting up shop, though. Even if you’re creating digital content, you still have to pay the necessary listing, transaction and payment processing fees. Let’s break them down below:

  • Listing fee: This is relatively low, coming in at 20 cents per listing. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to sell a thousand-dollar vintage rug or a beginner’s guide to Adobe Audition – it’s 20 cents every time. If you’re selling multiple items, each one will cost 20 cents. The listing is valid for 4 months, meaning once this period has lapsed, you’ll have to cough up another 20 cents to relist.
  • Transaction fee: This comes in at 6.5% of the total listing price, including whatever you’ve charged for postage and packaging. The transaction fee is deducted once you’ve sold an item, not before. 
  • Payment processing fee: This fee sits at 3.5%, applying to each sale made through the site’s main payment method, Etsy Payments. If you want to get around this, you can always take payments via PayPal, but that comes with its own limitations and fees.

In the grand scheme of things, those fees amount to around 10% of your sale. That’s a similar ballpark to membership platforms like Patreon, or tried-and-true marketplaces like eBay.

Selling items on Etsy

Are there any extra fees on Etsy?

Setting up an Etsy store requires a basic understanding of the site’s fee structure, but it’s not as cut and dry as it seems. There are some other charges you should think about before setting your prices. Let’s quickly run through them:

  • Regulatory operating fee: Sellers in countries including the UK, Turkey, Spain and Italy have to pay a regulatory operating fee, which is based on the total revenue of your products. This fee ranges between 0.25% and 1.1%, depending on where you’re based.
  • Currency conversion fee: Etsy runs on US dollars. If you’re trading in anything other than this currency, or if someone is purchasing from abroad, you might run into a 2.5% currency conversion fee.
  • Shipping fee: You can purchase shipping directly through Etsy, but it can get complicated and expensive if you’re sending physical items like merch overseas. 
  • Offsite Ads fee: If you want to get your listings out there, you can opt for Etsy’s Offsite Ads. This promotes your items across Etsy’s Facebook, Google, and display ads. It sounds pretty neat, but it’ll cost you. If your store’s netted less than $10,000 in the last 12 months, Etsy will take a 15% slice of your order total. If you’ve shifted more than $10,000’s worth in that period, the cut is reduced to 12%.
  • Etsy Plus: This is a subscription service that costs $10 per month. For that price, you get customizable shop options, a discount on custom domain names, and the chance to email interested customers when your sold-out items are back in stock.

How do I start an Etsy shop?

We’ve covered the basics, and now it’s time for business. Here’s how to start an Etsy shop, step by step!

Selling on Etsy

1. Create an account

Head over to Etsy and click ‘Get Started’. Enter your email address, or continue with Facebook, Google or Apple – whatever’s easiest for you.

Enter your first name, create a password, the hit ‘Register’. You’ve just created an Etsy account!

2. Open your Etsy storefront

Now that your account’s ready to go, you need to head to the storefront. Click the profile section in the top-right corner, then scroll down to ‘Sell on Etsy’. This will take you to a new landing page, which you can scroll down.

There should be a black button that says ‘Open your Etsy shop’. Give it a click, then answer the setup questions if you wish. You don’t have to answer these, but they can be useful if you have a particular goal in mind. If you want to just start with a blank slate, skip the questions and keep going until you reach ‘Shop Preferences’. Select your store’s language, country and currency, then click ‘Save and Continue’.

3. Name your shop

Naturally, it should be linked to your online presence. For example, if you run a YouTube channel called ‘Ibrahim’s Gaming Stuff’, perhaps ‘Ibrahimsgamingstuff’ would work for you. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your socials, but it should ideally be similar or connected.

4. Choose how you’ll be paid and billed

Select whether you’re an individual or an incorporated business, then fill out the necessary fields, including your address and bank details. The same goes for the billing section.

Opening an Etsy store

5. Establish shop security

At this point, you should be prompted to activate two-factor authentication. This helps secure your shop and lowers the risk of your business being hacked.

6. Stock your shop!

As we touched on, you can always start small and add more products later. Here’s what you do:

  • Create a listing for each item. You can add up to ten photos for each item, so if you’re selling a physical product, consider a professional photographer or high-quality camera. If you’re selling a digital product or service, think about how to best convey it. 
  • Add more information. This includes product title, information about the listing, product category, whether it’s physical or digital, and product description.
  • Set your inventory and pricing information. This is all the juicy stuff: domestic and global pricing, quantity, little variations like tiers, sizes, and colors, and more.
  • Add Shipping information. Set domestic and global shipping rates, tariff numbers for customs, and so on.

When filling in this information, be as accurate and truthful as possible. Misleading buyers leads to disappointment and ultimately distrust in both your products and you as a brand – let’s avoid that!

Is opening a shop on Etsy worth it?

If you’re looking to offer your services or sell merch, Etsy can help you make extra income. It’s a low-risk, cheap and reliable way to connect with your audience and offer them something beyond your free content.

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