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Sarah Waggoner

How to Start an Etsy Business

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With more and more competition coming to Etsy every year, it’s important that you have a thorough plan for getting sales when you start your Etsy shop. It doesn’t have to take long to publish your first listing, but you want to make sure you check off each step in the list below to create a profitable business.


The key to this stage is getting it done quickly. It’s tempting to want to take weeks or months to create the perfect plan, but unfortunately no matter how much time you take to plan, it won’t be perfect. You’ll make more sales on Etsy a lot faster if you make decisions quickly. So let’s talk about what you need to plan.

What are you going to sell?

The single most important thing is to know what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. There is no perfect answer here. You’ll most likely change your products and product lines as you develop your business on Etsy. So pick something you love to make and that can be profitable for you. Then stick with it until it sells.

You want to avoid changing this part of your plan too often or you’ll end up with a “Garage Sale Shop” that sells a ton of different products, but isn’t important for any of them.

Shop Name

Before you open your shop you’ll need a name. I suggest picking something that is easy to spell, easy to remember, and doesn’t directly mention the name of your product. Not naming the product you sell in your shop gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to selling multiple product lines in the future.



You’ll need some product photos before you publish your first listings. Make sure to keep your photos simple unless you have a lot of experience with product photography. You’ll want to use natural light and perfect the focus to avoid blurry images. Remember, your photos help your buyers trust you.


You deserve to make a profit on your products. Never forget that. Often that means you won’t want to be competing purely on pricing in your shop. I’ve made over 28,000 sales in my current shop and have never had products that were the cheapest in my category. Price your items in a way that helps you run a profitable business even if that means you need to learn to distinguish yourself from your competition in ways other than your pricing.

Getting Sales:

There are three main things you want to focus on in order to start getting sales on Etsy. Your goal is to get organic traffic from buyers doing searches on the platform. That’s why you pay Etsy fees, right?! You want access to all of the traffic they can easily bring you. So let’s walk through what you need to do to start getting that traffic.

Full product lines

Etsy is unique as a platform in the way that quantity matters, no just quality. It’s really hard to list just a few items and start getting organic traffic. What happens when you have full product lines is that Etsy sees you as more important for those specific product lines. You can learn more about product lines and how many listings you need in this podcast episode.


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s how Etsy decides where your listings should rank when buyers complete searches on the platform. While you can’t control everything that this platform takes into account, you can control the keywords you’re targeting and how you’re formatting your listings. You can learn more about that in my free masterclass here.


Social media and other marketing isn’t necessary to get sales on Etsy, but it can help Etsy notice you. Think about it like bonus traffic that can help increase your conversion rate and move you up the rankings in the search algorithm. I recommend picking one platform and focusing on growing a community that loves what you do.

Still have questions about how to start an Etsy business? Join me in the Seller Collective, my Etsy membership. Students get access to Set Up Shop, my guide to opening your first Etsy shop, in additional to my full Etsy course, monthly group coaching, and more. Learn more here.


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About Author:
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Sarah Waggoner is a full time Etsy Seller with over $700,000 in sales. She helps handmade and digital sellers get daily sales on Etsy without all the complications.

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