There are an increasing number of us who want to be our own bosses and run our own business. One route which makers and artists often think about taking is setting up an Etsy shop and earning a living from the sales they make through the site.
There are some definite positives to an Etsy shop:
- It’s easy to set up
- You only need a prototype of a product in order to get started
- Etsy already has lots of buyers using the site and potentially finding your product
- It’s fairly cheap and quick to get started on
All of these plus points, and you get to be your own boss, make what you want, and decide on your own hours. Sounds great right? Well maybe not. Before you set up on Etsy, there are some downsides that it’s worth bearing in mind.
First off, it’s super competitive. There are lots of sellers trying to market to the same audience which means that not only do you have to do research into search terms to use, but, more importantly, you’ll be limited on what price you can charge for your products. After all, if your items cost £60, and someone else has a similar product listed for £30, you’re unlikely to make that many sales. You could lower your price, but then it means that you’ll need to sell that many more of your product in order to meet your target income.
On a related note – it takes time. If you’re making your products then it’s going to take time, and if it takes you an hour to make each item, and you need to make eight per day in order to meet your sales target, that’s going to be a serious undertaking. Plus, that doesn’t include any admin time.
Next, if you’ve managed to get the making-vs-sales balance right, you’ll need to factor in the 3.5% fee that Etsy takes from every sale you make, not to mention currency conversion fees or Paypal fees.
All of this fixed? Great, only it still doesn’t mean that Etsy is necessarily the way to go, since its audience reach is limited. If you have a popular product that people are buying you want it to reach a good audience. The thing is, if you type, for example, “crystal studded wedding shoes” into Google, Etsy isn’t likely to be top of the results unlike other independent sites.
Having said all this, Etsy is a great place to get started and to earn some extra money through – if you’re not relying on it for your main income. If your products work on Etsy, then it’s probably best to set up your own site. Yes, treat Etsy as a trial run, but don’t think of it as the end goal.