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Etsy for Beginners: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Etsy

As a beginner, starting your own business can be scary, nerve-wracking, and just darn right overwhelming, but Etsy makes it easy for anyone to sell their handmade or vintage items online. 

This Etsy for beginners guide is going to help you build a solid foundation for the success of your Etsy shop.

With over 96 million active buyers, Etsy is a popular platform for artists, crafters, designers, digital product makers, and collectors to showcase and sell their unique products. 

In this article, I will guide you through the basics of setting up an Etsy shop and provide tips on how to make your shop stand out.

I will by no means say I’m a “guru” at Etsy. That would be a straight-out lie. I’m still learning and I learn new things every single day to improve as an Etsy seller on the platform.

But, if I can do it and earn extra income. I know you can do it too! This is where my shop Design Deeva Studio stand at the time of this post.

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Before we jump into getting your store right. If you want the behind-the-scenes info about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.

You can join my Weekly Sunday Newsletter, where I share all the juicy intimate details of building Etsy shops and other semi-passive income machines online.

Join my weekly newsletter where I share my stats, strategies, resources and actionable tips that can help you grow your shop every Sunday.

Getting Started With Etsy for Beginners

To get started on Etsy it’s important to understand the platform and its policies. Etsy is a marketplace that specializes in handmade, vintage, and unique items. And those items can be digital or physical.

They do have strict guidelines on what you can and cannot sell on their platform, so you must familiarize yourself with their policies (which they call their House Rules) before setting up your shop. Once you have a good understanding of Etsy’s guidelines, it’s time to set up your shop.

Setting up your Etsy shop can be broken down into several steps, including choosing a shop name, setting up your payment and billing details, and selecting your shop language, country, and currency.

You’ll also need to consider your branding as a part of this process and determine how you plan on keeping your shop consistent. 

Once your shop is set up, you can start listing your products and promoting your shop to potential buyers. With a little effort and creativity, you can turn your Etsy business into a semi-passive income machine.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Etsy’s policies is important for running a successful shop and becoming a legit Etsy seller on the platform
  • Setting up your shop involves choosing a name, setting up payment details, and selecting language and currency. 
  • Establishing a trusted and consistent brand is also important when starting an Etsy shop.
  • Listing your products and promoting your shop are important steps towards building a successful Etsy business.

Understanding Etsy

This is for Etsy beginners, so I’m going step-by-step, leaving nothing out. It is essential to understand what Etsy is and how it works. So, in this section, I’ll give you a brief overview of what Etsy is and how Etsy works.

What is Etsy?

Etsy is an online marketplace that allows individuals to buy and sell unique, handmade, and vintage items. It’s a platform that connects buyers and sellers from all over the world, creating a global community of creatives. 

Etsy has over 96 million active buyers and 7.9 million active sellers, making it one of the largest online marketplaces.

How Does Etsy Work?

Etsy works by providing a platform for sellers to create an online shop and list their items. Buyers can then browse through these shops and purchase items they are interested in. 

Etsy charges a small fee for each item sold and provides various tools to help sellers manage their shops and grow their businesses.

To get started on Etsy, you need to create an account and set up your shop. Once your shop is set up, you can start listing your items, setting prices, and managing your inventory. 

It is essential to optimize your listings by using high-quality thumbnails, detailed descriptions, and relevant tags to attract potential buyers.

Setting Up Your Etsy Shop

Let me take you by the hand and walk you through setting up your very first Etsy shop. But before we dive into that. 

Let me tell you how to get your first 40 listings for FREE!

When you’re ready to set up your Etsy Shop, click my 40 FREE Listings Link, so that you get those first 40 products up on your shop free.

To use this referral link I’m giving you, you’ll have to be a first-time shop owner. It won’t allow you to get 40 FREE listings if you already have your shop.

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Creating an Account

The first step to setting up your Etsy shop is creating an account. If you already have a buyer account, you can use the same account to sell on Etsy. 

If not, you need to create a new account. Which I recommend you do anyway, just open up a new account using a different email address. 

TIP: Before opening up your Etsy shop you will need to have at least 1 product listing ready to go. You will need at least 1 image to use as a “dummy” product thumbnail. If you need to know the correct size of Etsy thumbnails watch the video below. You can easily make the image on Canva.

Now let’s proceed…

To open up an Etsy shop, you’ll need to sign into your account and click on the “Sell on Etsy” button. Follow the prompts to register and set up your account.

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This will be the screen you will see next to get you started.

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Once you click “Get Started” the next screen you see will be a welcome screen.

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Then there will be a couple of questions you need to answer. You should answer them honestly.

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They Etsy wants to know what you need help with. Again, answer these questions honestly, so that you can get the resources and support you need along your journey.

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Now here comes the fun part of setting up your new Etsy shop.

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You will first need to setup your Etsy shop preferences. Some of this information, if not all will be pulled in from when you originally created he Etsy account.

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Choosing a Shop Name

Choosing a shop name is an essential part of setting up your Etsy shop. Your shop name should be unique, memorable, and reflect your brand. 

It can only be 20 characters long without any spaces or special characters. 

It should be easy to spell and pronounce. As part of the setup process, you will be asked to create a shop name. Put something in there for now, if you’re not sure because you can always change it later. 

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To change your shop name at any time, go to your Shop Manager and click on the “Settings” tab. Then, click on “Info & Appearance” and select “Shop Name.” Enter your desired shop name and click “Save.”

Setting Shop Policies

Your shop policies should include information about shipping, returns, and exchanges. You should also include your processing time and any other relevant information. 

However, if you are selling digital products, Etsy has an automatic No refunds, No exchanges, or No return policy.

While you’re setting up your product listing in the initial setup. You will have a chance to create your policy settings, but you can always do it later by following the after-setup steps below.

To set up your shop policies after setup, go to your Shop Manager and click on the “Settings” tab. Then, click on “Info & Appearance” and select “Shop Policies.” Enter your policies and click “Save.”

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Setting up an Etsy shop is a pretty straightforward process that involves creating an account, choosing a shop name, and setting shop policies. By following the steps, I just laid out for you, as a new Etsy seller, you should be well on your way to building a solid foundation for your Etsy shop.

Listing Your Products

Product Photography

The first thing your potential buyers are going to see in the Etsy search is your product thumbnail. That is why branding your shop is so important. This will determine how your thumbnails will look and feel. 

You want your Etsy shop to have consistency and be aesthetically pleasing. Make sure your photos are well-lit, and in focus, and showcase your product from multiple angles. Especially, if you are selling physical products. 

Use a simple, neutral background to make your product stand out. If you’re not confident in your photography skills, consider hiring a professional or use a tool like Canva.

If you are selling digital products, you want your product mockups to look professional and showcase the item. 

I love dropping my designs into Printify. Even if you do not offer print-on-demand services. You can put your design on products in their catalog and just save the images for professional-looking mockups.

And, it doesn’t cost a penny to do that. It’s free to sign up.

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When you’re ready, you can just head over to Printify. Make a FREE account and put your clipart or other graphic design onto one of their products and just “right click” the image and “open in a new browser tab”, then save the image to your computer. Exit out of the mockup and just use the image.

Writing Product Descriptions

Your product description should be clear, concise, and informative. Highlight the unique features of your product and include any relevant details such as size, materials, and care instructions. 

Use keywords in your description to help your listing appear in relevant search results. Be honest about any flaws or imperfections in your product to avoid negative reviews.

Also, warn potential buyers that colors may vary from what they see on their computer screens. The colors on printed items can vary from how bright they are on a monitor.

If you are not a good writer or don’t know what to say there are several ways you can tackle this. 

You can look at some of your competitors’ product listing descriptions and get some inspiration from them. DO NOT COPY! Just get an idea of how they are doing it. 


You can head on over to ChatGPT, an AI writing assistant that can write the product listing description for you. ChatGPT 3.5 at the time of this article is FREE to use. 

I would highly recommend that you proofread the results from ChatGPT and add your voice. Remember, it’s only a writing assistant tool. The image below is where you would enter your product description.

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Pricing Your Items

Pricing your items can be tricky, but it’s important to find the right balance between affordability and profitability. Research similar products on Etsy to get an idea of what other sellers are charging. 

Consider the cost of materials, labor, and any fees associated with selling on Etsy when setting your prices. Don’t undervalue your work, but also be mindful of pricing yourself out of the market.

Creating compelling product listings on Etsy requires attention to detail and a willingness to experiment. 

By focusing on product thumbnails, writing clear descriptions, and pricing your items appropriately, you can increase your chances of success as a new Etsy seller.

Promoting Your Etsy Shop

Promoting your New Etsy shop is a must. Especially, in the beginning. This helps you get your shop into the Etsy search results faster. 

It can also increase your sales. I have a love-hate relationship with Etsy Ads, but I’m down to spending $1 per day to get a new shop in rotation. 

There are several ways to promote your new Etsy shop, but in this section, I will focus on two key methods: social media marketing and SEO for Etsy. Etsy Ads is an article by itself.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a powerful tool for marketing your Etsy shop. By creating social media accounts for your shop, you can share your products with a wider audience and drive traffic to your Etsy shop. Here are some tips for effective social media marketing:

  • Choose the right platforms: Focus on the social media platforms that your target audience is most active on. For example, if you sell handmade jewelry, Instagram and Pinterest might be great platforms to showcase your products.
  • Post regularly: Consistency is key when it comes to social media marketing. Post regularly to keep your followers engaged and interested in your products.
  • Use hashtags: Hashtags can help your posts reach a wider audience. Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility and attract potential customers.

SEO for Etsy

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your Etsy shop and listings to rank higher in search results. By optimizing your listings for SEO, you can increase visibility and attract more traffic to your shop. Here are some tips for effective Etsy SEO:

  • Use relevant keywords: Use relevant keywords in your titles, tags, and descriptions to help your listings rank higher in search results.
  • Fill out your shop policies: Filling out your shop policies can help your shop appear in search results for specific keywords.
  • Offer free shipping: Offering free shipping can improve your shop’s visibility in search results and attract more customers.

By utilizing social media marketing and SEO for Etsy, you can increase visibility, attract more traffic, and ultimately increase sales.

There are several tools out there to help with Etsy SEO, eRank, Sales Samurai, and Maralead. I’ve used them all! Literally.

My favorite and highly recommended tool is eRank. I love eRank. With proper SEO in place you can boost your shops visibility and make more sales.

Managing Your Etsy Shop

I’ve noticed that the more I’m inside of my Etsy shop, the more sales I get. I don’t know if this is a part of their algorithm, but if it’s not, it’s one hell of a coincidence. Here are some essential tips to help you manage your new Etsy shop.

Handling Orders

Once you start receiving orders, you’ll need to be on top of things. Here are some tips to help you manage your orders:

  • Keep track of your orders using Etsy’s built-in tools or a third-party app.
  • Fulfill your orders promptly to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Package your products carefully to avoid damage during shipping.
  • Provide tracking information to your customers so they can follow their orders.

This will be different if you have digital items in your shop. You won’t have to ship anything. All you’ll need to do is respond to any custom inquiries promptly. 

That’s what I love most about having a digital product shop. I’m able to make a semi-passive income without worrying about shipping. Customers get their digital downloads instantly.

Customer Service Tips

Providing excellent customer service is essential for your Etsy shop’s success. Here are some tips to help you provide top-notch customer service:

  • Respond to customer inquiries promptly and professionally.
  • Be polite and friendly in all your interactions with customers.
  • Resolve any issues or complaints quickly and effectively.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews by providing excellent service.
  • Be sure to follow up with customers in the private message section of Etsy in a day or two.

It’s a good idea to follow up with a personal note. You can set up an automated message to appear after the purchase, which I have done, but there is nothing like sending a special message directly to their DM.

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I’ve created a custom message to send to all new customers a day or so after their order to follow up with them. 

Per Etsy’s seller policy, you can communicate with customers about that particular order. You just can’t be soliciting or harassing them. 

Keeping Track of Finances

Don’t go into creating an Etsy shop thinking that it’s just your “little business”. No! Etsy can be a big business if you treat it like one. Which means managing your funds. Here are some tips to help you manage your finances effectively:

  • Keep track of your expenses and income using a spreadsheet or accounting software.
  • Set aside money for taxes and other business expenses.
  • Keep your financial records organized and up-to-date.
  • Consider hiring a professional accountant to help you manage your finances.

Managing your Etsy shop can be a breeze with the right tools and strategies. By handling your orders efficiently, providing excellent customer service, and keeping track of your finances, you can ensure the success of your Etsy shop.

Be sure to sign up for my Weekly Sunday Newsletter. This is where I share everything that goes on behind-the-scenes in my Etsy Shops, other online businesses and more.

Join my weekly newsletter where I share my stats, strategies, resources and actionable tips that can help you grow your shop every Sunday.

After you’ve signed up, I’ve explained Etsy for beginners in a 37 minute step-by-step tutorial.

Here’s Some Frequently Asked Questions

Is selling on Etsy worth the effort?

Yes! Yes! Yes! Selling on Etsy is worth all the effort. Etsy has to be the easiest place for beginners to start or even validate product ideas. With over 96.2 million active buyers, there is a huge potential market for your products. 

However, it does require time and effort to set up and maintain your shop, create and promote your listings, and handle customer service.

What are the steps to successfully sell on Etsy?

To successfully sell on Etsy, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Set up your shop and create your listings.
  2. Optimize your listings for search using keywords and tags.
  3. Promote your listings through social media, email marketing, and other channels.
  4. Provide excellent customer service to build your reputation and encourage repeat business.

Where can I find the Etsy Seller Handbook in PDF format?

Etsy does not have a Seller Handbook available in PDF format. That is because the Etsy Seller Handbook is a living, breathing, and forever-evolving document. It would be too large of a document if it were available in PDF format.

What are some tips for beginners to sell on Etsy?

Some tips for beginners to sell on Etsy include:

  1. Research your competition and find ways to differentiate your products and your brand.
  2. Use high-quality thumbnails, mockups, and detailed descriptions to showcase your products.
  3. Offer excellent customer service to build your reputation and encourage repeat business from buyers.
  4. Price your products competitively, but don’t undervalue your time and effort.

Can beginners make a profit on Etsy?

Yes, beginners can make a profit on Etsy. I’ve been profiting on Etsy since the first week I opened my Etsy shop. The way I set everything up, allows me to not have to come out of pocket for anything. But depending upon your store type, it may take time and effort to build up your shop and establish a customer base. It’s important to price your products competitively and factor in all of your costs, including materials, time, and fees.

How much does it cost to start selling on Etsy?

It costs $0.20 to list an item on Etsy, and there is a 6.5% transaction fee on each sale. There may also be additional fees for shipping and payment processing, and also if someone purchased through an ad that Etsy ran. However, the cost to start selling on Etsy is relatively low compared to other e-commerce platforms. And by using my link before you open your Etsy shop, you can get your first 40 listings FREE!

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Who is Dee Willis?

I am a digital product fanatic & writer who loves building businesses that produce semi-passive income. A woman deeply passionate about exploring humanism, building semi-passive income, and lifestyle design.