6 Reasons You Need to Open an Etsy Shop (Like, Today!)

You may not know this, but Mike and I (and even Alex) started out our small biz journey on Etsy and even still have those shops up on the marketplace. Even though it was possible to build our own shop and have complete control over its design and how it’s run, joining a marketplace like Etsy provided our newbie selves with an opportunity to make something out of nothing. While Etsy is never the end goal for most people, it is an amazing starting point for most small businesses for reasons you may not have expected. Ignore the naysayers – here are six reasons you need to open an Etsy shop (like, today)!

Instant access to a huge audience

Etsy has allowed us to generate a lot of opportunity, reach and flexibility in creating our business. Things that may not of happened if we started out on our own site trying to generate our own traffic. To explain better, Etsy gives you instant access to a huge audience (more than 2 billion page views per month) compared to generating your own traffic for your site, which could amount to as a little as a hundred or less visitors a month. A couple things to note – this doesn’t mean you don’t have to market yourself or work on SEO, but with a little effort you can start generating traffic within mere hours. This also doesn’t mean that creating your own website is out of the question, because more than likely you will want (and need) to do this to create a consistent brand experience and generate even greater growth. Starting out though, a large and free audience is a great asset when it comes to starting a business!

Opportunity for connections

Etsy provides is the opportunity for connections. Believe it or not, Station Seven stemmed from our first Etsy shop, Suited Brand Lab, designing logos for passionate entrepreneurs. This shop allowed us to find our first clients, who we then designed websites for, which then evolved into us creating WordPress themes for creative entrepreneurs. Our shop, blog and livelihood may never have happened if it wasn’t for that first Etsy shop and experimenting with new ideas and making connections. You might be surprised how many of your favorite bloggers and businesses started selling on Etsy (and some still do), like The Nectar Collective , PinkPot and Paper & Oats.

Acts as a testing ground

Etsy gave us flexibility in our products and business. We didn’t feel as tied to keeping products that didn’t work for us or feel guilty testing different branding strategies. As a budding business this is absolutely necessary! Of course you don’t want to be changing out pieces of your business on the daily, but when you start out there’s a ton of testing and learning. Etsy is a great platform that lets you experiment with all of these things without having to call on your designer or web developer for each little update.

A Low barrier to entry

Setting up shop with Etsy is an easy and free way to start your career as a small biz owner. Anyone can start a shop with minimal design, business, customer support, or sales knowledge. You can learn as you go, sell what you want, and have a hands on experience running your business without debt or a large cut into your savings. This allows you the freedom to learn invaluable skills, make some money, and dream big for the future!

Easy Digital Distribution

Although it was originally designed as a marketplace for handmade physical goods, Etsy now supports mouse-made digital products. The beauty of selling digital products is that every time you make a sale, the files are automatically and instantly delivered to the customer without any action required from you. Whereas some wool mitts might require a few days to knit plus a trip to the post office, digital distribution offers the opportunity to easily scale your work and support your business (and yourself!) at the same time. Which leads us to…

Oh yeah, the money!

Let’s not forget the reason we start businesses – to make a living for ourselves! Yes creating great work is rewarding and helping others is fulfilling, but at the end of the day paying the bills is always priority number one. Most of the work on Etsy is done up front; if you can gain some relevancy in the search rankings (more details in part 2 of this post), it’s easy to turn your Etsy shop into a passive income stream that could pay dividends for years to come as you grow your business in other areas.

Now I may sound like a bit of a fangirl of Etsy. To be honest, I’m not; there are some things like their inconsistent search algorithm, cash grabbing promoted posts and some overly saturated product categories that have me cursing their name. But! That doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome place to get started and try your hand at running your own business. So where do you begin and what are the important areas to focus on when opening your first shop? Check out Part 2 for all the nitty gritty and a free workbook!

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Do you run your own Etsy shop? If so, how has the experience been for you? If not, are you interested in starting your own shop? Let us know in the comments below, and share links to your Etsy shop – we’d love to hear your ideas!

Author: Brittni Rogers

Tired of being told to work for an agency if she wanted to make it as a graphic designer, Brittni chose to defy convention and put her skills up for offer. What began as a small Etsy side project rapidly evolved into something much greater. With a healthy appreciation for simple layouts, ample whitespace and just the right amount of color, Brittni’s creative spirit drives the look and feel of all of Station Seven’s projects.

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  • I totally agree with you about the Etsy shop. I opened mine in 2012 and it’s a great way to test products and pricepoints and gain visibility! I’ve been contacted by press and buyers who found me on Etsy, it’s also a great way to get direct customer feedback.

    • Hey Maia, wow it sounds like you are an Etsy veteran! You’re absolutely right about testing products and prices – being able to get that immediate feedback is so helpful when you’re growing your business. Do you have any other advice you’ve learned from growing your shop?

  • I’m in the beginning stages of starting a business. I’ve gone back and forth about whether to start an etsy shop use a different online venue. I make sterling silver jewellery and I know this is a saturated market. However, the etsy community and pop up markets are a huge appeal. And one of the first things people ask when I tell them I make jewellery is if I’ll have an etsy shop… decisions, decisions…

    PS. I’m building my site using your coastal theme and am having so much fun with it. So easy to use :)

    • Hi Merina,

      I completely understand that feeling – there are already other people with similar offerings, is it worth the effort? My take on it; if other people are successful in that niche, that just proves that there is a strong market for those products. If absolutely nobody was selling something similar, it might be a sign that it’s just not profitable. Even if your shop doesn’t become the roaring success you were hoping for (it happens – we’ve had a few less than successful shops), you will learn so much along the way that will help you make your next project a success :)

      PS. Can’t wait to see your finished site! Be sure to share the link when it’s ready to show off!

  • Great tips! I agree with all of them :) I am Courtney, I have an etsy shop called Shop Always Rooney where I sell leather passport covers and other travel accessories!

    Thanks for all the tips,
    Courtney
    Shopalwaysrooney.etsy.com

    • Courtney – I’ve followed your blog / Instagram / shop for a while and love it! I always love hearing your Etsy advice and that you’re always open about the good and hard parts (like working from home all day can get tough!), and seeing you grow your shop, it’s inspiring :)

      I used to live in Springfield, Mo which is how I originally heard about your shop!

      I started one of my own, but it’s closed right now because we just moved: etsy.com/shop/midlandco

      So good to “meet” you,
      Alex

    • Hey Courtney, thanks I’m glad you found them helpful! Just checked out your shop and LOOOVE your leather goods – so cute! Definitely added to my favorites list :) Congrats on the success of your shop, I’m sure you’ve picked up more than a few tricks along the way ;)

  • This is a perfect post! I couldn’t have explained the pros and cons (and how I feel about Etsy) better. Some things drive me insane there! But the things that makes us keep an Etsy shop open are really worth it.
    I need to read that part two! :)

    • Thanks so much Kelly, I was aiming for an honest (yet positive) take on our experience with Etsy. It can be absolutely frustrating sometimes, but in the end the good opportunities definitely outweigh the minor annoyances :) How has your experience been with Etsy? Let me know what you think of Part 2, and if you have any other great tips for starting sellers!

    • Hey Aimee! I think complementing your products with personalized services like custom design or consulting work is a great way to pick up new clients – it’s kind of like a portfolio with a built in “hire-me” button! Some of our first client projects started like this, as people could see they liked our style but wanted something more custom. These can also be valuable “up-sells”, such as theme installation or customizations for example. However be careful to not under-price yourself. I find a lot of products can be priced quite cheaply on Etsy, so it’s tempting to lower the prices of your services in comparison to compete; just remember that competing on price is never a winning strategy :P

  • Great points!

    Etsy is definitely a point of perspective; depending what you have heard I agree with you said! I mean, every type of a business model will def have their cons but it’s about the benefits that count.

    Starting up a business is tough. I do more commission work so my work wouldn’t be appropriate for this platform. Nonetheless, most people would def benefit from trying Etsy. I usually deal with clients online or in person and sometimes it’s difficult (doesn’t matter if you are good or bad with people; there’s always that one person who likes to challenge you). Sometimes they don’t pay right away or there’s just miscommunication.

    I mean Etsy isn’t perferct, but I can def see some time saving here! If you have a lot work to do, you will most likely benefit from the site since it does most of the technical stuff for you.

    Fun read!

    -Jenn| http://www.creativeboundless.com

    • Very true Jenn, Etsy is not for everyone! Especially for more service-based business, Etsy might not be the best platform to get your work in front of your target audience. However if it is a good fit for your brand and your products it can greatly speed up your time to market, providing valuable feedback and income(!!) to allow you to keep growing :)