11 tips for a successful first year on ETSY!

I have been on etsy now for over a year with a little over 700 sales. Now and then when I run into someone I know they ask me what I do for a living. For a while that answer was I don't have a job... only because I was leery about explaining how I made stuff and sold it online. With a year under my belt I feel a lot more confident with the answer "I sell handmade items on Etsy" because I have some numbers that I can spit out and feel valid.

I guess what I am trying to say is getting into something like Etsy can be hard not only because you have to figure it all out yourself but also you feel like you have to try to validate what your doing to "certain" people.

 Long story short... now that I do tell people what I actually do for a living, 9 out of 10 times someone asks me how I do it or  how they should start. Truthfully, I really don't like to be asked these questions because I feel like their really isn't an answer I can give them. You really just need to dive right in and see for yourself. However I do have some helpful tips for your first year that I would like to share with you today!

  1. BE PATIENT: it takes time just like everything else in this world to create a successful shop, brand, and product. It is not going to happen overnight (even though we wish it secretly would). I just spent the past 2 hours trying to figure out how to put font on a picture, move it around and save it in photoshop cs5 for the image above. I did it,.... but what seems to be simple can end up being more complicated process than you thought. So it pays to be patient (literally).
  2. EXPLORE: you need to actually look around on etsy. That means explore shops, type things in the search bar and click on everything you see.Heck it is even a good idea to actually purchase something so you see the process customers go through when they buy something from your shop. Doing this helps you discover what etsy is all about which in turn helps you learn how it all works.
  3. STAY BUSY: Don't just list one item and wait for it to sell because most likely it won't. You need to get on there just about every day and do something. Whether you list an item, make a treasury, join a team, or like someone else's shop/items. Staying busy on Etsy keeps you visible to potential customers. 
  4. INVEST: When you do start making profit it is important to invest back into the business if you want it to grow. My top investments for your first year would include... A good camera, a shipping scale, supplies/materials, a good computer, and packing/shipping materials.
  5. EXPERIMENT: Most likely you are going to put something on etsy that your not 100% sure will sell or even get liked. It's important to experiment with different products, shop banners, descriptions, tags, and whatever else you are not completely sure of. I found that by experimenting I discovered and learned a lot of things that I would have never thought would be successful and productive in my business.
  6. BE UNIQUE: find that quality in you that makes you different from everyone else and USE IT. It helps to be different on etsy because there are too many people doing the same thing... which means competition. Being unique create your own opportunities for success!
  7. KNOW YOUR WORTH: this is important when your talking to customers about a order, listing and pricing an item or writing a description. YOUR WORTH... is all about being confident and listening to your heart. You are worth a lot more than you think. When you know your worth you become more valuable and profitable!
  8. LIST ITEMS YOU WOULD BUY: easier said then done right? I mean there have been a whole lot of times when I looked at something I made and didn't actually know if I would buy it because... well I just made it. Basically you need to actually kind of want to keep the item and it's even better if you actually make one for yourself! This means your item is something others are going to want!
  9. STAY ON TOP: keep up your listings! Don't let them collect dust! If it's been sitting a while reread your description, check your tags, take new pictures... and if you must renew the item! Just be on top of your shop and stay relevant!
  10. KEEP GOING: When all is hopeless and you feel like etsy isn't taking you where you thought it would.... this one is simple KEEP GOING. I have thought a million times that it wasn't going to work out for me but I just kept going. I always get those moments but then something happens and it all gets better! So KEEP GOING!
  11. GET INVOLVED: join teams, comment on blog posts, create a social group for your shop, create and comment on treasuries. There are lots of ways to do this but it really is something that you need to do to be visible in the etsy community and to potential customers. 
So there you have it! My top 11 tips... I really could give you a lot more but I feel like these are essentials. You see now why it's not just a simple answer?

For those of you who have a shop do you have any more tips to add or ones you agree/disagree with?


  1. I agree with you a thousand percent! Except for
    I had so many people inquiring about "how to's" on Etsy I now teach a two hour class. It certainly isn't long enough to cover everything, as I explain to my students so much is to just explore the site....ask questions and of course your best advice...get involved! Make treasuries! Thank you for your advice for the novice Etsy sellers!

  2. I need to keep reminding myself of #3! I'm definitely not busy enough creating, taking photos and listing. I need to take #8 to heart and start making more things that I myself would buy! This is a great read, I'm gonna have to share it! :D Still going a little crazy that you had 700 sales in your first year! Even with others who have been extremely motivated they've hardly made 100 in their first year. You've got the Etsy X factor, for sure! Go you! :D

    1. The etsy x factor... you just made me giggle. No but really there are so many shops who in there first year hit over 1000 sales... it's hard to look at yourself and see success but you have to keep your head up and be proud of what you achieve. My secret X factor is etsy is my life. Well almost ;)

  3. this is a really great post! great advice & encouragment. you do a great job with your shop & that is super impresive that it has just been one year! go girl & keep it up!
    peace & love

    1. Thanks! I try to spread the love! Thanks for spreading some my way!

  4. Courtney you are SO INSPIRING!! Congrats girl on 700+ sales!! That is so amazing!! :) Your tips are so great. I'm going to redesign my shop which is going to take alot of work but after it I really think it will be better and hopefully I'll get more sales! :) I do think being apart of teams on Etsy is good, when I first got on Etsy I made treasuries like everyday and was encouraged to keep going by team members when at times I wanted to give up. I think everything in life happens to take us to our highest good. Its not an easy thing to start your own shop but the hardwork is so rewarding when people love your stuff!

    P.S. I added your button to my blog,thanks for putting mine up. The post card should be getting to you soon :)

  5. Your so right about hardwork paying off when you get someone who tells you that they like what your doing! I can't wait to get that post card! Thanks Felicia... and your shop is sooo beautiful I was admiring it the other day!

  6. there is some awesome advice here! #'s 5, 7 and 8 really hit home for me. lots to think about and work on. thanks for sharing this. congratulations too!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I love your work! There is always something to work it seems like no matter how far you have come. It can be exhausting but if there wasn't I don't think it would be as exciting!

  7. Thanks for your great advice! I really admire you, thank you for doing what you do and sharing your gift with the world. Best of luck with your blog re-vamp and your new spring in the shop.


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