5 Etsy Lessons: Making Money Online

So, if you have been following our story you know that we designed a plan to develop 3-5 revenue streams that can all be worked remotely and that have a low barrier of entry. The passive income stream that we are stoking is the beginning of our online- travel shop. We rolled out the essence of our shop on Etsy with a larger vision of opening an actual Nomadic Wander Travel Shop after we have banked the capital from the Etsy shop. Etsy was a no-brainer for us. Etsy is a market place that is full of eager, ready-to-purchase consumers. You are in control of your product, how it is viewed and the price that you sell it for. You need merchandise to sell though. We have opted to use print on demand shops to sell our products. We are using Printify and Printful as our product fulfillment services. If you are interested in using these mediums please consider using our links (located at the bottom of this page). We will get a fee for directing you there but your price will not be any different. If you have any questions about the companies please drop them in the comments. Both of these companies are completely integrated with Etsy (and other online marketplaces as well) and they are simple to set-up. You will need a credit card or a PayPal account to pay them with and then you are off to the races. These sites allow you to design all manner of print-on-demand products; shirts, leggings, socks, coffee mugs…..

How Print-On-Demand works:

  • A person places an order at your shopping place on Etsy.
  • The order is sent to the designated print partner
  • They charge our account, print the order, and ship the order
  • Etsy sends you a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check

That is how it works but that is only the beginning. This post is all about the lessons that we have learned working with Etsy and our different print partners.

Lesson 1:

Branding Counts

We opened our shop with no real fanfare. We found our niche and then designed our first 50 pieces and for the first month people would like our designs but we only had one or two sales. We went out to our bio and put together our story, told a little bit about us and in effect welcomed people to our shop. We also added our logo and connected it to our Facebook page for validation purposes and to give people something to dig into if they so feel the desire; and then, our numbers picked up.

Lesson 2:

Advertise on Etsy

The first thing we did after we got 50 different designs was to run some FB ads. They brought people to our shop but nothing really jumped off. Admittedly, we didn’t play around out there enough. This is an area that we have failed in. We will revisit FB ads soon. What we did do and what is working well for us is advertising directly on Etsy. Our shop shows up first in quite a few searches and it has prominent placing on Etsy’s home pages. Etsy’s in-app marketing increased our views by %14. Etsy accounts for 70% of our traffic right now. Our failure is under utilization of FB ads, Pinterest and IG. As we ramp up for the Christmas season we will be doing more advertising in these social networking spaces.

Lesson 3:

Mock-ups Make Money

We decided to do an experiment with a mock-up to see if they made a big difference. We already had some high-quality flat-lay pics of our products. We used flat-lays because we thought it looked cool and we thought it would help people envision the clothes with their wardrobes. We really thought that was enough. Man, we were wrong.

We did a mock-up test of a person (what we thought our end-user looked like). Yes, we profiled the customers that we thought would purchase our products, gave them names, jobs, personalities, and everything. Anyway, after the mock-up went live in our store for one color on one of our shirts, that shirt sold and sold big. What was interesting is people purchased that particular color and shirt. So, the lesson here – Do realistic quality mock-ups.

Lesson 4

SEO Originality Wins

After we decided on our niches (travel and teaching goods) which were highly searchable SEO (search engine optimization – people are looking for these terms through search engines) terms, we began designing product. Our best sellers are original and dynamic designs with splashes of vibrant color. Our next best sellers are Black and White quotes. The line art and the “standard” shirts, which are common designs that people have in their shops don’t do well. People view them and like them but do not purchase them.

Lesson 5

Pay attention to your customers

When someone likes an item from my shop. I follow the link to their bio to find out other items that they have liked in other peoples shops. Sounds creepy but this is really good market research. Here is an example. Our t-shirts were selling well and then they started to slow a bit and I noticed that our customers had lots of long-sleeve tees and sweatshirts in their likes. It is pretty much summer year-round where we live now so we did not think about doing any fall or winter line-ups. Originally we did not want to design any sweatshirts because we did not think that they would be cost effective enough for people to purchase on-line. Again, we were wrong, our customers went from paying about $25 for a tee shirt to $40 for a sweatshirt with no drop-off.

So these are our top 5 Etsy lessons. This is an ongoing project and we will keep you up to date with our progress. If you have any questions please feel free to ask and we will answer them to the best of our abilities. Below are some of the resources that we use. Some of the links are called affiliate links and we get paid if you use them. You are not charged anything extra but we collect a commission for referring you. Best of luck!

Helpful Links:

Printify   Print-On-Demand Partner

Printful  Print-On-Demand Partner

Placeit   Mock-up generation tool for realistic high quality mock-ups.

Fiverr   Online marketplace for freelance services

Making Money with etsy

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