One of my favorite things in life is inspiring other people to go after their passions. By chasing your dreams, you have the opportunity to give encouragement to another person to chase after their own.
I’ve had a lot of friends recently watch from the sidelines as we launched our blog here at The Shinn Life, then shortly after opened our very first Etsy Shop. Both endeavors were something we’ve never done before, and both have turned out to be highly successful for us. We had:
- Our first sale just 5 minutes after launch
- 235 orders in our first four months
- Over 550 followers on Instagram and 94 favorites on Etsy
But that success didn’t actually “set in” until we had close friends asking us “How did you do it? Can you help me achieve it, too?”. This is the ultimate compliment to me.
If you’ve achieved something so wonderful that other people want to follow in your footsteps – you’re doing something right.
Now, that’s not to say that this whole process has been sunshine and rainbows. I spent countless hours researching and developing to get where we are today. With the amount of information out there, it’s sure to get quickly overwhelming. That’s why I wanted to start a series of posts on Starting Your Own Etsy Shop. I want to create something that you can follow, step-by-step, to achieve YOUR dreams of starting your own small business through the Etsy community. I know how difficult it can be, and if I can help a single person skip some of the heart-ache I ran into, then these series of posts will have been worth it.
I want to help you find out:
- How to make your first sale, 5 minutes after launch
- How to build the “hype” that your products deserve
- What benefits social media can do for your shop, and how to master them
- How to develop your own “branding” and make it work for you
- Mastering product photography, the easy way
If that sounds good, make sure to stay tuned because I’ll be sharing our insider details right here. We’ll be going over the basics here in our posts, and then later this year I’ll be bringing to light the launch of our first E-Book with even more in depth information all tightly rolled into one manageable package.
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Let’s get started. Today I’m going to go over the very basics for those of you that have been secretly dreaming of launching your own Etsy shop. Here are the most frequent questions I get asked, and the answers you’re dying to know:
- What kind of fees does Etsy charge? Naturally, this is going to be most people’s first question. Etsy charges just 20 cents for each listing, and each listing expires every four months. When you sell an item (congratulations!) you’ll be charged 3.5% of of the listing price (this does not include taxes or shipping charges). For more information on fees, check out this page.
- How often do I get paid? Every Monday, Etsy will automatically deposit the money into the bank account you have chosen. For new users, money is available to be scheduled for an earlier deposit three business days after the sale. 90 days after your first sale, you’ll be able to schedule deposits for the next business day. I like letting Etsy automatically deposit my sales every Monday because it means less accounting work for me with a single deposit each week.
- I’m worried about working out shipping costs. How does that work through Etsy? Shipping is incredibly simple through Etsy. You can either set up calculated shipping or fixed cost shipping. Calculated shipping is where you enter in the item’s weight (including packaging) and the package size and Etsy will automatically calculate how much it would cost to ship to the buyer’s location. Fixed cost shipping is where YOU set the price for each listing. There is also a handling fee option that your customers won’t see. So if you want Etsy to calculate how much it would cost to ship from Oregon to Florida, but you also want to add in a $3 handling fee, Etsy can do that seamlessly. All your customer will see is the total price for shipping.
- I hear Etsy has their own shipping labels? Is that true? Yes! Etsy makes it extremely easy to print your own labels from home. Benefits of shipping through Etsy:
- They give you discounted rates on shipping costs, so that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
- Just enter in the package size, weight, and shipping speed and Etsy will do the rest. All other sections of the label will be automatically filled out with the details from the order so you can print and ship even faster! The same goes for international orders – the only additional information you need to insert is a short description of the package’s contents. (IE: “Earrings” or “Scarves”). I’ve shipped to Australia and the UK and Etsy made it so I didn’t have to navigate the new shipping layouts and customs labels – they did it all for me!
- Each label will be given a tracking number, which is then tied to your order on Etsy so it’s easy to find!
- Shipping notifications are automatically sent to the buyer on the day of shipment. How nice is that?!
- Can I offer free shipping? Yes! If you want to offer free shipping on all items (or certain listings) you can easily work this into your shipping profiles. However, if you want to offer free shipping on all orders over XYZ dollar amount, you will have to use a coupon code (more on that below). Please keep in mind that you can only use one coupon code at a time, so if you want to offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount, they won’t be able to use any other discount at checkout.
- How do discount codes work? Etsy allows you to have 100 discount codes at one time. Once a discount code has expired or deleted, you can’t use it again. However, your customers cannot use more than one discount code at checkout – so there can’t be any doubling up at checkout. Also, Etsy lets you know how many times each discount code has been used so you can see which marketing strategies are working best.
- Are there restrictions on coupon codes? There are three types of coupon codes available: Free Shipping, Percent Discount, or Fixed Discount. Coupon codes must be alphanumeric and between 5 and 20 characters. You have the option of setting up a “thank you coupon” code that Etsy will email customers automatically after placing an order. All coupon codes have the option of needing to meet a minimum dollar amount requirement, and having an expiration date.
- Do I need a business license/ tax ID? I can’t give you specific legal advise, but I can point you in the right direction to helpful resources. First: you’ll need to look into your state’s laws, because each one is different. To start your shop on Etsy, you won’t have to enter your business ID up front. HOWEVER, once you reach 200 orders or $2,000 in sales, they will require you to give them your Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number so that they can report your earnings for tax purposes. There’s an article on Etsy that is really good at breaking down the differences between the available legal structures (LLC, Sole Proprietorship, etc): here.
- Can you make in-person sales? Yes! Etsy now offers a card reader for your phone. This works very similar to the Square card reader, but is specifically designed to be used with the Etsy Seller App. You can either sell directly from listings, or create a “quick listing” on the fly. There’s no Etsy transaction fee for sales made in person, and no listing fees for Quick Sales. Manual card entry costs 3% + 25¢ per sale.
Did I miss anything? I’d love to know what YOUR questions are about starting your own handmade shop! Make sure to subscribe to our blog to get a notification for each post, so you won’t miss more crucial how-tos and tips on building your own empire!
PS – Don’t forget to pin this for future reference!