Etsy is a growing e-commerce community that focuses on unique and handmade items. In Idaho, Etsy is quickly becoming a part of individual’s side-hustle to add a little income from home. Becoming a successful Etsy seller involves starting with a solid foundation of strategy. Here are some tips for building your own Etsy business and paving the road to success.

Start with a Business Plan

profit formula

With any new business, it’s crucial to begin with a business plan. Steven R. Covey said, “All things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default. It’s about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.” (See Franklin Covey’s article on Beginning with the End in Mind).

Simply putting a few items on your site and selling them at your own prices will not necessarily bring you the success or business you’re looking for. Spend some time researching the products you plan to sell, how much they’re typically worth, the who is in your target market. Consider conducting a reputation analysis to determine your buyers’ attitudes toward your website and products. If you treat your Etsy business like a business, you’ll not only be well-organized, but you’ll also reap better rewards.

Build Your Brand

The next crucial step to establishing your Etsy business is to build and foster your own brand. A brand is the virtual Public Relations face of your company. Jerry McLaughlin says “Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic).  Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it.  It’s fixed.  But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.” (See the rest of Jerry’s article here). The look and feel of your Etsy shop should reflect your personal style and items, and send desired messages about your business. Differentiate yourself from similar brands. Ask yourself what message you’re trying to communicate, who’s your target customer, and if your logo reflects your message.

Quality Photos


First impressions are everything, and this is especially true for online stores. Etsy is an image-driven site where shoppers make quick, visual decisions based on their needs, personal taste, and the quality of your images. Make it a point to take clear, detailed pictures from different angles. Use high-key lighting and solid-colored backgrounds to make your products “pop.” Give the shopper a better sense of your product without having to touch or see it in-person. A poor-quality image will send the message that you are unprofessional and unreliable, even if the product you’re photographing is itself high-quality. Etsy has this video tutorial on Product Photography for Beginners.

Use Social Media

Social media marketing is essential to increasing the visibility of your Etsy shop and can help you grow your customer base. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, choose a platform that works best for you. Include your social media URLs in your Etsy profile, emails and flyers. Create product pages that will inspire your buyers to share your content and voluntarily become brand ambassadors for your store. Think about creating a blog where you can share information about how to use your product or complementary products, and make sure such articles link back to your Etsy landing pages.

Engage with Your Fan Base


Being active and responsive through emails and your social networks can help improve your sales. Offer promotions, discounts, or giveaways to attract potential buyers and new subscribers. Make sure your communications provide value and foster a positive relationship with your Etsy community. If a customer complains about your product or store on twitter, respond with sympathy and perhaps an offer that might soothe their complaint. Respond with sympathy when someone complains about a competitor’s products. You don’t need to pitch them by saying “try my products instead.” That will come across as disingenuous. But simply engaging with these potential customers in authentic ways will remind them that you exist.

Use Unique Packaging

There’s nothing quite like receiving a well-packaged box at your doorstep. Adding a final touch and a few details to the packaging shows that you care and appreciate your customer’s business. Unique wrapping, a handwritten note or even a bonus item can create a lasting impression that will bring customers back to your shop again. New prospects cost seven times more than repeat customers to obtain! Studies have shown that customers are more likely to buy again from brands with whom they have a human-like relationship, so be human! See also Duct Tape Marketing’s article “6 Ways to Develop Repeat Customers.”

Study Successful Sellers

Dave Ramsey says, “If you want to be skinny, study skinny people, and if you want to be rich, do what rich people do.” Execution is what bridges the gap between theory and practice, so find out how successful people in your industry have executed. At worst, you will make their mistakes and so learn the lessons that brought them to where they are. Research their strategies, ideas and branding decisions. Take notes on how they’re promoting their shops, the types of pictures they take, and what their overall branding looks like. Don’t plagiarize, but try to implement similar strategies that could work for you.


Overall, you should have fun with your Etsy business. Build it to be a business, not just a hobby. Be confident and enthusiastic about your product line. Although your business can (and will) have its down times, never let it become a chore. You got into this business because you have a passion and a calling! Continue to define your craft, be creative, and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

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