How to Earn Passive Income With A Digital Etsy Listing

Many people have quit their day jobs to become full-time Etsy retailers, and while this may seem like a long-shot for non-creative types, you can learn to sell on Etsy even without any real creative skills.

Etsy, for those of you that don’t know, is an online marketplace filled primarily with hand-made goods sold by arts and crafts fanatics. However, it is also possible to generate passive income too using Etsy, although many sellers do not. Most Etsy users sell as manufacturers – they make the products themselves and sell them on for more than they paid to make them. While an effective way to sell, you can also sell through Etsy without needing to manufacture your products and thus freeing up your time to sell passively rather than actively. This article will run through exactly how this can be done.


Digital. Products.

Not so long ago Etsy introduced digital products to its marketplace – products that can be bought and delivered electronically thus not requiring postage/packaging. These products, once created, can continue to be sold for as long as the shop stays open and so long as there is enough demand for them.

What Can You Sell?

There are a whole load of sellable e-products out there that you can make the most of so it’s best to choose wisely. What you decide to sell should depend on your skill level in your chosen field. You may be a particularly skilled photoshop user, an artist with a flare, a passionate knitter – whatever you’re into can probably be turned into sales somehow. Even if you are lacking in a particular skill, you can always learn how to write an eBook or design patterns to put on a t-shirt. You needn’t be an expert, just to have some basic knowledge of your chosen area and to know your way around the market – knowing which products are in demand and which are not. Here are some examples of things you could sell:

  • Patterns for sewing/embroidery
  • eBooks
  • Textures and brushes to use on Photoshop
  • Event invitations
  • Cover letter writing
  • T-shirt designs
  • Business cards
  • Holiday cards
  • Blog templates

What Fees Will You Need to Pay?

  • Listing: for every item you post onto Etsy you’ll need to pay a $0.20 listing fee.
  • Transaction: Etsy takes 3.5% of every sale you make so you’ll lose 3.5% of your profit

Thankfully these fees are very low compared to the costs to sell on sites such as eBay, for example.

Why Selling on Etsy is Better Than Selling Through Your Own Website

  • Etsy has a very high number of users and visitors, thus generating an awful lot of web traffic. It’ll be very tricky to get anywhere near the volume of customers Etsy has using your own website so it’s best to stick with them.
  • Etsy is a great place to sell to people looking to by handmade goods. If you’re particularly artsy or have an interest in DIY products then Etsy is your best bet by far.
  • Setting up your own website is not at all a bad thing and you may find it far easier to do so, however it’s going to take a long time to build up a large enough following to make more profit than you would through Etsy.

How to Open a Shop on Etsy

Setting up a shop on Etsy is a very simple process that can be done in very little time. By setting up a shop you’re creating your own personal space from which customers can buy products from you. To do so, begin by clicking the ‘sell’ button in the top left corner of Etsy’s home screen. Etsy will then walk you through simple steps on how you can start selling. Below are some important things to remember when creating your Etsy store:

  1. a) Choose your shop name carefully and appropriately. Although now you are able to change your store title if you wish to, it is important to pick a name that represents your niche well (more on choosing a niche in the next article in this series). You want something short but inclusive, concise and clever – something that will stick in people’s minds and draw them to check out your shop.

b) Capitalising the first letter of each of your shop’s words (if it has multiple words) is a great way to make things easier for your reader. Avoid clunky, jumbled up names that are tricky to read – if things aren’t made easy then they’ll likely just be ignored.

2. Have an attractive profile picture. Now we’re not saying this needs to be an attractive photo of you (although it could be if you wish), you need to have a photo that stands out and draws people to explore your shop. This may be a high-res photo of yourself, a picture of your shop’s logo or an item that represents your store. Whatever it is, make it catchy – think of what would entice you to click and take a close look at somebody’s profile.

3. Think about your goals. Technically, this step isn’t really related to setting up your shop however it’s definitely the most important to consider. You need a plan. Whether your plan is to have made your first sale in two weeks, to earn £50 in your first month, £100 even, whatever it may be it’s important to have a plan. Without a plan it’ll be tricky to keep a track of how your business is coming along and your expenses & profits. Keep an eye on your earnings and make notes of your costs to ensure you keep your head above the water.

And there you have it – a step-by-step guide to creating your own Etsy store. This is just the first article of our series on how to start earning passive income through Etsy so don’t forget to check out the others to maximise your potential.

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