If you make cool handmade items for friends and family and want to grow your market a bit, opening up an Etsy shop is an excellent way for the world to see (and buy) your work. Here’s how to set one up.

Keep in mind that you’re required to collect and remit sales tax in some states when selling either tangible or digital items. And to collect and pay sales tax, you need a sales permit. Some states even require you to register as a business regardless. This guide will only show you the steps to setting up an Etsy shop and listing your handmade items—for the business, tax, and legal side of things, be sure to talk with an accountant, lawyer, and your local small business administration.

Etsy Selling Fees

Just like on eBay, Swappa, and most other selling platforms, Etsy charges fees to sell your handmade stuff. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • You’ll be charged $0.20 for posting a listing. Listings expire after four months, but you can automatically renew for another $0.20.
  • You’ll be charged $0.20 for additional quantities that sell. So if you post a listing for a keychain and have 10 of them to sell, you’ll be charged $0.20 up front for posting the listing, and then $0.20 each for the rest of the nine keychains—but only if they sell.
  • Etsy takes a 5% cut from the total price of your item, including shipping fees. So if you’re selling keychains for $5 each and charging $3 for shipping, Etsy will take a 5% cut from the total $8.
  • If you decide to use the Etsy Payments platform to accept payments for your shop (which I highly recommend), you’ll be charged a small percentage fee for that as well. This varies by country, but in the US it’s 3% of the total cost plus $0.25. You could use another payment platform if you wish, like PayPal, but you’ll still be subjected to payment processing fees no matter which platform you use.

So in total, you’ll be charged 8.5% of the total selling price of your item, plus $0.45. So if you sell a necklace for $50, expect to give $4.70 of that to Etsy as a selling fee.

Getting Started

With all that said, if you’re ready to open up your Etsy shop, it’s a pretty simple process. Here’s how to do it.

Start by heading to Etsy’s homepage and clicking the “Sell On Etsy” link in the top right corner.

On the next page, click the “Open your Etsy shop” button.

You’ll have to create an Etsy account first, which is about as simple as creating an account on any other online service. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find yourself at the beginning phase of building your Etsy shop. The first step is choosing your language, country, and currency, as well as selecting a checkbox stating if you’re selling full-time or part-time. Click “Save and Continue” to move onto the next part.

The next step is the fun part: naming your Etsy shop. Type in a name that you want to use and then hit “Check Availability” to see if the name is available to use. You’ll have to get creative with your name for it to be available, but Etsy gives you suggestions if your desired name is already taken.

Once you choose an available name for your shop, click “Save and Continue” at the bottom to move on to the next step.

Creating a Listing

Next, you’ll create a listing for an item you want to sell. This step is required, and you can’t move on without listing at least one item. Click “Add a Listing” to get started with this step.

You’ll start by uploading photos of your item, and they can’t be larger than 10MB. However, you can add up to ten photos to a listing.

Scroll down to enter in a title for your listing, as well as answer some questions about how the item is made. You’ll also select a category that best suits your item.

If you’re selling a digital item (like a digital copy of a poster or print that you designed), be sure to check the “Digital” option. Below that, you’ll type in a description of the item that you’re selling.

Next, you’ll want to enter in up to 13 tags, and this is important. These are keywords that describe your item, and they play a big part in the ranking of your item in search results. So use keywords that shoppers would use to search and find your item.

After that, scroll down a bit more to enter the cost of the item and how many you have in stock to sell. You can sell made-to-order items, but you still need to list a quantity. A good rule of thumb for made-to-order items is putting in a quantity that you could realistically expect to make and deliver quickly if someone were to order that many.

“Variations” are for when you have an item that comes in multiple versions—like different colors, shapes, sizes, and so on. This is where you’ll list those different versions and even select different price points for each version if you want.

Next, scroll down and enter the shipping costs for your item. You can either have Etsy calculate the shipping costs for you (based on the item’s total packaged weight and dimensions), or you can manually enter a shipping cost yourself.

If you’re selling a digital item, the last step is to upload the file that you’re selling. That way, the person who buys your item can download it immediately.

Once you’ve entered in all the necessary details, go over everything and then hit “Preview” at the bottom if you want to see how the listing will look. Otherwise, hit “Save and Continue.”

Your item is now listed, and you can add more items if you want by clicking “Add a Listing.” Otherwise, click “Save and Continue” to move on.

Entering in Payment Details

The next step is adding your bank account so that Etsy can deposit your sales revenue, as well as adding a credit or debit card to pay your selling fees.

For the former, you’ll start by selecting your country of residence.

Next, enter in your bank account details.

After that, you’ll provide info like your name, mailing address, date of birth, and the last four digits of your social security number.

On the next page, you’ll enter a credit or debit card to pay your selling fees. Once you’ve filled out everything on this page, click the “Open Your Shop” button at the bottom.

Further Steps You Should Take

At this point, your Etsy shop is live and ready to go. However, there are still a few more things you should do to make your Etsy shop more appealing to potential customers.

From the Dashboard, click the pencil icon next to your shop’s name down in the bottom left corner.

From here, you should add more details about your shop, including uploading a shop logo, adding a shop title, and entering your shop’s location. This makes your Etsy shop look more legitimate to shoppers. There’s also an “About” section that you can fill out if you want.

This guide is really just meant to get you started. There’s a whole lot more to learn about Etsy, including SEO optimization, marketing your shop, and more. But hopefully, this at least gives you the proper boost to get you off the starting line and into the race.

Image Credit: JustStock/Shutterstock

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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