What to do before opening an etsy shop

What To Do Before Opening An Etsy Shop: 17 Tips For Success! [2023]

Ready to start your own online business but not sure what to do before opening an Etsy shop? You’ve clicked on the right article!

When I was staring wistfully out the window at my corporate job, I never thought selling on Etsy was a viable, alternative source of income.

Then, I learned about printables and have since created and sold my own products.

What to do before opening an etsy shop

I compiled a numbered list of specific actions with details on what to do, in chronological order below. You just have to focus on one task at a time – some are even optional.

This article will give you ideas on things to consider and what to do before opening an Etsy shop.

Etsy is a worldwide, virtual marketplace for buyers and sellers to gather, create, buy, sell and collect things. There’s no warehouse – just a community selling what they love, and Etsy connects you directly to them and makes the process easy for all.

If you’re concerned with how hard is it to start an Etsy shop, you may use the following summary as a ‘Starting an Etsy shop checklist’ for a quick reference on what to do before selling on Etsy:

What To Do Before Opening An Etsy Shop: A Quick Guide

1. Check legal and tax requirements

2. Register your business

3. Create a separate bank account

4. Decide on a niche

5. Research competition and pricing

6. Check Pinterest for similar products

7. Create and test your products

8. Decide on shipping options and policies

9. Calculate expenses and fees

10. Naming your Etsy shop

11. Branding your Etsy shop

12. Learn Etsy SEO

13. Learn different Etsy strategies

14. Purchase URL or site domain

15. Join Etsy groups and communities

16. Invest in Etsy courses

17. Read Etsy Seller handbook

Affiliate Link Disclosure

The links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission if you click on them, at no extra cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful. Thanks!

Note- If you are super busy and you want to start making money selling digital products  on Etsy ASAP, you can check out this and this Etsy course, that will step up your Etsy game and start earning within 3 months! 

Alternatively, you can also check out this free Etsy Ebook that will share a list of best-selling products by month and teach you how to capitalize on seasonal trends to skyrocket your Etsy sales.

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1. Check Legal And Tax Requirements

First things first, you should find out how to start an Etsy shop legally in your country – by understanding the legal and tax requirements where you’ll be running your Etsy shop. 

If you’re in the United States, you’d want to know the sales tax collection requirements for online businesses and how it is different across states.

Additionally, you may also consider seeking professional advice by consulting your attorney or accountant just to be safe.

You wouldn’t want to be unpleasantly surprised by the amount of taxes owed, or worse, fines incurred from not meeting legal or tax requirements!

2. Register Your Business

Make your Etsy shop official by registering it as a business!  In the United States, these are the different structures:

  • sole proprietorship
  • partnership
  • limited liability company LLC
  • corporation

Read this guide by US Small Business Administration to identify which type is most suited for the nature of your business. 

Optionally, getting business insurance for your Etsy shop will also give you financial protection and peace of mind from unexpected expenses such as loss of property or damage during shipping.

3. Create A Separate Bank Account

Make your Etsy shop official by registering it as a business!  In the United States, these are the different structures:

  • sole proprietorship
  • partnership
  • limited liability company LLC
  • corporation

Read this guide by US Small Business Administration to identify which type is most suited for the nature of your business. 

Optionally, getting business insurance for your Etsy shop will also give you financial protection and peace of mind from unexpected expenses such as loss of property or damage during shipping.

4. Decide On A Niche

Before opening an Etsy shop, consider narrowing down to a niche for your products to target specific audiences or markets. There are 2 ways for you to decide:

  • search for similar best-selling products on Etsy to identify which niches they belong to
  • browse each category and note down which best-selling products you would like to create and sell
What to do before opening an etsy shop

You would be able to shortlist niches you’re interested in by studying these products. Having a niche in mind gives you clarity on which customers you’re trying to help, or what problems your product will solve.

5. Research Competition And Pricing

Now that you’ve decided on the products and niche, it’s time to study your competition and their pricing! There are millions of sellers and bazillions more products on Etsy. You’d want to learn from the best to give yourself a higher chance of success.

Search for the products and niche on the Etsy search bar, then note down the features and price ranges of best-sellers on a spreadsheet or table for easy reference. Study how top sellers write listings and take product photos. 

To add your own personal touch, identify what you like about each bestseller or how you’d improve the listing then incorporate them into your product!

6. Check Pinterest For Similar Products

Did you know that Pinterest is a search engine for images used by over 90 million users? Type your product or niche in the Pinterest search bar and get ready to note down all the new ideas and inspirations from the countless Pins and boards.

What to do before opening an etsy shop

Etsy customers are very likely to be on Pinterest as well. Researching the top Pins and boards for your product and niche will give you clear ideas of what customers like. Further along, you may even consider using Pinterest for directing even more traffic to your shop!

7. Create And Test Your Products

What do you think are Etsy shop must haves? You guessed it, your products of course! When creating the products, remember to record the amount of time and costs in creating each product right down to every minute and cent.

You’ll need this information later to calculate if a product is profitable or even feasible to create on scale when more orders start pouring in. Then, test your products for durability in multiple environments and request your family and friends’ honest feedback.

8. Decide On Shipping Options and Policies

After creating and testing your product, consider what you want to prioritize when shipping! Customers are used to speedy shipping, but you’d also want to be careful with costs and service reliability for your reputation as a business owner.If you’re selling digital products, you may not even require shipping – just a link for customers to download after paying. In such instances, it is highly recommended to have no-refund policies as downloaded products cannot be un-downloaded.

9. Calculate Expenses And Fees

Before pricing your products, total up your costs for materials to create the product, business administration, shipping, and all the Etsy fees to ensure you’ll be making instead of losing money.

Another factor to consider is the amount of time you’ll spend creating products and running the Etsy shop. For example, you wouldn’t want to spend hours just to make a product for $1 of profit. 

Starting even with a small, minimum target will help ensure profitability for your Etsy shop in the long run.

10. Naming Your Etsy Shop

Wondering how to check Etsy shop name availability?

  • Type the name into the Etsy search bar
  • Google for ‘Etsy [shop name]’
  • Input the name when creating your shop and you’ll be informed if the name is already taken

If you change your mind for whatever reason, you can always change your Etsy shop name later.

It’s a good idea to have a few names in mind as alternatives, just in case one is no longer available. For inspiration, browse your product category and list down the shop names of top sellers.

Here are some tips on naming your Etsy shop!

11. Branding Your Etsy Shop

Branding has become essential for businesses to stand out to customers. You may want to have:

  • a palette of 1 main color and 2 for accents
  • different fonts for title, headings, and content
  • an overall theme for a consistent, memorable impression

Browse other shops on Etsy and Pinterest pins or boards for branding inspirations!

Craft a personal, yet professional ‘About Me’ page to introduce yourself, your experience, and your expertise to connect with customers. People are more likely to support your business when they can relate to your story and values.

12. Learn Etsy SEO

Arguably the most important things to know before selling on Etsy, would be Etsy SEO and learning how to use it to your shop’s advantage.

What to do before opening an etsy shop

For insights and analytics with real search volume on Etsy, Sale Samurai is the best all-in-one tool for massive SEO growth on your Etsy shop. Additionally, you will enjoy 20% off with my code: outandbeyond (lowercase) for life, as my reader!

What to do before opening an etsy shop

An extremely affordable option is KeySearch, which is a keyword research tool that you may use not just for Etsy, but more and beyond (blogs, Youtube videos, and other E-commerce sites!).

Please feel free to use my code OUTANDBEYOND (in caps) for 30% off monthly as my reader.

13. Learn Different Etsy Strategies

There are multiple ways you can build a successful Etsy shop, keep trying until you find one which works for you! For your convenience, here’s a list of what I’ve written about selling on Etsy:

All these articles explain further about what to know before opening an Etsy shop.

You’ll be more than ready to start and open your own Etsy shop once you’re through with this article and the list above!

14. Purchase A URL Or Site Domain

I’m sure you’re starting your Etsy shop with a vision in mind, so why not secure the URL and purchase the site domain while you’re at it? This will give you more options to expand and move the business onto your own website when you’re ready!

I started with BlueHost and always recommend them to beginners due to the affordability and responsive customer support. Sign up with my link for 30% off in the first year PLUS get a domain for FREE.

15. Join Etsy Groups And Communities

Starting a business can be a long, lonely journey but it doesn’t have to be now that everyone’s online!

There is an official forum and also plenty of Etsy groups and communities for sellers to connect with and learn from one another.

Hop on Facebook, search for [Etsy sellers] and a long list of search results will appear – you just need to take your pick. The same goes for Google – you will find Etsy veterans sharing tips and tricks, and promoting their group or community on their blogs.

16. Invest In Etsy Courses

If you’re pressed for time to learn everything on your own, I can personally attest to Printables by Number which I bought from Suzi Whitford. 

What to do before opening an etsy shop

She makes a full-time income from selling printables and her in-depth course has helped thousands of other students start their own Etsy shops.

The Gold City Ventures’ E-printables Side Hustle Course is also highly recommended for helping beginners learn how to hustle with printables. 

What to do before opening an etsy shop

Co-creators Julie and Cody have made thousands of dollars from their Etsy businesses and created one of the most popular courses on what to know before starting an Etsy shop.

If you’re hungry to learn more, here’s an article on the best Etsy courses!

17. Read The Etsy Seller Handbook

Last but not least, your best bet would be reading the Etsy Seller handbook from the cover to back:

For any questions you may have, there’s also a comprehensive Help Center section compiled for you as FAQ and also Etsy Support for everything else not listed.

FAQs On What To Do Before Opening An Etsy Shop

Opening An Etsy Shop? Here Are Eight Easy Steps:

  1. Register your Etsy account
  2. Select preferences for your shop
  3. Name your Etsy shop
  4. Add shop listings for your items
  5. Decide your payment preferences
  6. Set up billing and payment methods
  7. Open your Etsy shop
  8. Customize your Etsy shop

How Many Products Do You Need To Start An Etsy Shop?

How many products do you need to start an Etsy shop ? Most sellers start with 10 to 20 items, but you can also start with 30 to 40 items. Spreading out may be more of a risk, but it can help customers notice your shop faster. With more than two million sellers on Etsy, listing as many items out there as you can is one of the ways to stand out from the crowd.

Do You Need Anything To Start An Etsy Shop?

So, do you need anything to start an Etsy shop? While Etsy doesn’t require sellers to have a business license to sell on Etsy, you’re still required to follow laws and regulations that apply to you. Please contact a qualified professional for any questions regarding which laws apply to you as a small business selling online.

How Much Does The Average Etsy Shop Owner Make?

Wondering how much does the average Etsy shop owner make? A successful Etsy seller may average between $43,000 and $46,000 per year, which is already fantastic as a foundation to build on, but top sellers can earn over $65,000 per month!

Is It Difficult To Start An Etsy Shop?

So, is it difficult to start an Etsy shop? No, it is not difficult to start an Etsy shop. Luckily with such a low barrier of entry, it takes very little time to set up an Etsy shop. Listing and selling an item will cost you some small fees although registering for an account is completely free.

After reading this article, I hope you now know exactly what to do before opening an Etsy shop in order to sell your products online.

My best tip would be to learn Etsy SEO properly for a headstart – using Sale Samurai and KeySearch to be competitive. Followed by investing in a course to sell even more.

While this list may seem daunting at first, always remember – just focus on one step at a time.

You’re building a house, brick by brick, before renting it out for income.

I wish you all the luck and success with opening your Etsy shop! If you have further questions or tips, do comment and I’ll gladly answer or share your thoughts with my wonderful community here.

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