Beginners guide to Etsy (My first 3 weeks selling on Etsy)

Grant Mathews

The Epic Beginners Guide to Selling on Etsy

This article is all about an epic beginner’s guide to Etsy, This is the first article I have written for onlineauctionU on Etsy, I thought I’d start off a bit about myself, my store, and my experience although I’ll keep it very, very brief.

So, my store is Rude Cards and as the name would suggest it’s an offensive greeting cards and gift store but don’t click away from this article just yet, I’m not going to show you any of the gifts or cards that I have, I’m not going to talk about in the content or the words that I use because my mom would be very disappointed and offended.

So, my Etsy journey started around a year and a half ago. I had an idea for a greeting card and gifts store, had some designs ready but really didn’t have the time or the push to do. But in September 2019, I was laid off my full time job and I thought was a perfect time to start an Etsy store, and with that in mind, my first tip is just to get something going online.

  1. Get Something Online: As you guys might know Etsy is completely free to join so that’s where I started. I had no idea about any physical products. So, I hopped onto and I joined for free.

    Now, we all know you have to pay to list a product, but at that point you could just join it’s exactly what I did; I didn’t finish the signup process. I did my email address, password, some brief details, and I think also the product page where you’re asked to list your product, and that’s where I stopped.

What I knew was I had access to a shop manager, Etsy sent an email and that was that constant reminder, that push, that drive, to continue with my selling on Etsy adventure. So today is the day I’ve taken a first step on Etsy. In this article I will share this process and you can follow. Writing this make me commit to the journey & follow through. One of my mentors, Dale Calvert, says “the start, stops most people” So that is why number one is so important get yourself online it’s not about finishing it’s just about starting.
If you have been thinking about selling on Etsy, the first thing you need to do, is get your account registered, so go ahead and do that today.

2. Product Photos

So you registered on Etsy and you find yourself probably at a page that allows you to upload your product and a product photos, now there are literally tons and tons and tons of articles, blog posts and YouTube videos about the importance of your product photo which I completely agree with.

However, how long do you wait? I spent probably three or four days trying to get the perfect photo of my products done, and it took me absolutely ages and I still wasn’t happy. And throughout those three or four days even a week I might have spent I was losing customers. I wasn’t learning, I wasn’t getting into the Etsy shop, I wasn’t understanding more about it, and that for me is dead and wasted time. So, my advice is to take one good photo and then go with it.

So, I’m using the iPhone XL. I bought a very cheap 20 pounds or 25 pounds soft box, light box from and I staged one photo of one greeting card on my kitchen work surface which is on a white plain background. I staged it to look nice and I took one photo. I then went to head over to and I spent $15 to get all my photos transposed onto my original photo so I had 60 or 70 photos that I had taken just for the plain boring background of my products, didn’t look the best. I then had a great photo on my kitchen worktop of a plain product and then the guy from Fiverr transposed all the photos on to that one.

So, for $15 I got the best images I could, the best products I could, and it allowed me to progress on my journey. I’m not saying that’s for everyone and some people had exactly the right equipment to take a photo but for me it works 100% and it allowed me to get through on to the next journey and to my next stage. I admit it, this was probably much more than I needed to do, but for me I figured if selling on Etsy was going to be a long term project I might as well make the $15 investment and get the experience.

3. Product Description:

Descriptions for me are absolutely key. They tell you about the products, the person, the shop slightly, and also as well for search engine purposes.

So, in terms of how you market and how your products are found, and for me I took a two-stage approach, so what you need to remember when you’re doing your product description is you need to give enough detail but not too much; but as well put some of your own personal passion, your thoughts, your beliefs, how you got to this stage through in your description and that’s what I felt that I needed to do.

And how I did that was for people that wanted just to know about the product very quickly I wrote product details in brief and what I’ve done in brief for greeting cards as I said about the size, the color, what it was printed on the type of paper, the thickness, all in bullet point format so people want to just read about it be in, be out. The could look at the details and qualify themselves as a potential buyer very quickly.

I then provided product details the story and that’s where I started to actually explain a bit about the product and the journey, not a huge amount. Just two paragraphs sharing about how my cards are done, How
they were better for the environment, how it’s printed on recyclable paper, for some of my products, and we use a printer manufactured in the USA.

i Just try to share my own ethos and my own thoughts as a new Etsy seller.
For some etsy customers this doesn’t matter but for most on this platform I think it does. So as a new estsy seller, I believe it is important to give the bottom line details first, then share the passion, mission, and appeal to their consumer conscious.


4. Variants & Shipping:

One part you’ll get when you’re selling a product on Etsy that you you need to be aware of is the product variants and postage. Now, for me originally, I just offered white envelopes with my greeting cards and I found that my traffic numbers to the site were very low. as soon as I introduced five or six different envelope colors traffic went through the roof; literally doubled, then tripled, then doubled again. Evidently Etsy buyers don’t like white envelopes 🙂

I’m now somewhere around three thousand visits to my store in the last three weeks, so for me, think about your product variants from day one you don’t have fancy photos or videos of them, but if you’re doing greeting cards offer a range of different envelope colors. Or if you’re doing something like gift wrapping; can you offer that service? even at a cost. You can use a product like gift wrapping paper as what is commonly called a “loss lieter”, it is a product you are offering at cost just to get eyeballs on your store. This is very important, a ninja trick that smart etsy sellers use.

Also, as a US seller we all know that the UK market for Etsy is smaller than the US, so for me, I want to make sure I could go to the UK in terms of postage, so again, when you’re learning your products please think about international shipping. I know a lot of you shy away from it, if you’ve got expensive product. For me with a greeting card I do actually ship internationally. Shipping Internationally gives you a much larger market of potential customers. I do charge a little extra for international shipping, and my customers don’t seem to mind.

5. Future Articles

So, in this article, I’ve talked about my Etsy journey about signing up with Etsy the importance of just getting started, the product photography, all the pictures you should do and some of the pitfalls and how about you just get your product on Etsy, and also about descriptions and product variants and postage.

In future articles I will talk to you about the promotion and search engine optimization which is called SEO. Also, I want to share with you what I have learned about about promoted listings and Google Shopping but I won’t cover that today. What I will do briefly is just share with you some of the stats that I have had for my Etsy shop.

My shop is only three and a half weeks old so it’s relatively new. I’ve got 62 live products and I’ve actually had some good traction in terms of numbers. I’ve not got many sales but good traction in terms of numbers.

I’ve got 62 listings i my Etsy store. My plan over the next few months is to eliminate those that don’t sell, and add new cards all the time. For the last 30 days, so what you’ll see here is I’ve had over three and a half thousand views in the last 30 days, and again my shops only been open three/four weeks so that’s quite good. My total sales has been $491.00, I am averaging around $125.00 a week with a 88% profit margin so I think that is good for greeting cards that I just print on my computer and mail out to my Etsy Customers!

So, I’m not a millionaire just yet. But what just showed you is that with a little bit of work I’ve got quite a decent volume of views and visits and sales.
I have started! As you know, Etsy is just one of the platforms that gives people like us, the opportunity to create cash flow working from home.

I hope this article provided you some inspiration and encouragement, if it did, please leave your comments below, and maybe the team at onlineAuctionU will allow me to write another one for you in the future.


I failed to mention that about a month before I started this product I had downloaded an ebook online called How to Sell Your Artwork by Elaine Foster. This book is what really stimulated my mind and help me see how I could possibly make money while doing something I love. You can click the book below, to learn more if you would like. But I give Mrs. Fosters book credit for giving me the confidence to take action.


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