Thinking about starting an online business on Etsy, but aren't sure if it's worth it? You're not the only one. Many people start out wondering how much money they can make on Etsy. I mean, it makes sense to get a few ball-park figures before investing all your time and (spare) money into starting up a new biz endeavor!
As almost everyone knows, Etsy has been around as a popular online marketplace for creative sellers around the world for the past decade. And while it had a few good years run, business owners are now starting to consider the costs of selling on Etsy and how much it can add up over the years, wondering if it's worth the effort. That said, how much money can you make on Etsy?
In this guide, we'll take a look at how much, on average, Etsy sellers make per month and year and compare that to the overall cost and effort of running an Etsy business. Finally, we'll consider if Etsy is worth it based on how much profit you can realistically expect to make per month selling handmade items and goods online vs. the overall cost including seller fees.
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How Much Money Can You Make With An Etsy Business
Just like with every online business, you have your group of people who make it “big” and those who don't. Of course, the ones who are able to make huge profits are the ones handing out advice to all the little guys. “Do X, Y, Z and soon you'll be a 6-figure Etsy seller.” But how much of that is realistic for a new entrepreneur? How much money can you really make on Etsy?
It only takes a curious person and a quick Google search to scour through Reddit threads, like this one, where Etsy shopowners hash out how much money they make. While the figures vary from $100/month to even $2,000/week, the general consensus is that you can make as much as little as you'd like on Etsy (there's no “cap” or “minimum”) but it all depends on three factors:
- How much your overhead costs are
- How much and often you work to produce more products
- How well you can price yourself to stay competitive yet profitable
So, while the numbers may look different for each seller based on location, product, creativity, costs, and commitment, if you work full-time for yourself to build your Etsy shop you should make how much?
To find out, let's take a look at a few Etsy shop income reports.
- Fuzzy And Birch – Made $4,000 on Etsy in one month from selling cards, pillows, tote bags, and shirts.
- Angela Jasmina – Earned over $21,000 in her first year on Etsy (averaging around $2-3k per month from Mar-Dec).
- Jerica Zimmerman – Soapmaker and YouTuber reported making only $1,000 in her first year on Etsy (2019) but then grew her soap business and profited over $10,000+ from April-May in 2020.
As the above examples show, sometimes “making it or breaking it” is more about patience and learning how to scale your hobby into a profitable business over time than it is about maximizing profits in the first few months of opening a shop. Sometimes growth can take a few months, or in some cases, 1-2 years.
That said, there are certainly still millions of creators on Etsy who make money full-time that would consider it to be worth it. And while the above examples give a good insight into what's possible, can you make six figures on Etsy? That's definitely possible. This one mommy blogger rose to 6 figures.
How Much Do Etsy Sellers Make On Average?
It can be encouraging to look at examples here and there of how much people make selling on Etsy. But one blogger took it a step further and conducted research to find out how much the average seller makes with their shop. Chelsea behind Smart Money Mamas investigated a sample group of 20 Etsy sellers to calculate earning averages. Here were the results:
- Sales: Around 40% of the participants made between $0-500 in sales, 20% between $500-1k, and 40% were earning over $1,000+/month.
- Profits: The lowest earner in the group earned $8.50 profit while the largest earner profited over $5,000/month on Etsy. The median was only $291.
- Hourly Wage: Taking into account both the costs, sales, and total profits, over 50% of the participants earned less than the federal minimum wage ($7.25) while the other half was divided into four groups earning between $7.25-10/hour, $10-15/hour, $15-100/hour, and over $100/hour.
Summary: A sampling of only 20 sellers isn't quite enough to get a wholesome look at how much you can make on Etsy (100 or more would've been better). However, the results still reveal that you really need to be passionate about your craft in order to turn it into your full-time business because over half make far less than expected.
If you don't necessarily need to make a living from Etsy, you could just consider it to be a fun hobby or flexible side hustle you do on weekends or during your spare time to make a few extra hundred dollars per month.
How Much Does It Cost To Sell On Etsy?
Etsy has made it much simpler for creators to sell their goods online without needing their own store, like Shopify. However, in exchange for these services, Etsy takes into account a few fees.
Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee per item. The listing will expire after four months, after which an auto-renewal fee of $0.20 per item is charged again for another four-month cycle. In addition, Etsy charges $0.20 for multi-quantity orders above 1x order. So if you sell 3 of the same product, you will be charged $0.40 more. Should you choose to list your goods as private, there is also a $0.20 listing fee.
Shipping & Transaction Fees
Yes, Etsy charges you for shipping as well and the amount varies based on your selections when purchasing shipping labels. There is also what's called an Etsy shipping transaction fee which is 5% of the total shipping cost of the product.
Then, there are the general transaction fees. You will be charged 5% of the sale price per item when it's sold. As Etsy notes on its site, this is different than the Payments processing fee which costs 3% + $0.25 (for the United States, but varies per country) if you accept payment through Etsy Payments. Lastly, there is a 2.5% fee if you require conversion to/from another currency.
Etsy now charges you to use Offsite Ad services. The fee is based upon your total revenue spread out over the last 12 months. If you earn less than $10,000 in the calendar year, you are charged 15% on the total order amount that originated from an offsite ad. If you earn over $10k that year, the fee is slightly discounted at 12%.
Over the years, sellers on Etsy have complained about the increasing fee amounts as well as the number of fees there are. In sum, when you sell an item on Etsy, you are charged a base amount of $0.20 per listing, 5% per transaction, 3% + $0.25 per payment processing, 5% of the shipping label cost, and 15% on the order total if you make a sale from offsite ads.
Best Things To Sell On Etsy To Make Money
Etsy got its beginning as a humble online marketplace for creative artists and small business owners. But now it's grown into its own Amazon-style marketplace where you can find all sorts of products – including the not-so-made-with-love pieces that you'd find on sites like eBay or Alibaba.
However, despite its massive growth, it still retained its best feature: handmade goods crafted by budding artists. That said, Etsy is still one of the best places to sell handmade or vintage items. Here are the best things to sell on Etsy to make money:
- Handmade Jewelry – from raw gemstone earrings to personalized engraved necklaces
- Jewelry & Crafting Supplies
- Pet Paraphenalia
- Digital Planners & Printables
- Logos & Instagram Highlight Covers
- Beauty Accessories (i.e. headbands, bows, glitter, makeup brushes, etc)
Of the above, you'd be surprised at how lucrative selling digital products on Etsy can be. Some of the top sellers on Etsy actually sell printables, which is amazing for the seller. Make it once, list it, and generate passive income over and over again.
Is Etsy Worth It?
At the end of the day, the ones who can turn Etsy into their full-time jobs are those who are able to find a good balance of effort and profit.
If you want to take your passion project and turn it into an Etsy business, first consider if your product or craft is unique to the market. If it is, then ask yourself if you could do it for at least 1 year without additional income while you grow your business. In many cases, this is what's necessary in order to begin generating enough to pay the bills (and then some).
If you said yes to both of those, then you have a good chance at succeeding as a seller on Etsy because you'll avoid burnout which is one of the biggest causes of failed Etsy shops. People give up too early.
Etsy is only worth it if you have the patience and time to dedicate to it. Otherwise, it will result in disappointment. But if you love your craft and work diligently to make it profitable for you – then yes, Etsy is worth it!
If you decide that selling on Etsy isn't worth it to you, you could also be an Etsy affiliate, and make money selling other people's products (you get a commission per item sold), and that means you don't need to create products, store inventory, ship, or deal with customer service!