The Truth about starting an Etsy Business in 2024

written by Irene

Selling on Etsy just like running any business can be challenging and stressful. Etsy might be easy to get started with, you can set up your account super fast and with no cost, however making your first sale is not that easy.

Let’s explore some of the most common obstacles new Etsy Sellers face, as soon as they open their shop.

1 – Very High Competition depending on your niche

In recent years Etsy has become a very popular marketplace with millions of sellers. That means you will face stiff competition. If you sell in a saturated niche, things can get overwhelming pretty quickly. Attracting customers and standing out from the crowd is what every seller is trying to achieve, but not all succeed. It may be challenging to gain visibility for your products and even if you do, that doesn’t necessarily translate into profit.

2 – Limited control over your Shop and dependency on a third party platform

When you sell on Etsy or any other platform, you’re subject to that platform’s policies and guidelines. This can make you feel you have limited control over your shop’s appearance and branding. Additionally, Etsy can change its policies and algorithm, affecting your visibility and sales.

On the other hand, you have many tools already made for you. You don’t have to be techy, build your own website and e-shop or set a payment method. Etsy provides all that for you. With that being said, you can always start on Etsy and expand on other platforms, or sell at your own website. Just start and see how it goes.

3Time Consuming to start making consistent sales

Although starting your Etsy Shop is pretty easy as I already mentioned, getting to a point where you make some real money from it can be really time consuming. This is true whether you sell physical or digital products, although with digital products you make them once and then sell them over and over again.

Overall, setting up an aesthetically pleasing shop with lots of listings and beautiful images and then promote your listings with the right SEO or ads, can be very demanding. If your shop sells physical products, you have to make time for packaging and fast shipping, so that your customers have the best shopping experience you can offer. Also adding listings and updating the existing ones can take up a lot of your time.

Be prepared to invest significant hours into product creation, listing optimization, marketing, customer service, and order fulfilment. It may take time to gain traction and start generating consistent sales, so patience and perseverance are key. If you have in mind that Etsy is the place to make cash quickly and with little effort, I would suggest to think again.

4 – Keep Learning and Adapting

The e-commerce landscape is constantly evolving. New SEO strategies, changes on Etsy’s rules and policies, changing trends and preferences. It’s important to stay up to date for all the above. Be open to learning and adapting. You may begin with a business plan, which you will have to change various times before you see the results you aim for. It’s not about setting up your shop, it’s mostly about maintaining it.

5 – Breaking Etsy Rules & Policies

You can break Etsy Rules without even realizing it. You have to be very careful with their set of rules and understand them to the core. Understanding what you are and aren’t allowed to do is what can make or break your store. Unfortunately, Etsy does change its rules often and without any notice, so you must get informed constantly.

6 – Some products just don’t sell

Depending on what you sell, it can be harsh to admit to yourself that no matter how much work you’ve put into a specific product, it just doesn’t sell. For whatever reason a product might never catch on. Either it is never found in the Etsy algorithm so people never see it, or they see it but it’s just not something they are interested in buying at the time. Usually, certain listings are the ones that will bring in the majority of your revenue and well, that’s just the way it is. Remember, Etsy is not about what products we like, it’s about what our potential customers want. Once you find what products sell most, you can start replicating these products, change them a bit and add them to your listings.

Be prepared to make new products and experiment with different styles. Try to understand how potential buyers think and act.

So after all the things that can go wrong with our Etsy Shop, you might want to ask me: Is it worth it after all?

All I can say is that each business model has its own pros and cons. Don’t let the negative aspect of Etsy discourage you. If you love creating your products and have a vision for your Etsy Shop, go for it. Yes, it can take several months to start seeing results. But keep in mind why you started in the first place. Being your own boss? Building something you will be proud of in the near future? Have that flexibility, only an online business can offer you?

Remember, building an Etsy business is a journey that you want to last for long.


6 Realities to keep in mind before starting an Etsy Business

  1. Very High competition for many niches. A smaller niche might be the right option for beginner sellers.
  2. You have limited control over your shop. After getting familiar with Etsy and start seeing results, you might want to consider creating your own website to sell your products. 
  3. Time consuming to start making sales. Be ready to put a lot of work and effort into this endeavour. If it was easy everyone would succeed.
  4. You have to be active to maintain your shop. Keep learning and adapt to changes and trends.
  5. Be very careful with Etsy’s Rules & Policies. Stay updated and don’t try strategies that can get your shop suspended.
  6. Some products just don’t sell. Don’t take it personal that your favourite design hasn’t made any sales. Move on with your creations. 

“With the right approach and commitment, it is possible to create a thriving Etsy Business”

The Truth about Etsy