Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why You Wont Get Rich on Etsy

Getting rich is different I suppose, depending on the person and your goals. To me getting rich is making all the money that you need. So when I say "you will not get rich in Etsy", I am saying that your shop will not sustain your needs and you will need an additional source of income.

I also realize (and thought about) a lot of people will say “well I don’t want to get rich” or “I just do it for fun, I don’t need to sell a lot” and while I respect those who go into it with that attitude, all it takes is 5 minutes on a team discussion board to see how many people are looking for advice on how to sell more, how to get a sale, or just complaining that they aren’t selling anything.

So why is it that you wont get rich on Etsy.

Reason 1: Inventory

Take a look at your entire shop. Now add up the prices of everything in it. Now add the cost of shipping, If you sold out today, how much money would you actually have? Now that you have that cash what is next. Well you have no inventory left so you will be in the workshop for a while, during which time your shop will not be generating any revenue.


Look at your items in the manner above. Ask “if I sold it all today how long would it take to replace” now look at WHAT you are selling. Is there something else or another category that you could create? If you sell antique desks at 3k a pop then perhaps some smaller items to keep people looking, and if you sell buttons, then perhaps use a few larger items to generate revenue, you may even start seeing multiple item sales.

Reason 2: volume sales

Next look at your sales. How many do you have? Take that number and divide it by the number of days that your shop has been open. This will give you how much you make per day. Now regardless of what you are selling, the more you sell the more money you get. So the reason you are not going to get rich here, is that you are not generating volume. Either your product is too similar to others, you are not getting enough marketing (to be covered next) and your customers are not coming back for more.


Increase volume. Yes I know if I wrote a book on guaranteed increased sales and getting rich, it would be a best seller, well I don’t have that kind of information, but I do have a few things to try. While people are in your shop is the best time to get them to buy something else too. Entice existing customers not to leave with just one item. Get them to come back for more. I have always envied you soap makers, because your product wears out and I need more. I am not saying make earrings that will break, but maybe next week you list a matching necklace that they will need to have to complete the look. Having matching sets available is another great way to increase volume. How many people do you know? How many of them have ever seen your shop?

Reason 3: your marketing sucks

There is a lot to marketing, there is SEO which is a pretty big deal for an online marketplace (you need to google yourself often)Thats how people are looking for you... what are they finding?, there is your blog, your facebook page, friends and family, co-workers, and these are just places to market, not even about content. There are 2 big components that I want you to look at as again selling you an entire marketing book isn’t what this is about, and honestly if you are still reading this far along in the post, then I already commend your efforts (you’re almost done)

Part 1 of marketing: Promotion

This is the part where most of us fail, and it is getting people to the shop. The biggest mistake you can make is over-promoting. Yes this is even worse than not promoting at all. I see too often in blogs, and in general posts the desperation. This is a great way to drive business away. “Please come in, buy, leave feedback, comment, please, WHY ARENT YOU YET… PLEASE!!!” this is an exaggeration, but you get the point. Make sure that your promotion is actually that! PROMOTING YOU. You want people to look forward to your promotion and recognize your brand.

Part 2 of Marketing: Traffic

There is only so much I cam say here, but you aren’t getting sales and you aren’t getting rich because no one is visiting your store. If you haven’t already setup Google Analytics for your etsy shop. Look at how many visits you get per day. Again, if every visitor bought would you be rich? You need the answer to this to be yes, because that is ultimately how you will get there. There is a reason that the featured seller gets sales, it is because they get traffic.

Solution: start marketing

Get the traffic that you need, have the products they want, and keep your image positive online.

Wrap up:

You aren’t going to get rich because you aren’t going to do all the things above, and if you are doing them all, then you can ignore this post(you don't need it). Making money on Etsy is HARD. Etsy’s goal isn’t to get you rich, it has to be something that you want to do. Ultimately, you are still selling handmade items not luxury real estate. It is comparable to mowing lawns. You make a few bucks here and there because it is a side job. Or you start up a full fledged landscaping company that does the whole neighborhood, they both are mowing lawns, but one has a summer job,. The other is getting rich.


  1. People also need to sell their items OFF of Etsy if they ever want to make real money. Craft shows, local stores, etc.

    You're right that making a comfortable living off of Etsy alone just isn't going to happen.

  2. Really great points! When I first started on etsy my dream was to quit my day job and just sell my jewelry. I have learned that is REALLY hard to do! I give props to people who make it work!

  3. You won't get rich but some people live off of their income from etsy alone. The Black Apple as an example.
    Good read! :)

  4. @Paige Absolutely, that is what I was trying to say with the lawn mowing analogy. It will be what you make it. using other forums (fairs, shows, local stores)and linking them with a label to your Etsy can provide legitimacy, and can provide those repeat sales.

    @Brittnay, I dont want to crush dreams, just to help those with similar goals to yours to see the work it will take and the steps to get there.

    Thank you both for reading!!

  5. Great post. It's always good to remember that while your head is in the clouds, your hands and feet should also be doing some WORK at making things happen.

  6. Good read! You make excellent points especially about marketing/promotion.

  7. This was awesome! I knew I needed more inventory, but one thing I didn't think about was the fact that I need different TYPES of inventory. This got me thinking and I think in addition to acrylic paintings on canvas, I might start doing drawings and/or watercolor paintings on paper - those should cost a lot less. And I could even paint some greeting cards too - those would cost even less. I just wish I had more time, ugggh! At some point I swear I'm going to take an early retirement and just work on my etsy shop all the time.

  8. The lawn-mowing vs. landscaping business analogy is brilliant.