How to Earn a Full-Time Income from Etsy – How one artist left a well-paying job to be her own boss and live the dream.
Before my oldest was born, I didn’t get what the big deal was about going back to work. What was the problem that kept so many women from being excited to go back to work?
And then I had my son.
And I never wanted to leave his side. He had me wrapped around his chubby little fingers.
While my husband and I were committed to me staying at home with our son, that didn’t mean that it was easy. We struggled a lot with money, but I knew that even if I did go back to work, I’d never make up the money that I’d need to cover the cost of daycare and anything else that came along with me working.
It was then that I became determined to find work that I could do from home to bring in some additional income. That’s when I started finding real side hustles that worked; everything that was legit (no multi-level marketing here!) that I could do to bring home any additional money. Even an extra $100/month would make us feel like we were living large!
I became particularly interested with how to earn a full-time income from Etsy. I have no crafty skills, but I know a lot of people who do.
Before you think to yourself “I have no crafty skill either…” can you write on sticks? Do you have a Cricut? Can you use a can of spray paint? Even non-crafty people can earn money from Etsy!
But, just as impressively, people who have a great deal of skill can earn a full-time income from Etsy. The days of artists only being able to sell their art at street fairs is gone. Now, artists can ship their art all over the world from one easy site.
Who doesn’t dream of being their own boss?
It really sounds like a dream, right? But for one mom, it’s a reality.
Meet Elizabeth McDonnell; a self-employed mother who left her high-paying job right outside of Philadelphia to be an entrepreneur and artist. After working for years in the corporate world, Elizabeth decided to take the plunge and turn her passion for art into her source of income at her Etsy store, ElizabethMcDArt.
So what does it take to earn a full-time income from Etsy?
Being an entrepreneur at all is so easy feat. It takes a lot of drive, persistance, and determination. And selling on Etsy is no exception. But the trade off in all of the hard work is that you will get to be your own boss and love what you do!
You can check out more side hustles that work:
Elizabeth shares her Etsy success story with me in this insider information about how to earn a full-time income from Etsy. Elizabeth sells beautiful originals and prints on her Etsy store that will bring some joy and inspiration to your days. (Her baby month stickers are just too perfect!)
What made you want to start your Etsy shop?
I’d started painting and was interested in selling my paintings (as well as art prints and note cards) and I knew that Etsy was a popular place to search for quality handmade products. I also liked that the interface was relatively easy to learn/use and there was already an established community and customer base.
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How many hours per week do you work?
Currently, I’m building my art business for about 60-70 hours per week. My Etsy shop is one piece of the larger business whole. The goal is to work fewer hours in the future but I’m committed to building as much as I can in the short term.
For my shop specific work, it’s about 10-15 hours. When I still had a 9-5 job, I worked on my business in the mornings before work, in the evenings after dinner, and during my lunch breaks at work during the week.
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What does your normal week look like for your Etsy shop?
When I’m working on my shop, orders and customer service questions are always the priority. It’s very important to me that all existing and potential customers feel acknowledged and appreciated in a reasonable amount of time.
I also work on upgrading and tweaking my shop in response to customer feedback and my shop statistics. I analyze what people are searching for when they find my shop, what sells and what doesn’t. From there, I also use the new knowledge I’ve gained on how to take better product photos, write more effective descriptions, better target my customers in the search, etc. It’s an ongoing process of testing what’s working and not working and responding accordingly.
Normal weeks vary depending on the season. I’m a lot busier in the holiday season than I am in the summer. So I use the slower months to do all of this behind the scenes work as well as restock inventory and supplies. That way, I’m ready for the fall when I’m much busier filling orders and responding to questions.
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I’m working on making my art business my full-time job and Etsy has been integral in getting me started. I also currently sell my art at in-person shows and through UncommonGoods, an online retailer, and I’ll be looking to expand to working with other companies this year.
Being on Etsy has helped me to connect with various opportunities, as many companies search Etsy for new artists and crafters to work with.
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What did it take to get started?
From the very start, I wanted to treat my shop as a legit business. So I did a lot of initial research into how to register as a business, what taxes would apply to me as a shop owner, and how to create really solid policies that would protect both me and my customers. Etsy has a lot of help documents and a sellers manual that helped me think about all of the different aspects of having a shop.
Next, I created my initial product line to sell (a good rule of thumb is 10 items to start) and set prices that profitably covered all of my costs and were competitive with other artists selling similar products. I thought about who I wanted to reach with my art and wrote my product descriptions and set prices with those people in mind.
I also thought about what questions people have when buying things online (how big is the item, what are the materials, is it good quality, how will I use it, etc) so that I could address any concerns or questions from the very start through my listings and pictures.
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Etsy also has a lot of good resource articles on these steps as well.
I then walked through every step of a sale to guarantee the process would be smooth, from making sure I had quality shipping materials ready to go to understanding how much processing time I needed to fill an order and get it out the door.
Opening a shop can happen over a weekend or after several months depending how many products you have and how much prep work you do first. I decided to start with what I had and tweak as I went, which was a good idea as I tweaked based on actual customer feedback instead of guessing what people might want.
Selling on Etsy has been a great introduction to online selling. Plus, they provide the shopping cart and even shipping tools to make your life easier. Even when I expand to other retailers and my own website, I’ll keep my Etsy shop as well.
You can check out more of Elizabeth’s work at her website.
So if you’ve ever felt like you just didn’t think that you could make it at an artist or turn your love for graphic design or knitting into a full-time income, think again! There is a side hustle out there for everyone!
Have you ever sold on Etsy?