Yes, you read that right. I had a $7,000 month on Etsy and Etsy alone. But, no, I don’t recommend it it as a platform to other sellers. And a lot of people have asked me why. Thus the purpose of this post.
When I started blogging it wasn’t to teach others how to make money on Etsy. See, that’s what a lot of sellers do, they make the money on Etsy then they teach it to others. I didn’t want to do that. Yes, there are some tips and tricks to Etsy I could share but really I think there’s something more important to share, so that’s what I’m doing.
In fact, before I ever wrote a blog post I said I’d never even write about Etsy. Well, never say never. However, I do hope this is the one and only time I’ll write about it. I’m doing this because I have been asked about it and after almost 9,000 sales, I’m so excited to be shutting down my shop soon!
You’re probably wondering why I’m shutting down something that I once made over $7000 in one month. Well, I have my reasons and I’m going to share them here with you now.
But… before I get to the list of why you shouldn’t I do want to say something to all Etsy sellers out there who happen to be reading this. It’s the best advice I ever got during my time selling there.
Think of Etsy as your “starter house” not your “permanent residence”.
Honestly, when I realized this it made all the difference in the world. See, I’m building a business that I want to be able support myself full time with, my business isn’t a hobby or a side gig. It’s what I spend over 40 hours a week actively working on and pursuing. When I started on Etsy, it was a side gig. I had an office job when I started and didn’t quit until I started making enough money that it was a part time income. And it was. I made a good income from selling on Etsy with the mindset that it was part time, and while pursuing my masters degree.
See, I’m not completely against Etsy, IF it’s a side gig or part time job. Not for a full-time business. For the past three years I thought I have been pursing my business full time and I kept trying to make Etsy still work but the more effort I put into my own site, the worse Etsy did. Therefore, putting all my eggs in the “etsy basket” really made very little sense.
If you’re like me, and you want to build something that’s all yours, consider what I said above. Think of Etsy as a “starter house” and here’s why.
They Don’t Protect Sellers
It doesn’t matter if you fill out your policies, have all the info blatantly stated in your listings, if a customer complains loud enough they will side with them. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try an help your customers, or that customer service shouldn’t be #1, it definitely should. However, there are people in the world that will do ANYTHING to get something for free and if you run a business long enough, you will run into them.
They Own Your Items
Yup, you read that right. They can reach in and take it all away in a minute. They can completely shut down. Now, luckily that didn’t happen while I sold on there, but it could. Etsy could vanish. When you have your own site, you own it, you decide when it shuts down or not. You’re in charge. As you should be if you’re building a business.
It’s a Time Suck
One thing I’ve learned about selling on Etsy is that the more listings you have and the more time you spend on the site, the better you’ll do. That means you should be adding listings all the time and really the listings shouldn’t be anywhere else. That’s how they get ya.
You’re at Etsy’s Mercy
This means, if Etsy were to close up shop tomorrow and shut everything down, would you still have a business? If you answer “no” to this, that’s where the problem lies. You don’t know what Etsy is going to do, they don’t have to ask you or even tell you ahead of time, they just do what they do and you have to roll with it.
It’s Not What it Once Was
Etsy used to be strictly handmade and vintage. You could get shut down if you manufactured things in China or couldn’t prove it was vintage. Therefore, it was a great little community for small businesses. Not so much anymore. Like most things, Etsy had to adapt to continue to make money and therefore, it’s not just handmade or vintage items. It’s pretty much anything and everything.
That’s the gist of it. Etsy is a great place to start, but if you want my opinion (and I’m writing this because I’ve been asked for it numerous times), then that’s just what it should be, a place to start.
What do you think? Do you sell on Etsy? Have you found it to be lucrative? Let me know in the comments below.