Turn crafting into a business: A guide to selling your homemade wares on Etsy

Jan 31, 2012, 8:43 a.m.

Living in the digital age puts a world of options at your fingertips, especially in regards to crafting. You can use the internet to get arts and craft ideas, research techniques, and connect with other like-minded artisans; but perhaps best of all, you can turn your hobby into a business. Selling online doesn't have to involve building an expensive and time-consuming website. The easiest and most effective way to sell online is to set up an Etsy shop.

Etsy is a virtual shopping mall of handmade goods, including everything from pottery and jewelry to craft supplies and edible goodies. With a streamlined registration process, you'll find that setting up your Etsy store is fast and easy, even if you aren't computer savvy. To make your store look polished and professional, consider paying one of your fellow Etsy artisans to create a banner and logo for you. Additionally, you'll need to set up a PayPal account, which will enable your customers to pay you for their purchases. Setting up a PayPal account is free, although you will incur a modest fee for each transaction. Likewise, Etsy charges small fees for each listing, as well as a final fee based on the selling price of each item. When it's time to ship purchases to your customers, you can print shipping from your computer.

Once your store is set up, you're ready to fill it with your wares. One of the most vital aspects of selling online is providing good photos. You don't have to be a professional, but photos should be clear and show detail. Etsy provides four spots for photos, so don't hesitate to take multiple pictures of each item in order to really show off your handiwork. You'll also want to provide a concise description for each item. If you sell variations of a single product, take the time to develop a template to make listing items easier.

One of the most beautiful things about selling on Etsy is that your customers come to you. Try to list items regularly, because listings are sorted chronologically. Also, be sure to add tags to your listings so people can find your offerings when using the keyword search feature. Once you've completed a few listings, you'll get the hang of the process. One final note: Be sure to account for all of your time when you consider the pricing of your wares. Taking and editing pictures, writing descriptions and packaging items for shipment are all factors that you should consider when pricing your items.

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