Is Etsy.com A Scam?

When I first started in the work at home industry one of the jobs I assumed was available in great numbers was, stuffing envelopes assembly and craft work at home. However I quickly discovered most of these so called "jobs" were scams. The few times I could find a legitimate company, it was almost impossible to make money with them because you would never seem to meet their so called "high standards".

Truth be told, I don't even know why I even considered looking into these opportunities. The extent of my handiness is picking up the telephone to call my uncle-in-law to fix stuff around the house or build something. Thank God for my saviness with computers and technology, otherwise I'd be totally useless to my wife and most of my family members.

In any event, like typing and data entry, I pretty much gave up on the craft work at home pipe dream and moved on to bigger and better things as you already know. But I always wondered if there was a legitimate way to make money with arts, crafts and all things hand made. Well, I think I may have found one that may fit the bill known as Etsy.com So if you're the type of person that makes jewelry, paints, creates crafts, scrap books, other knick knacks, etc., then you might want to kick back and read this article.

However if you're like me and don't have a creative bone in your body, you can pass on this article. You might just want to head to my work at home companies page to find a traditional work at home job.

 

What is Etsy.com?

Basically it's an online marketplace where people can buy hand made and unique products from folks that create and make this stuff. So if you're the creative type that is always making stuff then this is the place you want to be to find folks that are willing to pay for your talent. 

 

How does Etsy.com work?

Since we're discussing how you can make money with this site, I'll walk through the steps of how you sell your items on Etsy.

1. Register for a free account.

2. Confirmation your registration by checking your email and follow the directions in the email.

3. Log into your Etsy account and create a shop.

4. Upload images and descriptions of the crafts you want to sell. 

5. Place your products in a category that closely matches what you're selling.

6. Then choose your shipping and payment options.

7. Preview your items and fix any problems you may spot.

8. Publish your ad and your item is now visible for the world to see on Etsy.com

9. If someone purchases your item, Etsy collects 3-5% of your profits. This is on top of the .20 charged per each item you list. 

10. You ship the item and everyone is happy. 

Obviously I've over simplified the process. There are some other nuiances that need to be covered for you to succeed at selling your crafts on Etsy.com that I'll cover later in this article. 

 

The Pros of Etsy.com

So you may be wondering why is Etsy.com so special? Why couldn't I just sell my handmade stuff on ebay or a yard sale? You could, but you would probably fare better at Etsy.com, because the buyers are targeted and you're competing against other hand made items. To some people this is far better than competing against mass produced items. Some of the other advantages of Etsy are as follows:

  1. Your Items are listed for 4 months at a time.
  2. You can upload 5 photos for each listing for free
  3. Payments through PayPal (That may actually be a con to some folks.)
  4. There is no confusing auction. If you've tried to sell on ebay you know why this is important. 
  5. Etsy submits your store to Google and Froogle search engines. (This can lead to a lot more eyeballs than you would get at a yard sale.)

The Cons of Etsy.com

Obviously like any company Etsy.com has its flaws. It doesn't necessarily make it a bad company. But it's something you should be aware of to better your chances at success and avoid any issues. So here are a few complaints against Etsy.

1. Competition:

Although Etsy is not as big as ebay (which is a good thing), it's still a huge marketplace with literally thousands of vendors offering similar items. This obviously means more competition for you as a seller. In order to be competitive, sellers are usually left with little choice but to lower their prices or offer sales.

Honestly I don't really view this as a negative but I know it's one that people whine about. Look, competition is part of life and goes with being in business for yourself. Without competition this country wouldn't be where it is. So it comes with the territory and you need to be able to adjust accordingly. Even if you weren't in business for yourself you're dealing with competition at work, family members, spouse, etc. 

2. Difficulty Getting Visibility:

Because Etsy is pretty extensive it can make it very difficult to get your shop and your products noticed by potential buyers. Etsy tries to level the playing field by featuring "random" items from various sellers on the front page. But this isn't really consistent. Apparently on various occasions, the same sellers are featured repeatedly within a short period of time.

Ideally the front page should be a true rotating system that gives every seller a shot at some shine. However that doesn't seem to be the case when popular sellers dominate. 

3. Limited Store Customization:

There aren't a lot of bells and whistles to make your store stand apart from the competition. It's basically a template that all sellers must use and can adjust some minor things. Imagine if all the stores in your mall looked the same. How likely would you be to visit more than one or two? So this is definitely a serious gripe that has merit.

 

Tips To Make More Money With Etsy.com

One of the easiest things about Etsy.com is getting set up. But as I mentioned in the cons, selling your stuff is a whole other ball game. Here are some tips that may help you do better at Etsy.com.

1. Instead of cutting your prices, try offering a bonus or highlighting what makes your product better than the others. Informercials are notorious for doing this and why we've all ended up buying at least one product from a tv informercial. And you know you have. lol

2. Etsy offers a paid showcase spots for individual categories. This basically allegedly gives your items more prominence in a given category. Or it should in theory. But most have claimed it was a waste of money.  A better way to get more exposure is as follows. Instead of throwing up 10 items up for sale at once, it’s to your advantage to spread them out over a few days. You see, every time you put up a new item, it appears briefly on the front page. Then it gets added to the “recently listed items” page. When buyers browse through items, the most recently listed ones are shown first. So by placing a new item every couple of days or at various times, your shop will be seen by far more people and more frequently. You’ll basically be listed with the most recent items which may increase your sales. It's a little time consuming but it may literally pay off.

3. When setting up your Etsy store it's very much like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Be sure you select a name that describes what you're selling. Enter keywords and descriptions that represent your products not your ego. This isn't the time to be cute and name your store Big Poppa's Store when you're selling hand made cat hair wallets. (Yes there are people that make this. lol) Name your store, Cat Hair Wallets. Describe what your type of cat hair wallets you make, use cats in the keywords, etc. Think like the people that you want to buy your items and that will help you make more sales. I don't have any products to sell but I use this all the time as an affiliate marketer and it works wonderfully.

If you want some other tips that will help you make more sales on Etsy.com read the following articles:

How to Make Money on Etsy: It's Easy to List Items for Sale, but How Do You Make Sure Your Items Sell?

How To Sell Crafts on Etsy.com

 

Questions?

Chances are you have questions. If so click here and visit their FAQs page to get your answers.

 

So is Etsy.com a scam?

Obviously no it's not. Like many of the companies I discuss on this blog, it will have weaknesses that will turn some people off. I've yet to find an opportunity that has satisifed everyone. But that's life. It's also the reason I provide you with some many different opportunities. This way if you happen to disagree with my assesment of a company, then you can try something else that agrees with you. It's like the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.

In any event I hope you enjoy this review of Etsy.com. It's definitely worth a try if you've always wanted to make money with crafts or any hand made products. Visit Etsy.com now if that's you. 
 

As always I look forward to your comments regarding this company or opportunity. Cheers.

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Comments

  1. Charmain Francklin says

    I would like to know what are you getting from a company that is racist, deal in unethical practices, refuse to deal with buyer/seller issues, will kill dreams by shutting down a seller’s store without any reason given. Why are you doing this. Are they paying you for it? Why don’t you talk about something else. Research Etsy about complaints from consumers and sellers how Etsy have treated them poorly. Read about how many shops they have closed without warning or refusing to communicate with buyers, sellers. You need to do your homework before touting how good Etsy is. They are racist, and they have poor business ethics. Find another topic and do your research beforehand.

    • says

      Sigh, I’m not an affiliate of this company. Everyone knows I’m an affiliate marketer and gladly mention it when I’m promoting a company. I’m not in the business of painting sweet pictures of companies even if I’m affiliated with them. I provide both the pros and cons of a given company.

      Now with that said things can change after I write a review. Judging by all your accusations I’m assuming you’ve had a poor experience with the company. So feel free to state the poor experience without trying to attack me because that doesn’t really make you look good or your accusations credible. My reputation is not in question here. Anyone that has read my body of work can attest to this.

      Either way, it sounds like you had a poor experience. So again feel free to share it. No company is perfect and all of them have complaints at times. Some more than others. If you have any real proof like emails, articles, etc that can validate some of the claims you’re making about Etsy, feel free to post them.

      Thanks and have a great day! =)

  2. nancy says

    buyer be ware when you shop esty….. (Arcadia Beads) Pictures look great The beads are tiny compaired to pictures also color is not nice and bright. What you see is not what you get. She will not take things back even if you want exchanges. Believe me she just riped me off $44.00………………….She should be shut down.

  3. jennifer says

    thank you for your article. I worked long and hard on my Etsy store and nothing ever came of it. I had quality products at reasonable rates and was NEVER able to work from home and make any kind of living.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing. I think the problem with Etsy is it’s a home based business and not a job. So if you don’t know how to advertise and do marketing you won’t make money. That’s not really a problem with that company, it’s more of a user issue of not being a marketer which can be easily remedied with the proper training. I’m only speaking from experience when I wasn’t making conversions for my business. Once I learned to market that all changed. So that’s my two cents. I appreciate you sharing though.

  4. says

    Etsy can be a great marketplace for selling your handmade items, but you have to be willing to work at it. Simply opening a shop does NOT guarantee that you will have sales. In fact, if you look at the ‘weather reports’ http://www.etsy.com/storque/search/title/weather-reports/ and do some quick analysis, one will find that the average number of sales per month per active shop is four, and hasn’t increased since Etsy’s inception.

    And that Etsy makes more money from the $.20 per listing cost than they do in their 3.5% commission on sales.

    However, if you are willing to do some extensive marketing outside of Etsy, then having an Etsy store can be profitable.

  5. says

    I have been selling primitive furniture for nearly 20 years. i am always looking for ways to get my products in front of potential buyer. A friend told me about Etsy in January 2010 and I joined right away. Since then I have sold 1-2 items per month and had the opportunity of quoting and building several custom pieces. The next best thing about Etsy is the cost. It is extremely easy on the small guy. I recommend Etsy to every artist and craftsman I know.

    For me, Etsy has been a great marketing addition to my small business!

    Frank

  6. Gil Hodges says

    Eddie, My youngest daugther has been a member of esty.com for a year now and has done extremely well with it. She designs and builds a line of what she calls “Funware” and “Barware”. You can see it at http://www.myspace.com/beadesigns. Between her sales at local arts and crafts fairs and etsy.com she earns over $2,000.00 a month. I’m very proud of her and her business. Esty.com is for real!!!

  7. Eunice Riemer says

    The mention of competing against commercialy made merchandise reminded me of what happened several years ago. I am a master knitter and I hoped that I could make some money making sweaters, shawls, mittens and hats. It didn’t happen. My stuff was well made and beautiful. It would last a long time. That isn’t what people want. They want new clothes and accessories every year.

    So my family and I have a lifetime supply of sweaters, shawls, mittens and hats. Handknit wool hardly ever wears out. We’re happy, and I learned that I had better research my market before committing time and energy to a product.

    • says

      Eunice,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It was a tough lesson learned and one the basic aspects of marketing. But I would argue that most of the new people that go to etsy to sell their handmade items don’t know a lot about marketing. But from what I’ve ready Etsy has a good forum that covers a lot of this stuff. But maybe they can do a better job of including some tips as one creates a store. Just an idea.

      Natalia,

      Thanks! I really appreciate it.

      Gil,

      Thanks for sharing this information about your daughter. You have every reason to be proud of her. That’s very inspirational! I wish I was actually creative. lol
      By the way it’s Eddy not eddie. ;)

  8. says

    Okay so this is funny. About twelve years ago I was caught up in trying a lot of those “opportunities” found in the classified section of “Inc. Magazine”. I tried everything from making “Authentic” Indian Jewelry, to Selling books. I even got a business license ( PK Books Etc.. ). I remember how excited I was to get my first ad up in the National Enquirer. I advertised a book called “The Winners Guide to Bingo”. The ad cost me $108 and before the ad was even placed I realized that what I was selling was crap and hoped I wouldn’t receive any orders. I did get an order but I never cashed the ladies check for $8. Instead, I just sent her the book and ripped her check up.

    One of the coolest things I did do however was buy a button making kit and some display racks. I used to make buttons and a few store owners let me put my racks up in their stores. I even made custom buttons for a few events. Although I only made about $100 a week profit, I felt good about what I was selling…

    Phil ( philsfault ) Ames

    Now where is that button press?

  9. says

    Many successful Etsy users also have their own corresponding website where they advertise to their specific niche. Etsy is a great storefront for selling handmade items similar to the many personally designed t-shirt shops, but these types of things won’t usually won’t sell themselves. It takes an effective marketing strategy to get your stuff noticed.

    • says

      Aimee,

      That totally makes sense and resolves the lack of customization issue. At the end of the day it’s always better to own your website and the pages on it than depending on someone else’s platform. I also agree like any business it’s going to take effort to market your store and get customers coming in. If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it.

      Phil,
      Sounds like you may need to give this a shot buddy and expand your reach. A $100 in profits per week is pretty good. Imagine the possibilities with a wider audience and your marketing skills. If you do give it a shot, let me know how it turns out.

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