You know Etsy, right? The platform that decided to do things differently, and created a world of handmade goods, made by creatives all over the world, and purchased by people who appreciated these. It was the ultimate win-win situation for all parties involved. And I believe it still is.
The ultimate proof for that, in my case, would always be what my mother created at home right in front of my eyes, from scratch.
You do need some skills and the creative spirit to do this, of course, but the number of people making a living from this solely through Etsy makes me have hopes that the world today is still a good place, and everyone who invests enough focus and time into a side hustle, can become self-employed and enjoy the rest of his life doing what he loves, and making other people happy with these products or services.
In this post, I want to talk about why Etsy is still a lucrative opportunity, why Amazon and Ebay might not be for you, and to bring you back the hope that working for yourself and starting a digital, home based business from scratch isn’t an illusion. It just takes a good strategy and research, creating something with love, putting in the work, and finding the right platform to distribute it.
Here’s why Etsy is still a fantastic option for that:
1. The leading handmade marketplace.
There’s too much of everything these days, on almost every platform. But you can’t really find the Etsy products on sites like Amazon or Ebay, where the most popular sellers’ products are displayed and you end up buying from one of them whether you like it or not.
Etsy, on the other hand, offers you individuality, unique products made by people you would never find outside of this marketplace.
There’s meaning in everything you’ll find, and you can be sure that the owner (most of the times it’s a family business, or just one person makes it all, so you know it’s been personally created for you and your occasion) cares about his work. The platform just connects you two and delivers it to you, handling payment in a safe way.
The mass produced items online are on Amazon and Ebay. The unique goodies are on Etsy.
What’s more, you can’t find the latter on the first page of Google, that’s why exploring the site itself is a good option if you’re a client. And if you’re a shop owner there, then all you need is to get started, market your products in your own words and use the right keywords in the title of each offer, and know that the ‘search’ field on the site will be used only by people looking exactly for what you’re selling.
2. Professional Sellers still aren’t dominating it.
What inspired me to focus again on Etsy, after leaving it behind for around 2 years, is a recent post from Ian over at Tropical MBA, called Is Etsy the Next Online Gold Rush?
Here’s what he says about the whole ‘professional sellers’ thing:
‘Unlike Ebay, Google product search and Amazon (who all came before Etsy, and created many, many millionaires) Etsy has yet to be overrun by “Professional Sellers.”
Let’s define those:
Professional Seller: Unlike original adopters who tend to bring offline businesses onto these new platforms, Professional Sellers determine which products to sell by the mastery of the platform itself. A simple way to distinguish a Professional Seller from an average seller is whether they identify as a “marketing first” or a “product first” company. Professional Sellers know the most popular products for any given market segment. They understand the ideal prices to get most people to buy. They ‘somehow’ know your name when they email you during a sale. In short: they are data-driven machines that are constantly evolving the optimum way to win sales at a cost that is hard for the ‘average seller’ to compete against.
Etsy currently has a limited culture of Professional Sellers, making it a potentially massive opportunity for anyone reading this today.’
3. Whatever it is, you can do it yourself.
Online business ideas including Etsy surely aren’t for lazy people who don’t even want to brainstorm unique propositions or see what’s out there already.
Even if you order different parts yourself and create something out of them, you’re still a creator and will have something special to offer. People will appreciate it.
4. It’s the realm of stay-at-home moms and creative individuals.
I’m all about turning your hobby into your career, and with platforms like these it couldn’t be easier.
Before Etsy was founded back in 2005, so many skilled people all over the world were secretly dreaming about sharing their work with people who’d make good use of their products. So many works of art were just collecting dust in a room and were never gonna be shared with the world to appreciate them. So many people felt like making jewelry, gift cards, wedding accessories, or else, but saw no point in that.
Luckily, the word got out and many of these same people started wondering if it really is that easy to just set up an online store, and start selling whatever it is that they were passionate about and making at home anyways. And that’s exactly what happened.
Then, particular niches were formed.
If you’ve got a special occasion, want some decoration or gifts for the next holiday, something personalized for your kids, or accessories or materials that can’t be found anywhere else, you’ll visit Etsy.
It supports artists, and people who admire that and would love to pay for it.
5. You can calculate how much you can actually make before you even start.
There’s one other thing many people overlook about Etsy, and yet another great feature that makes it totally different from Amazon and Ebay.
That’s the ability to easily and quickly validate your next business idea by checking out the metrics of other online shops in the same niche.
You can see when the store was opened, how many sales they have, what’s the price of the average sale, how many and what reviews they have, details about their products, etc.
If you think you can do something similar to what they’re offering, if you’re truly interested in the field, and can think of a unique angle to create your offer or delivery process, then you’re onto something.
It’s then time to get to work.
6. You can learn, and scale.
I love progress. So I always prefer to start projects that give the chance to grow.
With Etsy, you can start knowing nothing, and that’s alright. Whatever product you’ll have, you don’t need to have more than a few pieces anyways.
Soon, you’ll notice different things and will take new decisions based on that.
It might be people asking for personalized versions of this way too often. Which will let you mention that you offer custom orders everywhere throughout your profile.
Then, you’re always free to pivot and start producing something completely different if you see that another niche, slightly related to yours, is much more profitable or something you’d enjoy giving a try.
7. Your work will be appreciated.
I don’t think there’s another platform offering this. But with an Etsy-based business you can be sure that whatever you ship to clients will be greatly appreciated.
Another cool thing is that a customer is willing to wait weeks until you get the item done and shipped, knowing it’s handmade.
So, I think these reasons should be enough for you to consider Etsy as an online business opportunity.
Do a quick research. See what’s out there. Check out a few stores and learn about the people behind them. You might get inspired and create a profile today :)