Making a Living off Etsy | How I Turned Etsy into My Full Time Job
Today I’m chatting about my story and how I turned Etsy into my full time job. It is absolutely possible to make a living off Etsy and I have done it for the last 9 years! I have a lot to share, so let’s get into it.
This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure policy, here.
I also filmed a video for my YouTube channel talking about all of this, which you can watch below if you prefer.
Starting Etsy in 2012
I began my Etsy journey back in 2012. I started testing and trying things with Etsy when I found out that I was pregnant with my oldest son. I knew in the back of my mind that there was no way I could survive with a job making barely over minimum wage while also paying childcare, so I knew ultimately becoming a mom would bring me home, and I needed a way to help with our household income. At first, my shop had photography prints. I would take the photos and then have them printed by a 3rd party and sent to the customer. This was back before I got pregnant, and I did sell one photo print once, to a dentist’s office. But I knew I wanted more from Etsy so I started doing market research to see what I could make and sell easily. In the beginning, I wasn’t too worried about the finances, my husband did have a decent job, and we weren’t going to be struggling too much. I just wanted to help. I started out by creating homemaking printables for things like cleaning, budgeting, tracking fitness goals, and more.
However, everything changed when I was SEVEN months pregnant and my husband was let go from that job. That really kicked things into high gear. I knew he would get another job, and he did, but we weren’t living as comfortably as we were initially. At this point I really ramped up improving my shop- better printables, better photos, better listings, and most importantly, teaching myself Etsy SEO.
I remember vividly being so stressed out about our situation while in the hospital having our son. I also remember being so sad that Christmas. My son was born on the 14th so he was just a few weeks old, it was Christmas, and we were struggling, big time. But then, something totally crazy happened.
I remember sitting on the couch on Christmas Eve, holding my little newborn baby, and my phone dinged- CHA CHING! I got a sale in my Etsy shop! My phone continued CHA-CHING-ing, and seemed like it never stopped. To this day, Christmas through about the end of January are my busiest times of year. That first year of my baby’s life, I continued working and tweaking things in my shop to improve my results, and that was the first year I made a full time income from home by selling digital products on Etsy. 2013 was a great year, and I worked so hard on my shop, that it quite literally exploded in 2014. We were able to live comfortably again with two incomes, even though I was also home spending time with my sweet baby.
My Etsy Analytics
I have a screenshot here where you can see the progression (and ups and downs) of my shop.
In 2015, the Etsy printables market began to become a little saturated, so I expanded to also offering physical products. We were chugging along, and you can see I had a huge dip in 2018, where I briefly did away with all of my physical products, and quickly learned just how saturated the digital download niche had become on Etsy, and so I brought my physical products back in 2019, and began adding even more to my shop. I still sell those original digital downloads, and more digital items now, too, plus a ton of physical products, all in the planning niche. I find that the diversity helps me a lot to get consistent sales. Then, as you can see, 2020 I had my highest year ever on Etsy.
I am now sharing even more tips related to creating a business in the planning niche. Be sure and check out my post on how to make planner stickers to sell on Etsy.
What Led to This Success?
I often get asked the question- how did you do it? What do you think led to the success of your shop? My answer is always just a willingness to find a popular product that I could make relatively easily, and then reverse engineering how to make those products. Also, continually working on improving in my business, whether products, photos, SEO, or even branching out and creating different income streams outside of what I earn on Etsy. Always be improving.
Can Anyone Do This?
I absolutely believe that anyone can make a full time income from home, whether through making a living just off Etsy, or through a combination of different income streams. I’ve always thought about there coming a day when I would be able to share what I’ve learned in the last decade on the Etsy platform and just from working for myself from home, so that’s what brings us to today. I can’t wait to share more of my knowledge with those who want to make an income from home and be there for their kids, or maybe even those people who find that additional income becomes a necessity for their family. I hope if you have questions about Etsy or making an income from home, that you’ll leave them in the comments below. This will help me figure out how I can help you and what my next content should be about.
Also, be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can follow along as I share more tips and tricks.