My Etsy experience: What I learned after 4 years on Etsy

I will start by saying that I’m pretty aware that there are businesses that have been operating on Etsy long before I started.

But I still believe that this post can be helpful to people who are just starting out.

I started on Etsy by accident, to be honest, but now it is my main business platform. In the very beginning, I did a quick research and found that a lot of people were already offering the same kind of service I was planning to, so I thought “Why not?”

Big mistake, I know, but a lot of good things came out of it.

My Etsy experience: What I learned after 4 years on Etsy

My Etsy experience: What I learned after 4 years on Etsy

Continuous adaptation.

Getting your business out of the side project zone to the main project zone takes a LOT of adapting to everything overtime.

I’m not talking about graphics or photography only, but this is also about creating systems to make your work easier and offer more exact information to people who visit you.

I did not find the perfect policies on my first month, but I added and removed a few things anytime I felt it was necessary. I didn’t learn which tags would work until I tried a lot of them. And I’m still trying to achieve a good format for my listing’s descriptions

(p.s.: I realized that for digital products, most people prefer the ones that are short instead of long ones).


Developing my own creative style.

You can’t sell a product/service only because you’re looking to get the same results someone else got.

People will buy from you because they feel like you have the balance they are looking for. So try to stick to finding/developing your style, – even if that changes through time – rather than doing something because the “competition” is.

And by the way, I don’t think anyone should avoid looking at what other people in the same field are doing for references, but some people get all stressed out about that.



Etsy has thousands of listings, so don’t expect to constantly show up on the search if you have a just few of listings (like 20 or 40) – published.

It’s possible, but in my case, I only started having daily views after reaching about 90 listings and I’m still trying to build a certain variety in my shop.

So this is a tip I always give to people on forums: having more listings will help you to show up in front of more people. So if you’re looking to benefit from the search section, try to build a line of products in the range of 100 at least.


Being responsible for my own marketing.

To start a business on an external platform like Etsy is great because 1) you interact with customers who have been using it for a long time, 2)you have an automated review system, and 3)you get sales faster than you would in a self-hosted e-commerce website.

On the other side, you can’t count only on the benefits you will get from Etsy to make sales.

I’ve been there. It’s important to remember that there’s no way your shop will survive for a long time and grow if you don’t promote using other methods, no matter where you host it.


Using tags and titles.

Some people believe that it is better to repeat the same titles and hashtags in all listings to propagate the listings through Etsy’s search section.

For me, it works better if I keep a few hashtags that already have been working (i.e.: blog graphics), and a few that are new but still related to my services or with particularities of a product (i.e.: silver email signature).

I also like to reinforce tags by using the same terms in the title.


Working with promoted listings.

I made use of the promoted listings option on my first few months on Etsy, but I wish I didn’t. After my experience, I feel like I would get the same results I got back then if my focus was on building new designs every week and promoting on social networks instead.

Now I only use Etsy’s promoted listings sometimes for items that are already generating results and sometimes I do tests with a few new items.

I will not leave Etsy so soon, and I think it’s a great tool for marketing. I do aim to keep building my shop there. Sure, I’m always looking forward to expansion as any other business owner. But I feel like having a website and creating content was the best way of doing that for me, instead of changing my e-commerce platform.

*Update 06/18: I found this post from Cindy Lou about Etsy’s recent changes. It’s really complete and interesting for people selling there.


Graphic Designer and illustrator from São Paulo/Brazil sharing my journey as solopreneur. In love with cinema, cats, and glitterous stuff.

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