3 mistakes most beginner Etsy sellers make (and how to avoid them)

Editor’s Note: We’re excited welcome Rachel Gregg from CreativeLive to the blog for this guest post on 3 mistakes most beginner Etsy sellers make. Rachel interviewed experienced Etsy sellers including Craftcation Conference presenters Lauren Venell and Marlo Miyashiro.

CreativeLive is one of the best educational resources for creatives. I have taken several awesome and rewarding CreativeLive classes, and also taught one). CreativeLive offers FREE live classes in business, photography, crafting and more, plus you can purchase workshops and watch them anytime.

3 mistakes most beginner Etsy sellers make and how to avoid them from Dear Handmade Life
As the most popular online marketplace for crafters, artists, and makers to sell their wares, Etsy is a powerful outlet for makers around the globe. The Etsy marketplace is teeming with makers who use its technology to facilitate international sales and sustain their creative businesses.

But success on Etsy doesn’t come easy.

CreativeLive talked with experienced Etsy sellers and educators to find out the top three mistakes most beginner Etsy sellers make and asked for insights on how to avoid them.

  1. There is no doubt that Etsy proper sees a lot of traffic. According to the web analytics outfit, Alexa, Etsy ranks 136 in global web traffic and shoots up to the 40th position in the US. But all of that traffic to Etsy.com doesn’t mean traffic to your shop.

Many sellers start out assuming a well-appointed shop will automatically attract buyers. It seems obvious. Etsy has a big reach, shouldn’t that be enough to bring buyers to your store? The simple answer: no.

Lisa Spinella of Tickle and Smash puts it like this, “my mistake was relying completely on Etsy for online traffic and not taking the initiative to drive traffic to my shop via my own personal social media and branding.”

Success on Etsy comes from effort. And not just the effort you put into making stuff. Your Etsy shop is an independent small business and like all businesses, you have to do the work of attracting customers through marketing and promotion. Yes, you might get some sales from random folks hitting up Etsy.com, but your business won’t thrive until you start attracting customers of your very own.

  1. Ignoring features. “Etsy is constantly changing things and adding features.” Lauren Venell knows this from experience and realized, after a few growing pains of her own – including ignoring auto-renew, realized how important it is to stay up-to-date on Etsy updates.

Marlo Miyashiro has some specific tips on taking advantage of an oft-ignored option, “There are two places to create a “profile” for your Etsy shop. The first is the “public profile” that pops up when someone clicks on an account name and/or profile photo that both buyers and sellers are encouraged to fill out (edit by using the top navigation: You > Shop Settings > Public Profile). And the other is an “About Page” that sellers are able to create to allow a more in-depth view of their business and processes (edit by using the top navigation: Your shop > Shop Settings > About Your Shop).” Fill out both.

  1. Bad writing. “The biggest mistake I’ve made on Etsy was poor copywriting,” says Lisa Jacobs. According to Lisa, customers always try on products in their mind before they buy. When Lisa first started out, she spoke in “I’s” and “my’s” in her product listings. Now she helps customers imagine how they’ll experience the product.

Marlo expands on Lisa’s advice and encourages sellers to use, “descriptive copy to describe each item in detail, including measurements, weights, and words that evoke the imagination of the reader.” She also suggests including answers to any of the questions potential customers might have up front making it ultra-easy for them to go ahead and click that buy button now.

For more insights and access to the comprehensive Make a Profit Guidebook check out, Easy Ways to Improve Your Etsy Shop on the CreativeLive blog.

3 quick + easy ways to improve your Etsy shop from Dear Handmade Life

About Rachel Gregg:

My day job is dedicated to helping makers develop their digital marketing skills and grow their business. I work as the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel and run a small floral design business on the side.

How to avoid the most common mistakes beginning Etsy sellers make from Dear Handmade Life
How to improve your Etsy shop with 3 simple steps from Dear Handmade Life


  1. Personally, I struggle with making necessary changes. I publish a listing and forget about it!

    I *should* take some time a few times a year to just review my whole shop with fresh eyes and think “what would my customers be looking for?”. And I could combine that with checking for any new Etsy features and utilizing them. But I don’t 🙁

  2. I need to learn how to get traffic to my store. Also how to feel confident enough in promoting my ETSY store via my social media accounts.

  3. I am just starting out and will be opening my etsy store within the next few weeks. I’m trying to get as much info prepared before launching!

  4. it is very true about driving customer using social media. every time i post something new on my social media platforms i get more views than on days that i don’t post anything, all my sales have come with in a day after posting on Facebook Instagram or tweeter.

  5. I’ve had my Etsy shop since 2011, but have really upped the amount of time I spend on my shop in the past year. I have also increased my promotions activity on social media. My views and favorites have increased tremendously, but my sales are still low. How can I turn those hits into sales?

  6. I am looking to opening a new shop with my sister……this class would help us get off on the right foot

  7. I was resistant to Etsy for a long time. I already have my own website (www.jewelleah.com) and didn’t feel the saturated online jewelry market was for me. Only after much deliberation, have I just recently set up my shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelleahDesign).

    I still need to workout shop policies and work on my copywriting and story telling for my brand.

    I feel my biggest issues with Etsy are only that which I find in my business as a whole, which would include making the time to sit down and focus on learning something new..an every day challenge!

    Thank you for your blog!

  8. I agree, one of the biggest challenges I face is getting traffic to my Etsy shop. Viewing my analytics tells me I do get some from Etsy search naturally, but I think it’s a numbers game – more views = more sales. Gotta figure out how to do that more and/or better!

  9. I struggle self promoting on social media! Coming from a graphic design background, I feel my former school buds would view my shop with the ultimate judgement. I want to gain that vague “magic number of sales” and present them with a winner, even though a lot of them would probably love and support it!

  10. My struggle with Etsy is how to create a point of difference to my fellow crafters. How to bring traffic to my handmade goods rather than the one beside it. What can I do to make my crafts pop!? I’m still finding my “voice” amongst the masses on Etsy 🙂

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