Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.
If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
Guest post from Amy of Gabriel’s Good Tidings
Many of us can walk through our homes and find items to sell on Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist, and we’ve read some excellent posts about how to make extra money from such items. However, if you are creative or have an eye for vintage items, consider selling on Etsy.
What can I sell?
Although I didn’t truly start selling until 2010, I have been a member of the Etsy community since 2006. Etsy requires all items to fall into one of three categories: handmade, vintage, or supplies.
- Handmade = obviously any item handmade by you, but it can also include digital items such as printables, website enhancements, etc
- Vintage = must be at least 20 years old. I’ve had good luck selling vintage clothing, fabric, sewing supplies, and books.
- Supplies = anything you would use to make something. This includes fabric, paper crafting tools, patterns, beads, etc.
I have successfully sold items in all three of these categories, but primarily focus on the handmade items.
Let’s say you have a creative bone (or two!) in your body. Think about items you’ve made in the past. What have friends requested from you for birthdays, weddings, new babies, or holidays? Are family members asking you to make them a gift instead of purchasing one? Consider making several of these items and listing them on Etsy.
Perhaps you have an eye for vintage items. Maybe you love going to estate sales and finding vintage clothing. By replacing a button or repairing a frayed hem, you could list items on Etsy in the vintage section and see a large return on investment.
When my husband’s great-grandmother passed away, we inherited a house full of vintage goodies. While I kept some sentimental items for our family, many of the items were sold in the vintage section of my Etsy shop.
Or maybe, as you’ve been cleaning your home, you’ve found some crafting supplies that are no longer being used. List them on Etsy and pass them on to someone who will bring new life to the items.
How do I sell?
Once you’ve chosen a product to sell on Etsy, set up a shop. Etsy allows each seller to have their own shop name, which correlates with a web address that allows others to type in the search bar of their browser. For example, my shop name is Gabriel’s Good Tidings, and my Etsy address is gabrielsgoodtidings.etsy.com.
I highly recommended designing or purchasing a logo for your shop as this will help familiarize others with your brand, but it is not mandatory for selling on Etsy. I would also encourage a Facebook page for your Etsy shop, as many of your Facebook friends will be interested to learn about your shop. Having a Facebook page has increased my sales and traffic tremendously. Etsy’s seller handbook and help section are outstanding resources to both the new and experienced seller.
To list an item on Etsy, it will cost $0.20. When the item sells, Etsy will charge 3.5% of the selling price. Payments are accepted by PayPal or by direct checkout (selected shops only). Listing on Etsy is easy and quick — I find it much faster than Ebay.
Photos are essential, and each listing is allowed up to five photos. Quality photos will boost sales quickly, and will likely get your items featured in a Treasury or on Etsy’s home page. Make sure to minimize background items, have good lighting, and portray accurate colors.
In the item description, write freely as if you were in a store, describing this item to someone on the phone. Give as many details as possible. Help buyers understand why this item is useful to them. Share a story behind the item.
4 Tips to Increase Your Sales on Etsy
1. Think Seasonally
Make sure that your shop follows the seasons. Although Etsy purchases can be made worldwide, 90% of my purchases are in the USA. Therefore, my accessories and clothing items follow the North American seasons.
I list leg warmers in August when the weather starts to cool off (in some parts of the country!). I list reusable snack bags in July, when back-to-school season is in full swing. I make sure to always have enough items in October and November for the holidays.
2. Keep Your Store Stocked
The biggest lesson I have learned about Etsy is to keep your store filled. The more items you have, the more you will sell.
I try to keep my shop at 100 items, and when I do, I consistently sell 10 or so items per week. When I let my inventory drop below 50, I see a major drop in sales. When others ask me the secret to selling on Etsy, I respond with this tip: Stock equals sales.
3. Price Your Items Fairly and Competitively
Etsy sellers are growing by the day, so the competition is steep. Make sure your items are not only high quality, accurately described, and include clear photos; but also make your prices reasonable and competitive.
Research similar items and how they are selling. You don’t have to be the cheapest item in a category, but a sale will be more likely if you aren’t the priciest item. Make sure your customers know that they can purchase with confidence from your store because you will provide outstanding customer service and high quality items.
4. Add Personal Touches to Your Packages
When you shop at Target, you expect the cashier to put your items in a white plastic bag. In the same way, shoppers expect a handmade item to be packaged nicely.
I wrap items in glitter tissue paper and include a personal note with each order. I’ll say something like, “Thanks for purchasing this clutch, Suzy. I hope it makes your next evening on the town extra special.”
I also always include two business cards — one to keep and one to share. Adding these personal touches help customers to connect with your shop, and makes them likely to purchase from you again!
How much will I make?
I can’t say that you will make a full-time income on Etsy, but I can’t say you won’t either. There are certainly sellers who have thousands of sales per year and support their families from Etsy alone.
But for most of us, it’s a nice supplemental income that helps to pay for Christmas or other savings goals. I was recently able to pay cash for a kitchen update thanks in part to my Etsy sales. I have also purchased a new sewing machine from Etsy sales.
While many readers of this blog get a “coupon high” when they see a receipt that shows 75% (or more!) savings, I get an “Etsy high” when my phone makes a “cha-ching” sound and I know that means another Etsy sale!
Between loads of laundry and dirty dishes, Amy can be found at her sewing machine creating items for her Etsy shop. She loves her husband, her two kids, being a nurse, and of course, selling on Etsy. Find her in the blogging world at Gabriel’s Good Tidings, or at her Etsy shop.
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