A comprehensive guide for first-time sellers looking to get their first sale and make money online.
It’s a question we often get asked and it is certainly one that can be hard to answer. There are so many variables such as how much you are selling, what types of items, your pricing strategy, etc.
In this post I am going to focus on answering the question “How long does it take for an Etsy seller to make their first sale?”
How long does it take to get your first sale on Etsy?
The time it takes to make your first sale on Etsy will range from a few days to several months. This will depend on a variety of factors. These can include:
- Whether you have an existing audience
- Your product category, and the competition within it
- Your product research
- The time of year you start your store
My first store didn’t sell anything for months, whereas my second sold the first item in one-third of the time.What was the difference between the two stores?
The products listed in my first store were poorly designed and targeted oversaturated markets.
However, on my second store, I did more market research using the experience from the first store to find underserved niches.
The biggest factor in getting organic sales quicker was by getting some reviews in quickly.
In my opinion, Etsy reviews are one of the most important factors in getting organic sales.I like to give a product to 5-6 friends and family members. I ask each of them to give AN HONEST review and to also include a photo.
I know many are sceptical of this approach, as some consider this “cheating” or immoral. However, I feel the important point here is the photo.
By having a photo you are presenting the product – if I was selling a rubbish product, the photo will look rubbish in the review photo.
By getting these early reviews potential customers can see that the product is what they are expecting.
How to get your first Etsy sale faster
There are a few ways you can speed up the process of getting Etsy sales. Here are a few common suggestions, along with my thoughts on them
Bring an audience to your new etsy store
If you have an existing audience, say on social media, let them know about your new Etsy store. If you are an artist, tell your existing fans on Facebook about your new products.
If you have a blog or a website that has followers, then let them know about your new Etsy store and link to it in Facebook or Twitter post you can also use the share buttons at the bottom of each page to tell others of your new products.
This is a great way to bring in early customers.
Do I need an audience to start an Etsy store?
No. There are plenty of potential customers already on Etsy. You just have to be patient until they find you. But, the more traffic you can bring to your Etsy shop from social media, the better.
Advertise your listings
You should not have to pay for advertising on Etsy to start with, but if you really fancy it, there are paid advertisements. For example, sponsored listings (these show first when someone searches for certain keywords).
I wouldn’t recommend advertising any listing that doesn’t have a proven sale record. At the start, I would avoid paid ads altogether.
Just be careful. If you do advertise, don’t start with expensive advertisements. Try the cheaper ones first then move on to more expensive ones once you have some money in your pocket.
Check the competition
You will always have competition on Etsy. It’s just important to find the right amount of it to be seen early on in your venture. A good indicator is to download the (free) Etsy app and look at the trending items, see if you can make anything similar/better or just more of a different thing than everyone else.
Try to find your own products in search. If you find that you are always faced with 20 pages of results it could be that customers will have a hard time finding you.
There are no special SEO tricks on Etsy, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin: crafting keywords that people search for. Many Etsy gurus try to make it harder than it needs to be.
If an item appears in the first few pages of Etsy when searching for something related, that’s a good sign. Think about what other searches would bring someone into your store if they searched for one thing…
For example ‘crochet flower placemats blue’ vs ‘hand made crochet flower placemats blue’ etc … Try to be as specific as possible without confusing customers.
If you’re selling mittens in summer then you will be waiting a while for that first sale.
Selling seasonal items is tricky and planning is key to making the most of your time.
If you do sell seasonal items I’d recommend preparing your new store a couple of months ahead of your target season.
Quality of your listings
“Good photos of your items are VITAL.” – Nicola Tallis, Owner Mininiknits
“I think photos are a seller’s biggest asset on Etsy especially if you want to get more sales as it’s usually what catches people’s eye first. This ties in with how much information you put into your descriptions.” – Rebecca Kneale, Owner UK Crochet BraceletsHaving good quality photographs will allow people to see exactly what they’ll be receiving. Try using different styles of photography on different listings, and see which ones get the most click-throughs.
See my guide on product photography to find out how to do it on a budget.
Check the competition
You will always have competition on Etsy. Its just important to find the right amount of it to be seen early on, so you can be competitive.
When people are shopping they want to see other peoples work in comparison to their others before buying. If you’re selling cheap products it will be extremely easy to get lost amongst competitors. Try and find your niche if you are aiming for higher sales with expensive or handmade items.
You can make your own predictions on when that first sale will happen, but it will ultimately depend on: how big an audience you have, how hard of a worker you are and the luck that comes with trying new things. Everybody has had their items sold within weeks or months…and everybody knows someone who hasn’t made a sale in years (which doesn’t mean all Etsy sellers are like that).
The fact is there really isn’t a magic number here so don’t be too stressed out about it. Treat everything as practice for what could come later. It’s good to fail, as it gets us closer to success!