Podcast Episode 87: 10 Etsy Seller Secrets I Wish I Knew Before Opening My Shop

etsy podcast Jul 26, 2023
10 Etsy Seller Secrets I Wish I Knew Before Opening My Shop




Here are the 10 Etsy Seller Secrets I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Etsy Shop:


1) SEO matters but demand matters more.

This first one may actually surprise some of you- and it is that SEO matters, but demand matters more. So we hear all over the place about how everything comes down to your SEO and you’ve gotta master SEO, SEO SEO SEO.

And it’s true. You do need to understand and SEO and many businesses ARE made or broken by SEO.

But it’s also crucial that you know that DEMAND trumps SEO.

Now let me set this up a bit. For the newest newbie listening—SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization—and in the simplest terms what you need to know is that Etsy works like a search engine. When a shopper comes to the Etsy site, most often they are typing in the search bar some words that describe what they’re looking for. And if you have those exact words or phrases on your listing—for instance—as part of your listing title—then Etsy will know to pair your listing with that customer’s search. Depending on how many other listings are out there with the same words in their title, your listing will show up somewhere in those pages of search results for that customer. Ideally you want to be on the first 1-3 pages or you’re unlikely to get seen.

So mastering your SEO simply means you’re using the best possible words or phrases on your listings that customers are searching for.

But here’s where it gets hairy… and I’ve seen this time and time again when I’m coaching you guys and we often have to find some unique ways to approach to help you get some traction.

If no one on Etsy is searching for your product—it’s either not the right market for it or it’s not the right season or the trend is over---- then it doesn’t matter how good your SEO is, you won’t make any sales.

And on the flip side of this—for those of you who have been on Etsy for a while-- have you ever seen a listing that’s a best seller and it has terrible SEO? Like it has 3 words and they’re hardly relevant to the listing at all?

I get asked all the time how it managed to get any traction without solid SEO—and the answer is that Demand is greater than SEO. So when that listing went live, shoppers saw it when it got it’s brief bump in the algorithm and they clicked, favorited and bought it right away. And it went to the top of the search results for anything that remotely related to it—because the algorithm could tell immediately that there was demand for that item.

So—this is a super interesting topic. It’s such a critical part of the Etsy game and it’s one of the ways to become a six figure seller. To the point that it’s something that I’m devoting a whole section of my updated course on. More about this at the end of this episode because I know so many of you guys are excited and have been asking for updates!

But for now just catalog that. And if you’re a newbie—and everything is feeling overwhelming to you—I want you to just remember this for now: for your shop to be successful, you have to be selling something that people are searching for on Etsy. There has to be some level of demand.

Moving on to number 2.

2) Using tools to see data about other shops and their listings is a goldmine and massive time saver.

I am SO excited for you if you’re just getting started with Etsy because the 3rd party tools that are available now make it SO much easier. We didn’t have these back in my day. Lolll!

There are lots of great ones out there, but I personally use Everbee and Sale Samurai. What they do for me is show me key data like how many monthly searches there are for products and keywords. They tell me what SEO the best selling listings are using to get found in the search. They show me where there is demand. And they suggest other keyword phrases that can help my listings get found. (There’s a lot more, but that’s a fair summary!)

So this one really relates directly for our first secret—because these tools are one of the key ways to discover if there is demand for your product AND to find future products to create.

I have YouTube tutorials to show you the basics of how they work that I’ll link in the shownotes for you.

Everbee has a free version to get you going. And Sale Samurai has a free trial but then I have a 20% off coupon for you that will help keep it even more affordable.


Affiliate Link:

My youtube tutorial:

Sale Samurai:

𝗚𝗲𝘁 Sale Samurai:

𝗣𝗟𝗨𝗦 use my 𝗗𝗜𝗦𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗧 𝗖𝗢𝗗𝗘 to get 𝟮𝟬% 𝗢𝗙𝗙! ▶ howtosellyourstuff (all in lowercase)

My YOUTUBE Video Link:

So my quick tutorials will give you a good start—and if you want to dig into my exact strategy for how I use them together—the only places I cover that is in a one-on-one coaching session (which you’re welcome to sign up for with me—I literally LOVE doing them with you guys. It’s the absolute best to be with you and really dig into your personal shop, listings, and goals. It makes my coaching mama heart happy!)

And I’m devoting a whole section of the new course on it too—because it’s really such a game changer and I want you guys to be able to add it to your tool belt!


Number 3—for this one I’m going a little more lifestyle because I hear about this from you guys so often.

3) I wish I’d known that my shop would give me back some of my own identity as mom with littles at home.

I know a lot of women who are super passionate about being at home with their kids—and let me just preface this by saying I don’t have an opinion about what’s right or wrong, ok? I am your cheerleader no matter what it looks like for your family or for you as a person. I just want to help you reach your goals—and I really think you can do it.

But a lot of women who choose to be at home that I talk to really struggle if they don’t have some kind of creative or business outlet. And raising my hand right here because I’m one of ‘em! I’m a wayyyy better wife and mama- and so much more fun to be with--- when I’ve got a business project.

So if you’re worried about taking time away from those babies or you’re on the fence because you juggle a lot—in my experience—and talking to hundreds of other moms—in most cases, it makes us an even better mother. Because we’re fulfilled. And when we’re with our families we can be even more present.

And actually!!! I just put two and two together—next week my personal parenting coach is my guest on the podcast and she’s literally going to be talking about the juggle and how to protect relationship with our kids. So that can help you go in with eyes wide open and have everything in order as you step into entrepreneurship.

Fun side note too—it’s been really cool for our family because my 8 year old has watched me run on Etsy her whole life and she has such an entrepreneurial spirit now. She even has her own Redbubble shop and makes sales over there. And we can just see how it’s impacted her in a positive way and made her think about things as a visionary and a problem solver. I think it’s an added bonus.

SO—I wish I’d known. And I’ve talked to many other moms who feel the same and wish they’d started sooner instead of hemmed and hawed. I hope this helps someone. 💗


4) The legal stuff.
Oh my goodness. The things I wish I’d known!!!!

This is a two-parter—so first of all—guys—I’m not a legal representative or expert by any stretch of the imagination. SO this is just for informational purposes.

I do have an amazing attorney friend who is a household name on the podcast—her name is Paige Hulse. And she used to be an Etsy seller and now she is an attorney for Etsy sellers and other creative entrepreneurs.

Etsy does not require that we register our business or do anything at all special to start. You can literally use your Social Security number and get going. But your city/state and/or country may have different rules that you need to look into.

And on top of that—Paige highly recommends that you register an LLC. You don’t need an attorney to do that and there are bunches of resources on her website to help you.

So for that, I’m going to refer you to two of the episodes that she came on the podcast and specifically addressed this. Because for us it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to run as sole-proprietor with your SSN—and it’s totally legal to do that—but Paige sees the other side of this every single day and it’s sort of one of those “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” kinda things.

She makes it super easy to understand and digest. She’s a delight to listen to—so please check out episodes & which are also linked for you in the shownotes. I at least want you to understand from her why she suggests it and what the risks are so that no matter what you decide, you go in eyes wide open.

I promise guys—anything legal and taxes I hate. It scares me. It overwhelms me. And so I’ve been very intentional with these episodes with Paige to make sure it’s palatable for all of us. LOLLL.


Episode 36: How to Keep Yourself Out of Legal Trouble in Your Etsy Shop:


Episode 86: Your Burning Legal Questions Answered

And part two of the legal stuff! I wish I had known that there were steps I needed to take to make sure I wasn’t infringing on copyright or trademarks.

A huge number of the students I meet with have no idea about this—and guys--- no shame at all, I didn’t know either.

When it comes to everything from your shop name, to your slogan, your product itself, and the words you use in your product titles and other parts of your listing--- you legally CANNOT use anything that belongs to someone else.

Whether it’s a song lyric, a cartoon character, an album cover, a TV show name—anything that is technically the intellectual property of someone else—you are breaking the law if you use it. And it’s very common to get your shop shut down for this and in worst case scenarios, get sued for it.

Now—what I hear all the time—and I get it—it creates massive confusion and feels unfair—is “if it’s not ok, then why are so many shops doing it and getting away with it?”

But here’s the tea, ok? There are two parts to this—1) They probably started their shop before the Etsy bots that were initiated to screen new shops in 2020. That’s why they appear to be getting away with it. If they’re a new shop, they are days away from getting shut down. So they’ve flown under the radar for a while.

But—and this is part 2) They are getting busted every single day and really big companies—like Disney for example are ruthless. And it seemed all fine and dandy for these shops for years but they could be sued for damages for alllll of those years. So it’s just not worth it.

And the only other scenario is they paid tens of thousands of dollars to license whatever they’re selling. Sometimes that’s the case and you can absolutely do that if you have the means. It can make great sense to do if you also have a website and/or a brick and mortar store and you know you’ll move more than enough product to support the yearly license.

Ok so—back to the main point— before you list anything—you need to search and see if it’s someone’s Intellectual Property. Copyright can often be found with a quick google search. If it’s a famous quote or song lyric or title—that usually becomes pretty obvious. I’ll link some info about copyrights in case you want to look into that further.

For trademarks, you need to search on the government trademark site called and you can see if there’s an existing registered trademark for the words/phrases you want to use.

I have a quick youtube tutorial to give you an idea of how to do that—so I’ll link that as a reference for you guys.

Search trademarks on

Moving along to #5:

5) I wish I had known that POD or Print on Demand was an option.

Ok don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret my handmade sign shop for a second! I just also wish I knew about POD back in my early days because I would have added extra items to my shop for additional income and products I didn’t have to make.

So for those of you that it might be a better fit—you want to sell a physical product, but you don’t want to necessarily MAKE it. Just design it and have another company make and ship it for you—that’s an option.

In my case, maybe I would have used vacation mode less when we couldn’t take on more order-- and just deactivated my handmade listings and left the POD items up. Who knows.

I definitely think I would have started my stand alone print on demand shop sooner.

I think the bottom line is--- some of you are SO passionate about what you make. It’s literally why you get up in the morning. And if that’s you, keep doing it!

I actually think handmade products have a tremendous advantage on Etsy as so many of the sellers move more and more into POD and digital products. Shoppers come to Etsy in droves for those precious handmade items and I think there will always be a broader market for those goods. I definitely have plans going forward to have shops like that working with my Aunt Robbie who’s obsessed with making stuff with her hands!

BUT in my case—I am more passionate about the puzzle. The marketing. The business. I get excited about figuring out where there’s demand and I’m much more interested in doing that research than being creative with a actual product. (Please don’t hate me guys hahahaha it’s this nerd part of me that makes me awesome at helping you make money lolll)

But seriously  I do get it. I’m a knitter (I was actually an avid knitter before my kids were born) and I’m absolutely in love with the process of knitting. It fills my cup much like making your product probably fills yours!

So if you’re hearing about print on demand for the first time and want to look into it--- I have 3 different POD experts who have come on the podcast and I very confidently recommend you check them out for further study.

The first one is Jenny. She goes by @Jennyfromtheshopp on TikTok.

Get Started in POD: “How to Create a Passive Income on Etsy with Print on Demand”:

POD designs: “How to Become a Best-Selling Designer for Etsy Print on Demand”


Oh--- and right here on the podcast is a great place to get familiar with all three of these gals and figure out which style you jive best with. I’m crazy about all 3 of them and consume their content all the time. I’ll link all of the relevant episodes for you.


The second one is Heather who is HeatherStudio on YouTube.

“Heather makes $15k with POD on Etsy”:


And the third one is Brittany who is BeawolfBiz on Instagram.  

“Top 1% Etsy POD Seller Shares the Secret to How She Earned Over $600k on the Platform”:


For sureeee binge these episodes. There are so freakin’ good.



Next up, Etsy seller secret #6. I can’t believe how long it took me to figure this out. I really hope this changes someone’s life today. LOL!

#6 is:

6) Whenever possible, use mockups over photos.

So this will not apply to everyone. Some physical products (and definitely vintage) will have to be photographed one-by-one—and that’s just fine.

But-- if you can harness the simplicity of mock-ups—it opens up some amazing doors.

A mock-up is just a staged picture of a blank product. So think a blank tshirt or an empty frame, or a plain mug, an engraved product, or in my case just a base-painted sign. Then you use a design program like Kittl or Canva to digitally place your design on the object and you use that as your listing photo.

There are so many advantages to this:

-You save time by not having to do a photo shoot for each new product

-You can test designs before you make them to see if they’ll sell

-If you’re using models, you don’t have to pay for every new product because you have multiple uses for the photo

-Once you get a mockup that really works, you can keep running with it—you don’t have to try to re-create it each time

-You can easily provide a proof to a customer with a custom order

So in my sign shop, I ended up standardizing my sizes initially for shipping purposes—so I could stock the box sizes I needed and easily be able to anticipate shipping costs. BUT this really helped for mockups too because once I had my sizes, I did a photo shoot of a bunch of blank signs and I was able to create hundreds of listings from those photos by just switching out the design on the signs.

And for a lot of products these days like shirts, mugs, blankets, hats, and several others you can even buy mockups on sites like Etsy, creative market, or That way if you’re not a great photographer, you can have access to a higher quality listing photo—and let’s be honest—customers shop with their eyes!

It really was such a game-changer. And I had different settings for each sized sign AND used a few different staging setups so that when someone went to my store front, I didn’t have the same staging in every single listing thumbnail they saw.

10/10 recommend. This one can really take your shop to the next level if it works for your products.

Next up, Etsy seller secret #7

7) Using a Credit Card with great rewards for expenses

Ok first things first—I am not a fan of debt. I was always taught not to charge things you can’t pay for—but use a credit card to build credit and pay it off totally every month. So hear me out if you’re super anti-debt.

I actually was so against even hearing about this in the beginning of my shop but if I had been willing to use it as a tool, I would have saved myself a lot of stress.

For almost any product you can sell, there’s an outlay of cash on the front end. And then once the customer makes their order, there’s either a small or lengthy delay until you get reimbursed from Etsy via direct deposit to cover your expenses and give you your profit.

Unless you have a lot of extra cash laying around, it can be really helpful to put your expenses on a credit card and then pay them all off each month or every time you get a deposit for Etsy.

So in my case, we were buying hundreds of dollars of wood, paint, boxes, stain, tools—all kinds of things. And there were times that the in between of getting the supplies we needed and getting paid was really hard.

And Etsy has this thing called a payment reserve that they often put on new shops or on existing shops that have a big change take place like lots of delayed orders or a huge influx of new orders—where they hold all the money from your sales until the products ship. That means that if you’re counting on that money to get the supplies to create the customer’s order or pay for the shipping, you’re out of luck- you have to front it. It’s a common practice for marketplaces because they need to have some insurance to make sure that orders get filled for their customer or else the customer is coming after Etsy. Unfortunately these days enough sellers are flaking out or running literal scams or just not fulfilling orders in the timeframe they committed to—that Etsy has to protect their customer relationship and their own financials—they can’t just be fronting millions of dollars of refunds.

So bottom line, and I learned this from other 6 figure sellers and decided it was best for me too—for my print on demand shop now, I have Chase Credit Card that my orders are fulfilled on and I pay it every time I get an Etsy deposit. I don’t worry about dipping into my family’s finances to cover orders if I get an influx, I don’t stress about it, and I earn great points.

Chew on it. Decide if it’s right for you. I understand both arguments for sure.

And if you’d like to take a look at the Chase card that I use, it’s the same on that POD seller @JennyfromtheShopp uses too—and I will link it for you. I think you’ll get some bonus points for signing up with my link too!

Chase Credit Card:

Movin’ on to Etsy Seller Secret #8:

8) On Etsy, Gifts are Literally King

An overwhelming number of Etsy shoppers are on the platform looking for gifts, so no matter what you create, find ways to make it giftable.

Even if you need to copy your listings and create duplicates that you can tailor to a gift shopper, it will make a difference in your sales.

I always make sure to include at least one gift related SEO phrase on each listing.

And another good idea to go along with that—if you can, make products personalizable. That increases the likelihood that someone will gift it.

And finally, if you are able to do anything special with the way you package or ship products, advertise that. It can even be a paid add-on for gifting.



9) Just because there are best sellers of a product doesn’t mean it’s a smart product to sell (saturation)-- but it can definitely lead you to a great product idea!

It took me a while to fully comprehend this one.


If you’re doing research in your niche to make sure there’s demand for what you want to sell and you find best sellers and competitors who have tons of sales, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found a winning product.

Along with searching for demand—like we talked about before with a tool like Everbee or Sale Samurai-- when you look to see how many monthly searches a keyword phrase gets—the other side of that research is you need to see how many listings you would be competing with if you use that SEO to try and get eyeballs on your products. You can find out the competing listings through Sale Samurai or just doing the search on Etsy and under the search bar to the right it will tell you how many search results there are for the term you searched.

The key is to find products that are in demand but aren’t so saturated that you end up way down in the search results.

So for example, if I find something that has 500 searches per month, but it has 25,000 competing listings—I know it’s not a good idea to spend my time there. I need a different angle or a different product. But if I found something that has 500 searches per month and say 2,500 competing listings—it’s worth a try.

And something with 500 searches per month and 500 or less competing listings is a potential goldmine!  

If this feels confusing or you’d really like more insight into how to get this information or how it would apply to your niche—I can 100% help you with a one-on-one coaching session. It’s a really common question and I get and I love diving into the weeds with you to help you get some clarity.

It will also be covered for several different niches in the revamped course coming out soon. So lots more opportunity to see how I go about this research if you’d like that support.


And this leads me perfectly into our 10th and final Etsy Seller Secret:

10) The riches are in the micro niches.

If you’ve been around the Etsy circles for a while, you’ve most likely heard the phrase “the riches are in the niches” which is just to say that the more broad you go with you products, the less they’ll sell. It helps to get specific with who you’re selling to and what you’re selling.  

But I actually suggest you take this a step further and you’ll find the riches in the micro niches.

Here’s what I mean.

Examples of niches are: the mom niche, the pet niche, the clay jewelry niche, the teacher niche, or the toy niche.

Examples of micro-niches are the gymnastics mom niche, the cockatoo niche, the boho clay jewelry niche, the home economics teacher niche, and the wood toy niche.

If you guys refine down even more specifically to these micro niches in your research, SEO, and product targeting--- then the How to Sell Your Stuff family will become one of the most successful and profitable Etsy groups in existence!

Ooo-wie! Good stuff. I get myself excited talking about this!! LOLLL!


Ok so I hope this helped a WHOLE LOT and that no matter where you are on your Etsy journey—you took away some ahas.

Earlier in the podcast I promised I’d fill you in about my course overhaul—so here’s what’s going on—especially if you’re newer here.

I’m one of those coaches who does not gate keep stuff. Obviously I can go into a LOT more detail and show you visuals and share more strategy in a course environment than I can on a podcast. So that—and the transparent truth that the podcast is a ton of work I do for free, so I sell the course and coaching so I can make an honest living. 😊 But if you get inside my course or do coaching with me—I play all out. I share everything I can possibly think of and cram in to help you get where you need to go.

So if you want to learn my whole and entire framework for building an Etsy shop—you can jump into my course called “Listings that Sell” where I will show you everything I know. That’s up and running and linked for you right now. But, if you’re newer to the podcast you may not know this yet—I’m currently overhauling this course to include boatloads more.

Right now, it’s got everything I knew to build my multiple six figure shop—but that was before the pandemic and before the mountains I’ve learned as a podcaster and a coach---- not to mention we didn’t have the 3rd party tools we have now.

The new course is a beast that will have a massive, much more robust SEO section, a whole bunch of details on how the Etsy algorithm works, lots of tips for graphics, mindset, just a TON more. I know I sprinkled Easter eggs of some of the content throughout today as it came to me too. But I’m REALLY proud of how it’s coming together.

So right now it’s $97. Or if you go through my Free Etsy Masterclass which I’ll link for you—you can even get it for just $77. But the crazy part is-- if you get in now, you’ll get the new course free when it comes out next month. Every one of my existing students will get a complimentary upgrade—and the new course will be more like $600.

I expect it will be totally live by the end of August—maybe sooner depending on how much longer my 9 month old boycotts sleeping. LOLLLL

We’re extremely close—so if it’s a good fit for you—and PS it can help any Etsy seller, but I’ve written it specifically for physical handmade product sellers—jump on it now and you’ll be grandfathered for the 2.0 version about to be released.

But whether that’s for you or not—jump on the free pdf download and/or the masterclass. There are a whole bunch of podcast episodes for you to binge.

And I cannot tell you how hard I’m rooting for you.

For me, it’s about helping to preserve that original Etsy culture of makers who were excited to see each other win. Who cared passionately about their crafts. Who just lived to delight their customers.

I really love being a part of gathering like-minded people around that vision and those values. So I want to see you win. And if I can’t help you, I’ll be the first person to help you find the resources or coach who can.

It just makes me giddy to help you see what’s possible and cast the vision for a really unique community of makers.

So that’s that. If you’re new here--- welcome to the family! I’m sending you the biggest hug!




Bring a steak knife for this episode—because we’re diving in to some of the meatiest and critical to know Etsy seller secrets that I want to make sure you learn if you’re starting an Etsy shop this year (or struggling to get traction!). Take some notes and hit me up if you need more details after this episode.


**“How to Sell Your Stuff on Etsy” is not affiliated with or endorsed by



Free PDF download called “The 4 strategies I used to grow my Etsy shop from $25/month to $6k+/month”:


3rd Party Research Tools:


Affiliate Link:

My youtube tutorial:

Sale Samurai:

𝗚𝗲𝘁 Sale Samurai:

𝗣𝗟𝗨𝗦 use my 𝗗𝗜𝗦𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗧 𝗖𝗢𝗗𝗘 to get 𝟮𝟬% 𝗢𝗙𝗙! ▶ howtosellyourstuff (all in lowercase)

My YOUTUBE Video Link:


Episodes with Attorney Paige Hulse:

Episode 36: How to Keep Yourself Out of Legal Trouble in Your Etsy Shop:


Episode 86: Your Burning Legal Questions Answered



Book a coaching session with Lizzie:


Copyright info:

Look up Trademarks at tutorial:


Print on Demand (POD) experts:

@Jennyfromtheshopp on TikTok.

Get Started in POD: “How to Create a Passive Income on Etsy with Print on Demand”:

POD designs: “How to Become a Best-Selling Designer for Etsy Print on Demand”


@ HeatherStudio on YouTube.

“Heather makes $15k with POD on Etsy”:


@BeawolfBiz on Instagram.  

“Top 1% Etsy POD Seller Shares the Secret to How She Earned Over $600k on the Platform”:



Chase Credit Card:



Free Etsy Masterclass (where you can get into my course for only $77):

Book a coaching session with Lizzie:


Find me on Instagram and TikTok @HowtoSellYourStuff







Paige Hulse Law and the Creative Law Shop

Whether you’re just getting started on Etsy or you’ve been selling for years but never quite got around to the legal setup, I want to make sure you know about Attorney Paige Hulse and her Creative Law Shop.

If you need legal assistance for your Etsy shop, want to register a trademark, or are looking for help with forming a business—contact Paige at


If you’re looking for a well-crafted legal document that is tailored to creative entrepreneurship, but don’t want the cash outlay of hiring an attorney by the hour, you can get everything you need from an LLC operating agreement, multi-person LLC agreements for partnerships, special provisions for your Etsy Shop Policies, affiliate agreements, influencer contracts, photography releases, and so much more. There are over 80 contracts available plus free resources and educational tools waiting for you at

Make sure you use the code smiley10 for 10% off of anything from the Creative Law Shop!


*Some of the links above are affiliate links which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can see my affiliate disclosure here:


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