Podcast Episode 14: 5 Reasons Etsy Shops Don’t Make Money

etsy podcast Nov 03, 2021

Hey hey friends! Thanks for joining me today! Can you believe it’s NOVEMBER already?? I cannot. Lollll!

We are moving full force into the busiest time of year for most Etsy sellers----- and I’m curious--- how are you feeling about that? Is it a “wahooo let’s do this” kinda vibe?? Or more of a “wooooofff--- I’m bracing for impact” moment?

If I’m honest--- I’m somewhere in the middle. Hahaha!

I don’t know if you follow me on Tiktok or Instagram--- for both you can find me @HowtoSellYourStuff and I’ll link them down in the shownotes---- but last week I shared that I made a hugeee mistake in my Etsy shop… lollllll--- it was expensive in both time and money to make it right. And I won’t go into it too much here because I want to honor your time and stay on topic—but all that to say, it’s adding to the “woof” factor to me! I’m a bit tired from it! Lol! Bracing for holiday order impact. So if you want to check that out later--- go find me @HowtoSellYourStuff on Insta or TikTok and you can hear my sob story and how it turned out--- which in the end was so awesome!

So today, we are going to talk about the main reasons why some Etsy shops don’t make any money by exposing the 5 mistakes that new sellers sometimes make that cause their shop to flounder.

(And don't worry if you've made any or all of these mistakes... I made them too in the beginning. They’re like badges of honor for new Etsy sellers! Hopefully from today on we can set it right so you can start moving towards your goals.)


Mistake #1: They don’t prioritize the customer experience 

The way you make your shoppers and customers feel will literally make or break your Etsy shop. I’ve noticed that a lot of new shop owners don’t appreciate this enough in the beginning.

People want to buy from companies or people that they know, like, and trust--- and while the Etsy platform does some of that for you--- your shop needs to generate it’s own credibility with shoppers.

The absolute strongest way to establish it is with multiple sales under your belt—ideally 100 plus, and 5 star reviews with written text—not just stars.

But don’t worry! If you’re brand new and building toward that—there are some ways you can help shoppers feel really good about buying from you!

You can:

-Respond to DMs quickly and be super friendly and helpful

-You can write a warm welcome in the shop announcement section

-You can tell shoppers a bit about you in the About section—share your story with some pictures

-You can write your product listings with a few sentences that create connection or a feeling so that your shop feels like a boutique rather than a big box store

The confidence that a customer has to buy from you, come back as a repeat customer, AND give you a glowing review is directly linked to the experience and care you show each and every one of them.

I know this isn’t a super sexy topic—but it’s a critical one. If you’d like more info on this topic, I go in to way more detail in podcast #5 which I will link in the shownotes. It’s called: Why Customer Service is Massively Connected to Your Success as an Etsy Seller —so check it out if it would help you! 


Mistake #2: Their product images don’t stand out in the feed  

A new seller could quite literally have the best quality product available, for the fastest turn-around time, at the best price—and STILL be skipped over for a different shop. The problem? They didn’t have strong enough photography to capture their shopper’s attention among the other choices in the Etsy feed.

So let’s talk photography. This isn’t rocket science, I promise! I’ve only ever used my iphone and some simple apps to create and edit my Etsy photos and I’ve made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling my products—so don’t think you’ve gotta go buy some ritzy camera and gear and become a professional.

A couple of tips:

-Use lifestyle pictures. People tend to be more drawn to photos in the feed that show products staged or being used. Be careful that your picture doesn’t create confusion about exactly what you’re selling—but definitely get creative and show it in it’s natural habitat, so to speak!

-Use natural lighting without glare or shadows. So you might take your products outside near dusk or photograph them in front of a window. (I promise—no fancy lighting kit needed!)

-Pay attention to the scale of your product. You don’t want the setup of your photo to make your product look smaller or larger than it actually is.

-In order to really stand out in the Etsy feed, it can help tremendously to look and see how other shops who sell similar products do this to get ideas and inspiration!

Bottom line--- you will need to stand out in the feed with your listing thumbnails in order to win the sale. For more in depth Etsy photography “tricks of the trade” you can visit my blog post: Etsy Photography Tips: Are your photos selling or repelling potential customers? OR grab my Free PDF download called “4 Strategies I used to grow my Etsy shop from $25 to $6,000+ per month” (both are linked in the shownotes for you to grab)


Mistake #3: They don’t use the right keywords in their listing titles

It’s important to remember that most shoppers use Etsy like a search engine. Just like if they went to Google, or Pinterest--- they are going straight to the search bar, typing in the words THEY would use to describe your product, Etsy uses those words to generate a list of results, and then the shopper looks through them to see what product pictures most appeal to them. (From there, they’re going to compare price, turn-around time, and seller credibility.)

So the only chance you have (unless you pay for Etsy ads) to get in front of that perfect shopper---- is if your listing title has the same exact words in it that the shopper typed into the search bar.

Before new sellers learn this, they’ll often make the mistake of using their own words to describe their product. As creators, we can have this tendency to be overly creative and come up with cutesy terms that are unique.

But you should NEVER do this for your Etsy titles or shoppers won’t find your products. This kind of branding only works well for established brands or famous people who are going to send their own followers or traffic to their listings—and those shoppers already know to use the special search phrase.

You need to find out how customers would describe your product, and pack as many of those phrases into your title and your product tags.


Mistake #4: They don’t promote their products off of Etsy 

Ok so. We all love Etsy because the marketplace brings us a huge amount of traffic that we don’t have to generate ourselves! The Etsy algorithm can do great things for you IF 1) you have a product that’s trending, 2) you use the right search terms in your titles, and 3) your photography is on point.

BUT the truth for many sellers is that they’re going to have to do some work to promote their products off Etsy too. Obviously there are lots of free places to do this: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and if your product is appropriate for it--- Linkedin is a GREAT place right now to get organic reach--- and it’s a good idea to pick one or two that you want to leverage.

The very BEST platform to promote your products for free, in my opinion, is PINTEREST. It’s the easiest way for a new seller to get their products in front of lots of new eyeballs.

We have a HUGE advantage right now because Pinterest is almost like a brand new platform and you can have a unique advantage if you embrace their new form of content called Idea Pins. Have you guys heard about this yet??

The background is that Pinterest first launched this concept as “Story Pins” in Beta in September of 2020 and they renamed them a bit later. They’re unique for Pinterest in that they don’t directly link off-site because now Pinterest is trying to make the platform more social and keep users on their site longer.

If you’re on Instagram--- Idea Pins function kind of like a combo of stories and reels in that they are short form images or videos--- but the main difference is they don’t expire.

Using Idea pins right now can get you way more exposure whether you’re a brand new or established Pinterest account because they’re getting a priority in the Pinterest algorithm and--- a lot of the more senior Pinterest users are not using them because they’re frustrated that they can’t link to their websites.

That means you and I have an advantage to get seen if we start to use them and master them NOW.

If you’re curious to learn more about using Pinterest for your Etsy shop—you’d probably love podcast episode 8: How to Use Pinterest to Sell on Etsy where I’ll give you the basics on how to tackle this. As always—I’ve linked that episode for you in the shownotes.


Today’s Sponsor is “Perfecting Pinterest” by Sophia Lee. An ecourse that will show you exactly how to use Pinterest to get a ton more views on your Etsy listings: Perfecting Pinterest:


Mistake #5: They don’t pay attention to trends

If you’re still trying to decide what to sell in your shop--- or you’re having trouble getting traction—this is especially for you. You have to pay attention to trends and it’s easier to do than you might think!

You can make an awesome product, have beautiful packaging, a fair price point, a great looking shop--- and sell NOTHING because no one is in the market to buy it. Sometimes this is a seasonal problem, sometimes it’s a niche that doesn’t shop on Etsy, and sometimes you’re too late on the trend. (But even that’s ok because you’re amazing skills can be pivoted to something that people ARE buying now!)

Think about it this way---- most people aren’t shopping for Christmas ornaments in March. If that’s all you sell--- you’re probably only going to make steady sales from August through December. But maybe you could tweak your shop and also make Easter decorations? Or new baby ornaments (those would work year round)? Or something that would match each season.

If you sell graduation t-shirts---- you may get some sales at the end of the year for the December graduates—but you’re going to get the most traction from March-May. You shouldn’t expect to make a lot of sales in July. But you could come up with a summer/beach tee line!

If you’re trying to sell pallet art--- you’re probably too late to the party. Even I’m working on pivots because farmhouse signs are becoming “so yesterday” as we speak. This is an example of a super saturated market that has fewer and fewer buyers. BUT there are some really cool trends happening with wood that have a more geometric look. That could be a way you could enter the market that still has some steam.

The bottom line? You have to be selling something people are buying. A great way to find out what the current trends are is to study the homepage of Etsy. They are loud and proud about what’s trending and it’s a great resource for you!


And that’s our list for today! The 5 reasons Etsy shops don’t make money—and I hope it was super valuable to you! Drop me a DM on Instagram or Tiktok @HowtoSellYourStuff and tell me your aha moment today! I’d LOVE to connect!

And don’t forget--- I just released a free Etsy Masterclass called “How to KickStart Your Etsy Shop!” I worked super hard on this ecourse to make sure it was VALUABLE INFORMATION for you! It’s about an hour of actionable training that you’ll be able to implement right away. You can grab it right now at

That’s all for today my friends! Have an awesome week and I’ll see you on next week’s podcast. It’s holiday season! WOOHOO! Go sell some stuff!



Have you worked your butt off perfecting your Etsy shop and products but you’re not making any sales yet? It’s ok—I’ve been there too! Today I’m sharing some of the top mistakes new sellers make that prevent sales in their shop. You’re just a couple of tweaks away from breakthrough, I promise!

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



My TikTok:

My Instagram:

Podcast Episode 5: Why Customer Service is Massively Connected to Your Success as an Etsy Seller

Blog post: Etsy Photography Tips: Are your photos selling or repelling potential customers?

Free PDF download:  "4 Strategies I used to grow my Etsy shop from $25 to $6000+/month"

Podcast Episode 8: How to Use Pinterest to Sell on Etsy

Perfecting Pinterest eCourse:

**Free Masterclass: How to Kick-Start Your Etsy Shop: How to Kick-Start Your Etsy Shop


Looking for more resources?

Here’s my free guide that will show you the "4 Strategies I used to grow my Etsy shop from $25 to $6000+/month"

FREE ETSY MASTERCLASS: How to Kick-Start Your Etsy Shop:

Grab my eCourse “Listings that Sell” and learn how to skyrocket your Etsy business:

Listings that Sell:






Today’s Sponsor is “Perfecting Pinterest” by Sophia Lee. An ecourse that will show you exactly how to use Pinterest to get a ton more views on your Etsy listings: Perfecting Pinterest:


Check out my eCourse Suite

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