Yes, I just set up my own Etsy Shop recently. I wasn’t completely ready (well who is right?), but I took action none the less and got it done. And so I have created this Etsy Ultimate Fast-Start Guide to help and inspire you to do the same.

If you are not familiar with Etsy, this is where you can sell your own Art, Crafts and Vintage products. Over the last few years it has grown into quite an online shopping monster. Just be aware to really benefit from this, you’ll need to do MUCH more than put up a shop, wait and hope… You’ll have thousands of competitors, so you’ll want to give yourself the very best shot.

What’s in this Etsy blog post and why should you read it?

As an experienced business owner, business coach and practicing artist, I wanted to give you the FULL picture. When I first discovered Etsy and considered if I too could benefit from setting up an Art Shop online, I gave it a lot of thought.

Would this work for my business? Have I got the time to fulfil the requirements? Have I got the necessary skills to drive potential shoppers to my shop?

My answer was a resounding “yes”, but yours might not be of course.

I have to admit I was also a bit overwhelmed with conflicting information. There is a lot of ‘free help’ out there as well. Some really helpful articles, some rather out-of-date articles and some just missing the core essentials in my eyes (like the vital business elements).

So I have included both the actual Etsy set-up steps as well as the essential Business Building steps.

This means by using my Etsy Ultimate Fast-Start Guide you are setting up as a professional business and therefore could make a living from your shop if you put in the time. Oh and follow ALL the steps…

What’s not in there? 

All the unnecessary details for right now. I’m just giving you the ‘Big Picture’. I will be writing many more in-depth articles as I go, so this gives you what you need to get started on today.

Most people are put off by the  ‘shipping’ or ‘returns policy’; or any other number of things. Etsy helps you with a basic version to get started, the rest you can edit and improve on as you go.

My Moto: Just get started. Let the rest follow. If you wait till you have everything perfect then you may well have missed the boat.

You can print this off and use my 20 Steps as your Etsy Check-List.

Here Is My 20-Step Etsy Ultimate Fast-Start Guide.

So you can quit the excuses and set up your online Art Shop today.

Step 1: Have A Current Active Business Plan.

This makes the difference between failure and success. Only 50% of new businesses make any money and the stats are far worse within the Arts. So don’t skip this step, I can’t stress this enough. I have an article on Business Planning here to help you get this done.

Step 2: Know Your Target Market.

This is a part of your Business Planning too, but deserves a section all to itself. For example in my case I now have two Target Markets.

One for my Artwork and one for my Artist Marketing Help Business. You must take time to define exactly who they are.

Step 3: Research Your Competitors.

Etsy is an enormous market-place as I’ve already mentioned. So you’ll need to type in the sort of search terms or keywords someone might use to find your work. Then invest the time in looking at all your competition.

What are they doing well? How is their shop set up? What do you like or not like? How could you be a bit different and stand out?

Again the more you do here the better results you’ll get further down the road.

Step 4: Get Clear About The Benefits You Offer.

Now focus 100% on your potential customer. What are the benefits your product or products offer them? How can you as a brand be unique and give a great customer experience?

Again have a look at others.

Step 5: Focus On Niched Products.

This should be obvious, but I’ve seen shops with a wide selection of items, none of which really hang together. This can give a confusing message to your audience, or even put them off.

Think about what you will offer. Original art, prints, cards, downloads, etc. 

Step 6: Make Sure You Know Your Numbers.

This is such a classic mistake. You MUST know your product breakdown, otherwise there is every chance you just won’t make a profit at all.

Think through every step, from materials, packaging, shipping, labels, etc…etc…etc. Of course this should all be within the cash-flow part of your business plan anyway.

Are your products viable for the amount of time you’ve invested? After all you are a business, not a hobby. 

Step 7: Have A Clear Brand.

Assuming you’ve already set up as a professional Art Business, you may already have a logo or branded look. If not, now is the time to get it done.

Make it obvious who you are, what you sell and think not just about your Etsy Shop, but any websites and Social Media. 

Step 8: Get Great With Your Keywords & SEO.

Etsy much like any other online selling platform is all about SEO. That’s Search Engine Optimisation, which simply means a term that someone uses to find you.

For now just start by typing into Etsy the start of a possible keyword. For example: ‘Abstract’…and you’ll see others words start to populate.

Pick phrases that describe what you offer and look at how many results you get. This will be your competition to be seen. So you’ll want to be as niched as possible. For example: ‘Blue Abstract Art’ has over 20,000 results in Painting. Whereas ‘Blue Abstract Boats” has 121.

Oh boy, this is a big topic… so I’ll come back to it later.

Step 9: Know Your Posting & Packaging Options.

You can decide which countries to ship to, maybe just start in the country you are in to keep it simple. Go to your post office and see your options, or use a local packing company to get some quotes.

Think about bubble-wrap, cellophane, cardboard, and other items you can buy online in bulk. A lot of people are now doing very cheap shipping, so consider swallowing the cost in your over-all price.

Shipping abroad can be your next step.

Step 10: Write Out All Your Product Details.

I advise typing out a list of all your products for Etsy anyway. With title, sizes and prices.

Now for your listing your Title is actually what will get you found, and you have 140 characters. So this is the first place you’ll want to use your main keywords.

Each item should have a good description, again think about covering anything a potential customer might want to ask. It’s another place to insert your keywords.

Have these written out on a Word Doc, so you can just copy and paste.

Step 11: Take Amazing Photos.

This is the difference that makes the difference. Check out other popular listings to see how others are doing it. Basically you are aiming for your artwork up close, some details, and ideally how it would look ‘placed’ in a home.

Start with just white background shots and move up to more professional branded shots. Remember these must be as true a representation of your original as possible.

Step 12: Plan Your Shop Launch.

Now this is where most people go wrong, as they don’t plan any type of promotion. Let alone how they might take advantage of their shop opening. So, as I am writing this, my shop is being stocked right now and will have an offical launch later on.

I have planned for what I hope will be an optimal month to do this. I have over 10 different strategies to deploy to get people over there and buying.


So here it is at last and of course the easiest part actually. You have done all your research and planning. You have your products (or some to start of with) and some beautiful photos.

Now just go ahead and sign up. It’ll take you just a few moments.

Step 14: Create Your Profile.

Now fill out your Profile (this is not your Shop), with your professional head-shot and a bit about you. If you’re already a shopper it will display your favourite shops and favourite items.

Then set up your Shop.

Step 15: Post Up Your First Products. 

You can’t get further than the basics of a Shop Name, etc. before you create your first listing. So copy and paste in the details and add your photographs.

Here you’ll need to add in your shipping basics, but don’t forget you can always come back and edit.

At the bottom there as some boxes that are vital, including ‘Tags’. Here you can add up to 13 ‘keywords and this helps with your SEO.

Step 16: Create Your Banner & Icon.

As part of customising your Etsy Shop you will want to create a simple branded Banner and Icon image.

You can very easily do these in Picmonkey, Canva or Photoshop. The required sizes are all there for you to use. Then upload them and your shop is taking shape.

Step 17: Set Up Your Shop Policies, About Page etc.

As you scroll down in ‘Shop Edit’ mode you can fill out a short Bio, add some images (that display quite large at the top of your Shop About Page). You can also add a video here too.

Then you should write a piece About your Shop. How it came about, what you stand for and something a bit unique that would be interesting reading for your potential customers. Don’t be tempted to skip writing your About page, as Etsy sees this as a sign you are a professional business.

Further down you can start out by using Etsy’s own Policies and come back later once you’ve had a good look at what other’s are doing. I’m re-writing mine right now.

Step 18: Special Offer For First Month.

So now you are ready to launch, so you can create a ‘Shop Announcement’ or add some text to your banner, declaring your Special Offer and the official opening of your shop. Don’t forget to drive traffic from Social Media, your mailing List and anywhere else you can.

Using some Google, Facebook or other Ads might just give you the traction you need.

Step 19: Set Up On-going Promotion.

From here on it’s all about your daily promotion and your financial success is riding on this. So get marketing. I have plenty of articles that will help you do this effectively: Read my Marketing Articles.

Step 20: Focus On Delivering Excellent Customer Service.

Last, but very much not least – you’ll want to focus now on sales and customer service.

  • Make your packaging stand out.
  • Wrap things beautifully.
  • Add a Thank You card.
  • Be online to answer ‘Convo’s (that’s your in-mail).
  • Offer any help your customers need.

Get excited as you are now up and running an online Art Shop. 

There is nothing like a ‘live’ Etsy Shop to drive you to get everything finished of course! I love the vital energy and drive that you can give yourself. Honestly you should have been a fly on my wall as I wrote, photographed, edited, dashed to ‘Pack & Send’, oh and finished off the last piece…

Of course I already had all of these Business Building steps, I just put together the rest in once day.

So read, print off and use my Etsy Ultimate Fast-Start Guide and you’ll be on the road to your Etsy Art Shop. If you’d like more Art Income Stream ideas, make sure you sign up for my ’21 Ways To Make Money From Your Art’ (if you haven’t already).