What: Etsy is one of the oldest and best-established sites to sell art, crafts and hand-made items.

Expected pay: variable

Husl$core: $$$$

Commissions & Fees: 20 cent listing fee, plus 6.5% commission; possible 12% to 15% outside advertising fee.

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: Be age 18 or age 13, with parental permission.


Etsy is one of the oldest and best-established sites to sell art, crafts and hand-made clothing, furniture, handbags, jewelry and notions. It is also a marketing machine, with a well-oiled process of turning one-time buyers into regular customers. As a result, it has become one of the top ecommerce sites in the world and one of the most popular places to sell anything handmade or vintage.

This is both a benefit and a detriment to sellers, however. It’s helpful because you have a large community of shoppers to view and, possibly, buy your goods. It’s a problem because it also means that there are plenty of other sellers competing for your potential customers.

Here you are essentially running your own business — determining what to make, how to make it and how to price your wares. As any small business owner can attest, running your own show is hard work and it comes with few guarantees.


That said, Etsy can make your marketing far easier and the site’s fees aren’t wildly out of line. Etsy charges just 20 cents per listing — 5 listings for $1. If you sell anything, you’ll pay a 6.5% transaction fee, plus a 3% payment processing fee. The site also added an “outside advertising” fee ranging from 12% to 15%, which applies to you if one of the site’s ads sends a sale your way. If your shop sells less than $10,000 in goods annually, you can opt out of the program. It’s mandatory if you shop earns more. This is a significant change to the costs that sellers shoulder here. However, since you set your own prices, its one that you can account for when determining what to charge for your goods.

Biggest complaints

The main complaint that sellers have is that Etsy sometimes boots people off the platform without warning or appeal. When it does so, it can hold buyer payments for up to 6 months. This is particularly painful if the seller has orders outstanding that need to be filled while their pay is being held.

To be sure, this legitimate issue appears to hamper only a small fraction of the site’s sellers. But when sellers have a problem, Etsy’s customer service is missing in action.

Indeed, when updating the site’s review in 2021, we found that many Etsy sellers were only able to wake the site’s dormant customer service division after they complained to the Better Business Bureau. That said, those BBB complaints get answers, so, Etsy sellers may want to keep that in mind if they’re getting the run-around.

Notably, too, Etsy raised its transaction fees in 2022, from 5% to 6.5%, which sparked a week-long protest by many sellers. Unfortunately, the platform has few rivals, so Etsy’s sellers main recourse is to raise their prices or sell through their own websites, which are unlikely to get Etsy’s massive traffic.


Other sites to consider: Ruby Lane, for crafts, antiques, art and collectibles; Society6 or RedBubble, which are print-on-demand services that print your art on t-shirts and coffee cups; and, of course, Craig’s List and eBay where you can sell almost anything. 

What their sellers say: (from Reddit)

I make 6 figures on Etsy, selling items for 10-20 bucks a pop.

I started my company with zero overhead and it has grown to where I can bring in anywhere between 1,000 – 2,000 a week.

My items are not expensive – but if someone orders a lot, it definitely adds up quickly. I think the key is to start small. I see a lot of shop owners get over-excited and spend too much on overhead to start with. Creating items is hit and miss. A full time shop is a commitment for sure. Some weeks I probably work a lot more than 40 hours, but I really love what I do and so it doesn’t feel like work to me. I have the freedom of working from my own office, but I also face the stress of fluctuating market.

My items are cheap. I sell cards for $5 a piece. This month I have 74 orders. It doesn’t take long for me to fulfill one order. So even it’s not full time job, I still pay myself $20 an hour. With more expensive items, you just spend more on supplies and production time.

(from ConsumerAffairs.com)

“Today Etsy sent me an e-mail stating that My Etsy shop of over ten years is being suspended because they believe I am not making items I sell. Further they are freezing $158.00 in my account for 180 days in case they get any requests for refunds from orders. 

From Reseller Ratings:

“If you email with a question or concern, Etsy will send you an obviously canned and entirely unrelated response. Write again and they’ll repeat themselves and tell you that they won’t be responding again. Complain in the community forum and they will “muzzle” your account so your not allowed post messages. Express any further concern they will invent a reason to close your shop entirely.

*Updated 5/14/2021

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