Starting an Etsy Business For Dummies
Why would I want this book when I have been selling on Etsy for years? Because Etsy has been making changes. At the time I requested this book, the latest change negatively affected my sales to the point where I was wondering why I was bothering to list any items at all. The problem was Etsy changed it's search format (again). Potential buyers were not finding my items. I followed all the Etsy newsletters and workshops, changing tags, titles you name it. It made no difference. Along comes this book and I think, "What have I got to loose?"
For the most part being both an active buyer and seller, I can say that this book is dead on right. The advice is sound and you should follow it. I even discovered little things here and there that I didn't know.
Sadly this book, a new release, is already outdated! Etsy is continuing to make changes and at the rate they are doing these changes, no book will ever be up to date. The already mentioned search format change is not in the book. Also, the book says you cannot change your shop name. Last week I got a notice from Etsy saying soon I would be able to change my shops name. The book says how you can buy a spot for $7 a day to be featured. This changed twice now. They did away with that when they changed the search format. That space featured the newly listed items. It has yet again changed to feature items that sellers pay to have featured but not for $7 a day. It's totally different and I'm not going into it or this review will never end due to the endless changes.
There is now a option to click the Facebook like button on the shop page front, as well as a Twitter option. Now not only is your shop name shown, but your real name (or whatever name you chose to provide. If you don't provide a name it will show your shop name twice) and your shop name. The book mentions going into the chat rooms and etiquette. Well don't worry you can skip right over this. Etsy got rid of the chat rooms! Edit 2/28/20: You have the Etsy Forums which were also changed in 2019. Etsy admin. rarely steps in to address user concerns. The forums are still a great way to find out what the heck is going on in the ever changing Etsy-Land.
While writing this, I am trying to remember all the changes that have happened that are not in this brand new book and really there are so many it's rather nutty and I'm sure I'm missing quite a few.
The section on paying taxes was not very detailed. This is another reason I wanted the book. I only discovered one thing I hadn't known about our tax system. Mostly this section covers the tax part in Etsy but advises you to speak to a lawyer and/or accountant. They also recommend finding out the specific tax laws for not only your state but your town as well. This is good advice but probably not what you are looking for since you have to look elsewhere for the answers to all those confusing tax questions. Note (2/29/20): Tax laws have changed greatly from state to state. Etsy now collects all sales tax on the behalf of sellers. Your payment fee includes the tax amount. You no longer have to remit sales tax if you only sell on Etsy.
If you are new to Etsy I see no reason not to read this book because it still contains loads of useful information. If your a seasoned seller, you may enjoy brushing up on your Etsy knowledge, and who knows maybe like me you will learn a few new things along the way. The biggest problem is if you use this book and really are a "Dummy" you are going to be very confused when what the book says and what Etsy does don't match up. Luckily at the moment it's a small enough amount of differences that you can still learn plenty. Aside from that Etsy is not a super complicated site. It functions very well. As the book advises (this is great advice) Be a buyer first! You have a stress free way to get familiar with the site while getting some nifty items for your efforts!
A lot has changed on Etsy since my review of this book in 2011. The most recent was just two days ago. Etsy is now forcing sellers who have earned $10,000 for any calendar year to participate in outside advertising (outside of Etsy, places like Facebook, Google, Pintrest, etc.). Sellers do not get to choose how these advertising dollars are spent. Sellers cannot opt out. The only way to opt out is to close your Etsy shop. Sellers who have made less than $10,000 in any calendar year are automatically opted in. These sellers may opt out if they wish (I expect this will eventually become mandatory for all sellers). The additional fee Etsy collects for this is 15% for sellers who earn under $10k and 12% for sellers who earn $10k or more. If your shop earned $10k or more one year but the following year earned less than $10K, you are still locked in for life. You cannot opt out ever. The total fees to sell on Etsy if an ad is clicked and you make your sale are estimated to about 20%. I did the math for my own Etsy shop and the number is closer to 28% of my total sale. The fees are on the item, the shipping, plus tax charged. There is also a listing fee. All fees are: Listing fee, transaction fee, sales fee, ad click fee (if applicable). It is also important to note that if a buyer clicks on an ad, you are charged 12-15% for each item the buyer purchases even if the other items are not being advertised. Wait, it doesn't end there! If the buyer is happy and they decide to return to your shop to buy additional items within the next 30 days, these purchases will also incur the additional 12-15% fee. This now means that as of this update, places like Amazon Handmade and Ebay are actually cheaper than Etsy. They also have better search engines and a higher volume of customers.
My biggest recommendation is to diversify. Get your own stand alone website, plus sell on other platforms, not just on Etsy, or at this point you may not want to sell on Etsy at all.
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