Start an Etsy Shop with No Money: The Ultimate Guide for Digital Product Creators

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Etsy is an online marketplace where crafters and creatives of all types can sell their products, both physical and digital, to a huge, and I mean huge, audience, in exchange for a small fee for each listing and sale.

With over 95 million active buyers in the last 10 years, Etsy is one of the best online marketplaces for creative entrepreneurs to sell their products.

Best of all, you can do it all as a seller with very little financial outlay.

In this ultimate guide, I’ll walk you through exactly how to start an Etsy shop with no money, and turn your dreams of sharing your creativity and earning a passive income into a reality. 

How much does it cost to open an Etsy shop?

It costs nothing to open an Etsy shop, and almost nothing to start selling.

The fees to sell on Etsy are $0.20 to list a product, and a 6.5% transaction fee when you sell a product.

You can read more about Etsy’s fees on their website.

Opening an Etsy shop an excellent way for you to turn your passion for printable and digital products into a lucrative business.

So, first things first: you need to create your Etsy account. Signing up is free, and all you need to get started is a valid email address. Use this link to get 40 free listings!

Select a catchy shop name when you open your shop that reflects your brand, and products, and something that will resonate with your target audience. I like to tell people to use a name that is easy to remember and spell.

You’ll need a logo and Etsy shop banner; you can create these using a free Canva account.

Canva is super easy to use and has heaps of customization options, making it really simple for you to create something eye-catching and original. 

Want to learn how to make a simple digital product using Canva? I have a tutorial for beginners here on my YouTube channel.

You don’t need to have a huge number of products ready to go before you start uploading to Etsy: if you only have one, just list one!

Need a set of free mockups for your digital products? Grab a set I created here.

start an etsy shop with no money

Make sure the images are simple and clear, and highlight the features of your product. 

Things to mention in your listing images are:

  1. How to use the product. Do you download, print and use? Will the customer need to print and then cut out before using.
  2. The paper size to print on. Is the product best used on size US Letter paper? Or A4?
  3. The number of pages the customer will receive. Always state the number of pages, and what the pages are in your listing images. This is especially needed with large planners.
  4. How to customize the product. Is the product editable? Will they need to pay for a program to edit the file? Do they need to know how to use Canva to edit?

Be sure to include relevant keywords in your product listing titles and descriptions to boost your search visibility. I created a tutorial on how to use the free version of Erank here.

It’s also important to promote your shop, which you can do for free on your social media accounts and other online platforms where your target audience hangs out. 

Etsy also helps you to provide great customer service for free. You can set up a thank you message which is automatically sent to each customer after they buy from you.

Products To Sell That Cost Nothing To Create

If generating income, rather than adding to your expenses is important to you right now, selling digital products on Etsy is the way to go.

These can be created using a free Canva account, and the list of products you can create is endless!

You just need to decide who you want to serve (this is your ‘ideal client’ or ‘target audience’).

Always do product research before creating your products to find out what their challenges are, and work out how you can help them alleviate their problems through digital products.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are just a few digital products that you could make and sell on Etsy:

  • Coloring bookmarks
  • Family game bundles (think: word searches, Would You Rather, Christmas Trivia, etc.)
  • Medical trackers
  • Wedding stationery
  • Father’s Day handprint art
  • Social media templates
  • Reading trackers
  • Budget planners
  • Kids’ reward coupons
  • Commitment certificates
  • Cupcake toppers
  • Bachelorette party games
  • Spreadsheet templates
  • Notion templates
  • OneNote templates
  • Escape room games

Need more ideas? You can grab my guide on 101 products to sell on Etsy here.

101 digital products to sell on etsy

Starting an Etsy Shop Checklist

Below you will find a handy checklist to use when starting your Etsy shop.

Research and Plan:

  • Identify your niche and target audience
  • Research demand and trends within your niche
  • Determine your unique selling proposition (USP) and brand identity

Create Your Etsy Account:

  • Sign up for an Etsy account at www.etsy.com
  • Choose a memorable shop name that aligns with your brand
  • Complete your profile and provide relevant information about your business
  • Add an Etsy banner to your shop heading – (there are tons of templates available for free on Canva)
  • Add your logo – you can create one for free in Canva
  • Set up payment options and customize your shop policies

Create Your Products:

  • Use graphic design tools like Canva or Corjl to create high-quality products
  • Create listing images that clearly showcase your products
  • Write clear and compelling product titles and descriptions and Include relevant keywords 
  • Set pricing for your products based on what the item is priced on in the market

Marketing and Promotion:

  • Utilize social media accounts to promote your Etsy shop and engage with potential customers – I personally use Youtube and Pinterest
  • Participate in Etsy forums, teams, and online communities to network and gain exposure – I also like to use Facebook groups to promote my products

Customer Service:

  • Respond to inquiries promptly and professionally
  • Consider offering incentives like discounts or freebies to encourage repeat business

Use Analytics To Improve:

  • Utilize Etsy’s analytics tools to track your shop’s performance and sales
  • Analyze customer feedback and reviews to identify areas for improvement
  • Continuously refine your product offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies based on data and customer feedback
  • Make more of the products that you sell the most

Final Thoughts

You can start an Etsy shop with no money that is wildly profitable.

I started my own Etsy shop with no money, and have grown it into a business that supports my family, and I know you will too!

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