How to Start an Etsy Shop: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide

Etsy How To How To Start An Etsy Shop

Have you always wanted to open an Etsy shop?

You’re not alone. A lot of people want to learn how to start an Etsy shop so they can sell online.

For years I wanted to have an Etsy shop of my own, and what exactly kept me from opening a shop after wanting to do so for years is a mystery.

But I know that a guide like this one would’ve helped me get the the ball rolling.

If opening an Etsy store has long been a dream of yours, this guide is for you.

Follow the step by step guide to opening an Etsy shop below and have your shop up and running in 30 minutes or less.

smartphone with checklist icon 3d

Want us to help you open your shop for success? We’re running a challenge to help you open your Etsy shop in just 7 days. We’ll show you  step by step how to set up a profitable Etsy shop from scratch. Click here to sign up for the FREE challenge!

To start NOW, open a new tab on your browser, go to and let’s get going!

If you already have an Etsy account, go ahead and sign in and jump to step 5.

If you do not have an Etsy account, start with step 1, we will walk you through the signing up process.

Registering with Etsy

Before you start an Etsy shop, you have to register with Etsy.

Go to the Etsy website, and click Register to make your account:

How to open an Etsy Shop

There are three ways to register:

  • With your Facebook account
  • With your Google account, or
  • You can start a stand alone account for Etsy.

Decide which way to register is the easiest for you.

If you are always logged into your Facebook account, sing in via that route, same with Google.

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Decided to create a stand alone Etsy account?

No problem. Fill out your personal details as done below and click Register when done.

This is where you will select your Etsy username, which you cannot ever chance, so chose wisely!

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Time to confirm your e-mail account.

Before doing anything, check your e-mail to confirm your account.

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 8.54.06 PMNow that the signing in process is through, it is time to officially set up shop. Click the Sell on Etsy link to get started!Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 7.49.30 PM

Starting Your Etsy Shop in 5 Simple Steps

After you’ve registered for an Etsy account you can set up your Etsy shop with a simple five step process:

  • Step 1: Shop preferences
  • Step 2: Name your shop
  • Step 3: Stock your shop
  • Step 4: How you’ll get paid
  • Step 5: Set up billing

We’ll walk you through the process below.

Step 1: Set Your Shop Preferences

In the first step, Shop preferences, you will provide very basic information about your shop. You will select your location, language, and currency.

2Step 2: Name Your Shop!

In our Grow your Etsy Shop to $1,000/month course we discuss in-depth how to pick the best name for your shop. This information comes in handy right now, when you have to actually name your shop!

Picking the best name for your shop is very important, as Etsy only lets you change your shop name once.


After you’ve named your shop, you can stock your shop with your inventory.

Step 3: Stock Your Shop

Let’s add your first item!

Etsy will not let you open a shop without listing at least one item.

Start your first listing with whatever information you have on hand.

Notice in the screen cap below how Etsy incentivizes you to list at least 10 items to start? We recommend you start with at least 9 items.

4Step 3: Create Your First Etsy Listing

The first thing you will be prompted to do when listing an item is to add up to 5 photos of your product.

Start with the best photos you have of your product and plan to improve them in the future. Sarah listed her first item with a photo she took on her phone while on her treadmill! Don’t let anything hold you back right now.

Your goal right now is to set up your shop, you can always edit the photos later.


Step 4: Add Five Product Images

Even if you have to come back and add/edit your photos, make sure you add all the five photos that Etsy gives you the space for.

Bad photography is a top reason why many Etsy shops fail. Plan to immediately improve your photos if this initial batch is not your best work.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 5: Give Your Listing a Title

The title of your first listing can make or break the popularity of your item.

Listing titles are fertile ground for Etsy SEO (Search Engine Optimization). For your listing to be viewed by many potential customers your title needs to be optimized.

In our example candle listing title below, we use descriptive sentence forming keywords and separate them by commas. This is the best tested and proven way to get the most SEO power from your listing’s title.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 6: Add Product Specifics

To continue with your listing you will be promoted to select from drop-down menus the best description for your product.

You will also be asked to price your item now.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 7: Add a Detailed Product Description

Writing a killer product description is both an art and a science.

The art is in adding your personality and voice to the description.

The science part is making sure you include all the necessary details to answer all your potential customer’s questions.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 8: Add Variations!

In this section, you can add different variations to an item for your customers to chose from.

In our example in the screenshots above, the candles come in various scents, so we want to make a listing that reflects that.

If you are selling vintage or an item that does not come in several variations, go ahead and skip over to step 14.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 9: Add a Variation Section

Will your item vary in color and scent? If so you will want to create two separate variation sections.

If you are selling prints, and the prints only come in different sizes, you only need to create one variation section for Dimensions.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Variation type

Here is where you will select your first variation type.

Back to our candle example, we want to sell the candle in different scents and sizes. Our first variation section would be Scent and our second would be Dimensions.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy ShopVariation options

Once your new section is created, you will then add the separate selections for that variation.

In the example below we have selected a Color variation, so we would add options such as white, gold or pastel blue, for the customer to chose from.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Adding a Second Set of Variations

After you finish adding your first set of variations you can add another set!

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

When you’ve done that, you’re finished adding variations and can move onto the shipping details.

Step 10: Shipping Details

Setting up shipping details for your item is the next step in your first Etsy listing.

Shipping can be a very complicated and stressful part of growing your Etsy business, especially when it comes to international shipping.

The quickest, simplest way to start is to let Etsy take the wheel and calculate your shipping costs for you. Etsy has a sophisticated system. It will make sure you are charging at least the minimal shipping costs, so you don’t lose money on your first few orders.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

You also need to…

Step 11: Select The Countries You’ll Ship To

If shipping domestically is level one on the pain scale, then shipping international orders is level 50. International shipping comes fraught with:

  • Higher shipping rates
  • Slow transit times
  • Potential Customs delays

]I’m not telling you this to scare you. Even though international shipping can be challenging, shipping internationally can increase your sales like crazy.

The benefits outweigh the difficulty in this case. International customers love to shop on Etsy and do so frequently.

Twenty percent of my Etsy sales come from international buyers.

To get acquainted with international shipping rates play around with the Etsy estimated shipping cost tool to see the variance of cost per pound or ounce.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 12: Select Your Shipping Services

The simplest way to start is to let Etsy calculate your shipping for you, as stated on Step 14.

Select all shipping services available to you. This gives the buyer the choice of how quickly they would like to receive their purchase.

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 13: Choose Whether You Want to Offer Free Shipping

In this section of the listing you can decide whether you’d like to offer free shipping and/or add a handling fee.

Avoid offering free shipping until you have made at least ten sales and have an understanding of how much your items cost to ship.

In order for Etsy to properly calculate your shipping costs, you must enter in the exact weight of your item. Etsy also needs the dimensions of the box you will be shipping your product in.

Enter this information as accurately as possible to save yourself from shipping related headaches!

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 14: Adding Tags for Etsy SEO

In this blog we take tags seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we have conducted an entire case study to prove their importance.

Etsy is essentially a search engine, the tags you write are used by the Etsy search algorithm to determine your product’s relevancy to a search query.

Tags are a critical part of your listing, they can make or break your shop, so don’t skip this very important step!

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Step 15: Your First Product Has Been Listed!

After writing your Tags you will have completed your first listing!

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy Shop

Congratulations! Now you just have to set…

Step 15: How You’ll Get Paid

You’re nearing the end and your shop is almost live!

Now you must enter your banking details so Etsy can pay you when you make your first sale!

Step by Step to Opening an Etsy ShopStep 16: Add Financial Details

After you add your financial details, you’ll finish setting up your shop!

how to start an etsy shop

Enter your billing information and you’re almost done!

how to start an etsy shop

And after you press that shiny orange “Open Your Shop” button…

Guess what? You’re Officially an Etsy Shop Owner!

how to start an etsy shop

This is how your shop will look:

how to start an etsy shop

You Now Know How to Start An Etsy Shop! Next Up…

Now that you know exactly how to start an Etsy shop, there’s so much more to do in order to grow your Etsy business.

We can help! Follow the instructions in this article, set up your shop and join our community of Etsy sellers over on Facebook and connect with others who are building their Etsy businesses.

Oh, and want step by step tips on how to master all of the elements we just showed you how to do in this article?

smartphone with checklist icon 3d

We’re running a challenge to help you open your Etsy shop in just 7 days. We’ll show you  step by step how to set up a profitable Etsy shop from scratch. Click here to sign up for the FREE challenge!