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How To Start A Teen Etsy Business

Updated on November 17, 2012


Etsy has proven to be a viable business opportunity for those who learn how to market and promote themselves wisely. For teens looking for the same type of opportunity, Etsy is a great way for them to learn responsibility, finance, and business, while having fun doing something positive for themselves and others.

For Teens looking to start their own business, they'll find out exactly what to expect and what it takes to become successful on the Etsy site. They'll also learn what types of products they can sell, how to set up their own shop, and ultimately how to make sales.


The first issue to consider is age. Etsy requires that anyone under the age of 18 open an account under a parent or legal guardian that is 18 years old or older. The parent or guardian will also be responsible for the activity that goes on through the account. Teens will definitely need to sit down and talk with their parents about opening a shop and both will have to come to a full understanding of what they are getting into.

Next issue pertains to planning out how you'll find the time to operate the business and manage life's priorities. It's extremely easy to open an Etsy shop, anyone can do it, but if you meet with a high level of success you're going to have to deal with a unique set of circumstances.

Etsy requires that everything that's sold on it's site be handmade. Meaning you can't buy and resell products. For Etsy sellers that means having enough time to make products and fill orders. If the product you are selling takes a lot of time to construct and a bunch of orders pile in all at once, you may not be able to handle the work demand. Assuming that most of the teens are in school, school must remain the prime priority. There needs to be a plan in place to keep the work load to a manageable amount.

Another thing to prepare for is the exact opposite of having too much success too fast. That is, not having any success at all. The teen must keep expectations realistic and realize that building a business takes a great deal of time and learning from mistakes.


Figuring out what to sell can be difficult if you don't already have a hobby or crafting talent. One way to find out what to sell is to do a search on Etsy and see which items you like. Make a list of the types of products you feel you can make.

Once you have the list of items you feel you'd like to make and sell, do market research. Market research will require you to search the internet for information regarding the popularity of an item and if people are buying.

The biggest mistake Etsy sellers make is selling a product that no one wants to purchase. You can advertise and market all day long, but if it's something no longer in style or trend, no one wants it.

The first step to market research is basically doing a Google search. Example, if you want to sell steampunk jewelry, search that keyword on Google and look for people who paying to advertise for that keyword. (ads to the right of the page)This is a sign that people are making money.

Another great sign that people are buying this type of product is to search social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Search the keyword for your item and monitor if people are talking about their purchases. How popular is this type of item?

Check Etsy to see how many people are selling this type of product. If there are a large number of search results, it could signal that people are making money.

Once you do research and feel comfortable that the product you want to make is actually selling, move forward with opening up your own Etsy shop.



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As mentioned before this is actually the easy part. Visit and look at the top right side of the website. Click on Sell. That will get the process started for you to start your own business. One of the things you'll need right away is a name for your shop. You'll also need your parent or guardian to actually open up the account for you and provide their credit card.

Think of a shop name that describes the type of business your are starting and easy to remember. A cool name goes a long way. Make sure you like the shop name because you'll only be able to change it once.

The process to actually opening a shop is really straight forward and rather fast. The areas you'll want to focus on is Shop Info and Appearance. Example, shop title. This is where you either add a tag line or keyword for your business.

Keywords are phrases that people use to find your shop. A good example is what people type into Google to find answers. "how to fish" is an example of a keyword. Your Etsy shop will need to use keywords in product titles, product descriptions and tags. We'll cover what all that is shortly.

Another important aspect to starting your shop is a banner image. You'll want the best looking banner image possible. If you have access to photoshop that will help but not necessary.

The next section to fill out is the shop section. This is like a message to people visiting your shop. It's also the area that becomes your meta data. The text that appears on Google when people see you in search results.

Two big tips early on. Etsy has a seller handbook that is extremely helpful for the beginner. They also have forums and teams. Join a few teams. They will help you get your shop off the ground and answer your questions. They will become your business support group. Use the forums also but be careful about negative comments.

Etsy forums can be a helpful tool, but you'll also see a lot of complaining not only about Etsy but about shops not making sales. To the beginner, this can cast a negative shadow on your own shop as you begin to wonder how to make sales or why it takes so long.

The answer is sometimes it just takes time to reach goals. The other obvious answer is, a lot of people simply aren't running their business in a way that generates results. It's really up to you how things turn out.

Continue to fill in all the parts of your shop, like your shipping and return policy. Take time in these areas and do the needed research to find out what the best policies should be.


Promotion deals with getting people interested in your products and business. Along with actually making your own products, a lot of work revolves around promotion.

There are a large number of options to consider when it comes to promotion. You can use social media, classified ads, business cards, etc.

Let's start with social media. You'll want to establish your own Facebook business page dedicated solely to your Etsy business and topics related to the type of products you sell. Do a large amount of research on how to start, design, and update your own Facebook business page.

You'll also want to start your own Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Tumblr accounts. It's important to focus on one at a time though. It takes time to learn how to turn social media into a good traffic source for your business. You'll want to take a quality stance on everything you do. Meaning everything must meet very high standards. That includes what you put on your social media accounts. This is something you gradually become good at.


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's something you're going to hear a lot about as an Etsy seller. The reason everyone make such a big deal about this is because it's one of the best ways for your business to be found by potential customers. Unfortunately SEO is extremely difficult to understand and learn. Leading to a lot of confusion for many sellers who ultimately become frustrated and stressed out. You can avoid this by taking time to learn as much as you can about SEO early on.

The concept to SEO is basically getting your product to rank on the first page, first position on Google for a particular keyword. The reason this is so important is because you can make a ton of sales due to generating traffic if you rank for the right keywords.

Etsy is a search engine also. Ranking on Etsy is called Relevancy, but it's basically the same concept. You want your products to rank on the first page for your target keywords. You definitely want to join a SEO team that will answer your questions and help you with your titles and tags.

Earlier I spoke about keywords. Keywords are what people use to search for the products you sell. You'll need to do keyword research to find these keywords and put them in your title. Most people use the free Google keyword tool to find keywords. That's not your only option though.

You can also find keywords by using Etsy's keyword suggestion tool. This tool is easy to use. Go to the Etsy home page and type a word in the search bar, at the top, that's relevant to your item. Example, if you sell necklaces, type in what kind of necklace you want to sell. You'll then see a drop down menu of keywords that people actually use on Etsy that are closely related to what you sell.

Every product should target a different keyword. Meaning no two items should have the same title. This can be difficult if you sell items that are almost identical to each other or very similar. Just try your best.

Once you have your keywords, they will be placed in the title, description, and tags.

Writing titles, descriptions, and tags for seo purposes will take a great deal of practice. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect over time and don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed.


Once you make a sale the work is not over. Not only do you have to ship the item but you'll need to make sure the customer liked what they bought. You can do this by email. Simply followup after the sale and ask them if they are enjoying the item.

If a customer is not happy in any way, don't be afraid of doing what it takes to make them happy. Even if it means accepting a return at you're expense and sending out a replacement. These are some of the risks of doing business. Something every business must deal with properly.

Other risks include the customer not receiving their order. That's why it's important to pay the extra to have tracking on every order you ship. Be careful of anyone trying to scam your business. Learn all the latest email scams that people might try.

Be mentally prepared if someone leaves you bad feedback for no good reason. It happens sometimes. These are things that are out of our control. Do all you can to make the next customer happy and satisfied.


These are a few tips to remember:

  1. Learn as much as you can about running a business online. Visit the library, find a few youtube videos, and search Google.
  2. Keep your parents involved and updated every step of the way. Make sure they have time to help you out.
  3. Learn everything you can about SEO. There are a ton of sites on Google that cover this issue. The best sites: seomoz, searchengineland, ed dale, pat flynn.
  4. Join a variety of teams on Etsy. Search for SEO team ( my team is called friendly seo, you are more than welcome there), promotion team, shop critique. For starters.
  5. Take your time. Don't expect to start making sales just because you put something up for sale. It's going to take a lot to get people to find your shop and start buying. Do tell all your friends and family. They make great customers.


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    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Ginny Weasely 

      3 years ago

      Hi! I am, in fact, an Etsy seller of only 13 years of age. My shop is

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      7 years ago from Brazil

      I think starting a business for teens and young adults on Etsy is a great idea. Sometimes as we age, we get blinded to the opportunities out there.

      Often, young people have an eye for spotting trends.

      It is easy to get discouraged but even a few sales will help keep the momentum and excitement going.

      You've made some wonderful points that will help get people on their way. I'll share this good advice.


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