This article originally appeared on Owning My Own on July 18, 2016.
“I make these really unique (fill in the blank) by hand. Do you think I could build a business around selling them on Etsy?”
It’s the start of a conversation Annie, Owning My Own’s business coach, has a lot. Etsy, the online makers’ marketplace that currently boasts 1.6 million sellers and 25 million buyers, is an enticing option for builders and crafters wanting to turn a passion or hobby into some real income.
But who are Etsy sellers? How much time do they spend and how much money do they really make selling their handmade products? In 2015, Etsy’s 10th anniversary, the company surveyed 4,000 sellers and released a report that reveals many of the answers.
IT’S A WOMEN’S WORLD
86% — of Etsy sellers are women. Compared to the general population, they have a slightly above average household income and are much more likely to have a college degree and live in a rural area.
MOST SELLERS HAVE OTHER JOBS
30% — say their creative business is their sole occupation. (This includes their Etsy sales and any other offline place they might sell their products.)
57% — have other jobs in addition to their creative business. Thirty-six percent have full-time jobs, and the other 21 percent do a mix of temp, freelance or part-time work along with the Etsy business.
11% — of Etsy sellers consider themselves unemployed.
ETSY PROFITS MOSTLY SUPPLEMENT OTHER INCOME
15% — the average percentage of household income sellers say comes from their creative business. (Note: This is the average among sellers who don’t consider their creative business their sole occupation.)
65% — of sellers required capital to start their businesses, and of those, 83 percent relied on their own personal savings. Only one percent obtained a loan.
SELLERS MOSTLY WORK ALONE, AT HOME — AND LIKE IT THAT WAY
95% — of Etsy shop owners operate their creative businesses out of their homes. (Overall nationwide, 52 percent of small businesses operate out of homes.)
88% — run their Etsy shops alone.
69% — reported they are not looking to hire any more people.
38% — said they would like to rent or acquire additional space.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FULL TIME TO BE A BUSINESS, SELLERS SAY
76% — of sellers said they consider their Etsy shops to be businesses.
46% — have applied for a business tax ID number.
41% — have opened a business bank account.
IT’S ONLY SORT OF ABOUT THE MONEY
In the survey, Etsy sellers were allowed to choose multiple factors that motivated them to start their creative businesses. These are a few:
79% — said they wanted the chance to do something creative.
74% — wanted to “do something they enjoy either as a main job or in their spare time.”
65% — said wanting more supplemental income motivated them to start their creative business.
21% — wanted to provide financial support for their families.
64% — said “doing something they enjoy is more important than making money.”
Do you have an Etsy shop or are you thinking of starting one? Do these survey results line up with your experiences? Tell us about it in the comments section.